Murder Mysteries

Annotations: The NEH Preservation Project

Peter Ustinov Showcases Masterful Storytelling

Monday, December 10, 2012


Peter Ustinov's appearance at this 1960 Books and Authors Luncheon showcases the multi-talented performer's skills as a raconteur and as a master of dialect, mimicry, and sound effects.

Read More


The Takeaway

Can You Crack the Code and Help the FBI Solve a 12-Year-Old Murder?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

A dead body found in a Missouri field, murdered, apparently, by a blow to the head. No witnesses, no murder weapon, and no apparent motive. The only evidence: two notes in the victim's pocket with a mysterious code scrawled upon them. Twelve years later, the case remains unsolved.

It's not the description of the opening scene from latest episode of "Cold Case," it's the true story of the murder of Ricky McCormick. An eccentric 41-year-old high school drop-out who had a passion for making encrypted notes, McCormick had last been seen five days before his murder in St. Louis, where he was undergoing treatment for heart and lung problems in June 1999. Investigators came to believe that the coded messages found in McCormick's pocket would point them in the direction of his murderer. But McCormick's code has proven to be too indecipherable for even the FBI, so after twelve years, the Bureau's Cryptanalysis and Racketerring Unit, in collaboration with the American Cryptogram Association, is turning to the internet for the answers.

Read More

Comments [10]

The Takeaway

James Ellroy on Death, Women and His Mother

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Author James Ellroy has continually returned to dark themes surrounding women, death and sex throughout his writing career.  Now, the author of such thrillers as L.A. Confidential and The Black Dahlia examines his personal ties to those themes in his second memoir, "The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women."

Comments [1]

Selected Shorts

Two Wild Guys

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Two stories written by American women about really wild guys are the focus of this program.