Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of All Time by the Editors of Time-Life Books

I have a definite weakness for books like this dating back to when I first learned to read, so when I saw this brand new, up-to-date tome about unsolved mysteries I HAD to have it.

How could I resist such a tantalizing array of cases like the Voynich Manuscript, Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper, The Black Dahlia, The Lost Dauphin, Mary, Queen of Scots and the murder of Lord Darnley, The Lost Colony of Roanoke, Lord Lucan, the fate of Grand Duchess Anastasia, the murder of acclaimed silent film director William Desmond Taylor, the mysterious disappearance of West Point Cadet Richard Cox, and of course Amelia Earhart, D.B. Cooper, Ambrose Bierce, and Judge Crater, and even the inclusion of more recent cases like JonBenet Ramsey and Natalee Holloway?

Even with the strange omission of the Mary Celeste and her vanishing crew, this book seemed tailor-made for me. Yet, with great regret, this book turned out to be a colossal disappointment. Each mystery is explored in only one to three pages, one of which is usually all photos or illustrations. As much as I regret to say this about any book, if you are looking for any depth or detailed exploration and debate of possible solutions and theories about the mysteries included here, this book is a complete waste of time, I have read better encyclopedia entries about some of these cases. It doesn't even have the saving grace of a bibliography for further reading in back. What a shame; this could have been a great book if only some real effort had been put into it, it is certainly beautifully put together, but looks aren't everything.



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