Sunday, January 19, 2014

Starvation Heights The True Story of an American Doctor and the Murder of a British Heiress by Gregg Olsen

In 1911 Dora and Claire Williamson, two spinster sisters, a pair of hypochondriac heiresses, in their mid thirties keen of nature foods and the latest health fads left their home in England and ventured to America in their quest for good health. They were particularly interested in the “Fasting Cure” as espoused by Dr. Linda Burfield Hazard. In her book, “Fasting For the Cure of Disease,”  Dr. Hazard asserted that every illness under the sun was caused by improper eating habits and all it took was giving the digestive system a rest long enough to let all impurities pass out of the system, helped along by a course of daily enemas, osteopathic massage, walking, and just enough vegetable broth to barely sustain life, to restore the sufferer to perfect health.

The Williamson sisters corresponded with, then met, Dr. Hazard and soon decided to entrust themselves to her care. They did not know that locals called her sanitarium, located in Olalla, Washington, near Seattle, “Starvation Heights” or that the woman they believed would restore them to the bloom of health was actually an evil, greedy, ambitious woman who would gain control of their fortune as she slowly starved them to death.

But one sister would survive, just barely, and after being nursed back to health by her devoted childhood nanny, the truth about Dr. Hazzard and Starvation Heights would be revealed in a sensational murder trial. This book tells the whole gruesome and enthralling story from start to finish. 

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