I've been in the office alone for the past couple of weeks and to keep myself company (and to stop me going on self-indulgent rants on these here pages) I've been an avid radio listener. There's something to be said for the connectedness one feels when listening to other human voices, even if it is through a sound system rather than real life, but I guess an investigation into the importance of radio is for another time.
Anyway, with 95bFM my station of choice, I've been faithfully tuning into Charlotte Ryan's Morning Glory show day in and day out and every Thursday a lady from Unity Books does a feature where she previews a novel fresh off the press. This week - which aired about ten minutes ago - the book in question was A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion. Written by Ron Hansen - who also penned The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (which allowed us to see Casey Affleck as a babe, playing an absolute asshole, in the film adaptation) this novel delves into the murder of Robert Snyder, and the role of his wife Ruth.
As Wikipedia faithfully points out, Ruth Snyder was executed for the murder of her husband following an affair with partner in crime Henry-Judd Gray. Photographic documentation of executions was forbidden at the time, but journalist Tom Howard strapped a miniature camera to his ankle and managed to capture a grizzly black and white image of Ruth at the moment of her death-by-electric-chair, which was published in the New York Daily News the following day. This image has been utilized ever since by anti-Capital Punishment campaigners, and for good reason:
This is the kind of story that captured the imagination of the public who became obsessed with the story, Ruth's trial and her subsequent execution, and the book is bound to be full of the gory, ambulance-chasing excitement we seem drawn to and a myriad of crime drama's attempt to replicate. The Los Angeles Times has a review of A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion.