Today's recommended read: "Second City Sinners" by Jon Seidel
It's easy to get absorbed in Jon Seidel's "Second City Sinners. True Crime From Chicago's Deadly Streets."
Seidel, a Chicago Sun-Times reporter, begins with the Haymarket Riot in 1886 and progresses through the years, ending with a chapter on Richard Speck's slaying of eight nurses in 1966. He combines his research with information that appeared in stories in the Sun-Times and long-defunct Chicago Daily News.
One particularly creepy but fascinating chapter takes readers to West suburban Wayne on Sept. 27, 1913. That's where the dead body of 37-year-old tango instructor and mother of three children, Mildred Allison-Rexroat, was placed on railroad tracks and crushed by a train after Henry Spencer shot her in the head.
"Second City Sinners" also provides an interesting look back at how Chicago newspaper reporters had easy access to crime scenes and to the accused in the Cook County Jail for their stories.