Here in New York, we’re huddling indoors; thanks to the “bomb cyclone” that’s been pummelling the East Coast, temperatures are in the single digits. If you, too, are staying in, we have the perfect reading list: a collection of stories about investigations that have gone cold and then—sometimes—warmed up again. In “A Cold Case,” Philip Gourevitch tells the story of an N.Y.P.D. detective who makes a startling discovery about a twenty-seven-year-old murder; in David Grann’s “True Crime,” an investigator suspects that a newly published mystery novel contains clues to an unsolved killing. In “Remembering the Murder You Didn’t Commit,” Rachel Aviv asks how people who have been fully exonerated can remain convinced of their own guilt; in “The Serial-Killer Detector,” Alec Wilkinson discovers how an algorithm is uncovering hidden patterns in old crimes. Katherine Bouton, in a Talk of the Town story from 1986, writes about the primatologist Dian Fossey, who was killed by unknown assailants. Finally, Patrick Radden Keefe explores an unsettling question: Do female murderers get away with it because of the gendered assumptions of investigators? These stories will give you chills—the good kind.

—David Remnick


“A Cold Case,” by Philip Gourevitch

“Passing the old bistro brought it all back to Andy Rosenzweig: Richie Glennon and Pete McGinn—double homicide. It was the talk of the town at the time, and a curious thing about murder is the way that it twists one’s memory of the dead into a fixation on the murderer.” Read more.


“True Crime,” by David Grann

“Detective Wroblewski knew that details in Krystian Bala’s novel did not qualify as evidence—they had to be corroborated independently. So far, though, he had only one piece of concrete evidence linking Bala to the murder victim: a cell phone.” Read more.


“Dian Fossey,” by Katherine Bouton

“Dian Fossey’s obituary in the Times said she had been killed by ‘unknown assailants,’ but it is likely that they were the poachers she had fought for so many years, who, looking for zoo specimens or ‘trophies,’ had killed so many of the mountain gorillas that she devoted her life to.” Read more.


“The Serial-Killer Detector,” by Alec Wilkinson

“Thomas Hargrove is a homicide archivist. For the past seven years, he has been collecting municipal records of murders, and he now has the largest catalogue of killings in the country—751,785 murders carried out since 1976.” Read more.


“Remembering the Murder You Didn’t Commit,” by Rachel Aviv

“Ada JoAnn Taylor told a psychologist who evaluated her after her arrest for murder, ‘In my head and in my heart, I know I wasn’t there.’ But after several interviews she gave up on the idea of her innocence.” Read more.


“Did a Murderer Go Undetected Because She Was a Woman?,” by Patrick Radden Keefe

“Women have fought to undo patriarchal notions of gentle femininity, but, in the criminal-justice system, they may still be construed as lacking in the moral and physical agency necessary to carry out a violent crime.” Read more.

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