5 true crime stories you don't want to miss

Mystery stories are generally unsettling enough when they came from the imagination of an author. But the harrowing narratives in these five books are all taken straight from real life. Here are the five nonfiction books nominated in the 2012 Edgar Awards category of Best Fact Crime.

1. "Destiny of the Republic," by Candice Millard

The death of President James Garfield, who was shot by an assassin, is re-examined in Edgar Awards Best Fact Crime category winner "Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President." Author Candice Millard (also author of the bestselling "The River of Doubt") details the ways in which Garfield, who was only 200 days into his presidency when he was attacked, was perhaps harmed more by unsanitary medical treatment than he was by the assassin's gunshot. Millard also considers how Garfield, his policies, and his death shaped the nation.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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