Ordering Information

$29.95, 6×9, softcover, 428 pages, b&w photographs

Publication date: November 19, 2024

ISBN 978-1-942155-74-4

To order copies visit Casemate IPM .

Murder and Mayhem

True Crime in New Hampshire 1883-1915

By Milli Knudsen

In Murder and Mayhem, veteran author and genealogist Milli Knudsen looks at true crime in New Hampshire. In the rapidly changing world of 1883-1915, criminals and good citizens learned to cope with new ways to commit crimes and how to protect themselves. Emerging forensic science became a valuable tool. In those pre-internet days, newspapers widely covered the crimes and trials and created an audience of true crime readers, much like what we have today. Murders, robberies, the rise of insurance coverage and therefore arson, the reaction to the 1915 influenza outbreak (including resistance to mask wearing), sex crimes and the advent of financial crimes are all included in case studies averaging 300 to 800 words.

Sometimes the lives of the investigatorsthe judges, doctors, and journalists who covered crime stories—are every bit as fascinating as the crimes themselves. Murder and Mayhem tells the stories behind the headlines and gives you a glimpse into life in New Englandin the years leading up to World War I. Illustrated with historical images of victims and criminals alike, and fully indexed, this volume is perfect for true crime buffs, and historians. Based on primary sources, including the second prison registry of the New Hampshire State Prison, at the New Hampshire State Archives, and NH court records of the time period, this volume is important for genealogists and a good choice for library acquisition.

The world changed in dramatic ways between 1883 to 1915. The ways to commit crimes and the ways to investigate crime changed as well. Knudsen has captured these fascinating stories, among many others, from those years in her newest volume.

Can you believe there was a low-speed chase with a team of broncos through western NH into VT?  See pages 208-209.
The sheriff of Rockingham County contacted authorities in Boston by telephone and those in London by telegraph in an attempt to find a murderer, and finally traveled by train to Lewiston, Maine, to bring him to justice. See pages 97-101.
How hard would it be to steal a rail car full of horses in Albany, NY, and have them shipped to Boston where the robber pocketed a tidy sum of money? See pages 190-191.
In 1888, the sale of insurance was considered illegal gambling, forcing a very successful businessman into court; however, by 1902 he was named The Man of the Hour. See 262-264.
A chemistry professor at Pinkerton Academy patented a device for snow removal in 1885, followed by a patent to create an indoor bathroom. So how did he become a valued expert in murder trials? See pages 288-290.
An ingenious use of an alarm clock and combustibles enables a man to kill his wife when he was hundreds of miles away, but early forensic science solved the case. See pages 357-360.
What would possess a man to decapitate his brother and bury the head in a neighboring state?
If a farmer finds a partial box of bullets hidden in his potato bin, should he be worried?
Could a brain injury to a four-year-old cause him to become a killer twenty years later?
How does the promise of one’s sweetheart lead to the murder of an elderly woman?
Two immigrant lumbermen have a fiddling contest. What could go wrong?
Advanced Readers’ Comments:

Murder and Mayhem is both riveting reading and an agonizing reminder that the villains and monsters of our troubled time didn’t invent dishonesty and rage and hatred. The booty may have been smaller in the early days of our complicated history — a $6.00 payday instead of several billion in crypto crimes — but the intent was not dissimilar. Milli Knudsen, in her deceptively simple, Just the Facts, Ma’am compendium, has done an extraordinary job detailing ample proof of the duality of the human psyche and providing enough fascinating stories to fill a dozen seasons of a Netflix streamer.”

-Ernest Thompson, novelist, playwright, actor, director, Academy Award-winner for adapted screenplay of “On Golden Pond

About the author

Milli S. Knudsen was born and brought up in Maine, graduating from Oxford Hills High School in South Paris, Maine. She earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and Social Sciences from the University of Southern Maine [called Po-Go U “back in the day”]. She went on to get her Masters as a Reading Specialist, which supported her career in teaching in the Londonderry (NH) School District.

For years she had a genealogical research company called Rootin’ for you and became interested in creating genealogical support material. What’s News in Coos County, Volumes 1 & 2; The Knowledge of Mankind; Manchester in the Mirror; ‘Til Divorce Do Us Part; and Obliged to Ask for Relief were all published by Heritage Books of Bowie, MD.

After preparing a spreadsheet for the NH State Archives based on the first prison register housed in their vault, she was intrigued by the stories of crimes and criminals suggested there and wrote her first crime book Hard Time in Concord in 2005. Several years later, she began volunteering with the NH Cold Case Unit which led to her being hired as their paralegal/data analyst in 2022.

Milli is married to Paul Knudsen. They have four grandchildren who keep them energized and grounded. Outside of work Milli is a quilter, a reader, a golfer and loves ballroom dancing with Paul.