Starvation Heights

Starvation Heights

Gregg Olsen

432 Pages

Ebook, $9.99 via Amazon at time of review

True crime runs towards the creepy, and the murders that took place at Starvation Heights are right there at the top of the creepy list. A story of malpractice, starvation, and egomania, Starvation Heights very well may be one of the creepiest books I’ve ever read-made more so by the reality that this story took place.

In 1911, two British sisters Dora and Claire Williamson sought the services of Dr. Linda Hazzard. Hazzard, who would most likely be called a natural medicine practitioner in current terms, promised to cure both sisters of a series of ills via the fasting method-effectively, that with holding food is the best thing for the body. However, the treatment that they received would ultimately result in Claire’s death.

Through her sister’s passionate insistence, Hazzard would stand trial for Claire’s death-ultimately due to the way that Hazzard’s patients were often found dead, often after signing over their estates to the ‘doctor’. Hazzard’s weak credentials were used evidence against her-while fasting was not unknown as a practice, she had only been awarded a medical license after a fierce battle with the state of Washington.

The first half of the book examines the events leading up to Claire’s death, often with a deep enough depth of detail to sufficently creep me out that I could only read 10 or so pages at a time. The second half the book looks at Hazzard’s trial and the last years of her life. Part of what makes this book so intense is Hazzard itself; her dedication to her ‘cure’ is deep enough to suggest that in no way did she ever recognize her role in the deaths of her patients.

True crime, fairly detailed descriptions of medical procedures and themes.

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