Politics & Policy

The Same Old Story

Nothing beats a colorful murder.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece appears in the October 10, 2005, issue of National Review.

If one examines the murders which have given the greatest amount of pleasure to the British public . . .–George Orwell, “Decline of the English Murder” (1946)

The conviction of Nancy Kissel, the “milkshake murderess,” was briefly noticed in National Review (“The Week,” Sept. 26). Mrs. Kissel was the wife of a senior Merrill Lynch executive stationed in Hong Kong. She did the deed by feeding her husband a strawberry milkshake fortified with a date-rape drug, then, when he was unconscious, bludgeoning him to death with an art object made of lead. She proceeded to roll up Mr. Kissel in a carpet that she secured with tape and had taken away to a storage room. The Chinese workmen who carried the carpet complained that it smelled of salted fish. (I imagine they were thinking of the mo-yu, or inkfish, a South Chinese delicacy which does indeed have a powerfully putrid smell.) Mrs. Kissel claimed at trial that her husband had spied on her, threatened her with a baseball bat, patronized gay-porn websites, and demanded unorthodox sexual favors. All these allegations were declared by Mr. Kissel’s relatives, acquaintances, and colleagues to be grossly out of character for the man they had known.

It emerged that while taking refuge at the family home in Vermont during the 2003 SARS epidemic, Mrs. Kissel had fallen into an affair with a cable repairman who lived in a nearby trailer park. Passionate letters were exchanged after her return to the Far East. The fact that her husband’s demise would bring her several million dollars was discussed. Her husband found out about the affair, was furious, and threatened divorce. Money! Sex! Class! “Hearts filled with passion, / Jealousy and hate”! This was one of your good old-fashioned domestic murders, perfect newspaper copy. I wish Mrs. Kissel had exercised a bit more ingenuity in disposing of the corpse. Hong Kong, however, is a very crowded place, and a human body is a difficult thing to hide even in more spacious surroundings. Mrs. Kissel did her best, I am sure.

Everybody loves a good murder story. We have been short of them recently, though. None of the big stories of the past few years has fitted the classic mold . . .

YOU CAN READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE IN THE CURRENT ISSUE OF THE DIGITAL VERSION OF NATIONAL REVIEW. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A SUBSCRIPTION TO NR DIGITAL OR NATIONAL REVIEW, YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR A SUBSCRIPTION TO NATIONAL REVIEW here OR NATIONAL REVIEW DIGITAL here (a subscription to NR includes Digital access).

Most Popular

Elections

About That ‘Broken Algorithm’

Of all the loopy assertions made at the press conference President Trump’s legal team conducted last Thursday, the one that has been most roundly derided is the since-ousted Sidney Powell’s claim that the national popular vote was such a landslide for President Trump “that it broke the algorithm that had ... Read More
Elections

About That ‘Broken Algorithm’

Of all the loopy assertions made at the press conference President Trump’s legal team conducted last Thursday, the one that has been most roundly derided is the since-ousted Sidney Powell’s claim that the national popular vote was such a landslide for President Trump “that it broke the algorithm that had ... Read More

The Rural Way

Almost every national Election Night reveals the same old red/blue map. The country geographically is a sea of red. The coasts and small areas along the southern border and around the Great Lakes remain blue atolls. Yet when the maps are recalibrated for population rather than area, the blue areas blow up, ... Read More

The Rural Way

Almost every national Election Night reveals the same old red/blue map. The country geographically is a sea of red. The coasts and small areas along the southern border and around the Great Lakes remain blue atolls. Yet when the maps are recalibrated for population rather than area, the blue areas blow up, ... Read More
U.S.

The Coming Anti-COVID Restriction Backlash

The backlash is coming. It already seems clear that the first major political and cultural eruption of the Biden years will be a roiling populist backlash against the next round of COVID restrictions. We saw this sentiment play out in sporadic anti-lockdown demonstrations last spring, and it has driven ... Read More
U.S.

The Coming Anti-COVID Restriction Backlash

The backlash is coming. It already seems clear that the first major political and cultural eruption of the Biden years will be a roiling populist backlash against the next round of COVID restrictions. We saw this sentiment play out in sporadic anti-lockdown demonstrations last spring, and it has driven ... Read More
Elections

A Hard Look at Those Post-Election Legal Efforts

On the menu today: Michigan certifies its vote totals; the General Services Administration starts the transition; and it’s time for a hard, unflinching look at the president’s post-election legal efforts. What Did the President Get from His Legal Team? Michigan and Georgia have certified their election ... Read More
Elections

A Hard Look at Those Post-Election Legal Efforts

On the menu today: Michigan certifies its vote totals; the General Services Administration starts the transition; and it’s time for a hard, unflinching look at the president’s post-election legal efforts. What Did the President Get from His Legal Team? Michigan and Georgia have certified their election ... Read More
History

From Hate to Heroism

Welcome to “The Tuesday,” a weekly newsletter about language, culture, politics, and, lately, relentless book-hawking. To subscribe to “The Tuesday” and receive it in your inbox, please follow this link. From Hatred to Heroism Daniel Cordier, when he was young and getting started in life, did not seem ... Read More
History

From Hate to Heroism

Welcome to “The Tuesday,” a weekly newsletter about language, culture, politics, and, lately, relentless book-hawking. To subscribe to “The Tuesday” and receive it in your inbox, please follow this link. From Hatred to Heroism Daniel Cordier, when he was young and getting started in life, did not seem ... Read More