The Mad Sculptor

  • by Harold Schechter
  • Narrated by Peter Berkrot
  • 10 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Beekman Place, once one of the most exclusive addresses in Manhattan, had a curious way of making it into the tabloids in the 1930s: SKYSCRAPER SLAYER, BEAUTY SLAIN IN BATHTUB read the headlines. On Easter Sunday in 1937, the discovery of a grisly triple homicide at Beekman Place would rock the neighborhood yet again - and enthrall the nation. The young man who committed these murders would come to be known in the annals of American crime as the Mad Sculptor.
Caught up in the Easter Sunday slayings was a bizarre and sensationalistic cast of characters, seemingly cooked up in a tabloid editor’s overheated imagination. The charismatic perpetrator, Robert Irwin, was a brilliant young sculptor who had studied with some of the masters of the era. But with his genius also came a deeply disturbed psyche; Irwin was obsessed with sexual self-mutilation and was frequently overcome by outbursts of violent rage.
Irwin’s primary victim, Veronica Gedeon, was a figure from the world of pulp fantasy - a stunning photographer’s model whose scandalous seminude pinups would titillate the public for weeks after her death. Irwin’s defense attorney, Samuel Leibowitz, was a courtroom celebrity with an unmatched record of acquittals and clients ranging from Al Capone to the Scottsboro Boys. And Dr. Fredric Wertham, psychiatrist and forensic scientist, befriended Irwin years before the murders and had predicted them in a public lecture months before the crime.
Based on extensive research and archival records, The Mad Sculptor recounts the chilling story of the Easter Sunday murders - a case that sparked a nationwide manhunt and endures as one of the most engrossing American crime dramas of the 20th century. Harold Schechter’s masterly prose evokes the faded glory of post-Depression New York and the singular madness of a brilliant mind turned against itself. It will keep you riveted until the very end.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Mad Sculptor

Where does The Mad Sculptor rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

High but not highest.


Who was your favorite character and why?

I did not much care for any of the characters.


Have you listened to any of Peter Berkrot’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. The narrator is excellent.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No. It is a straightforward story about a dastardly crime. As far as crimes go, not a particularly interesting one at that.


Any additional comments?

Technically, this is a good production. The story itself, however, is not all that interesting. I think the author could have gleaned material more piquant than included herein.

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- William R. Toddmancillas

Decent Experience, but rather jumbled

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

If I had to recommend this to a group of people it would be history/crime buffs who will listen to this with their undivided attention. If you give this book any less than 100%, at least in my experience, you quickly become lost.


What could Harold Schechter have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

While to subject itself was rather interesting the actual book itself seemed to try and cover two related, but different topics. An extremely large portion of this book was focused on one murder case where to book gets most of it's title "The Mad Sculptor", but then there are random off shoots to other crimes that happened in one particular building. While I enjoyed them it made this book extremely jarring one minute I'm following a killer and then BAM something else is going on.


What didn’t you like about Peter Berkrot’s performance?

It was okay, the entire performance seemed really angry though which was off putting. Maybe it was just the genre?


What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

My main reaction was disappointment, it really seemed like this should have been two separate books. One focusing on the "Mad Sculptor" case and the other either an over view of all these cases or a book dedicated to all the murders that happened in that complex.


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- Traveling Munni

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-18-2014
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio