Cold cases, murder mysteries, and western justice. This summer, The History Press teams up with Todd L. Shulman, Napa Police Detective and founder of the Napa Police Historical Society, to provide a taste of Napa Valley’s criminal vintage in Murder & Mayhem in the Napa Valley. As foreword author John Boessenecker notes, although the “bucolic Napa Valley would seem an unlikely setting for Wild West violence and hard-boiled true crime drama,” Shulman’s new book offers a “remarkable series of tales from the seamier side of the wine country’s history.”
The picturesque vineyards of California’s Napa Valley, one of the world’s premier tourist destinations, disguise a tangled history of lawlessness, depravity, and frontier justice. Some crimes were committed over debts, some for retribution, and others in the name of love. Famed photographer Eadweard Muybridge killed a man for seducing his wife, but was acquitted. Other criminals were not so lucky and met the gallows, like murderer William Roe the state’s final public execution. From the Pomo massacre, the first criminal case heard by the California Supreme Court, to the cold cases that continue to haunt the region, Napa Police Detective Todd Shulman decants the crimes of the Napa Valley, memorializing the victims and honoring the efforts of local law enforcement.