Oceanside Library

Murders investigated at library true crime club


Murder, chaos and conspiracy theories are welcomed and encouraged in Oceanside Library’s Plot Twist: A True Crime Club hosted by Emily Van Allen, the adult services librarian and Nadine Buccilli, the head of adult services and information. The group, which meets once a month, is filled with amateur sleuths looking to crack cold cases, reexamine old and new case files and explore the realm of true crime. Their latest April 18 meeting revisited the Lizzie Borden murders from August 4, 1892, that still has investigators scratching their heads.

Before the true crime club meeting convenes Allen sends out a casefile to the regulars in the group containing literature, movies, podcasts and other pertinent information to the case to get participants up to speed and get the ball rolling on ideas over methods, motives and more. The various mediums allow anyone to get involved in the club easily through their preferred way.

The engaging roundtable discussion is guided through the librarians hosting a slideshow on what is known about the case, and along the way anyone can input their thoughts and opinions. For the Borden case, commentaries dissected the layout of houses role in the murder, what happened at the trial, and Borden’s infamous bloody dress. 

What makes people want to analyze the crime, Allen suggests, is the graphic nature of the crime. “I think because it’s just such a gruesome case and it’s just shocking,” Allen said, “Like, if something were to happen today, an axe murderer, we would be just as shocked as back then. And also, I think the details of forensics and everything are interesting, because they didn’t have fingerprint technology, or anything like that so a bunch of super sleuths like us wonder what would we do if we were living in the 1890s? And what technology would there be around for us to use to try to solve this case?”

Couple James and Lisa Dolan are in the beginning stages of a book on Lizzie Borden with a twist and stopped into the club looking to do more research and share their insights. James said what interested him most was how, “there is no definitive answer, there is no way you can say it was this way for sure.”

Lisa, who hosts reiki classes at the library did a star chart on Borden to look deeper into her personality. She said she found that, “She was a tough cookie, she was headstrong, and she was very materialistic. And she was bringing brought up in this confinement.”

She especially enjoyed the case on Borden because of her memories being 14 years old and watching the movie The Legend of Lizzie Borden starring Elizabeth Montgomery. In addition to still remembering the childhood rhyme about Borden she used to sing. Lisa said before coming, every morning while having coffee her and her husband would talk about the case and discuss what each other read on it.

The club started in the summer of last year and quickly gained traction as numbers rose in attendance. “I have always wanted to do true crime as a club,” said Buccilli of the origins, “and I’ve always been part of the Reddit true crime community and I thought that would fit really well in the library. So, then Emily started and her and I were talking, and I started to realize that she was also a true crime person like me, so I thought it would be a nice program to do with two people.”