On the evening of Wednesday, July 12, 1922, Los Angeles, California, was the scene of a shocking and deadly assault. The victim was an attractive twenty-one-year-old widow named Alberta Meadows. Her death came as the result of a vicious hammer and boulder attack on a twisting dirt road at the bottom of a hill in the subdivision of Montecito Heights on the city’s northeast side.
The violent act was perpetrated by a romantic rival named Clara Phillips, who lured the unsuspecting victim to the unlikely crime scene. The twenty-three-year-old murderesses’ actions were spurred by jealous rage as Mrs. Meadows was the mistress of Clara’s husband, Armour Phllips, an oil stock salesman who was three years her senior.
Prolific, bestselling author R. Barri Flowers took some time out of his relentless writing schedule to meet with The Big Thrill and discuss his latest true crime release, MURDERESS ON THE LOOSE:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope that readers learn through the book that murders and other violent crimes that we often hear about in the news today have been going on for centuries and been every bit as shocking as the most shocking modern day crimes.
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
It makes a contribution to the genre in terms of bringing to light historical true crime that has long since been forgotten, but is important in keeping a proper perspective on current criminality as well as studying history in terms of the times and homicidal behavior.
Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?
I was, quite frankly, surprised that the female culprit was able to pull off a daring escape from custody that would match any such escape today and beyond.
I also discovered that the press of the early 20th century was just as overzealous in covering shocking crimes as today.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
I can tell you that the book will resonate well with lovers of narrative nonfiction, historical stories, and true crime in the unbelievable tale of Clara Phillips and the lengths one will go to in the name of love and jealousy.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
Many authors and books have influenced me over the years, including Daphne du Maurier, Thomas Hardy, John Steinbeck, Barbara Taylor Bradford, and other greats.
As for books, I loved Valley of the Dolls, In Cold Blood, The Fatal Shore, 84 Charing Cross Road, and Celebrity, among others.
R. Barri Flowers is an award-winning criminologist and bestselling author of more than one hundred books, including true crime, criminology, thriller fiction, and young adult mysteries. True crime titles include Murder During the Chicago World’s fair, Murder of the Doctor’s Wife, The Sex Slave Murders 1, 2, and 3, The Pickaxe Killers, Murder at the Pencil Factory, Murder of the Banker’s Daughter, Killers of the Lonely Hearts, Dead at the Saddleworth Moor, and The Dreadful Acts of Jack the Ripper and Other True Tales of Serial Murder and Prostitutes.
Fiction titles include mysteries and thrillers, A Reason to Live, Before He Kills Again, Dark Streets of Whitechapel, Dead in Kihei, Dead in Pukalani, Deadly Defense, Fractured Trust, Murder in Maui, Murder in Honolulu, Murder of the Hula Dancers, Murder on Kanapali Beach, State’s Evidence, and Justice Served.
Young adult fiction includes Count Dracula’s Teenage Daughter, Danger in Time, Daughter of Count Dracula, Ghost Girl in Shadow Bay, Out for Blood, and Summer at Paradise Ranch.
As an expert of violent criminality, R. Barri Flowers has appeared on the Biography Channel, Investigation Discovery, and Oxygen television documentary crime series.
Follow R. Barri Flowers on Twitter (@RBarriFlowers), Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Flckr, Goodreads, and LibraryThing. Learn more about the author and upcoming titles in Wikipedia and on his website.
Interested in becoming a member of the International Thriller Writers? ITW offers Active and Associate memberships.
Latest posts by ITW (see all)
- December 9 – 15: “Can there be too many surprises in a thriller plot?” - December 8, 2019
- The December 2019 Edition of The Big Thrill is Here! - December 1, 2019
- Career Pursuit: An Interview with Doug Richardson - December 1, 2019