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Fascinating Female Mug Shots from the ’30s and ’40s

Our crimes haven’t changed much over the decades, and Sean Tejaratchi’s Death Scenes: A Homicide Detective’s Scrapbook proves it. The macabre compendium is quite literally a collection of photos you’d probably rather not look at in polite company or at the dinner table. One section titled “These Portraits Are ‘Not’ By Rembrandt” showcases mug shots from the ’30s and ’40s, when people could still be arrested for things like being gay.

Basically, the law gruffly told it like it was without mincing words. You’ll see what we mean in the gallery past the break. Each portrait features a hand-scrawled title card — a kind of scarlet letter that marks the criminals in a very straightforward way. This collection consists of women only, but Tejaratchi’s book also highlights plenty of bad boys.

Regarding the women, it’s interesting to note how many crimes were connected to guys — like “badger game,” which isn’t as creepy as it sounds (an extortion scheme involving married men). It’s all very femme fatale/film noir-sounding. Buy the book if you’d like to see the mug shot for “stink bombs” and read Geek Love author Katherine Dunn’s engaging foreword.

Image credit: Sean Tejaratchi [Spotted via Retronaut]

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