Enjoy playing armchair detective? Fascinated by cold cases? This book club is for you! Sessions are on select Tuesdays starting at 6:30 pm. Feel welcome to join us!
By Kate Winkler
Berkeley, California, 1933. In a lab filled with curiosities–beakers, microscopes, Bunsen burners, and hundreds upon hundreds of books–sat an investigator who would go on to crack at least two thousand cases in his forty-year career. Known as the “American Sherlock Holmes,” Edward Oscar Heinrich was one of America’s greatest–and first–forensic scientists, with an uncanny knack for finding clues, establishing evidence, and deducing answers with a skill that seemed almost supernatural.
What really happened April 20, 1999? The horror left an indelible stamp on the American psyche, but most of what we "know" is wrong. It wasn't about jocks, Goths, or the Trench Coat Mafia. Dave Cullen was one of the first reporters on scene, and spent ten years on this book-widely recognized as the definitive account. With a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen, he draws on mountains of evidence, insight from the world's leading forensic psychologists, and the killers' own words and drawings-several reproduced in a new appendix.
"Between 1898 and 1912, families across the country were bludgeoned in their sleep with the blunt side of an axe. Jewelry and valuables were left in plain sight, bodies were piled together, faces covered with cloth. Some of these cases, like the infamous Villasca, Iowa murders, received national attention. But few people believed the crimes were related. And fewer still would realize that all of these families lived within walking distance to a train station.
The story, first told by Barbara Raymond in a magazine article that inspired a 60 Minutes feature, was shocking. Georgia Tann, nationally lauded for arranging adoptions out of her children’s home in Memphis, Tennessee, was actually a baby seller who terrorized poor, often unwed mothers by stealing their children and selling them to wealthy clients like actors Joan Crawford and Dick Powell. Parents would keep toddlers indoors, and the mother superior of a local orphanage hid babies in attics, but, protected by political boss Ed Crump, Tann sold over 5,000 children, and did much worse.