Category: true crime

Dutch Schultz, the beer baron of New York  by  Nate Hendley

Nate Hendley’s biography of the violent life and death of Dutch Schultz, a New York mobster who rose to be a top boss mobster during the Prohibition era.

Dutch Schultz, born Arthur Flegenheimer, was born in Manhattan in 1902.  At 14, his father abandoned the family, which made Arthur very bitter. He dropped out of school and took wholeheartedly to a life of crime.  At age 19, Arthur’s gang member friends gave him the nickname of Dutch Schultz, sometimes shortened to the Dutchman.  In his 2o’s Dutch’s business interests included speakeasies, bootlegging, protection rackets and number rackets. He was also suspected of murdering or ordering the murders of several people. By age 32 he was on the FBI’s most wanted list. A year later, Dutch Schultz was dead in what became known as the Chop House Massacre.

At 122 pages, this true crime story is a short, to the point history of Dutch Schultz. This book includes photographs, the transcript of Dutch’s “death prattle”, a bibliography and internet resources. This would be a great book for a teenager who has to do a book report, for a classroom to learn about the Prohibition era or for anyone who would like an introduction into the beginnings of organized crime in New York

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Midnight in Peking   by  Paul French 

Midnight in Peking is  Paul French’s account of the brutal murder of Pamela Werner.  In 1937 Peking was still reeling from the ongoing turmoil caused by the Japanese invaders in the north of China and the many warlords who had come and gone in the preceding years. Pamela failed to return home one evening and her badly mutilated body was found the following morning. British Detective Chief Inspector Richard Dennis was sent from Tientsin to assist Chinese Colonel Han Shih-ching in finding the perpetrator.

From the customs and superstitions of the Chinese people to the foreigners located in what was known as the Legation Quarter, the history of this time in Peking is brought to life. As the investigation into the murder of the young white girl unfolds we learn more about underground culture and lifestyle that was present at that time as well.

This was a fascinating read. It drew me in from the opening pages straight through to the surprising end. That era is amazingly brought to life with the colorful descriptions offered. It reads more as a modern day mystery/thriller than a rehash of a decades old unsolved murder.

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