Just got home as her regular appointment with the cancer doc and blood work was moved back to today and followed her radiation session. So far, Sandi seems to be tolerating everything radiation wise okay though it is playing havoc with her diabetes control. Additional numbers will be run on her blood to make sure other things are stable.
She saw him at the craps table.
Western clothing in style, but it was the fancy haircut that drew her
attention. It stood out and commanded attention from anywhere in the room.
Clearly the man is a long
way from home as he works the craps table in the
casino in Michigan. He’s noticed her as well in You Can Call Me Lucky by Lawrence
There is a game at work here between
these two that has nothing to do with craps or casino action. Much more can’t
be said without ruining the story. It is a complicated tale and quite the read from
setup to finish. Billed as the third read in the Kit Tolliver stories, You Can
Call Me Lucky has a lot going on in these fourteen pages and is well
June draws to a close it is time once again for the latest “History’s Rich With
Mysteries” column by Texas author Earl Staggs. This time he looks at the case
of Alice Crimmons which happened long before the kind of coverage such a
situation would bring about these days.
HISTORY’S RICH WITH MYSTERIES
When I look at the past, I find stories
about people which fascinate me, particularly those in which there is a curious
mixture of fact, legend, and mysterious uncertainty. In this series of
articles, I want to explore some of those stories. I think of them as mysteries
swaddled in legend. While truth is always desired in most things, truth easily
becomes staid and boring. Legend, on the other hand, forever holds a hint of
romanticism and an aura of excitement borne of adventure, imagination and, of
ALICE CRIMMONS – Before Susan
Smith and Casey Anthony. . .
by Earl Staggs
was born on March 9, 1939 in The Bronx, New York, and married Edmund Crimmins
in 1958 when she was nineteen. Seven years later, they were estranged and
locked in a bitter custody battle for their two children, five-year-old Eddie
and four-year-old Alice Marie, known as “Missy.” Alice and the children lived
in the Regal Gardens apartment complex in the New York City borough of Queens.
the morning of July 14, 1965, Alice called Edmund and accused him of taking the
children during the night. The apartment was on the first floor, and a window
in the children's bedroom was partially open. Edmund denied taking them and
rushed over to the apartment. They called the police and the search began.
that day, Missy's body was found in an open lot eight blocks from the
apartment. An autopsy confirmed that she had been asphyxiated. No evidence of
sexual assault was found. Five days later, little Eddie's body was discovered
in a wooded area about a mile from the apartment, near the site of the New York
World’s Fair which was then in progress. Decomposition ruled out determining
his cause of death.
police suspected Alice right away. The first detective on the scene felt the
striking redhead with thick make-up, hip-hugging toreador slacks, flowered
blouse and white high-heeled shoes did not come across as an anxious, grieving
mother who had just lost her children. They found a dozen empty liquor bottles
in her garbage can.
his petition for custody of the children, Edmund charged that Alice indulged in
sexual encounters with other men before their separation, and that after they
separated, she entertained a number of men in her bedroom for overnight visits.
He claimed it was not unusual for the children to awake to see a strange man in
the house. He also told how he once caught her in bed with a waiter, about her
afternoon tryst with another man at the World’s Fair, a 1964 cruise with Anthony
“Tony” Grace, a wealthy and married contractor, to the Democratic National
Convention in Atlantic City, and her nude swimming experience at the home of
another lover, Joe Rorech.
submitted to a polygraph and persuaded Alice to do the same. She agreed, but
after a few preliminary questions, changed her mind and refused to continue.
two years of investigation, Alice Crimmins was arrested and charged with the
murder of her daughter. The DA felt there was not enough evidence to charge her
for the death of her son. Her trial began on May 9, 1968.
of the trial centered on Alice's titillating and extroverted sex life.
addition to Edmund's recounting of Alice's exploits, a former maid testified
that Alice abandoned the children one weekend and took a boat trip to the
Bahamas with Tony Grace and his friends.
Assistant DA questioned Alice about reports of her having sex with her
children's barber in a car behind the barbershop.
neighbor who lived on Alice's street, told of looking out her window shortly
after two a.m. on the morning the children went missing and seeing a man and
woman walking down the street. The woman carried what appeared to be a bundle
of blankets and had a little boy walking at her side. The man shouted at her to
hurry up, and she told him “to be quiet or someone will see us.” The man took
the blanket-like bundle and heaved it onto the back seat of an automobile. The
woman picked up the little boy and got in the car.
Rorech added to his testimony that Alice told him she had killed Missy and
“consented” to the murder of her son.
those two testimonies, it was easy to form a possible scenario in which Alice
strangled Missy in the apartment, wrapped her in a blanket, and the man who
drove the car that night, possibly Tony Grace, murdered little Eddie for her.
defense attorney tried to counter those testimonies by presenting the witnesses
as having reputations of not being truthful or reliable.
trial ended on May 27, 1968. Early the next morning, the jury returned a
verdict of guilty of manslaughter in the first degree for the death of her
four-year-old daughter. The judge sentenced Alice to the New York State prison
for women in Bedford Hills, New York, for not less than five nor more than
was not the end of it. In 1971, her conviction was set aside on a technicality
and she was released. She was almost immediately recharged, retried, and again
convicted of manslaughter for Missy's death. She was also convicted for the
murder of her son. Those convictions were overturned on appeal in 1973, and
Alice was set free until 1975 when she went on trial a third time. The murder
conviction was thrown out, but she was once again found guilty of manslaughter
and returned to prison.
January 1976, she became eligible for a work release program and was permitted
to leave prison on weekdays to work as a secretary. In July, 1977, while on
work release, she married her previous boyfriend, Tony Grace. She was paroled
in September 1977 after serving less than nine years and the two of them lived
quietly and inconspicuously. It is believed Tony Grace died of natural causes
in 1998. Alice would be 77 years old now, but her whereabouts are unknown.
story became the basis of a 1975 novel, “Where Are the Children,” which
launched the career of mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark.Both Susan Smith who was convicted of
drowning her two sons in 1995 and Casey Anthony, tried and acquitted in 2011
for the killing of her daughter, Kaylee, called up comparisons to Alice
retrospect, there was not a thread of physical evidence linking Alice or anyone
else to the two murders. The police and the prosecutor, however, were sure
Alice was guilty. The media presented her as the “Sexpot on Trial,” and her
sexual exploits were apparently considered evidence to support a murder
one has been able to establish a credible motive for Alice to kill her
children. There has not been any mention of insurance policies on them. If she
wanted to shed the responsibility of raising them, she could simply have let
their father, Edmund, take them. If she wanted to keep the children but wanted
to get rid of the nasty custody battle, she could better accomplish that by
Alice Crimmins was guilty remains arguable to this day. A number of people who
have studied and written about the case have concluded there was no evidence to
tie her to the crimes and no other suspects were ever considered. She was never
presumed innocent by the press, the public, or the police, and she may have
been convicted more for her sexual appetite and activity than for the crime she
was accused of.
we don't know for certain if she was guilty or not, we'll have to file her case
under Unsolved Mysteries.I think for
certain, however, she would not have been convicted in the legal system as we
know it today. Juries now are reluctant to convict unless there is irrefutable
evidence in the form of DNA or a true smoking gun and not a whiff of reasonable
gone from one extreme where an Alice Crimmins can be convicted because everyone
is sure she was guilty to another extreme where an OJ Simpson or a Casey
Anthony can be declared innocent even though everyone is sure they're not.
been called the “CSI Syndrome.” We've been spoiled by what we see on TV.I'm not sure that's a good thing.
author Earl Staggs earned all Five Star reviews for his novels MEMORY OF A MURDER and JUSTIFIED ACTION and has twice
received a Derringer Award for Best Short Story of the Year.He served as Managing Editor of Futures
Mystery Magazine, as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars.
The night of August 15, 1951 finds Jack
Laramie on the road just, outside of Clyde, Texas. The private detective stops
for gas and food. The waitress, Vicky Mae, does not appreciate the small joke
Jack makes as she serves him a cup of coffee.His joke was also very much not appreciated by the man who clearly has
an ongoing interest in Vicky Mae. Things escalate as Luke decides to go
physical with Jack and it isn’t long before the cook has to come out of the
back wielding a shotgun to restore order.
Despite what happens, Jack sticks
around town. Eventually Laramie, grandson of Cash Laramie, goes to work for a
local rancher by the name of Othmer. At first he is just helping the elderly
rancher take care of the livestock and property, but things change when Othmer
tells him of recent events involving his daughter, Nancy. What Othmer thinks is
going on isn’t. As usual, Jack feels a duty to set things as right as he can.
Some people are just bad and there are plenty of those types in Torn
And Frayed: The Drifter Detective Series Number 7.
This seventh book in the series also
includes a bonus short story featuring Cash Laramie, U.S. Marshal in “Missing.”
Also seen in the book, Further
Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles, the short story tells
of a time when Cash, known as the “Outlaw Marshal” went missing in 1888 and
Gideon Miles had to go looking for him.
Once again, David Cranmer brings
readers back into Jack Laramie. A man looking for his place after World War II
in a world that is changing. There is a lot of his grandfather in him and one
gets the sense that he is a man born to the wrong time. Plenty of mystery and
action make this latest installment in the Drifter Detective series another
mighty good read.
Torn And Frayed: The Drifter Detective
Series Number 7
Our final Monday in June
brings word by way of Kaye George of quite the family drama…
The Good Goodbyeby Carla Buckley
Be prepared for one surprise after
another as Buckley takes us into the lives, past and present, of two families
pulled apart and pushed together by their relationships in this domestic/family
The story starts near the end. The
restaurant that was founded by Natalie and Vince is faltering. Natalie is
fearful for what the future holds, but by the end of the first chapter her
world comes crashing down in ways she couldn’t have predicted.
Arden, the daughter of Natalie and Theo,
and Rory, the daughter of Vince and Gabrielle, has both been badly burned in a
fire at their dormitory. It’s freshman year for both of them, a year that’s
supposed to be full of hope for the future. Instead, they lie in critical condition.
They’re better off than their friend Hunter, though. He died in the blaze.
Accusations swirl as the girls’
conditions continue to cause consternation. The girls were raised together,
almost as sisters, and had great expectations that have already come tumbling
down before the fire. Everyone’s lives start to unravel as the parents go
through the agonizing wait, hoping for improvement in the girls’ conditions.
Meanwhile, the reader is taken back through their lives to see how they got to
this point—and to wonder how they will go forward.
A gripping, emotional read that will
have you following the dim pathways through their lives and their hearts.
Nate Romanowski has been found
despite his best efforts in staying off the grid. It is October in the Upper North
Platte River Valley when the quiet is broken by armed new arrivals at the ranch
owned by Dr.
Center Point Large Print Edition
Bucholz. The ranch is large and has provided sanctuary to Nate as
he recovers from recent events and hiding from law enforcement. Brian Tyrell
and Keith Volk lead a team of special operators that have arrived to make an
offer Nate can’t refuse. In exchange for clearing his criminal record they want
him to assist them in an operation.
They call themselves “The Wolverines”
and are part of a shadowy government within the government. They claim to be in
all areas of the government and at all levels. Supposedly they all are united
to defend America from the ruling political elite that is only interested in
gaining power. All Nate knows for sure is that they are Feds of some type and
have him in a box. They want him to go to Wyoming’s legendary “Red
Desert” and meet a man known as Muhammad Ibraaheem who may have been radicalized before
coming back to Wyoming. Known as “Ibby” he may be part of recent thefts in the
area as well as increasing chatter out of the Middle East about a planned
terror attack in the mountain west. Like Nate, Ibby is a falconer, so Tyrell
and Volk figure Nate can use that as a cover to meet the man and check him out.
While they know a lot about Nate, Tyrell
and Volk know nothing about falconry or being a falconer. They don’t care
either. That is Nate’s problem. They insist Nate is going to meet Ibby and
check him out. He will cooperate, investigate, and give them detailed
information on the target and his activities. Otherwise, they will make sure he
winds up in a federal correctional facility to end his days and will take
action against anyone Nate cares about. Nate has no choices.
He isn’t the only one. Game Warden
Joe Pickett has plenty going on before having a mandatory meeting with soon to
be ex-governor Spencer Rulon. The governor, well known not to be a fan of the
federal government or any of their representatives, recently got a call from
Dr. Bucholz reporting the actions of federal agents on his land and how he and
his family were treated. In addition to telling Warden Joe Pickett about what
happened to his friend, Nate Romanowski, Rulon wants to know what in the heck
is going on with the four federal agents who had the nerve to act like they owned
to place and treated his constituents with contempt. Rulon wants Pickett to use
a recent bear attack as his cover story and go to the Red Desert and find out
what is going on.
Shifting in viewpoint between Nate, Joe
Pickett, and several other characters, Off The Grid: A Joe Pickett Novel by
C. J. Box eventually brings two primary storylines and a couple of secondary
ones together in a very enjoyable read. No new character developments are at
work here as the characters were fleshed out long ago. Instead, as expected in
this series, characters continue to evolve and change as they gradually get
older and are impacted by various events. Some of those events in recent books
are mentioned here though the primary focus is on the current events.
As always in a tale by C. J. Box,
the author’s love of the Wyoming landscape comes through loud and clear. Off
The Grid: A Joe Pickett Novel is another very good read in a long
series of very good reads.
At The Writer’s
Almanac, Garrison Keillor once again reads from Ginger
Murchison’s a scrap of linen, a bone.
Today it’s the poem entitled “River.” Click the link and have a listen.This follows the readings Garrison Keillor
did in April of “Roller Coaster” and in May of “The East Berliner, 1989” from the book. You can find links
to all three readings on the author’s page athttp://writersalmanac.org/poem_author/ginger-murchison/
Another new FFB review from Barry today. Make sure you check out the full list over
on Todd's blog after you read Barry’s work below.
THE TWISTED ONES (1959) by Vin Packer
Reviewed by Barry Ergang
The Twisted Ones comprises three separate stories about youths driven to extremes by
personal and familial issues.
Sixteen-year-old Brock Brown,
a student at the high school in the town of Sykes, New York, is a handsome
young man who “dressed meticulously, with a rigid sense of style that he had
formulated over the years.” His mother Edith, whose maiden name was Brock,
whose family was among the town’s upper crust, and who never wanted children,
died when he was seven. His forty-two-year-old father remarried a woman named Clara
who is only twelve years older than Brock, and who tries to encourage her loner
stepson to participate in normal teenage activities: e.g., to ask Carrie Bates,
whom he frequently talks about, to the prom. Brock, who has never had a date,
vehemently refuses, contending that Carrie is “fast” and that being with her
“‘could get me in a whole big crazy pack of trouble if I didn’t know right from
wrong.’” One who thinks of and describes himself as “boy cat, all shook up,”
Brock’s rigidity extends beyond superficial style to an off-kilter sense of
what is right and wrong, legal and illegal, moral and immoral—with catastrophic
Charles Berrey is eight years
old and has an I.Q. of 165. “The unexpected fruit of Howard and Evelyn Berry’s
middle age, [he is going to] make his third appearance on Cash-Answer, the most
popular quiz show on television.” Evelyn Berrey is a loving, doting mother. Howard
“Duke” Berrey is an ex-Marine who still works out regularly and who sells
sporting goods for a living. Conflicted about his son’s success, he appreciates
Charles’s ability to win huge sums of money while simultaneously disliking the
way people regard him as an aberration. A physically and verbally abusive type,
he constantly berates his son about his vocabulary and often talks to him like
a drill instructor to a Marine in training. He argues with, and sometimes
strikes, his wife. When he orders his son to “spoof” his boss, Paul Carter, the
president of the sporting goods company, he inadvertently ignites a flame in Charles,
who devours books on a multitude of subjects “like a hungry tomcat devoured
mice.” One of the myths he’s read about is a favorite from Polynesia. It drives
him to the commission of an act that forever changes lives—his, his parents’,
and the lives of some of the residents in his hometown of Reddton, New Jersey.
Whittier lives in Auburn, Vermont with his mother above their antique shop,
Whittier’s Wheel, “as archaic and old-fangled in its appearance as the
attitudes and opinions of its proprietress, Miss Ella.” Impregnated by the
husband who subsequently abandoned her, she gave her son his father’s first name
and her own maiden surname. At her request the town jeweler, Mr. Danker, has
become something of a surrogate father to Reggie with regard to certain matters—e.g.,
the facts of life—although the young man feels uncomfortable around him. (It
becomes clear to the reader that Mr. Danker has designs on Reggie of his own.) A
stutterer, Reggie has always been shy around people his own age but is nonetheless
someone who finds it easier to talk to women than to men. When he becomes
involved with eighteen-year-old Laura Lee, who works as a maid at a local
junior college, his internal conflict about pleasing her, pleasing his overly
protective and possessive mother, and wanting a better life than he’s so far
had, results in drastic actions.
A short, absorbing,
fast-moving novel, its title and the publisher’s teaser suggest that The Twisted Ones are only Brock Brown,
Charles Berrey, and Reginald Whittier. In fact, their parents and some other
adult authority figures are equally deserving of that description.
Although I’ve known of Vin
Packer (real name Marijane Meaker) for decades, this is the first of her books
I’ve read. I hope to read others, which is also a way of saying I highly recommend
Winner of the 2007 Derringer
Award for the best flash fiction story of 2006, Barry Ergang’s fiction, poetry
and non-fiction have appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic.
His recent e-books, a story for children called The Boy Who Ate Rainbows and a science-fiction parody, The Vole Eater, are available at Amazon and Smashwords. Criminalities: Three Short Crime Stories and
an Essay is available for free at Smashwords.
Hardcover Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon (HarperCollins, 1992) is the first in the police procedural mystery series with Guido Brun...
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In my wife's memory and honoring a promise I made to Sandi, the blog continues...at least for now. If you would like to make a donation of support, you can do so at the links below. Most of the donated funds go to the purchase of various short story anthologies and collections which eventually are read and reviewed here.