Lauren Martino: Hello, listeners, this is Lauren Martino, host of this Library Matters episode. Before we get started, I want to let you know that this episode is all about true crime and includes discussion of murder and other related unpleasantries. So be advised if you have any sensitive listeners or children around while playing this episode. Okay, let’s get started.
Welcome to Library Matters. I’m your host Lauren Martino and I’m here today with Carol Reddan who is the Library Associate at Only Library and also a true crime enthusiast. [00:00:30] Welcome Carol.
Carol Reddan: Thank you.
Lauren Martino: So I must admit this is not an area I'm well versed in. I'm a children’s librarian and there is only so much children’s true crime out there, but Carol, well, how do you define the true crime genre?
Carol Reddan: Probably best to keep it super, super simple and literal, a book that talks about, investigates, delves into a true crime. So obviously a lot of the time that’s going to be murder [00:01:00] or something violent like that, but also I am really into white-collar crime too. A fabulous book I read fairly recently was “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis that they made the motion picture out of with Steve Carell. It’s fabulous. It went into the whole before the 2008 real estate crash what was going on in real estate in Florida, just as interesting, just as drawing you in, so…
Lauren Martino: So it’s fascinating because, yeah, you think about [00:01:30] brutal murders and serial killers and…
Carol Reddan: Nope the broad definition delving into a crime that has – I like the fact that what draws me in is this really happened. I have a young niece who – when you give her toys or whatnot or books or whatever and she is like five and she is like, “Did this really happen? Did this really happen?” And that’s the thing about nonfiction. It adds so much to it. It really happened. That’s – it’s nobody made it up. [00:02:00] It really happened. That adds…
Lauren Martino: It’s crazier than anything…
Carol Reddan: It adds that it gives it this extra, hmm, it happened.
Lauren Martino: Yeah. What gets you excited about true crime books. What makes you pick them up over, say, a mystery or horror books or something?
Carol Reddan: I'm just drawn to them and part of it I think is I particularly like unsolved.
Lauren Martino: Unsolved?
Carol Reddan: That, yeah, unsolved like the zodiac. It’s just – [00:02:30] it’s a puzzle. It’s a puzzle to solve, even once that – the outcome is known. It's fascinating to watch the piecing together of it, the investigators, something happened in exact certain way and we either won’t know about it or maybe we’ll be able to go back. Investigators will be able to piece it together. But something happened in exact way. One act followed another and it’s a challenge of puzzle to piece that altogether and [00:03:00] find out how it happened the layout, exactly how it happened. It’s basically the thrill of solving a puzzle.
Lauren Martino: Because nobody else has solved.
Carol Reddan: It’s a big question mark. But a lot of the famous ones are things that have teased and tantalize people for decades and forever. And Lizzie Borden is technically, we would say, unsolved. Someone did this. It happened a certain way. Someone killed her parents [00:03:30] on this hot summer afternoon and she was found not guilty and people have speculated so many different theories. It could happen this way. It could happen that way. But really on that afternoon it happened one way and we just don’t know what it is and that just drives you crazy.
Lauren Martino: I guess it’s like the John F. Kennedy assassination where people have speculated and speculated for the decades.
Carol Reddan: Quadrillions of words written about that and the speculation and the different scenarios and yet on that afternoon there was [00:04:00] one set of events that happened in a certain way and it’s become so convoluted. We probably never know what that precise sequence of events was, but, yeah.
Lauren Martino: Do you find that most authors of these unsolved crime books try to come up with their own theory of what they think happened or do they really leave it up to you?
Carol Reddan: A lot of them tem really do. I think they do and sometimes I think they feel artificially compelled to do so and it ends up not so great. I’ve read some things Lizzie Borden [00:04:30] like they come up with that. Her sister was 20 miles away in another town visiting relatives, but one author took the tact that she came back and she actually did it, not Lizzie Borden. So sometimes I think they are going out of their way to come up with something novel, something new
Some people, some authors I think are just contrarians. A really famous case I’ve always followed is the Jeffrey MacDonald case with the Fort Bragg military [00:05:00] physician who killed his wife and two children. And it is like the most litigated case in history. He keeps appealing and he is going back and forth. But initially he had a military trial, which they let him go. But his wife’s father stayed on it so much that he was brought to a criminal trial and found guilty.
And, yeah, I followed that a lot and a lot of authors like Joe McGinniss wrote one of the first landmark true crime books [00:05:30] Fatal Vision which was also like a miniseries and I remember watching that. It was just fascinating. But a lot of authors I think feel compelled to come back and say, “No, he didn’t.” They will look and they’ll argue for evidence the other way, but I guess it keeps it interesting.
Lauren Martino: What first got you into true crime? Is there a book that really sort of lit the flame for you or–?
Carol Reddan: Well, in third grade, well, this sort of I guess was the start of it for my birthday, my mother gave me my first Nancy Drew book. [00:06:00] Does it sound, well – but she gave me that. It was the Mystery of the Moss-Covered Mansion and then just from there out, mystery was like – I love the camaraderie of Nancy and Bess and George going to the mansion everyday trying to figure out what was going on. And I thought it was terribly scary and moaning and screeching coming from the mansion, but that set me on the mystery course.
So then – and I do like mystery also, but mysteries, but then I think it was actually [00:06:30] roughly around the same time Helter Skelter and Fatal Vision came out. They are both like true crime giants or whatnot and they were just so engrossing and Vincent Bugliosi is the prosecutor who prosecuted Charles Manson and Helter Skelter, I mean, it was just a phenomenal miniseries and book and it was great.
But Fatal Vision by Joe McGinniss I thought was just so wonderful. He stayed [00:07:00] with Jeffrey MacDonald while he was being tried for the murder and he just like got to know him in such a way in Fatal Vision he just offers such psychological background and input into his personality and what was going behind the cold blue eyes.
Lauren Martino: The cold blue eyes.
Carol Reddan: Yeah, yeah. It’s scary. And true crime just gives you a window into like you just see people here and there on the street and you never really know [00:07:30] people, what’s behind people. It’s just fascinating what goes on behind people’s mind sometime.
Lauren Martino: What’s the most interesting or unusual crime you’ve ever read about?
Carol Reddan: One of my favorites and because it stays with you because it’s still one of the unsolved ones and we actually did a book club at Only Library on it a few weeks ago is the murder of William Desmond Taylor. So this takes place in the roaring 20s and Hollywood [00:08:00] and he is a very respected famous film director and he is shot one night in his bungalow and they have…
Over the years they’ve had so many suspects, so many theories but it’s never been solved and that one has just always fascinated me because it’s just a part of Hollywood history and there are so many different theories and other actresses, famous silent screen actresses were suspected of the crime. [00:08:30] One actresses mother was suspected of the crime because they were worried – she worried that her daughter was in love with this famous director that she just wanted to quit her career and marry him and have children and that would have stopped the cash flow. So she has always been a big suspect. It’s just so quintessential classic silent screen Hollywood with all the different suspects and that one has always fascinated me.
Lauren Martino: Do you ever find that some true crime books are just [00:09:00] too scary in light of the fact that the events actually took place that just stopped you from reading it?
Carol Reddan: No.
Lauren Martino: No?
Carol Reddan: No. I can always read them, but afterwards it does give you the chills a little bit, but, no, I’ll just always keep on reading through. The one that scares me the most, so one that I think is particularly scary is, it gets me is the Zodiac.
Lauren Martino: Can you talk a little bit more about that?
Carol Reddan: Okay. So the Zodiac was in the mid to late ’60’s in [00:09:30] Northern California or around the San Francisco area and that just terrified that whole area. He basically stalked couples who were parking kind of in lovers lane situations and he was active from like 1966 through 1969 and he would write letters to the San Francisco examiner like taunting them and you can’t catch me [00:10:00] and all that kind of thing.
He just sounded absolutely very, very scary. That one scares me, but they never caught him, but always every couple of years you will hear something like he used to mail letters to the San Francisco examiner. So now they took the stamps off the back of the letters and they put them through DNA analysis and they got a partial profile. So the San Francisco police say like every now and again they run it [00:10:30] through the databases to see if they get a hit, but nothing so far.
Lauren Martino: So far.
Carol Reddan: And every couple of years for sure someone will write a book saying that my father was the Zodiac or something like that. But that’s a real tantalizing one that never caught. But I like the fact that the one I wanted to mention was a new one ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark’ by Michelle McNamara who was married to Patton Oswalt [00:11:00] and she monikered the Golden State Killer. There was a lot of rapes and killings going on in California in the ’70’s and it just didn’t for some reason get the attention of the Zodiac.
So her feeling was it’s because there is no great moniker for this. So she gave him a moniker and she wrote this book and it came out earlier this year and she passed away shortly after she wrote the book. So detectives [00:11:30] kept running, well, they had some suspects. And through DNA they have caught. The killer has now been arrested and he is going to stay on trial through DNA. So they had their suspects. So they waited for him to go to a restaurant and then they grabbed his utensils and they put it through DNA testing.
So it gives you hope that a lot of these really like unsolved cases with DNA there is hope that they will be solved and I think they did it through a public [00:12:00] generic database because Ancestry and 23andMe, their information is private. But a lot of people have uploaded their DNA to more public databases and if can just get a match on one of their distant relatives which I think happened in this case, they can trace it back. They traced it back to the Golden State Killer.
So it’s just it gives you a lot of hope that a lot of these cold cases that you think, no, they are just never, never, never going to know but maybe [00:12:30] they’ve even tried DNA analysis on a lot of things having to do with Jack the Ripper. Yeah, but time, the chain of evidence and time makes your evidence that you are getting very suspect. But someone bought a saw from an auction that was purported to be from one of the Ripper victims and it had blood on it and so they put it through DNA testing. So who know – if anything will ever come up from that or not.
Lauren Martino: And it’s just able to do more and more. [00:13:00] It's more and more chances…
Carol Reddan: Yeah, if a serial killer in 1969 is licking stamps and sending taunting letters to the newspaper, it’s never on their radar the mere act of me licking the stamp will be my demise in decades from now. Of course they might be long gone, but the Golden State Killer was really surprised when some cop showed up at his door.
Lauren Martino: I bet. Like the serial killers, please use – just a wet wipe or something.
Carol Reddan: I mean, no, you are going to leave something of yourself, you just are. [00:13:30].
Lauren Martino: Do you find yourself watching true crime documentaries or movies based on true crime or podcasts based on true crime? Do you have anything that you’d like to recommend to us?
Carol Reddan: Oh, yeah. I watch – I’ll definitely watch true crime. I love they used to do the miniseries like Fatal Vision and Helter Skelter were great miniseries that were really well done, well-acted and stay true to the books. Those were great. Now it’s the podcasts and I [00:14:00] was just like three years ago serial was just like I was obsessed. I went up to the library. It was – that was fascinating. I love the serial podcast.
Lauren Martino: You went up to the library?
Carol Reddan: The library that figures into the story, so – Adnan, it’s a group of high school students up in Baltimore County and they go to Woodlawn High School which is – the campus is right across the street from the library. So after school the high school kids, tons would just like [00:14:30] funnel over to the library. So – and that was just their routine, their habit.
So years after the murder when they are relooking into this and Adnan is accused of killing his girlfriend Hae Lee, a young lady who was at the library said, “No, you couldn’t have done it, because I saw you at the library at that time.” So they went back and they were trying to go to the library. Do you have any records of paper being on the computer? Now take, this was in 1999 and they were asking this in 2015.
Lauren Martino: Oh, gosh!
Carol Reddan: [00:15:00] So the answer was, “No, we don’t have any records left of the computer usage for that day.” But I went to the library, it gives you a weird feeling to be in a place where you know certain things happened. It’s a ‘ooh’ feeling, yeah.
Lauren Martino: So probably let our listeners know that in most cases any kind of library record is very confidential and…
Carol Reddan: Yeah, they didn’t have anything anyways.
Lauren Martino: Do you have any special way that you look for these books? Do you take recommendations [00:15:30] from friends or the library’s resources you use to find them?
Carol Reddan: Sure. Yeah, I'm always going through our readers’ café new nonfiction and I’ll be seeing it advertised or on TV or whatnot. I heard Patton Oswalt was really doing a lot of interviews because he is a widower and his wife who had died while writing her big true crime book which we are carrying now.
Lauren Martino: Which book is that?
Carol Reddan: ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark’ by Michelle McNamara. [00:16:00] It’s really, really popular hot right now. So I heard about Patton Oswalt going on a lot of shows promoting the book. So I knew that was coming. Also I got on the odd list early for that and it’s a fascination. It was really well researched, a great book. It’s just a shame that she had to die before she saw that it’s a lot of her intensive effort which put attention back on the case, which probably prompted investigators to look at this again and then solve it.
Lauren Martino: Have you ever had a [00:16:30] situation where a family member or a friend has seen what you are reading and said, “Oh my goodness, we need to get you some help,” because that’s really disturbing. Why are you reading that?
Carol Reddan: A little bit. What that comes down to is like the frequency like you are a consistent true crime reader and they are like ‘What’s with you? Why? What is with you? Why do you find that?’ So you keep consistently going there. ‘I'm like–’ but a lot of [00:17:00] the case is that I'm drawn to if you go online, you will see that there are so many websites devoted to these cases and many, many people are intrigued and obsessed with these same very cases too or there just wouldn’t be that many websites devoted to them. I mean there are so many websites devoted to finding the Zodiac.
There is Jeffrey MacDonald websites, William Desmond Taylor, when I did the book club for the Tinseltown by William Mann which [00:17:30] takes a fresh look at the William Desmond Taylor murder. And so apparently somehow there are a lot of fanatics about that particular murder and somehow it got to an author who wrote a book about the William Desmond Taylor case in 1979.
And he called me and he wanted to take part in the book club, but the only problem was he was one of the people who he had a – [00:18:00] he has a very steadfast idea of who did it, which greatly disagreed with the new book Tinseltown and their theory and their conclusion. And so – and we sort of wanted people to sort of have their own opinion and idea and he was just very biased in favor of one suspect, one person doing it. So it didn’t work out.
Lauren Martino: So you have a true crime book club at ‘Ole’?
Carol Reddan: [00:18:30] We do. So it’s temporary. It’s a four-session special book club. So it is – if it’s Monday, it must be murder. So our first session was on the William Desmond Taylor murder and we went all into that, which was really good and people we have a display up and people are just always coming by it and reading because we give them a little overview of what we are going to be doing [00:19:00] that time.
People are just really drawn into it. So we did William Desmond Taylor, Tinseltown first and looked at that unsolved murder. Secondly we did a teen book. Actually there is a fairly new teen nonfiction book by Sarah Miller on Lizzie Borden. It’s called the Borden murders by Sarah Miller. So that was our book that sort of took us into the whole Lizzie Borden trial and murder and whatnot. And that’s a famous [00:19:30] one that people are just always drawn into really, really famous.
And I had a lot to add to that one because I’ve been Fall River. This is where my family was drawing the line. We went to Massachusetts. We went to Boston. We went to Cape Cod and I was like we are stopping in Fall River. This is where she lived and we went to her house. Her house is now a bed and breakfast. You can go all through her house and see the exact rooms they’ve tried to replicate them exactly as they were.
Lauren Martino: Oh my goodness!
Carol Reddan: In [00:20:00] 1892 when the Lizzie Borden murders of her parents were committed.
Lauren Martino: Did you stay there?
Carol Reddan: No. I did not stay there. Walked around the town though. It’s a really interesting town. Fall River, Massachusetts is a very old factory textile town. So now I guess we call it working class, but you walk around and it’s like they all know whereabouts this murder. This is a big part of our history or culture and this is why we are famous. And so if you [00:20:30] walk around and you will ask someone close to the Lizzie Borden house, they’ll start talking to you and I loved it. It just really gave me chills.
We were talking to this older gentleman and he said, “You know what, if you just go a couple of blocks down there, they built these apartments over here in the ‘60’s and there are a few old people living in those apartments who were children who remember Lizzie Borden when she was an old lady and they used to go by her house at Halloween.” So it gave me chills to know [00:21:00] I'm standing right here but over in those apartments are people who are now very elderly who actually saw Lizzie Borden.
Lauren Martino: Wow!
Carol Reddan: Yeah.
Lauren Martino: So all I really know about the Lizzie Borden case is the nursery rhyme.
Carol Reddan: Like a lot of people, right.
Lauren Martino: Yeah. Can you tell us a little bit more?
Carol Reddan: That’s another one that there was a really famous TV movie with Elizabeth Montgomery played Lizzie Borden and just a couple of years ago I think I want to say Christina Ricci did a new [00:21:30] Lizzie Borden movie.
Lauren Martino: But what exactly happened? What’s the story?
Carol Reddan: So this was in August 1892 and it’s in Fall River, Massachusetts. And Lizzie is a – she is 32-years-old, which for the time she was considered just a spinster. And she lives with her father and her stepmother and her sister in a small house in Fall River. And the conflict and what is going on is [00:22:00] that Lizzie is upset because she feels her father is going to leave all his fortune to her stepmother and her and her sister will be cut out of the will.
Her father is a very wealthy man, but there is a lot of tension because Lizzie likes and wants the finer things in life. She wants to travel in nice clothes and her father is tight as a drum. He will not – they don’t have running [00:22:30] water. He will not go for any luxury. So that’s generally what most people will say is at the root of a tension and she did not get along with her stepmother.
And so one morning, one hot morning, in every book you read, the morning gets hotter and hotter, but it was hot. If you went back and look back at the actual weather records, it was like 88 degrees. But nevertheless there were rumors that the [00:23:00] Borden family had suffered from food poisoning the night before. The druggist said Lizzie had been to the pharmacy asking for strychnine, all kinds of little leading up things like that.
But nevertheless on the morning I think it was August 4, 1892, Lizzie calls to her maid and says to come here quick, someone’s murdered father. And the father was in the pallet room couch and he had been [00:23:30] – his head had been axed like 40 times. They called the police. They called neighbors. Everyone starts flooding to the house and someone says to her, “Where is your stepmother?” And she had a fishy suspicious story, “Oh, she got a note that a friend was sick and she needed to go visit them.” So they go upstairs and the stepmother’s body is in the guest bedroom.
So both of them have been axed [00:24:00] and the town just went crazy. It was like the trial of the century and the police I think just a couple of days later charged her with the murder, which was huge, because nobody thought a woman at the time could commit a murder. And the prosecutor and everybody went after her but the – and her stories were inconsistent and nowadays – it would just be so – we would just think, of course, she did it.
And most people still to this day say, “Of course, she did it.” But they found her not guilty and most people say because they just [00:24:30] people did not think a woman could, would do that. A violent – it was a very, very violent crime. So she became like a pariah in Fall River and her sister stood by her. So she was found not guilty. So her and her sister did inherit all the money and she finally got her wish and they moved a couple of blocks over to the nicer side of Fall River and a big house and she had servants and maids and nice cars and [00:25:00] nice clothing.
So she did get all those material things that everybody thought she was after. But she was like a pariah and kids used to come by the house and taunt her. Probably one of those kids who was an elderly person in that apartment complex that the gentleman was talking about. And most of Fall River society really wouldn’t talk to them or have anything to do with them. But she lived – she was like in her late ’60’s into the 1920’s, which was a decent life span for that time.
Lauren Martino: Do you have any [00:25:30] Pet Peeve Tropes when it comes to true crime, anything that everybody does that just drives you crazy or–?
Carol Reddan: I guess when I think certain people are being naïve or I think that a writer is writing a book just to take a contrarian stand or a ridiculous take on the crime that everybody knows this is probably not true sort of feel like they are doing it just to get attention or whatnot, come up with a wild theory that you know probably isn’t true just to get attention.
Lauren Martino: Are there any favorite [00:26:00] true crime tropes of yours?
Carol Reddan: Well, my favorite is I really – ones that have not been solved, unsolved, that it’s still a question mark. Jack the Ripper, I guess, Lizzie Borden technically falls in that because she was found not guilty and they don’t know who killed her parents technically. And the John F. Kennedy assassination too that I read a lot of stuff on that. It happened a certain way and there is so many different theories. I'm not a big [00:26:30] conspiracy person on that. But we don’t know the whole story at least and it’s still – it’s a puzzle to be solved and put together.
Lauren Martino: Do you have any new favorites you haven’t mentioned, just anything that’s come out recently?
Carol Reddan: Well, I do like the podcasts. I really enjoy listening to them, ‘Making a Murderer,’ Keepers I’ve listened to – all those are fabulous.
Lauren Martino: What are those about? I'm not familiar with those.
Carol Reddan: Keepers is local again. [00:27:00] It takes place up in Baltimore. It goes into a private school and the murder of a nun. And, yeah, it was really interesting and that is on Netflix. Keepers is on Netflix, but – and it goes into the hierarchy of the church and whatnot and it was fascinating.
Lauren Martino: So besides the unsolved mystery and the white-collar mystery, are there [00:27:30] any other sub genres that you feel kind of stand out?
Carol Reddan: I do like true crime that involves things that have happened locally in this area in the Washington D.C., metro area. In fact some of the most fascinating ones I think are, what we mention, Baltimore seems to have more than their fair share of these stories, but once they really stick out in my mind that I remember because I lived in Montgomery County very long time. [00:28:00] An unsolved one that’s really tantalizing is the Bradford Bishop case from 1976.
Lauren Martino: Okay. What was that about?
Carol Reddan: Fabulous family it is mom, dad, and their three great boys and they lived with his, the husband’s mother. And they lived in Carderock Springs in Bethesda and he works for the state department. He is a Foreign Service officer. He is very successful, really [00:28:30] good-looking family. And everybody on their block loved them. Their boys were very athletic. They swam. Everybody thought they are the greatest family.
The bishops are just like the greatest family in the world and they have been living in Bethesda just a couple of years and it’s March 1976 and the story goes –. And I remember I lived here at the time and just hearing this story, it was just like enveloped the news. He – on the day [00:29:00] of the murders, he had been denied a promotion. So the story goes that he went home. He stopped at the Sears at Montgomery Mall and bought a hammer and he stopped at a hardware store in the little shopping center that’s still River Road and Falls Road and bought some more supplies.
And he went home and he basically killed his whole family except his dog. And the way it came to light was [00:29:30] he didn’t show up for work the next couple of days and it had been a week and the neighbors realize we haven’t seen the Bishops. Where are the Bishops and at first they thought they were the type of family who would just pick up and go skiing. So they didn’t think anything about it.
But once seven, eight days had passed, one of the neighbors called the police. The Montgomery police went and they went inside the house and it was a bloodbath. They found three boys, his mother, and his wife [00:30:00] slaughtered. It was with the hammer and there is no dad, no husband. So at the same time some cops in North Carolina are called to a remote park in North Carolina because there is a forest fire and they went and look in the forest fire, they find the Bishop family.
So the speculation is he had murdered his family, loaded them up in this car, driven to North Carolina and he was going to try to bury them and burn them [00:30:30] but no sighting of him. And so then the FBI, everybody is on it. They have dogs and they finally found his car abandoned just over the North Carolina, Tennessee state line and he has never been seen again.
Now some people – he spoke like five languages fluently. He worked for the state department. He could have access to getting passport. So the theories about him are endless. Many people think he escaped to Europe and he is living there and [00:31:00] he is just blended in to European society fine. Some people feel he would have committed suicide but nobody really knows. Some people claim to have sightings of him in Europe, but it’s tantalizing because he just disappeared into thin air and he got away with it. He would be 81 today.
And a couple of years ago the FBI added him back to the 10 most wanted list. Nothing is ever panned out. So that was just in Bethesda and he is [00:31:30] mentioned – there is a really excellent chapter the famous FBI agent John Douglas, he writes a lot of books on crime. He did anatomy of a motive and it has a nice chapter on Brad Bishop and family annihilators like people who killed their family.
Lauren Martino: Wow! Do you have any theories…?
Carol Reddan: Well, the profile usually of someone according to John Douglas is a very insecure person or whatnot, but the reason he profiled Brad Bishop was because he fit none of the stereotypes. He seemingly had a very successful career on the state department. So he breaks all the – it’s just a huge mystery like why he did this. But he took the dog with him. Somebody – actually somebody did see him. Other dogs picked up on the scent of the dog and him in these remote North Carolina areas, but then they lost the scent.
Lauren Martino: Wow! I don’t suppose there are any bed and breakfast for the [00:32:30] true crime locally?
Carol Reddan: Not that I know of. They have kept track of the Bradford Bishop house and it’s changed hands many times and a lot of times when it changes owners, they’ll go and talk to the owners, ‘Do you know the history of this house? Is this okay with you?’ And most people are like that was then. It’s a lovely house. We love our home and it doesn’t bother us. It’d bother me.
Lauren Martino: I think it would bother me too. And you got to wonder if the FBI just come pocking around that house just to see if there is anything they missed?
Carol Reddan: I doubt it now. Another really famous – another local murder that is unsolved, technically unsolved and that’s really famous is and it ties into the Kennedys. John Kennedy was having an affair as he was well known to do. But this one was a little different. This was with a woman who – she was a socialite and a painter in [00:33:30] Georgetown in the early ‘60’s and her name was Mary Pinchot Meyers and it’s significant because a lot of people said that this was like a really important relationship to John Kennedy like most of his other affairs were very superficial or whatnot.
This was an important person in his life. And she was married to a very high up CIA official and they were divorced and she was seeing John F. Kennedy which he was killed in November 1963, [00:34:00] so just 10 months later in October 1964 it was just like a – it was a Monday morning in October. She is painting in her studio in Georgetown and she set her painting up to dry and then after she would do it, it was her routine she would take a walk along the C&O Canal.
This one morning around 12:30 a car mechanic was working on a car close by and he heard a woman yelling [00:34:30] for help and when he looked over the bridge and he saw a man standing over a woman and then run away. So he called the police. The police enveloped the canal. They tried to shut everything off. They find her body.
Mary Pinchot Meyer had been shot two times in the head and they are searching around the Potomac River around the – everywhere in the woods and the trees and they find a gentleman, a young laborer Ray Crump who is then arrested [00:35:00] for the murder. So he goes to trial and he is found not guilty. He had a really fabulous lawyer, Dovey Roundtree who – there’s been a lot of biographies written about her too.
She was a really famous black woman attorney and he is found not guilty. So it’s technically unsolved. So there is a lot of rumors that they framed him that the CIA really who has had something to do with this murder, but it just remains unsolved. And there was a very good [00:35:30] biography of her, A Very Private Woman by Nina Burleigh which is a biography of her but it also goes into the murder a lot.
Lauren Martino: Carol, we like to ask everybody right before we sign off, what are you reading right now? Is it true crime or is it something else?
Carol Reddan: I'm reading a book on organizing and decluttering. It’s important. That’s what I'm looking at right now.
Lauren Martino: Which one?
Carol Reddan: Still nonfiction. It’s the…
Lauren Martino: Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Carol Reddan: Yeah and [00:36:00] that is…
Lauren Martino: By Marie Kondo.
Carol Reddan: Marie Kondo, yes.
Lauren Martino: Did you know they have a graphic novel based on that?
Carol Reddan: It's funny.
Lauren Martino: Called the Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up.
Carol Reddan: That would be great.
Lauren Martino: [Indiscernible] [00:36:11] I was like this is so amazing that’s a success.
Carol Reddan: That’s great. I like that. Yeah.
Lauren Martino: But maybe after you are finished with that one, you can move into this.
Carol Reddan: Yeah, the graphic novel.
Lauren Martino: Thank you so much for your time, Carol and being on our show. [00:36:30] Listeners, feel free to check our show notes we are going to have titles, authors, any kind of information that you forgot to write down during our show. Keep the conversation going by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcasts on the Apple podcast app or Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts. Also review and rate us on Apple podcasts. We’d love to know what you think. Thanks for listening to our conversation today and see your next time. [00:37:00]