Boarding House Blues

Category: Crime

1 May 2024
Capone's "white sheep" Brother

Chicago gangster Al Capone was one of nine children born to Gabriele Capone, a barber, and Teresa Raiola, a seamstress. James Vincenzo Capone was the couple's first-born child, and one of two born in Italy before the family emigrated to the U.S. His U.S.-born siblings, Al, Savatore and Ralph, became members of the notorious Five […]

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13 February 2024
The Truth Behind An American Tragedy

Many, if not most, of us read Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy during high school. His novel examines the disillusionment of the American Dream. In it, Dreiser reveals how the pressures of society toward financial success, coupled with the protagonist's urges, drive him to his own destruction. But did you know it's based it is […]

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1 June 2023
Life imitating fiction or vice versa?

Closed Room mysteries appear regularly in mystery novels, but what about real-life examples? On June 12, 1920, around 9 a.m., a housekeeper unlocked the front door to the West Seventieth Street apartment of self-made millionaire Joseph B. Elwell. There, inside the living room, she found a body sitting in a chair with a gunshot to […]

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1 March 2023
Crime "Down Under"

I’m just back from three weeks “Down Under”, so I thought I’d post about the notorious gangsters of Australia’s Roaring Twenties. 1920s Melbourne wasn’t all that different from New York or Chicago when it came to crime. Gangsters abounded, and their criminal endeavors kept the police jumping and Victoria Prison full. The US had Al […]

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15 November 2022
1920s Unsolved Mysteries - “Diamond Jim” Colosimo

Italian immigrant Vincenzo Colosimo was gunned down on May 11, 1920. Between his arrival in the US at age seventeen, and his death, Colosimo — aka James "Big Jim" or "Diamond Jim" for his obsession with the gems — carved out a criminal empire in Chicago built on prostitution, gambling, and racketeering. He also led […]

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18 May 2022
1920s Unsolved Mysteries - Thomas Ince

In November 1924, movie studio pioneer Thomas Ince attended a party on William Randolph Hearst’s private yacht, the Oneida. All of this is indisputable. But what happened next? There were 15 guests aboard the luxury yacht that weekend, including Hearst, his mistress Marion Davies, actress Seena Owen, and author Elinor Glynn. A full and accurate […]

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8 March 2021
1920s Unsolved Mysteries - Little Lord Fauntleroy

Consider the case of Little Lord Fauntleroy — not the English one, but the unidentified American boy found murdered in Waukesha, Wisconsin, in 1921. That’s not his real name, but the one given to him by the press. On March 8, 1921, the body of a boy were found floating in a pond near a […]

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