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December 28, 2008


The Modesto Kid

If you search nytimes.com for Gilbert Seldes Harriet Adler, it will be the first article to come up. You have to pay to see it however. (I have home delivery of the Times so should be able to get it free, if I can figure out how to set that up -- i.e. find my account number -- I will email you the file. It is most likely a photograph of the microfilm.)

The Modesto Kid

Oh never mind, I misread -- you have the pdf already.

belle waring

it's just like a 30s detective novel, no?

The Modesto Kid

Yeah -- or like a film noir -- when I'm reading it I can see the shots laid out like a storyboard. The paragraph that begins "Mrs. Adler was wearing a black satin dress, black mesh stockings, and gray kid shoes." could totally be in a screenplay with a few minor adjustments to verb tense and voice.

Delicious Pundit

This is terrific. Did Murphy and Barbour retire to one bedroom or two?

What has become of the Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled? Was it two hospitals that merged or what?

Was the "odor of alcohol" particular to Mrs. Adler, or just omnipresent in New York artistic circles?

So many questions.


No wonder newspaper readership has declined -- back then it reads like reading a true crime novel. Today? I'm thinking high school textbook.


Truly, Mullarney and Hogan sound like the Holmes and Watson of the early 30s. I rather like the part where Seldes completely contradicts Murphy's account of his acquaintance with the victim.


OK, I'll say it: the butler did it.

md 20/400

Was it an Chinese butler?

The hospital still exists (the name has changed).

What a story. Sounds like murder. Certainly has a bunch of interesting characters.

Rich Puchalsky

Doesn't sound premeditated enough to be murder, unless the people there were really unconcerned about alibis. Manslaughter, maybe.

James Branch Cabell used to write about this kind of thing in the 20s and 30s in the South -- how the people from better families in town could commit crimes of passion, and everyone knew about them, but it was kept out of the papers. He himself was widely rumored to have killed one of his mother's lovers who was causing some kind of trouble for her. He alternately grumbled about how everyone thought he was depraved and played up to his reputation to help sell his books.


I'll take the "bizarro accident" bet. She was found several hours after death---maybe rigor had set in, and the indentations from the pearls were an artifact of blood pools.

The Modesto Kid

Hey I just noticed: people used to put commas into street address numbers of more than three digits! I wonder when this practice ended.


It's not just the writing that is fabulous, the names are great too! Mullarney is good, as is Neutrice, but so is the Hospital name, and your aunt's name, and the name of the studio Murphy shot the film for...


It's almost hard to believe Murphy ran through four wives.


What has become of the Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled?

Either: a) it's being held in a salt cavern in North Carolina as part of the Federal stockpile of Awesome Blog Names (along with the Journal of Headache and Pain)
b) it's the new name for the SEC.

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