Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Max Allan Collins, Stolen Away

Date: 22 Jun 2004


Re your response to my comments below:

> >My problem with the theory is Al puts forth in that
> >novel is that it depends on too many people to be
> >participants in the conspiracy of silence,
> including
> >people Al himself credits with being persons of
> high
> >integrity who gave no evidence in other aspects of
> >their lives of being willing to keep quiet while an
> >innocent man was executed.
> Not speaking to that case specifically, but given
> even recent
> history in places like Illinois and Oklahoma, it
> doesn't always seem
> to require a huge conspiracy for an innocent man to
> be sentenced to
> die (or even merely be convicted) -- more a
> combination of
> overzealous prosecution, incompetent counsel,
> misleading (or
> dishonest) witnesses, vested interests, ulterior
> motives, corner
> cutting, bad luck and other tragic errors and
> occurrences.

There's a difference between overzealousness and honest, good faith errors, and DELIBERATE silence in the face of a man one knows to be innocent being put to death.

In the context of Al's fictional depiction of the Lindbergh case (and it's damned compelling as fiction; I regard STOLEN AWAY as one of his best books), the only way the conspiracy can work, as it's set up, is for men like Elmer Irey and Frank Wilson, lawmen whose whole reputation was built upon the rock-solidity of their integrity, to knowingly participate in the conspiracy, and I just don't believe that happened.


Just as a trivia note, Al was not the first to assign responsibility for the Lindbergh kidnapping to the Capone Mob in a fictional depiction of the case.

An early continuity in the DICK TRACY comic strip involves the kidnapping of a baby from his hom that was obviously modeled on the Lindbergh case. In that story, Tracy discovers that the man behind the abduction is none other than the Big Boy, Tracy's very first, and most persistent, foe, who, as Tracy-philes know, was deliberately modeled on Capone.

Another fictionalized version of the Lindbergh case is, of all things, Agatha Christie's MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, in which the murder victim is an American Mafia figure believed to be (but not proven to be) the man responsible for the kidnapping and murder of a famous British aviator's child.


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