Okay, okay, I know, I know. Sigh. All the traditions and expectations, gone! No Main Street! No exciting adventures of the kids who bother Quaker shills! A week of enduring substandard material that obviously didn't make the cut for a subsite or even a Bleat feature.

But at least you know I won't just cut out and leave it all open-ended. No, that's the way of dying blogs, or at least it used to be. People would tire, wonder what the point of it all was, post with diminishing frequency, then declare a hiatus. They might pop back in a week or two, but you knew the thing was dead.

Not here! Back on Monday. And I have some fun stuff, I think. A long story, told over five days.

One of the great pleasures of old newspapers is watching a story unfold. First, the shocking news, reported for maximum impact and titillation. Sex! Death! Race!

We are going to take a trip.

If it’s about people of the Better Class, it has staying power. If it’s a tawdry tale of sex and murder, like the Ruth Snyder case, it hangs around for as long as possible. People had come to expect a certain compactness in these tales, because trials followed swiftly, and if you got the chair, you'd be sitting down in Sparky's lap sooner rather than later.

September 16, 1927. Here’s our murder.


Fiends, of course, were suspected.

Don't worry, you don't have to squint. All will be explained.

The dramatis personae:

Dr. William Lilliendahl, and his much-younger wife, Margaret. The lurid tale:

  Shocking details!

The mobs were out, beating the bushes for colored fiends.

The inhuman slayers had already been caught. Or had they?



September 17, 1927. The next day they sent schoolboys out to look for the gun, something that’s very 1927. You can imagine what a lark that was. Ah, to be a lad released from school, looking for guns in the woods!

Hey - wait a minute.

What’s the second headline?

Right there, the switch flips. Or rather the paper shows you where it’s going to go when the police upend her narrative.

Oh, but there’s more. Right from the start.

  How did this statement come to the officials, exactly?

So. How do you think this will play out? We'll find out over the course of the next few days.

Please, do us all a favor: don't Google and blab in the comments! Let's let this one build to its eventual surprise.

Because I found something. And I think I'm the first one to put two things together.



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