From the ecstatic riots that followed the Spirit of St. Louis on either side of the Atlantic, to the tragic night that would shake America's sense of security, to the horror of the New Jersey morgue where Lindbergh insisted on verifying the identity of his son, Zorn's skillful treatment meets this larger-than-life story and gives it definitive shape --revealing the true story behind the crime, for the first time.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-04-02
- Reviewer: Staff
Eighty years after the kidnapping of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s baby from their Englewood, N.J., home, the case still raises questions, ones Zorn ably examines through an unusual lens. Zorn’s father, Eugene, believed he had overheard Bruno Hauptman—the only man convicted for the crime—and a co-conspirator plotting the kidnapping. Eugene had grown up in the South Bronx, down the block from German immigrant John Knoll, with whom he was friendly. Months before the kidnapping, Eugene overheard Knoll, his brother Walter, and another German, identified only as “Bruno,” discussing in German something about “Englewood.” More details fell into place for Eugene: the ransom notes’ odd stamps fit with Knoll’s penchant for stamp collecting; Knoll’s physical characteristics matched the description of the man who met the Lindberghs’ representative for the cemetery ransom handoff, and identified himself as “John”; and modern handwriting analysis indicates similarities between Knoll’s handwriting and the writing in the ransom notes. Retelling the by now familiar story of Charlie Lindbergh’s kidnapping, Zorn imbues it with novelistic suspense. Even if Zorn doesn’t definitively prove that Knoll, who died in 1980, was the crime’s mastermind and Hauptmann’s accomplice, he makes a strong case. Illus. Agent: William Callahan, Inkwell Management. (June)