Read The Girls of Murder City Online

Authors: Douglas Perry

Tags: #Biography, #History, #Non-Fiction

The Girls of Murder City

Table of Contents

 

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

 

Part I - A MAD ECSTASY

Chapter 1 - A Grand Object Lesson

Chapter 2 - The Variable Feminine Mechanism

Chapter 3 - One-Gun Duel

Chapter 4 - Hang Me? That’s a Joke

Chapter 5 - No Sweetheart in the World Is Worth Killing

Chapter 6 - The Kind of Gal Who Never Could Be True

Chapter 7 - A Modern Salome

Chapter 8 - Her Mind Works Vagrantly

Chapter 9 - Jail School

 

Part II - THE GIRLS OF MURDER CITY

Chapter 10 - The Love-Foiled Girl

Chapter 11 - It’s Terrible, but It’s Better

Chapter 12 - What Fooled Everybody

Chapter 13 - A Modest Little Housewife

Chapter 14 - Anne, You Have Killed Me

Chapter 15 - Beautiful—but Not Dumb!

Chapter 16 - The Tides of Hell

Chapter 17 - Hatproof, Sexproof, and Damp

Chapter 18 - A Grand and Gorgeous Show

Chapter 19 - Entirely Too Vile

Chapter 20 - The Most Monotonous City on Earth

 

Epilogue

Acknowledgements

Notes

Bibliography

Index

VIKING

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A. • Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd) • Penguin Books Australia Ltd, 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd) • Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd) • Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

 

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

 

First published in 2010 by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

 

 

Copyright © Douglas Perry, 2010 All rights reserved

 

PHOTOGRAPH CREDITS

Insert pages 2 (top left), 3 (top left), 6 (top left), 8 (top): Author’s collection. • Page 2 (top right): Courtesy of Transylvania University • Pages 2 (bottom), 8 (bottom):
Chicago Tribune
file photo. All rights reserved. Used with permission. • Page 4 (top left): Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations • Page 4 (top right): Courtesy of Ron Dixon • Page 4 (bottom): Courtesy of Wendy Teresi • Page 5 (bottom): Copyright 2009 The Fresno Bee. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. • Page 6 (top right): Helen Cirese Papers, 1915-1974, University of Illinois at Chicago Library, Special Collections • Page 7 (top): Courtesy of Western Springs Historical Society, Western Springs, Illinois. • Page 7 (bottom): Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum

(Credits for other photographs appear adjacent to the respective images).

 

Map: U.S. Geological Survey

 

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING IN PUBLICATION DATA

Perry, Douglas, 1968-

The girls of Murder City : fame, lust, and the beautiful killers who inspired Chicago / Douglas Perry.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

eISBN : 978-1-101-19031-9

1. Women murderers—Illinois—Chicago—History—Case studies. 2. Murder—Illinois—Chicago—History—Case studies. I. Title.

HV6517.P475 2010

364.152’309227731—dc22 2010003980

 

 

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

 

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrightable materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

http://us.penguingroup.com

FOR DEBORAH

Characters

MAURINE WATKINS,
aspiring playwright—“blonde, comely and chic: a pleasant way to be.”

BELVA GAERTNER,
double divorcée—“Cook County’s most stylish murderess.”

WALTER LAW,
Belva’s boyfriend—“a man who couldn’t say no.”

WILLIAM GAERTNER,
Belva’s millionaire ex-husband—“the most patient soul since Job.”

BEULAH ANNAN,
“the prettiest woman ever charged with murder in Chicago.”

HARRY KALSTEDT,
Beulah’s boyfriend—“the other man.”

AL ANNAN,
“Beulah’s meal-ticket husband.”

W. W. O’BRIEN and WILLIAM SCOTT STEWART,
Beulah’s attorneys—“best in the city, next to Erbstein.”

GENEVIEVE FORBES,
reporter on the
DaiLy Tribune.

IONE QUINBY,
“The
Evening Post’
s little bob-haired reporter.”

SONIA LEE,
sob sister on the
American.

HELEN CIRESE,
girl attorney—“headmistress of ‘Jail School.’ ”

WANDA STOPA,
the bohemian—“Little Poland’s love-foiled girl gunner.”

ADDITIONAL PLAYERS:
Judge, Jury, Bailiffs, Jail Matrons, Police, Reporters, Editors, Attorneys, Court Fans.

 

CHICAGO: SPRING AND SUMMER, 1924

CHICAGO, 1924

Prologue

Thursday, April 24, 1924

 

 

 

 

The most beautiful women in the city were murderers.

The radio said so. The newspapers, when they arrived, would surely say worse. Beulah Annan peered through the bars of cell 657 in the women’s quarters of the Cook County Jail. She liked being called beautiful for the entire city to hear. She’d greedily consumed every word said and written about her, cut out and saved the best pictures. She took pride in the coverage. But that was when she was the undisputed “prettiest murderess” in all of Cook County. Now everything had changed. She knew that today, for almost the first time since her arrest almost three weeks ago, there wouldn’t be a picture of her in any of the newspapers. There was a new girl gunner on the scene, a gorgeous Polish girl named Wanda Stopa.

Other books

Twisted Desire by Laura Dunaway
Keep Me: A BDSM Romance by Bellerose, Cate
5 A Very Murdering Battle by Edward Marston
The Reactive by Masande Ntshanga
Who'll Kill Agnes? by Lea Chan
An Unlikely Alliance by Patricia Bray
Guardian Angel by Adrian Howell