Tuesday, October 29, 2013

TRUE CRIME TUESDAY for October 29, 2013

'If the law supposes that,'said Mr Bumble...'the law is a ass, a idiot.'
Charles Dickens, from Oliver Twist

It's murder getting a driver's license...when you're already dead.

An Ohio man is learning the hard way that it's tough to get a driver's license when you're dead...legally, that is.  Donald Miller, Jr., who disappeared in the 1980s was declared legally dead in 1994. His ex-wife was able to collect social security survivor benefits, as is her right.

Then a strange thing happened. Donald returned home in 2005, and that's when his problems really started. Unable to get a job or a license, he naturally appealed the ruling. But Probate Court Judge Allan Davis has told Miller he is out of luck, since the ruling cannot only be reversed within three years of a decision.

From the Columbus Dispatch article, “I don’t know where that leaves you, but you’re still deceased as far as the law is concerned,” the judge said.

The ex-wife supported the judge's decision, since she would have to pay back thousands of dollars in benefits should the law resurrect Mr. Miller from the grave.

Which poses an interesting question. If Donald Miller is dead already, what happens if he dies in an accident or is murdered? Can anyone be held accountable for his death?

In a word, no.

Let's hope he doesn't have any enemies. If he was murdered, a defense attorney would only have to request a dismissal based on the fact that the victim was already dead. Based on the probate court ruling, a judge would be forced to comply and dismiss the charges.

Ridiculous? Well, maybe. But no more ridiculous than a judge staring a man in the face and telling him he's still six feet under.

Where's Oliver Wendell Holmes when you need him?

CIA Shenanigans.  Bars, Brothels and Magic...The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception!

In 1959 a famous magician was hired to write a manual of sleight of hand and deception for the CIA. It was part of the Cold War attempt to control people's minds by tricking them into taking LSD and
revealing government secrets. The CIA even employed prostitutes to lure suspects to brothels for the experiments.

 Although it was once thought all the manuals had been destroyed, one complete copy survived. And now it can be yours! And yes, it's even available on Kindle.  Seems that deception is not just relegated to government officials anymore. Imagine the fun you can have with this manual. And why not? After all, you, the taxpayer, paid for it.  Some of the best examples of deception can be found in this Boston Globe story, complete with illustrations.

Please, deceive responsibly.

The Case of The Missing Bourbon

One of the most sought after whiskies in America, 20 year old Pappy Van Winkle, has disappeared from a warehouse in Kentucky, according to a story in the New York Times. 195 bottles of the ultra rare spirit was spirited out of storage in Frankfort, Kentucky. This is hardly the work of a few winos or miscreants hoping to get drunk. The bottles have a suggested retail price of $130, and can go for much more at auction; as high as $1,190! The whiskey, which is aged for two decades, is described as "the most complex bourbon you have ever tasted" and has a cult following.

No suspects have been arrested, but Sean Brock, a restaurant owner in Nashville, has his own theory.  “I’m pretty sure it was George Clooney and the boys from ‘Ocean’s 11.’ ".

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mystery Weekend Roundup for 10/25/2013

Vincent Price and Edgar Allen Poe. A Match Made in Heaven...or Hell? (take your pick)

A new exhibit featuring Edgar Allen Poe is on display at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City, through January 26th, 2014. Although revered today as a master of horror and the inventor of the detective story, Poe was considered a pulp writer with little respect until the 20th century redeemed him. The exhibit, "Edgar Allan Poe: Terror of the Soul”, features, among other treasures, his first book of poetry, Tamerlane and other Poems, as well as the original coffin in which he was buried.

See more Poe memorabilia at the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia. On Sunday, October 27th, you can bring your child to the Poe Pumpkin Patch from 2 to 5 PM.

And on Halloween night, you can attend a concert benefiting the Poe House in Baltimore. The Black Cat Ball begins at 8 PM at the Mobtown Ballroom and continues until midnight (or the cops raid the joint).

Film fans can spend the day with Vincent Price on October 31st, or set their DVR. TCM has a full schedule of horror films starring  Price in several Poe film adaptations, including The Pit and the Pendulum and The Masque of the Red Death.

Vincent Price started as a character actor in noir films, including a supporting role in Laura, before he found his niche as a master of horror in the 50s and 60s. His distinctive voice is recognizable even among people who have never seen his films.

In addition to being an unforgettable actor, Price was a discerning art collector and gourmet cook.

Price and Poe...it's a combination to die for. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Guest Blog Appearance at Writers Who Kill

I'm guest blogging over at Writers Who Kill, a blog for crime fiction writers and fans with a great assembly of top notch writers. My subject is A Motive For Murder. Whether it's big, small, complex or simple, every crime has a motive. What's yours?

I also have a video featured on the national website for Sisters In Crime. It follows a discussion by Nancy Pickard and Jenny Milchman on the changes seen in the world of publishing over the past thirty years. Pop on over if you are debating the pros and cons of self-publishing vs traditional publishing. The guests had some wonderful insights.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

TRUE CRIME TUESDAY for October 1, 2013

"All men have crimes, and most of them are hidden."
                                                                              Maxwell Anderson
Tax Fraud Queen Gets 21 Years in Prison After Taunting Police on Facebook
We all use social media to keep up with friends, share family news, and sometimes brag about our accomplishments. Most of us, however, don't brag about how we cheated the tax man out of 3 million dollars.
Unless your name is Rashia Wilson. The alleged "Queen of tax fraud" recently got her comeuppance when a judge sentenced her to 21 years in prison for tax fraud. Her  confession on Facebook and taunting comments to authorities apparently didn't help her case.
Well, well...what a shock.
Perhaps a little more discretion would have helped.
Three Decade Old Cold Case Solved?
A married couple in their 70s living near Springfield, Missouri have been arrested, and the murders of 4 people may finally be solved.
The fact that it took this long to make an arrest may be the most shocking fact about this crime. According to the article, "As long ago as 1989, somebody told police that Alice Uden had confessed in 1975 or 1976 to shooting Holtz (her ex-spouse) in the back of the head while he slept."
Better late than never, I suppose.
Kenyan Mall Looted, Store Owners Accuse Soldiers Who Ended Seige
The attack on an upscale mall in Nairobi, which made global headlines last week, ended when troops stormed the mall and rescued the shoppers. Now those same government soldiers are accused of looting the mall by shop owners.
"The watch counters have been cleared, the jewellery shop is empty, there's no jewellery on the necklace stands," one store owner said.
The government has promised an investigation.