Wednesday, September 16, 2015

"Rotten Apples" by Marvin J. Wolf and Katherine Mader

Rotten Apples:
True Stories of New York Crime & Mystery
by Marvin J. Wolf and Katherine Mader

First published in trade paper in 1991, the ebook of Rotten Apples was released in 2014 by Antenna Books with embedded hyperlinks to crime scene locations via Google Maps/Google Earth. Author Marvin J. Wolf stops by today to share an excerpt from the book. You can also read my review.
For another book by these authors, please check out my blog post on Family Blood: The True Story of the Yom Kippur Murders, currently ON SALE for only $0.99.

Rotten Apples: True Stories of New York Crime & Mystery is a thoroughly investigated treasure of true crime straight from the streets of The City that Never Sleeps. This bushel of vice, victims, and vengeance spotlights sinister citizens from Boss Tweed and Typhoid Mary to Mark David Chapman and Jack Henry Abbot, plus detailed map references to guide you to the locations where they committed their grisly crimes. You'll be shocked by ...
Murder by Morphine
Playboy medical student Carlyle Harris was eager to end his secret marriage to a pretty young woman from the wrong side of the tracks. A lethal prescription seemed to be just what death's doctor ordered. But the eyes of a corpse never lie ...
Goodbar, As In Nuts
Roseann Quinn was a young, attractive schoolteacher living the carefree singles life of the early seventies on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The men she took home were strictly one-night stands, but one of them made sure he left his mark on her - eighteen times ...
Son of Sam
For more than a year, the man dubbed "The .44 Caliber Killer" held the city paralyzed with fear: spraying death from the muzzle of a high-powered handgun, murdering and maiming more than a dozen young men and women, daring New York's finest to end his bloody spree, and touching off the biggest manhunt in New York criminal history. In the end, he said the devil made him do it ...
And - if you think you can take it - much, much more ...

Chapter 24 (1928-1934)
The Manhattan Cannibal

Albert Fish: He loved children - especially with carrots and onions. (AP/ Wide World)

Children seemed to love Albert Fish. And he loved children. After his wife abandoned their family, Fish worked hard to raise his four boys and two girls. And he worked hard to inculcate them with Christian values. He preached constantly on the evils of such vices as tobacco, alcohol, and cussing. To Fish, God's world was one of absolutes. Things were good or evil. God's work was to fight evil, Fish told his children. And everyone who called himself a Christian was obliged to help God's work.
Fish was kind to his kids. He never beat them. On the other hand, Fish liked to take his clothes off and beat himself bloody with a nail-studded paddle. His kids thought this strange, but they loved their father and tolerated his little eccentricities.
Fish eked out a precarious living as a house painter. Once his children were nearly grown, he wandered the country seeking work. But he sent money home regularly, always returning to New York and to his children.
But there was another side to Fish's life. A secret and perverted side that he hid from everyone. Well, almost everyone.
Fish heard a voice. It spoke to him, and to him alone. It was the voice of God, or of his spokesman. Fish could never divine which. But he heard the voice, and he obeyed it. The voice told him that pain was a blessing. So Albert became a student of self-inflicted pain, experimenting with various devices.
He stuck needles into his abdomen. All the way in, until they could not be removed short of surgery. He regularly inserted the thorn-studded stems of roses into the two smallest, most sensitive of his bodily orifices. And he made a constant effort to find women who would whip his bare buttocks until he achieved sexual gratification.
When Fish wasn't reveling in the reception of pain, he liked to inflict it. He especially liked to rape children, usually boys. In more than thirty years and in twenty-three different states, Fish raped well over four hundred youths. He was never questioned or arrested.
None of this horrible history was known to Delia Budd on May 28, 1928, when she welcomed an avuncular, middle-aged man calling himself Frank Howard into her Manhattan apartment. Mr. Howard was responding to a classified ad that the Budds' son, Edward, had placed in The World-Telegram:
Young man, 18, wishes position in country.
A neatly dressed, articulate man in his late fifties, Howard said he was a former interior decorator who now owned a small farm on Long Island. He grew vegetables. Business was good. He needed more help, and so he was interested in meeting young Edward.
Edward turned up a few minutes later. He explained that he was willing to work hard in exchange for a chance to get out of the unhealthy, stifling, crime-ridden city. Howard offered him fifteen dollars a week, plus room and board.
This was a small fortune to the Budd family. Albert, Delia, and their four children barely got by on Albert's pay as a doorman for the Equitable Life Assurance Society. Young Eddie accepted the offer with alacrity.
Delia Budd said it was essential that the arrangements meet with her husband Albert's approval. But Albert was at work. Howard replied that he had some business in the city the following week. He promised to return on Saturday, June 2, to meet with Albert Budd.
Late that day, however, a telegram arrived, addressed to William Budd.
Howard turned up before noon the next day, full of apologies. He brought some fresh strawberries, and an agate pail of pot cheese, the produce of his own farm, he said, as token recompense for his tardy arrival.
Albert Budd said he was grateful for the telegram. He said he nearly refused it, since it was addressed to William Budd. Howard seemed upset with this news. He examined the telegram,  then pocketed it, saying he wanted to show it to the Western Union office when he gave them a piece of his mind.
After a long lunch Howard sat around with the Budds. Unbidden, he shared his life story with the family. He loved children, he said. He had six, including one serving as a cadet at West Point. The others helped out around his farm. And he launched into a lengthy description of the farm, his livestock and equipment, and the need for more help.
His recollections were interrupted by the arrival of ten-year- old Grace Budd, returning from church. In her white confirmation dress, a string of cheap beads around her neck, and a gray silk hat on her head, she was a pretty child. Grace marched right up to Mr. Howard, sat down on his lap, and hugged him.

Albert Fish arraigned - 1934

Praise for the Book
"These accounts of big-city crimes have the agreeably salacious tone of a sleazy best seller. Some of the scandals that Wolf and Mader describe have been reported many times: The murder of architect Sanford White by Harry Thaw over Evelyn Nesbitt, the original girl on the red velvet swing, or the shooting of robber baron 'Jubilee' Jim Fiske in the Broadway Central Hotel. But the authors must have combed the tabloids to dig up such obscure cases as the trial of Albert Fish, 'The Manhattan Cannibal', or the unsolved murder of Isadore Fink, who was shot in a locked room in Harlem. The locations of the various crimes are keyed to 'Hagstrom’s Atlas', in case the reader cares to take a walking tour of New York’s more dubious sights. This lightweight history is hardly the place to learn about the recalcitrant Captain Jacob Leisler or the corrupt empire of William Marcy (Boss) Tweed, but it could provide engaging if outrĂ© reading on a flight to the Big Apple." ~ Los Angeles Times
"A compilation of 43 true crimes that took place in New York City from 1689 to the present, this book chronicles a slave revolt gone awry, the theft of a 19th-century millionaire's body, the Stanford White murder, and the Son of Sam slayings. Many of the inclusions will be familiar, but the coverage of Tammany Hall political corruption and the Kitty Genovese tragedy will serve as good memory refreshers. Some of the chapters read like dry sections from a history book. In other instances the writers moralize, as in the Preppie murder case where they chide parents for failing to look after their children. In spite of these flaws, the book offers a good overview of New York crime. The atlas reference to crime sites at the end of each chapter might be of interest to diehard New York City tourists, although in many instances the original buildings are gone. Recommended for crime collections, this will be of special interest in the New York area." ~ Lois Walker, Winthrop Coll. Lib., Rock Hill
"The criteria for inclusion was that it was a significant felony, there is an identifiable location, and the crime or criminal or victim represents something meaningful about the era in which the incident occurred. The result is a very interesting read and riveting insight into some of the atrocities that have given 'The City That Never Sleeps' a somewhat tarnished past reputation. Unless you are a criminologist wanting much background and detail you would probably be looking for longer accounts of each crime. Here the authors have written each story tightly but comprehensively, without exuberant embellishments and give Hagstrom's Atlas References and information about the properties involved in the chosen malfeasances. Get this book and when next in New York City, retrace the steps of some of the most horrendous crimes imaginable and gawp at the properties involved. It will cast a whole new dimension on, and add atmosphere to your perambulations around the city." ~ Doppelganger
"This is a great, fun read. For out-of-towners, read this and gather enough obscure, and often gory, facts to amaze your New York friends. For those who live there, read this an learn more about your town. Marvin J. Wolf gives good weight." ~ steve northup
"What an interesting collection of predominately obscure true crime stories!" ~ Chelsea Girl

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
Rotten Apples is a fascinating collection of 43 crimes that occurred in New York over a four hundred year period between 1689 and 1989. It is a history of New York told through major crimes committed for political reasons, as well as murders committed by mobsters and serial killers. These incidents had an effect on such major issues as the military draft, workplace reforms, the abolition of the death penalty in New York, and the introduction of the Miranda rights.
The chapters seamlessly flow together, with characters who appear in one episode showing up again in some subsequent chapters. The authors provide hyperlinks to related chapters, characters, and incidents. The authors also give us a better understanding of the crimes by providing Google Maps links to the sites where the crimes occurred. My favorite story is detailed in chapter 4, "Medicine and Mobs", in which a major riot and many deaths resulted from a practical joke.
These compelling accounts are entertaining and well-written. However, they are also graphic and confronting. Be warned, this book is not for the faint-hearted. Best sampled in small chunks. Enjoy ... bite by bite.

About the Authors
Born in Chicago, Marvin J. Wolf moved to Los Angeles at age 16. Wolf served 13 years in the U.S. Army, including a tour in Vietnam, where he was commissioned an infantry officer. A widely published photojournalist and author, his first book was The Japanese Conspiracy. He is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the USMC Combat Correspondents Association, and past president of Independent Writers of Southern California. He lives in Los Angeles.
A Los Angeles native, Katherine Mader began a career in law as an Assistant Public Defender in Sacramento County, California. During nine years in private practice she represented numerous accused murderers, most notably Angelo Buono, who was convicted of nine murders in 1983 and labeled as one of the "Hillside Stranglers". She then became a Deputy Los Angeles County District Attorney and subsequently served as the LAPD’s first Inspector General.