"MacKellar has produced not only the definitive account of one of the classic murder cases of the twentieth century but a genuine page-turner. Utterly gripping from page one, this exhaustively researched true-crime narrative has the lean style, headlong pace, and mounting suspense of a noir thriller. MacKellar has done a masterful job."—Harold Schechter, author of Savage Pastimes: A Cultural History of Violent Entertainment
"Landis MacKellar’s account is taut, gripping, lucid, as relentless as any thriller. It is definitive, the last word on the subject."—Luc Sante, author of Low Life, Evidence, and The Factory of Facts
Queens Village was a picture-perfect postcard New York suburb. But in March 1927 the façade of respectability was stripped away to reveal an underside of greed, lust, and crime. Few incidents in crime history have been so notorious as the murder of Albert Snyder by his wife and her lover. Resonant of the footloose Jazz Age, it made persistent headlines and led to a sensational trial. The crime spawned a 1920s Broadway play and inspired the classic noir film of the 1940s, Double Indemnity. This book assesses the entire case, from grisly slaying and shabby cover-up to sharp police work and aftermath. Moreover, it explores sociocultural questions that beg to be answered: what effect does news reportage exert upon high profile cases, and why did such a transparent crime earn such an enduring place in the popular psyche?
Landis MacKellar lives in Vienna and Paris. His interest in the Snyder-Gray murder began when he taught at Queens College in New York City.
6 x 9, 420 pages, 11 black and white illustrations