31 Murders

Following the Trail of Serial Sex Killer Earle Nelson


In stock

SKU: 9781476694801 Categories: , , Tag:
Imprint or Series:Exposit Books

About the Book

Many decades before Ted Bundy roamed the country there was serial killer Earle Nelson. During the 1920s, this geographically mobile killer went from city to city. His modus operandi involved getting into a house by pretending to be a person looking for a room to rent or inspecting a house that was for sale, and then strangling the landlady, often followed by having sex with the dead body. Robbery was frequently a secondary motive.
After Nelson was captured in Canada in 1927, it was commonly reported that he had killed 21 women and a baby during the 1926-27 period. But were these the only cases linked to him? The author examines an additional nine unsolved murders of landladies, two of which have never been dealt with in previous literature. Based on decades of archival research, the author examines all 31 murders, relying on primary sources when available and a wide variety of secondary sources. For each murder, the book provides biographical sketches of the victim, outlines the police investigation and the various suspects, and covers any subsequent attempts to link Nelson to the crime by identification evidence of witnesses or by fingerprints.

About the Author(s)

Alvin A.J. Esau, a graduate of the University of Alberta and Harvard Law School, is a retired law professor living in British Columbia.

Bibliographic Details

Alvin A.J. Esau
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 258
Bibliographic Info: 44 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9480-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5268-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction 1
Part I—Background
1. Two Manitoba Murders and the Capture, Trial and Execution of Earle Nelson 9
2. Biographical Sketch of Earle Nelson and Possible First Murders 18
Part II—Five Landladies Murdered in 1925
3. Elizabeth Jones and Daisy Anderson in San Francisco 35
4. Olla McCoy, Mary Murray and Lena Weiner in Philadelphia 42
Part III—1926: The Dark Strangler
5. Clara Newman in San Francisco 55
6. Laura Beal in San Jose 61
7. Lillian St. Mary in San Francisco 67
8. Ollie Russell in Santa Barbara 74
9. Mary Nisbet in Oakland 83
10. Isabelle Gallegos in Stockton 87
11. Elma Wells in San Francisco 93
12. Beata Withers in Portland 100
13. Mabel Fluke in Portland 109
14. Virginia Grant in Portland 113
15. Marion Corcoran in Los Angeles 119
16. Attempted Murders of Landladies? 123
17. Anna Edmonds in San Francisco 127
18. Florence Monks in Seattle 133
19. Blanche Myers in Portland 140
20. The Link Between the Murders of Monks and Myers, and “Adrian Harris” as the Dark Strangler 146
21. Almira Berard in Council Bluffs 154
22. Bonnie Pace and Germaine Harpin (and Infant Harpin) in Kansas City 160
Part IV—1927: The Gorilla Man Strangler
23. The Gorilla Sleeps? 169
24. Mary McConnell in Philadelphia 172
25. Jennie Randolph in Buffalo 179
26. Fannie May and Maureen Oswald Atorthy in Detroit 187
27. Mary Sietsema in Chicago 195
28. Lena Johannes in Kansas City 202
Concluding Reflections 205
Chapter Notes 211
Bibliography 241
Index 245