He was a handsome local minister; she was the choir’s beautiful soloist. In 1922 they were found brutally murdered in a lovers’ lane. Combining adultery, wealth, and revenge, it became the most high-profile unsolved crime of the decade.
He was a handsome and charismatic local minister; she was the church choir’s beautiful soprano soloist. In 1922 they were found together, brutally murdered, along a secluded lane in New Brunswick, New Jersey—a popular spot for lovers’ trysts. Each of the victims was married—to someone else. And although the police believed this would be an easy case to crack, it became one of the most high-profile unsolved crimes of the decade.
At first, the primary suspects seemed obvious—the betrayed wife and husband of the slain lovers. The minister’s wife was one of the town’s wealthiest and most socially prominent citizens; the soprano’s husband was a man of modest means, working as the church sexton. But as the investigation progressed, new suspects were uncovered and key eyewitness testimony was found to be false—deepening the mystery surrounding the murders.
Combining elements of adultery, wealth and social prominence, revenge, a long and colorful list of suspects, and conflicting political agendas, this case dominated New York newspaper coverage in its time. It was said to have played a part in inspiring F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby. And today, it remains an intriguing mystery—inspiring continued debate.
This double homicide generated a great deal of excitement in the 1920s. Unlike Lizzie Borden, who became a household name as the central figure in another unsolved double homicide, comparatively few people today are familiar with the Hall-Mills murders. Now, a man with a scientific background discovers a new clue hidden in plain sight that points strongly to one particular suspect. Dr. Ramsland makes a very convincing case for this suspect as the murderer. She explains what criminal psychology experts now know that could have focused more attention on this suspect.
It takes an expert in the study of murder to make sense of this spectacular mystery and disentangle the evidence from the botched investigation. Dr. Ramsland has taken a confusing set of circumstances with a wealth of suspects and evaluated each suspect’s potential as the killer. Her strong expertise in criminal justice, forensics, and criminal psychology, plus her encyclopedic knowledge of homicide, gives this story the fresh insight and analysis the case requires.
Dr. Katherine Ramsland, a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, has published more than 1,000 articles and 40 books, including The Forensic Psychology of Criminal Minds, The Human Predator, Inside the Minds of Serial Killers, and The Mind of a Murderer. She holds graduate degrees in forensic psychology, clinical psychology, criminal justice, and philosophy, and teaches forensic psychology and criminal justice at DeSales University in Pennsylvania. Ramsland has worked with prominent criminalists, coroners, detectives, and FBI profilers. She speaks internationally about forensic psychology and serial murder, and has appeared on numerous documentaries, as well as The Today Show, 20/20, 48 Hours, Larry King Live, and E! True Hollywood Story.