Fatal Fortune: The Death of Chicago's Millionaire Orphan

By Virginia A. McConnell | Go to book overview

Introduction

In the twenty years I have been familiar with this case, the biggest mystery to me is why nobody has ever written about it. The McClintock-Shepherd saga could not have been performed against a more colorful background or with a more colorful cast of characters.

Jazz Age Chicago teemed with personality. It also teemed with quite a bit of violence, and the possible typhoid poisoning of a young millionaire must have seemed pretty tame in comparison. Prohibition was in effect, and as a result, organized crime was having a field day. Nearly every newspaper edition carried some account of a gangland attack as the various mob families vied for power in Chicago. Johnny Torrio, Bugs Moran, Al Capone, Dion O’Banion, the Genna brothers—they’re all here, sharing space with the investigation into the suspicious death of Billy McClintock.

Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb are here, too, having just gone through their sentencing hearing in the summer of 1924. They pop up on occasion in reports from Joliet Prison, where they were working on sentences of life plus ninety-nine years. The same prosecutorial crew took on the Shepherd case, and in the same courtroom.

It was a time of union start-ups, and the violence that attended those birth pangs overflows into our story in the persons of

-xi-

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Fatal Fortune: The Death of Chicago's Millionaire Orphan
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Chapter 1 - The Fatal Fortune 1
  • Chapter 2 - The Grifters 17
  • Chapter 3 - The Avenging Fury and the Confidence Man 35
  • Chapter 4 - Hippodrome 59
  • Chapter 5 - The State of Illinois V. William Darling Shepherd 73
  • Chapter 6 - Defending Darl Shepherd 91
  • Chapter 7 - Was It Oysters or Murder? 105
  • Chapter 8 - The Will Contest 125
  • Chapter 9 - Epilogue 133
  • Notes 143
  • Selected Bibliography 167
  • Index 169
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