I’ve been around doing a little of this and a little of that… Joseph Force Crater


Joseph Force Crater was a judge in New York City who disappeared on the night of August 6, 1930 and his disappearance became one of the most famous in American pop culture, and earned him the title of “The Missingest Man in New York” – over 80 years later the case in still not solved. Interestingly this philandering Democrat – FDR had just appointed him to a higher bench – had recently issued an opinion, Rotkowitz v. Sohn, that involved fraudulent conveyances and mortgage foreclosure fraud and had withdrawn the equivalent of about $75,000 in cash. After dinner with friends he left to see a now long forgotten musical and was never seen again.

40 Fifth Ave., Crater's home

40 Fifth Ave., Crater’s home

This case has all the hallmarks of a classic American crime. A combination of a cheating husband and crooked public official disappears with a bundle of swag. Was he murdered? Did he escape? Nobody knows, nobody has found out since and both the puritan and the playboy can take comfort from their own surmises of a happy ending.

The English equivalent is the Lord Lucan case. Part Jack the Ripper, part Edwardian mystery a man with feudal privileges living in modern London is accused of murdering his children’s nanny and disappears. Then the rumors begin that he is living in India – that he has gone native in what many still consider to be the last vestige of the Empire. Like Crate he is a pop culture figure, like Crater the case is never solved and like Crater he has spawned a veritable industry of second-guessing. This book is a fine example of the industry and an enjoyable read and while we suspect both men are having lunch with Ken Lay even as we write this that too is mere speculation.

NPG 6058; The Homage-Giving: Westminster Abbey, 9th August, 1902 by John Henry Frederick Bacon

Dead lucky: The Lucan conspiracy: how the establishment conned the world into believing Lord Lucan was Barry Halpin London: John Blake, 2003 Duncan MacLaughlin with William Hall Lucan, Richard John Bingham, Earl of, 1934-; Missing persons  England  London  Case studies; Murder  England  London  Case studies Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xvi, 285 p., [8] p. of plates: ill., photos.; 25 cm. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

They called it the manhunt of the 20th century, one which confounded the world for three decades. Countless theories have been advanced on the fate of Lord Lucan after he vanished following the brutal slaying of his children’s nanny.

At last, the jigsaw finally fits. Former detective Duncan MacLaughlin, one of Scotland Yard’s elite, has cracked the audacious charade which enabled the Earl of Lucan to evade the long arm of the law. MacLaughlin reveals where the aristocrat fled, disguised as Jungle Barry, the name of an uncanny Lucan lookalike he met on the run. Having been hit with a firestorm of propaganda and spurious disinformation from the heart of the Establishment when he revealed these astonishing facts, MacLaughlin launches a convincing counterstrike. Now judge for yourself.

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