Saturday, February 11, 2012

Death of a Flapper: The Dot King Scandal

PART ONE: Just the Facts
Her body was found in a small, but stylish two-room apartment in 57th Street, on the Ides of March, 1923. It was on the top floor of a five-story brownstone a few doors east of Carnegie Hall. Draped only in a loose-fitting yellow silk chemise with a thin black border, the girl looked as if she were sleeping, her head half-buried under the pillow, one arm dangling over the edge, her feet exposed. The other arm was wrenched behind her back, but the maid, Billy Bradford, didn’t notice that detail when she first came into the bedroom at 11:30 AM that Thursday and found her mistress seemingly passed out. Billy touched the bare foot and was horrified by how cold it was. The window by the bed, facing south over the back yard, was wide open, which was certainly odd, as it was one of the coldest mornings in March on record. Billy shut the window, then gently turned the body over and saw the strange discolorations around the woman’s mouth and nose, dark purple abrasions, as if her lips and nostrils had been rubbed raw. She gasped, then picked up the phone with shaking hands and called the dead girl’s mother. Moments later, she ran outside to hail a policeman. She found one a few blocks away — Officer Heller, on school duty at 55th and Seventh. Once he was upstairs, an ambulance was sent for from Bellevue Hospital.
Thus began one of the most notorious and mysterious murder cases in New York history: the Dorothy King story. Nicknamed “the Broadway Butterfly” by the press, because of her penchant for flitting from one after-hours cabaret and speakeasy along the “Great White Way” to the next, Dot King was more famous dead than she ever had been alive. A former “artist’s model” with shady ties to gangsters, to stage door Johnnies, and to Wall Street, Dot was a thoroughly modern flapper, right down to her bobbed blonde hair and the gold silk bandeau she sported around her brow when cutting a rug in her sparkling jewels, swanky gowns and garish furs. At 28 (she was born in 1894), a divorcĂ©e, she was no innocent ingenue. She’d been around the block a few times too many.
Born Anna Marie Keenan in upper Manhattan, to poor Irish immigrants, Dot had charmed her way out of the ghetto, flashing her deep blue eyes, capitalizing on her buxom figure, and cute freckled face, to make a luxurious life for herself. She was, as a reporter put it, a girl who “lived on the bubbles of life.” After a stint in a dress shop, modeling the latest fashions, she changed her name to Dorothy King (King was her mother’s maiden name), perhaps to pursue a career in the theater. (She is often confused with a showgirl named Dorothy King who appeared in the Broadway Brevities of 1920.) She’d done all right for a girl who’d never finished high school. She had a list of admirers as long as the deposits in her bank account, including one highly placed inamorato for whom the term “sugar daddy” was reportedly first coined by Julia Harpman at the Daily News.
Dot’s shocking tale captivated the hoi polloi and became fodder for titillating headlines across the country for weeks on end, and for decades to come. It wasn’t so much the manner of murder that intrigued readers — she was poisoned to death with chloroform — but the details of her life leading up to the killing gave wide-eyed readers a peek into a strange, little known demimonde, exposing a two-faced world of high society high jinks the likes of which had not been revealed since Harry Thaw’s murder of Stanford White during the Evelyn Nesbit (of the “Red Velvet Swing”) scandal a generation before. In time, three movies would be made based on Dot’s killing, and several books written touching upon her story, among them Memoirs of a Murder Man (1930) by detective Arthur A. Carey, who handled the case; It’s Time to Tell (1962) by George Petit LeBrun, the assistant Medical Examiner; Murder Won’t Out by Russel Crouse, a pulp from 1932; and the more recent Chronicle of Murder (2004) by Brian Lane and Who Killed the Broadway Butterfly? (2002) by George Anthony.

The most famous account is a fictionalized whodunnit, The Canary Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine (1927, turned into an early talkie thriller starring William Powell and Louise Brooks in 1929.) The 1934 Upper World, starring Warren William and Ginger Rogers, also bears a striking resemblance to the story. Years later, the Jules Dassin 1948 film noir, The Naked City (scripted by Mark Hellinger, who covered the Dorothy King case when he was just starting out as a journalist), would tell her sad, sordid tale all over again. Today one can surf the net and find web pages devoted to her legend. But few versions have got it completely right. The amount of misinformation about her is legion, with factual errors, contradictions and outright exaggerations or inventions aplenty. One has to slog through miles of microfilm, stacks of dusty archives and morgue records to get at any semblance of the truth. For the past two years, I’ve been digging into her life, trying to find a key to unlock the mystery surrounding her brutal killing. What I’ve discovered is that the case may be much bigger than previous accounts have let on.
Whatever the reality of her murky past, Dot King has become part of the very fabric of New York, a cornerstone of Manhattan Babylon, alongside Peggy Hopkins Joyce and Legs Diamond in the pantheon of Jazz Age legends. Her rags-to-riches saga seems to encapsulate all the vices and excesses of the Roaring 20s while also revealing the corruption at the heart of Prohibition. She became a symbol of the gold-digging schemer straight out of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Anita Loos had her in mind when writing that book in 1925. Loos belonged to a club of showgirls and models that met weekly; she knew them all intimately. But Dot’s murder was never solved, no one was ever indicted. Whoever did in “Dashing Dot” was never brought to justice. To this day it remains one of the most perplexing of all the city’s cold case files. Ironically, however, since no one was ever indicted and no charges were ever filed, there are no cold files to warm up. The city’s archives have no police records of the investigation into her murder. Some see this as evidence of a cover-up; the files must have been removed or destroyed. Others chalk it up to mere incompetence on the part of the investigating team who bungled her case from the get-go.
At first it was the lack of details that set Dot King’s murder apart from other Manhattan slayings. It had all the trappings of a typical “locked room” puzzler, so popular in the 20s. She’d come home after a night on the town with one of her gentlemen callers, gone straight to bed after he took his leave. No one had been seen entering her room after 2AM. The night elevator man, a black man from the West Indies named John Thomas, swore he had not taken anyone up after that time, and there was no way to get upstairs without using the elevator. Could the killer have climbed in through the window? Unlikely. She was on the top floor and the fire escape (if there was one; reports varied on that score) didn’t extend to her rooms. How did he (or she, or they) get in? Had she been a victim of a burglary gone bad? Some $15,000 worth of jewelry was missing. It was certainly a plausible explanation. There had been a spate of similar crimes up and down Manhattan, most notably the Irene Schoelkopf case a few months before when a wealthy woman was chloroformed at her New Year’s Eve party and $300,000 worth of her jewels was plucked. Luckily she had survived.
Much was made by the media of the few clues that did surface: a man’s black rubber comb found on the bed, two fur coats on the floor, a pair of men’s yellow silk pajamas tucked under the sofa, a black umbrella by the door, with a wisp of cotton fluff stuck to it; the label on the chloroform bottle which was half-scratched off, making the serial number untraceable. And then there was the last will and testament, found on a table, beginning with the ominous words, “I, Dorothy Keenan, believing that something unforeseen might happen to me, hereby bequeath all my worldly possessions to my mother.” But did any of this “evidence” point to the murderer?
Perhaps if the police had been more thorough at the time of the body’s discovery, things might have been resolved more successfully. But everything that could be done wrong had been done spectacularly wrong. Forensics was not yet the precise science it is today. The maid, Ella Bradford, nicknamed Billy, had cleaned up before the police came, removing telltale signs such as fingerprints from champagne glasses, and clothes on the floor (it was she who had stashed the pajamas under the sofa). When the ambulance arrived that morning, the doctor on call, Baker, from Bellevue Hospital, considered the death a suicide or accidental poisoning. Party girls back then often used to inhale chloroform to get their kicks, or to kill themselves when the party was over. The fact that Dot’s will was laid out on a table seemed to confirm this diagnosis. The intern had not noticed that her arm was wrenched behind her back in a hammer-lock hold, nor that the chloroform bottle was found between her legs, hardly the place to drop it if she had done herself in. And apparently he thought nothing of the fact that the apartment had been ransacked.
It wasn’t until the city physician, Dr. Charles Cassasa, who worked at Harlem Hospital, arrived, that the wheels of a homicide investigation were set in motion. He thought the evidence pointed to a crime, a burglary, and notified the Chief Medical Examiner’s office. So did a private detective named Frank J. Houghtalin, who mysteriously appeared on the scene. He telephoned the assistant medical examiner, George LeBrun, and told him he thought a murder had taken place. When Dr. Charles Norris, the Chief Medical Examiner finally arrived at 6PM, he was furious that the detectives still had not arrived. Not only had the victim’s mother and family traipsed through the apartment for several hours, but several policemen, doctors and building personnel had been all over it too. Later it would be revealed that the family had taken some of her belongings, including some of the jewels and clothing that the police assumed had been stolen.
Everyone was baffled by the killing, from the affable Police Commissioner Robert E. Enright, who wrote mysteries on the side, to the lowliest shoeshine boy, dispensing the latest gossip. And everyone had a theory. The police were sure it was a burglary gone bad; the Homicide squad, when they finally got down to brass tacks, leaned towards a theory of a blackmail ring and premeditated murder. But by whom?
The likeliest suspect was an elusive figure named “Mr. Marshall” who had paid calls on Dot King frequently over the past year, and was rumored to be paying her rent. She was, sources revealed, his “femme au foyer.” He’d allegedly set her up in the flat about 18 months earlier after meeting her at a party at the fashionable Hotel Brevoort downtown. They’d been introduced by a friend named “Marie.” From then on “Mr. Marshall” had lavished Dot with expensive gifts: diamonds and furs. He would show up at her place, bearing a bottle of champagne draped in a string of pearls. Or he would shower her with savings bonds worth $1,000 as a token of his affection for her; no small prize. Dot had invested the money, authorities claimed, in stocks, had bought a car for her brother’s cabbie business, and a vacation place in Atlantic City for her mother. She had bank accounts and safe deposit boxes all over the city. It was Mr. Marshall’s pajamas that Billy had found the morning of the murder and had stashed away out of respect for her mistress. Or was it more for his protection? If he was paying Dot’s rent, as the press kept intimating, couldn’t he also have been paying Billy’s salary? Such speculations were never fully explained or looked into. And were probably erroneous. (If “Mr. Marshall” was paying her rent, why didn’t he have a key? And why would Dot have taken on a roommate the previous fall?)
The odd thing about “Mr. Marshall,” however, is that he never appeared with Dot unless he had his secretary with him, a tall, thin man named “Mr. Wilson.” The two would arrive at Dot’s building, then Wilson would scope out the lobby and elevator to make sure no one was there. The coast clear, Marshall would ascend to Dot’s flat, tipping the “Negro elevator boy,” as the press repeatedly put it, extravagantly for his consideration. Then after a brief interlude, Mr. Wilson would leave, either wait in the car, or go home, and Marshall would remain. But Wilson’s involvement went beyond mere scout work. He too was friendly with the girl. On the eve of the murder, the three of them had had dinner together at the fashionable Brevoort Hotel in Greenwich Village, where Marshall had met Dorothy, hardly a location one would choose for a clandestine affair.
Dot’s distraught mother, Kate Keenan, told the police that the 50-something Marshall was a kind, avuncular old soul who wouldn’t hurt anyone. She suspected it was Dot’s no-good boyfriend, Albert Guimares, a gigolo and grifter, of Portuguese and Spanish descent, who had been known to beat her when he didn’t get his way. At the time of the murder, Dot had just come back from a week in Atlantic City (an odd time of year to go down there, considering the cold.) while Marshall had been in Palm Beach. Who was Dot seeing there? The rumor was that Dot had been secretly wed to the son of a very prominent family, but his name was kept secret by the papers (the entire story was probably made-up.) Dot had told her mother that she didn’t want to see Guimares anymore. He’d beaten her once too many times. So perhaps the murder was due to insane jealousy on Guimares’s part. He had a fiery Latin temper. Did he think Dot was cheating on him? Or did he have more nefarious plans for Dot, using her as the bait in a potential blackmail racket?

Guimares, it soon became apparent, using the name Al Morris, had set up sucker-schemes before, opening “bucket shops” in which he conned innocent investors into buying fraudulent stocks. Police found a so-called “suckers list” in Dot’s apartment. It appeared that she and Guimares were working in tandem. A warrant for his arrest had been issued in Boston where he’d managed a bankrupt brokerage house, Joseph and William McLoughlin. Guimares used numerous aliases (Smith, Morris and Santos) and had reputed ties to the mob. (Some authors have claimed that the notorious crime lord Arnold Rothstein, immortalized in The Great Gatsby as Meyer Wolfsheim, owned the building where she lived. As we shall see, this was untrue.)
Police rounded Guimares up at his suite at the Embassy Hotel on the Upper West Side. He had bruises and bite marks on his hand (he claimed to have been in a fist fight the night before).  But he had an airtight alibi. He’d spent the evening with his best friend Edmund J. McBryan (sometimes spelled McBrien) and Eddie’s girlfriend, a stunning young beauty known only in the press as “the blonde.” She was actually Aurelia A. Fischer, below, the daughter of a DC-based carpenter (and not the “society heiress” the press made her out to be). She risked her reputation by admitting to spending the night in a hotel with a man (and the police, for reasons that remain obscure, protected her identity.)

While interrogating Guimares, the police found an unregistered gun and he was arrested. (Ironically, it was George Le Brun, the assistant medical examiner, who had initiated the law requiring all guns in New York City be registered after a famous case in which an actor was shot and killed at the Players Club by a deranged fan.) Guimares was held without bail pending the investigation. He would go on to serve three years in a federal prison in Atlanta for using the mails to defraud.
Much of this speculation about Guimares and his whereabouts that night proved to be beside the point after the very detailed autopsy revealed that Dot King had died in the morning of the 15th, not the night before. The postmortem had been performed by the Chief Medical Examiner himself, the esteemed Dr. Charles Norris, an imposing figure of almost Shakespearean stature, according to his biographer. Norris’s findings belied the press’s version of events. He found no trace of alcohol in Dot’s system. No evidence of rape or sexual activity. “Examination of the vaginal contents and of the mucous exudate on the tonsil is negative for spermatozoa,” he wrote in his dry, exacting style. So the notion of Dot coming home after a wild night on the town — or having gone out again after being dropped off, as some had claimed — had to be dismissed. It seemed more likely that she had gone to bed after a light supper (only traces of celery were found in her stomach), and was disturbed in her sleep. Whoever had done it had to have access to her from 6AM on. That allegedly left Guimares out of the running since he was at his hotel around that time, and was seen having breakfast there.
But then the story was blown open by a startling revelation. An anonymous call was made to the police from a woman in Atlantic City. She knew of a letter that might prove helpful, what the French call a “billet doux.” It was a saucy love letter, penned by one of Dot King’s admirers: “Darling Dottie, only two more days and I will be in your arms. I want to see you. O so much, and to kiss your pretty toes.” The man who’d sent it, from Palm Beach, the woman claimed, was the head of a large company and the scion of a distinguished Main Line family with roots as old as the Mayflower. It was, she declared, none other than Mr. Marshall. (The letter was reportedly found in a beaded bag belonging to Dot, at her mother’s, and not in a safe deposit box as has been written. It’s not clear how this woman in Atlantic City knew about it, or how she was connected to the case. But I have a hunch it was the woman named “Marie” who had introduced Dot to Marshall the previous summer.)
It didn’t take long for the amorous author to step forward and reveal his true identity. In a meeting arranged on St. Patrick’s Day with Ferdinand Pecora, the Assistant District Attorney (who would go on to greater fame as a prosecutor of bank fraud), a wealthy businessman from Philadelphia named John Kearsley Mitchell (aka “Jack”) admitted that he was the elusive “Mr. Marshall” and had written the letter. He’d struck a deal with Pecora to maintain his anonymity.

Why he came forward is open to conjecture, especially since the “billet doux” was not signed with his real name. But perhaps he feared there were more revealing letters to be found. Or maybe Billy, the maid, had blurted out his real name. Mitchell had a lot to hide. He was the son-in-law of one of the richest men in the country, E. T. Stotesbury, one of J. P. Morgan’s most trusted partners. Stotesbury’s wife, Eva, was a flamboyant, influential figure in Society. (Her daughter, from a previous marriage, Louise Cromwell had married Douglas McArthur and her son, James, would later marry Doris Duke.)
The Stotesburys had built Whitemarsh, one of the largest houses in America, as well as mansions in Bar Harbor, and Palm Beach. Addison Mizener had built El Mirasol at Eva’s request. But crafty reporters at the Hearst-owned New York Journal American figured out Mitchell’s true identity and broke the story on the 24th. The scandal that ensued exploded like a bomb. Suddenly the death of Dorothy King was no longer about the flutterings of the Broadway demimonde but reached to the pinnacles of high finance and the Social Register. (Eva and E. T. Stotesbury, below, courtesy of the Stotesbury website.)

To casual observers, it must have seemed then like an open-and-shut case. Dot King had threatened her sugar daddy with blackmail. She’d go public with his embarrassing missive if he didn’t cough up some big bucks to keep her quiet. Perhaps Guimares, or a gang of blackmailers, had put her up to it. Or so the tabloids spun it. There had been a spate of similar cases recently, including the Walter S. Ward case involving the shooting of a sailor, and the William Desmond Taylor murder in Hollywood. But Mitchell claimed he and Dot were just good friends. He denied any romantic relationship. His wife stood by him. Mitchell stated that he and his lawyer friend John H. Jackson (revealed as the mysterious “Mr. Wilson”) had dropped Dot off after dinner at 11PM on March 14, then stayed for a night cap, before leaving at 2AM. He said he gave the elevator man, John Thomas, a $2 tip. Thomas denied this and claimed he never saw Mitchell come down. The last people to use the elevator, he said, were the Grahams who lived on the fourth floor. He’d dropped them off at 1AM. This little discrepancy didn’t seem to bother the police too much since Mitchell could have simply walked down the stairs and exited the building.
(One of the more maddening aspects of the case was the strange design of the building at 144 West 57th Street where Dot lived. The building was actually two brownstones combined as one residence. The doorway to 144 led to the elevator, while 146′s entrance led to a stairwell which was locked at the mezzanine level. This way customers of the shops on the ground floor could walk up but not enter the apartment area above. Yet residents coming down could exit through this door thanks to a catch bolt on the inside.) Key details, such as did Mitchell walk to the hotel where he was staying (he lived in the landmark Red House Inn in Villanova, outside Philadelphia); or take a cab, or have his driver waiting outside, were never discussed in the reports I found. It seems to me that there might have been a witness if any of those options were taken.
It was typical of the inept police work that these matters were either never disclosed or more likely never looked into. And what of the elevator girl who took over from Thomas? Her name was Juanita Marable, described often in the press at the time as a “mulatto girl.” (She was actually 21 yrs old.) Did she see anyone enter the building early that morning and go up to the fifth floor? If so, the information was never made public. Juanita was born in Kentucky circa 1902 and had come to New York sometime after 1920. She later married a Pullman railroad man, Fred Andrews, and became a waitress in a hotel. As for Billy Bradford, she withdrew from the spotlight and never discussed the case. Years later, a cabaret gadabout named Jack Lait, who knew Dot King, wrote that Billy’s husband, Chester, who became his chauffeur, probably knew who did it. But his lips were sealed.

A third suspect materialized when it was revealed that among Dot King’s admirers was Draper M. Daugherty, the troubled son of the nation’s Attorney General, Harry Daugherty. It didn’t seem to matter to reporters that Daugherty was nowhere near the city the day of her murder. The fact that he was married and had suddenly entered a sanitarium helped fuel rumors that he was hiding out, or being silenced by powers that be. A vast cover-up was hinted at. He later escaped from the asylum, with the help of the actress Pearl Baremore, leading to a flurry of news reports that a madman was on the loose. But two facts kept his name among the suspects. First, the chloroform bottle found resembled a type that had been used in Daugherty’s unit when he was a soldier in the war. Second, he told authorities how he had received a threatening phone call from Dot King’s younger brother Francis, suggesting that he be hired as a chauffeur or else he’d spill the beans about Draper’s “friendship” with Dot.
Everyone who had known Dot was interviewed or scrutinized, from her good friend Blossom Seeley, the famous blues singer once married to Rube Marquard, the baseball star, to Jack Lannigan, a former tailor from Chicago, later a nightclub owner, who had lived with Dot years before. Matthew D. Biddulph, held for the Schoelkopf jewel heist at the Tombs was interrogated. As was the blueblood alleged to have married her after a drunken weekend party. The press did not reveal his name either. Perhaps the oddest suspect was a man named Harlan Rowe who was arrested in Los Angeles after a drunk driving accident. His pockets were full of newspaper clippings about Dorothy King. Police wondered if he were somehow involved. But he seems to have been just one of the many swept up in the case.

Perhaps the most colorful of Dot’s acquaintances was Hilda Ferguson, above, her former roommate. The original “shimmy girl” Hilda was a scintillating beauty who was appearing in the Music Box Revue (and would later star at the Ziegfeld Follies.) Born Hildegarde Gibbons in Baltimore, Hilda had had a hard childhood. The 1910 census shows her, age 7, living in a “home for the friendless” with her mother Demmorah. She later married Dr. Robert Ugarte in 1919 and had a child, Yolanda. But by 1922, she’d left her husband, whom she claimed beat her repeatedly (they divorced in 1926), and was living at the Great Northern Hotel in 1921 where she reconnected with Dot King, who was also staying there. When Dot moved to her new apartment, she invited Hilda to come stay with her. With only one bed, it was a cozy arrangement. The friendship was tight for the first few months, but Hilda eventually wearied of the wild parties Dot threw. She claimed Dot drank too much. Much was made of Dot’s wild streak. Julia Harpman claimed that Dot was a hop head, and had once kicked out the windows of a taxi cab when she was riding high. Others had speculated that Dot was using heroin. But Hilda denied Dot ever used drugs.
A neighbor, who lived downstairs and had a view of the bay window in Dot’s apartment, complained often of the raucous laughter, coarse language, and loud music emanating from above. She said that on one hot summer night, she’d left her windows open and she heard a woman who was obviously drunk tell her date that she’d expose his pedigree all over town if he didn’t come through for her. This woman, who was never named but was described as a “professional woman of the highest standing” with family ties to J. P. Morgan’s lawyers, demanded that Hilma Dunlap, the super, go up and ask them to turn the music down. Hilma says she went up there and found it was actually Hilda Ferguson who was throwing the party, not Dot. So there is some discrepancy in Hilda’s account and I wouldn’t be surprised if she wasn’t just covering her tracks. She would not have enjoyed people looking into her own past (although her notoriety soon landed her a starring role at the Follies.) She left two weeks before Dot was killed. Hilda later became tight with bootlegger Willie McCabe, one of Arnold Rothstein’s cronies. And she was there at the Park Central the night Rothstein was slain in 1928. Hilda died five years later, just 30 years old. To the day she died, she never breathed a word of what she knew about Dot’s murder.
Family members, too, were not above suspicion. Some felt that there were strains in the Keenan household that could have played a role in Dot’s death. One report stated that her late father had disinherited her after she left home, although considering his lowly position it’s hard to imagine what he disinherited her of. Then there were her two brothers.  Her volatile but devilishly handsome older brother John, popular with the ladies, was a cab driver, who disapproved of her lifestyle, and upbraided her for bobbing her hair.

Then there was her milder, younger brother Francis, the same one who allegedly had tried to blackmail Draper Daugherty into hiring him as a chauffeur. Dot also had two sisters, Tessa (who may have been an adopted cousin) and Helen, who was married and lived in New Jersey. And then there was Kate, the mother. A hard-bitten laundress, she was a strict Catholic who fretted over Dot’s affairs and had even sent a priest and two nuns to her apartment at 144 West 57th Street in order to convince her to turn over a new leaf. Her behavior on the day of the murder had raised a few eyebrows. When Hilma Dunlap, the super, had come up to offer assistance, Mrs. Keenan had seized her by the shoulders, “whirled her around” and physically pushed her out the door, demanding she be left alone. Guimares, who hated her, said she was a “gouger,” who would do anything for a buck.
Another likely suspect, and one who was singled out for further scrutiny, was Dot’s ex-husband, Eugene I. Oppel. She’d only ended the marriage with him the previous October, although they had not lived as man and wife for many years. She’d married him in 1912 when she was 18. In the 1920 census, Oppel shows up living in Brooklyn, alone. Most of the time, he lived at home with his family in Little Falls, New York, where he died in 1970. He also worked as a chauffeur and suffered from a limp since one of his legs was shorter than the other. Dot loathed him, calling him “that big bum.” She had the marriage annulled, citing her own infidelities. Could he have sought revenge for her casting him aside? Or did he try to shake her down? It seems unlikely that no one would have noticed him, especially with his pronounced limp, if he had been at the building that night or the next morning.
It seemed to me in studying the story that the gaps in the case were just as intriguing as the things that were reported. What if one examined all the details of the murder, could a likely suspect be found? The case had already been picked over by dozens of writers. But I was shocked by the inconsistencies and lack of follow through. And by a persistent paucity of logic. As I delved into the story, I became more and more fascinated by the house in which the murder took place. For the Dorothy King story is also the story of 144 West 57th Street, and its twin, 146. Could the property itself provide clues as to Dot King’s real killer?

(End of Part One. Part Two Next Week.