Family Secretby Warren Robert Hull
On June 20, 1947 one of the most notorious gangsters of the twentieth century, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, was murdered in the Beverly Hills mansion of his mistress, Miss Virginia Hill. While there have been numerous theories in regard to who actually killed "the father of Las Vegas," the fact remains, the Siegel murder case is still officially unsolved...until now.
In 1941, when Bob MacDonald married Betty Ann Rockwell, it appeared as though their relationship was the start of a very majestic affair. The teens were from the upper class of Southern California society, exceptionally good looking, and by all accounts it seemed to be foreordained that they would live a full and happy life. MacDonald's father, Archibald, was the right-hand man to America's wealthiest man, Howard Hughes, Jr., while Betty Ann's mother, Gaynell Rockwell-Applegate, was a woman of "new money." At a glance, it seemed as if the couple should have lived a life with a storybook ending. Sadly, in 1947, the life of splendor expected for the couple turned into a family nightmare with horrendous consequences.
On September 13, 1947, without apparent reason or motive, Bob MacDonald, age 27, took a .30 caliber, army type, carbine rifle and shot his wife, Betty Ann, age 24, two times-once in the back and once in the head. After killing his wife, MacDonald then turned the weapon on himself and committed suicide.
The high society community the couple was a part of was mortified by the event. People wanted to know what could have possessed Bob MacDonald to do such a thing. How could this man, the son of a millionaire, a war hero, the winner of three Purple Hearts, the Silver Star and the Bronze Star, and the father of two children, commit such a gruesome act? What could have possibly driven him to the type of madness where he would kill his wife and then take his own life?
In the hours following this terrible event, the couple's parents, using their financial capital, powerful political ties, social contacts and business experience, formed a consortium of secrecy to ensure the public would never find the answer to the question of why Bob MacDonald did what he did. The families agreed to keep MacDonald's motives for killing his wife and then himself a... Family Secret.
The shroud of secrecy, which had been in place over the intimate elements of this amazing story for over half a century, was lifted in 1996, when one of the "family insiders" made a dramatic deathbed confession to Family Secret author, Warren R. Hull. Honoring his father's request to tell the world the secret behind the Siegel killing, Hull provides an incredible explanation as to who murdered Benjamin Siegel, and more importantly, how and why the murder was never solved by the police!
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The Howard Hughes connection to this story captured my attention and at first I must confesses I was leery about the premise of this book. After going cover to cover however I am confident the Siegel murder mystery can be considered solved. A story this incredible has to be accurate and true. Bravo to the writers!
I thought Family Secret was fascinating tale. The story behind the story was incredible. I finished the book believing that the killing of a famous gangster could have been covered up by two politically and socially connected families as offered by the Author. Well done. Nice read!