Torso: Eliot Ness and the Search for a Psychopathic Killer

Overview

In the 1920s, Eliot Ness gained fame as the leader of the Untouchables, a small band of law-enforcement agents who disrupted the activities of Al Capone and his organization. By 1934, Ness had moved to Cleveland to become director of public safety. But it was there that he met his nemesis in the form of a serial killer.

When Ness arrived in Cleveland, he quickly made his presence felt with a major overhaul of the police force and zealous raids to stop illegal gambling. Despite ...

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Overview

In the 1920s, Eliot Ness gained fame as the leader of the Untouchables, a small band of law-enforcement agents who disrupted the activities of Al Capone and his organization. By 1934, Ness had moved to Cleveland to become director of public safety. But it was there that he met his nemesis in the form of a serial killer.

When Ness arrived in Cleveland, he quickly made his presence felt with a major overhaul of the police force and zealous raids to stop illegal gambling. Despite these early successes and some 2,400 officers at his disposal, Ness failed in his efforts to find the lone psychopathic killer whose trademark decapitations terrorized the entire city. Many of the 12 known victims were residents of hobo jungles and were so anonymous that only three of them were even positively identified.

In 1942, the killings stopped as mysteriously as they had begun in 1935. But the damage to Ness's reputation as a guardian of law and order was already done, and the stage was set for the downhill slide in his life. Set against the vividly drawn background of Cleveland during the Depression, the missing chapter in Ness's career and the story of the grisly serial killer make compelling reading.

Author Biography: Steven Nickel is a freelance writer living in Janesville, Wisconsin.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
After his ``Untouchables'' exploits, Eliot Ness became the Cleveland director of public safety in 1934. He launched a mostly successful campaign against crime and corruption, but his record was somewhat marred by a series of gruesome, motiveless murders which were never solved. The ``Torso Murderer'' was responsible for at least 13 victims--ten never identified and all decapitated and dismembered. Since Ness was not a homicide detective, his Cleveland years are peripheral to the ``Torso'' case. The latter will be of some interest to crime buffs, but there is just not enough compelling material in this slim volume for a general audience.-- Gregor A. Preston, Univ. of California Lib., Davis
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780895872463
  • Publisher: Blair, John F. Publisher
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 1,443,769
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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