Details Are Unprintable: Wayne Lonergan and the Sensational Cafe Society Murder

Details Are Unprintable: Wayne Lonergan and the Sensational Cafe Society Murder

by Allan Levine
Details Are Unprintable: Wayne Lonergan and the Sensational Cafe Society Murder

Details Are Unprintable: Wayne Lonergan and the Sensational Cafe Society Murder

by Allan Levine


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The narrative of Details Are Unprintable primarily unfolds over a seven-month period from October 1943 to April 1944—from the moment the body of twenty-two-year old Patricia Burton Lonergan is discovered in the bedroom of her New York City Beekman Hill apartment, to the arrest of her husband of two years, Wayne Lonergan, for her murder, and his subsequent trial and conviction. But this story goes back in time to the 1920s, when Wayne Lonergan grew up in Toronto and then forward to his post-prison life following his deportation to Canada. It is the chronicle of Lonergan in denial as a bisexual or gay man living in an intolerant and morally superior heterosexual world; and of Patricia, rich and entitled, a seeker of attention, who loved a night out on the town—all set against the fast pace of New York’s ostentatious café society. Part True Crime and part a social history of New York City in the 1940s, this book transports readers to the New York World’s Fair of 1939 when Patricia’s father William Burton first encountered Lonergan; the Stork Club, 21 Club, and El Morocco to experience with Patricia a night of drinking champagne cocktails and dancing; and the muggy New York courtroom where Lonergan’s fate was decided. What truly happened on that tragic night in October 24, 1943? Should we accept Lonergan’s confession at face value as the jury did? Or was he indeed a victim of physical and mental abuse by the state prosecutors and the police, as he maintained for the rest of his life? This book considers these, and other, key questions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781493050918
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 10/01/2020
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 708,190
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Allan Levine is an award-winning internationally selling author and historian based in Winnipeg, Canada. He has written fourteen books including Toronto: Biography of City (2014) and King: William Lyon Mackenzie King: A Life Guided by the Hand of Destiny (2011), which won the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction. His most recent book, Seeking the Fabled City: The Canadian Jewish Experience, was published in October 2018.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii

Characters x

Prologue: Belle of the El Morocco xiv

Chapter 1 The Making of a Hustler 1

Chapter 2 The Burtons 12

Chapter 3 The Debutante and the Dispatcher 23

Chapter 4 Starring in the Most Exciting Floor Show in the World 32

Chapter 5 A Marriage Mistake 44

Chapter 6 Weekend Furlough 57

Chapter 7 Out for a Good Time 70

Chapter 8 A Likely Suspect 80

Chapter 9 The Sex-Twisted Playboy with a Crew Cut and a Sneer 94

Chapter 10 Nothing But the Truth 106

Chapter 11 In the Hippodrome 118

Chapter 12 There's Nothing Like a Real Good Murder 124

Chapter 13 Double-Dealing, Double-Crossing, and Double-Talk 134

Chapter 14 Brutal, Cold-Blooded, Deliberate Murder 147

Chapter 15 Inmate 31227 160

Chapter 16 Coercion and Collusion 168

Chapter 17 Nothing to Hide 179

Epilogue: "Wife Killer or Fall Guy?" 187

A Note on Sources 195

Notes 196

Selected Bibliography 233

Index 240

About the Author 258

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Allan Levine’s extraordinary reconstruction of a high-society murder case that drove World War Two from the tabloid front pages in 1940s New York City offers a fascinating exploration of the New York social scene and the place of homosexuality, closeted or not, within it. It’s also a page-turning legal procedural that gracefully gives lay readers a vivid narrative of a hard-fought trial, as well as post-trial developments that unfolded during a revolution in the rights of criminal defendants." —Daniel Richman, former federal prosocutor for the Southern District of New York

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