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A CONVENIENT MAN - DENNIS TOMLINSON & JEFFREY DEAN DOTY

In 1957 little seven-year-old Maria Ridulph was kidnapped from the small town of Sycamore, Illinois, while playing with her eight-year-old friend, Kathy Sigman. The brazen audacity of this heinous crime shocked the country and made national headlines for months. So sensational was the crime that daily updates were required by President Eisenhower and J. Edgar Hoover. Almost five months later, Maria Ridulph's remains were found in a patch of woods nearly 100 miles away.

For three years, a flurry of suspects were paraded past Kathy Sigman, the only eyewitness, with no credible identifications. As the tips and supects faded away, the case went cold in the 1960s.

In 2008 the Illinois State police received a tip from a woman claiming her half-brother, John Tessier, was the man who killed Maria Ridulph because her mother had made a deathbed confession that "John did it!" 

With that, an investigation began into a man who had been cleared by the FBI in 1957. A man whose witnesses to his alibi had died, forgotten, or vanished in the 51 years since the crime, A man who changed his name, had siblings with resentment issues, women troubles, failed marriages, and a conviction involving a teenage girl. This all added up to make him the perfect fall guy for the crime. A convenient man.

This is the true story of a 72-year-old grandfather who spent almost five years wrongfully imprisoned for a crime he didn't commi


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8/1/2020

INDECENT ADVANCES - JAMES POLCHIN

Stories of murder have never been just about killers and victims. Instead, crime stories take the shape of their times and reflect cultural notions and prejudices. In this Edgar Award–finalist for Best Fact Crime, James Polchin recovers and recounts queer stories from the crime pages―often lurid and euphemistic―that reveal the hidden history of violence against gay men. But what was left unsaid in these crime pages provides insight into the figure of the queer man as both criminal and victim, offering readers tales of vice and violence that aligned gender and sexual deviance with tragic, gruesome endings. Victims were often reported as having made “indecent advances,” forcing the accused's hands in self-defense and reducing murder charges to manslaughter.As noted by Caleb Cain in The New Yorker review of Indecent Advances, “it’s impossible to understand gay life in twentieth-century America without reckoning with the dark stories. Gay men were unable to shake free of them until they figured out how to tell the stories themselves, in a new way.” Indecent Advances is the first book to fully investigate these stories of how queer men navigated a society that criminalized them and displayed little compassion for the violence they endured. Polchin shows, with masterful insight, how this discrimination was ultimately transformed by activists to help shape the burgeoning gay rights movement in the years leading up to Stonewall.