Friday, January 20, 2017

"Inheritance, with a Little Prodding, Was a Much Easier and Quicker Way to His Desired Riches"

IT WAS THE MEDIA SENSATION of its day, a double murder for gain with a steamy side order of marital infidelity. It was . . .

"The Case of the Greedy Groom."
By Lawrence G. Blochman (1900-75).
First appearance: Unknown publication (1952).
Reprinted in Mercury Mystery Book-Magazine, October 1955.
True crime account (7 pages).
Online at UNZ (HERE).
"Arthur Warren Waite was a young man from Michigan with a particular interest in gold. Natural, you'd say, in a dentist. Unfortunately, Waite was not satisfied with the small amounts of gold he encountered in his profession, and to acquire more, he embarked on an involved and unsavory scheme. The complications and denouement were so amazing, that Lawrence G. Blochman, well known book and magazine author, calls this his favorite murder case."
Handsome and debonair but also ruthless and mercenary, a liar, an adulterer, and a murderer: Arthur Warren Waite seems to have stepped right out of a Patricia Highsmith novel:
Arthur Warren Waite [writes Blochman] was a good-looking young man from Michigan with an overweening love of money and a ruthless determination to get lots of it in a hurry. Skill and hard work had no place on his impatient timetable.
As we've learned from fiction and real life, however, sooner or later a killer is very likely to make a mistake; in Waite's case it was his characteristic impatience whenever his clever, carefully laid plans weren't coming to fruition:
"In desperation [wrote Charles Fort] he lost all standing in the annals of distinctive crimes, and went common . . ."
. . . the result being his spectacular downfall.
Arthur Warren Waite, handsomely homicidal
- Our author, Lawrence G. Blochman, got our attention as a detective fiction writer last June (HERE).
- After you've read Blochman's account, you can find more information about the Arthur Warren Waite case at Murderpedia (HERE), from which we quote:
"When the body of a possible murder victim is given a post-mortem to determine the cause of death, one of the first signs examiners look for is the presence of any known poisons. But what happens when the lethal ingredients that led to the victim's demise are not chemical poisons, but germs spread by diseases, some of which can prove fatal through natural misfortune rather than murderous intent? If a murderer could harness these germs and bacteria as an effective murder weapon, how could investigators possibly determine whether a victim had died from natural causes or purposefully been exposed to the deadly germs by a human assailant?
"This was the line of thought that influenced Dr. Arthur Warren Waite, a dentist in New York who shared his luxury apartment on Riverside Drive with his wife's retired parents. His father-in-law, John Peck, had built up a sizeable fortune after a career as a pharmacist in the Middle West, and Waite longed to inherit as much of the money as possible. The problem was that neither parent seemed in poor health . . ."
See also Wikipedia (HERE).
- Twenty years later, the Chicago Sunday Tribune ran a well-illustrated article about the Peck Murders; go (HERE) and use the "+" function.
- Arthur Warren Waite isn't unique, inasmuch as there seem to have been quite a few homicidal dentists throughout history, as you'll see (HERE).

The bottom line: "All the motives for murder are covered by four Ls: Love, Lust, Lucre and Loathing."
P. D. James

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