I am pleased to announce the upcoming release of my latest true-crime book.
The Beatle Bandit tells the story of Matthew Kerry Smith, who robbed banks to finance a one-man revolution. In July 1964, Smith disguised himself with a Halloween mask and “Beatle” wig then entered a Toronto-area bank with a rifle. This murderous robbery would fuel a national debate about guns, the death penalty and insanity pleas.
Advance reviews have been extremely positive:
“Hendley does a fine job putting Smith’s crimes in the context of Canadian culture decades ago. Students of true crime won’t want to miss this thoughtful book.”—Publisher’s Weekly, September 2021
“Hendley tells the story as though he were writing a crime novel; an apt read-alike might be Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, with which The Beatle Bandit shares a journalistic style and a perceptive analysis of people and events. First-rate true crime.” ― Booklist
I am pleased to announce that my short book about wrongly convicted teenager Steven Truscott is available for purchase once again.
Originally published in 2012 by Five Rivers Publishing, Steven Truscott: Decades of Injustice, was released by Dundurn Press in e-book format in July 2021.
From the Dundurn website description:
“In June 1959, the dead body of a missing twelve-year-old girl named Lynne Harper was found in a woodlot in Clinton, Ontario, a small community near a military base.
Police zeroed in on Steven Truscott, a fourteen-year-old classmate who gave Lynne a bike ride the night she was murdered. Steven maintained his innocence throughout a tough police interrogation and a speedy trial.
Despite a lack of physical evidence connecting him to the crime, a court convicted Steven of murder and a judge sentenced him to hang.
The sentence was commuted, and doubts grew about the case. New research pointed to a wrongful conviction — a conclusion that gave Steven hope as he fought to clear his name.
A shocking story about a terrible crime in a small-town and the awful miscarriage of justice that followed.”
My book, The Boy on the Bicycle: A Forgotten Case of Wrongful Conviction in Toronto, has been republished in e-book format by Dundurn Press.
In September 1956, sex offender Peter Woodcock killed a child on the deserted grounds of Exhibition Place in Toronto. Fourteen year-old Ron Moffatt was wrongly convicted for the crime. While Ron was in custody, Woodcock murdered two more children before finally being caught.
Since Ron was tried as a juvenile, his name was not mentioned by the media. A blessing at the time, this meant his case was largely forgotten over the decades.
Ron contacted me to tell his story. The Boy on the Bicycle is about his little-known ordeal.
Originally published in August 2018 by Five Rivers, The Boy on the Bicycle has been updated to include new information.
I am pleased to announce that my short book about Al Capone is available for purchase once again.
Originally published in 2006 by Altitude Publishing, Al Capone: Chicago’s King of Crime, was released by Dundurn Press in e-book format in July 2021.
Here’s a promo blurb:
“Chicago mob legend Al Capone set the template for future crime bosses, offering a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of being an underworld leader.
Quick to recognize the value of sympathetic media coverage and alliances with local politicians, Capone amassed almost unimageable wealth, prestige, and power. He also had syphilis which affected his judgement and a violent streak which brought him to the attention of federal authorities. While rival gangs couldn’t kill Capone, he faced a more formidable challenge when bureaucrats began scrutinizing his tax returns.”
My book, Dutch Schultz: The Brazen Beer Baron of New York, was recently republished in e-book format by Dundurn Press.
Gary used to work in an intelligence unit with the Kansas City Police Department. He’s an author, documentary filmmaker and prolific podcaster. He’s also a great raconteur and a perceptive interviewer.
Gary and I have chatted before about underworld figures. Mr. Schultz is a particularly fascinating character—a violent, eccentric mobster who sourced untapped fortunes in rackets other gang bosses disdained. Schultz wasn’t popular with his peers who conspired to bring him down—for good.
Click here to listen to my interview on Gangland Wire.
My short book about eccentric New York City gangster Dutch Schultz is now available for instant download in e-book format.
Originally published by Altitude Publishing, Dutch Schultz: The Brazen Beer Baron of New York was re-released June 2021 by Dundurn Press.
Here’s a promo blurb:
“While uncouth, unpredictable, and unpopular with his mob peers, ruthless gang boss Dutch Schultz was also wildly successful — for a time.
Gang boss Dutch Schultz rose to prominence in the 1920s using violent means to peddle low-quality bootleg beer in New York City. When Prohibition ended, Schultz diversified into other rackets, becoming fantastically wealthy in the process.
Playing by his own rules, “The Dutchman” always seemed to come out on top in conflicts with cops, courts, and disloyal members of his own crew. Uncouth and unpredictable, Schultz was also unpopular with his mob peers who conspired against him. Shot in a restaurant ambush, Schultz’s delirious hospital-bed rants cemented his idiosyncratic legacy.
This concise account highlights the short, violent life of one of America’s strangest gangsters.”
My latest article for TVO.org examines the “pistol panic” that swept Ontario a century ago, prompting some very racist legislation.
At the turn of the 20th Century, two trends worried Canadians: the availability of cheap, mass-produced revolvers and the growing presence of “foreigners” (that is, anyone who wasn’t British-descended).
Newspapers conflated the issues and ran alarmist accounts about “wily aliens” and “foreigners” committing acts of violence with handguns. The media was particularly obsessed with Italians, who were viewed as prone to berserk pistol play.
In response, Ontario passed the pioneering Offensive Weapons Act of 1911, which made it mandatory to get a police permit before purchasing a handgun. A “foreigner” caught without a permit could be deported.
Other provinces passed similar legislation, then Ottawa introduced national police permit rules. American legislators took note and modelled their own statewide handgun licensing laws.
The term originated with a real person, Charles Ponzi, a self-taught money-man in the 1920s who offered a fabulous investment opportunity that provided huge dividends—for a time. Ponzi supposedly backed his business with profits from the sale of international postal coupons. He was briefly the toast of Boston and hailed as a financial genius.
For the rest, you’ll have to read my textbook, which was published by ABC-CLIO.