The Boy on the Bicycle Gets Good Review

By Nate Hendley

The Boy on the Bicycle, my new true-crime book about the largely forgotten 1956 wrongful murder conviction of 14-year old Toronto teenager Ron Moffatt has been given a very positive review in The Miramichi Reader.

The Reader offers “independent book reviews for independent readers” in its own words.

Here is the review (republished with permission):

The Boy on the Bicycle: A Forgotten Case of Wrongful Conviction in Toronto by Nate Hendley

July 21, 2018

“Readers of true crime will be happy to hear that Nate Hendley is back with The Boy on the Bicycle (2018, Five Rivers Publishing). This was a project Mr. Hendley had put on hold while finishing his encyclopedic book The Big Con, which was a history of confidence men, hoaxes and frauds from past to present.

The Boy on the Bicycle revisits the murder of seven-year-old Wayne Mallette on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto 62 years ago in 1956. at the time, the only clue in the case that horrified Torontonians was that of a boy leaving the grounds of the CNE after briefly speaking with a security guard. Unfortunately, a truant young teen named Ronald Moffat was picked up by police and under extreme duress, confessed to the murder and was convicted as a juvenile offender. Although the real killer (and child predator) Peter Woodcock was eventually found and confessed to the killing, thus freeing Ronald, no compensation was forthcoming for the months he spent in detention, his distraught parents using what little money they had to pay legal costs.

How could this have happened? Why did Ronald confess to a crime he didn’t commit? Whatever became of the other principal characters such as Peter Woodcock, the various police investigators and judges? Mr. Hendley does an admirable amount of forensic investigation to get to the many facts of the case and the stories behind the forgotten account of Ronald Moffatt (who fully co-operated with Mr. Hendley in telling his side of the story).

In an interview with the author, Mr. Moffatt was asked: What do you personally hope to get out of the book?

Ron replied: “This year I finally get to be “heard”. I feel that is important as I have lived with this locked up inside of me for over 60 years. The experience of 1956 had a very negative effect on my life. It would be nice if somehow the justice system decided I deserved financial compensation for the wrongful conviction, but I have come to the conclusion that will never happen.”

The Boy on the Bicycle is an exceptional read and serves as a unique time capsule of the times and mores of post-WWII Toronto when murders were rare and sexual predators were practically unheard of. While Ronald Moffatt remains uncompensated for his wrongful conviction, it was Mr. Hendley’s wish to finally tell Ron’s story after these many years, which he has done in a direct, yet compassionate manner. Five stars!

*Please note if you choose to purchase this book through Amazon using the link below I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. If you cannot see the Amazon ad below (if you are using an ad blocker, for instance) here is the link: https://amzn.to/2Nzg7BQ Thanks!”

Here is a link to the review: http://miramichireader.ca/2018/07/boy-on-the-bicycle-review/

The Boy on the Bicycle can also be pre-ordered through publisher Five Rivers: http://fiveriverspublishing.com/?page_id=3758

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and author. He has written several books, primarily in the true-crime genre. His website http://www.natehendley.com/ offers more details about his books and background)

True-Crime Authors Recommend Books About Con Artists

By Nate Hendley

I was one of several true-crime authors approached recently by The Strategist (online newsletter for New York magazine) to recommend books about con artists.

Titles I suggested included:

Empire of Deception by Dean Jobb. “Hendley likes this “well-researched account” of a “mild-mannered Chicago lawyer turned con-artist supreme” who stole $30 million from investors,” writes The Strategist.

Conman: A Master Swindler’s Own Story by notorious scammer Joseph “Yellow Kid” Weil. “In his memoir, Hendley said, Weil describes how he “fixed boxing matches and sold swampland (marketed as pristine rural lots) to gullible victims in the early 1900s. Weil is completely honest about his scams — and utterly without regret or remorse,” states The Strategist.

Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock. The Strategist writes: “This “almost too crazy to be true” book tells the tale of John R. Brinkley, who, Hendley said, was “a barely competent surgeon in Kansas who earned millions in the 1920s and 1930s transplanting goat testicles into men’s scrotums in a vain effort to revive their virility.”

The Strategist article, which was posted July 5, 2018, can be found here: http://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-con-artist-books.html

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and true-crime author. His book, The Big Con: Great Hoaxes, Frauds, Grifts and Swindles in American History, is available through AmazonBarnes and Noble or directly from publisher ABC-CLIO).

Libraries and Fans of True-Crime Books: Consider Acquiring “The Big Con”

By Nate Hendley

Published by ABC-CLIO, this comprehensive and informative book covers fraudsters such as Charles Ponzi (from whom we get the term “Ponzi scheme”), George C. Parker (an old-time swindler who repeatedly “sold” the Brooklyn Bridge), Bernie Madoff and beyond. Chapters examine Internet fraud, dubious medical nostrums, hoaxes, “para-abnormal fraud” (faking séances for profit) and Hollywood’s portrayal of con artists. The psychology of con artists and ways to avoid being scammed are also discussed in detail.

Reviews

“Serious students and general readers alike will marvel at fraudsters’ ingenuity and cringe at human gullibility (sometimes fed by greed). Consider for all public libraries.”—Library Journal

“[A] good overview and resource for public and academic libraries aimed at all levels of beginning students. Summing Up: Recommended. High school, community college, and undergraduate students; general readers.”—Choice

“For a comprehensive guide to how the likes of Clem, Lehwess, and other slick-talkers operate, check out The Big Con: Great Hoaxes, Frauds, Grifts, and Swindles in American History. . . . [E]ntertaining and informative.”—Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

The Big Con is a big book, almost 400 pages, and as such, it is very authoritative, making it a great reference book to have for those who enjoy reading true crime, crime fiction, or who are born skeptics and get a certain ‘kick’ out reading how easily people can be fooled. . . . [T]his book is perfect reading for the casual reader, true crime/fiction aficionado, and sceptic.”—The Miramichi Reader

To order, please visit the ABC-CLIO website at: https://www.abc-clio.com/ABC-CLIOCorporate/product.aspx?pc=A4261C

Ordering details: Released: September 2016 (380 pages) 7×10

Print: 9781610695855 – $89.00/ eBook: 9781610695862 – eBook pricing available upon request

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based freelance journalist who has written a series of non-fiction books, primarily in the true-crime genre. His website is located at: http://www.natehendley.com)

The Dutchman Dies: The Strange Death of Gangster Dutch Schultz

By Nate Hendley

October 24, 1936 – Newark City Hospital

“The Dutchman was dying. The bullet in his gut had caused massive internal injuries and sent his temperature soaring. Staring fixedly at the ceiling from his hospital bed, Arthur Flegenheimer—aka Dutch Schultz—cried and babbled. In his delirium, he began wearing a weird tapestry of unconnected phrases, names and oaths.

A police stenographer sat by the gangster’s side, taking down every word.

“No, no. There are only 10 of us and there are 10 million fighting somewhere in front of you, so get your onions up and we will throw up the truce flag,” he raved.

None of it made any sense to police. They kept listening, however, as Schultz rambled on, his mind journeying back and forth over the course of his brief but spectacular criminal life.”

Excerpt from Dutch Schultz: The Brazen Beer Baron of New York, my book on the eccentric Jewish 1930-era crime boss.

At Amazon: paperback http://tinyurl.com/p4ppkas Kindle http://tinyurl.com/qh54s3m + at the publisher’s website http://fiveriverspublishing.com/?page_id=532

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and true-crime author. His website http://www.natehendley.com/ offers more details about his books and background).

Libraries and Fans of True-Crime Books: Consider Acquiring “The Boy on the Bicycle”

By Nate Hendley

Libraries and Fans of True-Crime Books: Please consider acquiring The Boy on the Bicycle.

This book is about Ron Moffatt, a 14-year old Toronto teenager wrongly convicted of killing a child on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in 1956. It’s a true, largely forgotten story involving a coerced confession, fumbled police investigation and the star lawyer who fought to free Moffatt from custody.

The Boy on the Bicycle will be released August 2018 by Five Rivers, an independent Canadian publisher.

The book is available for pre-order at the Five Rivers website: http://fiveriverspublishing.com/?page_id=3758

Ordering details from Five Rivers:

Trade Paperback (230 pages) $22.99 – ISBN 9781988274515

EPUB format $4.99 – ISBN 9781988274522

If you have an Ingram account, you can also purchase The Boy on the Bicycle through Ingram Advanced Catalogs at: https://www.ingramcontent.com/retailers/catalogs

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and true-crime author. His website http://www.natehendley.com/ offers more details about his books and background).

Review of “The Big Con”

By Nate Hendley

Historian and academic Dean Jobb has written a nice review of my book, The Big Con for Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (one of the leading publications in the mystery/crime field).

The Big Con covers infamous scams, swindles and hoaxes in American history.

Some selections from the review:

“Canadian true crime author Nate Hendley has scoured the history books and the Internet to compile this ‘greatest-hits’ collection of the clever ploys and outrageous exploits of con artists.”

The Big Con casts a wide net, exploring everything from online malware and phishing scams and famous hoaxes to fake mediums and promoters of quack remedies.”

“The text is sprinkled with tips on how to avoid common scams. ‘Con artists are not the loveable rascals often portrayed by the popular media,’ notes Hendley, ‘but criminal predators who victimize real people.’”

The Big Con contains an interview I conducted with Jobb about Leo Koretz (master scammer and subject of Jobb’s book, Empire of Deception).

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and true-crime author. His book, The Big Con is available through AmazonBarnes and Noble or directly from publisher ABC-CLIO).

 

Interview with the Author of “Innocence Lost: A Play About Steven Truscott”

By Nate Hendley

Beverley Cooper wrote “Innocence Lost: A Play About Steven Truscott” for the Blyth Festival, a well-respected theatre group based in rural Ontario. The play was performed at the Blyth Festival in 2008 and 2009.

A decade later, “Innocence Lost” has been revived for a series of stage performances by Toronto’s Soulpepper theatre company.

The play examines the wrongful conviction of small-town Ontario teenager Steven Truscott for the murder of classmate Lynne Harper in 1959.

Truscott spent a decade in jail and a lifetime fighting to clear his name. Truscott was acquitted by the Ontario Court of Appeal in August 2007 and his conviction declared a miscarriage of justice.

I wrote about the case in my own book, Steven Truscott: Decades of Injustice, and was very impressed by the play.

Here is a condensed transcript of an interview I conducted with Ms. Cooper:

Q. When you were doing your research was there anything that really shocked you?

A. I was shocked all along the way—all the little details adding up to this moment where we almost hung a 14 year old boy. What really interested me was the effect on the kids who would have been in the class with Steven and Lynne. You start with the microcosm—the kids and that social circle, then you move to the community, then you move to Ontario, and the OPP [Ontario Provincial Police] then you move across Canada and it’s rippled across the world, this miscarriage of justice. I find it really affecting and terribly sad.

Q. The play’s title, “Innocence Lost” is interesting. I got impression it referred to the lost innocence of the schoolchildren and the lost innocence of Canadian society.

A. When you think of [1959] and that lovely June evening when all the kids are out playing and having a wonderful time and there’s this young girl, Lynne Harper, 12 years-old, found raped and murdered, everything changes. It changes for the kids, it changes for the community and it changes for Canada because everything was held in question. Our trust in authority: doctors, lawyers, the OPP, judges, the military—all of it is in question. I think before that time, while obviously not everybody, Canadians had a real trust in authority and I think we lost that with the Steven Truscott case.

Q. I liked how the play underscored Steven Truscott’s innocence but also showed how people could have honestly thought he was guilty. Was it difficult to do that balancing act?

A. I think that’s the role of the playwright. Good drama comes from trying to show multiple points of view from different perspectives. If I come in and just said, ‘He’s innocent and this is a terrible system’ it’s more like an essay. I always feel a playwright should pose a question and then seek to try to find out [the answer] in dramatic fashion.

Q. When you did your research, did you decide if there was main villain, per se? Some people say OPP Inspector Harold Graham was obsessively focused on Truscott and refused to consider other suspects. What’s your take?

A. If I was to say one villain, it would probably be Inspector Graham. He was under an immense amount of pressure to come up with a suspect very quickly. It was an unthinkable crime in a very rural, safe community and there was a real cry to catch whoever did this. And [Truscott] was the last person to see her … So I can kind of understand why Steven Truscott was a suspect but not to look at other suspects as well was really a mistake.

Q. Did you get to meet Steven Truscott?

A. He came to see the show when it was in Blyth, the first production. He was very gracious and very supportive.

Q. What message would you like play-goers to take away from “Innocence Lost”?

A. That we are human and humans are fallible and we need to be vigilant about our justice system and not take it for granted that everything is going to go according to plan, because it definitely won’t.

(“Innocence Lost” runs at the Soulpepper theatre until June 23, 2018. For details, click here)

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based true-crime author. His book, Steven Truscott: Decades of Injustice is available through Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Chapters-IndigoBarnes and Noble and publisher Five Rivers)

New Crime Book Launch

By Nate Hendley

I am pleased to announce the launch of my new book, The Boy on the Bicycle, about a largely forgotten case of wrongful conviction that took place in Toronto. The case involved a 14 year-old boy, falsely accused of murdering a child on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in 1956.

The launch takes place August 14, 2018 at Toronto Reference Library (details below) starting at 7 pm. The event is free and open to the public.

The launch will feature a reading, a discussion, questions from the audience and (if all goes to plan), a surprise guest.

For information on The Boy on the Bicycle, see my crime blog post here.

For information about the August 14 launch, click here.

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and true-crime author. My website http://www.natehendley.com/ offers more details about my books and background. You can follow me on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/natehendley)

 

Podcast: “Murder Was the Case” Episode on Al Capone + Dutch Schultz

By Nate Hendley

A new episode of the “Murder Was the Case” podcast has gone live.

Murder Was the Case is hosted by the talented true crime author/sage and academic, Lee Mellor. On this episode, Lee and I chatted about prohibition, mob violence and gangsters Al Capone and Dutch Schultz.

The quote in the image above refers to the murder of Chicago crime boss “Big Jim” Colosimo, at the hands of his protégé Johnny Torrio (an event that helped pave the way for Capone’s own rise to power). It’s one of my favourite comments from the podcast.

To hear this quote, check out the podcast on iTunes or Podbean.

You can acquire my book Al Capone: Chicago’s King of Crime through Amazon.ca (Canada), Amazon.com (United States), Chapter’sBarnes and Noble and publisher Five Rivers.

You can acquire my book,  Dutch Schultz: The Brazen Beer Baron of New York, through Amazon.ca (Canada), Amazon.com, (United States), Chapter’sBarnes and Noble and publisher Five Rivers.

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and true-crime author. My website http://www.natehendley.com/ offers more details about my books and background)

Podcast: “The Murder of Lynne Harper”

By Nate Hendley

A podcast based around my book about Steven Truscott (small-town Ontario teenager wrongly convicted of murder in 1959) has been posted.

Entitled, “The Murder of Lynne Harper” the podcast is part of the Canadian True Crime series, which is devoted to “telling stories of cruel people who committed heinous acts in Canada.”

Canadian True Crime is hosted by the very talented Kristi Lee, a self-described “Australian who lives in Canada”.

I wrote the script to the podcast from my book Steven Truscott: Decades of Injustice, published by Five Rivers Publishing.

I tried to focus more attention on the victim, Lynne Harper.

The podcast can be heard here: https://canadiantruecrime.ca/episodes/2018/4/23/24-the-murder-of-lynne-harper

Steven Truscott: Decades of Injustice is available through Chapter’sBarnes and NobleAmazon.ca (Canada), Amazon.com (United States), and publisher Five Rivers.

Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and true-crime author. My website http://www.natehendley.com/ offers more details about my books and background.

My books at Five Rivers – http://fiveriverspublishing.com/?page_id=150

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