May 29, 2016
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

Noir Factory Podcast #14: Eliot Ness – Untouchable

Eliot Ness Untouchable“Doubts raced through my mind as I considered the feasibility of enforcing a law which the majority of honest citizens didn’t seem to want.” – Eliot Ness, American Lawman

Even as a boy Eliot Paul Ness seemed destined for excellence and if you asked his fellow students, probably seemed most likely to be a crime fighter. He was the youngest of six siblings born to Peter and Emma Ness, a Norwegian immigrant couple that operated a small bakery in Chicago.

Eliot Ness was a bookish young man and a good student, with a reputation for a neat appearance as well as being a loner. As a kid he grew up with a healthy appetite for Sherlock Holmes mysteries and as a son, he kept his nose to the grindstone. He occasionally helped his family out with their bakery, but his parents had bigger plans for their children.

He attended Christian Fenger High School in Chicago where he graduated in the top third of his class. There he was an average athlete who didn’t seem to care for team sports.
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May 20, 2016
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

Noir Factory Podcast #13: Bugsy Siegel – American Gangster

Bugsy Siegel American Gangster“There’s no such thing as good money or bad money. There’s just money.”
-Benjamin Siegel, Gangster

Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to a family of poor Jewish immigrants who came from Eastern Europe. His parents, Max and Jennie, worked whatever jobs they could find to provide for their five children, and their neighborhood constantly invented new definitions for the word “Poor.”

As a child, the second of five, Benjamin saw that struggle as well as what his parents struggled against, and he vowed that he would rise above a life of poverty.

He dropped out of school somewhere around the age of eleven and started his life of crime. Even as a child he was familiar with violence and intimidation, learning most of what he knew from the Irish and Italian street gangs around him.
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May 20, 2016
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

Noir Factory Podcast Case #012: Mata Hari, Femme Fatale

Mata Hari Femme Fatale“I am a woman who enjoys herself very much; sometimes I lose, sometimes I win.”
-Mata Hari, spy

The name brings visions of a dancer, slithering through a smoke-filled Arabic parlor, wisps of cloth snaking over her as she moves. Her eyes are like polished opals in the moonlight, dark, mysterious, and you can’t bring yourself to look away.

You dare not look away.

Okay it probably didn’t play out exactly that way, but I imagine that is how she would have enjoyed being remembered, so let’s go with that.

There are many questions that still linger about her. The easiest is “was she guilty?”

The answer is obvious. She was Mata Hari, and she was as guilty as sin.

What was she guilty of?

Well, that takes a lot more thought, and we may never have the answer to that.
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Apr 6, 2016
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

What Makes A Detective Special So Special?

colt snubnoseHe walks down a long, dark alley because the story wouldn’t be the same if he didn’t. Garbage lines the edges of the alleyway, washed to the side by a fresh rain. The rain is only a temporary fix at the best, and soon the garbage will be back, because the setting also wouldn’t be the same without it.

Dim neon illuminates the cement trail, but only barely, and just enough to make the long shadows seem longer. As he reaches the middle of the alley, “No-Man’s Land” as it were, he hears the grate of a shoe on the concrete behind him. He almost turns, but that would mean taking his eyes off the dark figure in front.

It would mean death.

It’s a bad place to be, and it was a bad decision that led him here. As he sees the man in front go for his coat lapel, he can only imagine the guy behind him doing the same. His hands are in his pockets already, to protect them from the bitter cold and the rain.

As the men reach for their guns, our man is already warming his fingers on his trusty snubnose, ready to greet lead with lead.

And why a snubnose? I’m glad you asked.
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Mar 22, 2016
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

The Man in the Iron Mask… with the Baby Carriage

Harry1He was an adventurer and a businessman. He was an inventor with a keen imagination. He was a man with vision.

But mostly Harry Bensley was a gambler. It was a condition that was far from rare at the National Sporting Club in London. In fact, the condition was almost required for admission.

On a quiet evening in 1907, club founder and boxing enthusiast Hugh Cecil Lowther, the fifth Earl of Lonsdale, was entertaining a guest. Lowther was an adventurer and an explorer in his own right, having traveled the Canadian arctic and nearly dying reaching Kodiak, Alaska.

Lowther’s guest that evening was J.P. Morgan, the American banker and financier who owned a good portion of the American wealth and an even larger portion of the American influence. One could imagine the two men, titans of old and new wealth, sitting back in their plush leather chairs, swirling expensive brandies and lamenting the loss of adventure in the world.
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