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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Mar 18, 2016
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

Noir Factory Podcast Case #011: Dick Tracy – Crimestopper

Dick Tracy Crimestopper“I can’t think of a better man to draw Dick Tracy than Chester Gould. He told the story of Dick Tracy. He told the story of Dick Tracy the way it should have been told. No other guy could have done it. It’s not in the draftsmanship, it’s in the man.” – Jack Kirby, Artist

He was born in Pawnee, Oklahoma in 1900, seven years before the territory became a state. His grandparents, all four of them, were pioneers of the territory. His father, Gilbert was a minister and a printer. Gilbert Gould was everything a small town in a harsh territory needed him to be, but mostly he was a man who believed in a good story.

He was also the editor of the local newspaper, and he loved his politics.

Little Chester Gould was born in the last year of the nineteenth century and Gilbert raised him on a steady diet of newsprint. The young man fell head over heels for comics, and like most boys his age, followed the daily adventures of Budd Fisher’s comic strip misfits “Mutt and Jeff” with fierce loyalty.
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Mar 16, 2016
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

Of Criminals and V-8’s – The History of the “Bonnie and Clyde Death Car”

(Photo Courtesy Of The Dickinson County Historical Society & The Jeffcoat Photography Museum)

(Photo Courtesy Of The Dickinson County Historical Society & The Jeffcoat Photography Museum)

It would have been nice to think that they didn’t see it coming. The hail of bullets, the crash, the gun smoke, the blood. After all, there was a lot in life that they DID see coming. But the end, particularly this end, they saw coming a mile away.

Hell, she even wrote poems about it.

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were gunned down in 1934 on a country road in Louisiana as they paused to see if an old man needed help with his car.

Don’t get me wrong. They didn’t pause for any old man they might see on the side of the road. They weren’t those sorts of outlaws.

Usually an old man on the side of the road was an easy mark, and if Clyde Barrow were willing to lend a hand, he would only be more inclined to steal the car as soon as it was road worthy.
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Feb 25, 2016
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

Noir Factory Podcast Case #10: Bonnie and Clyde – American Outlaws

Noir Factory Episode 10 Bonnie and ClydeLetter to Henry Ford on April 10, 1934…

Dear Sir,

While I still have breath in my lungs I will tell you what a dandy car make. I have driven Fords exclusively when I could get away with one. For sustained speed and freedom from trouble the Ford has got ever other car skinned and even if my business hasn’t been strictly legal it don’t hurt anything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V8.

Yours truly,
Clyde Champion Barrow


Clyde Chestnut Barrow was the fifth of seven children born to a poor faming family in Telico, Texas on March 24th, 1909. To describe his parents, Henry and Cumie Barrow as “poor” would be charitable. They were tenant farmers who could barely make enough money to feed their children. In his youth, Clyde and his siblings were often sent to live with other relatives just to survive.

The family moved to West Dallas when Clyde was twelve due to lack of work and resentment from nearby land owners against tenant farmers. The family spent their first months in Dallas living out of their horse-drawn wagon until Henry could save up enough money to buy a tent to live in.
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Feb 12, 2016
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

Noir Factory Podcast Case #09: Dame Agatha Christie

NF Case #009 Agatha Christie“Women are the ones who knows what’s going on,” she said quietly. “They are the ones with eyes. Have you not heard of Agatha Christie?” – Alexander McCall Smith, The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency

Agatha Christie was the bestselling author of all time, and living in the days of Stephen King and J.K. Rowling, that means something. In literature, it goes the Bible, Shakespeare, and Christie.

In short, she is what legends in mystery writing aspire to be.

But it wasn’t always like that for her.

When you look at Agatha Christie’s story, is helps to know something about her mother, Clara Boehmer. Clara was the only daughter of a military man and an Englishwoman. She had older brothers, one of which died very young, but they had left home to join the armed forces or to make their own way in the world.

But Clara was the youngest and she stayed behind at the family’s home in Belfast, Ireland. At least, as long as she could.
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