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Fatal Tryst: Who Killed the Minister and the Choir Singer?

Gerald Tomlinson

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ISBN 10: 0917125096 / ISBN 13: 9780917125096
Published by Home Run Press, 1999
Condition: Good Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Fatal Tryst: Who Killed the Minister and the...

Publisher: Home Run Press

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition: Good

Edition: 1st - may be Reissue.

About this title


On the morning of September 16, 1922, the bodies of the Rev. Edward W. Hall and his choir-singer mistress, Mrs. Eleanor Mills, were found lying side by side under a crab apple tree in a lovers' lane near New Brunswick, N.J. The minister had been shot once in the head, the choir singer three times, and her throat had been cut from ear to ear. Love letters written by Eleanor lay scattered between the corpses. The Hall-Mills case became an immediate cause celebre. Sixty-two front-page articles appeared in The New York Times over the next several months, but, owing to an inept investigation, the mystery remained unsolved. Then, in 1926, four years after the crime, a New York tabloid, the Daily Mirror, pressured New Jersey authorities into reopening the case. Rev. Hall's widow and her two brothers were arrested and charged with the double murder. A spectacular trial in Somerville, N.J., resulted in the acquittal of all three defendants. Newspapers throughout the country featured the case. The New York Times outdid itself with nearly one hundred front-page articles between July and December 1926. No one was ever convicted of the murders. In 1964, more than four decades later, William M. Kunstler, the well-known trial attorney, wrote a book on the case in which he pointed the finger of guilt at the Ku Klux Klan. Few accepted his conclusion at the time, and virtually no one who has studied the classic case accepts it now. Who, then, did kill the Episcopal rector and his pretty "wonder heart" lover, as he called Eleanor? Was the crime really so mysterious that no one could solve it? Or was it, as the Times commented editorially within the first few days, "one that should have presented few difficulties and those not insuperable"?

From the Author:

I began to explore the question of who killed the minister and the choir singer more than four years ago, after completing Murdered in Jersey, published by Rutgers University Press in 1994 and updated in 1997. What I learned in that search is the subject of Fatal Tryst. My book attempts to sort out the known facts of the Hall-Mills case, examine the physical and testimonial evidence, and assess the truthfulness of the key witnesses, including the incredible "Pig Woman," who promised to be--and in a sense was--the "Babe Ruth of the trial." It offers a reasoned solution to the long-standing Hall-Mills mystery, one that differs from the three main solutions offered so far.

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