Cemetery John: The Undiscovered Mastermind Behind the Lindbergh Kidnapping (Review)

Book cover for "Cemetery John" by Robert Zorn.Title: Cemetery John: The Undiscovered Mastermind Behind the Lindbergh Kidnapping

Author: Robert Zorn

Narrator: Sean Runnette

Publication Year: 2012

Pages: 320 (audio length: 10 hours 20 minutes)

Genre: Non-Fiction

Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com

From the cover:

For 75 years, the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh’s infant son has gone unsolved. Evidence, opinion, and logic have discredited the notion that Bruno Richard Hauptmann – electrocuted in 1936 – acted alone. In this meticulous and authoritative account of the crime, the trial, and the times of the Lindbergh kidnapping, Robert Zorn clears away decades of ungrounded speculation surrounding the case. Inspired by his father’s relationship with the actual accomplices – including the mastermind – he presents the clearest ever picture of a criminal partnership, which would shake every class and culture of American society.

Using personal possessions and documents, never-before-seen photographs, new forensic evidence, and extensive research, Robert Zorn has written a shocking and captivating account of the crime and the original “Trial of the Century”.

From the ecstatic riots that followed the Spirit of St. Louis on either side of the Atlantic, to the tragic night that would shake America’s sense of security, to the horror of the New Jersey morgue where Lindbergh insisted on verifying the identity of his son, Zorn’s skillful treatment meets this larger-than-life story and gives it definitive shape – revealing the true story behind the crime for the first time.

To be honest, I didn’t really know a single thing about the Lindbergh kidnapping until I read this book. I almost passed on it, actually, because I just didn’t think it’d be that interesting. It’s a criminal case from so long ago, in another country, and it just didn’t seem all that important. I gave it a shot, though, and it turns out to have been a good thing that I did.

Cemetery John gave enough background on the “crime of the century” that it was accessible even to me, who knew absolutely nothing going in. The narrator had this kind of gruff, serious voice that really fit the true-crime narrative and the investigative journalism of the author. The book was very matter-of-fact and meticulously laid out Zorn’s independent research and his argument that he has found out the truth about a previously-unknown accomplice in the Lindbergh kidnapping and murder.

There’s not really a lot more than I can say.¬†Cemetery John is a straightforward non-fiction book laying out the independent research Zorn has carried out to try to find out what really¬†happened a long time ago. It’s interesting and thorough, and if you’re interested in the Lindbergh case – or just in true crime generally – you will probably enjoy it.

(Oh, and in my case? I finally understand the occasional references to “the Lindbergh baby”.)


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