The best true crime of the Roaring Twenties

Who am I?

The author, editor, or ghostwriter of more than 100 book titles, Glenn Stout loves to mine microfilmed newspaper archives and specializes in deeply reported historical narrative non-fiction that brings the past to life.  Many of his titles have intersected with the Roaring Twenties, including Young Woman and the Sea: How Trudy Ederle Conquered the English Channel and Changed the World, now in development for Disney+ as a major motion picture starring Daisy Ridley.  A long-time aficionado of noir and true crime, Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid was the culmination of more than fifteen years of dogged research, a story The Wall Street Journal called “a hell of a yarn--worthy of an HBO hoodlum epic like Boardwalk Empire.”


I wrote...

Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid: America's Original Gangster Couple

By Glenn Stout,

Book cover of Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid: America's Original Gangster Couple

What is my book about?

Before Bonnie and Clyde there was Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid - smarter, more successful, and better looking. In the wake of war, a pandemic, and an economic depression, Margaret and Richard Whittemore, two love-struck working-class kids from Baltimore reached for the dream of a better life. In the heart of the Jazz Age, they headed up a gang that in less than a year stole over one million dollars' worth of diamonds and precious gems - over fifteen million dollars today.

Set against the backdrop of the excesses of the Roaring Twenties, their story takes the reader from the jailhouse to the speakeasy, from the cabarets where they celebrated good times to the gallows where their story finally came to an end... and left Tiger Girl pining for a final kiss. Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid is a tale of rags to riches, tragedy, and infamy.

The books I picked & why

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Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood

By William J. Mann,

Book cover of Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood

Why this book?

This page-turner dives into the underbelly of old Hollywood and the circumstances surrounding the lurid and still unsolved 1922 murder of actor and director William Desmond Taylor, with more than a splash of sex, drugs, and decadence spilling over everything. It breaks new ground in what was already a well-documented case.

The Bobbed Haired Bandit: A True Story of Crime and Celebrity in 1920s New York

By Stephen Duncombe, Andrew Mattson,

Book cover of The Bobbed Haired Bandit: A True Story of Crime and Celebrity in 1920s New York

Why this book?

In 1924 husband and wife team Celia and Ed Cooney, with a new baby on the way and not enough money, turned stick-up artists, with meek-looking, bobbed-hair Celia wielding the gun. The tabloids couldn’t get enough of the “flapper turned bad” storyline and for a time every bobbed-hair flapper and her swain in New York was under suspicion.

Ponzi's Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend

By Mitchell Zuckoff,

Book cover of Ponzi's Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend

Why this book?

In 1920 Italian immigrant Charles Ponzi tapped into the era’s unmatched appetite for greed. The Boston-based swindler and con artist created a pyramid scheme that in a little over a year allowed him to live the high life while fleecing his money-hungry investors of more than $20 million – over $250 million in 2021 dollars.

The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America

By Karen Abbott,

Book cover of The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America

Why this book?

The Roaring Twenties wouldn’t have roared quite as loud without Prohibition. And without George Remus, who cornered the bourbon market while enjoying a lifestyle pulled from the pages of The Great Gatsby – and who probably murdered his wife along the way - the era would have been a lot less liquid.

For the Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz Age Chicago

By Simon Baatz,

Book cover of For the Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz Age Chicago

Why this book?

A chilling account of the era’s most notorious murder, the 1924 thrill-killing of fourteen-year-old Bobbie Franks by University of Chicago students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, two brilliant young men… who just wanted to know how it felt to murder someone. The case inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film Rope.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in murders, Illinois, and New York State?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about murders, Illinois, and New York State.

Murders Explore 292 books about murders
Illinois Explore 50 books about Illinois
New York State Explore 380 books about New York State

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like First in Violence, Deepest in Dirt: Homicide in Chicago, 1875-1920, The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Invention of Murder, and Murder at the Met if you like this list.