The Charles Lindbergh Conspiracy
On the night of March 31st. 1932, the infant son of acclaimed airman Charles Lindbergh was abducted from his bedroom in his parents' home at East Amwell, New Jersey. The kidnappers left a note demanding fifty thousand dollars, which they later increased to seventy thousand dollars. Although a ransom was eventually paid, the child was found a short while later, not far from the family home. His skull had been severely fractured, and it was determined that he had been killed shortly after the abduction. Whether this had been done deliberately or accidentally was never fully established.
Two-and-a-half years later, an illegal German immigrant named Richard Hauptmann was arrested, charged, tried, and found guilty of the crime, and subsequently went to the electric chair.
Hauptmann was certainly no angel and had served several prison terms in his native country. One was a five year sentence, later reduced to four years, for robbing two women at gunpoint with an accomplice. Since his clandestine arrival in the United States in the early 1920s however, he seemed to lead a blameless life. He had married and had appeared to leave his dubious past behind him. So what would make a reformed criminal return not just to petty crime, but to commit the much more serious offence of kidnapping? Was it, indeed, Hauptmann who carried out the abduction, and did he have accomplices? Or, was it someone else entirely? If so, who were they, and why were they never brought to justice? What was the significance of the coded ransom note and subsequent letters which were sent to Charles Lindbergh, and why was the Lindbergh family targeted at all?
The answers to these questions in this 'other reality' novel are incredible and thought provoking. They could have changed the course of world events, even possibly preventing World War Two as we know it. The alternative, however, might have been something far more terrifying...
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Photograph courtesy Library of Congress.