Deaths on Pleasant Street by Giles Fowler


The 1909 murder case surrounding the wealthy Swope family of Independence, Missouri, gripped newspaper readers throughout the nation. This book gathers the facts behind the suspicious fates of three Swope family members: the eccentric Colonel, millionaire donor of Kansas City, Missouri’s Swope Park, his affable cousin, and a young nephew and heir. The mystery pits the Swope matriarch against her disfavored son-in-law, Dr. Bennett Clark Hyde. Charged with poisoning the Colonel and suspected of multiple other attempted murders, Dr. Hyde endures national media attention for this crime of the century. The series of trials and appeals that followed explores the question: Was he a diabolical villain bent on inheriting Swope’s millions or the unfortunate victim of a family grudge? This account of gothic-era America follows streetcar tracks from the courtrooms of Kansas City to the typhoid-plagued Swope mansion in nearby Independence. The author delivers an engaging and accurate retelling of these 100-year-old events in the literary journalism tradition by analyzing court transcripts, newspaper coverage, and personal memoirs. Readers also get a new scenario based on modern science for what may have happened in the dark hallways of the mansion on Pleasant Street. It has been 100 years since multiple tragedies befell members of the prominent Swope family in Independence, Missouri, but Deaths on Pleasant Street gives those shadowy events and the ensuing scandal the immediacy of today's headlines.

About the Author

Born in Kansas City in 1934, Giles Fowler joined the city s prominent newspaper, the Kansas City Star, following his graduation from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. During his 24 years at the Star, Fowler worked as a reporter, film and theater critic, and editor of the paper’s Sunday magazine.

Product Specifications

Published by Truman State University Press, 2009. Paperback, 251 pages.