Meandering Em's

Passion is books, photography, running and traveling. Also passionate about environmental issues.

Is the Lindbergh Kidnapping Case Solved?

Cemetery John: The Undiscovered Mastermind of the Lindbergh Kidnapping - Robert Zorn

Robert Zorn's father believed that he was befriended by one of the kidnappers of Charles Lindbergh's baby.  After his father's death, Robert decided to work full-time to investigate his father's claims.  The evidence he found was shocking.


It was generally believed that more than one person participated in the kidnapping, not just one man, Bruno Hauptmann.  Another man, nicknamed Cemetery John, met with an intermediary, John Condon, who gave a detailed description of him.  This testimony was ignored at the trial and no attempt was made after Hauptmann's execution to look for the co-conspirator(s).


Robert Zorn retells the story of the kidnapping, the paying of ransom, the search for the baby, finding the body, the arrest and trial of Bruno Hauptmann.  In between, he tells us what John Knoll was doing, based on records and family interviews.  It is chilling.  A few days before Hauptmann goes on trial, John and his wife leave for Germany as first class passengers on a luxury ship.  Up to that time, Knoll was a poor deli worker.  Where did he get the money to pay for a round-trip ticket to Germany?  He left Europe and returned to the USA on the same day that Hauptmann's trial ended and he was about to be convicted.  That evidence, as well as his physical profile  matching Condon's description, was enought to convince me he was one of the kidnappers.


I heard the author speak at the Montclair Adult School and bought a signed copy of the book.  I found his story fascinating.  However, the book repeats some facts many times and the repetition became tedious.  There were numerous grammar and punctuation errors, as well as sentences which made no sense. The author jumped around with dates.  One paragraph he was discussing events in 1935 and then the next, he was writing about what happened in 1934.  I found this type of chronology confusing.  Overall, I would recommend this book for those who like true crime.

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Fumiko Enchi
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