Saturday, June 30, 2012

What's in a name?

"On June 30, 1860, a four-year-old boy named Saville Kent was taken from a wealthy family in England, near Trowbridge. Like little Charles Lindbergh, the boy was taken from his crib and brutally murdered in the middle of the night; it is one of the most famous crimes of 19th century England.
     Charles Lindbergh's nursemaid--to whom he was reportedly more attached than his own mother--was a woman named Betty Gow. Saville Kent's nursemaid, to whom he was similarly attached, was a woman named Elizabeth Gough. The two names are really the same; 'Betty' is a nickname of 'Elizabeth,' and 'Gow' and 'Gough' could be variant spellings of the same name. Like Betty Gow, Elizabeth Gough was suspected of the crime and was mercilessly harassed by police and by public speculation, in both cases for no real reason other than her proximity to the crime. It seems so odd, that these two women who really have the same name play identical roles in somewhat similar crimes."
     --Bill James, Popular Crime, page 151

Page 225: "In Cold Blood was required reading at Shawnee Mission North High School in Mission, Kansas, in the early 1970s. One day a young man was so affected by doing his homework that he dropped the book to the floor, and staggered out of the classroom in a daze. He had figured out, from reading the book, something that his family had never told him. His father was Richard Hickock. He was a baby at the time of the crime. His mother had long since re-married, and he had been adopted many years earlier. But he knew his grandmother, and he pieced the facts together after he saw her name in the book."

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