Scavengers: A True Story of Money, Madness and Murder, the powerful true-life story of eccentric grocery-chain heiress Marjorie Jackson and the bankers, burglars and killers who menaced her in one of the most-publicized murder cases in Indiana history, is now available at the reduced price of $9.95 through Amazon.com. Written and reported by Pulitzer Prize winner Dick Cady, the book, with illustrations, is 275 pages.
In the Indianapolis of the 1960s, the son of a legendary newspaperman is stalked by predatory orderlies in a medieval mental institution, battles drug addiction, romances two beautiful women, and befriends a troubled young man whose fate is linked in a surprising way to a diamond ring once owned by a long-dead racketeer.
This is the story in the novel The House of Himself by Dick Cady, now in limited release from Riverview Books. Forrest Bowman, author of A Patriot’s Peril, calls the book a “masterpiece.” James Alexander Thom, author of Follow the River and other books, calls it powerful and moving. The House of Himself, at 445 pages, retails for $19.95.
More details will be released later. Cady is the author of The Executioner’s Mask, Scavengers and other books.
Mickey Maurer of the Indianapolis Business Journal recently wrote a column on Scavengers: A True Story of Money, Madness and Murder including these comments:
“Marjorie was no doubt the wealthiest resident of Spring Mill Road until May 1, 1977, when she was found dead on her kitchen floor. Many of us wondered how that crime could occur in the midst of such tranquility. Cady provides answers with a spare style reminiscent of the best detective writers.”
“Marjorie Jackson was reminiscent of reclusive dames Miss Haversham and Norma Desmond, ladies gone bonkers–driven and doomed by their insanity. Poor Marjorie used a cap gun to shoo away deputies who had come to investigate an earlier burglary and then was done in by a crew of buffoons.”
“Indeed, this is a crackling circus of a tale–a story well told by a gifted writer.”
Some quotes from author Dick Cady on Scavengers: A True Story of Money, Madness and Murder (as quoted in the Indianapolis Star Jan. 12, 2012):
On the criminals: “Idiocy was the hallmark of these people. And the one person who made the dumbest move was the smartest of the bunch: Herbert D. Biddle Jr., the banker whose embezzling caused Marjorie Jackson to withdraw $8 million in cash. Biddle left his footprints more than the uneducated criminals who stole money from Marjorie’s home. He really started the whole thing when he started embezzling her money. It led to her taking millions out of the bank and putting the money in grocery bags she left around the house.”
On the victim: “What was unique about her was that she was a mentally ill person, but she was also very smart. For a long time, she used her money to protect herself. She knew how to argue with attorneys and judges who tried to freeze her account to keep her from making such large cash withdrawals.”
What makes this story different: “The story should come across as a tragedy, but it doesn’t. I think the Marjorie Jackson story has captivated so many people’s imaginations over the years because they like to imagine what it would like to get their hands on a huge swatch of money like that. It’s like winning the lottery. They dream of one day having that much money. They think all of their problems will go away. But they don’t.”
Riverview Books in August will release Scavengers: A True Story of Money, Madness and Murder, (235 pages, illustrated; $19.95), an account of one of the most bizarre crimes in American history. When a band of predators came to believe eccentric widow Marjorie Jackson was a modern-day witch, it became the seed for the theft of $3,800,000, and the predators overlooked another $5,000,000. Did the Jackson family grocery-chain carry a curse? Over four decades the money contributed to the mental illness of the heir and his wife, lured at least 24 people into crime, brought about two murders, and led two men to the electric chair. Carefully researched and written by author Dick Cady, Scavengers underscores Joseph Conrad’s statement, “The belief in a supernatural source of evil is unnecessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.”
Former Indianapolis Star investigative reporter and columnist Dick Cady has authored a 392-page memoir/history covering four decades with “The Story Behind the Stories at the Pulliam Press.” (September, $19.95). Deadline: Indianapolis details how reporters Cady and Bill Anderson, working with reporter Harley Bierce and photographer Jerry Clark, were indicted by a grand jury and arrested during a lengthy Pulitzer Prize winning investigation of police corruption in the 1970s. Also a former reporter at the Detroit News and Newsday and the winner of more than 50 local, state and national awards, including the Associated Press Freedom of Information award and two Sigma Delta Chi prizes, Cady gives behind-the-scenes details on the 1967 Detroit riots, the Star’s controversial coverage of the Bobby Kennedy presidential campaign in Indiana, the formation of the national journalism organization Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), and the Arizona Project, a multi-reporter investigation of corruption, organized crime and land fraud after the assassination of Arizona reporter Don Bolles. Contact: Riverview Books LLC, P.O. Box 30208, Indianapolis IN 46230. Deadline: Indianapolis also is available through Amazon.com in an e-book version.