Star Magazine

1904: Murder in the West Bottoms, Part Four: The Missing Mother of Pearl

The story so far: It is January 1904 in Kansas City. Officer Lafayette Tillman, Kansas City’s solitary black policeman, has been whittling away at two murders, one a prostitute, the other her red-headed client (or lover?), who was a labor organizer in the packing houses. While many seem to want the case closed, Tillman pursues his assignment at the behest of the West Bottoms political boss, “Big Jim” Pendergast.

Cindy Hoedel

Cindy Hoedel: Five things I will miss most about an isolated Cuba

Historic changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba are coming. Having traveled legally to the island in 2002, my feelings about the breakthrough are mixed. As I watched President Obama outline his vision of increased travel and commerce between our countries, I couldn’t kick the sensation that — poof! — one of the world’s last truly exotic destinations has vanished.

Star Magazine

1904: Murder in the West Bottoms, Part Three: Tillman comes to the rescue

The story so far: It’s early 1904. Officer Tillman has little to go on in a prostitute’s murder except the vague description of a young red-haired man wearing fancy shoes. Then a shoeless carrot-top is pulled from the Blue River with a gold chain the girl had been wearing. The police, and more importantly, Tom Pendergast, seem to want the man’s case closed as a suicide, although the corpse had a decidedly non-suicidal stab wound on its back.

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