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review 2017-04-25 23:19
A child who was loved more in death than in life...
The Boy in the Box: The Unsolved Case of America's Unknown Child - David Stout

I have to give this five stars for the excellent work that the author put in to writing this heartbreaking history. The tragedy of losing a child is made harder when the child is not reported missing or people coming forward to claim or identify a missing child.
The case of the Boy in the Box, from Fox Chase Pennsylvania, is something that consumed the careers of many police officers and left many of the brightest minds scratching their heads. Discovered in February 1957, the young boy was seen a case that would be easily solved, as someone would come forward to claim the body. The medical examiner noticed the bruising and wounds on the body. Each person who worked the case of the Boy in the Box became so involved, that the child became an silent member of each family. With the hope of a fast solve quickly becoming dashed as the days turn into weeks and then stretch into months and years.
The Boy in the Box was buried by the police department, everything being donated and contributed by the community and the homicide detectives. The case was never closed and they continued to work the case and follow any and all leads. Nothing was considered to small to follow up on, and the case moved from small files to the several boxes of notes and mementos. Today the case is still open, and the young boy who was more loved in death than he was in life, remains nameless, cared for by the policemen who take over the case and the community who have adopted him as their own..

This book was a hard read. I love true crime and the many facets of what can make a person tick, but this story... this was enough to keep me awake nights. I don't often cry while reading or watching a movie, but this book had me in tears more than once. I found myself asking questions throughout this entire read.. how could anyone do this to a child? Who could not claim the young boy and give him his full identity back. I found myself wishing that they could have done more, even though they did everything they could and then some. While this case is still open, given the length of time, its entirely possible that this case will never be solved, and that makes it even worse. As a mother, I can't imagine how any parent could not come forward and claim their little child. I hope that this case will continue and that maybe with the leaps and bounds that forensic science has taken, that this little boy will be identified. Even if the person who caused the injuries or placed him where he would be found is gone, knowing the full story and getting a conclusion to the story would help complete the thousands of hours of work that the original officers and medical examiner put into trying to find the answer. Closure will never fully happen, but a completion and explanation will go a long way to helping a community and police department close the case of the young child who became the "Boy In The Box."

 

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review 2015-04-27 00:00
A Right to Die
A Right to Die - Rex Stout,David Stout The book was first published in 1964. Can you recall any notable historical events in the US at this time? Civil Rights movement, among other things.
Civil Rights
Civil Rights 2
You did not think Nero Wolfe would not get involved, would you? Twenty six years ago during the events of the novel Too Many Cooks a young black guy helped the detective and so the latter considers himself to be in debt. Now the guy all grew up, became a college professor, got marries and had a son.

The son wants to marry a white civil rights activist girl who also happened to be very rich. If you think it is too good to be true (I mean the rich part), so did the professor. He came to Wolfe to collect on the debt asking the detective to check the background of his future daughter-in-law. Wolfe is reluctant to do it, but a debt is a debt so he has no choice. Several days later he has to change his task and clear the son in question from a murder charge which completely satisfied the police considering the skin color of the suspect.

The first very noticeable thing about the novel is that the recurring characters - especially the main characters - do not age at all. Wolfe's client grew up and was well into his mature age while both detectives still remained the same: Archie Goodwin is still handsome ladies' man and Nero Wolfe's obesity did not cause him any health problems at all.

I was also very surprised to learn that people consider this novel to be racist. Could this be that I read a different one? Considering the fact that it was written during the Civil Rights movement by the old guy - he was pushing eighties at the time - who also always considered himself a conservative the novel is as progressive as it could get. It is also a good mystery.

It is also very interesting to notice the change in racial attitude of the two main characters. Wolfe was never a racist, even in late thirties. This was probably influenced by the fact that he came from a country where simple people were not much better off than slaves. Archie Goodwin did come out somewhat racist at that time - he is a typical white American middle class guy after all, but even in the early book he had to reconsider his views due to Wolfe's influence. There is no trace of racism in him in this novel.

Times changes since the publication of the first book of the series and so did the themes in it. Rex Stout began using more social commentary in his works; this was noticeable in the previous collection, but this time it is impossible to miss.
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review 2015-01-20 00:00
Murder by the Book
Murder by the Book - Rex Stout,David Handler Inspector Cramer is a friend/archenemy of both Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. When he shows up at Wolfe's office asking for his opinion about a list of strange names found at a murdered man's place it comes as a great surprise for both detectives. Nero Wolfe does not feel like offering one, so pissed off Cramer leaves. Later on when a wealthy Illinois businessman hires the detective to find a murderer of his only daughter - it seems to be hit-and-run accident to the police - Nero Wolfe is the only person to see the connection between this case and Cramer's problem.

Nero Wolfe's lifestyle takes quite a lot of money, so his fees are very high. For this reason the majority of his clients are very wealthy people who are often not very nice. This is probably the first time in the series where I felt really bad for Wolfe's client loss. In the scenes his is present, the businessman really feels like a grieving father. He also looks really impressive in the last scene.

As a mystery the novel is good and really makes you wonder about the content of the book in title. This is the first time we see Archie Goodwin has to leave his usual place of action - New York - and come California and I really like his description of the West Coast (hint: it was raining non-stop during his visit so he was not fond of the place much).

4 stars is the final rating for the book which is quite on the level with the rest of the book in the series.
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review 2014-10-19 00:00
Murder by the Book
Murder by the Book - Rex Stout,David Handler Again I have been drawn to read another who-dun-it with Archie as the chronicler for Nero Wolfe. Murder by the Book does not disappoint. All the old staff and the orchids are here with their individual eccentricities. This story about the murders of a book's writer and all the people who have ever read the book is a classic, with no suspects and no leads what will Nero do?
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review 2010-10-25 00:00
The Boy in the Box: The Unsolved Case of America's Unknown Child - David Stout I have always been fascinated by the Vidocq Society since their success with the John List case. That is what drew me to this book. However, one cannot be emotionally moved by the sad case of this forgotten boy and the cops who would not give up on this case.If you are interested in Vidocq, a good follow up read is The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases.
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