The G-men and the Nurse: A 1929 FBI Washington Cold Case


The G-men and the Nurse: A 1929 FBI Washington Cold Case

  • 192 pages

  • 7 x 10

  • Hardcover

  • ISBN 978-1939710-932 

  • Copyright 2018

By William E. Plunkett

It was the sensational Washington, D.C., death case that punctuated the end of the Roaring Twenties. The victim was an attractive young nurse found semi-nude in her apartment with a pajama cord around her neck. Detectives said it was a suicide, but a maverick patrolman thought otherwise—and took on the entire metropolitan police force to try and prove it.

The death case of Virginia McPherson became a cause célèbre in the Capital City, where it occupied the headlines for weeks. The turmoil caused by the “stormy petrel” of the police department, Robert Allen, overturned the coroner’s verdict, saw the police investigation criticized on the floor of the Senate, and sent the case before a grand jury, which indicted the husband, a debonair ladies’ man and semipro football player.

And that was only the beginning. For even in exile, patrolman Allen, a two-hitch Marine, doggedly pursued his own investigation, reported by the half-dozen daily papers that hung on every bizarre turn. Because of the fervor Allen created, the entire police investigation was thrown out, a huge public relations disaster for a metropolitan force already besieged by its futile attempts to police the effects of Prohibition.

Into the breach came the Department of Justice—with a special squad of agents under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover who was itching to build his reputation. And a second grand jury. Throughout the tempestuous autumn in D.C., an interplay of powerful forces—police, DOJ agents, the whistleblower Allen, newspapers, and two powerful and respected attorneys—held the public captivated.

William Plunkett, FBI agent-turned-crime writer, has applied his former investigation skills to Virginia McPherson’s mysterious death, giving the reader an enthralling behind-the-scenes tale of duplicity, political infighting, and human vanity, all set against the backdrop of a tumultuous age about to come crashing down.  

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