Allan Levine Online Book LaunchWednesday Oct 07 2020 7:00 pm, Virtual, Online Book Launch
Join us as we celebrate the launch of Details Are Unprintable: Wayne Lonergan and the Sensational Café Society Murder (Lyons Press), featuring a conversation hosted by Terry MacLeod.
In the early hours of October 24, 1943, 22-year-old Patricia Burton Lonergan from a wealthy New York family was murdered at her residence on in the upscale Manhattan neighbourhood of Turtle Bay-Beekman Place. Her estranged husband, Wayne Lonergan, a 26-year-old Canadian from Toronto was charged with the crime. He was ultimately convicted in a sensational trial that for a time pushed the Second World War off the front pages of New York City’s newspapers.
Details are Unprintable traces the story of Patricia and Wayne’s turbulent lives—a story that is set against New York City’s ostentatious café society night club culture and examines the era’s intolerant and fear-mongering attitudes about homosexuality, which contributed to the harsh portrayal of Lonergan in the press.
Allan Levine is an award-winning author and historian based in Winnipeg. He has written sixteen books including Toronto: Biography of City; King: William Lyon Mackenzie King: A Life Guided by the Hand of Destiny, which won the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction; and Coming of Age: A History of the Jewish People of Manitoba, which won the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award. His most recent book, Seeking the Fabled City: The Canadian Jewish Experience, was published in October 2018 and was longlisted for the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize.
Host Terry MacLeod is an independent Emmy-nominated journalist, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal Recipient, and former CBC Radio and TV host, presenter and producer. He is currently the host and producer of the soon-to-be-released podcast Prairie Design Lab with the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba.
- by Allan Levine
$34.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $31.46
“Allan Levine’s extraordinary reconstruction of a high-society murder case that drove World War Two from the tabloid front pages in 1940s New York City offers a fascinating exploration of the New York social scene and the place of homosexuality, closeted or not, within it. It’s also a page-turning legal procedural that gracefully gives lay readers a vivid narrative of a hard-fought trial, as well as post-trial developments that unfolded during a revolution in the rights of criminal defendants.” - Daniel Richman, former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York The narrative of Details Are Unprintable primarily unfolds over a seven-month period from October 1943 to April 1944―from the moment the body of twenty-two-year old Patricia Burton Lonergan is discovered in the bedroom of her New York City Beekman Hill apartment, to the arrest of her husband of two years, Wayne Lonergan, for her murder, and his subsequent trial and conviction. But this story goes back in time to the 1920s, when Wayne Lonergan grew up in Toronto and then forward to his post-prison life following his deportation to Canada. It is the chronicle of Lonergan in denial as a bisexual or gay man living in an intolerant and morally superior heterosexual world; and of Patricia, rich and entitled, a seeker of attention, who loved a night out on the town―all set against the fast pace of New York’s ostentatious café society. Part True Crime and part a social history of New York City in the 1940s, this book transports readers to the New York World’s Fair of 1939 when Patricia’s father William Burton first encountered Lonergan; the Stork Club, 21 Club, and El Morocco to experience with Patricia a night of drinking champagne cocktails and dancing; and the muggy New York courtroom where Lonergan’s fate was decided. What truly happened on that tragic night in October 24, 1943? Should we accept Lonergan’s confession at face value as the jury did? Or was he indeed a victim of physical and mental abuse by the state prosecutors and the police, as he maintained for the rest of his life? This book considers these, and other, key questions.