Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Albert Fish

A Clue

Nobody wanted to believe that this letter was true. It had to be the ravings of some perverted, sadistic crank. But, Detective King realized that the details of his meeting with the Budds and Grace were accurate. Also, the handwriting on this horrible letter was identical to the letter the elderly kidnapper had written for the Western Union messenger six years earlier.

The envelope had an important clue: a small hexagonal emblem had the letters N.Y.P.C.B.A. which stood for the New York Private Chauffeur's Benevolent Association. With the cooperation of the president of the association, an emergency meeting of the members was held. In the meantime, police checked out the handwritten membership forms looking for handwriting similar to "Frank Howard's." Detective King then asked the members — all of whom had passed the handwriting test — to report anybody who had taken the association's stationery.

A young janitor came forward, admitting that he had taken a couple of sheets of paper and a few envelopes. He had left the stationery in his old rooming house at 200 East 52nd Street. The landlady was shocked when she was given "Frank Howard's" description. He sounded just like the old man who had lived there for two months.

The old man who had checked out of her rooming house just a couple of days earlier.


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