Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ray's Reviews: The Murder of Maggie Hume: Cold Case in Battle Creek by Blaine Pardoe and Victoria Hester

        "The Murder of Maggie Hume" by Blaine Pardoe and Victoria
Hester (History Press, $19.99) is a fascinating analysis of a real
crime that took place over forty years ago.
        Subtitled "Cold Case in Battle Creek", the book focuses on the
brutalization and strangulation of 20-year-old Maggie Hume on August 16,
        A graduate of Kellogg Community College, Hume was working as a
medical secretary at a local doctor's office.  When she didn't appear,
a call was made to her father, the athletic director and football
coach at St.
Philip High School.
        He didn't know where she was, but thought that Margaret Van Winkle,
Maggie's roommate, might have some ideas.
        Margaret had returned from a trip to Europe, arrived back in their
apartment at 4:00 a.m. and had gone straight to bed. She hadn't seen or
heard from Maggie, but suggested that they call Jay Carter, Maggie's
        Carter and Maggie's younger brother got the keys from Maggie's
dad; they went to investigate. There was no immediate sign of Maggie;
her purse and glasses were gone. Soon the police were called. Margaret
came over to the apartment; an officer found Maggie's dead body
stuffed into a comforter
in the closet.
        Maggie's boyfriend was obviously the prime suspect; his story kept
changing and he didn't have a solid alibi. Carter failed an initial
polygraph test, but there was no physical evidence. Additional police
tips led to other discoveries; a deadly car crash silenced the voice of a
potential witness.
        Detective Dennis Mullin, who had interviewed Carter, did further
investigation, checking out other suspects, but the case went cold.  In
1986, Mullin and Detective Joe Newman, head of the Major Crimes Unit,
became more involved when another suspect, Michael Ronning surfaced.
        Ronning, a convicted murderer, had lived in the apartment
below Maggie's.  He left town the day after the murder and was a
suspect in two other similar Michigan murder cases. Ronning confessed,
but the facts didn't all match.
        The further investigation caused a deep rift between the Battle Creek
Police Department and the Prosecutor's Office that has lasted for
        Pardoe and Hester, a father-and-daughter writing team, have
presented a well-organized and highly entertaining examination of a
puzzling case that's still rife with unanswered questions.

        Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, has
reviewed Michigan books and crime novels regularly since 1987.

Find this book and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on October 5, 2014.

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