Monday, Nov. 18, 2013
The Sixteenth Rail: The Evidence, The Scientist, and the Lindbergh Kidnapping (Fulcrum Publishing), by Adam J. Schrager
The Sixteenth Rail is award-winning Madison reporter Adam Schrager's exploration of the Wisconsin connection to the Lindbergh kidnapping case. While many dramatizations of the notorious crime have focused on tracing the ransom money to Bruno Richard Hauptmann, convicted of murdering the child of aviator-national hero Charles Lindbergh, another piece of evidence involved the homemade ladder used by the kidnapper to climb into the Lindbergh's second floor nursery. The dogged pursuit by Madison forensic scientist Arthur Koehler of wood samples led investigators to lumber mills, lumber yards and construction sites where the ladder might have originated. Schrager never encounter a detail he didn't embrace (do we really need Koehler's phone number?). Perhaps he put himself in Koehler's gumshoes carefully noting every grain of fact in amassing his case.