Long Island’s Vanished Heiress: The Unsolved Alice Parsons Kidnapping by Steven C. Drielak

Publication Date: August 3, 2020

In 1937 Alice McDonell Parsons was allegedly picked up at her home by two people interested in seeing a property she had for rent and was never seen again. A note found on the floorboard of a car led police to think it was a kidnapping, which wasn’t so far fetched as kidnaping was a very popular crime at the time. The FBI became involved and Hoover assigned his best agents to the case. The complications that followed and secrets that were exposed complicated the case of the missing woman whose fate was never really known. Drielak takes a deep dive into declassified documents to fit the puzzle pieces of what happened to Alice McDonell Parsons.

 

Long Island’s Vanished Heiress: The Unsolved Alice Parsons Kidnapping is a fascinating read. The author spent 30 years in law enforcement and examines the historical evidence relaying it in a very readable way. There’s no whitewashing of the historical investigation. It was held up by clashes between law enforcement agencies and, in some cases, pedantic investigators. Readers start with the events of June 9, 1937 as relayed by Alice’s housekeeper/business partner, Anna Kupryanova, and Alice’s husband, William Parsons. Anna’s son, Roy, left on his bike for school while William went by train to New York City for a meeting. The changing stories and disdain that Anna had for Alice as well as Anna’s affair with Alice’s husband left suspicion in the minds of law enforcement but what would investigation show?

Long Island’s Vanished Heiress: The Unsolved Alice Parsons Kidnapping is extremely well crafted. It’s linear and, as horrible as Anna is, relies on the facts of the case rather than the character of it’s suspects to prove it’s case. The mishandling of the case is outlined clearly. That Anna was so easily able to dominate and intimidate William was not helpful to the case. Drielak starts where the investigators do, with the idea that this is a kidnapping. The facts of the case influence the trajectory of suspicion. Why would William say that his wife couldn’t drive? Why did he lie about his relationship with Anna and why did both of their stories morph over the course of early days? 

Long Island’s Vanished Heiress: The Unsolved Alice Parsons Kidnapping is 100% a true crime read. The details derived from law enforcement paperwork prove that truth is stranger than fiction. Did Alice walk away or did someone get away with murder? Draw your own conclusion. She certainly had the family connections and wherewithal to disappear and perhaps exact a little revenge in the leaving? Alice is a walking Dateline victim description, described as pleasant looking, gentle and happy. Loved by her family and close to her siblings children. This is true crime so there are times the morphing stories get confusing and also the narrative drags as there’s just nothing going on in the case. As the title reveals, the case was never solved. If William and Anne knew anything, they went to their graves without giving anything up and, as it’s in the title, that’s not a spoiler. 

Long Island’s Vanished Heiress: The Unsolved Alice Parsons Kidnapping  is a great read and if you are a fan of history, true crime or just a really good story, this is a book that must not be missed.

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