The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America
with Karen Abbott
In the early days of Prohibition, long before Al Capone became a household name, a German immigrant named George Remus quit practicing law and started trafficking whiskey. Within two years he was a multi-millionaire. The press called him “King of the Bootleggers,” writing breathless stories about the Gatsby-esque events he and his glamorous second wife, Imogene, hosted at their Cincinnati mansion, with party favors ranging from diamond jewelry for the men to brand-new Pontiacs for the women. By the summer of 1921, Remus owns 35 percent of all the liquor in the United States.
Pioneering prosecutor Mabel Walker Willebrandt was determined to bring him down. Willebrandt’s bosses at the Justice Department hired her right out of law school, assuming she would pose no real threat to the cozy relationship they maintained with Remus. Eager to prove them wrong, she dispatched her best investigator, Franklin Dodge, to look into his empire. It was a decision with deadly consequences. With the fledgling FBI on the case, Remus was quickly imprisoned for violating the Volstead Act. With her husband behind bars, Imogene began an affair with investigator Dodge. Together, they plotted to ruin Remus, which sparked a bitter feud that soon reached the highest levels of government–and ended in murder.
Combining deep historical research with novelistic flair, The Ghosts of Eden Park is the unforgettable, stranger-than-fiction story of a rags-to-riches entrepreneur and a long-forgotten heroine, of the excesses and absurdities of the Jazz Age, and of the infinite human capacity to deceive.
Before becoming a New York Times Bestselling author, Karen Abbott wished to be a lawyer, but her aspirations shifted after taking an internship at Philadelphia Magazine. Six years later, her personal research into a family mystery led to surprising discoveries about the history of Chicago at the turn of the twentieth century and ultimately became the inspiration for her first work of nonfiction, Sin in the Second City. She followed this work with American Rose and, then, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, which was named one of the best books of the year by Library Journal and the Christian Science Monitor. Additionally, she has written for The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Smithsonian Magazine, Salon, and other publications. A native of Philadelphia, she now lives in New York City.