The narrative of Details Are Unprintable primarily unfolds over a seven-month period from October 1943 to April 1944—from the moment the body of twenty-two-year old Patricia Burton Lonergan is discovered in the bedroom of her New York City Beekman Hill apartment, to the arrest of her husband of two years, Wayne Lonergan, for her murder, and his subsequent trial and conviction. But this story goes back in time to the 1920s, when Wayne Lonergan grew up in Toronto and then forward to his post-prison life following his deportation to Canada. It is the chronicle of Lonergan in denial as a bisexual or gay man living in an intolerant and morally superior heterosexual world; and Patricia, rich and entitled, a seeker of attention, who loved a night out on the town —all set against the fast pace of New York’s ostentatious Café Society and Broadway gay bars in which gay men were regularly entrapped by undercover police operatives. Part crime novel and part a social history of New York City in the 1940s, readers will be transported to the New York World’s Fair of 1939 when Patricia’s father William first encountered Lonergan; the Stork Club, 21 Club as well as the El Morocco to experience with Patricia a night of drinking champagne cocktails and dancing; and the muggy New York courtroom where Lonergan’s fate was decided. What truly happened on that tragic night in October 24, 1943? Should Lonergan’s confession be accepted at face value as the jury did? Or, was he indeed a victim of physical and mental abuse by the state prosecutors and the police as he maintained for the rest of his life? These and other key questions will be considered and answers offered.
In this riveting true crime account, Levine (The Exchange: 100 Years of Trading Grain in Winnipeg) takes an in-depth look at the murder of 22-year-old Canadian heiress Patsy Lonergan, whose naked, beaten body was found in her Manhattan apartment on October 26, 1943, the day after she spent the night hitting nightclubs in New York City with a man other than her husband, Wayne Lonergan, from whom she was separated. Wayne, a poor Canadian playboy, who was also in town, was arrested and convicted in a circus trial, but it was the revelations about their dysfunctional marriage that kept the scandal sheets selling. Both were heavy drinkers and fixtures at the Stork Club and El Morocco. Both had affairs, and Wayne, who was bisexual, may have had a liaison with Patsy's father. Wayne confessed to the murder, though he later recanted, and spent 22 years in Sing Sing. After parole, he was deported to Canada, where he spent the last 14 years of his life with actress Barbara Hamilton. Levine does a good job filling in the cultural background, in particular the plight of a bisexual man trying to fit into an intolerant society. This titillating tale of how the rich live and die compels even if it offers no definitive answers. \n