The book launch and signing is at 7 p.m., Wednesday December 1, at the Michigan Historical Center, 2nd Floor exhibit area. For more information on the book and the event visit the author’s website.Â Books will be on sale in the Museum store.
As part of the book launch for Judge William C. Whitbeckâ€™s debut legal thriller â€œTo Account for Murderâ€ The Michigan Historical Museum will display, for the first time, the hat worn by State Senator Warren G. Hooper when he was assassinated in 1945 and other artifacts from the subsequent investigation.
Hooperâ€™s hat was part of the evidence that was turned over to the Museum by the Michigan State Police. Whitbeckâ€™s fictional thriller used the murder as the stepping off point for his work of fiction.
â€œAlthough everyone believed the Purple Gang was responsible, the murder was never solved and it became the critical element for me in writing the book. Â To be able to see the hat with a bullet hole in it is a grim reminder of the times when corruption ran rampant in government.â€
As a result of the Grand Jury investigation one-third of the State Legislature along with a Lieutenant Governor and lobbyists came under indictment.
Senator Hooper was set to testify before a Grand Jury the next day when he was shot on his way home from Lansing to Albion on January 11, 1945.
Whitbeck used historical newspaper files to recreate the era of the times when, as he says, â€œa nickel would buy you a cup of coffee and $100 would buy you a legislatorâ€. At the time of his research he did not know of the existence of the artifacts.
He said while discussing the event, Museum staff recalled that the artifacts were in storage and decided they should be displayed for a short time. The exhibit is on the Second Floor of the Michigan Historical Museum.
â€œHistorical museums not only celebrate the glories of the past but also underline how important it is to recall our blemishes.
The Detroit Free Press said Whitbeckâ€™s â€œTo Account For Murderâ€ Â accuratelyÂ portrays the corrupt politicians of theÂ eraÂ asÂ â€brash, bold and brutal charactersâ€Â and â€œbrings them vividly to life.â€ It went on to say that it â€œhas a final twist you will not see comingâ€.