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Poisoning the Pecks of Grand Rapids: The Scandalous 1916 Murder Plot
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Poisoning the Pecks of Grand Rapids: The Scandalous 1916 Murder Plot

(True Crime)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  252 ratings  ·  31 reviews
With his boyish good looks, Arthur Warren Waite charmed into marriage the daughter of wealthy Grand Rapids business tycoon John E. Peck in 1916. He then wasted no time executing what he believed to be a flawless scheme to hijack his wife's inheritance. The plot went awry when a mysterious telegram set off a sequence of events that ultimately exposed his immoral ambition to ...more
Paperback, 203 pages
Published October 28th 2014 by History Press (SC) (first published September 23rd 2014)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  252 ratings  ·  31 reviews


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Abbey
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I tend not to have terribly high expectations of local history titles in general--it's a failing of mine--but I think I was as riveted to this as I would have been to an Anne Rule book, but possibly moreso because Mr. Buhk is, I think, much more attuned to how much grisly detail to give and when to pull back. Likewise, as hard as it must be to construct characters from historical documents, he did a remarkably good job and despite knowing who the murderer was and the outcome before I even starte ...more
Cathy
Nov 10, 2015 rated it liked it
I liked it for the local aspect but it was not all that well written.
Linda Hagedorn
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've been exploring GR history and landmarks and stumbled on this 1916 double murder case of the wealthy Peck family. I love driving down Plymouth Avenue and viewing mansions of old and present. It is an interestingly sad story which mentions so many landmarks and adds to my knowledge of history in GR and the second setting of NYC. ...more
Sarah
Jan 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gr-reads
A fascinating look at a local news story that the entire country followed. Arthur Waite was ruthless and seemed to have no conscience. Also he didn't seem to think things through. If this was a CSI episode, it would have been solved by the first commercial break. He sucked at covering his tracks. ...more
Jessica
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great nonfiction book. Glad I read it.
Aaron Cochrill
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
It was a very interesting read pertinent to Grand Rapids despite most of it occurring in New York. None the less, it was an intriguing story about a murderer who seemed to have a solid plan and had he been more patienf, might have gotten away with it.
Jane
Jun 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
I was predisposed to be interested in this because I live in Grand Rapids. It is a glimpse into the manner in which a handsome, well-spoken man managed to insert himself into a very wealthy family, all the while plotting to murder every last one of them. He didn't merely marry the Peck's daughter, but endeared himself to her aunt and others. The drama takes place between Grand Rapids and New York City, where the newly married couple lived.

It was quite a famous case in both locales and involved d
...more
Lydia Granda
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down. It takes place in 1916 when Arthur W Waite endears himself into the wealthiest family at the time in Grand Rapids Michigan, weazeling his way into the heart of the Peck heiress ultimately marrying her, murdering her parents, attempting to murder her wealthy aunt, all in order to inherit their fortune and live a life of ease. He is totally without a conscience, no morals and talk about a narcissist. We the reader are invited into a time wh ...more
Ann
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Local history at its best at over 100 years of passing - this story is still an interesting saga of human nature , greed, false hopes and facades , deception and leaves one puzzling over how can human beings be so naive , trusting when evil is right in front of them - a sad commentary on crime - we have come no further in 100 years if anything even more complications factor in. The one thing that I gleaned from this book is that the brother-in-law saw through the mask of deception and stopped Au ...more
Katie
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This was a very interesting read about a case that was a bit of a national sensation at the time, but I think over time hasn't maintained the same notoriety as some others. I would recommend, as it isn't a very long book, to read it when you have an afternoon free to read it all in one sitting. I found that by reading for a little bit and then setting it down until the next day, I would become confused by the very large cast of characters and forget who certain key players were. There were a lot ...more
Chantelle Dixon
True crime book that blended factual details with an interesting storytelling style. Was a little dry for my taste and there were parts where the author took liberties in assuming what Arthur Waite was thinking that he couldn't possibly know, but overall it was an entertaining read. ...more
Jennifer
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of the best true crime books I've read in a while. Buhk is succinct in explaining the story, but still makes the narrative interesting. I haven't read a ton of "local" histories, but this one went far above my expectations. ...more
Gayle Martyn
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Historical murder,historical report. A “he dunnit” well Done! True story. Clearly written. Michigan history of a friends family.

This is quite a story,and true Michigan-history! Photos and all to validate as you read.
Victims were relatives of a
friend of mine.
Dana Tipken
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was riveted to this book. Not only because of the local history, but how someone could be so calculated in his mind and actions to plan something so outrageous in order to fulfill personal greed and selfishness while ruining the lives of others.
Eunice Link
Feb 14, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The writing was getting in the way of a good story.

Had trouble getting passed the dialog and personal descriptions of the actions that were taking place. Telling me that a person sneared or had a waning smile... How did the author know that from the information gathered for the story.
Aimee G
Aug 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting to read about a man who thought he could murder his wife and her family for money. Learned about the socialite lives in the 1910's and how the justice system worked then. ...more
Jennifer
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Well written. Incredible to think in that era someone could be that scheming.
Dianna Stampfler
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another fascinating historic murderous story comes to life. I’ve enjoyed every one of Tobin’s books!
Tiffany L
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Book about a Crazy Story!!
Brice Meerman
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’ll admit that I love true crime, well I love hearing or watching true crime. But reading it is difficult for me. This was a great story of a horrible man who was extremely infamous in his time, but has not held onto his fame throughout the years. I spoke with my grandparents who are from this area and they had no recollection of his name or story (which is understandable in that the trial took place in New York and not Grand Rapids). But it is a great tail of psychotic or insane. Was he a man ...more
Mary
Jun 30, 2016 added it
Shelves: adult
Gripping opening. I thought I would lose interest in this one as I read, but Buhk interwove factual information into a history filled story. I enjoyed learning a bit more about the history in the 1916s too since I didn't grow up in the area. ...more
Tricia
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was pretty cool reading a true crime that took place 100 years ago in the city where I live. It was neat to know exactly where the locations were that they were talking about and I learned a lot about my city.
Danny Lynn
Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Love the way this is written. Great way to present history. Read like a story but had all the proper notations.
Serra
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book.it fun ready our own town history.

Good book. And interesting history of a famous family from here,learn stuff about one of our landmark s here in town
Mary
Dec 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: put-back-on
I really wanted to like this book for the local history, but it was so poorly written, I can't continue reading it. ...more
Glenda
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club-shelf
I enjoyed the historical references of the places and pictures of Grand Rapids and New York. Interesting true story. The only other comment I have was that I missed my Kindle! It's a book, book. ...more
Blake
May 14, 2016 rated it liked it
This was an easy read and interesting. Being from Grand Rapids, I found it more interesting than maybe the average reader.
Laura Lewakowski
Nov 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-group-books
Really interesting - true crime, set in my hometown of Grand Rapids. I thought it was a pretty straight forward account of the facts. Lots of pictures. I kept asking myself, what was he thinking?
Dee brown
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was really interesting. Well researched, and put together.
Kathy
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Impressive, true story-page turner. For a historical account, I was surprised how engrossing this story was!
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