22. Cafe Society Scandal: The Murder of Patricia Burton Lonergan

Today, Alicia takes us back to wartime New York, for the scandal that rocked 1940s cafe society. Our man Nick described the case this way in his July 2000 Vanity Fair story:

A young, attractive socialite, Patricia Lonergan, is found naked in her bedroom, bludgeoned and strangled to death. The accused: her wildly handsome, devastatingly charming husband, Wayne, a fortune hunter whose lurid alibi shocks even New York’s toughest police officers and tabloid reporters. The murder and subsequent trial were the media sensation of 1943 and ’44, played out against the cafe-society backdrop of the Stork Club and El Morocco.

Let’s investigate!


Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments, by Dominick Dunne (Amazon affiliate link)

The Talented Mr. Lonergan, by Dominick Dunne (archive.vanityfair.com)

The Stork Club | Walter Winchell: The Power of Gossip | American Masters | PBS (YouTube link)

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