The narratives composing this book are literally true stories of crime.
In a majority of the cases the author conducted the prosecutions
himself, and therefore may claim to have a personal knowledge of
that whereof he speaks. While no confidence has been abused, no
essential facts have been omitted, distorted, or colored, and the
accounts themselves, being all matters of public record, may be
The scenes recorded here are not literature but history, and the
characters who figure in them are not puppets of the imagination,
but men and women who lived and schemed, laughed, sinned and
suffered, and paid the price when the time came, most of them,
without flinching. A few of those who read these pages may profit
perhaps by their example; others may gain somewhat in their
knowledge of life and human nature; but all will agree that there are
books in the running brooks, even if the streams be turbid, and
sermons in stones, though these be the hearts of men. If in some
instances the narratives savor in treatment more of fiction than of
fact, the writer must plead guilty to having fallen under the spell of
the romance of his subject, and he proffers the excuse that, whereas
such tales have lost nothing in accuracy, they may have gained in the
truth of their final impression.
CRIMINAL COURTS BUILDING,
NEW YORK CITY,
April 20, 1908.