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Pittsfield's Fosburgh Murder Mystery
Pittsfield's Fosburgh Murder Mystery: Scandal in the Berkshires | Frank J. Leskovitz
4 posts | 2 read | 7 to read
Shots rang out in a prominent Pittsfield family home on the morning of August 20, 1900, ending the life of young socialite May Fosburgh. Who pulled the trigger was unclear, and the scandal captivated attention well beyond the Berkshires. Her brother was a top suspect, but the distraught family claimed an intruder was to blame. Investigators, media and the public struggled to make sense of conflicting details, including suspicious gunpowder residue, as the mystery remained unsolved. Author Frank J. Leskovitz unravels the tale that still lingers in the hills generations later.
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blurb
Reviewsbylola
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#thisisberk #soaringscores

An old unsolved murder that occurred in the Berkshires. May Fosburgh was barely out of her teens when she was murdered in her bed in the middle of the night. Her family was in the home but everyone else was unscathed. Was it intruders? A family member? At this point we‘ll never know.

Librarybelle This sounds good! 2mo
Lmstraubie Eek! I'm in the Berkshires now. Making sure my door is locked tight tonight! 2mo
Cinfhen That is spooky? Must be a family member!! 2mo
CrowCAH Wow that‘s a spooky story! 2mo
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review
Reviewsbylola
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Mehso-so

I‘m between a pick and a so-so on this. It‘s a gripping true crime story about a young woman who was killed at her family home in 1900. Her family all claimed that burglars had broken in, but no one‘s stories quite matched up. The story was brief for true crime, with all of the focus on the night in question and the aftermath. There was not much getting to know the Fosburghs and I came away from the book confused. #hoopla

Reviewsbylola My biggest issue is we don‘t find out who killed May, and the author seems to go back and forth on his own opinion. In the opening, he said to email him with our own suspicions, and that he had his own ideas as to what happened. I would have preferred he made his case one way or the other, personally. And the chapter on the end about modern forensics was so misplaced. We all know modern forensics. I would have rather he shared how the crime . . . 2y
Reviewsbylola Could have been solved with modern forensics, and tied in the chapter that way. @kaye I‘m dying to hear your thoughts! My instinct is that Robert S. Fosburgh did not do it, mostly because it just doesn‘t make sense to me. 2y
Kaye @Reviewsbylola You‘re right the book was lacking in certain areas. I think maybe when people try to write books about cold cases from so long ago they don‘t have much to work with other than newspaper clippings. There probably aren‘t any people left who could tell them much unless it‘d be word of mouth passed down thru people long gone. These older historical true crimes seem to be a lot like that. Limited info. I thought the part about today‘s 2y
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Kaye Forensics was just to fill a page quota. We all know it‘d be easier today to solve a crime. Now for what I think happened. If you put together the ripped nightgown of Amy( wasn‘t that the wife of Robert ?) and the fact it sounded as though he was mean and their marriage was shaky when all this happened. Also why did they move back in with his family ? Anyhow, just my guess. Robert was possibly trying to make Amy perform her wifely duties and she 2y
Kaye Was refusing. Hence the ripped pjs. I think the argument got loud, the father got involved because if them causing such a ruckus, a fistfight occurred and the sister tried stepping between her dad and brother and BAM. She got shot. I‘m not sure who had the gun but it seemed to me that the family friend left quickly and didnt want to testify. If I recall the 14 year old sister‘s story changed from the beginning to the trial. I don‘t believe ther 2y
Kaye Ever were burglars in the house. I think either the dad or the brother shot the gun. I don‘t think they meant for the sister to get hurt. She was trying to be the peacemaker. Just my guess. Whatcha think ? 2y
Reviewsbylola I definitely think your theory is plausible. That‘s actually more along the lines of what I wish the author had given us. I was definitely thinking that Bert was innocent even thru the trial because there was not one shred of discord that anyone could show between family members. But the epilogue especially had me questioning that. So much divorce and young death that it seemed maybe the family wasn‘t as happy as I initially thought— @kaye 2y
Reviewsbylola Plus I have a really hard time with the idea of Bert‘s gun being used by burglars. How did they find it when they didn‘t take anything else? And it was supposedly in a drawer. But the evidence just wasn‘t there to convict him and all the red herrings really threw me through a loop. Was there really a mysterious shoe and pillow cases found? I couldn‘t decide if those were really found or planted or what. @kaye 2y
Kaye @Reviewsbylola Yea that‘s the trouble with these old cases. You wish you had more of the family logistics and how they got along before this event. They seemed to make the family sound a bit too”cozy” in the beginning. Families aren‘t often what they appear from one evenings. I think there was a lot going on that the author probably couldn‘t find out. Did it say why Robert and Amy moved back in ? I couldn‘t remember that part. Do you think it wa (edited) 2y
Kaye Was a gang of burglars ? The screen that only opened 11 inches. The guy supposedly holding the lantern and the gun. The matches scattered all over the place even down the road. Too much nonsense for me to believe that story. 2y
emilyhaldi Your description reminds me of Lizzie Borden 2y
Reviewsbylola I had a hard time believing either story. I guess that‘s why I wanted the author to give me something to believe in. 😂 I think the window is implausible but then the detectives showed it was possible—then again, I believe it was the detectives hired by the family. I don‘t think it specifically stated but I assume it was because they all moved to Pittsfield and Bert worked for his dad. @kaye 2y
Kaye I think Robert or the dad got the gun out of the drawer. As for the shoe and the pillowcases, they were rich. One of them could possibly have owned shoes from that store. It didn‘t sound like a poor person‘s shoe. Not sure how it ended up where it did. Didn‘t the laundry lady say some of the pillowcases were missing when she did laundry ? I still think it was one of the 2 Roberts, accidentally. Imagine that being on your conscience. 2y
Kaye I guess we‘ll never know. Some of these cold cases like this are fascinating. Keeps your brain working. 😳 2y
Reviewsbylola The shoe was much smaller than the size either Robert wore but apparently no one thought to ask James Fosburgh what size he wears, which the author pointed out. I can‘t remember about the pillow cases tbh. @kaye 2y
Kaye Sadly this is probably also one of those cases where money talks. Rich family gets better treatment. Things are overlooked. If they were poor the outcome may have been much different. 2y
Reviewsbylola That thought crossed my mind too. In fact, I was surprised they even tried the case, given the lack of evidence and the status of those involved. I think had the Fosburghs actually been from Pittsfield, and not just living there for a short duration, Bert would never have been charged. @kaye 2y
Kaye Yep right you are. It‘s fun to have someone to yak with about these true crimes. 👍🏻 2y
Reviewsbylola I agree! I always read an ebook when I‘m putting my girls to bed at night and your recs are my go to. I started a new one last night. @kaye 2y
SilversReviews It sounds good. I love the drawing. 2y
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review
Kaye
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Pickpick

A wealthy family went to bed one night, then state that 3 men broke in to rob them, though nothing was taken. The father and adult son were both beat up, and daughter May was shot. The stories change from that night to the trial date. The police arrest a family member for May‘s murder. It sounds as though the family circled their wagons to protect each other. I think the police had it right. I won‘t give away what happens next. Updates at the end

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blurb
Kaye
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I think I‘m gonna read this first. It‘s a quickie of only 100+ pages. I like these old historical cold cases, and the beginning photo has me hooked. Now I want to find out more. Another I‘ve never heard of before.

Reviewsbylola This sounds good! 2y
Kaye @reviewsbylola Yes it was a quick read, but not a lot of background as far as getting to know the family well before this happened. The main part of the book was the trial that lasted less than a week. I like how it has old photos of a lot of the people in the story and also, at the end of the book, telling what happened to each family member afterwards. The author also puts his email in the beginning pages if you want to email him with comments. 2y
AmyG Pittsfield Massachusetts? 2y
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Kaye 👍🏻 Yep. Are you familiar with the area ? @AmyG 2y
AmyG @Kaye My brother-in-law lives the in the Berkshires. So yes. (edited) 2y
Kaye That‘s always interesting when a location in a book is someplace you‘ve been or live near. Too bad the house isn‘t there anymore. It sounded like a big fancy old place that would‘ve been a neat historical place but they said in the book the house was torn down. Something boring was put in its place. I can‘t remember what. @AmyG (edited) 2y
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