Has It Come to This? Discussion

Warning: Spoilers Included

I was planning to publish this page on the day of the book release but I was surprised (and delighted!) to see on Good Reads that some people have already read and reviewed the book! I want to hear from everyone who has thoughts to share about the book.

Has It Come to This? is the unsolved mystery of Frank Richardson’s murder in Savannah, Missouri on Christmas Eve 1900. I love hearing your thoughts on these stories so please do share your ideas and theories about what happened to Frank.

I’d love to hear any thoughts you’d like to share, including about the suspects, their motives, the crime scene, the investigation, and the trials, or feel free to weigh in on any of these controversial questions:

  • Who was Frank looking at and talking to when he asked, “Has it come to this?”
  • Addie told over a dozen people that Frank’s last words were, “Has it come to this?” Later, she said that Frank said, “Come to–” Why did she change? Is it a significant change?
  • Did Goldie Whitehead and/or Frank Davis have anything to do with the murder?
  • Do you believe Stewart Fife’s alibi? If it wasn’t true, where was he?
  • Why did Bessie Phillis suddenly change her story? Why did she disappear?
  • Do you suspect anyone who was not investigated?
  • Who got away with murder on Christmas Eve 1900?

Note: Your first comment has to be approved to deter spam bots. After that, you can comment without waiting for moderation.

21 thoughts on “Has It Come to This? Discussion

  1. Won this book on Librarything! I loved it! Fun, quick read. Mystery, History and a place close enough I can travel to, to see where it took place!! Looking forward to checking out other books by you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: “Has It Come to This?” Book Release is Today! – old spirituals

  3. Pingback: Has it Come to This? is an Amazon category best-seller! – old spirituals

  4. Pingback: Interview on the Most Notorious true crime podcast – old spirituals

  5. Pingback: Has it Come to This is on Sale for 99 cents! (May 21 only) – old spirituals

  6. Pingback: Has it Come to This? Kindle eBook on sale in September – old spirituals

  7. I haven’t finished reading it yet….actually only just part way through so don’t tell me anything!!!! But one thing that has struck me as being odd is that Frank was apparently killed in the hall and then dragged into the south room, and if so, then why was his bowler and cigar found IN the south room and not out in the hall where he apparently dropped dead? NO I DON’T WANT TO KNOW….it just struck me as being out of line with what Addie has said so far (and his death is about as far as I’ve got, so hush!)

    Liked by 1 person

      • I finished this a while ago, but never did post back. There seems to be some collusion on the wife’s behalf to get her off this murder. Often females were let off back then because they were viewed as weak and defenceless, yet many of them were cunning and sly the same as they are today, lol. It was obvious that he was NOT killed in the hall, but in the very room where his wife was sitting. Why did they not pursue this line of inquire in the trial? Obviously she was lying based upon the physical evidence. They seemed to bring in all these red herrings into the trial about the motives of this or that person, but totally ignored the fact that he was definitely in the south room and not in the hall when he was killed, but never insisted on calling her out on why she kept saying otherwise. I think she murdered him!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Very interesting, Jennie! If that’s right, why do you think she did it? Weren’t things improving between them? That was always what bothered me. Maybe she couldn’t forgive him?


          • That is a bit of a stumper, isn’t it. She was obviously a very strong person as compared to her husband who certainly had his weaknesses both in drinking and womanizing. Maybe she also saw the bottle of booze out in the shed or wherever that was found. Maybe she found out about him paying his floozy off and about her threats. Maybe she just decided that Frank was too much of a risk anymore and worried about his influence or lack of influence on their sons. Maybe all of the above? That letter he wrote with its begging and pleading tone could have also just caused her to despise him. It’s hard to know what will suddenly become the trigger or turning point for someone.

            Liked by 1 person

            • “That letter he wrote with its begging and pleading tone could have also just caused her to despise him.” This is a fascinating theory! In all of the time I spent researching and writing this book, it has never occurred to me. I have to give that one some thought! Bravo!


  8. Pingback: Frank Richardson Plants the Seeds of Disaster in his Life – old spirituals

  9. Pingback: Frank Richardson’s Bitter Harvest – old spirituals

  10. Hi, As a Savannah native with ancestors who pioneered Andrew County, I enjoyed your book. It’s a great read ! ……… As one of the local history buffs I know more than a little about two more Savannah/Andrew County cases that may interest you. One, the 1880s double murder of the little McLaughlin sisters by Oliver Bateman. It is argumentatively the most horrible crime in the State’s history. As in your book, this story was covered nationally, with special trains bringing reporters and spectators to Savannah for both the trial and for the hanging. There were people sleeping on the sidewalks. And then, several months later, when the case was believed to be all over, the sensational motive for the murders was exposed and resulted in a widely reported libel trial In St. Joseph.
    And the other case, the 1935 pistol murder of Virgil Reece (my Grandma’s favored cousin) on Main Street in broad daylight, right in front of an Andrew County Deputy, by Gertrude Lytle, supposedly a woman scorned but who had also been recently released from the State Insane Asylum #2 in St. Joseph…… After the first trial ended in a mistrial, at the second trial she was found Not Guilty and walked!…… Virgil Reece was a WWI Doughboy who went to France, earned his sergeant stripes in battle, came through without a scratch and then came home to be one of the founders of the Local American Legion Post. His father Thomas was a former Presiding Judge and they were one of the larger farming families in the county. After being released from the asylum, Gertrude was employed as a house keeper in the Reece home. She had stolen the Judges pistol that she used in the murder.
    I think you could really sink your teeth into either one of these true stories……. ***If you think I may be someone “Off the Wall”, I would refer you to both Jan Glenn and Kathy Ridge. Ha, Ha, ***
    Best wishes, Jeff Esely

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, the water, I’ve said that before…….. Within a 100 mile radius of Savannah there actually is a long list of heinous murder and mayhem cases. Some of the recent ones made the national news and were then made into movies…..”Boys Don’t Cry”(just across the river in Richardson County, NE)….. “In Broad Daylight”, 20 miles north of Savannah in Skidmore. The Federal Government has executed only four women, and two of the crimes were here in NW Missouri…..Bonnie Heady, executed for the Bobby Grenelease kidnapping /murder ( kidnapped and killed in KC and then buried in her yard in St. Joseph) Heady grew up and was buried in Clearmont, near Maryville…….. And in Skidmore (same small town as the “In Broad Daylight” case) Lisa Montgomery, executed for killing Bobbie Stinnett and then removing and kidnapping her unborn baby…. I could go on, it’s crazy….. The Savannah Halloween night crossbow murder (a convoluted story if there ever was one)….. The Copeland serial murders (shoot them in the head and throw them down the well) ………The St. Joseph Minister’s son who tortured and killed the church janitor with an electric drill and claw hammer in the church basement….. The 1930s rape/murder suspect who was taken by a mob from the Maryville jail to the school house scene of the crime, made to confess, then chained on top of the schoolhouse roof, and finally burned alive when the building was torched…………. Again, just across the river in Rulo, Richardson County, NE, the 1980s Michael Ryan survivalist Cult murders….. the Bob Berdella serial torture/murders in KC………. The bodies found in the cars that were rolled down the Andrew County boat ramp into the fast & deep Missouri River…….. You get the idea………………… I really don’t dwell on this stuff, general history is my thing. But when these crazy things keep happening, it makes a person look over their shoulder.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Wow! And it’s not a highly populated area either. What could account for it? On the upside, I will say everyone I’ve ever interacted with in Savannah or Missouri in general has been lovely! Maybe it’s just the extremes of human nature on display?


      • The only person who reported the words: “Has it come to this” ……. She did it. And who could blame her. Something had to give in that situation………….. By the way, our youngest daughter Christie has always been a horror/crime story freak. In college, for a thrill, she & her friends spent the night in the Villisca Ax Murder House 45 miles north of here. (another mayhem case)….. She loved your book. But now she’s miffed because growing up, one of her best friends lived in your murder house on Christian Ridge. As a kid, Christie spent the night there many times but never knew it was a murder house! She would have gotten a big kick out of knowing it then !


Share your thoughts on this post

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s