CRIME: Big Martha

When swarthy, oily-voiced Raymond Martinez Fernandez began wooing lonely widows, he was amazed by his own gift for bringing happiness to others. Though he assiduously mulcted his sweethearts of their savings, they fairly beamed with gratitude at his attentions. But little Ray's gift was his undoing—he attracted his own nemesis, Mrs. Martha Jule Beck.

Florida-born Martha Beck appeared to be eminently respectable. She was the mother of two, a Methodist, an experienced hospital superintendent. Little Ray got her name through a "Lonely Hearts Club" where he started most of his pitches, and he wrote her admiring letters. But when...