A Case for Solomon

Bobby Dunbar and the Kidnapping That Haunted a Nation

A Case for Solomon

THE MOST NOTORIOUS KIDNAPPING CASE IN AMERICAN HISTORY

In 1912, four-year-old Bobby Dunbar went missing in the Louisiana swamps. After an eight-month search that electrified the country and destroyed Bobby’s parents, the boy was found, filthy and hardly recogniz­able. A wandering piano tuner was arrested and charged with kidnapping— a crime then punishable by death.

But when a destitute single mother came forward from North Carolina to claim the boy as her son, not the lost Bobby Dunbar, the case became a high-pitched battle over custody—and identity—that divided the South. A gripping historical mystery, A Case for Solomon chronicles the epic century-long effort to unravel the startling truth.
  • Free Press | 
  • 464 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439158609 | 
  • August 2013

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About the Authors

Tal McThenia
Photograph by Stefanie Spina

Tal McThenia

Tal McThenia is a freelance writer who reported and wrote The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar, a one-hour radio documentary for the acclaimed public radio series This American Life. He has received residencies at the ShenanArt’s Playwrights’ Workshop and the MacDowell Colony. He lives in New York.

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Margaret Dunbar Cutright
Photograph by Wayne Cutright

Margaret Dunbar Cutright

Margaret Dunbar Cutright is the granddaughter of Bobby Dunbar, the victim of the kidnapping in A Case for Solomon. She has researched the case for more than a decade, gathering and analyzing legal documents, family correspondence, and newspapers, and has had extensive and ongoing contact with descendants of all three of the families involved in the story. She lives in North Carolina.

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