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  • Rod Kackley

The Murder of Thora Chamberlain: (The Best) Shocking True Crime Story

I have 62 titles for sale on Amazon and Kindle, many of them true crime. Of all the shocking true crime stories I have written, The Murder of Thora Chamberlain is my favorite.

How can you beat this story?

  • It’s November 1945. Campbell, California, is packed with thousands of GIs, sailors, marines, and airmen returning from overseas. A 14-year-old girl, Thora Chamberlain, accepts $5 to babysit a man’s niece and nephew, gets into his blue Plymouth sedan, and disappears.

  • Well, she doesn’t disappear that minute. She is seen one more time, her face pressed up against the passenger side window of the Plymouth, and the kid is screaming for her life.

  • The FBI is on the case, led by one of the bureau’s top kidnapping investigators.

  • A suspect is quickly identified. The FBI follows him from California to Illinois and back again, even giving him a ride once, hoping to find Thora Chamberlain alive and well.

  • Finally, the man, Thomas McMonigle, admits kidnapping and killing Thora. He tells the FBI he threw her body over the cliffs of Devil’s Slide and into the Pacific Ocean.

  • A search is fruitless, yet agents find two socks that might be Thora’s. But no body, not yet.

  • Then, a junk dealer discovers a body at the foot of Devil’s Slide.

  • Not Thora, says Thomas. But, he says, it’s another woman I killed.

From there, we have a sensational trial — women across the country fall in love and lust with Thomas McMonigle.

He’s housed in San Quentin because the county sheriff doesn’t think McMonigle can be protected from angry citizens. After all, a few years before, a mob of civilians had broken into the jail, grabbed two suspected killers, and strung them up in a park — all broadcast live — and encouraged by a Los Angeles radio station.

Okay. McMonigle is convicted and sentenced to death. But a scientist shows up and says he can bring the dead back to life. He asks for a chance to show what is possible after McMonigle is pulled out of the San Quentin gas chamber.

What? Bring a convicted — and executed killer — back from the dead? Are you kidding?

And guess what? The story is not over yet -- not by a long shot.

The Murder of Thora Chamberlain. My favorite Shocking True Crime Story. And Jim Sulanowski does me the honor of featuring the book on his podcast, Murder Most Foul.


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