Dillinger Family offering new book, $7 million price tag for John artifacts

2009-07-08T00:00:00Z Dillinger Family offering new book, $7 million price tag for John artifactsPhilip Potempa
philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327

If you noticed today's From the Farm column in our food section, you probably saw the published recipe for Public Enemy No. 1 John Dillinger's favorite coconut cream pie.

This recipe, among others, is included in a new book written by crime writer Carol Sissom, with information provided by the Dillinger Family, sharing intimate details of this elusive man famous for robbing banks and escaping jail cells.

"Banking with Dillinger" (March 2009 Carol's Adventures Publishing $17.95) is a 200-page paperback with rare photos and facts never before made public, including some amazing letters written by Dillinger to his family while he was serving time at both Michigan City State Prison and the Lake County Jail in Crown Point.

Sissom's book includes a "special thanks" page with a photo of Dillinger and the caption: "Public Enemy No. 1 or Robin Hood? You decide."

She also includes a special message reading: "Special thanks to Frances Helen Dillinger (John's baby sister), Mike Thompson (Dillinger's nephew) and all of John Dillinger's family for their willingness to get the truth about John Dillinger out to the public."

"I really appreciate your reading and writing about my new book," Sissom said in an e-mail this week.

"It's great you have a role in the movie. I saw it last Wednesday with the family. It was an experience.

The theater here played old Dillinger raw footage before the movie. It was awesome. At the end of the film, one of the family members got up, covering her mouth, and ran out as John was shot in the head. Please let everyone know I'm already working on a sequel."

Sissom said she "didn't understand" why Johnny Depp didn't interview 87-year-old Frances Dillinger while the movie "Public Enemies" was being shot in Indiana last year. She said the Dillinger Family would love to meet Depp.

As for Sissom, whose other books are available at her Web site carolsissom.com, she said she primarily writes "true crime books," even though she's found writing about Dillinger "great fun."

"I'm most well known in Indiana for putting a serial killer behind bars," she said.

"I was a young single mom when I was writing a book about an old murder case that happened when I was a little girl. I partnered with a co-writer and months later, realized HE was the killer. It took me five years to put him away, and my journey earned me a private detective's license."

Sissom will be speaking about Dillinger and signing her new book at the Biograph Theater in Chicago July 22. She will also be speaking at the Indiana State Library at 2 p.m. July 15. And at the Indy event, John Dillinger's "hunting suit" will also be on display.

On the subject of rare JD artifacts, this hunting suit is among other items the family is interested in selling.

In fact, there's an advertisement in the back of Sissom's book describing the pieces, which include "numerous items owned by John Dillinger, including his guns." Photos published with the ad, display a fedora hat, assorted guns and a pocketwatch. The advertisement features the words: "For Sale for $7 million or best offer."

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or 219.852.4327.

Today's Celebrity Birthdays

Singer Jerry Vale is 77. Singer Steve Lawrence is 74. Actor Jeffrey Tambor ("Arrested Development," "The Larry Sanders Show") is 65. Actress Kim Darby is 62. Children's singer Raffi is 61. Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck is 60. Actress Anjelica Huston is 58. Self-help guru Marianne Williamson is 57. Actor Kevin Bacon is 51. Country singer Toby Keith and guitarist Graham Jones of Haircut 100 and keyboardist Andy Fletcher of Depeche Mode are 48. Singer Joan Osborne and TV producer Rob Burnett are 47. Actor Ricky Carroll ("Chicago Hope") is 46. Actors Billy Crudup ("Almost Famous") and Michael Weatherly ("NCIS," "Dark Angel") are 41. Singer Beck and country singer Drew Womack of Sons of the Desert are 39. Actress Kathleen Robertson ("Beverly Hills 90210") is 36. Guitarist Stephen Mason of Jars of Clay is 34. Actor Milo Ventimiglia

("Heroes," "Gilmore Girls") and trumpeter Tavis Werts of Reel Big Fish are 32. Actress Sophia Bush ("One Tree Hill") is 27. Guitarist Jamie Cook of Arctic Monkeys is 24. Taylor Maine Pearl Brooks (daughter of Garth Brooks ) is 17. Actor Jaden Smith ("The Pursuit of Happyness") and Maya Thurman-Hawke (daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke) are 11.

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