Saturday, November 8, 2014

Herbert Heckler -- The Sour Note

Throughout their two year engagement, Pearl Palmer, a 23-year-old prima donna best known for her role in Victor Herbert's opera Princess Pat, had delayed marrying Heckler, a 27-year-old opera singer from Chicago, in order to pursue a career.  On September 26, 1915, Palmer was in her studio at the Conservatory Building at No. 240 West Seventy-second Street in New York City when a depressed Heckler arrived for a visit.  Palmer complained of being ill and dispatched her beau to a pharmacy for medication.  A friend who accompanied Heckler later told authorities that the singer had burst into tears when discussing his belief that Palmer no longer loved him.  Returning to her studio, Heckler entered the room alone.  Moments later, the sounds of a violent argument were heard followed by four gunshots in quick succession.  When police forced the door they discovered Palmer unconscious, a bullet lodged in her head and two in her body.  She died shortly afterward in the Polyclinic Hospital.  Heckler, the spurned suitor, lay dead in the center of the room, a gaping gunshot wound in his forehead.

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