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Eugene Izzi

Posted to WritersAndGenres

the body of mystery writer Eugene Izzi was found on Dec. 7 , 1996, hanging from the 14th floor window of his Chicago office. He was wearing a bulletproof vest, carried a set of brass knuckles and a disabling chemical spray and had a .38-caliber revolver in his office. His body was found on a Saturday morning, dangling over one of the city's busiest streets, Michigan Avenue. The rope led from Izzi's neck inside the building to the leg of his office desk.
Chicago police investigators were perplexed. Was it a homicide meant to look like a suicide or a suicide meant to look like murder? There were suggestions that Izzi, 43, was trying to direct the investigation from the grave, was trying to make his suicide look like murder.

Investigators found transcripts and notes describing threats Izzi had received shortly before his death. Local newspapers reported that Izzi told a retired Chicago cop about threats from an Indiana militia group. Izzi claimed to have infiltrated the group while researching material for a book and had angered some of its members. Izzi apparently took the threats seriously and moved his wife and two sons out of their home to a safe location. Izzi had taken to sleeping in his office with a gun nearby.

But was all this about the Indiana militia just a story? Maybe, maybe not.

Investigators also found an unpublished novel bearing striking similarities to the author's own final chapter in three computer disks stuck in his pants pocket. The manuscript describes a Chicago mystery writer attacked in his downtown office by militia members who loop a noose around his neck, tie the rope to the metal desk and throw him from the 14th floor.

But in the manuscript, the victim survives the murder attempt, hoists himself back up the rope, grabs the gun and kills the bad guys.

Police wondered whether Izzi killed himself accidentally while acting out the hanging to give his novel more realistic details. Chilling thought. The other idea is this: Izzi tried to meld fiction with reality by committing suicide. It's this latter theory that police have decided fits