• The Senator's Son

  • The Shocking Disappearance, the Celebrated Trial, and the Mystery That Remains a Century Later
  • By: Charles Oldham
  • Narrated by: John Witt
  • Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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The Senator's Son  By  cover art

The Senator's Son

By: Charles Oldham
Narrated by: John Witt
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Publisher's summary

On Monday, February 13, 1905, eight- year-old Kenneth Beasley walked to the back of his school's playground and into the melting snow of the woods beyond. He never returned. A massive search was undertaken for the North Carolina state senator's son, and a reward was offered. 

Despite clues, rumors, and even a ransom note, he was never found. A year and a half later, a political rival hurriedly was charged. Accused of the most bizarre and twisted of plots, he faced a courtroom overflowing with jurors, star lawyers, spectators, and newspaper reporters. The eventual verdict and stunning aftermath would rip apart two families and shock a state, yet leave a mystery unsolved. 

Now, Charles Oldham, attorney by trade, has reopened the case. Using modern research methods and his own legal training - while also investigating the state's political, racial, lynching, and liquor cultures - Oldham has come as close as anyone can to the truth. 

The result is an absorbing, must-listen story. Meticulously researched and beautifully written and narrated, The Senator's Son is both an important book and a fascinating one.

©2018 Charles Oldham (P)2019 Ray McAllister

What listeners say about The Senator's Son

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Southern history in a Southern drawl

I don’t usually read much history or nonfiction, and confess I picked up the audiobook version of “The Senator’s Son” because my old friend John Witt is the narrator. John’s measured Southern drawl is perfect for this sort of book, set as it is deep in the heart of North Carolina and Virginia’s Hampton Roads area. While I enjoyed hearing John tell this story, like a night of yarn spinning in front of a cracking fire, I think I might have enjoyed it more in actual book form, so I could have flipped back and forth to reacquaint myself with old characters introduced earlier and perused photos and maps that I’m sure were included in the print version. For me, while the side discussions of old politics distracted me from the main storyline of Kenneth’s disappearance, it was fascinating to learn abut the wheeling and dealing of that era, not so different from our own. Recommended for history buffs and true crime lovers - and those who like to listen to a story well-told in smooth, Southern baritone.

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Narration is great but the story is tedious

This sounded like a very interesting book but the author went in so many different directions with the local history the story of the missing boy was lost.

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Amazing story

This was a terrific telling of a tragic story. I really appreciated the historical context the author gave. The reader had the perfect voice for the story and gave a sense of seriousness that seemed very respectful.

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