SANTA CLAUS BANK ROBBERY
A True-Crime Saga in Texas
By TUI SNIDER
Genre: Nonfiction / Texana / Texas History
Publisher: Castle Azle Press
Date of Publication: December 8, 2019
Number of Pages: 146 pages + black & white photos
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When Marshall Ratliff dressed like Santa Claus to pull a Christmas-time heist, he thought it would be easy. Unfortunately for him, when the citizens of Cisco heard Santa was robbing a bank, they came running – with loaded guns in hand!
But can you blame them? In 1927, the only way to earn the $5000 Dead Bank Robber Reward was to kill a bandit while the crime was in progress.
This bungled bank robbery led to a wild shootout and a getaway with two little girls as hostages. And that is only the beginning!
Tui Snider’s true-crime tale reads like a comedy of errors as the consequences of the Santa Claus Bank Robber’s actions escalate to include a botched car-jacking, one of the biggest manhunts in Texas history, and a jailbreak leading to a deadly conclusion.
Meanwhile, it’s up to readers to decide whether or not a mysterious blonde helped these gangsters escape. And if so, did she get away with murder?
I’m continually impressed with Tui Snider’s reporting skills. The more I read her books, I find the vibrant energy of her writing urging me to go out and discover my own mysteries and little known events in history. With bank robberies, it always seemed a bit larger than life or comical in a way. I suppose TV and movies have done that throughout the years. It doesn’t really seem real with the crazy plans that go off the rails. Even now, when hearing about recent robberies of armored cars near me, I questioned how that could even happen. It seems insane and it is!
The insanity of this robbery in history seemed to compound more and more as events unfolded. I literally was reading through this account, my eyebrows raised and jaw dropped, at how this robbery affected so many people. It truly astounds me how anyone thought running towards the bank robbery or even handing out guns to anyone in sight would help. The chaos of hundreds of bullets flying around and hitting innocent bystanders made this all the more tragic.
Along with Tui Snider’s own telling of this story is newspaper clippings and direct quotes from people at the time. I especially found this fascinating to hear directly in their own voice. Additionally, pictures and even maps were shown to give the reader a clear idea of the event. Even after reading the Santa Claus Bank Robbery, the bizarre events that took place seem like a chaotic tall tale.
Snider continues with the events that happened after this robbery as well. I don’t like to reveal many spoilers but I can say that I knew I made the right decision in reading this book! Along with researched accounts, more mysteries unfold as to who was involved and why the stories became so confusing. Other retellings and accounts, such as A.C. Greene’s book, are given as example to this and just how they deviated from fact. It speaks to Snider’s tenacity in writing, that beyond researching these books, she finds facts and documentation to prove what really happened.
To those that enjoy a good mystery, who are eager to read a conversational historical retelling, and maybe aren’t scandalized by Santa with a gun…I’d definitely recommend this book!
Tui Snider is an award-winning writer, speaker, photographer, and musician specializing in offbeat sites, overlooked history, cemetery symbolism, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction, but then I moved to Texas!”
Tui lectures frequently at universities, libraries, conferences, and bookstores.This fall, she will speak about the Great Airship Mystery of 1897 at this year’s UFO Congress and teach a course on Understanding Cemetery Symbols at Texas Christian University. She also shares weekly info-videos based on her research at her YouTube channel.
Snider’s writing and photography have been featured in a variety of media outlets, including WFAA TV, Coast to Coast AM, LifeHack, Langdon Review, the City of Plano, Wild Woman Waking, Shades of Angels and many more. She has several more books in progress.
◆AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE◆GOODREADS◆
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
GRANDPRIZE (US only):
Signed Paperback +$10 Amazon Gift Card
+ Thank You Post Card
2ND PRIZE (US only): Signed Copy + Thank You Post Card
3RD PRIZE (International): Kindle eBook
December 12-22, 2019a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js
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Terrific review. Each stop on the blog tour points out a new facet of the book. How neat!
Seriously! Doesn’t she make you want to just go investigate something? Great review!
I really loved how the author carried us forward, even into the lives of the children of those involved. I wish Snider had taught all my Texas History classes growing up lol