Murder at the Hotel Lorraine

W. Frank Raab (age 38) and Marie Lamont (age 28).

Working in nightclubs often meant rubbing shoulders with unsavory characters.  Club Alabam was no exception.

In early September of 1938, headlines announced: “Cabaret Hostess Found Strangled in Chicago Hotel.” The murder victim was former Club Alabam hostess Mrs. Marie Lamont. The suspected murderer, Frank Raab, had recently worked for Gene Harris as Club Alabam’s floor man and bouncer.

The attractive, auburn-haired Lamont was found dead in Raab’s room in the Hotel Lorraine at 411 South Wabash Avenue. For years the hotel had been the home to criminals—from petty thieves, to ex-convicts, to rapists, to depressives contemplating suicide.

Half naked, clad in a silken nightgown, red marks on Marie’s neck indicated strangulation and an electric light cord was found on the floor by the bed. Some reports claimed that the cord was still around her neck when the body was discovered.

Hotel Lorraine, 411 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago (1942). 

Courtesy John Chuckman.

In 1943, the story of Marie Lamont’s death inspired a sensational, syndicated article entitled, “The Strange Case Of The Red Carnation,” written by Terry McShane.

Eager to learn the whole story? It’s detailed in my new book, The Blackest Sheep.


If you enjoy local history, especially the world of entertainment, follow me at or on the Facebook page: The Blackest Sheep.

The Blackest Sheep: Dan Blanco, Evelyn Nesbit, Gene Harris and Chicago’s Club Alabam is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online bookstores.


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