“It was like a great trashy novel had come to life”


WhisperToMe: An Entrance to River Oaks, 2010 (CC)

From Texas Monthly:

The murder was front-page news in both Miami and Houston. “Houston Millionaire Stabbed to Death” was the headline in the Houston Chronicle. “Millionaire Banker Slain on Key Biscayne,” trumpeted the Miami News. Because Candace claimed that Jacques’s wallet had been emptied and that several hundred-dollar bills were missing from the bathroom counter, along with her gold-and-diamond wristwatch, detectives from the Dade County Sheriff’s Department initially speculated that Jacques had been killed by a burglar.

But Candace also suggested to them that her husband had made plenty of enemies over the years, from rival bankers to disgruntled ex-employees and resentful customers who’d had vehicles or appliances repossessed by his companies. What’s more, she revealed, she’d been told that during his trips to Florida, Jacques sometimes invited young men he’d met on the beach to his apartment. Candace said that during the week she and the children had spent on Key Biscayne, her husband had received phone calls from a man who spoke in “feminine tones.” Candace told detectives she suspected Jacques had been living a closeted life and that he’d been murdered by one of his lovers.

Within days, however, detectives discovered that Candace had been leading a clandestine life of her own. For nearly two years, she’d been carrying on an affair with her nephew, a 22-year-old mobile home salesman named Melvin Powers. Mel was six foot four and built like a linebacker. He had high cheekbones, dark eyes, and a head of coal-black hair. He and Candace had written each other impassioned love letters. They’d had trysts at the mansion, the family’s ranch just southwest of Houston, and the Mosslers’ Galveston beach house.

And at some point, the detectives concluded, Candace and Mel had devised a plan to do away with Jacques so they could get hold of his multimillion-dollar fortune. “It was like a great trashy novel had come to life,” Betsy Parish, a former society columnist for the Houston Post, told me. “Candace was beautiful. She lived in this great mansion. She gave away money to worthy causes. She had all these children she adored. She had everything she could possibly want. And then the police announced that she and her lover-boy nephew were cold-blooded killers. You could have knocked River Oaks over with a feather.”

gilliflower: river oaks – houston sky, 2011 (CC)

“The Notorious Mrs. Mossler”, Skip Hollandsworth, Texas Monthly

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