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|Will You Meet Me in Heaven?
A Novel by David Fulmer
Entranced by her shy beauty, Frank pursues her with earnest intent. Only nineteen, Betty has
walked a hard road and has few illusions about life and love. Even so, she lets herself be enticed by
Frank’s eager passion and his promises to take her away from the dirty city, her life as a showgirl,
and her sorry excuse for a husband. As a final stroke, he promises to put a diamond ring on her
Meanwhile, the world of the 1920s spins with a dizzy energy. In the aftermath of World War One,
Atlanta is suffering through a depression – and prohibition. Work is impossible to find and Frank
continues with petty thefts and stickups to bring in some money. Though he tries to hide these
crimes from Betty, she sees through his deceptions and realizes that none of what he imagines for
them is likely to become true.
Determined to prove himself, he bolsters himself with liquor and snatches a diamond ring from a
store display. When two men block his escape, he pulls his pistol and fires wildly. One is killed
instantly and the other lies mortally wounded.
After visiting Betty for a heartbreaking farewell, he goes on the run, first to Chattanooga, then to
Norfolk, then to Detroit. The police pick up his scent and are a step behind at every turn and
newspapers east of the Missisippi carry his photograph on their front pages.
In the wake of his escape, Betty lands in jail on charges that she aided his crime and escape. She
finds herself drawn as a femme fatale and her history is fodder for front pages. From his hiding
places, Frank reads of the manhunt and daydreams rosy scenarios in which they somehow manage
to reach a happy future. The police close in and nabbed him minutes from crossing into Canada.
He’s delivered back to Atlanta for the last grim act and is in short order, tried, convicted, and
sentenced to death. Betty, now released from jail, is first unable and then unwilling to see him. On
the day of his hanging,she manages to slip close to the gallows and hear him speak a last sentence.
In the aftermath, her troubled life fades into the rush of time. Only years later does she hear a
bluesman sing a song called “Betty and Dupre.”
The story of this bloody crime and doomed romance is not the only tale between these covers. For
two wild weeks, the lives of four other characters – Atlanta police detective Albert Nichols,
newspaper reporter Johnny Holland, and jewel thief and rounder Joe Rose and his partner in crime
Pearl Spencer – are touched by the drama.
Set against the backdrop of the busiest city in the South at the beginning of a transformative
decade, Will You Meet Me in Heaven is the story of a sudden romance that sparked a haphazard
murder and then a wild escape, dooming a sad love affair and exploding into banner headlines and a
final scene on an Atlanta gallows.
On a hot morning in September of 1922, Frank Dupre became
the last man hanged from the gallows at Atlanta’s notorious
Fulton Tower. Just before the rope was placed around his neck,
he heard Betty Andrews cry out from the crowd that had
gathered to witness the execution. As the trapdoor dropped, he
responded with his final words.
So begins Will You Meet Me in Heaven, the historical novel by
award-winning and critically-acclaimed author David Fulmer.
The narrative is based on the true story that was a tabloid
sensation for the better part of a year and was later
immortalized in an iconic blues ballad.
On a cold December evening in 1921, Frank, a young drifter
and petty criminal, meets Betty, a dancer in a downtown revue.
He’s a loser, a foolish romantic with few prospects. She’s
hiding from an abusive husband who thinks so little of her that
he never bothered to as much as buy her a wedding ring