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Just ask.

Byline: MARGRET CAMPBELL

Q I SAW a TV show about an American serial killer who designed his own hotel specifically to carry out murders. Can you tell me more about him? - James McLean, Paisley.

AI THINK you mean Herman Webster Mudgett - best known by the alias H.H. Holmes. He opened his hotel, The Castle, in Chicago to cash in on the 1893 World's Fair. The layout was known only to Holmes as he kept hiring and firing teams of builders to adapt it.

It was a maze of inter-connecting, windowless rooms, doors that opened on to brick walls and stairways that led nowhere. He used the confusing layout to torture and murder female guests.

Holmes allegedly confessed to killing 27 victims but most sources put his murder toll much higher - up to 230. He would torture the women in sound-proofed and escape-proof chambers in the hotel, some connected to gas lines enabling him to gas his victims.

The bodies were dumped down specially built chutes where they were dissolved in acid, cremated in huge furnaces or sometimes sold for medical research. Holmes was arrested in 1895 and was convicted of mass murder. He was hanged in Philadelphia in 1896.

Q MY kids love the new "invisible crust" bread. How is it made? - Laura McFarlane, Dundee.

ARHM Bakeries launched their Invisible Crust range in 2005 after research showed that one in three children refused to eat crusts.

The bakers keep the secret of their loaf a closely guarded secret.

RHM's technical director Paul Molyneux said: "By gently oven baking the bread in specially designed tins we have been able to develop a loaf with the goodness, flavour and nutrition found in all Hovis loaves - but without the crust."

Q IS it true American singer Jo Stafford was blind and had to be led on stage to perform? Also is she still alive? - Regulars at the Black Bull, Dalmellington, Ayrshire.

AJO, one of the most versatile vocalists of her era, has reached the ripe old age of 89 and lives in California. She is not blind, so I assume you must have mixed her up with another singer.

Jo started with sisters Christine and Pauline but when they married she joined a new group, The Pied Pipers, who eventually landed a job with Tommy Dorsey's big band.

Jo left the group to go solo, though she later racked up big successes from duets with Gordon MacRae and Frankie Laine. Her biggest hits include You Belong To Me, Make Love To Me, Jambalaya and Hey Good Lookin' (with Laine).

Jo quit showbiz in 1975 but briefly returned for a ceremony honouring Frank Sinatra in 1990.

If there is a question nagging you, write to us at Mailbox, Sunday Mail, One Central Quay, Glasgow, G3 8DA, or send us an email to mailbox@sundaymail.co.uk. Sorry, we cannot send personal replies.

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Mass murderer: Herman
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 1, 2007
Words:484
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