IN THEIR SEARCH of the Eldert Street apartment, Brooklyn police officers found several books with Mrs. Gross’s name on the flyleaf. They were medical books, with information on different poisons. The last was philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s Studies in Pessimism, which despairingly contends that, at core, the universe offers no hope of a rational existence.
Geoghan, the district attorney, first dismissed the books as unimportant, but then neighbors filed in with stories about Mrs. Gross. A woman who lived two doors down made and filed a statement about a conversation she’d had several weeks before the chain of deaths began. Mrs. Gross – after learning that she was pregnant again – had said that she intended to kill her children, her mother, and herself with rat poison.