Poisoning the Pecks of Grand Rapids: The Scandalous 1916 Murder Plot


By Tobin T. Buhk

Arthur Warren Waite said “I do” and then hatched a plot to poison his in-laws to inherit their fortune. With his boyish good looks, he charmed into marriage the daughter of wealthy Grand Rapids business tycoon John E. Peck in 1916. He then wasted no time executing what he believed to be a flawless scheme to hijack his wife’s inheritance. The plot went awry when a mysterious telegram set off a sequence of events that ultimately exposed his immoral ambition to poison all other Peck heirs.

Eavesdrop on the bizarre crime, the investigation, and the trial. Eyewitness a postmortem in a backroom of Sprattler’s mortuary, follow as Waite engineers numerous attempts to cover up his crime, listen to the women in Waite’s life testify against him and get a rare glimpse of Waite’s last days in Sing Sing’s Death House.

About the Author

Tobin T. Buhk is a freelance author, specializing in true crime. To research his first book, Cause of Death, he volunteered in a county morgue, watching as his co-author, Kent County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen D. Cohle, unraveled puzzling forensic mysteries. A second collaboration with Dr. Cohle resulted in Skeletons in the Closet. Buhk’s love of history and fascination with true crime led to True Crime: Michigan, True Crime in the Civil War, The Shocking Story of Helmuth Schmidt, Michigan’s Strychnine Saint and his most recent book Poisoning the Pecks of Grand Rapids.

Related Events

Science on Tap

Science on Tap: Profile of a Poisoner

Thursday, July 9, 2015, 8:00 pm
SpeakEZ Lounge – 600 Monroe NW

Join Dr. Bryan Judge, toxicologist and Program Director of the Emergency Medical Residency Program with Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners/Michigan State University, as he discusses how criminals use poison, why they use poison, and who their victims are.

Science on Tap, co-sponsored by GVSU and SpeakEZ Lounge, is an opportunity for conversation, debate and interaction between scientists and the public while drinking beer. Each month at SpeakEZ, a knowledgeable expert hosts a scientific discussion about current topics in the news such as ebola and the paleo diet. This is a great chance to exercise your academic interests in a casual setting while enjoying great food and adult beverages.

Poisoning the Pecks Author

Author Visit: Tobin Buhk

Monday, August 3, 2015, 7:00 pm
Main Library – 111 Library St NE

Local author Tobin T. Buhk will share stories of murder and mayhem involving a prominent West Michigan family. His latest book Poisoning the Pecks examines the murder plot that Arthur Warren Waite attempted to execute in order to inherit his wife’s family fortune. Buhk will discuss how he researched the family, the crime, the investigation and punishment. A book signing will follow the presentation.

If you like this book, you might also enjoy:

Wicked Grand Rapids by Amberrose Hammond

When Evil Came to Good Hart by Mardi Link

The Michigan Murders by Edward Keyes

Michigan’s Strychnine Saint: The Curious Case of Mrs. Mary McKnight by Tobin T. Buhk

The Color of Night: A Young Mother, a Missing Child and a Cold-Blooded Killer by L.C. Timmerman and John H. Timmerman