Bitty Martin, Author
The Hot Springs, Arkansas native was indoctrinated into the spa city’s raucous illegal gambling and nightlife at a young age. As a newborn twin, she was so tiny that she spent her first six weeks in St. Joseph’s Hospital nursery, only blocks from the Southern Club casino and nightclub. Identical twin Mitsy went home after three weeks. A Stonecipher’s Deluxe Studio photographer snapped this picture of the toddlers and their mother and older sister as they strolled Central Avenue not far from the notorious nightclub that had once been the winter hangout for gangsters Al Capone and Lucky Luciano. Over the years, the vintage photographs taken along the downtown Central Avenue sidewalks became collector’s items for spa city families.
As a youngster, Bitty enjoyed her father’s tales of their town’s colorful characters and places. She still remembers sitting in the backseat on family drives through downtown Hot Springs with her father serving as tour guide. Each time they’d pass the fancy Southern Club with a huge neon sign atop the front door facade, he would say, “If the can can girls are kicking, that means 'the coast is clear, come on in.'” The club had a downstairs bar and grill, and escalators that ferried patrons upstairs to rows of slot machines and the nightly floor shows. Gambling was illegal at the time but that only seemed as an added enticement. Her mother was a wonderful influence, always taking the twins to the library and dropping them off at the Malco or Paramount’s Saturday matinees. Bitty believes her parent’s nurturing, along with her media and medical backgrounds prepared her to tackle the mystery of her junior high school friend’s suspicisous 1966 death and its connection to a brutal murderer. She considers Snake Eyes: Murder in a Southern Town as Hot Springs’ true crime memoir.
Bitty received a BSBA in Marketing from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas and served as Executive Director of the Hot Springs Y.W.C.A after beginning at the Arkansas State Parks & Tourism Research Division. She later went into marketing and advertising with a Hot Springs agency and then with Arkansas Times magazine, KATV-Channel 7/ABC affiliate, and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Changing careers, she attended the University of Arkansas Little Rock and earned an ADN in Nursing to become a RN, and has worked in operating rooms across America. Over the years, she has founded many organizations and events with the last being an exclusive national nurses and healthcare workers network.