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A Grave for Bobby: The Greenlease Slaying Hardcover – AC-3, January 1, 1990


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 286 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co; 1st edition (January 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688067301
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688067304
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,567,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The 1953 kidnap-murder of six-year-old Bobby Greenlease in St. Louis, Mo., was one of the most publicized crimes of the decade. The victim's father, a wholesale auto distributor, paid a ransom of $600,000 in small bills to alleged kidnappers Carl Hall and Bonny Heady, who were quickly caught, tried and executed--but only half the ransom money was recovered. Hall, who had embarked on a drunken odyssey around the city after the crime, had no recollection of the missing cash, which Deakin, a St. Louis Dispatch reporter, attempts to trace in this flat, occasionally tedious volume. He concludes that the loot was seized by a corrupt cop and a low-level Mafioso and found its way into the hands of the Chicago mob. At a remove of four decades, however, few readers are likely to care. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In 1953, Bobby Greenlease, the son of very wealthy parents, was kidnapped and immediately murdered. The kidnappers, Carl Austin Hall and Bonnie Heady, were quickly arrested, convicted, and executed. Before they were caught, they received a ransom of $600,000, of which only $300,000 was recovered. Deakin attempts to complete this well-known story by tracing Hall and Heady's movements immediately before and after the kidnapping, using previously unreleased FBI and police tapes. Unfortunately, Deakin manages to make a potentially interesting story dull and boring. He emphasizes the unedited tapes, which are both difficult to follow and repetitious, and continually throws in gratuitous asides. His goal of tracing the lost ransom money is not realized, as we are lead down many dead-end paths. Not recommended.
- Sandra K. Lindheimer, Middlesex Law Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By RJR on January 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thanks to the shipper for getting this to me. It arrived promptly and in good condition. I ordered this book because I lived in Kansas City during this time, and my grandmother was on the jury who convited and sent the killers to the gas chamber. Excellent read.
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By PawPaw on March 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A superbly written account of the midwest's most heinous crime. For anyone who follows true crime stories, you will love this book! It is meticulous in detail but never boring and the reader will discover what happened in the trail of the missing ransom. I highly recommend it.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By TJD3 on January 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Years ago I became interested in the Greenlease kidnapping and about that time, as luck would have it, I found this book at my local library. (So please keep in mind I am reviewing a book I read about 10 years ago.)

Deakin does an impressive job detailing the story of the kidnapping, the murder, and the backgrounds of the perpetrators. The collection of the ransom becomes a comedy of errors that only succeeds because of the hope the parents have of getting their child back. Considering the amount of alcohol involved, it is amazing that they were able to collect and flee. But more alcohol mixed with paranoia makes a cocktail called mistakes (sorry for the bad metaphor).

Most stories, fiction or non-fiction, end with the capture of the bad guys, in this case they get executed. But a second crime happens at the arrest. Half of the largest ransom ever paid for a US kidnapping (I believe it is still a record) strangely disappears. Did the kidnappers hide the money? Did the cops steal it?

I do think the book could have been written better. Deakin's prose is cliched in places and awkward in others. But this did not stop me from enjoying the story as it unfolded. I did find it curious that he started the book with a description of St Louis because the central crime takes place in and around Kansas City.

Overall, not the best written book but impressive research of a great true crime story. I'd give it 3.5 stars if I could.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael B. Williams on May 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
There is always something so heinous about the death of a child--especially if that death is at the hands of those they trust. We saw this in the deaths of the children in Houston at the hands of their Mother. This event happened nearly 50 years ago, and for those of us who remember it, it might as well have been yesterday. This is a well-written book and worthy of the effort of it's author.
Mike Williams
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