In examining the still-unsolved 1975 murder of 15-year-old Martha Moxley in a wealthy suburb of Greenwich, Connecticut, first-time author Timothy Dumas does not attempt to deliver a knockout punch of new evidence that might crack the case wide open. Instead, Dumas takes his readers on a literate excursion through the darkest secrets and fears of the girl's neighbors and fellow townspeople as they attempt to cope--first with the murder itself, and then with the helplessness of almost a quarter century of frustration as the case remains unsolved.
It's not that most people in town don't have any clue who performed the crime, Dumas shows, but that a moat of distance lies between the killer and those who would punish such a crime, a distance mainly built on the power, money, and political connections of the wealthy Skakel family, related by marriage to the Kennedys.
Dumas weaves a spellbinding tale, cut in the mold of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood or, more recently, John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Fans of those works will almost certainly enjoy this evocative and finely constructed story as well. --Tjames Madison
From Publishers Weekly
On the night of October 30, 1975, Martha Moxley, 15, was bludgeoned to death in her front yard with a golf club in affluent Greenwich, Conn. Dominick Dunne fictionalized these events in his 1993 bestseller, A Season in Purgatory. Now Dumas, formerly the managing editor of the Greenwich News, recounts the true story of Moxley's death and of how wealth and privilege appear to have been able to subvert justice. After describing the murder in harrowing detail, Dumas documents the investigations of the past 20 years, investigations that have seen information suppressed, once-willing witnesses back away and a battery of lawyers throw a protective wall around the prime suspect, Thomas Skakel, a classmate of the victim and a nephew of Ethel Kennedy. Skakel was the last person to see Moxley alive; the golf club that killed her came from the Skakel household. While the Skakel family initially agreed to cooperate with police, when it became evident that Thomas was a suspect, they closed ranks. While he remains a suspect, it seems unlikely that Thomas Skakel will ever be indicted, according to Dumas. People have moved on with their lives; many hope that memories of the crime will just fade away. Familiar with the area and the people involved, Dumas brings an unusual sensitivity and clarity to this disturbing tale. In the end, his book seems less about a murdered girl than about the devastation visited upon those whose lives were forever altered by the tragic events of a long-ago night. 8 pages of b&w photos.
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