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A Rose for Mary: The Hunt for the Real Boston Strangler Hardcover – September 18, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

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In January 1964, 19-year-old Mary Sullivan became the last victim in the so-called Boston Strangler case. Nearly 40 years after her murder (for which no one has ever been charged), her nephew, a broadcast journalist, takes a fresh look at her death and at the strangler case. While many of the author's revelations are not blindingly original, the story is rich in detail. Few people today believe that Albert DeSalvo, who confessed to all of the murders, actually committed any of them, but Sherman shows why experts' thinking has changed, and he makes a compelling case that there was more than one murderer. His portrait of DeSalvo as a pathetic braggart is strangely reassuring (somehow we want him to be pathetic), and his presentation of the authorities as (mostly) eager to let this hapless fellow shoulder the blame for the murders is depressing if chillingly realistic. Exhaustively researched, this is a must-read for true-crime aficionados. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Northeastern University Press (September 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155553578X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555535780
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,135,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Casey Sherman was born in Hyannis, Massachusetts in 1969.
Sherman is a graduate of Fryeburg Academy (Fryeburg, Me.) and Boston University.
Sherman is the national bestselling author of eight books including The Finest Hours (now filming as a major motion picture for Walt Disney Pictures starring Chris Pine, Casey Affleck & Eric Bana), A Rose for Mary (aka) Search for the Strangler (now in development as a television miniseries for FOX Television), Animal: The Bloody Rise and Fall of the Mob's Most Feared Assassin, Bad Blood, Black Irish, Black Dragon and the upcoming Boston Strong (now in development as a major motion picture)
Sherman has appeared on dozens of television programs including The Today Show, Dateline NBC, CBS 48 Hours Mysteries, America's Most Wanted, and The View.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Frank on October 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The author does a great job of summarizing a criminal case of national notoriety and informing the reader that the truth is different than what has previously been communicated. The facts presented indicate that Casey has done an abundant amount of research in order to prove his point.
As a reader of many crime and murder based books, this book does not inundate the reader with unnecessary technical details in order to make a point. Enough technical and medical terms are used to substantiate the facts but not overwhelm the reader. There is also an appropriate amount of balance between the case and the author's life so a perspective of what it is like to be the relative of a victim can be learned. Instead of reading like a typical True Crime novel, there is an underlying theme of family and the pursuit of truth that a lot of murder investigation books lack. This difference might be explained by the closeness the author realizes as part of the investigation.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others interested in this case.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 31, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Re-examining the decades-old strangulation murder of his late Aunt Mary, a 19-year-old career girl widely believed to be the last victim of self-confessed "Boston Strangler" Albert DeSalvo, author Casey Sherman makes a fairly compelling case that the killer was actually someone else and that DeSalvo was simply a convenient fall guy for baffled cops and stymied politicos. Unfortunately for Sherman, writer Susan Kelly presented a far more compelling (and far more professional) case in "The Boston Stranglers" nearly 10 years ago. Perhaps too close to the story for his own good, Sherman whitewashes, sidesteps and simply ignores the more unsavory aspects of the victim's life (all detailed in Kelly's book in a non-judgemental fashion), in the process unwittingly stripping the deeply-troubled young woman of any recognizable humanity and turning her into an unbelievable martyr-like cipher who never comes alive for the reader. Ardent true crime buffs will also be see the non-conclusive nature of this story a mile away; Sherman telegraphs the ending by pointedly assigning a fake name to a key suspect early on, always a tip-off that the cops couldn't make a case. Amateurish as this is (when he isn't pushing for exhumations and DNA tests, Sherman actually communes with his late aunt's ghost!), anyone seriously interested in the Strangler case will find this book intriguing, especially after comparing it to the considerably meatier account in Kelly's book--which actually names the suspect in question.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I read this book because it was recommended on Ann Rule's website. I had always thought the way the case was handled was bizarre.There was no apparent physical evidence, only a confession, and De Salvo's death in a highly protected infirmary was strange, to say the least. I had never believed half the psycho-babble in Gerold Frank's book, either. This book proves that the 'confessions' were not consistant with the physical evidence at autopsy in several cases, and the obvious feeding of facts by the police to De Salvo and the multiple accounts in newspapers of the day meant that there was very little he could not have gleaned elsewhere, and when he did make statements about facts, such as the floor the flat was on, or the colour of clothes worn by 'his' victims he was wrong. Several of the cases had features that were inconsistant with there being only one possible killer , such as Patricia Bissette,Beverley Samans and Sophie Clark. There are strong alternative suspects in at least these three cases, as well as in Mary Sullivan's. DNA evidence proves that De Salvo did not do what he claimed to have done to Mary and that evidence strongly implicates another police suspect of the day. Casey Sherman has written a wonderful book, which frees his family from knowing that De Salvo had not killed their loved one, instead of feeling that the case had been mishandled (as indeed do several other families) and frees De Salvo's family from being shamed by their family name. All credit to Casey Sherman for taking on this establishment conspiracy, and for finding the real truth of his aunt's death and helping the De Salvo's clear Albert's name.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Anthony L. TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover
During the early 1960's, the 'Boston Strangler' brutally murdered 13 women by strangling them with their own stockings, and then raping them. Casey Sherman, nephew of the final victim of this killer - or *killers* - propounds that Albert DeSalvo, the convicted sexual predator and carpenter who confessed in detail to all the killings...was NOT in fact, the killer of Mary Sullivan.

However, in early 2013, the Boston Police Department reopened the case files of the Boston Strangler, and took a DNA sample from DeSalvo's nephew. This DNA sample excluded "99.9%" of the population, and was a "near certain match" for DeSalvo. Upon court order, the BPD exhumed DeSalvo's body for DNA testing. This testing reveals that seminal fluid found at the scene of the crime matches Albert DeSalvo's, proving that he committed the murder of Mary Sullivan.

DNA evidence does not lie. Sherman could not have known it at the time of his writing this book, but it is now VERY clear that Albert DeSalvo, carpenter, sexual predator, careful killer...was the murderer of Mary Sullivan. This evidence renders this book moot, and most of it's content false.

However, I do recommend this well-written book as a heartfelt recounting of a terrible crime, and to buffs of true crime or the Boston Strangler. Just keep in mind that Sherman's conclusions are, to say the very least, misguided.

P.S. Like this review so others can know the truth.
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