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When the Husband is the Suspect Hardcover – March 4, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0765316134 ISBN-10: 0765316137 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; 1st edition (March 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765316137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765316134
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #440,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Readers expecting that Bailey-one of the best-known criminal defense attorneys of the last half-century-would provide insight into spousal homicide will be disappointed by this book, which adds nothing fresh to our understanding of the 20 cases discussed. The case studies (including some of the most prominent examples of accused wife-killers, such as O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, Sam Sheppard, Scott Peterson, Claus Von Bülow and Jeffrey MacDonald) are presented in chronological order, but the chapters jump around in time, becoming confusing and sometimes repetitive. Bailey's commentaries at the end of each chapter often digress to general criminal-justice issues rather than focusing on novel interpretations of the evidence. The chapter on Simpson (Bailey was a member of his defense Dream Team) is a tease-the author begins his comments by noting that "a proper delineation of what would need to be said" in Simpson's defense "is best left for another day." And the account neglects defense lawyer Barry Scheck's contributions to the football star's acquittal with his discrediting of the DNA evidence. Facts referred to in the commentary do not always appear in the main text, and the choice of breadth over depth leaves readers feeling short-changed.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Bailey, one of the most recognized and flamboyant defense counsels of our time, here discusses 20 cases of murderous husbands, including Sam Sheppard, O. J. Simpson, and Claus von Bulow. Rather than scientific examination of incriminating factors or sociopathological analysis, however, he basically chats up details of these high-profile murders. Coauthor Rabe, a successful fantasy novelist, summarizes and details significant attributes of each case in rat-a-tat Dragnet style. Then Bailey weighs in on the meaning of the details and with lawyerly insights. His pearls are italicized, though since Rabe refers to him in the third person, there would seem to be no further need to distinguish his rap from hers. Anyway, he’s forthright, cutting through niceties and damning both investigators and attorneys. His takes on Robert Blake and Jeffrey MacDonald raise interesting questions, to say the least, and his appraisal of footballer Rae Carruth is a celebration of how not to commit and prosecute a murder. Sadly, Phil Spector is not limned, though Scott Peterson is, most rewardingly. --Mike Tribby

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Debra L. Tomlinson on January 23, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is extremely biased. Apparently, Mr Bailey believes that every one of the subjects in this book is innocent and that they were framed. At least that was my impression before I got sick of reading about these "victims". I know defense lawywers are supposed to believe that the client is innocent but this book is just so much garbage.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amelia Sunderland on March 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I could give this book two stars just because I disagree with some of Bailey's conclusions; I hardly think anyone other than Bailey still believes O.J. Simpson is innocent!

But more importantly, I've read more than half of this book and am not sure I will be able to finish it, because it contains so much unbearably awful writing. Sentences that don't make sense, no matter how many times I re-read them, annoy me. In some places, a comma is used instead of a semicolon, creating a run-on sentence; in some places, a clause is repeated twice; in some places, Bailey will refer to "that person" (Marilyn Sheppard had sex with "that person") without first telling us to whom he is referring.

I find this book, like so much true crime, difficult to recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve Reina VINE VOICE on June 17, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
In the jacket material of this book, we are proudly told that as a criminal defense lawyer F. Lee Bailey has a conviction rate of a mere four percent.

In this sense, Bailey's treatments of the cases he covers is much like hearing about the history of American politics from either an ardent Democrat or an ardent Republican. This phenomenon is particularly on display where Bailey talks about his time on the O.J. Simpson case. In a several page precis, Bailey for the defense attempts to convert us to why the verdict was, after all, not just gamesmanship and actually was a supposed innocent's victory.

It was one a few places where I found myself looking up from what I was reading and litterally taking it with a grain of salt.

That being said, Bailey has been part of that upper echelon of Uber Lawyers for defense, the type of guys imitated in plays like Chicago and partly feared and partly admired in the way Americans only seem to be capable of partly fearing and partly admiring those at the peak of morally ambiguous activities.

In this way, Bailey's insights on the great trials that have characterized husband murder and alleged husband murder are well worth the price of admission. This is particularly so with his treatment of the Sam Sheppard case where Bailey's activities themselves were the cause of Sheppard's freedom.

I think Bailey was also strong where he concentrated on other cases -- for want of a better phrase -- that you may have actually heard of or cared about. Good examples of this included the Robert Blake case (which resulted in an acquittal) and the Scott Petterson case (which resulted in conviction AND a sentence of death).

Being brief, this is not only an excellent "airport book" but observations from a master himself on one of the more unseemly and interesting niche areas of the law.
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By Aesadai on October 30, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is my favorite from F Lee Bailey. I was one of the people that actually watched the whole OJ Simpson trial and am as convinced of his innocence today as I ever have been.

I only wish more of this book was about that subject but a book came out recently, When Prosecutors Attack!: OJ Simpson, Roderick Scott, George Zimmerman - Baseless Government Attacks and the Media That Lets It Happen, that focuses much more on the OJ Simpson trial and the dirty tricks prosecutors like to pull.
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