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Death in a Fish Pond: A Perfect Husband, a Perfect Marriage, a Perfect Murder? Hardcover – June 1, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Unlike many true crime tales that are dashed off to coincide with the latest lurid headlines, this book is cohesive and much less sensational than its counterparts. The actual crime-doting husband David Mead kills his wife and makes it look like an accident in order to collect insurance money and marry another-does resemble the more infamous Scott Peterson case, but the similarities end there. Lemcke was the Salt Lake City prosecutor in Mead's murder trial, and his legal background shows in every meticulous detail. The book is more a courtroom procedural than a crime drama (think Perry Mason, not Sam Spade), and while Lemcke's inclusion of minutiae can be mind-numbing, he comes off as someone who is honest as the day is long, with a real concern for the parties involved. After a long phone call with a potential witness, Lemcke writes, "I lay there, spent from sharing real pain, thinking less of myself for failing to recognize someone else's humanity." In the end, readers won't feel as if they've learned much about Mead's motivations, but this in itself is oddly refreshing. Rather than conjure up false platitudes or pop psychology sound bites, Lemcke, when asked by a reporter how Mead was able to fool so many women, simply replies, "I guess there are folks out there that can just charm the pantyhose off an octopus. I don't know, man. I'm not one of them."
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Top customer reviews
Police arrived at the scene. but found David Mead--a white man who made a living cleaning out airplanes between flights--too incoherent to talk to, so they let him go. A serious miscalculation but one which the author, Howard Lemcke, a Utah prosceuotr who presumably doesn't want to criticize the men and women of the police force too harshly, lets them off lightly for. But I think it was misguided indeed. No wonder it took the DA's office four years to bring Mead to trial for the murder of his beautiful, sensitive, intelligent wife Pam--a black woman in a largely white city and state.
She came from a middle class family of upwardly mobile black Americans, but she fell for the lies of a sociopath. He, David Mead, had a thing for young black women, and behind Pam's back he was dating another young girl whose head he was filling with wild fantasies about how wonderful their life would be if only he could get rid of the former Pam Stokes. This young petite woman, Winnetka Walls, wasn't my favorite character of all time, and neither is another prominent and shady witness in the story, Jack, the "ex-con, cocaine addict, and multiply convicted felon" who went to the police telling him that David committed the murder and now wanted his suspicious in-laws "off my ass."
It's a gritty story with a whole trial thrown in, told by the man on the inside, Utah's finest prosecutor Howard Lemcke. For those who couldn't tear themselves away from the Scott Peterson trial, this is like Scott and Laci, except with the "race card" added. An American tragedy.