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The Perfect Patsy: The Winger Murders Paperback – November 14, 2013
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About the Author
Edward Cunningham is a trial lawyer, having engaged in significant civil litigation for over fifty years. He is a graduate of Yale University and of the University of Chicago Law School. He started working on this book ten years ago when he started collecting the records of this case and interviewing witnesses. It is his first book.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book has an excessive amount of typographical errors that will make it difficult to read for those who are familiar with the story and very confusing for those who are unfamiliar it. The most obvious example can be seen on the back cover of the book. It reads "Deborah Winger was 31 years old when she was killed in September 29, 1995." Her name was "Donnah" Winger and she was killed on August (not Sept) 29th. In addition, Donnah's mother's name is Sara Jane and the writer intermittently refers to her as Sarah Jane and Sara Jane...even on the same page. The writer does the same with the names Jo Datz (who he sometimes refers to as "Joe") and Jeffrey Gelman (who he sometimes refers to as "Gilman").
The many inaccuracies make the story very confusing as well. For example, the writer created a conversation (which, in my opinion, is stilted and contrived) between Donnah and Mark wherein Donnah told Mark that DeAnn was unhappy in her marriage and asked Mark not to discuss it with anyone. In the courtroom testimony however, it was revealed that Donnah actually asked Mark to talk with DeAnn about her marital issues (to presumably provide a male perspective).
And then there was a glaring omission. There were 3 Polaroid pictures that were taken by a detective at the crime scene before the paramedics began working on the victims...before anything or anyone was moved. These were the ONLY hard evidence that actually proved the positions of the bodies. In the chapter entitled "The Devil is in the Details," the writer even lists "the positions of the bodies" as a major factor in Mark's conviction because it proved that the murders could not have occurred as Mark had claimed. In fact, the front cover of the book is one of those Polaroid pictures. Strange that he didn't even mention them.
Lastly, I have to mention how angry it made me to read the writer's opinion that "Donnah Winger's death affected DeAnn Schultz more than anyone else." DeAnn was Donnah's best friend and then became Mark's mistress. She was clearly wracked with guilt (as she should have been) as evidenced by her unhappy life and several suicide attempts. But to say that DeAnn was affected more than "anyone else" is insulting to the families of the victims. Does the writer really think that DeAnn has suffered more than Donnah's mother? More than Roger's mother who buried him as a murderer and endured the scorn of their community for so many years? If he does, then he must not have children. Nothing could be worse than those mothers' pain. I hope neither of them read this book.
For these reasons, I think you should not waste your money or time on this piece of historical fiction. Invitation To A Murder was written in conjunction with the 48 Hours television show and with the cooperation of most of the major players. If you're interested in this case, read that one instead.
This book is also a tragedy. First and foremost, there are so many spelling and grammatical errors that just getting through it was a struggle. Whoever edited it should be fired. This read more like a junior high essay than a work of non-fiction.
I'm glad that virtually no one associated with the case - no family, friends or investigators - participated in the writing of this book. Not only did they avoid the heartache of having to retell their experiences of the murders, but they also escaped the embarrassment of having their names associated with this complete trainwreck of a book. Because none of the witnesses participated, all of the dialogue in the book is pure speculation.
If you want to learn more about the Winger murders, go to YouTube and watch the 48 Hours, Forensic Files or Final Witness episodes that focus on the case and the aftermath. Do not waste your time or money on this book.