Books: Mystery Murders
By Ray Saadi—Book Editor
NIGHT NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT By Hallie Ephron, William Morrow $26.99
When Deidre Unger arrived in Beverly Hills from Los Angeles to help her father prepare his house for sale, she didn’t expect to find him in the swimming pool…dead. Because his father faithfully swam every day his son, Henry assumes his death was a tragic accident. His mother, who was away at a Buddhist retreat, had a perfect alibi. But when detectives arrive they began to probe into the affairs of the family, uncovering seemingly innocent incidents that point to Deidre as the killer despite her alibi. Family attorney and “attorney to the stars” Sy Sterling, arrives on the scene to defend the family, but his presence only serves to dredge up old mysteries. Like the one involving a friend of Deidre who killed her movie star mother’s lover. (Some readers may remember the Lana Turner incident.) The noose tightens around Deidre’s her neck, but we know she didn’t do it…don’t we? It’s a perfect Hollywood mix of stars and scandals.
UNTIL YOU ARE DEAD, DEAD, DEAD: The Hanging of Albert Edwin Batson
By Jim Bradshaw & Danielle Miller, University Press of Mississippi $30.00
It’s pretty obvious from the title that Albert Edwin Batson dies at the end, yet even knowing that doesn’t detract from the riveting story of how this young man came to be hung. Reminiscent of Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood”, the true murder of a family of four, Batson is charged with killing six in this chilling narrative. A century later, the authors studied the case and zealously poured over thousands of pages that exposed many errors, misidentifications, poor defenses and outright falsities that led to Batson being convicted twice and sentenced to death both times. Today, the authors conclude, he would probably have received a life sentence at most.