A GRAVE FOR BOBBY: A True Story of Greed and Murder by James Deakin

A GRAVE FOR BOBBY: A True Story of Greed and Murder

Email this review


An offbeat true crime historical that has less to do with the kidnapping and murder of the ""Bobby"" of the title than with the disappearance of half the ransom money paid for the boy's return. Occasionally overdetailed and repetitious, the narrative paints a telling portrait of police corruption and mob involvement in St. Louis more than 35 years ago. When Carl Austin Hall and his mistress Bonnie Heady snatched six-year-old Bobby Greenlease from his exclusive school in September 1953, they were as unlikely a pair of kidnappers as can be imagined. Operating in an almost continual alcoholic haze, the duo floundered about, confusing pick-up points for the $600,000 ransom they demanded from Bobby's distraught millionaire family, lugging the loot around with them once the sum had been paid, boasting about the money to their seamy underworld acquaintances. Tragically, when they were picked up a few days later, their victim was already dead, shot several times and buried in a shallow grave by Hall. Hall and Heady were apprehended by a St. Louis police lieutenant with Mafia connections; by the time they were booked, half of the money had vanished. The lieutenant professed total puzzlement, and even booze-befuddled Hall couldn't be sure he hadn't buried the $300,000 somewhere. It has never been recovered, but by using previously unreleased FBI and police records, Deakin (Straight Stuff, 1984) puts together a convincing scenario that traces the money to the Mob and to its probable laundering by a Mafia-controlled Chicago bank. An effective re-creation of a world dominated by violence and venality, greed and grunginess.

Pub Date: Feb. 26th, 1989
Publisher: Morrow