BY TWO AND TWO: The Scandalous Story of Twin Sisters Accused of a Shocking Crime of Passion by Jim Schutze

BY TWO AND TWO: The Scandalous Story of Twin Sisters Accused of a Shocking Crime of Passion

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A sodden, clumsy look at a murder that is best summed up by its tabloid subtitle. Journalist Schutze (Preacher's Girl, not reviewed) reports on the 1992 murder of prominent Huntsville, Ala., doctor Jack Wilson by a drifter named James White. What at first seemed simply the tale of a fatal encounter took a turn toward the conspiratorial when White accused Wilson's wife, Betty, and her twin sister, Peggy Lowe, of hiring him to commit the murder. Yet separate trials leave Betty jailed and Peggy free. This fact, and police bungling of the case, convinces a once skeptical Schutze that both of the sisters are innocent. The author attempts to link Betty's guilty verdict to racism (her trial seemingly had more to do with her affair with a black man than with her husband's brutal murder), yet he fails to make the sense of injustice more than fleeting. He wonders at Betty's friends, all of whom turn against her, yet he appears not to have interviewed any of them or many other of the key players. Schutze implicates the Huntsville police in a scheme to frame Betty but provides no motive for them to lie. After chiding other reporters for salaciously latching onto the legitimately newsworthy fact that the accused are twins, Schutze ponders the effect of Betty's trial attire and her sagging plastic surgery. While some of these courtroom scenes are compelling and the profile of White genuinely chilling, Schutze is also guilty of sloppy writing and jarring narrative shifts. Lazy, lackluster reporting of a run-of-the-mill crime.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1995
Page count: 382pp
Publisher: Morrow