A GREAT FALL by Mildred Savage


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Although at first this seems like an In Cold Blood treatment of a crime which makes your blood run cold, it is essentially a long transcript of two homicide trials which followed in necessary and (acknowledged by the author) repetitious detail. Thus one wonders how many people will have the staying power to read, let alone evaluate, the testimony which runs for some 400 pages, not including the final two interrogations which were not admissible in court. The case itself had many startling and puzzling features: the killing of a Connecticut housewife with a small child and a mother-in-law who had been institutionalized and was increasingly regressing (following her daughter-in-law's death, she was heard saying ""Is she dead yet?""); the disappearance of a pink plastic piggy bank; a bloodstained dress found in the dryer; and finally a letter not only confessing to the crime but threatening to kill the dead woman's child. Sam Rome, Connecticut's Chief Detective who hadn't made a mistake in 29 years, was sure that the mentally unstable Agnes Thompson, quickly returned to the institution where she died before the completion of the trial, was guilty. But Harry Solbert, a rigidly repressed and rather pallid young man made the confession--""the queen of all evidence""--without having any memory of what happened and he was brought to trial twice in a contest which quickly developed between the infallible Rome and the State's Attorney. Miss Savage attended the proceedings as a member of the press and except for occasional excisions, they appear almost verbatim. Very good of its reportorial kind, and you'll be right there if you want to be.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster