A MURDER IN PARADISE by Richard Gehman


Email this review


The reenactment of an impulsive and irrational murder which took place in Lancaster County, the garden spot of Pennsylvania, probes not only the crime itself but also the question of the use- or misuse- of psychiatric evidence in the courts. This particular case, which had a shorter summation in Edward Radin's Headline Crimes of the Year (1951) involved the sudden, brutal killing of Marian Baker, a secretary at Franklin and Marshall college, by Edward Gibbs, a married student. Gibbs' confession was followed by his sullen, sick silence throughout the trial in which the inflammatory reaction of the community was perhaps prejudicial. But it is the testimony, excerpted here, of a psychiatrist, Edward Strecker, and the way in which it ricocheted against the defendant, which illustrates the difficulty in establishing the marginal mutations between mental illness (the psychiatrist's term) and insanity (the legal definition) as Gibbs, classified as a schizophrenic, still went to the chair..... Annals of crime, authenticated and analyzed with something of the cool proficiency of John Bartlow Martin- and for that audience.

Pub Date: July 8th, 1954
Publisher: Rinehart