MURDER, NO DOUBT by Ruth Langlos


A Widow's Real-Life Nightmare
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 When her husband was found dead in his office, Langlos, like the cops, was sure he'd been murdered--but the L.A. coroner's office ruled that he'd died of natural causes. Here, coauthored by Detroit Free Press reporter Niemiec, is the story of how Langlos spent 15 years trying to change that ruling--a potentially gripping tale of botched autopsies and bureaucratic frustrations that's given a mawkish, tabloid-like treatment. When, in February 1976, the body of clinical psychologist Jack Langlos was discovered, blood stained his office walls, and his gashed head was wedged under his desk--but the autopsy report gave the cause of death as ``occlusive coronary artery disease.'' As the authors demonstrate, it was the policy of L.A.'s then-coroner, Thomas Noguchi, never to have his underlings list ``undetermined'' as a cause of death. The attending coroner didn't believe the blow to Langlos's head was fatal and testified that, perhaps, the deceased had banged his head while suffering a heart attack. Eventually, though, Eugene Hartman--a physician-colleague of Langlos's who'd borrowed a small amount of money from him--was arrested for forging one of the deceased's checks while using his driver's license and credit card. Hartman went to jail for forgery but didn't face murder charges until 1982. Found guilty, he served three years before being released on a technicality. Here, Ruth Langlos--who describes herself as ``a classy, long-stemmed rose with blonde hair, a shapely figure and red, luscious lips''- -recounts her struggle with grief and depression. She tells of visits to a psychic, stints in a mental hospital, and her consulting of a ``thanatologist'' who, she says, warned her to leave town and change her name because her life was in danger- -though she specifies no threat from Hartman or anyone else. ``I'm willing to risk my life for justice!'' proclaims Langlos--but while her tenacity is admirable, her melodramatic writing does her cause an injustice. (First printing of 20,000)

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1994
ISBN: 0-88282-078-8
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: New Horizon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1993


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