THE MARK FEIN CASE by William Reuben


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Nobody pities a rich voluptuary. Because the author never describes his background or personality, Mark Fein is never more in these pages than a featureless, silent defendant with the sympathy-killing attributes of unlimited wealth, superb family connections and vigorous health--who may have been framed. This reduces the chance that the book will catch at the public imagination and lead to an outcry for Fein, although the author's explication of the merits of Fein's case indicates that Justice may have had yet another miscarriage. Mr. Reuben quotes Time asking, ""Life sometimes imitates art, but does it have to imitate TV?"" The question still applies. Fein was convicted of the 1963 murder of his bookie in the apartment Fein maintained for a call girl/madam who was related to a man who specialized in robbing bookies. She also supplied the entertainment at some of the gambling parties where Fein and his circle indulged themselves. Her testimony, riddled with contradictions, helped convince the jury of Fein's guilt. She claimed to have managed the removal of the victim's corpse for Fein. The legal question is not whether Fein sinned mightily both sexually and ethically, but whether the prosecution suppressed evidence favorable to his case. Louis Nizer has headed and lost one appeal for a new trial. Fein has thirty years to think about the high life in Sing Sing. Trial-into-book always commands a certain audience, but despite the author's skillful legal reporting, the book doesn't arouse the sort of reader-partisanship which sells books in quantity.

Publisher: Dial