The Summer Wind : Thomas Capano and the Murder of Anne Marie Fahey

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9780060393144: The Summer Wind : Thomas Capano and the Murder of Anne Marie Fahey

I have finally brought closure to Tom Capano. What a controlling, manipulative, insecure jealous maniac.-- from the diary of Anne Marie Fahey, months before she was murdered

The Summer Wind--the title of a melancholy song of love and loss made famous by Frank Sinatra--was also the name of a sport-fishing boat that cut through the waves off the mid-Atlantic coastline on a hazy Friday morning at the end of June 1996. And it was from the deck of the Summer Wind that Thomas Capano--lawyer, power broker, one of the most influential men in the state of Delaware--that day cast overboard an ice chest containing the body of his former lover, Anne Marie Fahey, in an act of heart-chilling arrogance for which he has never shown a moment of remorse.

Now, for the first time, award-winning reporter George Anastasia offers a captivating re-creation of the Capano-Fahey affair, the murder, and its aftermath. The Summer Wind is a story of the clash of two generations and two cultures, of the arrogance of power in a growing city, and of the decaying moral landscape of late-twentieth-century America. At the story's center is Tom Capano himself, the oldest son of one of the wealthiest families in Wilmington and one of the city's major players. Capano had always been his family's golden boy, the one who could do no wrong; by the age of forty-six he was a millionaire several times over, a figure of political clout and seductive charm. And his mistress--one of many, it would later emerge--was Anne Marie Fahey, the appointments secretary to the governor of Delaware. Not yet thirty, the youngest child of a troubled family, Anne Marie was charming and ebullient, but also insecure, anorexic, and desperately needy. For two years she was the perfect foil for his obsessive manipulation, until she finally called off their romance--and met her untimely fate at Thomas Capano's band.

Drawing on two years of intense research and reporting on the Capano case--for which he won the coveted Sigma Delta Chi Award--Anastasia traces the bizarre push-and-pull relationship between Capano and Fahey, using Fahey's diary entries and the couple's e-mail correspondence to give us the first intimate glimpse of their affair. He follows the course of the investigation launched after Fahey's disappearance, as prosecutors mounted a complex campaign to bring Capano to justice--including a critical undercover operation targeting Capano's younger brother, a story told here for the first time. And, finally, The Summer Wind puts us in the courtroom and behind prison walls as Capano struggled to save himself at trial--a struggle that culminated in his bizarre attempt to frame another mistress for the murder. What emerges is a portrait of two desperate figures whose union could only have come to tragedy: Thomas Capano, who lived for control, and Anne Marie Fahey, who died for lack of it.

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Review:

The twisted tale of a young woman who said "no" to an obsessive, overbearing boyfriend, The Summer Wind recounts the sad, prematurely shortened life and death of Anne Marie Fahey and the clinically detached attempts by the man who shot her--politically well-connected Delaware lawyer Tom Capano--to wriggle his way out of responsibility for the deed. Anastasia's account begins during the summer of 1996, when Capano enlisted the help of his brother to help dump Fahey's body, stuffed into a large Igloo fisherman's ice chest, off the mid-Atlantic coast. When the chest wouldn't sink, Capano's brother fired into it with his shotgun; although blood spurted from the hole, the chest still refused to sink, so Capano finally tied an anchor to it. Fahey's body was never found, but the ice chest was recovered--which proved to be Capano's undoing. Much of the book is concerned with the fascinating psychological games Capano had used on Fahey during a relationship that spanned several years. Alternately cajoling and threatening her, he emerges as a truly vile character through Anastasia's steady case building. When Fahey turns up missing and is ultimately presumed dead, authorities immediately suspect the Machiavellian Capano, a behind-the-scenes power player of lasting notoriety on the Delaware scene. His attempts to cover up the crime and later to shift the blame to another mistress are shockingly repellent: Capano, it appears, was born without a conscience. An effectively written tale, The Summer Wind is a textbook example of good you-are-there journalism. --Tjames Madison

About the Author:

George Anastasia has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. A reporter with the Philadelphia Inquirer, he is also the author of three previous books: Blood and Honor, Mobfather, and The Goodfella Tapes. He lives with his wife in southern New Jersey.

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