Death Benefit: A Lawyer Uncovers a 20-year Pattern of Seduction, Arson and Murder

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9780517582848: Death Benefit: A Lawyer Uncovers a 20-year Pattern of Seduction, Arson and Murder
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A corporate lawyer tells how he stumbled onto the trail of a female serial killer and devoted five years to bringing her to justice after she murdered his neighbor's daughter for insurance money. 20,000 first printing.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

The nail-biting tale of a female serial killer and the lawyer who dogged her to justice. Although Heilbroner is an attorney himself (three years in the Manhattan D.A.'s office, described in his excellent Rough Justice, 1990), the crusading lawyer here is one Steven Keeney, a prim, conservative tax attorney from Louisville. A tenderfoot at criminal law, Keeney finds himself knee-deep in a murder investigation when the victim's mother approaches him in church to ask for help in settling a life-insurance claim. It seems that the insurance company is balking with good reason: Another policy had been taken out on the victim just one day before her mysterious death in a fall off a cliff in Big Sur. Suspicion settles on the creepily nondescript Virginia McGinnis, mother of the beneficiary and landlady of the deceased. As Keeney sniffs around, horrifying revelations come to light. McGinnis's three-year-old daughter died of accidental hanging--if it was an accident; her husband and mother also succumbed in suspicious circumstances, and in each case McGinnis collected life insurance. She lived in six homes in 20 years, and all of them burned to the ground. Her sons turned out to be killers themselves (``Virginia McGinnis was not just a murderer herself: She bred murderers,'' intones Heilbroner). The melodrama reaches fever pitch as Heilbroner flashes back to McGinnis's miserable childhood, a muddy mix of poverty and abuse that helps explain her adult pathological behavior. As the case knits tighter, Keeney's law practice unravels. But he never gives up, and, after a suspenseful trial, McGinnis is convicted of murder and sentenced to life without parole. Like a long but intense TV-movie (with even an extraneous love subplot between Keeney and a fellow lawyer thrown in): stock characters and real thrills. (Photos--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

At church in Louisville one day in 1987 a woman named Bobbie Roberts asked another parishioner, corporate lawyer Steven Keeney, for help: her daughter, Deanna, had fallen to her death along the Big Sur coast of California earlier that year, and now her insurance company was balking at paying benefits. What emerged was a scandal of far greater magnitude. Soon Keeney uncovered evidence suggesting that Deanna had been pushed off the cliff by her traveling companions, B. J. and Virginia McGinnis, a married couple who had secured a life insurance policy on her the previous day. After further investigation, Keeney came to suspect that over 20 years Virginia McGinnis had killed her three-year-old daughter, her mother and her ex-husband, as well as committing crimes of shoplifting, forgery, theft and arson. Heilbroner ( Rough Justice ) does a respectable job of reporting how Kenney learned of McGinnis's childhood of poverty and abuse. But in his courtroom coverage, surprisingly, this former New York City prosecutor cools down his potential potboiler through a pedestrian analysis of the 1992 trial. B. J. McGinnis, who was indicted, died in prison before being tried; Virginia McGinnis was sentenced to life imprisonment. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC alternate; movie rights have been optioned; condensation rights to Reader's Digest; author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780380722624: Death Benefit

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0380722623 ISBN 13:  9780380722624
Publisher: Avon Books, 1994
Softcover

9780751506914: Death Benefit: A Lawyer Uncovers a Twenty-year Pattern of Seduction, Arson and Murder

Warner, 1994
Softcover

9780517153468: Death Benefit

Random..., 1995
Hardcover

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