Recounts the Stuart murder case, in which Charles Stuart claimed that his pregnant wife had been shot by a Black man in racially torn Boston, but Stuart himself later became the prime suspect
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Despite a failed effort to link its subject to a larger picture of greedy national yuppieism, this murder story builds and grips like a novel woven by James M. Cain and Theodore Dreiser. The story runs a course whose ironies are well captured by Sharkey (Death Sentence, 1990--not reviewed). This is a tale of a pathetically flawed man whose veneer of charm hid an emptiness that even his own family could not see and that at last drove him into moral eclipse. Without hope of college, tall, handsome Charles Stuart attended vocational technical school in Revere, Mass., learning restaurant skills, and worked in pizza shops while dreaming of his place in the sun as a gracious restaurateur. A little later, he landed a job turning hamburgers at the Driftwood, where he told white lies about losing his football scholarship to Brown because of a leg injury. Soon he met, and later married, brilliant Carol DiMaitis, an honor student he helped steer into graduate school for tax law. Meanwhile, by vast luck, he landed a job with some furriers; he proved so skilled a salesman that his income soon rose from $40,000 to $130,000 a year. Carol was stunned by his rise, since even with her law degree she could not hope to rise above $40,000 yearly. At 30, Carol wanted a baby, got pregnant, refused to abort. Charles steeped her in insurance, shot her to death in his car on a dark Boston street, wounded himself, called for the police. A TV crew came and got incredible footage. In the hospital, Charles described a black assailant and the police, amid huge public outcry, found just the patsy, whom Charles later ID'd in a lineup. How Charles screwed up and why he jumped to his death in a freezing river forms the rest of the story. Certainly not perfect, but riveting all the same. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
For three months in 1989, the entire nation watched aghast as the Charles Stuart murder case played out in Boston. A middle-class white couple, Charles and Carol Stuart, had been accosted in their car by an unknown black male and forced to drive to a deserted black neighborhood where they were robbed. Carol, seven months pregnant, was killed, and Charles severely injured. The problem was that the entire story turned out to be a cruel hoax, ultimately unmasked by Charles's suicide, which, in turn, was prompted by the unraveling of his story by his brother Matthew. Sharkey has gone beyond the facts known to draw a picture of a man consumed by naked ambition, unwilling to let anyone or anything get in his way. To a lesser extent, he successfully has also shown how other factors contributed to Stuart's committing the almost perfect crime: the press, the district attorney's office, and the increased racial tensions in Boston. Possibly the first of many books about the Stuarts, this should be well received. Recommended.
- Sandra K. Lindheimer, Middlesex Law Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Simon and Schuster. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 1501140930
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