THE WOODCHIPPER MURDER

Author: Herzog (Arthur)
Year: 1989
Publisher: Henry Holt (New York)
Edition Details: 1st US Edn.
Book Condition: F/NrF
ISBN: 9780805007534
Price: 8.00
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Hardback. Even though the Newtown, Connecticut, police listed Helle Craft's disappearance as a routine missing-person case, Keith Mayo, a private investigator, knew the Danish-born mother of 3 hadn't skipped town 9 days before Thanksgiving. He had been concerned for Helle's safety a month earlier when he had provided his client, an attractive 39yr old Pan Am flight attendant, conclusive evidence of her husband's extramarital activities. An Eastern Airlines pilot and part-time policeman, Richard Crafts stood by his story that Helle had flown abroad on November 19, 1986, to visit her suddenly stricken mother. Richard was caught up in a succession of lies. A friend telephoned Denmark to learn that Helle's mother was healthy and unaware of Helle's whereabouts. More disturbing was the news, reported by the Craftses' baby-sitter, that a dark stain "the size of a grapefruit" had been noticed on the master bedroom rug soon after Helle's disappearance; now the rug was gone. Mayo seized upon that single clue, and when it led to a remote landfill from which he unearthed a stained rug, he had the evidence necessary to bring the state police into the case. The author skilfully re-creates the hour-by-hour circumstantial details that inform this grisly true-crime narrative. We observe dispassionate Richard Crafts as he buys a truck with a pintle hook for towing heavy equipment, promised for delivery before November 18. A day later he reserves a Badger Brush Bandit woodchipper at Darien Rentals, to be picked up November 18. On November 17 he had picked up a Westinghouse chest-freezer from Zemel's T.V. Appliances in Danbury. A few days later an unsuspicious fellow police officer spots Crafts operating his equipment at 4.00am during a severe storm. When asked why he's using a woodchipper at that hour, Crafts replies calmly that he's cleaning up limbs brought down by the snowfall. "Limbs," the constable replied. "They must be awfully big." Illus. + Epilogue and Index. From the library of true crime writer, Wilfred Gregg, with his personal b/plate. F. in sl. sunned Nr. F. dw.

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