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Cape May Court House : A Death in the Night    by Lawrence Schiller order for
: A Death in the Night
by Lawrence Schiller
Order:  USA  Can
HarperTorch, 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

I picked up a copy of Cape May Court House because I am familiar with that small town in New Jersey. Then I realized that the book focused on a real life story. True Crime is not my bag. But once I leafed through the book, I was hooked and started reading with anticipation. Eric Thomas, a local dentist, and his pregnant wife Tracy were found in their Ford Explorer after a low-speed, one vehicle accident. Their tiny daughter, in a car seat in the rear seat, survived without a scratch. Eric, however, was unconscious and his wife dead.

Medical experts deduced that Tracy died of suffocation, brought about by the impact of an air bag. When Dr. Thomas decided to sue Ford for wrongful death, the company's lawyers looked into the case and accused him of strangling his wife. The subsequent preparation for the trial was staggering to my mind. The hours of depositions and research into every facet of the Explorer itself, and into the lives of the people involved, took months and months. I began to understand a little more why lawyers charge the fees they do.

The whole process of readying a case for trial is so daunting, it amazes me that any case ever gets to court. Lawrence Schiller has written books on the Jon Benet Ramsey murder and the O. J. Simpson trial. He has waded through literally boxes and boxes of documents to present an accurate account of each case. I didn't feel that he was biased in any way towards either side of the Cape May Court House story. He simply presented the facts as he saw them, and has produced a highly readable book, that allows readers to draw their own conclusions.

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