Circle of Fire: Murder and Betrayal in the ""Swiss Nanny"" Case

Joyce Eggington, Author, Joyce Egginton, Author William Morrow & Company $22 (368p) ISBN 978-0-688-10564-8
In December 1991, Kristie Fischer, three months old, died in a fire at her parents' home in Thornwood, N.Y. The only other person known to have been in the house at the time was Olivia Riner, a Swiss au pair who had been with the family just six weeks. Investigation determined that the fire was arson. Riner was arrested; and the agency that had sent her to the Fischers, the Swiss community in New York City and the Swiss government all sprang to her defense, hiring an attorney. They had less influence on the case, however, than TV tabloid journalists, who, according to the author, lied, distorted evidence and even set up an alternate suspect in a friend of the Fischers. Add to this an ineffectual prosecuting attorney and the result was acquittal on charges of arson and murder. But those involved in the case, even people who had no doubt of Riner's guilt, remained troubled by the absence of a motive. Egginton (Day of Frenzy) makes a plausible argument that Riner committed the crimes out of powerful homesickness. Photos not seen by PW. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1994
Release date: 11/01/1994
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