The Murkin Conspiracy: An Investigation Into the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, JR.
Philip H. Melanson. Praeger Publishers, $106.95 (219pp) ISBN 978-0-275-93029-5
Melanson, assassination expert and political science professor at Southeastern Massachusetts University, has done an exhaustively thorough job on the still-mysterious King assassination. After following Melanson's meticulous pursuit of seemingly every lead in the case--including interviews with the men whose names were used as aliases for alleged killer James Earl Ray--there can be little doubt in the reader's mind that neither of the two official versions of what happened could have been the whole truth. The first was the ever-popular notion of the lone killer: Ray. The second, propounded by a clearly inept congressional investigation a decade after the 1968 shooting, was that an ill-defined racist conspiracy was behind the assassination. What seems unarguable is that Ray, a petty criminal, could not have killed King unaided. There are too many improbabilities--the source of his carefully chosen Canadian aliases, the identity of the ``fat man'' who brought him a ``letter'' in Toronto during his escape, the odd setup at the rooming house from which the shot was fired. It is Melanson's thesis that there was high-level intelligence involvement, probably by the CIA, which was violently alarmed by King's anti-Vietnam stance. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/13/1989