Missing Beauty: A True Story of Murder and Obsession

Teresa Carpenter, Author W. W. Norton & Company $18.95 (478p) ISBN 978-0-393-02569-9
Perhaps not wanting to waste a footnote of her assiduous research, Carpenter, a Village Voice journalist, endlessly leads us into blind turns with insignificant information and further slows unfolding horrific events by supplying a curriculum vitae for seemingly everyone who had even the most incidental brush with the ``missing beauty.'' The case, as described by an attorney assessing its publicity potential, involves ``a professor killing a hooker who had a black pimp.'' The professor is William Douglas, researcher at Tufts University medical school in Boston, middle-aged, married, father of three children; the prostitute, 21-year-old Robin Benedict, from a middle-class Hispanic family, who died one March night in 1983 after being bludgeoned with a sledgehammer by Douglas at his suburban home. The body has never been found, although Benedict's killerat trial he copped a manslaughter plea and is serving an 18-20 year sentencemaintains that he discarded it in a dumpster in Providence, R.I. (Douglas is also serving a concurrent five-year sentence for embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from Tufts, spent on Benedict, his steady hooker.) Had the overlong book been trimmed to bring the case into sharper focus, this study of moral corruption, of police investigation at its most persistent, could have been a classic of its type. Notable nonetheless, it will reward the most dogged readers. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 06/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 605 pages - 978-0-7860-0449-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-8217-2755-3
Paperback - 484 pages - 978-0-393-33223-0
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