The Woodchipper Murder

Arthur Herzog, Jr., Author Henry Holt & Company $18.45 (274p) ISBN 978-0-8050-0753-4
Herzog ( Vesco ) is convinced that Connecticut-based airline pilot Richard Crafts bludgeoned his stewardess wife to death in November 1986; cut up her body with a chain saw; and fed its remains into an industrial-strength woodchipper. In this gripping re-creation of the alleged crime (the case ended in a mistrial; a second trial is pending), Herzog may have leapt into the fray prematurely, but he lays out a cogent scenario for a domestic atrocity. The case began not long after Helle Crafts returned home from a European flight, then vanished. Prior to her disappearance, Helle had commissioned private detective Keith Mayo to conduct an investigation of her husband's suspected infidelity. Newtown, Conn., police at first seemed uninterested in pursuing the disappearance, but pressure from Mayo forced action that led to the arrest of Crafts for murder, a charge based on body fragments purported to be Helle's. According to Herzog, there is less than a reasonable doubt about the husband's guilt--and the author stigmatizes the hung jury's lone dissenter as a misguided eccentric. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Genre: Nonfiction
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