cover image Who Killed John Lennon?

Who Killed John Lennon?

Fenton Bresler. St. Martin's Press, $17.95 (309pp) ISBN 978-0-312-03452-8

Bresler, a British lawyer, believes tht Mark Chapman, assassin of John Lennon, was no ``lone nut'' but was programmed by the CIA, through drugs and hypnosis, to carry out the murder. The N.Y.C. police lieutenant who interrogated Chapman the night of the slaying in 1980 is quoted here as saying: ``He looked as if he could have been programmed.'' Bresler builds an entirely circumstantial case without a shred of hard evidence, but he does raise some interesting questions. Why, for instance, did Chapman, in 1975 a 19-year-old, religious, anti-Communist Southerner, select Russia as his preferred destination in a YMCA exchange program, and end up instead in Beirut? Bresler posits that Chapman was recruited by the CIA as a killer and kept ``on hold'' until the agency found a target: Lennon, portrayed here as a magnet for leftist causes. He argues that Chapman spent three ``missing days'' in Chicago before arriving in New York to shoot the rock star. As Bresler ( The Mystery of Georges Simenon ) reports, Lennon was kept under surveillance by both the FBI and CIA, but that in itself proves nothing. Author tour. (Sept.)