Thursday, December 17, 2009

FFB: A death in?

My mom--- what can I say? Well on the good side she was/is a voracious reader. I don't tend to like the cozy tea, cats and overly clean murder and Death books that she's always read, but I figured that as she is in a nursing home and really there isn't any room for her to have more stuff, I would give her a FFB entry for Christmas this year.

I started by asking her if there was book from her past that stood out in her mind that others might not know of. Her first answer was Little Women. I politely informed her that Little Women really wasn't a forgotten book and tried to get her to dig a little deeper. The answer she came up with was A Death in Connecticut. She said it was a non fiction book about a murder in Falls Village where her childhood best friend's family lived. She around the south and the east coast, living in North Carolina and Philadelphia before her father, a Southern Baptist Minster, landed a church in Millerton NY. She spent her youth in Millerton, which is right across the border from Falls Village, CT where the book is set.

I then asked her about the book, and she really did not recall much, but did drop big bomb shell was that her very first boyfriend "Buzzy" was involved with the group of people that were suspected in the killing. She said that it was the mother of one of the group that had been killed and the son was suspected. She said that Buzzy had run away from home when they were 'dating' and that of course her parents didn't approve of him. That was as much as I got out of her about the book, so my next step was to start looking for the book on line.

That proved harder than I expected because while there is a book called A Death in Connecticut, there really isn't much information about it. What I did stumble on was a book by Joan Barthel called A death in Canaan which pretty much sounds like the book she was talking about.

From Amazon reviwer: By Robert S. Gartner
On September 28, 1973, 51 year old Barbara Gibbons, the quirky and
eccentric mother of 17 year old Peter Reilly, was murdered in Canaan
(a.k.a. Falls Village), Connecticut. State troopers arrived on the
scene and immediately seized on Peter as the suspect in the killing.
What followed was a three year journey through the Connecticut judicial
system finally ending in his exoneration. In between, however, in a
show of grass roots support, friends and neighbors rallied to his
defense and formed the Peter Reilly Defense fund.

There appears to be a 1978 TV Movie of the story as well. Anyone recall this book or the film? Comments, thoughts?

More FFB over at Patti Abbotts blog HERE


pattinase (abbott) said...

I do remember it and am sure I read it. Even the cover is familiar. Nice little story with this one, Eric. Nice to include your mother. That might be fun to do some week. Ask a family member for a title.

Lastyear said...

This was a big seller when it first came out. I remember the TV movie as being better than average.