- Mass Market Paperback
- Publisher: Ballantine Books (1 Feb. 1977)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345250729
- ISBN-13: 978-0345250728
- Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.4 x 2.3 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,156,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Alice Crimmins Case Mass Market Paperback – 1 Feb 1977
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Kenneth Gross describes the web of political connections within the police force and the judicial system to show how such a sham investigation was conducted and how Alice was railroaded in court - she was found guilty twice without a shred of solid evidence against her. The thought that such a travesty was possible - and still is today - is very sobering. The message: Stay out of trouble, because justice is a myth.
At the end of the book, the case is unresolved. Nobody knows who really killed the kids. It might have been Alice, but that seems unlikely and is unprovable. I read a 1975 hardcover edition which does not include the information that Alice was paroled and married Tony Grace in 1977. The 1977 paperback might have this as an endnote; I'm not sure. They disappeared into obscurity after that and the case has been mostly forgotten.
I would have given this book another star, but Mr. Gross's writing style is jumpy and disconnected at times (once I had to flip back and forth for a few minutes because I thought I had skipped a page) which makes the story harder to follow than it could have been. Still, it's a pretty good true-crime novel. A real page turner.
There are probably few young people who have even heard of Alice Crimmins, but when I was a boy, she was a notorious figure and the crimes of which she was accused were so terrible that people grew silent when she came by. A cocktail waitress, Alice was a pretty young woman who used tons of cosmetics to make herself stylish and sexy--she looked downright dangerous, like Ronnie Spector or one of the Shangri-Las. People in the little housing project near Fresh Meadows were divided about her, but many said she couldn't be as bad as she painted herself. She had separated from her husband, Edmund, a few months before, and took care of her two kids, Eddie Jr and Missy, pretty much on her own. But she was a party girl and the neighbors would never forget the day the kids were found playing in the yard after sundown, because they were locked out of the apartment and, when this negligence was investigated, they found that Alice had gone on a date in which the party she was with shanghaied her and took her on a Caribbean cruise. At least she could have called somebody!
The murders of her two children however--could she really have committed this horrible act? She claimed that she had put them to bed one night, and somebody must have put a ladder up to their bedroom window and spirited them away. Their bodies were found weeks later, miles away--poor little things. The DA's office theorized that either Alice or an accomplice had killed the kids in order to improve her chances of marrying the rich contractor with whom she was having an illicit affair. She was convicted after one of the most ludicrously one-sided trials ever recorded, Ken Gross' book makes it clear that Alice was primarily convicted because of her sexuality, and thanks to his reporting and to the indignation of the nascent feminist movement, she was released shortly after the book came out. She has disappeared, but her story, and that of her two beautiful children, will always be remembered by anyone who was around during that long ago summer of 1965.
Of course, the police believed immediately suspected the mother because she didn't grieve or pass their superficial tests of innocence. Whether you believe this "gay" divorcee had anything to do with her children's abduction and murder is not for me to decide.
I was born after this all happened. But from my perspective, the author is very descriptive and knowledgeable of the facts around this highly popular case. This book is an excellent read but it's sad because there really is no solid conclusion.
The children's bedroom weren't sealed off properly. People like neighbors and friends and relatives came in and out of the apartment. Of course, now we'll never know who did it. But it is ironic that Missy's body shows up in a different location than her brother. And what about the other boy's story of a possible abduction? That can't be ignored.
We'll never really know what happened because the police and press decided immediately what happened. A case like that happened in my town and they still believe it was the mother even though it's been 15 years and it's like beating a dead horse.
Sometimes, I think people have to realize that this was a case of a stranger abduction and murder but it was too late for the police to collect proper evidence. I'm sure Alice has her own problems but I wouldn't think she was a killer. Sophie E. was a discredited later on in the second trial.