Trail of the Fox

Trail of the Fox : The True Story of a Perfect Murder

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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 170 x 250mm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Ill.
  • 0245537651
  • 9780245537653

Review Text

The bizarre course of a perfect crime, laid out by a criminal attorney. Back in 1968 a California millionaire, Norma Bell Catty Wilson, who was married to a gigolo 26 years her junior, went to Montreal on a three-day trip with her lover and "business advisor," young Hugh-Hefner lookalike Thomas Devins, and a bodyguard named Robert Forget. Supposedly, they are to meet a Biafran investor and potential contributor to one of her charities. Suddenly the trio makes a detour to Europe and, after various stopovers, she disappears forever in Switzerland. Her gigolo husband, not exactly grief-stricken, wants her declared dead so that he can manage her fortune. Devins claims she rewrote her will to name him chief beneficiary; in any event, he has whipped certain properties of hers through a blizzard of title claims and transfers that leave him somewhere between $700,000 and $1M ahead. Forget, the bodyguard, begins spending big money. The, ahem, Biafran evaporates. Devins the swindler is the last person known to have seen her alive. District Attorney's Investigator Bill Burnett, of Los Angeles County, is assigned to the case and soon finds himself unraveling Devins' devious real estate claims and chasing the ungraspable phantom of Devins himself. The perfect crime is this: that apparently Devins chopped up the lady on a Swiss hillside and got rid of the pieces (her jawbone was later found and verified by dental records), but with no corpus delicti neither the Swiss nor the California authorities have jurisdiction for a murder trial. Burnett eventually gets Devins convicted for murder and robbery, but the murder conviction is reversed on appeal; Devins serves a brief term for robbery (connected to an unprovable murder!); is now scot free and protected from further prosecution by double jeopardy. He is the fox of the title - and his villainy gives the book its curious force as a study in criminal pathology and criminal genius. (Kirkus Reviews)show more