Joran van der Sloot: Crazy Like a Faux

August 3, 2010

Tags: Natalee Holloway, Stephany Flores, Crime

It seems that Joran van der Sloot, having claimed, fruitlessly, that his detailed confession to the murder of Stephany Flores was a) coerced, b) improperly translated/misunderstood by his translator, is now going for c) an insanity defense.

It won't work.

Maximo Altez, Joran's lawyer, has stated that Joran is a sick fellow. Well, (more…)

Further Sporadic Ramblings of Joran van der Sloot

June 11, 2010

Tags: Natalee Holloway, Crime, Stephany Flores

News reports out of Peru state that Joran van der Sloot, while confessing to the murder of Stephany Flores, mentioned to his interrogators that he knew the exact location of Natalee Holloway's remains. He was, however, unwilling to share this knowledge with the Lima cops. He DID indicate that he'd be willing to share (more…)

A Preventable Death?

June 10, 2010

Tags: Natalee Holloway, Crime, Stephany Flores

The FBI has been taking some heat for not arresting Joran van der Sloot immediately after they caught him on tape in Aruba extorting $25,000 from John Q. Kelly, Beth Holloway's lawyer, in exchange for information concerning the whereabouts of Natalee Holloway's body.

If Joran HAD been arrested on May 10, Stephany Flores would, in all (more…)

Breakfast of Champions

June 10, 2010

Tags: Natalee Holloway, Crime, Stephany Flores

CBS, Fox, and other news agencies are reporting that while Stephany Flores Ramirez lay dead on Joran van der Sloot's hotel room floor, Joran went out to fetch himself some breakfast. He returned with the take-out to the hotel room, and dined while, apparently, contemplating Ms. Flores's corpse and trying to decide what to (more…)

The Sporadic Ramblings of Joran van der Sloot

June 10, 2010

Tags: Natalee Holloway, Crime, Stephany Flores

It has been reported by the Peruvian press that before Joran van der Sloot gave what appears to be a truthful--or truthful as far as it ever gets with Joran--confession to the murder of Stephany Flores Ramirez, he told the authorities who detained him in Chile a different story. This one involved Stephany and (more…)

Stephany Flores Ramirez

June 8, 2010

Tags: Natalee Holloway, Crime, Stephany Flores

According to Peruvian law enforcement authorities, Joran van der Sloot, the prime suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway five years ago, has confessed to the murder of Stephany Flores Ramirez, a student at business college and the daughter of a prominent Peruvian industrialist/impresario, race car driver, and one-time political candidate.

Van der Sloot (more…)

Natalee Holloway, Part Ten (Further into the Bizarre)

June 3, 2010

Tags: Natalee Holloway, Crime

If you were laboring under the delusion that this case couldn't possibly get stranger, you were wrong.

Today, the same day Joran van der Sloot was detained in Chile as principal suspect in the murder of Stephany Flores, a criminal complaint against him was filed by the United States Attorney in Birmingham, Alabama, Natalee Holloway's home state.

I have read the complaint, and it states that (more…)

Natalee Holloway, Part Nine (Man No Longer on the Run)

June 3, 2010

Tags: Natalee Holloway, Crime, Stephany Flores

CNN has just announced (1:00 pm EST) that Joran van der Sloot has been arrested in Santiago, Chile.

Later reports indicate that Joran was detained by Chilean authorities in a resort town outside Santiago, then brought under guard to Santiago. As far as I can tell, he'll be escorted to the border and turned over (more…)

Natalee Holloway, Part Eight (Man on the Run)

June 3, 2010

Tags: Natalee Holloway, Crime, Stephany Flores

The most recent reports state that an autopsy has been done on Ms. Flores and that, contrary to earlier reports, she did not die of stabbing injuries but of a broken neck. She was apparently beaten to death. This is a truly terrible way to die. There seems to be no indication that she (more…)

Natalee Holloway, Part Seven (Breaking News)

June 2, 2010

Tags: Natalee Holloway, Crime, Stephany Flores

Various international news agencies are reporting that Joran van der Sloot, the principal suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, is now the prime suspect in the beating and stabbing death of twenty-one-year-old Stephany Flores Ramirez, the daughter of Peruvian business man and racer Ricardo Flores.

Ms. Flores was last seen alive leaving a (more…)

Natalee Holloway, Part Six

May 31, 2010

Tags: Natalee Holloway, Crime

May 30 marked the fifth anniversary of the disappearance of Natalee Holloway. It was, I'm sure, an occasion of great sadness for her family and friends. And a source of frustration for those who would like to see some resolution.

The case is at a standstill. Last March, a husband and wife from Pennsylvania went (more…)

The Connecticut River Valley Murders, Part Two

May 28, 2010

Tags: Crime

Were these murders serial killings? I don't know. There seem to be factors arguing otherwise.

1. The women, though all under forty, were pretty widely separated in age otherwise. Serial killers tend to stick to the same age group when hunting victims. Bernice Courtemanche, at seventeen, could have been the daughter of the oldest victim, (more…)

The Connecticut River Valley Murders, Part One

May 20, 2010

Tags: Crime

This is one of New England's biggest unsolved mysteries. Between 1981 and 1986, six young women were murdered in the vicinity of Route 91, the area straddling the Vermont-New Hampshire border. The first victim was Mary Elizabeth Critchley. The second was Bernice Courtemanche. The third was Ellen Fried. The fourth was Eva Morse. The fifth was Lynda (more…)

The Case of the Missing Mummy, Part Two

May 16, 2010

Tags: Crime

Still no news, as far as I know, on what has become of the mummified infant corpse stolen from Blossom Hill Cemetery in Concord, New Hampshire. One reasonable guess might be that the disinterment was a college student prank, and that Baby Mummy is now a prominent feature of the decor of some fraternity (more…)

The Lady in the Dunes, Part Two

May 11, 2010

Tags: Crime

According to some news reports, the body--which wasn't discovered for anywhere from several days to a few weeks after the murder--was lying on a blanket in a position that suggested the woman had been sharing it with someone. As far as I know, there were no signs the victim had attempted to fend off (more…)

The Lady in the Dunes, Part One

May 7, 2010

Tags: Crime

On July 26, 1974, the nude and decomposing corpse of a woman was found on a beach in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The victim had been nearly decapitated; the left side of her skull was crushed, and her hands had been removed. The woman lay on a beach blanket, and what remained of her head rested on a (more…)

The Case of the Missing Mummy

May 6, 2010

Tags: Crime

This story sounds like something out of William Faulkner. Or Chas. Addams.

Until 2006, a New Hampshire family, the Peaveys, had in their possession the mummified body of a baby boy. Charles Peavey said the family thought of the corpse, which they believed to be the remains of a stillborn son of a great-great uncle, (more…)

Natalee Holloway, Part Five (Natalee Herself)

March 13, 2010

Tags: Natalee Holloway, Crime

Too often the victims of crime--and I believe Natalee Holloway was a crime victim--are forgotten, or at least pushed to the background, particularly when the crime is an unsolved one. The actual mystery itself assumes the forefront: people are, naturally enough I suppose, obsessed with the whodunit/howdunit/whydunit aspect of the case. Everybody loves a (more…)

Natalee Holloway, Part Four (The Internet Phenomenon)

March 11, 2010

Tags: Natalee Holloway, Crime

If the cable stations went wild with the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, the Internet went insane. In the summer of 2005, dozens of online forums devoted to "discussion" of the case sprang up like mushrooms (and toadstools) after a summer rain. Many of them are still in existence.

By the end of the summer of 2005, (more…)

Natalee Holloway, Part Three

March 2, 2010

Tags: Natalee Holloway, Crime

Well, Joran van der Sloot's latest "confession" went as expected, although this time he managed to work up a few facial contortions intended, I suppose, to simulate grief and remorse, although he was apparently unable to squeeze out an authenticating tear.

Why is he doing this? If his conscience is bothering him--I sincerely doubt (more…)

Natalee Holloway, Part Two (Calling All Spirits)

February 27, 2010

Tags: Natalee Holloway, Crime

All big cases attract people who claim to be in touch with the supernatural, and this one was no exception. One of my favorites was the self-proclaimed psychic who traveled to Aruba in the wake of Natalee's vanishing, and, one night, had a dream, or vision, in which Natalee appeared to her with the (more…)

Natalee Holloway, Part One

February 26, 2010

Tags: Natalee Holloway, Crime

This case fascinates me. Superficially, it doesn't appear complex. A young woman, vacationing in Aruba to celebrate her high school graduation, goes to a bar on the last night of her stay. There she meets up with a young man whom, according to some accounts, she'd encountered earlier that evening in a casino. Around closing time, the young woman leaves (more…)

How I Came to Write The Boston Stranglers

August 8, 2009

Tags: Boston Stranglers, Albert DeSalvo, Cambridge Police, Crime

A number of people have asked me this question. Let me quote from the preface to the book, since that pretty much answers it:

November 8, 1981, was one of those lead-gray days when the sky seems very close to the earth. I was visiting the Cambridge, Massachusetts, Police Department to do research for what would (more…)

Selected Works

Nonfiction
“This book is, quite simply, remarkable journalism and remarkable writing.”
--Robert B. Parker
"Taut with suspense...crackles like a bestselling novel." -- Barry Reed, author of The Verdict
Fiction
"Susan Kelly's maiden mystery is fresh and free-spirited with lively characters, snappy dialogue...and a suspenseful plot." -- Washington Post
“Spinetingling... noteworthy... brings the horror of being a victim into sharp focus.”
--Publishers Weekly
“Thought-provoking... a gritty, bittersweet story with added depth and dimension.”
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A page-turner with action and suspense." -- SSC Booknews
"A winner for fans of literate, witty mysteries." -- Tony Hillerman
"The Summertime Soldiers has love, sex, and murder and most of all, a heart." -- Boston Herald