Smoke, Mirrors, and Murder and Other True Cases

Smoke, Mirrors, and Murder and Other True Cases

by Ann Rule

Includes Ann Rule's insider commentary on the Mary Winkler murder case REAL-LIFE MURDER.

Not so with these fascinating accounts drawn from the personal files of Ann Rule, America's #1 bestselling true-crime writer.

Even the most devoted true-crime reader won't predict the outcome of these truly baffling cases until the conclusions revealed in Ann Rule's marvelously insightful narrative: An ideal family is targeted for death by the least likely enemy, who plotted their demise from behind bars....

These and other true cases are analyzed with stunning clarity in a page-turning collection you won't be able to put down.

  • Series: Crime Files
  • Language: English
  • Category: Crime
  • Rating: 3.88
  • Pages: 464
  • Publish Date: December 26th 2007 by Pocket Books
  • Isbn10: 1416541608
  • Isbn13: 9781416541608

What People Think about "Smoke, Mirrors, and Murder and Other True Cases"

Poorly combined and far too long on the narrations; a few of these cases held immense repetition of witnesses, sources, forensics etc.

I used to love Ann Rule's books but was never much interested in the short stories although with most of them in each book there was one long story. This book's long story was The Deputy's Wife which was really good and interesting. The short story I liked most was the Chemist's wife. The Chemist's Wife was a story like that. The Preacher's Wife was good too I only wondered why Ann Rule did not add the infamous bar picture of Mary Winkler if it upset so many people. "Had she found her self esteem early in their marriage he probably would have backed down on his demands about her weight and the small things she did that annoyed him" Is it weird that to me this reads like blame the victim. Yes I know Mary might not have been a victim but Ann Rule does not know for sure she is not and this reads like if she would have just found her self esteem poor Mathew would not have to correct her?

It's long been my opinion that every teenespecially every young womanshould be required to read two or three books by Ann Rule, just so she can begin to understand how perfectly normal, and even attractive, a truly evil person may seem.

The Deputy's Wife (5 stars)-Sad story of a woman who finally realizes her husband is not someone she wants to be with anymore after suffering verbal and physical abuse by him. And the man in question, Raoul Guy Rockwell gets away with murdering his wife and her daughter by her first marriage. The Truck Driver's Wife (1 star)-Rule actually puts forth a hypothesis that the woman in this story who is found dead on fire spontaneously combusted. This is also the second story in this volume where you don't get a true sense of ending since you don't know who did this or why. The Painter's Wife (2 stars)-True story of a woman abducted from her home when a convict escapes from the nearby jail.

Amazingly real, as real-life can be, this is a book that I will read again and probably again...whew!

Ms. Rule documented a few other cases where death was called self-combustion.

Fortunately, the man he approached about the hit on his family decided he didn't actually want to be a murderer for hire, and when Jensen made the final arrangements, he made them to an undercover cop wearing a wire. He murdered his wife Manzanita and his 18-year-old stepdaughter Dolores, dismembered them in his attic and disposed of the bodies so that only parts of them were ever found (fragments of Dolores were discovered in the septic tank of their home; Manzanita's legs were fished, one at a time, out of the Columbia River). Six months later, before anyone knew what had happened to Manzanita and Dolores, he divorced the woman he'd murdered, claiming she'd left him and taken thousands of dollars with her (thousands of dollars which, arguably, the Rockwells never had), and within four days had married another woman, Evelyn Emerson. *"The Convict's Wife": Salem OR 1971: Every time I try to summarize this case, it comes out sounding like a John Steinbeck novel. So, career criminal George Light takes his wife Doris Mae and his five small children from Illinois to Salem (Oregon) where they squat in an abandoned farmhouse. Larry has a long-held grudge against George for sending him up the river, and he doesn't like the way George treats Doris Mae. Within a few months, the inevitable happens: Larry kills George and buries him in a shed behind the house. (Nobody realized until much later that she had no actual right to be there.) Larry gets out of jail; he and Doris Mae and the children disappear. The only time I've ever seen Rule commit the Blame the Victim fallacy is in her introduction to this case: "In the end, this domestic abuse seems to be an insoluble problem, one that might be avoided only if women could see beyond the romantic facade of a suitor who promises her the world while he is steadily separating her from her family and her friends" (284). The victim isn't the one responsible here (and the victim isn't always a woman, either--Rule says in her introduction to the last case that she had a guy call her on that (although that case is actually the same old familiar pattern of male abuser/female victim up until the woman picks up a shotgun)--nor is the relationship always heterosexual). *"The Minister's Wife": Selmer TN 2006: Mary Winkler killed her husband Matthew, a minister in the Church of Christ. Mary claimed that she'd only been acting on Matthew's instructions, and that she killed him (a) because she couldn't stand his abuse and his sexual kinks any longer (Matthew liked anal sex; Mary did not. Matthew liked pornography; Mary did not.), (b) because she couldn't stand his way of shutting up a crying baby any longer (she claimed he pinched their infant daughters' noses shut and suffocated them into silence, which, if true, means that Matthew Winkler probably very narrowly avoided committing infanticide at least once), and (c) in a fugue state, without fully understanding what she was doing.

The Antique Dealer's Wife was interesting and I almost think I may have heard of this on a Cold Case File episode or something from the ID channel. The Minister's Wife deals with a notorious case from Tennessee.

One gets the feeling that she was simply going through old case files, and trying to build a book and failing miserably, in this case. That's not to say that there were not some solid and interesting cases in this volume, just that the it reads much more like a newspaper reporter's work than an actual book.

Ann Rule was a popular American true crime writer. In the course of time, it became clear that the killer was Bundy, her friend and her colleague as a trained volunteer on the suicide hotline at the Seattle, Washington Crisis Clinic, giving her a unique distinction among true crime writers.