Saturday, August 25, 2007

No Regrets and Other True Cases, by Ann Rule

Ann Rule
ISBN: 0-7434-4875-8
Book #07-076
True Crime

Ann Rule is probably America's best-known true crime writer. In this volume of her accounts of case files, she focuses on crimes where the perpetrators apparently had no regrets about their actions.

The main case of the book is the mysterious disappearance of ship's pilot Rolf Neslund, an eighty-year-old man whose stellar career was eclipsed by one unfortunate event at its end, the crashing of the ship he was piloting into a bridge. Rolf's wife, Ruth, told various stories to explain his absence, but eventually two of her nieces came forward and claimed that their aunt had admitted to killing her husband and burning the pieces of his body. It took years for Ruth to be brought to justice. The highlight of this account are the limericks by horror author John Saul, whose poetry displays a keen wit and wicked humor.

The other cases in the book all share an improbable pathos. The young mother whose religious fervor led her to kill her two young children is especially tragic, because she sought help from multiple sources, who all brushed her off. The bank robber who shot an elderly man during his escape, the woman whose marriage fell apart after she was kidnapped and raped, and the teen runaway who teased her boyfriend until he murdered her are equally sad. The most memorable case, in some ways, is that of the young prostitute who was savagely beaten and left for dead, but managed to crawl for help. In an unusual oversight, Rule neglects to mention the fate of the young woman's infant son during the many hours of her ordeal.

As always, Rule gives readers her special insight into these cases, and shares her opinions of the various crimes. Her dry, biting humor is again on display. Readers will have NO REGRETS at spending several hours with Rule's rogues' gallery of hapless criminals.

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