It's hard not to feel bitter on behalf of Leonard Levitt. He scooped the competition and ripped the lid off the story, as the cliches go; and his own newspaper refused to print the story. Reading a book by someone as embittered as Levitt has the right to be would not, however, be a pleasant task. Luckily Levitt has maintained a clear view of the stakes and his own involvement: "I did not solve Martha's murder. What I did was prevent the Skakel family from getting away with it."

Conviction is the story of uncovering the truth about the Moxley case, not just who did it but who did what along the way. I normally have little patience for the "how I wrote this book" or "how I investigated this story" sub-set of true crime. This is a well-deserved exception not simply because Levitt is a good writer but because the story of how he and Frank Garr tried to solve this case is not only part of the Moxley story it illuminates the story. The prejudices and power that hamstrung the investigation in 1975 kept it from being solved for the next 27 years.

Levitt writes the book from two points of view, his own and that of Frank Garr, the police detective who doggedly pursued the case and arguably solved it long before Dominick Dunne or Mark Fuhrman happened on the scene. Both POVs are enjoyable but Garr is allowed to react to Skakel family shenanigans with remarks like "What a bunch of lunatics" which makes his sections a bit more fun to read. It was hard to read any two sentences about life at Casa Skakel without the words "are you kidding me" forming in my mind. Imagine if the boys from Delta Thau Chi co-wrote a book on child-rearing along with NKVD mastermind Lavrenty Beria: alcohol sodden slapstick combined with staggering abuse and neglect.

The Martha Moxley case has inspired at least four books, countless magazine and newspaper articles, and multiple TV show episodes. Conviction: Solving the Moxley Murder is the best of the pack, deservedly winning an Edgar Award in 2005. A must for any serious true crime fan and highly recommended for any non-fiction reader.

Greentown by Timothy Dumas is also quite good though more of an "inside peak" at Greenwich. It's more informative than gossipy but highly enjoyable. (I haven't read the newly released second edition.) Dumas provides the best sense of what it was like to live in Greenwich in the 1970s, the combination of privilege, hormones and relative innocence propelled Martha and her peers. Like Levitt, Dumas is none too impressed with Mark Fuhrman. If you have time for a second book on the Moxley case, this is the one to pick.

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