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The Perfect Crime

Sebastian Junger's mom may have survived the Boston Strangler.


In 1963, writer Sebastian Junger's mother was beckoned to the basement of her home by a member of a construction crew working there. He wanted to show her something on the washing machine; she was suspicious and didn't go. A few months later, a housewife was raped and murdered a few blocks from her home in suburban Massachusetts. Sebastian, who was a year old, takes a look at the crime in A Death in Belmont, his follow-up to the 1997 best-seller, A Perfect Storm. "My family's experience was just the starting point," he says.

The case remains controversial to this day, and Junger explores every fascinating facet of it. Roy Smith, a guy who had cleaned the victim's home, was convicted and sentenced to life. The man who was working down the street at the Junger house turned out to be the Boston Strangler, Albert DeSalvo. Yet DeSalvo maintained that he never killed the Belmont woman, whose murder nonetheless bore characteristics of the Strangler's methods. Junger attempts to pull it all together in his riveting new book. Just don't expect a tidy conclusion. "In Boston," he says, "you can still get into arguments in bars about whether DeSalvo did it."
Thu., May 18, 7 p.m.

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