I really wish I hadn't read three of these Ann Rule books in a row. They're a major pain to try and blog about, because frankly they are all basically the same. As with the others, this book includes one novella length story and then several very short cases.
The main story in this volume is about a man who was murdered by his estranged wife, mostly over money and child custody. She was under the impression that her rich boyfriend in Hawaii was going to take care of her, if only she could get her husband out of the way. Unfortunately, she wasn't nearly as clever as she thought she was and got caught. It's an all right story, but for some reason doesn't feel nearly as well fleshed out as much of her previous work.
The other shorter stories are all pretty good, though rather old. Two of them are unresolved, and remain mysterious to this day. One of the unsolved cases involves a tragic family boat trip with not one but two mysterious deaths. The rest of the tales are not quite as engaging, but all are interesting in their own ways.
To save time, here is what I learned from this book:
1. The police are often smarter than one might expect.
2. Most criminals are stupider than one might expect.
3. Letting someone who's been in prison for a violent (non-lethal) sexual crime out early is a bad idea, because the main thing HE'S learned while locked away is not to leave witnesses next time.
4. Your loved ones are equally or even MORE likely to murder you in a horrific way than a stranger is.
5. Apparently Washington state in the 1970s was a death trap for pretty young women.
6. DO NOT GO WITH THE CREEPY STRANGER. IT NEVER TURNS OUT WELL.
For those who like Ann Rule's books, this one is more of the same. I think she's losing her touch a little, but after all, she IS in her seventies now and not as able to chase down sources. Still, it's a great beach/bus/plane read.