Convicted of trying to kill his wealthy wife Martha (Sunny), Claus von Bulow hired the author, a Harvard law professor, to spearhead his appeal for a new trial in Rhode Island, scene of the alleged crime. Dershowitz's detailed coverage includes his reactions to the personalities connected to events that the media have sensationalized since the accused was arrested and first tried in 1982. The author theorizes that his client's stepchildren and maid, abetted by their lawyer, could have framed von Bulow. In equally provocative accounts, he speculates on Sunny's possible drug habits and those of her son Alexander as well. What will strongly impress readers is Dershowitz's observation on the importance of money to a successful defense, although he also writes that people without the funds available to the rich are equally entitled to the best legal services. He notes that he believes in his client's innocence, but adds that even if von Bulow is guilty the question is irrelevant since his acquittal in 1985. Photos not seen by PW. First serial to Penthouse; BOMC alternate; author tour. (March 31)
In 1982, Claus von Bulow was convicted of twice trying to murder his rich, socialite wife, Sunny, but a retrial last year exonerated him. Did von Bulow do it or not? Unlike William Wright, author of The Von Bulow Affair ( LJ 4/1/83), Dershowitz, well-known Harvard law professor and legal brains behind the second trial defense, has little doubt: ``Over time I became convinced that von Bulow was probably innocent. Eventually I became nearly certain.'' Happily, Dershowitz avoids gossipy recapitulation of the case's many titillating revelations. Rather, he provides an illuminating first-person account of the von Bulow defense strategy and, more broadly, the appellate process in action. Certain to be controversial and in demand, Reversal of Fortune is a first-rate book that belongs in most general library collections. Kenneth F. Kister, Pinellas Park P.L., Fla.