In 1969, Marlene Steele, wife of municipal court judge Robert Steele in the Cleveland suburb of Euclid, was murdered in her sleep. The community assumed the Steele marriage was ideal, but the investigation disclosed that the judge had been having a long affair and that he was considering a divorce. The case remained unsolved until FBI field agent Ressler was assigned to Cleveland in 1971. Here, with the aid of Shachtman ( The Day America Crashed ), he relates his successful investigation; Steele had arranged his wife's murder through his client Owen Kilbane, a pimp, and Owen's brother Martin. The actual shooter was one Rickey Robbins, who turned state's evidence, whereupon Steele and the Kilbanes were found guilty in 1977 and sentenced to life. Appeals and a failed attempt to get the governor to commute Steele's sentence went on until 1987, and political pressure to parole Steele continues. The book is a tribute to dogged police work but not an exciting read. (Sept.)
On January 9, 1969, the wife of prominent judge Robert Steele was murdered in a Cleveland suburb. There was no suspect and no motive. Ressler, now a retired FBI agent and coauthor with Shachtman of Whoever Fights Monsters (LJ 6/1/92), was assigned to another case in Cleveland at the time. While pursuing that case, he was able to solve the murder of Marlene Steele eight years after it happened by providing proof that Judge Steele and his accomplices committed the crime. Because there was so much distrust between the local police and the FBI, this case took a long time to solve, and it almost did not get solved. Due to Ressler's in depth knowledge of the case and his skillfull presentation of the events, this book is an excellent choice for the true-crime collection.-Michael Sawyer, Clinton P.L., Ia.