Wednesday, April 22, 2009

True Crime: Deadly Lessons

(Ken Englade, Grafton,1991)
Another book by Englade about another not so interesting murder that has none-the-less held US America's fascination for a long time – the murder even indirectly served as the inspiration to Gus Van Saint's popular film To Die For (1995).
Much like Englade's Beyond Reason, this book tells about yet another young, mildly attractive, mildly intelligent, cold-blooded fem fatale who convinces her boy-toy to murder for her. Unlike Beyond Reason, the dastardly deed takes place not amongst the well-bred families of the pedigreed upper class and international consuls, but rather, grovels smack dab in the middle of lower middle class and white trash New England. Likewise, unlike Englade’s other two-word titled volume, Deadly Lessons is readably short in length and utilizes a simplified vocabulary, much like any super market quickie, though Englade’s trademark wittily picturesque descriptive phrases still pepper the pages. The title Deadly Lessons is actually stretching the truth, for while Ice Princess Pam Smart did indeed work for the school administration in New Hampshire, she was never a teacher. The only lessons she gave (the at-the-time virgin) Billy Flynn once they met in 1990 were purely extracurricular.
Twenty three years old, unhappily married and oddly immature, Pam Smart used lies, money and 15-year-old Billy Flynn’s raging hormones to convince the young idiot to kill her husband, Gregg Smart. Wanting to keep the dog, the white sofa and the money from Gregg’s life insurance, Pam saw divorce as no option and ended up involving at least five young teenagers in the sordid and brutal shooting death of her unwanted husband. Needless to say, “murder want out“ and within three months the shit hit the fan and three youths plus Pam are on their way first to court and then to jail. Not very interesting a case, more sordid than unusual, which for the most part propagates the idea that there are a lot of stupid, cold-hearted egoists out there in the big bad world. Needless to say, she lost the dog, white sofa and the insurance money.

Update: Pam is still in jail and has a metal plate in her head from a beating she took for supposedly snitching on the lesbian relationship of two jail mates (Mona Graves and Ghania Miller). Pam will probably die in jail, but the various teenagers she involved will all be coming up for parole towards the end of the next decade. Maybe they’ve all learned their lesson...?

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