Martha Moxley haunts Greenwich, Connecticut. She is the town`s darkest secret, its deepest shame. The battered body of the pretty and popular fifteen-year-old girl was discovered on Halloween in 1975 in the exclusive Greenwich neighborhood of Belle Haven. She had been bludgeoned to death on the front lawn of her home the night before -- known in the town as "Mischief Night."
As Timothy Dumas recounts in the chilling, suspenseful, and engrossing account, the savageness of Martha Moxley`s murder threw Greenwich -- or "Greentown," as it is called both affectionately and derisively -- into shock. Over the years, money had transformed the town into a haven for presidents, movie stars, and titans of industry, a tree-lined paradise of prosperity and privacy. Martha`s fate shattered that image.
In the days immediately following the murder, rumors flew. Attention focused on members of the Skakel family, who lived across the street from the Moxleys. Ethel Skakel and Robert Kennedy had married in Greenwich, and the two families were close. Thomas Skakel, Ethel`s nephew, was the last known person to see Martha alive. The murder weapon, a ladies` golf club, came from the Skakel household. When the Greenwich police tried to pursue its investigation, however, the community closed in upon itself. Walls went up, lawyers were summoned, information was suppressed. Gradually, inexorably, evidence grew stale, witnesses turned unreliable, sources dried up, and suspects -- Thomas Skakel was not the only one -- went on with their lives. No one was ever charged. Greenwich hoped it would all go away.
But Martha Moxley wouldn`t go away. Kennedy scandals frequently revived gossip about what really happened that Mischief Night. Dominick Dunne`s best-selling A Season in Purgatory, based on the Moxley case, reopened wounds. Outside investigators, paid or self-appointed, have kept the case alive by promising to solve the crime, but have ended up pointing their finger at the usual suspects and leaving a trail of doubt and speculation.
A Greenwich native and journalist, Dumas gives us a spellbinding account of the Moxley case and its aftermath, showing how and why it has become woven into the very fabric of the town itself. Greentown does for Greenwich what John Berendt`s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil does for Savannah: uses a murder to tell the story of a community where the unthinkable has happened. Like Berendt, Dumas spins a tale of high entertainment and seductive power.
Born and raised in Greenwich, Timothy Dumas was for many years the managing editor of Greenwich news. He has written extensively on the Moxley case for a number of magazines and newspapers. He and his wife now live in Stamford, Connecticut.