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Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel

There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
  1. $18.19 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445


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A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger
A Death in Belmont

lscheue464, May 6, 2006

This is a review from the daughter of the victim

A tragedy occurred for my family in Belmont, Mass. on March 11, 1963 when my mother was murdered by a man sent by an employment agency to clean our home. Sebastian Junger who was a baby at the time lived with his parents on the other side of town, 1.25 miles away. Separating our two homes were 95 houses,15 intersecting streets and the town center which has at least 40 stores.

Junger claims, but gives no proof, that Albert DeSalvo who once confessed but later recanted to being the "Boston Strangler" was working for his mother the day my mother died. By the way DeSalvo claimed he killed many woman, but denied my mother's murder.

Junger wants to create a mystery or he will have no story. Actually, although Junger tries every way possible to cover up the truth, Roy Smith was fairly prosecuted and convicted. Roy Smith had a history of theft. alcoholism and violence which is documented in Junger's book. However the very strong evidence against Smith is either omitted of obfuscated in the story.

Smith's conviction was appealed in 1966 a fact which Junger never mentions. The appeal was denied and the conviction upheld by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 1966.
Here is what they found
2. There was no error in the denial of the motion for a directed verdict. The evidence was circumstantial. The jury could have found as follows: On the morning of March 11, 1963, the defendant walked from his apartment at 175 Northampton Street, Boston, to the district office of the Division of Employment Security on Huntington Avenue. Between 11:45 A.M. and 12 noon he left that office with an identification card introducing him to Mrs. Goldberg at 14 Scott Road, Belmont, and a slip directing him to that address. The interviewer at the employment office, thinking that she detected liquor on the defendant's breath, had asked if he had been drinking. He had "leaned a little backwards . . . [and] said no" and the interviewer, then thinking he had not been drinking, had sent him out. The defendant arrived at the Goldberg house about 12:45 or 1 P.M. He later told the police that he arrived before noon and left at exactly 3:45 P.M. The jury could have found, however, from the testimony of several other witnesses, that he left the house at about 3:05 P.M. Israel Goldberg, the murdered woman's husband, telephoning from his place of business in Chelsea, spoke with his wife at about 2:20 P.M. Goldberg arrived home at about 3:50 P.M., found his wife's body in the living room and telephoned the police. They arrived in a few minutes and found Goldberg excited, nervous and hysterical. Mrs. Goldberg had been strangled with one of her stockings; the disarray of her garments and the bodily exposure (with the later report of a microscopic examination and related testimony of Goldberg) tended to show rape. The living room was in disorder, most of the furniture was in the middle of the room, the divan was pushed to one corner, living room ornaments were on the dining room table, and the vacuum cleaner, with attachments, was in the center of the living room.

Page *605
Palm or fingerprints, later identified as the defendant's, were, in due course, found on the mantel in the living room, on the mirror hanging above it, and on the vacuum cleaner. After his arrest, the defendant told the police that he cleaned several rooms, got all through with his work and left the rooms in order; also that he did not clean the mirror, that he "didn't have anything to do" with it and he did not recall seeing a mantel.

Children coming home from school about 3 P.M. and soon thereafter playing ball in the street saw the defendant on the street near the Goldberg house and saw Goldberg come home; they did not observe anyone else in the street near the house in the interval. Their opportunity for observation extended over a good part though not all of the time between the defendant's departure and Goldberg's return. A practical nurse employed in the house next to the Goldberg residence was watching the children in the street from about 3:25 P.M. until about 3:45 P.M. She saw no one around the Goldberg house other than the children. She saw Goldberg come home

The defendant told the police that he had $2 with him when he went to Belmont on March 11 and that he was paid $6.30 for his work at the Goldberg house. He had $3.20 with him when arrested. Goldberg had left bills (one in the amount of $10, five in the amount of $1) on the night table in the bedroom before leaving home in the morning, after having a conversation with his wife. This was for her use in paying the expected cleaning man. He had given his wife $7 on March 10 for some purchases; she had not spent it all. In the afternoon of March 11 her pocketbook was found open on top of a bureau with the wallet missing. The money was gone from the night table. The defendant on the evening of March 11 was seen with a ten, a five and some one dollar bills when he purchased whiskey. He made other purchases and expenditures between 3:05 P.M. on March 11 and the time of his arrest on March 12. The total of these was in the range of $15.

This evidence was sufficient to take the case to the jury. (FN 5) Commonwealth v. Richmond, 207 Mass. 240 , 243-245, 246-247. Commonwealth v. Smith, 342 Mass. 180 , 182-184. Commonwealth v. Swartz, 343 Mass. 709 . Commonwealth v. Connors, 345 Mass. 102 . See Commonwealth v. Bonomi, 335 Mass. 327, 356, and cases cited. "Reasonable and possible" inferences were enough. Commonwealth v. Merrick, 255 Mass. 510 , 514. The jury could have found unusual opportunity, motive, possession after the crime of unexplained funds, incriminating action in leaving the house in disorder and the work unfinished, and subsequent conduct and false statements showing consciousness of guilt. Evidence of consciousness of guilt, while not conclusive, may with other evidence be sufficient to prove guilt.

Commonwealth v. Curry, 341 Mass. 50, 55, and cases cited. Commonwealth v. Swartz, 343 Mass. 709 , 713.

This is not a case on which the guilt of the defendant is left to conjecture and surmise with no solid basis in fact, such as Commonwealth v. Fancy, 349 Mass. 196 , 200

If you read the book without this information you will be purposely led in an entirely different direction.

Junger states that at first the police thought Smith was the Boston Strangler. Not true. I was told by police officials in the early evening of March 11, 1963 that Smith was a parolee who had been in prison during many of the strangling murders. I was told that night by the same officials that there was no one person committing these crimes. Roy Smith was not suspected of any of the other murders.

Junger puts me in the courthouse when the verdict is announced and describes my thoughts concerning Smith's reaction. Here are two gross errors, I wasn't there, I was in Connecticut. How could he say what I thought without inventing the words himself? This book many times crosses the line into fiction.

Junger tells of a man in work clothes looking for odd jobs on my street on the day of my mother's death. This is undocumented. The man who supposedly saw the fellow in work clothes is never named and no one on our street was an elderly fellow with an ill wife. The children who were playing on the street noticed no one, but Smith.

Junger states that Smith never lied, but if you read the above Court opinion carefully you will find that Smith lies many times. He also told the police he was paid $6.30. That's $1.50 for four hours and .30 for transportation. We know from witnesses that Smith was at our home for no more than 2hours and 20 minutes instead of the four hours he claimed. He never finished the work and left the house in good order as he claimed.

Smith was never exonerated, but his sentence was commuted for good behavior and because he was suffering from terminal lung cancer, according to his lawyer.

If you read this book watch out for phrases like "He must have thought" or "he probably" or "Certainly" The reader is always being led.

Smith was acquitted of rape because he had an excellent defense attorney.

Junger who calls himself a journalist has presented us with a novel. If you read this book keep the Supreme Court Opinion nearby so you can stay afloat on Junger's sea of fiction
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