Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Death In Canaan” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
A Death In Canaan
Joan Barthel
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Death In Canaan

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  54 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
The true story of the murder of a "trailer-trash" woman. When her teen son is accused of the crime, the New England town and many celebrities came to his defense. Author Barthel, who had a house in the CT area, believed in the kid's innocence and championed his cause.
Unknown Binding, 328 pages
Published January 1st 1976 by Dutton Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Death In Canaan, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Death In Canaan

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 141)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Tammy Walton Grant
Jun 02, 2010 Tammy Walton Grant marked it as to-read
Shelves: true-crime
I remember watching a tv movie called "A Death in Canaan" when I was a kid -- it had a young actor playing the lead who I always thought was Timothy Hutton, about a boy charged with killing his mother. This book is the basis for the tv movie.
Sep 18, 2011 Sharon rated it it was amazing
Easy to read book. My aunts, uncles and cousins are central characters in the book (the Madows). I always knew the story since I was a little girl but never read the book. Finally did and it was worth it.
Neil Crossan
Jun 24, 2014 Neil Crossan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: True Crime Fans
The heart of this book is 100 pages of transcript of conversations between an 18 year and cops trying to coerce him into admitting he murdered his mother. And with every question and answer the injustice gets deeper and deeper leaving you shaking the booking yelling, “Lawyer Up you dumb schmuck!” And yet he doesn’t because he knows the cops don’t want him too and he wants to please the cops (and he's a moron). The first person he talks to who really has his best interest at heart is a fellow pri ...more
Apr 29, 2010 Katherine rated it it was amazing
Fantastic story! I had no idea.
In short, a teenage boy is accused of murdering his own mother and this retells the story before during and a little after the whole crime, trial, etc. A good chunk of this book is reading through the interrogation of the teenage boy, Peter, which can be a little tiring, but it gives great insight into what he must have been going though.
There are a couple other books on the same topic that I have not yet been able to read, but I hope to so I might see how they co
Mar 07, 2013 Sketchbook rated it it was amazing
A teen accused of murdering his wayward mum in their parked trailer in New England seems to be railroaded by the Authorities to prison. A heroine descends on the scene like a noir investigator in a movie. She believes in his innocence and saves his life. The woman, a gifted journalist, is also the author of this riveting true-crimer.
Apr 27, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
This was a true crime case which happened in a very small community in Connecticut. The main 2 players in the beginning of the book are the victim, Barbara, the 51 year old mother , who is quite an eccentric, outspoken character . She had a problem with drinking and was in poor health. They lived in pretty poor surroundings . She had one son, Peter, the accused, who was 18, a small skinny kid, who ,despite his home life, actually had a pretty decent relationship with his mom. He accepted her for ...more
Mar 14, 2016 Gail rated it really liked it
Hard to read and see the bias of law enforcement, especially after watching the television series The Making of a Murderer. A young naive both stories......was badgered, coaxed, smooth talked and generally manipulated by police officers all more interested in closing a case than doing the right thing. The community saved this kid and that is the up side of this true story. But I come away with the firm belief.....DO NOT SAY "ANYTHING" TO THE POLICE IF ACCUSED OF EVEN THE SIMPLEST TRA ...more
Mar 18, 2016 Becca rated it liked it
Shelves: net-galley
If you want a true crime book that is deep on details but low on narrative and offers an unparalleled look at a despicably bungled investigation, this is a great choice. While I always love to read primary source material, the bulk of the first third of this book is simply a reprint of the interrogation, with little to no commentary from Barthel.

This should have been a gripping case, but honestly it didn't really hold my attention. It was all I could do to finish it.
Kimberly Grafmeyer
Kimberly Grafmeyer rated it liked it
Jun 25, 2016
Erica is currently reading it
Jun 24, 2016
Theenormityofitall rated it liked it
Jun 22, 2016
Abby marked it as to-read
Jun 18, 2016
Michael Safoschnik
Michael Safoschnik marked it as to-read
Jun 09, 2016
Justine marked it as to-read
Jun 09, 2016
Astin Green
Astin Green marked it as to-read
May 31, 2016
Rachel Mcconnell
Rachel Mcconnell marked it as to-read
May 24, 2016
Terry Ikoma
Terry Ikoma marked it as to-read
May 20, 2016
Valerie  L. Main
Valerie L. Main rated it it was ok
Jun 02, 2016
skw marked it as to-read
May 16, 2016
Gia Marie
Gia Marie marked it as to-read
May 07, 2016
Sara marked it as to-read
May 03, 2016
Paula marked it as to-read
May 02, 2016
Suzie Flohr
Suzie Flohr marked it as to-read
May 02, 2016
Dott Lowery
Dott Lowery rated it it was amazing
Apr 30, 2016
J rated it liked it
Apr 29, 2016
Judith R Johncock
Judith R Johncock rated it liked it
Apr 17, 2016
chrissny rated it it was amazing
Apr 09, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Joan Barthel is the award-winning author of five nonfiction books and a contributor to many national publications. Her cover story on Elizabeth Seton in the Times Magazine inspired her to bring the singular life of this first American-born saint into contemporary focus and ultimately led to her book American Saint.

With her first book, A Death in Canaan, Barthel uncovered the miscarriage of justice
More about Joan Barthel...

Share This Book