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Cape May Court House: A Death in the Night
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Cape May Court House: A Death in the Night

3.34  ·  Rating details ·  161 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
In 1997, the small town of Cape May Court House was shocked by the death of Tracy Thomas. It seemed unimaginable that after a low-speed auto collision with a utility pole on a snowy night, the lovely-- and pregnant-- wife of the town' s new dentist Dr. Eric Thomas, was dead. No one was surprised, several months later, to learn that Dr. Thomas was suing the giant Ford corpo ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 17th 2002 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published September 1st 2002)
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Jan 04, 2009 rated it liked it
A good read made even better by a legal education. In a nutshell, Schiller builds no character development, develops no real history and recites only the facts. A true story, Cape May Courthouse recounts the story of a local dentist who sues Ford Motor Company for what he alleges is the airbag deployment related death of his wife. Ford, however, bolstered by the opinions of their forensic medical experts, posits the shocking and aggressive defense of homicide -- that the good doctor wasn't such ...more
Mar 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
Standard true crime, with the variation of the families being upper middle class African-Americans. Totally a one-night-stand read, and need to go back and see what happened to these people after.

PS I hate it when there's a character named Stephanie who's a bitch.
Jul 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I did not expect to enjoy the book as it is very dry, but I kept at it until the end. Interesting process but did not really reveal anything. Could have just read the verdict and left it at that.
Jul 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Originally I bought this book for the sole reason that I was born in Cape May Court House, which isn't a courthouse at all but rather a small town in southern New Jersey. When I got the book, I was surprised to find it was a true crime story about a doctor whose pregnant wife was killed in a car accident. He blamed seat belts and the car manufacturer and tried to sue, but in the course of an investigation, authorities became suspicious about the cause of death and ended up trying him for murder. ...more
This is a work of non-fiction and is the true story of a dentist in southern New Jersey that was in an automobile accident with his family in which his wife was killed. This dentist ultimately sued Ford Motor Company for product liability claiming that Ford's safety restraints were faulty and responsible for his wife's death. Ford during it's due diligence finally began to suspect that his wife had been strangled or otherwise killed and at this point the story becomes interesting. The book is on ...more
Jul 06, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is written like a law student's summary of a case occasionally mixed with some pointless scene-setting detail (who cares what interstate an attorney was on when he had an idea?) It's also a squandered opportunity to critique the cost and delays of our legal system. Despite these defects it's almost impossible to put down, due to the intrigue of the underlying story. A Google follow-up made it all the creepier - the alleged murderer is available to provide your dental care under the nam ...more
Darilyn DeMaria
Jun 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can't put it down! I wrote this as I read, but have to admit that I enjoy watching Nancy Grace and this was my first true crime novels. I was motivated to keep reading because I wanted to see justice at the end. I was frustrated at the end of the book, but true justice is just that. It is not a movie where everything is tied up in a nice, neat bow. I enjoyed the journey through the trial. My prayers go out to the Roses and the hell they have to deal with, I'm sure to this day.
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
I remember reading about this in the papers. I guess you could say I am a little disappointed that they were unable to solve the case. Maybe someday they will find if it was her husband who killed her. I also know the area having gone to Cape May on my summers when I lived in New York. It is well written and I liked it very much.
Beverly Rowan
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth Williams
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
I thought that this book was a crime fiction when I picked it up and I was excited to read it because it takes place near Wildwood, NJ. I was unable to finish reading it, I ended up skipping to the end to find out what happened and I was disappointed. The story did not hold my attention. It was like the facts section of a legal memorandum was being stretched out into a full length story.
Erika Nerdypants
Oct 01, 2011 rated it did not like it
I gave up on this book after about 50 pages. Lots of highly detailed info about cars, airbags and the conditions for their deployment, but little on the actual people involved. Probably a very good book, just not for me.
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
A book with no ending. Interesting to see how lawyers work with and against each other in cases like this. Disturbing to realize this man is in dental practice after reading this book. I can't believe he seems to have gotten away with murder.
Feb 26, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Interesting true crime story. I've read other books by Schiller and he does a good job of writing. Book does get bogged down a bit in the middle and lots of things are unsettled at the end, but I enjoyed reading it.
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the book very much. Didn't take me too long to finish it once I started because I found it well written and quite gripping. I have been reading true crime for many years, and this one seemed a cut above the norm.

Sep 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Well written, end leaves you with lots of questions?
Aug 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
Good reporting and interesting 'story' - but too much specificity for the non-lawyer....
Sep 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
Investigative journalism-not as enjoyable as a novel
It got rather tedious with the details of the pre-trial processes-but that is the essence of the book.
Mar 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Not what I expected, however, once I adjusted to journalistic style I appreciated the concise yet thorough manner in which Schiller recounted the facts.
Lin S.
Jun 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Very interesting case. I could not put the book down. True story so I went on Google to get more info but unfortunately nothing more was listed.
Dec 08, 2008 added it
I couldn't put this one down!
Oct 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
A good book up until the end... Oh wait, it didn't end.
May 16, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My first true crime. Too dry. I don't think I like the genre, I prefer fiction to the real garbage that we are bombarded with every day.
Linda Appelbaum
Mar 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book and went back and forth the whole time...he is guilty, he is not!!. Very well told and documented.
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Black dentist is found in his Ford Aerostar on the side of the road with his dead pregnant wife at the wheel. He sues Ford for her death by faulty air bags. So begins a famous case in the law books.
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
The technical and legal parts about airbags was interesting to me because of what I used to do, but the ending is very unsatisfying.
Mar 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this true crime and legal thriller. For me the details were engrossing.
rated it it was ok
Apr 14, 2011
Cindy Olson
rated it it was amazing
Jul 01, 2015
rated it liked it
Oct 05, 2012
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The ubiquitous Lawrence Schiller was born in 1936 in Brooklyn, and grew up in San Diego. After graduating from Pepperdine College, he went to work for Life Magazine and the Saturday Evening Post as a photojournalist. His photographic abilities, both technical and artistic, laid the foundation for what has become nothing less than an astonishing career.

Schiller first made his name by photographing
More about Lawrence Schiller...