It’s only two days until Devil in the Red Dress is launched. It should be on the shelves by the weekend. Every time I walk into a bookshop I imagine how it’ll look on the shelves. Now I don’t have long to wait to see if I’m right.
I’m concentrating on the book this week so I won’t be blogging about the current trials in the Four Courts. I’ll be finding out about what happens in the Dane Pearse trial the same as anyone else – on the news. It’s rather nice not to have to sit through another lot of post mortem evidence, even though after a while they become just data and facts.
A couple of us on the press bench were talking last week about the effect that following the courts has on you. There was a general consensus that we’re generally speaking a cynical bunch. Day after day seeing the worse side of humanity tends to have that effect.
One of the things that attracted me to the story of Sharon Collins and Essam Eid was the fact that with this trial there were no post mortems. I’m not saying it wasn’t a harrowing experience for those who received a visit from “Tony Luciano” but the fact is that both Sharon Collins’ plot to kill her millionaire partner and his two grown up sons and Essam Eid’s scam to approach the “marks” and demand money to cancel the “hit” ended up miserable failures.
During the closing speeches in their trial, earlier this year, it was pointed out that, even without a body count, people had still been hurt. Certainly listening to the victim impact statement given by Robert and Niall Howard at the sentence hearing it was clear that they had suffered immensely, living in fear since the incident and their relationship with their father seriously damaged by his refusal to give up on the woman who had plotted to have them killed.
But even taking their pain into account, this was still “light relief” compared to trials involving a violent death. As I researched Devil the sheer breadth of farce in this plot kept taking me by surprise. On this blog I have links to the websites that featured in the case…take a look, tell me, do these look like legitimate businesses?
Whoever happened upon hitmanforhire.net and thought they’d found the answer to all their problems was at best gullible, at worst deluded. The fact that Sharon Collins admitted to buying a Mexican proxy marriage certificate from proxymarriages.com, even after receiving an email from the Mexican embassy telling her that double proxy marriages did not in fact exist in Mexico, is rather a strong indicator that her radar for a good Internet buy is a bit skewed.
I feel for the Howard brothers, as well as Sharon’s own two sons Gary and David Collins. Even Eid and his co-conspirator Teresa Engle have children who do not deserve the humiliation of a connection with a case as ridiculous as this. Sharon’s partner, P.J. Howard had to put up with the shame of having lurid sexual allegations made about him in court, allegation that he has since strongly denied.
But for an outsider’s point of view it’s an incredible story and despite all that humiliation, a comparatively victimless crime. Ricin may have featured but it was never actually called into play – if it had been we may have had a completely different story.
It might be a rather bleak and black comedy but it’s easy to see it as a comedy none the less. Many have compared the plot to the Cohen brothers and it certainly would make a good companion piece to Fargo. I hope that anyone who reads my book will get a sense of the story that reads like a movie plot.
It remains to be seen if it ever ends up on the silver screen but if it does, they won’t have to change a thing!
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