Footsteps in the Snow by Charles Lachman: Book Review
The book, Footsteps in the Snow, is a true crime story centered on the longest cold case in U.S. history. On Dec.3, 1957, seven-year-old Maria Ridulph went outside to play with her friend Kathy in the snow. A man appeared, told him his name, Johnny, and asked if either of them wanted a piggyback ride? Maria agreed to two rides. The first was without incident. The second ride happened while Kathy ran home to grab a pair of mittens. When she returned, Maria and the man were gone. Four months later, Maria’s body was found. Fifty-five years later, her killer was brought to justice.
I got this book based on the summary on the back cover. It talked about a girl’s kidnapping, her murder, and a deathbed confession that ripped apart two families and led to the killer. It sounded intriguing, though technically these things happened, and in that order, it didn’t play out in the story the same way. Johnny wasn’t a surprise. The deathbed confessional didn’t result in discovery nor did it rip two families apart. And although the killer received a Life in Prison sentence, the reader feels no sense of closure to the case. I give it two stars.
The Girl With No Name: The Incredible Story of a Child Raised By Monkeys
By Marina Chapman with Vanessa James and Lynn Barrett-Lee
In 1954, a little girl was abandoned somewhere in the jungles of South America. She was four-years-old and alone. Within days a troop of Capuchin Monkeys allowed her to be among them and she stayed with them for years. Several years pass and the girl is found. After that, life just got worse.
This was a hard story for me in that there was so much opportunity for a great tale and it didn’t deliver. Told in the point of view of the girl, now a woman, Marina, the story within this book becomes too hard to swallow.
Here’s how the story goes: Not only was Marina raised by monkeys but she was found and sold to a brothel. Then she became a street gang leader. Then she worked for a Crime family. Then she was almost blown up with a bomb. Then she was in a Convent with mean Nuns…
Although I believe that some, perhaps all of these things happened, they are told in such a fantastical way it’s hard not to think that creative liberties were in play. By way of fact verification, is a grouping of photos showing various places in Columbia and pictures of Marina as an adult. I guess I just wanted more concrete information. The story also ends very unsatisfactorily, with Marina as a child, and seemingly, in mid-sentence.