When Ann Woodward shot her husband, banking heir Billy Woodward, in the middle of the night in 1955, her life changed forever. Though she claimed she thought he was a prowler, few believed the woman who had risen from charismatic showgirl to popular socialite. Everyone had something to say about the scorching scandal afflicting one of the most rich and famous families of New York City, but no one was more obsessed with the tale than Truman Capote.
This sharp sliver of true crime spotlights Ann Woodward ... In reciting all this plainly, I am perhaps mirroring the straightforward style of Montillo, a research librarian and author of several works on nonfiction, who takes a coolly detached 'just the facts, ma’am' approach to this sordid series of events ... Not quite 'the murder of the century,' as Montillo’s title proposes, but a vertiginous spiral of social death.
Montillo, a research librarian and author of several works of nonfiction, makes her case plainly but persuasively ... It goes without saying that Deliberate Cruelty is awash in salacious material, but Montillo handles it with narrative skill — and deliberate fairness.