WBZ-TV Boston producer Casey Sherman says he had no plans to turn his controversial news series about the Boston Strangler into a book, but, about two years ago, he began getting calls from authors wanting to write the story. That got him thinking: "I lived it. I'm a journalist. If anybody is going to write it, it's going to be me."
A Rose for Mary, Sherman's chronicle of his personal and professional hunt for "the real Boston Strangler," hits bookstore shelves this week.
Based on a 10-year investigation, the book asserts that Albert DeSalvo was not the killer of 11 young single women in Boston between 1962 and 1964. "Once you peel the onion back," Sherman told BROADCASTING & CABLE, "you realize that the wrong man was fingered for these crimes."
Sherman's story also has a personal angle: The Strangler's last victim was Sherman's aunt, Mary Sullivan.
"With this book, I hope I can finally set the record straight," he wrote in the foreword. "This book is an offering to a 19-year-old girl discarded by the system. It is a rose for Mary, the aunt I never knew."
Sherman contends that DeSalvo, who was ultimately stabbed to death in prison, was murdered to keep him from recanting his confession. "It was a hit, plain and simple," he says.
A Rose for Mary
identifies a new suspect in the crimes, but only by a pseudonym. That was the publisher's decision, says Sherman. "I was confronted with the question: Do you name him and water down all the evidence against him, or do you put all the evidence in the book and change his name, which is what I did."
Sherman says the Boston Police Department is not actively investigating the new suspect. "They've stonewalled my investigation from day one." The commissioner's office did not return a call for comment.
Sherman remains a full-time producer at the station and wrote the book at night after work.
There is other midnight-oil burning in his future. Sherman says there are other stories he wants to tell. In fact, he is currently working on a novel about political assassination.
Sherman credits WBZ-TV investigative reporter Joe Bergantino with helping him edit his book proposal, and reporter Dan Rea with giving him "a grasp of the Boston underworld." WBZ graphic artists also donated their time to help design a book jacket, although the publisher chose another design.
For those who follow such things, the book last week moved up from No. 88,983 Monday to 67,919 at press time on Amazon.com's sales chart.