The account of the murder of Diane Whitmore Pikul describes how her wealthy and violent Wall Street husband murdered her and then won custody of her children while under indictment for her murder.
“A young mother, so full of promise, is killed by the ‘perfect’ husband. Sheila Weller takes a domestic tragedy and reveals every nuance so that we see the compelling anatomy of a murder in slow motion, from the dynamics of a marriage to the crime itself, to its chilling aftermath. Powerful reporting of an unforgettable story.”—Vincent Bugliosi
In 1987 Diane Pikul, assistant to the publisher of Harper's magazine, was murdered in her Long Island, N.Y., summer house by her husband, Joseph Pikul, a Wall Street analyst with a penchant for cross-dressing. It's a uniquely urban tragedy, told brilliantly by Weller, who covered the trial for Ms. magazine. Diane, originally from Indiana, came to New York City in the '60s, to transform herself into a sophisticate. Managing difficult men was part of the process. When she opted for a wealthy husband she chose Pikul, and their lush lifestyle hooked her to a man she grew to hate. Weller has uncovered an amazing amount of detail. The portrait that emerges is so finely drawn that one can almost hear Diane laughing as she relates to friends the latest indignities she has suffered from her spouse. Shortly before her murder, Diane told friends that her estranged husband might kill her to get custody of their two children. The book shows how cockeyed laws allowed him that privilege while he was free on bail. He died of AIDS in 1989. Don't miss this one. Literary Guild alternate; author tour.