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Marilyn's Last Words    by Matthew Smith order for
Marilyn's Last Words
by Matthew Smith
Order:  USA  Can
Carroll & Graf, 2005 (2004)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

In the early morning hours of August 5, 1962, the life of a beautiful human being was snuffed out, that of actress Marilyn Monroe. The cause of her death has been controversial since that day - suicide or murder. Matthew Smith bases Marilyn's Last Words on documents and interviews, forensic evidence, and secret tapes the actress recorded to her psychiatrist, Ralph Greenson, during the last days of her life. Smith's findings point to murder.

Greenson placed a call to the Los Angeles Police Station reporting that 'Marilyn Monroe is dead from an overdose.' When Sergeant Jack Clemmons arrived at Monroe's house, he met Greenson, Marilyn's personal physician, and housekeeper Eunice Murray. Apparently, the officer was immediately suspicious of the doctors' attitudes, the room's tidiness, and the absence of a water glass in bedroom or bathroom. Clemmons later viewed photos taken on the scene which showed the bedroom untidy, prescription slips and other documents scattered on the bedside table and floor, and semi-empty scrip bottles. The Sergeant learned that the story given to him by doctors and housekeeper differed from the report given to Detective Sergeant Byron and Lieutenant Armstrong, changing the time frame of events. Witnesses' claims also changed or were discredited, and facts of written reports were questioned.

Matthew Smith writes of teamster Jimmy Hoffa's hatred of the Kennedys, of mafioso Sam Giancana, the wiring of Peter Lawford's as well as Monroe's homes by 'ace wiretapper' Bernard Spindel, and conclusions that the CIA was involved with the Kennedy assassinations and Monroe's death. He tells us that a 723-page memo (original and copies) of John Miner's (then Deputy District Attorney) meeting with Dr. Greenson, disappeared, and that a coroner's aide was coerced to sign the death certificate. Many books have been written about Marilyn Monroe since 1962, covering her life and death, her marriages to Joe DiMaggio, and Arthur Miller, her affairs with John Kennedy, and later with Attorney General Robert Kennedy. I count Matthew Smith's Marilyn's Last Words, based on impressive investigative journalism, among the best in consistency of reporting.

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