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Book review: Death By Talons

Hi all, Bethan here!

I think many of us know the case of Kathleen Peterson, found dead at the bottom of her stairs, the case concluded with her husband Michael convicted of her murder.

And I think many of us have heard the phrase "The owl did it!"

But how many of us have truly looked into this in more detail?

Death By Talons, by Tiddy Smith, is a newly released non-fiction book which looks in more detail at the "owl theory" than ever before.

I have always been reasonably convinced by the owl theory, although I'll be honest with you all, I think I was just being a bit contrary when I'd state that. I never knew much about the case, in fact I'd totally mis-remembered a "fact" and was sure the previous stairs victim was Michael's ex-wife, but it's one I've always been aware of and interested in. There was a discussion on our Facebook a few weeks ago about this very case, and whilst I commented saying how I felt, I wouldn't have been able to give any reasons why.

Tiddy Smith approached the show recently to ask if we would be interested in reading his book. We often hear from publishers and we are always interested in knowing more about the books they want to share. We have done giveaways on our social media of books from such contact, we have spoken about books that we enjoyed, we even chose to have Ill Met By Moonlight as our Patreon Book Club pick off the back of a publisher email. And now we have the website, I thought I'll write about the books if I want to recommend them to you all.

And this one? 100% recommended!

I don't want to give away too much about the theories put forward by Tiddy, as I'd love for you to go and read the book too, but what I can share is how much I appreciated the honesty throughout about how this is a theory. He makes it clear that he is not saying he is definitively right, he is explaining why he believes he is.

"I don't claim to know the true and complete story as it unfolded that night. This book has been an attempt to explain, as concisely as possible, the unusual facts surrounding Kathleen's death."

I found this book really easy to follow, I liked how Tiddy set out the chapters and information. We begin with the finding of Kathleen, we hear about the different theories put forward by investigators, and we then hear about Larry Pollard, who first put forward the owl theory. I really felt that Tiddy took the time to lay out each theory's pros and cons in a fair and measured manner. There are of course cons to the theory he believes in, but he doesn’t shy away from admitting this.

The information he gave is compelling. I'm even more convinced by the owl theory now than I was before (this time I'm not just being contrary!) and this is because he has so carefully constructed this book.

There are still elements to this case which leave me doubting the owl theory, and if you do read the book I would LOVE to discuss these (police corruption and cover ups for example) but this is going to be the case with every theory that cannot be proven but I think Tiddy does a great job at attempting to allay these.

I read this book on my kindle whilst getting the girls off to sleep over the course of a few evenings, and found myself lingering after they had drifted off, keen to read another chapter or two. This for me is a sign of a good book; I just wanted to devour it.

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