George and Barbara Kogan had been married for 25 years when he suddenly announced he was in love with another woman: 27 year old Mary Louise Hawkins.
Barbara was devastated. Suddenly all of the success and wealth she and George had built together over the years was being ripped away from her. And it was being stolen by a spoiled little rich girl whose youthfulness and energy Barbara felt she couldn’t compete.
As many a scorned woman has done, Barbara sought to drain her husband of all their assets but instead found their assets frozen and having to turn to her parents, at almost 50 years old, for financial support. It was more than she could take!
When George was killed on a busy New York street, in broad daylight, many believed Barbara had found a way to regain her financial footing; after all, she was the sole beneficiary of millions of dollars in life insurance. And not to mention her husband’s death did away with that pesky division of assets divorce requires, they were all Barbara’s now.
Investigators, as well as George’s family and friends, were certain the wealthy widow was responsible for George’s death and they would spend the next 20 years trying to prove it. Their investigation would unveil a woman living a lavish lifestyle beyond her means, perjury, a hitman, and a wayward lawyer.
Veteran true crime author Cathy Scott outlines the homicide investigation that spanned two decades in her March 2012 book The Millionaire’s Wife and does a fantastic job of piecing together all the dirty little details from lifestyles of the rich and somewhat-famous.
Scott is an unbiased narrator of events, which I love as I feel more free to think for myself, so to speak, without leaving readers feeling as though certain parts of the story were omitted to create this effect. In the end, I felt sympathy for the victim but not without a clear understanding of why Barbara made the choices she did.
The Millionaire’s Wife is a top-rate true crime read for 2012 and I recommend you add it your reading list.
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