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The Last Stone: A Masterpiece of Criminal Interrogation
by Mark Bowden

Published: 2019-04-02
Hardcover : 304 pages
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On March 29, 1975, sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyons, age 10 and 12, vanished from a shopping mall in suburban Washington, D.C. As shock spread, then grief, a massive police effort found nothing. The investigation was shelved, and mystery endured. Then, in 2013, a cold case squad ...

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Introduction

On March 29, 1975, sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyons, age 10 and 12, vanished from a shopping mall in suburban Washington, D.C. As shock spread, then grief, a massive police effort found nothing. The investigation was shelved, and mystery endured. Then, in 2013, a cold case squad detective found something he and a generation of detectives had missed. It pointed them toward a man named Lloyd Welch, then serving time for child molestation in Delaware.

As a cub reporter for a Baltimore newspaper, Mark Bowden covered the frantic first weeks of the story. In The Last Stone, he returns to write its ending. Over months of intense questioning and extensive investigation of Welch’s sprawling, sinister Appalachian clan, five skilled detectives learned to sift truth from determined lies. How do you get a compulsive liar with every reason in the world to lie to tell the truth? The Last Stone recounts a masterpiece of criminal interrogation, and delivers a chilling and unprecedented look inside a disturbing criminal mind.

Editorial Review

An Amazon Best Book of April 2019: In 1975, Bowden (Black Hawk Down, Hue 1968, among other critically acclaimed titles) was a young Baltimore reporter covering the disappearance of two sisters, 11 and 13, from a shopping mall in suburban Washington D.C. Though the police had suspects, the investigation dead-ended until 2013, when a cold case detective chanced upon a curious statement given by a man named Lloyd Welch, who was serving time for a series of unrelated but similar crimes. It became quickly apparent that Welch is also a compulsive liar, but not a smart or skilled one—his statements to the police were riddled with inconsistencies and abrupt about-faces, even if he often seemed self-satisfied with his transparently false evasions. The five detectives working the mystery untangled his ever-changing stories through polygraph tests, bargaining, and conversations with Welch's sprawling Appalachian family. But most critically, a series of extensive interviews, each successively tweaked and refined to shrink Welch's circle of deceptions, leads them closer to solving an unspeakable crime. "A Masterpiece of Criminal Interrogation" is an apt subtitle. The outcome won't (or shouldn’t) be a total surprise; the end-game feels inevitable, and readers will be compelled to conduct their own internet-based research as they go. But in the same way that The Jinx and The Staircase were compulsively watchable despite what you might have known about the outcomes, the detectives' shrewd diligence and the mechanics of their investigation make the ride-along well worth the time. --Jon Foro, Amazon Book Review

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