Books: Murder & the Supermen

COMPULSION (495 pp.)—Meyer Levin —Simon & Schuster ($5).

On a late spring evening in 1924, a bird watcher named Judd Steiner dropped his glasses near a culvert which crossed the reedy marshlands outside Chicago. Judd, however, had not been watching birds. He had been busily stuffing the mutilated, acid-scarred body of a twelve-year-old boy into a drainpipe. He had a friend to help in this work—Artie Straus.

These names are deliberately transparent pseudonyms for Nathan Leopold Jr. and Richard Loeb, in this fictionalized account by Novelist Meyer Levin of what he calls the "crime...

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