Books: An American Tragedy

THE YALE MURDER by Peter Meyer Empire Books; 302 pages; $12.95 THE KILLING OF BONNIE GARLAND: A QUESTION OF JUSTICE by Willard Gaylin Simon & Schuster; 366 pages; $16.50

It is a cliché of crime reporting that the murderer is described as polite, gentle and law-abiding. Richard Herrin, a courteous, religious chicano who had made it through Yale, certainly fit the nice-guy stereotype—at least until July 7, 1977. That morning, at the Scarsdale, N.Y., home of his girlfriend, Bonnie Garland, 20, Herrin, 23, smashed Bonnie's skull with a hammer...

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