Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Skylights and Screen Doors by Dean J. Smart

Today I’d like to share a book based on a true crime that happened 51JT2Fg1uIL._SL500_AA300_21 years ago involving a teacher, her husband and a student.

In May of 1990 a senseless murder in New Hampshire drew national attention. It involved love, manipulation, adultery, teenagers, sex and greed.

Remembering the case I asked to read SKYLIGHTS AND SCREEN DOORS, A MEMOIR: THE REAL STORY BEHIND THE GREGG SMART MURDER because it is written by the victim’s brother, Dean J. Smart.

Gregg Smart was shot in his home by 3 teenagers. His wife, Pamela, was later convicted of several charges including conspiring to have the youths kill her husband. A media teacher, Pamela had been having an affair with one of the teenagers who had been her student.

The first half of the book tells of what life was life for Dean and his family growing up in a small New England town. The family included his dad, Billy; his mom, Judith; and 2 older brothers, Gregg and Ricky. It tells of the close ties he and his brother, Gregg, shared.
The book also gives a look at the happy, good-natured young man Gregg grew to be. The book lightly touches on how Gregg and Pamela met, became a couple and married. Little details are given of their life together as husband and wife.

The last half of the book deals with Gregg’s murder and the events leading to the arrest, trial and conviction of his wife.

Shortly after seeing his brother’s body lying dead in his living room, author Dean J. Smart believed his sister-in-law had something to do with the murder. In time others, including the authorities, began to believe this fact too.

While this book wasn’t what I had expected, it gives a very candied look at how the murder effected the author’s family. In addition, it gives a clear picture of how the events of the trial and the media frenzy surrounding the story took it’s toll on the Smart family.

The story flows smoothly and is a quick read. Since it deals with true events, it does contain graphic language. SKYLIGHTS AND SCREEN DOORS gives a voice to the victim and shares his family’s side of the tragedy.

Skylights and Screen Doors, A Memoir: The Real Story Behind the Gregg Smart Murder by Dean J. Smart, Mont Clair Press, @2011, ISBN: 9781936680023, Paperback, 312 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - I requested this book and it was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. 

What are your thoughts on true life stories? Thanks, as always, for dropping by.


  1. Hi Mason,

    Thanks for pointing out this book. I'll add it to my TBR list. Cheers~

  2. Eewww, how awful is that? Thanks for sharing, Mason. I think this would upset me too much.

  3. The story sounds horrible, and maybe that is one of the reasons why I don´t like reading about true crime - I cannot enjoy it BECAUSE it is real. I do understand that the writer felt he had to write the story, though.

  4. I'm pretty sure I remember this story. Teachers and students always catch my ear/eye since it's so horrific.

  5. So sad! Sounds like a tough read--and hopefully a healing one for the author.

  6. Hi Mason .. interesting to hear his family's side of things .. but what a tragedy to happen .. life is so precious ..

    Thanks - Hilary

  7. Mason - I remember this case! It'd be very interesting to read about Dean Smart's perception of what happened and how it happened. I'm going to have to check this out...


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.