Satin Pumps: The Moonlit Murder That Mesmerized The Nation is a true crime memoir by Steve Kosareff, who was a former patient of Finch himself. The screenwriter and author, this is not his debut work, though this is his first examination of true crime events. This story took place in 1959 and and while Kosareff was young at the time of these events he did still have a connection to Dr. Bernard Finch, who at the time was his family doctor. While he may have been a child at the time his insight into the area and his real life connection benefits his ability to tell this story and revisit it as an adult.
As a lover of true crime with family from the West Coast I was a bit surprised that I had never heard of this crime and the trial that took place. I even did a bit of diffing and nope, nothing I had read or listened had indeed ever covered it. In the evening on July 18th 1959 Dr. Finch and his girlfriend and medical assistant, Carole Ann Tregoff traveled from their love-nest in Las Vegas to the Finch home in Los Angeles. Their plan was to push Barbara, Finch’s wife, to agree to a quick divorce in Nevada, but the night would take a dark turn. Barbara’s body was found in her in-laws backyard next door and after a high-speed chase Finch was arrested. During his hearing his girlfriend was arrested while on the stand and charged as his accomplice. As the list of those involved seemed to grow people began to wonder just who everyone was and what they were doing in the course of these deadly events.
Finch claimed that the death of his wife had been a tragic accident, but with so many people seemingly involved this argument seemed farfetched in the eyes of the public. Kosareff examines the two year span of three trials. Growing out of a treatment he did of the events for a limited television series he was able to go deeper than would have been possible in the realm of television and examine possible motivations through the backgrounds and genealogies of the people involved. Through his research he believes that he has found answers to some of the questions that even into the present exist in this case. There is a lot of information to take in for this case, especially since I had never heard about Finch and the trials tied to this murder. I do think Kosareff has provided a solid examination and as his first true crime novel I thought he did a very strong job of presenting information and his own ideas. You can get your copy of Satin Pumps today.