Little Sister: My Investigation into the Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood

Dey St. Nov. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9780063081628. $27.99. CRIME
In this book that blends true crime and memoir, actress Lana Wood explores the mysterious death of her older sister Natalie, who in 1981 drowned off the coast of Catalina. Lana makes it clear that she and Natalie’s husband, Robert Wagner had never been fond of one another and that she was summarily iced out in the aftermath of her sister’s death. Wood’s motivation for writing this book seems to be as much about score settling as it is about resolving the case. She claims Natalie Wood and Wagner divorced in the early ’60s because Natalie had discovered him in the arms of their butler. She also alleges that Natalie was raped by Kirk Douglas in 1955. While the book also traffics in plenty of gossip and petty grievance, Wood’s questions and concerns about Natalie’s death are valid. There were gaps in the initial investigation, one of which included a total lack of forensic evidence in the police report. Wood also asserts that Natalie was terrified of dark water and would never have elected to exit the yacht at night.
VERDICT This is well-trod ground. An optional purchase for fans of true crime and Hollywood stories.
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