Citizen Jane (book)
first edition cover.
|Genre||non-fiction, Mystery, Thriller|
|October 2, 1999|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||384 pp (first edition)|
Jane Alexander was a sheltered, attractive widow living with her large, close-knit family in her small hometown of Truckee, California. For six years, she had been living with Tom O'Donnell, her charismatic and handsome boyfriend. He had used wit, charm, and tales of adventure to borrow money for extensive home business operations and investing.
When Gertrude McCabe, her favorite 88-year-old aunt, was gruesomely murdered in San Jose in 1983, she hired police detective Jack Morris to solve the case. It was difficult case to crack, but the motive was clearly something personal. McCabe was bound at the hands and feet with bicycle locks, and stabbed over 90 times in her neck and face with a butcher knife. She was identified by her wristwatch and jewelry, because her face was completely destroyed. Morris soon convinced Jane that the killer was her boyfriend, and after O'Donnell disappeared with over $10,000 of her money and left her near bankruptcy, Jane embarked on an epic journey to outsmart the wily con artist. The police were stumped, but after 13 years of collecting evidence on their own, Alexander and Morris managed to convict O'Donnell of first degree murder. Police believe O'Donnell killed Gertrude McCabe, because she somehow found out about his plans to take Jane's money, and planned to contact the authorities. O'Donnell was sentenced to life imprisonment, and Jane returned to Truckee, having finally avenged her aunt's death. He died in prison in January 2010.
James Dalessandro first read about Jane Alexander's story in the mid-1990s on the front page of the Pacific Sun in Marin County, California. Much of the research comes from detailed diaries that Jane Alexander kept of the entire ordeal. David Mehnert contributed to the book after being in a private screenwriting class taught by Alessandro.
Jane Alexander, then a grandmother of 12, actively contributed to the writing process. In 1994 she founded Citizens Against Homicide, which helps other citizens track down killers and solve cold cases, and in 2006 she received the prestigious Minerva Award for her efforts. She died on December 14, 2008, at the age of 86.
An adapted screenplay written by Dalessandro, and produced by Larry Jacobson and Dalessandro, was made into a Hallmark Channel film in 2009. Directed by Armand Mastroianni, it aired in September 2009. Alexander died while the film was in production. Cast members include:
- Ally Sheedy as Jane Alexander
- Meat Loaf as Detective Morris
- Sean Patrick Flanery as Tom O'Donnell
- Patty McCormack as Aunt Gertrude
- Nia Peeples as Evelyn
- "Ally Sheedy and Meat Loaf Star In Hallmark's "Citizen Jane"". The Insider. June 18, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
- "Citizen Jane at imdb.com". International Movie Database. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
- Dalessandro, James. "James Dalessandro: Citizen Jane". www.RedRoom.com. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
- "James Dalessandro". Page ONE: Literary Newsletter Web Sit. 1998. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
- Milko, Chelsea (July 24, 2009). "Premiere Date of "Citizen Jane" Changed to September 12". www.AllHeadlineNews.com. Retrieved 2009-07-25.