“Death on Ocean Boulevard”

“Death on Ocean Boulevard, Inside the Coronado Mansion Case” is the “real-life” saga of the unique circumstances surrounding the hanging death of Rebecca Zahau in Coronado California. There were actually two tragedies in 2011 in the Spreckels Mansion, one a few days prior to the sensational death of Rebecca. How could these two unimaginable events happen? Were they independent events or were they sequentially causal with some unthinkable connection. Author Caitlin Rother knew from the start that this case would be of interest to the public, so Rother conducted extensive research and tracked the case in detail as it unfolded. The case made headlines across the nation and created enormous media frenzy. More than half a dozen news outlets and documentaries featured this controversial and hotly debated mystery. There were five possibilities in Rebecca’s death; it was not natural or accidental, and no one wanted to say “‘undetermined.” That left homicide or suicide, and everyone wanted to be very sure which one it was.

Right from the start, circumstantial evidence, unreliable statements, and overlooked details clouded the already murky waters of Rebecca’s case. Someone was dishonest, or perhaps everyone was.  There were a lot of people involved, so Rother systematically introduces them to readers and provides detailed information on their backgrounds and relationships to others; readers get to know them well. Most are not consistent in their recollections of these tragic events, and many have secrets to protect.

“Death on Ocean Boulevard” is a comprehensive look at a disturbing and complicated series of events. This is not a mystery-thriller book that can be quickly wrapped up on the last page. The case itself lingered over multiple years, cost millions in legal fees, racked up uncountable hours of law enforcement time, and caused unimaginable grief for those left behind.