Book Review: Murder in the Stacks: Penn State, Betsy Aardsma, and the Killer Who Got Away


Murder in the Stacks: Penn State, Betsy Aardsma, and the Killer Who Got Away

This is a true crime story about a murder committed in Penn State Library, and the strange sequence of events that prevented the killer from being apprehended.  One thing that struck me about Murder in the Stacks is the incredible amount of research that went into its writing. DeKok has spoken to everyone possible connected with this story and gleaned valuable information about the case. The killer is likely turning in his grave at the public airing of all his indiscretions, as he had a high opinion of himself and thought he deserved far more respect than he received or, in fact, was warranted.

So many parallels with my own life. I was a neighbor of Luke Kliphuis, onetime boyfriend of Betsy, around the time he found out she was murdered years after the fact. My parents collected gems & minerals and I wondered if we had owned one of the suspect’s rock collection kits that he made up in quantity and sold to museums. One of Betsy’s friends was my childhood swimming teacher. Above all this book is a warning to young women and men everywhere to be careful and aware when they are in isolated locations, no matter how safe they seem to be, and also to speak out if they feel threatened or afraid of any person.

I’d like to see DeKok write more in this style, perhaps solving some unsolved cases.



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