Traverse City Record-Eagle

Life

June 21, 2008

Author fascinated by the Robison case

'Other 7-year-old girl' haunts Mardi Link

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This is Link's first "book-length work," but she didn't originally plan on turning her piles of personal research into a book. The self-proclaimed Court TV addict pitched the project to an editor through a "blind e-mail."

"She responded (and) voila, I had a book contract," Link said.

She filed Freedom of Information Act requests, obtained files from Emmet County and the Michigan State Police and interviewed Good Hart locals. The publisher's approval came in March 2007 and by November, Link turned in the book.

"I was trying to tell, from various angles, what really happened," she said. "The main character of the book is really the investigation."

Many aspects of the case intrigued her. Richard Robison, an advertising man and publisher of the arts magazine Impresario, was "complex" and a "grandiose thinker" with "dogmatic opinions about art," Link said.

The Detroit Free Press reported in 1970 that Robison's advertising agency swindled thousands of dollars from its top client Delta Faucet. That news story exposed other money problems and also told how Robison "promoted" a $100 million business venture, though specifics of the plan were flimsy. Link details the convoluted money mysteries in a chapter called "Following the Money."

Armchair detectives, authors and law enforcement officials mulled numerous theories about who killed the family. Link believes Robison's business associate Joseph Scolaro committed the murders alone or with hired help.

She shares her suspicion of Scolaro's guilt with police investigators. Emmet County Sheriff Pete Wallin credits Link for producing "one of the best" accounts of the homicides.

"It's probably the most factual one that I've seen (on) the investigation," Wallin said.

Link, who for six years edited the book review magazine ForeWord based in Traverse City, is planning her second book. It will examine the century-old mystery of a murdered nun in Isadore, located in Leelanau County.

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