Mom, Dad, Mike and Pattie: The True Story of the Columbo Murders by Bonnie Remsberg (December 1992)

One Point of View of a Vicious Murder
Review by Kim Cantrell

Ten years ago (or so) I read a book by author Clark Howard about the 1976 Columbo Family murders in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. I may not remember enough about that book to review it (I will drag it out and do that soon, though) but the case always stuck with me.

Now, I’m looking at the case from a secondary point of view; that of journalist turned author Bonnie Remsberg in her 1992 true crime book titled Mom, Dad, Mike and Pattie: The True Story of the Columbo Murders.

Patricia “Patty” Columbo was Daddy’s little girl in those younger years. But, as happens all too often when the teen years come about, she turned from Daddy’s darling princess to a demonic diva.

When her father, Frank Columbo, was determined to keep his daughter on the straight and narrow, she rebelled like no one could imagine: she and her much older (and married) boyfriend, Frank DeLuca, brutally murdered Frank, Pattie’s mother, Mary, and her thirteen-year-old brother, Michael.

Unlike Clark Howard’s book that lay much of the blame at the feet of DeLuca, Remsberg calls Pattie out for her sexual promiscuity and the use of such to manipulate DeLuca into doing her bidding.

Who talked who into what will always be debated, but the truth of the matter is Pattie Columbo and Frank deLuca murdered Frank, Mary, and Mike Columbo. That’s the facts.

Although, I will admit that I believe Mom, Dad, Mike and Pattie is probably a closer to the truth than the other book. Why? Patty has always had a way with men, and, well, Clark Howard is a man.

Enough said.

Reviewer’s note: I purposely spelled Patricia’s name alternately “Pattie” and “Patty” throughout this review and the updates because, although this book uses the spelling of “Pattie,” it is commonly spelled by others, including family, as “Patty.”

You really want to read this one, so go grab a new or used copy:
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Updates from this book:

Time has not been kind to the one-time Italian beauty, Patricia Ann Columbo. I can only imagine that 34 years of doing time in a maximum security prison and being completely excommunicated by the remainder of your family would have that kind of effect on a girl. According to a recent rumor, she has been diagnosed with breast cancer, so her “stay” at Dwight might not be much longer.

Well, I say the remainder of family, but I guess I should specify those who were alive and old enough to truly suffer from Pattie and Frank’s rampage, because it doesn’t include those such as Patty’s bleeding-heart cousin in Georgia by the name of Shirley Wright Andrews (Barnes), who continues to proclaim that, while Patty did participate in killing her family, she was just a young girl used to getting her own way; she just snapped that night in 1976 and should not be made to die in prison. (Anybody else feel their stomach turn at the thought of turning loose someone so vicious just because they were *gasp* young and spoiled?) Shirley has also, since at least 2004, promised to write a book divulging the “truth” about her family; all I can say is, “We’re still waiting!”

Playboy Frank DeLuca isn’t holding up so well after 34 years of prison time either; although, unlike his former girlfriend and co-defendant, he spends his days in Illinois’ Logan Correctional Center, a medium security facility. As of June 2010, he is 72-years-old.