The Deadly Innocents

by Muriel Gardiner M.D.. Basic Books, $8.95. The subtitle is Portraits of Children Who Kill, although not one of Dr. Gardiner’s subjects is actually a child. The murderers range from a fourteen-yearold girl who thought, with reason, that her life was in danger, to a lad who had joined the Navy and must surely be counted a young man. All the adolescents studied here acted in response to prolonged mistreatment by adults, a fact which the courts invariably refused to consider. The writing is stiff and such points as Dr. Gardiner makes about the treatment of juvenile criminals are familiar. Altogether, this is an unenlightening casebook. Preface by Stephen Spender, a friend of the author’s.