6 June 2016 | sksolomonb
A fascinating mystery
In the spring of 1972 I, at age 24, had just moved to Houston, Texas, and soon the city was absorbed by the mystery of Dr. John Hill's death. Two of my friends were patients of the physician in partnership with Doctor Hill, so they felt they knew Dr. Hill personally and that he never could harm anyone. I too worked in the medical field, and on my Wednesday afternoons off I would drive north on Kirby Drive and through the scenic River Oaks Neighborhood, all the while thinking the neighborhood must be like heaven on earth. I do recall the two-story white mansion with the black horse head hitching post out front, and I soon learned it had been the home of Dr. John and Joan Robinson Hill, the supposed victims in two separate murders. The hitching post remained as Joan's personal touch on the property since she had loved horses all her life.
From the beginning the story of Joan Robinson had been shrouded in mystery. Her adopted mother, Mrs. Robinson, told the story of how the Robinsons had adopted Joan from the Edna Gladney Home, an orphanage shown in the Greer Garson film, "Blossoms in the Dust." Other people circulated the rumor that Joan was the result of an affair Ash Robinson had had with his secretary and that Mrs. Robinson was agreeable to covering her husband's indiscretions and bringing up Joan as their "adopted" child. The Robinsons worshiped Joan, an accomplished equestrienne who appeared with her horse, Beloved Belinda, in the annual Pin Oak Stables Horse Show in Houston.
Dr. Hill supposedly was from a strict Baptist family of modest means in McAllen in South Texas, and he was impressed with the opportunity to study and practice medicine in Houston. The Robinsons, glad to have a promising young medical student marry Joan, agreed to put Hill through medical school. Eventually Dr. Hill founded the Sharpstown Hospital in a Houston suburb, and it was to this hospital that Joan Robinson Hill finally was taken. Such was the quaint, fairy-tale world of 1950s-1970s Houston, and the stage was set for the drama and mystery about to unfold.
I read Thompson's Book, "Blood and Money," and I believe the film was true to the book. Thompson's account left everyone speculating about what really had happened and what everyone's motives were. I personally believe the portrayals by Sam Elliott, Farrah Fawcett, Andy Griffith, and Katherine Ross were excellent. I would recommend the Kurth and Thompson books on the subject, and I would love to find a DVD version of "Murder in Texas" so that I could share this great film with my friends.