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Tragically, the 2012 killing of Grosse Pointe resident Jane Bashara had everything a great true-crime book needs — and more.

The murder-for-hire engineered by husband Bob Bashara was lurid enough. But add in details of Bob’s secret life, replete with tales of S&M bondage and discipline, and the case summons up a tableau of moral corruption in one of America’s fabled suburbs.

Detroit News crime reporter George Hunter and wife Lynn Rosenthal explore this local tragedy in depth in their new book, “The Sadist, The Hitman and the Murder of Jane Bashara” (Exposit, $19.99).

“A guy wants to kill his rich wife to set up a harem with slave girls to serve him?” asked Hunter, a 23-year veteran at The News. “How’s that not going to be a story?”

Indeed, the case would quickly morph into a national obsession. How many other murders come complete with a real-life dungeon?

In late 2014, a jury found Bashara guilty on five counts, including first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The facts of his crime are simple enough.

In January, 2012, Jane’s body was found in the back of her Mercedes-Benz SUV in a Detroit alley. The trial would demonstrate Bashara paid handyman Joe Gentz to murder his wife, and was in the garage as Jane was being strangled.

“While Joe was choking her,” Hunter noted, “Bob reportedly said, ‘Sorry honey.’ That really stuck in Lynn’s craw,” he added, referring to his co-author. “It really did.”

Rosenthal, who’s a legal assistant who’s worked in 46th District Court, wrote much of the text dealing with the trial itself. But before they got down to writing, she transcribed all the court recordings, about 40,000 words.

“It was grueling,” she said. “I never want to hear the name ‘Bashara’ again!”

Despite trying to recant his testimony linking Bashara to the murder, Gentz, who’s mentally impaired, ultimately pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 17-28 years in prison.

Rosenthal wrote Bashara in prison seeking an interview, but got back a reply detailing a host of conditions before he’d consent.

“He wrote a four-page letter saying the media were ‘slaves to law enforcement,’ ” Hunter said.

“He had all these bullet points — we had to sign an affidavit we’d be truthful, we had to give some preacher a couple hundred bucks, and he wanted us to gather all the reports and articles and give them to him,” he added.

So the pair said no thanks. Bashara had already been on the witness stand for four days. They had all the material they really needed.

And some of that material was lively, indeed. An Oregon woman Bashara tried to recruit as a sex slave said things fizzled when he drove out to visit her.

“She said he had ‘E.D,’ ” Hunter said, using the abbreviation for erectile dysfunction.

“The judge asked what that meant,” he added, “and she said, ‘The chairman of the board didn’t show up for work.’ Then she turned to the defendant and said, ‘Sorry Bob’ ”

Hunter shakes his head. “I’ve never covered a case like this,” he said. “From January to March, four or five times a week, there were these incredible bombshells just falling out of the sky.”

Hunter admits he worried that Jane’s story — by all accounts, an admirable woman — got lost in the initial coverage, something he and Rosenthal tried to rectify in their account.

“That’s a built-in tragedy of crime stories,” he said. “Usually it’s the killer who drives the coverage, not the victim. And unfortunately,” Hunter said, “the victim often gets lost.”

MHodges@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-6021

‘The Sadist, the Hitman and the Murder of Jane Bashara’

By George Hunter and Lynn Rosenthal

Exposit, $19.99

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