xii, 314 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, map ; 25 cm
9781101947869 (hardcover) 1101947861 (hardcover) 9781101947876 (electronic book)
"The stunning story of an Alabama serial killer and the true-crime book that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the years after To Kill a Mockingbird. Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell's murderer was acquitted -- thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend. Sitting in the audience during the vigilante's trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from New York City to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research seventeen years earlier. Lee spent a year in town reporting, and many more working on her own version of the case. Now Casey Cep brings this nearly inconceivable story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. At the same time, she offers a deeply moving portrait of one of the country's most beloved writers and her struggle with fame, success, and the mystery of artistic creativity."-- Dust jacket.
Bibliography, etc. Note
Includes bibliographical references (pages 307-314).
Formatted Contents Note
Part one. The Reverend. Divide the waters from the waters Minister of the Gospel Death benefits Seventh son of a seventh son Just plain scared No exception to the rule Part two. The lawyer. Who's in the stew? Roses are red The fight for good The Maxwell house Peace and goodwill Tom v. Tom The man from Eclectic What Holmes was talking about Part three. The writer. Disappearing act Some kind of soul The gift Deep calling to deep Death and taxes Rumor, fantasy, dreams, conjecture, and outright lies Coming back until doomsday Horseshoe Bend The long good-bye.