Category Archives: True Crime Books

Activities lined up for all ages at Fort Morgan Library & Museum

A variety of fun and educational activities for all ages are on tap at Fort Morgan Library Museum, according to a City of Fort Morgan press release.

Fort Morgan True Crime Book Club

One of those is a new club that is starting up for fans of the True Crime genre of books.

The Fort Morgan True Crime Book Club will meet on the last Thursday of every month, with the first session scheduled from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 30. Every month the club will investigate a crime together and read a book to go with it. The members will discuss the criminals, victims, investigators, trials and all the twists and turns along the way.

Each month’s book will be available for participants to check out at Fort Morgan Public Library circulation desk. No book is needed for the first session. These True Crime Book Club sessions are intended

Read more at: http://www.fortmorgantimes.com/fort-morgan-local-news/ci_32640302/activities-lined-up-all-ages-at-fort-morgan

Harper Lee’s Unwritten True-Crime Book

Subscribe: iTunes | Google Play Music | How to Listen

Casey Cep’s best-selling new book, “Furious Hours,” recounts a dramatic murder case in Alabama, and how Harper Lee had plans to turn that case into a book that never got written.

As Cep says on this week’s podcast, her decision to write her own account of all this wasn’t a tough one.

“You don’t have to be a very good reporter when somebody on the phone starts telling you about the voodoo preacher their granddaddy defended and then defended the man who shot him,” Cep says. “You get very interested very quickly. And when it seems like there might be another manuscript by Harper Lee,

Read more at: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/17/books/review/harper-lees-unwritten-true-crime-book.html

The best recent crime and thrillers – review roundup


After her award-winning fictionalised account of a 1950s serial killer, The Long Drop, Denise Mina returns to the present day with Conviction (Harvill Secker, £14.99), a thoroughly modern tale of sexual and financial predation and social media. Anna McDonald is on the run from an unspecified traumatic incident in her past. Having fled London, she has reinvented herself in Glasgow, and is now partner to lawyer Hamish and mother to Jess and Lizzie. A fan of true crime podcasts, she has just started Death and the Dana, the story of a sunken yacht with a murdered family on board, when Hamish announces that he is leaving her. Distraught, Anna runs away once more and finds herself trying to determine what really happened to Leon Parker, the man found dead on the yacht, with

Read more at: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/may/17/the-best-recent-crime-and-thrillers-review-roundup

Did Harper Lee, Who Died in 2016, Leave Behind a True-Crime Manuscript?

Cep might not have known about “The Reverend” before 2015, but the people around Lake Martin, Ala. — where the murders took place — certainly did. That’s because Lee spent so much time in the area researching Maxwell. “Down there they’ve all known about the book since the 1970s. When they heard she was publishing a new book, they were sure as they could be it was the one about the reverend.”

There’s no clear origin story for “The Reverend.” Cep points out that Lee and her sisters “were obsessed with true crime, and they followed cases like this all the time.” In addition, she says, the Maxwell case “intersected with Lee’s interest in how justice can be found inside and outside a courtroom.”

So did Lee leave behind a manuscript for “The Reverend” or not? Lee once wrote in

Read more at: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/16/books/review/casey-cep-furious-hours-best-seller.html

How Casey Cep Wrote the True-Crime Book Harper Lee Couldn’t

“There are no saints and there are no sinners — people can simultaneously be both,” says Casey Cep. “I think she was interested in how this could be.” The author of Furious Hours, an enthralling debut about crime, fact, and fiction, is talking about the second of her book’s subjects, Harper Lee. Lee’s crowd-pleasing morality tale, 1960’s To Kill a Mockingbird, made her world-famous, but the author was more complicated than her book.

Moral ambiguity is what binds the two narrative threads in Furious Hours: the first is a meticulously researched accounting of the case of Reverend Willie Maxwell. An Alabama preacher who very likely murdered five of his relatives in the 1970s for insurance money, Maxwell himself was eventually killed at the funeral for one of his victims. In perhaps the darkest true-crime

Read more at: https://www.vulture.com/2019/05/casey-ceps-furious-hours-tracks-harper-lees-lost-book.html

The True-Crime Story That Harper Lee Tried and Failed to Write

Eventually fired from his job at the textile mill, he found new work pulping wood and drilling rock — messy, dangerous tasks. “One of the most outstanding, dependable employees I had in every way,” a former boss, who was later elected the town mayor, said of him. At the end of the day the other workers were covered in sweat and dust. Not the Reverend, who astonished his co-workers with how quickly and beautifully he cleaned up. “His shoes were always polished, his suits were always black and a tie almost always accentuated his crisp white shirts,” Cep writes. He was a man to whom nothing seemed to stick.

Then, on Aug. 3, 1970, in a car on the side of a country road, the police found his wife’s body. “She was swollen and bruised, her face covered with lacerations, her jawbone chipped, her nose dislocated; she

Read more at: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/06/books/review/casey-cep-furious-hours-harper-lee.html

The True-Crime Story That Harper Lee Tried and Failed to Write

Eventually fired from his job at the textile mill, he found new work pulping wood and drilling rock — messy, dangerous tasks. “One of the most outstanding, dependable employees I had in every way,” a former boss, who was later elected the town mayor, said of him. At the end of the day the other workers were covered in sweat and dust. Not the Reverend, who astonished his co-workers with how quickly and beautifully he cleaned up. “His shoes were always polished, his suits were always black and a tie almost always accentuated his crisp white shirts,” Cep writes. He was a man to whom nothing seemed to stick.

Then, on Aug. 3, 1970, in a car on the side of a country road, the police found his wife’s body. “She was swollen and bruised, her face covered with lacerations, her jawbone chipped, her nose dislocated; she was missing part of her left ear, which the police eventually found on the floorboard of the back seat,” Cep writes. Coroners later decided that someone had tried and failed to strangle Mary Lou Maxwell, and so had simply beaten her to death. But it was impossible to say for sure who that someone was. Whoever had made a mess of the corpse had cleaned up beautifully after himself.

Image
Pallbearers carrying Willie Maxwell’s coffin from the Peace and Goodwill Baptist Church in 1977.CreditThe Alexander City Outlook

All signs pointed to the Reverend. The married woman next door claimed that Mary Lou had come to her house after 10 the night of the murder to report that her husband’s car had broken down and that he wanted Mary Lou to pick him up. It turned out that the Reverend had lady friends, and that he made a habit of spending a lot more on them than he earned. He was carrying a large mortgage and was behind on his car payments and his many accounts with local retailers. His wife had no money but she did have an astonishing number of life-insurance policies. The Reverend had bought them and named himself as the sole beneficiary. One of the bigger ones he had purchased so soon before her death that he hadn’t even needed to pay the $12 to renew it.

It took a surprisingly long time for the state to indict him and a surprisingly short time for the jury to declare his innocence. At his trial the married woman next door recanted her testimony, and then, after the untimely death of her own spouse, married the Reverend. Likely she never knew that in their first and only year of marriage, the Reverend took out at least 17 different insurance policies on her life. By the time his second wife’s body was found in yet another car on yet another country road, the Reverend had collected more than half a million in today’s dollars. “For the Reverend Willie Maxwell,” Cep writes, “becoming a widower was proving to be a lucrative business.”

Book review: A true-crime thriller from Victorian England resonates today – Herald

The crime at the core of “Murder by the Book” by Claire Harman stunned London for months. Yet Harman’s book is not so much focused on the uncovering of a murderer as it is on dissecting the London not only of Queen Victoria, but the London of Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray as well.

Along the way, the book also becomes a subtle reminder that media-roused controversy is not as contemporary an “art form” as we might think it to be.

The horrific death of Lord William Russell occurred during the early hours of May 6, 1840, “his throat cut so deeply that the windpipe was sliced right through and the head almost severed.” That murder was to upend the teeming city from its political, social and cultural underpinnings with frightening alacrity.

Harman characterizes Lord William as an “unobtrusive minor aristocrat, with his afternoons at the club and

Read more at: https://www.heraldmailmedia.com/lifestyles/entertainment/book-review-a-true-crime-thriller-from-victorian-england-resonates/article_fab7ea5a-5cb1-5e63-bac8-7cdf1957a75e.html

The Week in Books

We take the weekend to highlight recent books coverage of note in The Times:

Julie Orringer’s new novel, “Flight Portfolio,” is, according to the critic and author Cynthia Ozick, a “prodigiously ambitious” one. It is historical fiction and a kind of fictionalized biography, the study of the real-life World War II figure Varian Fry. It is also a Holocaust novel and a tale of suspense. There’s a lot to dig into, and Ozick does just that with characteristic insight and flair. One of our greatest living critics, Ozick last wrote for the Book Review about the role of gossip in storytelling. Zoë Heller reviewed her most recent collected work here.

We’ve also got reviews of fiction from Jennifer duBois, Stewart O’Nan

Read more at: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/05/books/the-week-in-books.html

Furious Hours by Casey Cep review — Harper Lee and her lost novel about murder and race in the Deep South

In May 1978, after calling in a favour from a mutual acquaintance and being given a “secret” telephone number, Maryon Pittman Allen, the wife of the junior senator of Alabama, finally tracked down her old university friend Nelle Harper Lee, one of America’s most famous and mysterious writers, to a small motel outside the Southern town of Alexander City. Allen was about to meet Rosalynn Carter, and wanted to give the new first lady a signed copy of Alabama’s most celebrated novel, the Pulitzer prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird.

For more than an hour, the two former friends, Allen and Lee, talked about the past — small-town lawyers, journalism, Allen’s father-in-law. What they didn’t talk much about was Lee, and what in particular this painstakingly reclusive…

Read more at: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/furious-hours-by-casey-cep-review-harper-lee-and-her-lost-novel-about-murder-and-race-in-the-deep-south-7h8hfp2tt