Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee (Hardback)Casey Cep (author)
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Casey Cep’s penetrating study of Harper Lee’s lost years sheds a little more light on one of modern literature’s greatest enigmas. Forever lionised as the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee’s retreat from the literary scene and her struggles with writer’s block have been well documented. Where Cep’s book scores is in its specific focus on one aborted title: a true crime account of an Alabamian murder spree that Lee tussled with for years but could never fully realise. Refracted through this unfinished manuscript is one of the fullest portraits of late period Lee that we are ever likely to get.
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. As Alabama is consumed by these gripping events, it's not long until news of the case reaches Alabama's - and America's - most famous writer. Intrigued by the story, Harper Lee makes a journey back to her home state to witness the Reverend's killer face trial.
Harper had the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research. Lee spent a year in town reporting on the Maxwell case and many more years trying to finish the book she called The Reverend. Now Casey Cep brings this 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.
This is the story Harper Lee wanted to write. This is the story of why she couldn't.
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 588 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 33 mm
'A triumph on every level. One of the losses to literature is that Harper Lee never found a way to tell a gothic true-crime story she'd spent years researching. Casey Cep has excavated this mesmerizing story and tells it with grace and insight and a fierce fidelity to the truth.' - David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon
'It's been a long time since I picked up a book so impossible to put down. Furious Hours made me forget dinner, ignore incoming calls, and stay up reading into the small hours. It's a work of literary and legal detection as gripping as a thriller. But it's also a meditation on motive and mystery, the curious workings of history, hope, and ambition, justice, and the darkest matters of life and death. Casey Cep's investigation into an infamous Southern murder trial and Harper Lee's quest to write about it is a beautiful, sobering, and sometimes chilling triumph.' - Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk
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I didn't really know a lot about Harper Lee before reading this book. I found her quite a fascinating lady.
The author Casey Cep, has taken the facts that Harper Lee documented on, and revealed the account of... More
“True crime that reads like a novel, fascinating insights into a secretive life”
Casey Cep has created a beautifully written work, which evocatively conjures the lives of its subjects; author Harper Lee, lawyer Tom Radney and Reverend Willie Maxwell, alleged murderer and definite murder victim. It... More
“Fascinating insight into Harper Lee and the story she failed to publish.”
The Rev Willie J Maxwell is implicated in numerous suspicious deaths, holding life insurance payable for each individual; yet despite the circumstances, this black preacher from Alabama is not convicted on any count.... More
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