Reviewed by Amy Wisehart, Director
This is a fascinating non-fiction book that is part true crime, part literary biography. In the 1970s a black preacher named Willie Maxwell received life insurance payouts for five family members who died under mysterious circumstances. When Maxwell was murdered, writer Harper Lee (author of To Kill a Mockingbird) became interested in the case and planned to write a narrative non-fiction book about the murder trial. That book was never written for various reasons. Casey Cep traces the details of this complicated case and delves into Harper Lee’s life post-Mockingbird and her struggles with writer’s block.