Harper Lee’s true crime story


Casey Cep, who seems to be The New Yorker’s resident Harper Lee expert, is out with a Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee from Knopf.

Alexandra Alter at The New York Times had a nice Q&A with her earlier this month.

There are two intertwined mysteries at the heart of “Furious Hours,” Casey Cep’s meticulously researched narrative about an Alabama preacher accused of multiple murders, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who tried and failed to tell his story.

The first section of the book, a spellbinding true crime story, follows the Rev. Willie Maxwell, who allegedly killed five family members for insurance money in the 1970s. In a stranger-than-fiction twist, Maxwell himself was killed in 1977, shot at a funeral ceremony for one of his alleged victims by one of her grieving relatives.

But the other mystery proved even knottier.

Read it here.