“A well-told, ingeniously structured double mystery—one an unsolved serial killing, the other an elusive book—rich in droll humour and deep but lightly worn research.”



This book is about a murder case Harper Lee became very interested in, enough to plan to write a book about it.

The case involved a man named Reverend Willie Maxwell. He allegedly murdered five of his family members , including 2 wives and a brother. He had all of them heavily insured and he was the named beneficiary on every policy. Even though the insurance company’s fought payment on every one, he successfully collected on all of them.

He was eventually murdered at the funeral of his last victim, and, hold on to your hat, the lawyer who defended Reverend Maxwell in all of his cases defended his murderer in Court. That alone is an incredible story. But it’s not close to being the best part of the book.

To all of you who, like myself, are in love with To Kill A Mockingbird and had always hoped for another book by Ms Lee, it is the parts about her and her life that stand out in this story.

The first half of the book is all about the Reverend and the murders. And then in the second half Lee makes her appearance and all you want to know is why wasn’t there another book, why didn’t she write this book which she supposedly worked on for years.

The second half of The book is part Lee biography, and the rest is about her investigation of this case. It is very well done and once again leaves you wishing for what will probably never come, another book.

When the announcement of Go Set A Watchman came out I like everyone else became overjoyed. But, as soon as the first reviews hit the stands we knew we were in for a big let down This was really a manuscript of a first draft of Mockingbird, and not anything new. The author here try’s their best to give us plausible reasons why she never published again, and though we won’t get a final answer to that question, enough of that subject is written about here to last us for awhile.

The original criminal case is interesting but the parts about Harper Lee are terrific. Anyone interested in Lee or Mockingbird should read this.

Highly recommended.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 13th August 2019

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Richard Franco