Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a vigilante shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Sitting in the audience during the vigilante's trial was Harper Lee, who returned to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own “In Cold Blood,” the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research 17 years earlier. 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.
Books will be available for purchase at the event from Left Bank Books.