Harper Lee: Elder Abuse Investigation

The State of Alabama is investigating complaints of elder abuse against author Harper Lee in relation to the announced plans to publish a recently discovered manuscript by Harper Lee,  Go Set A Watchman, (Harper; HarperLuxe, HarperAudio; July 14, 2015).

The ongoing investigation began last month, according to the New York Times, which broke the news late yesterday, and adds, “It remains unclear what, if anything, will come out of the investigation … One person informed of the substance of the interviews, who did not want to speak for attribution because the inquiry was ongoing, said Ms. Lee appeared capable of understanding questions and provided cogent answers to investigators.”

Last week, Entertainment Weekly Book Review editor Tina Jordan aired a Serial style investigation into the controversy, on the magazine’s Sirius Radio program “Off the Books.”

9780670010950The episode sets out to “try to decide if Harper Lee is being exploited in any way.” Although the preponderance of evidence points towards exploitation, Jordan is nearly convinced by an interview with Kerry Madden author of the 2009 biography Harper Lee: A Twentieth-Century Life (part of Penguin/Viking Young Readers’s Up Close series). Madden strongly believes Harper Lee’s friend, Wayne Flynt, who says, based on his conversations with Lee, that she is excited about the book and it’s giving her something to focus on since the death of her sister last year.

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