The genuine crime genre has been so successful in podcasting that one might forget it originated in publishing. Becky Cooper, previously of the New Yorker, has already drawn comparisons to In Cold Blood with her true crime masterpiece, We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence—and for top reason.
On a winter night time in 1969, Jane Britton, a 23-yr-vintage grad student inside the Harvard anthropology department, become brutally murdered in her Boston apartment. Aspects of the crime scene recommended that her murderer might also have had some understanding of ritualistic burials. For decades, rumors cautioned that a powerful archeology professor killed her. Cooper, herself a Harvard graduate, in the end decided to find out.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: We chatted with writer Becky Cooper about her transformation into an investigative journalist and the community she observed along the manner.
Over the route of 10 years, Cooper turns over every stone trying to become aware of Jane’s killer. She perseveres mightily in her investigation, pushed in part via the way she identifies with the quirky, complicated victim. This identification can also draw in readers who see themselves in Jane, too. But for others, the creator’s embody of a stranger who died 50 years prior may additionally in no way quite gel. The e book is strongest whilst we’re empathizing with Jane—her romantic foibles, grappling with sexism inside academia—rather than with the creator.
For aspiring journalists, Cooper’s brilliant work in We Keep the Dead Close is a masterclass on a way to do investigative reporting. She dug deep into archival studies and interviewed most everybody involved within the case, drawing uncomfortable facts out of her sources with unique skill at the same time as still withholding judgment. Along the manner, the narrative ventures down rabbit holes and zigzags from Cambridge to Hawaii to Iran to Labrador.
Cooper’s 10-yr investigation is a meandering one that can drag on for readers who want a neat and tidy resolution. For every person else, there’s a lot to chew on in We Keep the Dead Close. The resolution, while it comes, is as surprising as it's miles heartbreaking.