John Blake Publishing Limited Books Reviewed in 2010
The Murder of Meredith Kercher
Author: Gary C King
Publishers: John Blake
Publication Date: Jan 2010
Publisher's Title Information
Meredith's flatmate Amanda Knox, an American also studying in Italy, initially gave evidence that implicated Patrick Lumumba, the owner of a local bar, and he was arrested. However Know changed her story - claiming her memory had been affected by smoking cannabis - and another man, local drifter Rudy Guede, was arrested, charged with murder and, after a 'fast track' trial, found guilty. But the story didn't end with Guede's conviction. What was Amanda Knox's role on the night of the murder? Prosecutors suspected that Guede, Knox and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito had killed Meredith in a perverted sexual game that went too far. With allegations of inaccurate forensic evidence, police brutality, blackmail and even devil-worship, the trial was destined to be a long and complex affair. Top true-crime author Gary C King presents the whole story behind the real-life courtroom drama that has made headlines around the world.
The Author (From the Author's Official Website)
Gary C. King, a freelance author and lecturer, is regarded by readers and critics alike as one of the world's foremost crime writers, a reputation he has earned over the last 29 years with the publication of more than 400 articles in true crime magazines in the United States, Canada, and England. King took over Ann Rule's job as Pacific Northwest stringer for True Detective, Official Detective, Inside Detective, Front Page Detective, and Master Detective magazines, writing hundreds of articles under various names until those magazines ceased publication in the mid-1990s. More recently he has found alternate venues for his stories, including TruTV's Crime Library. He is also the author of several true crime books including: Blood Lust: Portrait of a Serial Sex Killer, Driven to Kill, Web of Deceit, Blind Rage, Savage Vengeance (with Don Lasseter), An Early Grave, The Texas 7, Murder in Hollywood, Angels of Death, Stolen in the Night, Love, Lies, and Murder, and An Almost Perfect Murder, which is about the murder of Nevada State Controller Kathy Augustine by succinylcholine poisoning administered by her husband, critical-care nurse Chaz Higgs. Butcher, about Canadian serial killer Robert Pickton, was published by Pinnacle Books in April 2009. King recently finished work on Rage, about millionaire Reno, Nevada businessman Darren Mack, who murdered his wife, Charla, in 2006 and then shot and seriously injured their divorce judge, Chuck Weller, with a high-powered rifle from a parking garage facing the judge's chambers. Rage is scheduled for publication by Pinnacle Books in July 2010.
When the partly unclothed body of an attractive young female is found murdered it immediately becomes headline news. Even so it is rare for it to continue for so many weeks in the national press and television throughout Europe. But the murder of Meredith Kercher, a young English exchange student at the University of Foreigners in Perugia, Italy, captured the imagination of the public and the fact a young American student was also involved and became a suspect also resulted in the murder becoming headline news in the United States.
The story has now been told by Gary C. King in his book “The Murder of Meredith Kercher.” In his introductory note he writes that no attempt has been made to fictionalise any aspect of the story and to present the facts of the case as they are known; having obtained his sources from various television news channels and the press. He also claims to have maintained a neutral position throughout. It would seem he has achieved his objective.
We are introduced to Meredith's fellow students and their male friends who made statements to the police, some of which were later found to be contradictory. As Gary C. King writes “it was difficult to tell who was lying outright or who was covering up for whom.” But the investigative procedure makes fascinating reading as it differs from either British or American systems: it was not a case where a senior New Scotland Yard detective and his unimaginative sergeant, or a member of the FBI and his body of trigger happy assistants attend the scene with a team of forensic experts. This was an enquiry where police activity was governed by a local magistrate.
In many respects the book reads like a work of fiction. Police action is detailed day by day, interspersed with background information about the families of suspects. Of the latter there are several and as the days go they make additional contradictory statements, some of which implicates one or more of the others. In addition, over a period of time, the police suddenly discover a new fingerprint or DNA evidence. It is not unusual for these additional pieces of information to be leaked to the press, which result in wild speculation about either an existing or new suspect. Agatha Christie could not have written a better plot to fool her readers!
To add to the interest there are fascinating photographs of everyone concerned. Although more than one person is eventually arrested, the reader is able to use his own deductive powers to assess all the facts laid before him and make up his own mind as to the murderer(s).
It would have helped the reader to have had an index to refer back to from time to time when attempting to evaluate new evidence, but it is appreciated that might have produced a too complicated list of characters, etc. However, with such a complicated story with so many twists and turns, perhaps a brief summary of evidence relating to each individual might have been possible. Even so, anyone who enjoys a good whodunit, especially one that is factual, this is the book for them.