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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Amanda Knox and Murder in Perugia

The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda KnoxThe Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox by Nina Burleigh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Told without all the hoopla surrounding the original media reports about the American college girl and her Italian lover purported to be sex game playing murderers. The backgrounds of the three central figures of the story: the American college student, Amanda Knox, her Italian boyfriend of less than two weeks, Raffaele Sollecito. and the British student and victim, Meredith Kercher, are all presented. How they came to be in Perugia, Italy and their relationships to each other and other students as well as some of the other residents of the town is also described providing the setting and cast of this almost fantasy-like tale of supposed sexual, drug-driven perversion resulting in murder.

Nina Burleigh goes farther than most of the other books, videos, Netflix specials etc that try to explain the crime, the trial and the conviction, appeal, overturn of conviction, and incarceration of two young college students away from home, and the death of a third. She speaks of the Etruscan history of the area, the Italian legal system, the various levels of police and judicial strata, the attitude toward women, toward foreigners and toward black men. The later attitude becomes important because a fourth person, a black man by the name of Rudy Guede was found guilty of the murder and is serving time in jail for it. His story, too, is presented thoroughly and clearly. Yet, another black man, plays a role in the saga," Patrick " Lamumba. He was Amanda's employer in Perugia and, at one point, she incriminates him in the murder.

The families of Amanda, Rafaelle and Meredith also play a part in the story as do the lawyers and media reporters. The confusion of investigation, analysis of evidence, interrogation of the various ,witnesses adds to the drama of the situation. But, in the end, I think Burleigh's conclusion is accurate. Rudy killed Meredith during a burglary when she came home and caught him in the apartment. Amanda was her own worst enemy by her attitude and seemingly evasive and / or contradictory statements, but she was not in any way involved in the murder, nor was Rafaelle. Yet, neither, especially Amanda, will ever be seen universally, in Britain, in Italy or even in sections of America, as totally innocent. Most probably due to media coverage but also because of the egos of the prosecutor and others who had come up with a theory of the murder, which they shared widely and which they, therefore, would not relinquish no matter how strong the evidence against it.
This is a review of a copy provided by Blogging for Books for that purpose.

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