By Nina Burleigh
The sexually violent homicide of twenty-one-year-old British pupil Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, at the evening of November 1, 2007, turned a global sensation while one in every of Kercher’s housemates, twenty-year-old Seattle local Amanda Knox, in addition to her Italian boyfriend and a bothered neighborhood guy Knox stated she “vaguely” knew, used to be arrested and charged with the homicide. The deadly present of Beauty is award-winning writer and journalist Nina Burleigh’s spell binding literary research of the homicide, the arguable prosecution, the conviction and twenty-six-year sentence of Knox, the machinations of Italian justice, and the underground depravity and conflict of cultures in a single of principal -Italy’s so much loved cities.
while Perugia experts concluded that the homicide used to be a part of a depressing, twisted rite—a “sex game”—led through the yank with an uncanny resemblance to Perugia’s Madonna, they unleashed a media frenzy from Rome to London to ny and Seattle. the tale drew a world cult keen about “Foxy Knoxy,” a stunning honor scholar on a junior 12 months out of the country, who both awakened one morning right into a nightmare of superstition and misogyny—the darkish part of Italy—or participated in anything unspeakable.
The research starts off within the previous stone cottage overlooking bucolic olive groves the place Kercher’s physique was once present in her locked bed room. It winds throughout the shadowy, arched alleys of Perugia, a urban of paintings that also is a magnet for tens of millions of scholars who widespread its bars, golf equipment, and drug bazaar at the steps of the Duomo. It climaxes in an up-close account of Italy’s dysfunctional criminal approach, because the trial slowly unfolds on the town’s Tribunale, and the prosecution’s thunderous ultimate attract God sooner than the quivering lady defendant resembles a scene from the Inquisition.
to bare what truly occurred on that negative evening after Halloween, Nina Burleigh lived in Perugia, attended the trial, and corresponded with the incarcerated defendants. She additionally delved deeply into the heritage, secrets and techniques, and customs of Perugia, popular both for its Etruscan tunnels, early Christian artwork, medieval sorcerers, and pagan roots.
A New York Times bestseller, The deadly reward of Beauty is the considerate, compelling exam of an everlasting secret, an historic, storied position, and a disquieting side of Italian tradition: an obsession with woman eroticism. By including the genuine tale of Rudy Guede, it's also an acute window into the minds and personalities of the accused killers and of the conservative Italian Justice of the Peace striving to make feel of an inexplicable act of evil. yet at its center is an indelible portrait of Amanda Knox, the unusually childlike, enigmatic good looks, whose photogenic face turned the point of interest of foreign hypothesis in regards to the shadow part of minor and freedom.
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Extra resources for The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox
The foundation of the beat is wine, go back and forth, the occasional papal succession tale, and unending intercourse scandals and Mafia tales taken from the Italian press. shrewdpermanent Roman correspondents eager to stay in Italy poke round on the peril in their existence. while Meredith Kercher was once murdered, there has been little incentive for middle-class, middle-aged specialist newshounds having fun with Italy’s many way of life charms to polish an excessive amount of gentle into the darkish corners. those that may need knew they can locate themselves like Saviano, hiding in the back of armed males, exiled again to their chilly international locations of beginning, or getting cosmetic surgery and new names. hence, investigative journalism as practiced in international locations just like the uk and the U.S. easily doesn't exist in Italy. That functionality is left to the judiciary, that is larger able—after many years of assassinations, failed trials, and sluggish adjustments within the structure that sarcastically make the judiciary much less, no more, transparent—to securely examine Mafia infiltration of presidency and companies. within the Kercher case, a robust deterrent instance used to be already in position. Mignini had lately plucked Mario Spezi, a Florentine newspaper crime reporter, out of his condominium and thrown him into solitary confinement for weeks after Spezi’s research into the Monster of Florence case deviating from the prosecutorial line. Mignini had additionally threatened an American novelist, Douglas Preston, within the comparable case, inflicting him to escape Italy, by no means to come. within the months after Meredith Kercher’s homicide, Perugia police hauled in an area reporter, Il Giornale dell’Umbria’s Francesca Bene, after she chanced on witnesses with tales that solid doubt at the reliable thought within the Kercher case. Mignini additionally ordered a home seek on a feminine Rome-based reporter for Mediaset, who had raised questions on the Kercher case early on. She by no means lined the case back. within the Kercher case, the judiciary—lawyers and magistrates—leaked to favourite newshounds. every thing from audiotapes of surveilled conversations to videotapes of forensic employees on the crime scene, together with garish close-ups of CSI employees swabbing orifices, was once public sooner than the trial even begun. an important, most likely exculpatory different information—audio or video of interrogations, for example—never emerged. further to the selective details obtain, many reporters approached the case with an informal angle towards evidence. If a attorney acknowledged whatever, it used to be broadcast or published, topic to discuss yet hardly if ever reputable correction. Nonexistent “evidence”—such because the ladies’ “mixed blood” DNA within the rest room they shared, Raffaele’s googling of bleach and blood within the hours after Meredith’s homicide, or a carpark video of Amanda Knox arriving on the condo round the homicide hour—remained at the public checklist perpetually. After the conviction, Amanda’s stepfather, Chris Mellas, mentioned this phenomenon in an interview with me. “I think that there are various issues the media didn’t file safely.