The book is an outgrowth of Malcolm’s coverage of the trial that appeared as an article in The New Yorker, an article that was highly praised for its scrupulous reporting and interviewing of key people on both sides of the issue. The result is a suspenseful story that is fully believable, making the reader think deeply about such critical issues as truth, character, morality, and reasonable doubt.
Although she is a seasoned reporter, with four books to her credit plus a coveted PEN Biography Award, Malcolm seems to have attacked this topic with unusual verve. Her story exposes the enigma that lies beneath the central narrative of the trial and clarifies the malleability of the evidence that was presented. She focuses on the human factors that all lawyers, judges, and juries need to understand to reach an unassailable verdict, one that, in this case, sealed the fate of two aspiring immigrant families and the young daughter who had the grave misfortune to witness the murder.
Linda F. Burghardt is a New York-based journalist and author who has contributed commentary, breaking news, and features to major newspapers across the U.S., in addition to having three non-fiction books published. She writes frequently on Jewish topics and is now serving as Scholar-in-Residence at the Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County.