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John Follain's book "DEATH IN PERUGIA"

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:04 pm   Post subject: John Follain's book "DEATH IN PERUGIA"   

Death in Perugia: The Definitive Account of the Meredith Kercher Case from Her Murder to the Acquittal of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox [Hardcover]

by John Follain

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October 27, 2011

Death in Perugia: The Definitive Account of the Meredith Kercher Case by John Follain – Review
by Tobias Jones

Few crimes in recent years have captured the imagination quite so much as the murder in Perugia of Meredith Kercher. The beauty and kindness of the victim, the fresh faces of her alleged assassins, and their passion for sex and drugs, all set against the backdrop of one of Italy's most stunning cities, made this a story that was as captivating as it was tragic. Now that both Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have been acquitted of Kercher's murder, the story becomes in some ways even more fascinating, as no one knows quite what to believe any more. Many people remain convinced that the two are guilty.

John Follain is the Rome correspondent for the Sunday Times and has been following the case since it began. His book is a neutral retelling of events, from the British student's murder on the night of 1 November 2007 to that acquittal a few weeks ago on 3 October. Death in Perugia is not a first-person narrative, nor one that expresses an authorial opinion on the guilt or otherwise of those on trial. Perhaps because of this objectivity, it's a gripping read: a balanced, detailed account that allows the reader to respond to the central question: did they or didn't they?

It was immediately clear to detectives who attended the crime scene that a burglary had been faked. Windows had been smashed, but they were too high for a burglar and the broken glass was on top of, rather than underneath, the flat's ransacked contents. No burglar, detectives thought, would have locked Kercher's room. The flat's front door hadn't been forced. It looked as if someone on the inside had been involved in the murder, or had at least let in the murderer.

Attention turned to Kercher's American flatmate for many reasons: Amanda Knox had a scratch on her neck, and her behaviour as detectives watched her was bizarre in the extreme – constantly kissing and laughing with her Italian boyfriend, doing yoga in the police station, and snapping at one of Kercher's friends, who had expressed the hope that Meredith didn't suffer, with the retort: "She fucking bled to death."

As investigators looked more closely at Knox, she emerged as a narcissistic attention-seeker who was sexually adventurous but also jealous of Meredith Kercher's cheerful contentment. Knox knew, it seemed, no boundaries, leaving a vibrator in a transparent washbag and enjoying one-night stands. Detectives thought she was both sly and naive.

These character traits, however, were as nothing compared with the contradictions she got caught up in. At first she said she was there that fateful night; then that she wasn't. Pages of her diary were ripped out. Her phone, always on, had been switched off early that evening. She had used drugs. Most incredible of all, Knox claimed to have entered the flat the following morning, having found the front door open and blood in the bathroom, and rather than running outside and calling the police had gone straight ahead and had a shower without a second thought.

Her DNA was found on the handle of a knife that also had Kercher's DNA on its blade. That knife came from the kitchen of Knox's boyfriend, Sollecito. He, it emerged, was a habitual drug-user who liked knives and hardcore porn. His DNA was found on Kercher's bra clasp. He had lied about when he had used his computer, about the time of certain phone calls, and also about the time he'd eaten dinner.

A third man emerged as a suspect. Rudy Guede alleged that he had merely been making out with Meredith and was in the bathroom when he heard her screams from the other room. He tried, he said, to save her. Prosecutors didn't believe his story, especially when DNA evidence indicated a sexual encounter with Kercher – with, detectives thought, Knox and Sollecito involved as coercers. Various eyewitnesses came forward to place Guede, Knox and Sollecito at the scene of the crime, and the fact that the young lovers had bought bleach the following morning suggested they were trying to cover their tracks.

The evidence appeared overwhelming and all three were convicted. But earlier this month, Sollecito and Knox were acquitted. The lead prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, had told the jury "you can't make a black boy pay for everyone", but that is how it now stands: only Guede, raised in Perugia, born in Ivory Coast, remains in prison. Doubts had been raised about the DNA evidence: the bra clasp had been found 46 days after the initial police search and contamination seemed a possibility. Witnesses were shown to be confused. Knox stopped laughing and clowning around in court. The prosecutor himself was described as a sex-obsessed conspiracy theorist. Now, as the prosecution appeal to overturn the acquittal, there will probably be another trial.

We will, of course, never really know what happened. Many remain convinced of Knox's guilt. "To my family," Meredith Kercher's father once said, "she is, unequivocally, culpable." One investigator said: "she's certainly not the first convict who claims she's innocent... My guess is that Amanda has convinced herself that she is." A prosecuting lawyer called her "a sorceress of deceit". Patrick Lumumba, the Congolese barman whom Knox falsely accused of the murder, said she was "the world's best actress". Others believe she was just a girl who, confused and in shock, behaved inappropriately but nothing more. Her lawyer said he would have been pleased to have her as a daughter.

It is a tribute to Follain and his publishers that this exhaustive account bears no sign of being a rush job. I would have liked the author to say who he thinks the guilty parties are, and to have stepped outside the story and told us why this case, more than any other, has so gripped the world's media (there have been 11 books so far and one film). But it's hard to imagine there will be a better book on the subject.


THE GUARDIAN


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:09 pm   Post subject: Re: John Follain's book "DEATH IN PERUGIA"   

November 04, 2011

Death in Perugia: John Follain, review
John Follain's 'Death in Perugia' is the first full account of the Amanda Knox trial.

By Ed Cumming

THE TELEGRAPH

November 04, 2011 (cont.)

John Follain, author of "Death in Perugia: The Definitive Account of the Meredith Kercher case" (video)

Uploaded by HodderStoughton



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVJ0N0j-pyw

December 22, 2011

Review: Death in Perugia by John Follain
By JoV

JoV's BOOK PYRAMID

February 27, 2012

Book Review
The murder that won't die

By Paul Dorsey

Death in Perugia
By John Follain
Published by Hodder & Stoughton, 2011
Reviewed by Paul Dorsey

Italian prosecutors' Valentine's Day announcement that they will appeal the acquittal of American Amanda Knox in the murder of her British fellow university student Meredith Kercher certainly adds value to "Death in Perugia", an account of the case released just after it was supposedly resolved last October.

And if the appeal succeeds, paving the way for Knox's possible (but unlikely) extradition to resume a 26-year jail term, it would also certainly revive the animosity between the "heartland people" of the US and UK, to use a kind euphemism for flag-waving bigots on both sides of the sea who followed the case via tabloid news outlets.

Ugly debate raged during the snail-paced but turbulent two-year trial that convicted Knox and her by-then-former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito of brutally murdering Kercher (with the help of a second man, Rudy Guede, who remains in prison) and the year-long appeal that overturned the verdict.

"Foxy Knoxy", the British news rags called Amanda, playing up the sexual aspects of the crime while never acknowledging that she got the nickname at age five for her slyness on the soccer pitch. Consider yourself wise or lucky if you ignored the daily fulminating, because getting the big picture from a book like this is surely preferable.

And John Follain, the London Sunday Times' man in Italy who covered the drawn-out court wrangling, does a great job with a complicated story in 400 pages. Once or twice his objectivity yields to slight subsidence, but overall this is a balanced account that doesn't presume to suggest guilt or innocence.

Based on a mass of circumstantial evidence - much of which was withheld from the American public, according to several accounts - the often obnoxious Knox and the rather seedy Sollecito seemed quite guilty of participating in Kercher's drug-addled sexual assault and gruesome murder on the night after Halloween 2007.

As the shock of the slaying spread, Amanda and Raffaele appeared more interested in cuddling than caring, laughing at inappropriate moments, given to jarring remarks. Challenged over her bizarre lack of emotion, Knox allowed that she was indeed concerned - it could have been her found lying dead and mutilated rather than her housemate.

This was the Amanda Knox who prosecutors presented to the judges and juries: self-centred, carefree, sexually uninhibited and envious of Kercher's friendships, her natural appeal to men and her devotion to study. [...]

On February 14 the Italian prosecutors reaffirmed their belief that Knox and Sollecito are guilty and will challenge the logic behind the appellate court ruling. The Court of Cassation will, probably later this year but in the course of a single day, weigh accusations of procedural irregularities that could represent grounds for a retrial.

The announcement was not a surprise. Follain refers to the possibility in this book. Unspecified "officials" had already told the chief prosecutor, "Yes, there was an extradition treaty between the two countries, but no, America would never send Amanda back". [...]


THE NATION

Post: http://www.perugiamurderfile.net/viewtopic.php?p=93565#p93565
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:20 pm   Post subject: Re: John Follain's book "DEATH IN PERUGIA"   

You can order John Follain's book from here:

John Follain's Death in Perugia: The Definitive Account of the Meredith Kercher case from her murder to the acquittal of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox [Paperback]

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

Death in Perugia: The Definitive Account of the Meredith Kercher case from her murder to the acquittal of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox [Kindle Edition]

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

A Death in Italy: The Definitive Account of the Amanda Knox Case [Hardcover]
US Edition, Release Date: 21 August, 2012

AMAZON US

Amanda Knox and A Death in Italy: The Story of the Murder of Meredith Kercher [Paperback]
Release Date: 30 July, 2013

AMAZON

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:54 am   Post subject: Re: John Follain's book "DEATH IN PERUGIA"   

August 22, 2012

Book Review: A Death in Italy
A Victim, or a Villain?
Amanda Knox could be eccentric, obnoxious and astonishingly self-centered, John Follain shows in "A Death in Italy," but she wasn't a murderer.
By Alexander Theroux

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A Death in Italy.jpg


THE WALL STREET JOURNAL [BOOKSHELF]

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:56 am   Post subject: Re: John Follain's book "DEATH IN PERUGIA"   

September 2, 2012

Book review:
‘A Death in Italy: The Definitive Account of the Amanda Knox Case,’ by John Follain
By Patrick Anderson

Amanda Knox and Meredith Kercher met in September 2007 in Perugia, Italy. Both had gone there to study at the university, and they chanced to rent adjoining rooms in a cottage on the outskirts of town. Knox was 20 and from Seattle; Kercher was 21 and English. Both were attractive (friends considered Kercher more studious and Knox more impulsive), and both were soon caught up in a whirl of boys, bar-hopping and Italian classes. The fun ended abruptly on the morning of Nov. 2, when Kercher was found dead in her tiny bedroom. She had been beaten and repeatedly stabbed, and her throat had been cut. Within days, Knox and her Italian boyfriend, along with another young man, were charged with murdering and sexually assaulting her.
The British journalist John Follain has drawn upon the transcripts of Knox’s lengthy trial and hundreds of interviews to give what may be the definitive account of the case. It’s an ugly, confusing story but one he relates with clarity, compassion and a wealth of fascinating detail. Still, many readers may finish his book with profound doubts about the case. Or about whether Knox, despite her angel’s face, was in truth a she-devil, as the frenzied Italian media would have it.
On Oct. 25, two months after arriving in Italy, Knox found a new boyfriend. He was a shy, nice-looking Italian computer-science student named Raffaele Sollecito. His major quirk was a passion for knives. Knox and Sollecito spent many of their remaining days of freedom smoking hashish, making love and exploring Perugia’s bars. Knox and Kercher also met a tall, athletic 20-year-old immigrant from Ivory Coast named Rudy Guede, who boasted to friends of his sexual interest in both women.
On the morning of Nov. 2, Knox, who later claimed to have spent the night in Sollecito’s nearby apartment, returned to the cottage and, she told police, found blood, signs of robbery and Kercher’s door locked. She took a shower and returned to Sollecito’s place, and eventually they called the police, who discovered Kercher’s body. Under questioning, Knox and Sollecito told confused, conflicting stories. At one point Knox declared that she’d seen a local bar owner kill Kercher. The man was arrested, but when he proved to have a solid alibi, Knox said she’d been confused and was just relating what “could be true,” a sort of dream she’d had.
Guede admitted having been in the cottage when Kercher was killed. He claimed that she had invited him there and that they had discussed sex. He said he had gone into the bathroom, heard a scream and emerged to find a man with a knife standing over Kercher’s body. The mystery man fled, Guede said, and so did he. After a “fast-track trial,” Guede was sentenced to 30 years in prison. An appeals court reduced his sentence to 16 years, citing Guede’s youth, clean record and difficult childhood.
Knox and Sollecito were given a more leisurely trial that lasted 11 months and became an international media sensation. Her pretty face and colorful ways made her the star of the show. Offers of marriage flooded her prison cell. Soon after the murder, she had angered Kercher’s friends by declaring, “The worst thing about all this is that if I’d been home last night it could have happened to me.” During her testimony in court, she described Kercher’s death as “yucky” — not the most sensitive word she might have chosen. Her photograph appeared worldwide on Valentine’s Day after she arrived in court wearing a T-shirt that declared “All You Need Is Love” across the front.
She and Sollecito vigorously protested their innocence. Despite evidence that someone (allegedly the two defendants) had worked to clean up the crime scene, the prosecution had blood and DNA samples. Mostly on the basis of this forensic evidence, the prosecutors put forth a detailed theory of the case. They said Kercher had been home studying when Knox, Sollecito and Guede arrived, possibly high on hashish. Prosecutors said Guede had gone to Kercher’s room to demand sex; when she resisted, her two friends, rather than protecting her, joined in the attack.
A prosecutor imagined a frenzied scene in which Knox might have shouted, “You acted the goody-goody so much, now we’re going to show you.” When Kercher continued to resist, the three allegedly tore off her clothing, beat her and eventually stabbed her. The prosecution theorized that one person alone could not have subdued the athletic Kercher and inflicted her multiple bruises and wounds.
That scenario was accepted by the court, and the lovers were sentenced to 25 years in prison (for him) and 26 years (for her).
However, Italian law granted Knox and Sollecito an appeal trial, which began late in 2010 with two new judges. The judges appointed a panel of academic experts to review the forensic work that was central to the first court’s verdict. The panel’s report accused the police of sloppy techniques that produced unreliable DNA evidence. The convictions were overturned, and Knox and Sollecito were freed last October, after almost four years behind bars. Knox returned to America and reportedly received a $4 million advance for a forthcoming book.
Follain’s account of this saga is gripping but will leave many readers painfully perplexed. Something terrible happened in that cottage nearly five years ago, but thus far the truth about Meredith Kercher’s senseless death remains as elusive and mysterious as the workings of Italian justice.


Anderson reviews mysteries and thrillers regularly for Book World.

THE WASHINGTON POST

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