Harper Lee secret manuscript: True crime tale of voodoo reverend who killed his two wives

Mail Online | 4/29/2019 | Chris Spargo
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Fans of Harper Lee may have reason to rejoice, with CBS News confirming on Sunday that the beloved American author had begun work on a third book years before her death.

The first chapter of the true crime story that had been tentatively titled The Reverend was uncovered by the estate of Tom Radney, the lawyer who features heavily in the book.

Radney - Daughter - Father - Possessions - Chapter

Radney's daughter had been going through her father's possessions when she found what was unmistakably the first chapter of a manuscript written by Lee.

How the manuscript came to be, and the crime that inspired Lee to write a true crime story, are detailed in the new book Furious Hours, written by Casey Cep.

Author - CBS - Sunday - Morning - Tale

The author appeared on CBS Sunday morning to unwind the tale of why Lee started writing the nonfiction book in secret, and what caused her to halt her writing.

Radney got a call one night back in 1969 from the Reverend Willie Maxwell, the same holy man that the book title references, seeking his legal expertise after his wife Mary was found dead in her car.

Death - Car - Accident - Fact - Crash

That death had been staged to look like a car accident, but in fact she was strangled and bludgeoned before the crash.

Four more people close to Reverend Maxwell would be murdered over the next seven years under highly suspicious circumstances, but he was never convicted of any crime.

Insurance - Policies - Bizarre - Coincidence - Life

He also managed to collect $500,000 from insurance policies he had taken out on the deceased, another bizarre and troubling coincidence in the real life tail.

Then, just a few days after his stepdaughter Shirley Ann Ellington was found dead on the side of the road, Reverend Maxwell was shot dead at the teenager's funeral.

Assailant - Ellington - Uncle - Robert - Burns

His assailant, Ellington's uncle Robert Burns, also called on Radney to defend him at trial.

The deaths began in 1969 with Mary...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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