Met Her on the Mountain: A Forty-Year Quest To Solve the Appalachian Cold-Case Murder of Nancy Morgan

John F. Blair. Oct. 2013. 278p. ISBN 9780895876119. $24.95. CRIME
Journalist and religion writer Pinsky (The Gospel According to the Simpsons) recounts the long history of his investigation into the unsolved 1970 murder of antipoverty worker Nancy Morgan in rural Madison County, NC, and his theory regarding who was responsible. Given that he faced a society, culture, and local government operating under "mountain justice" and a state government unwilling to risk challenging its own stated theory, it's not surprising that the author's "quest" spanned 40 years. That said, the reader cannot help wondering if he could have concluded it sooner by investigating at a less casual pace—Pinsky limited himself to two weeks of investigation per year, later one week per year. His characterization of the people involved, from lawmen to the victim's neighbors to suspects, and his description of everyday life in Madison County, are vivid—even unpleasantly so, as the reader is exposed to the county's less savory denizens. Pinsky refers interested readers to many fiction and nonfiction works about Madison County and North Carolina and cites press coverage of the Morgan case and related trials.
VERDICT Inasmuch as this is a story of Pinsky's own investigation, it is likely to be unique in any collection and of interest to aficionados of cold cases and/or North Carolina political history.
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