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We Keep the Dead Close

A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence

Becky Cooper



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Windmill Books
14 December 2021
A literary true-crime book about the 1969 case involving Jane Britton, an ambitious 23-year-old graduate student in Harvard's Archaeology Department, who was found bludgeoned to death in her Harvard University apartment.

SHORTLISTED FOR THE CRIME WRITERS' ASSOCIATION ALCS GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION 'Brilliant and extraordinary' Philippe Sands 'Astonishing ... Cooper is one hell of a detective' Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, author of The Fact of a Body 'Seductive ... Haunting' Ariel Levy, author of The Rules Do Not Apply In 1969, Jane Britton, an ambitious graduate student at Harvard, was found bludgeoned to death in her apartment. A whisper network kept Jane's story alive- a rumour of an affair with a professor that ended in tragedy when Britton threatened to expose him.

Forty years later, when curious undergrad Becky Cooper first heard the story, she felt compelled to find out more. We Keep the Dead Close is an account of her complex and fascinating investigation spanning a decade.
Imprint:   Windmill Books
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 197mm,  Width: 128mm,  Spine: 34mm
Weight:   403g
ISBN:   9781786090553
ISBN 10:   1786090554
Pages:   512
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Becky Cooper is a former New Yorker writer, assistant to David Remnick, Adam Gopnik and D.T. Max, producer for the New Yorker Radio Hour. Currently, she is artist-in-residence at Harvard University, as well as Senior Fellow at Brandeis's Schuster Institute for Investigative Reporting. Her undergraduate thesis, a literary biography of David Foster Wallace, won Harvard's Hoopes Prize, the highest undergraduate award for research and writing. In 2013, she published Mapping Manhattan- A Love and Sometimes Hate Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers (Abrams), which is currently in its fifth printing.

Reviews for We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence

A brilliant and extraordinary book. -- Philippe Sands Exhilarating ... Becky Cooper masterfully uncovers the story of Harvard undergrad Jane Britton * Vogue * Exhilarating and seductive ... Haunting, fascinating, and surprising. Cooper will keep you riveted. This is an astonishing book: circuitous yet taut with suspense, layered yet gripping. Cooper is one hell of a detective, chasing a long-buried murder mystery not only to the victim and her killer, but to the very core of how we understand one another. Most remarkable is how contemporary and vital every bit of questioning Cooper does here feels. Jane Britton died decades ago, but in Cooper's hands, Britton's tragic murder teaches us about ourselves and the dangers of the institutions we uphold. -- Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, author of THE FACT OF A BODY Searching, atmospheric and ultimately entrancing ... A vivid account of a notorious murder at Harvard, and a meditation on the stories that we tell ourselves about violence ... With a deft touch, she interrogates not just the evidence, witnesses and suspects, but her own biases and assumptions, as well.

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