Last night my wife and I attended a gathering of writers who are presumably trying to improve their craft by engaging with other writers. The featured reader of the evening was an infuriating author of a book about Amanda Knox, the girl who went to Italy for a year to study and is now in jail after being convicted, with her boyfriend the supposed accomplice, of murder. The lurid details of this case were an international media obsession until recently. Author Mark Waterbury is probably correct that the interest of the media and publishers slackened after a raft of books about Amanda Knox flopped.
Waterbury has written his book, The Monster of Perugia: The Framing of Amanda Knox, because he passionately believes the Italian justice system misfired in this case and is generally corrupt. I have not read the book and don’t intend to read it because, based on his presentation last night, he is inept as an advocate for this girl. The readings from his book seemed maladroit attempts at literary effect instead of presentation of any of the evidence for or against Amanda Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.
It took me an hour to calm down after telling Waterbury that his quotes from Jonathan Swift and Shirley Jackson, along with stereotypical prejudices against Italians and Catholics, and calling the whole thing a witch hunt, were little more than ignorant bluster in view of the seriousness of his accusations. Beyond asking an ego-involved advocate to justify his indignation, what could I say? He gave me no reason to read his book.
I might have dismissed the ordeal as an evening wasted, but when I got home, I did a search online and found a blog with some of Waterbury’s posts. Given my opinion of his presentational and literary ability, I was surprised to find that this case is convincing in absence of Waterbury in person. The blog, http://www.injusticeinperugia.org/index.html , is an analysis of the investigation of the murder of Meredith Kercher, the interrogation of Amanda Knox, and reasons to think the evidence and trial were contrived or corrupted. Anybody who cares about injustice should read this material but probably should ignore Waterbury’s book.