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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Inaccurate, biased, and self-destructive, 24 April 2013
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This review is from: Murder in Italy (Mass Market Paperback)
I would like to start by saying that I came to this book with an open mind. I do not have any certainties on the infamous case, and I have been reading both books that believe Knox and Sollecito are innocent and books that argue they are guilty trying to make up my mind only after listening to both sides. My negative reaction to this work has not been determined by a preconceived opinion, but by the fact that it is written and researched in a terrible way. Dempsey is so partisan in her arguing that she ends up harming her own case.

Among others:

1) the author repeats several times that the police were disrespectful or morbid in immediately pursuing sexual leads into the motive for murder, despite the fact that this would be standard practice in any case in which the victim had been found naked and there was a suspicion of sexual violence;

2) she is inaccurate in her research on the case, misspelling numerous Italian words and names (Fiametta for Fiammetta, Carla for Carlo, actually changing a lawyer's gender, getting Italian translations and terms wrong), and most clamorously getting the time of the victim's last meal wrong;

3) she distorts what the courts ruled, giving her readers the wrong impression: while Knox's request for house arrest was denied because, as a foreigner, she was deemed a flight risk (again, standard practice) Dempsey suggest this happened 'because of anti-Americanism'.

4) the author pursues convincing lines of reasoning only to drop them and contradict herself when they do not suit her argument. Notably:

- Dempsey correctly underlines that before Ms Kercher's body was found, one of her Italian roommates, whose room window had been broken, visited her room and checked if her belongings were still there. She returned there twice before police declared it a murder scene, therefore it was to be considered contaminated when eventually photographed. However, the author never considers that this would explain why the glass from the broken window, which the girl declared was on top of the clothes when she first went in, does not seem to be there in the photos, a point Dempsey seems to think proves it was never there.

- Again correctly, Dempsey points out that it makes no sense to accuse Knox of not worrying enough about the blood she declared she found in the house when she went to take a shower only to say she was suspiciously worried, having called her mother at four in the morning Seattle time to tell her. However, the author does not seem to see that this implies that the behaviour in itself is contradictory, as Knox first declared to be calm enough about the blood to take a shower, then that she was so worried she decided to wake up her mother in the dead of the night to discuss it.

- The author freely admits that, while under no obligation to do so, the police lent Knox a cap to shield her face from the photographers when she was arrested. However, she contradicts her own point a few lines later, seeking to make it look like the police tried to use the arrest as a photo op.

5) In general, the spite of the author for prosecutors, police and lawyers is such as to undermine her criticicisms of them, making it feel more like a preconceived opinion than a reasoned stance. The police are repeatedly described as 'stylish', 'glamourous', 'eye-catching', as to undermine their professionality; while Ms Knox is established as a prolific diary-writer, Dempsey repeatedly insinuates she was supplied paper in prison not at her own request but only so she could further accuse herself. The choice of language is in general more tabloid fare than investigative journalism. Dempsey furthermore approaches criticising the forensic evidence not on the basis of the science of the case, but by repeating seveal times that the lab where the testing occurred was unaccredited for such exams (an unfounded claim, see Follain, 'Death in Perugia').

Candace Dempsey's effort in defence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito ultimately backfires because, instead of weighing the evidence in an impartial manner before reaching her conclusion in a more equanimous way (like Nina Burleigh, another defender of the couple, does in her 'The Fatal Gift of Beauty') she lets her agenda permeate her every line and spoil her reasoning. This, in addition to the fact that the author does not even seem interested in getting the names of the people involved right, cannot but undermine the credibility of the book. While people who know nothing about the case or convinced partisans of the accused might find it appealing, 'Murder in Italy' cannot but be unpleasant for any reader with an interest in good journalism. A waste of money.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Feb 2014 07:49:33 GMT
Ed Simpson says:
Lisa is honest enough to admit that she believes Knox is guilty, as is her right, but she, not Ms. Dempsey, is misspelling names. Amanda's lawyer is male, hence Carlo (not Carla). The other names are taken from witness statements and other court documents, as noted in the book. Lisa's fondness for Angel Face makes her comments about good journalism just a little bit incredible.
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