Alabama closes in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Harper Lee ‘abuse’

The China Post - - LIFE -

An Alabama gov­ern­ment depart­ment has closed an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into whether cel­e­brated nov­el­ist Harper Lee was co­erced or abused into pub­lish­ing a long-awaited sec­ond book this sum­mer.

A spokesman for the Alabama Depart­ment of Hu­man Re­sources con­firmed to AFP that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion had con­cluded and a re­port sent to Lee's lawyer, Tonja Carter.

He re­fused to go into any fur­ther de­tails on grounds of con­fi­den­tial­ity, but The Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported that the in­quiry con­cluded that the al­le­ga­tions were "un­founded."

More than half a cen­tury af­ter the run­away suc­cess of her first book, "To Kill a Mock­ing­bird," HarperCollins an­nounced in Fe­bru­ary that Lee would pub­lish a new novel, "Go Set a Watch­man."

The an­nounce­ment set the lit­er­ary world alight and de­lighted Lee's mil­lions of fans, but quickly de­gen­er­ated into ram­pant spec­u­la­tion about whether the 88-year-old recluse was of sound mind.

Lee wrote "Go Set a Watch­man" in the mid-1950s but the manuscript was re­cently re-dis­cov­ered by her lawyer.

Deaf and suf­fer­ing from poor eye­sight, Lee has lived since 2007 in a nurs­ing home in Mon­roeville, Alabama.

In Fe­bru­ary, Carter re­leased a state­ment telling fans that Lee was "happy as hell" about the new book.

"Watch­man" is al­ready a num­ber one best-seller at on­line book­store Ama­zon, where the 304-page hard­back is avail­able for pre-or­der ahead of its July 14 re­lease.

"To Kill a Mock­ing­bird" won the Pulitzer Price for its tale of racial injustice in the Great De­pres­sion-era South.

Pub­lished in 1960, it has be­come stan­dard read­ing in Amer­i­can class­rooms and has been trans­lated into more than 40 lan­guages, as well as adapted into an Os­car-win­ning film star­ring Gre­gory Peck.

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