Met Her on the Mountain
The Murder of Nancy Morgan
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Imprint: The University Press of Kentucky
In June of 1970, the body of 24-year-old Nancy Morgan was found inside a government-owned car in Madison County, North Carolina. It had been four days since anyone had heard from the bubbly, hard-working brunette who had moved to the Appalachian community less than a year prior as an organizer for Volunteers in Service to America. At the time of her death, her tenure in the Tar Heel State was just weeks from ending, her intentions set on New York and nursing school and a new life that she would never see. The initial investigation was thwarted by inept police work, jurisdictional confusion, and the influence of local corruption. Fourteen years would pass before an arrest in the case would be made, but even then, a pall would be cast over the veracity of the evidence.
Met Her on the Mountain is the culmination of former Los Angeles Times staff writer Mark Pinsky's efforts to solve the 40-year-old mystery once and for all. An exhaustive piece of investigative journalism, Pinsky dissects this modern Southern Gothic tale and takes readers on a journey to convince them that the truth of Morgan's murder is within reach.
Part One: The Murder
Part Two: The Trial
Part Three: Reinvestigation
This compulsively page-turning true crime narrative has it all: smart prose, a nowobscure unsolved murder that was notorious at the time, and an investigative journalist trying to pick up the trail.Regarding the victim as a kindred spirit, former Los Angeles Times staff writer Pinsky followed the story from the start (he was a college student in the area at the time of the murder), and many readers will be convinced that his dogged investigation has at last uncovered the truth.~Publishers Weekly (starred review)
If anything elevates this exceptional piece of independent investigative journalism, it is that Pinsky, always self-effacing and skeptical, never yields to the cynicism associated with hardboiled true-crime writing.~The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Mark I. Pinsky has delivered a powerful narrative of mystery, death, and tragically squandered idealism in this tale of murder and mayhem in North Carolina's western mountains. But this is more than a whodunit: it is an enthralling journey into the heart of an isolated rural community burdened with a dark legacy of violence and soulsapping corruption. Pinsky writes with great sensitivity to mountain mores, and filigrees his page-turning story with a veteran reporter's eye for both the intricacies of rural politics and the insidious vitality of human deceit.~Fergus M. Bordewich, author of America's Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise That Preserved the Union
[Pinsky's] 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.... 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.~Library Journal
This is true-crime reportage at its absolute best: skillfully told, passionate in its clarity, and unrelenting in its pursuit of the truth behind a brutal mountain murder. Pinsky has created a classic.~Phyllis Tickle, author of The Spirit of the Age
This remarkable book is at once a diverting murder mystery, a classic study of the art of detection, and an intricate inquiry into the nuances of legal and journalistic ethics. It also is a classic of social anthropology, in which the death of one young woman in a North Carolina county illuminates a clash of cultures that resonates throughout the whole of America. I read this book straight through, which doesn't happen very often, and days later was still pondering the meaning of 'reasonable doubt.' What makes Met Her on the Mountain so much more intriguing than other whodunits is that all the characters are real people, and so is the detective. Mark Pinsky is a sleuth of the first order—an Appalachian Simenon who understands the deepest mysteries are those of the human soul.~T.D. Allman, author of Finding Florida
A fascinating and compulsively readable chronicle of one man's forty-year obsession with an unsolved murder. Pinsky's meticulous research, relying heavily on interviews, translates into a beautifully nuanced study of culture clash, machine politics, and the sometimes hobbled pursuit of justice in a small mountain community.~Vicki Lane, author of the Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian Mysteries