Who Named the Knife

Who Named the Knife

A Book of Murder and Memory

Book - 2006
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Random House, Inc.
Like Ruskin for a new age, Spalding brilliantly interweaves her own life and her subject’s in this story of a sensational murder case.

In 1982, as Linda Spalding was about to leave Hawaii and embark on a new life in Canada, she was called to jury duty, sitting for the trial of a young woman charged with murder. Maryann Acker was Mormon, eighteen years old, and married to a petty crook and hustler who had hauled her into a life that led eventually to murder on a hillside above one of Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches.

Twenty years later, Spalding stumbles across the journal she kept through the trial, tracks down Maryann, who is still in jail, and begins a journey into memory, into the twists of fate that spin two lives down such different trajectories. The story is Maryann’s but it is also Spalding’s, as subject and writer overlap. Like the work of John Ruskin, Linda Spalding’s writing brilliantly combines autobiography with the examination of an external subject and, in doing so, offers us profound insights into the vagaries of the human heart.

Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, 2006
ISBN: 9780771082245
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 SPA
Characteristics: 295 p. ;,21 cm.


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Nov 16, 2017


This book was interesting but very frustrating! The author was a juror at a murder trial in Honolulu, HI and in the last days of the trial, she stupidly manages to arrive at the courthouse late and is excused from the jury. I say stupidly, because she easily could have arrived on time, but chose to do other things, including, after arriving very close to the time she needed to report in, she chooses to stay in the car with her husband and ride around with him as he goes to park the car. This is a heads up to the fecklessness of the author. She seems to feel guilty about not being on the jury, because, she probably was going to vote not guilty, and in the end, the jury votes the young woman on trial guilty. Anyway, it is a good story about the crime and the young woman convicted of it....but annoyingly, though the young woman does get her appeal allowed and it's looking good, the author does not finish the book with what happens about the appeal! The appeal is still on going....this is really frustrating!! To a certain extent, I did like the book, but there were times I was so angry at the author's life choices, I would close the book and swear I was going to take it back to the library. One last thing, explaining part of the reason I was so angry with the author...a one point in time, at the same time, her daughter is in a very, stressful pregnancy with twins up in Canada and the author's mother is dying in a nursing home in Kansas. Who does the she go to visit? She decides to go back to the California prison, to talk to the young woman, again. And yes, her mother does die before she manages to get to Kansas. As I said, the author of this book really angered me at times.

Aug 22, 2017

The Canadian television movie -- with Annabeth Gish and Callum Keith Rennie -- makes me want to read the book.

Feb 14, 2012

Good, but not the best. I wanted the story to be wrapped up a little better.

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