Madison County in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina is a place of ear-popping drives and breathtaking views.
It is also where federal antipoverty worker Nancy Dean Morgan was found naked, hogtied, and strangled in the backseat of her car in June 1970.
An inept investigation involving local, state, and federal law-enforcement agencies failed to find a clear explanation of the motive or events of her murder. The case was left unsolved. Years later, after most of the material evidence had been lost or mishandled, one of Nancy's fellow VISTA workers--the last person known to have seen her alive--became the prime suspect, based on the testimony of one of the town's most notorious resident criminals. Did he kill Nancy, or was he another victim of the corrupt local political machine and its adherence to "mountain justice"?
Met Her on the Mountain: A Forty-Year Quest to Solve the Appalachian Cold-Case Murder of Nancy Morgan is a tangled tale of rural noir. Author Mark Pinsky was profoundly struck by Nancy's story as a college student in North Carolina in 1970. Here, Pinsky presents the evolution of his investigation and also delves into the brutal history of Madison County, the site of a Civil War massacre that earned it the sobriquet "Bloody Madison." Met Her on the Mountain is a stirring mix of true crime, North Carolina political history, and one man's devotion to finding the truth.
This compulsively page-turning true crime narrative has it all: smart prose, a now-obscure unsolved murder that was notorious at the time, and an investigative journalist trying to pick up the trail. In 1970, the nude and hog-tied body of Nancy Morgan was found in a car in a Madison County, N.C., forest after she d gone missing. Morgan had been working for Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) in the area for under a year, in an idealistic attempt to help people in the impoverished area. The initial police investigation was a study in confusion and barely controlled jurisdictional chaos, and local corruption (the county s Democratic boss was said to have made Chicago s Mayor Richard Daley look like Bambi) only made matters worse. Fourteen years passed before an arrest was made, but the prime evidence came from a career criminal and notorious liar. 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.