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The poet and the murderer

A really interesting book grabbed from a booksale shelf because it looked quirky. This book starts off telling the tale of an Amherst MA librarian’s quest to buy an unpublished Emily Dickinson poem. Along the way he discovers that the poem is a forgery and not just a forgery but a creation of one of this century’s greatest forgers, Mark Hoffman, the man responsible for creating hundreds if not thousands of documents creating a false history of the Mormon church, a man now in jail for murder. Worrall does a really good job of telling the story without being too precious or twee. There is a lot of good research and interviews with key players. While I think Worrall does seem to have a bit of a distaste for the Mormon church and personal sense of “This is how it went down” that I think colors the story more than it might be with a “just the facts ma’am” approach (concerning Hoffman, Dickinson, people’s feelings about the whole situation after the fact), it remains mostly very readable and a real page turned.