When She Said I Do (The Worthingtons)

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The case remains unsolved. Flook, a novelist and memoirist who lives in Truro, has just written a book that returns the town and the killing to the public eye, and has rekindled the pain and accusatory rage left by the crime.

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Described by its editor as ''literary nonfiction,'' the book adds elements of fiction, including invented scenes and speculative internal musings, to create what Ms. Flook calls ''a felt life'' and others call fantasy. Worthington's family and her daughter's guardians last week called for the book's main source of information, Michael O'Keefe, the prosecutor in the investigation, to step aside, saying in a statement that the material he gave Ms.

Flook ''compromised the integrity of the investigation and future prosecution of Christa's murder. Worthington, who was 46, had moved to Truro in part to get away from the New York freelance world, said her friend Steve Radlauer, a New York writer.

She had a child with a married man and maintained a strained relationship with her father, who she told friends was squandering the family money on a young girlfriend. When her death ended what Mr. Radlauer called a ''pretty demure'' life, police investigators did not have to look far for a tabloid-ready roster of ''possibles. Worthington's friends and relatives because it dwells on the victim's sexual history and that of her extended family, often in the coarse vernacular of Mr.

O'Keefe, the Cape and Islands district attorney. The book quotes him as saying, ''The more we look at her, the uglier she gets,'' and as referring to Ms. Worthington sexually as ''an equal opportunity employer. Friends and family members take offense at the tone and question the accuracy of the work.

When She Said I Do

She added: ''It's called nonfiction, but clearly there are things she could not have known about Christa's inner life that are in the book. We don't understand that at all. Flook and the book's publisher, Broadway Books, a division of Random House. O'Keefe is not quitting the case but has asked the district attorney from neighboring Plymouth County to join the investigation.

He Said, She Said

O'Keefe declined to be interviewed for this article, but said in a statement that he had apologized to the family for ''out-of-context statements never intended for publication. O'Keefe's office, Paul Niedzwiecki, said, ''We don't want to comment on a book that combines fact and fiction.

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Last month, police officials and Mr. O'Keefe released a few details of the crime -- including the fact that the killer's knife went all the way through the body to the floor -- that had been revealed only to Ms. Investigators, who are looking for an unknown man they say had sex with Ms. Worthington shortly before she was killed, said they hoped the new details would prompt someone to come forward with information.

On this grim afternoon in Truro, Ms. Flook sat in the rental house she was using while contractors renovated her own place. Pictures of someone else's happy family surrounded her. As the afternoon darkened, she did not turn on lights, allowing the dusk to creep over the room.


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Flook said she was led to the Worthington story, as to her other books, through her own unhappy family experiences. Her sister Karen ran away from home at 14 and ultimately became a teenage prostitute.

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Maria, two years younger, ran away a few years later. The memoir describes her cutting herself; experimenting with opium, glue-sniffing and heroin; and being raped in New York. When she returned home to Delaware, her parents committed her to the same psychiatric institution they had sent her sister to. Flook, who is now married and teaching part time at Emerson College in Boston. I would walk seven floors to my friend's apartment. I wouldn't even drive on a freeway for a while. I used to not be able to shut a door. But that was a while ago.


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When she began looking at Christa Worthington's life, including her difficult relationships with family members, lovers and disapproving neighbors, it felt like familiar territory, she said. Flook has long played with the line between fiction and nonfiction, weaving her own toxic family relationships into her novels and poetry and using fictional devices in her memoir.

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After her novel, ''Family Night,'' in which a character's stepbrother searches unhappily for his father, her own stepbrother stopped speaking to her. In ''My Sister Life,'' she narrated large sections in the hypothetical voice of her sister. These cookies allow you to explore OverDrive services and use our core features. Without these cookies, we can't provide services to you.

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