The Harper Lee Case Is Closed, Controversy = Over

by Dina Gachman

When Go Set A Watchman, Harper Lee's sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird , was announced earlier this year, Alabama officials opened an investigation as to whether the author was in control of the decision to publish her novel due to her lucidity of mind. But now Harper Lee's case is closed: officials have found that the author is lucid and in control of the choice to publish her second novel. Fans should rejoice, since we can now officially read the long-awaited sequel to her classic this summer.

Lee’s lawyer was notified of the ruling on Friday by the State Department of Human Resources, the agency that led the inquiry into whether Lee was manipulated into publishing the book in July. The Alabama Securities Commission, tasked with preventing the financial fraud of the elderly, announced several weeks ago that it had ended its role in the investigation.

Fans of Lee's work and residents of her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, became suspicious when news broke that the very private author, who is now 88 and in an assisted living facility, had agreed to suddenly allow her unearthed manuscript to be published by HarperCollins this July. Even though Lee released a statement two months ago saying she was fully supportive of the publication, some worried that she was being coerced into the decision, and that this was a case of elder abuse.

The ruling confirms that HarperCollins was in the clear to go full-speed-ahead with the much-anticipated book.

So now the case is closed, and the sequel to one of the most celebrated American novels in history is heading back to the printer. There’s no doubt it’ll be one of the biggest must-reads of the summer. (See the cover here!)