Harper Lee friend tantalizes with report of third unpublished book

Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:37pm EDT
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By Rich McKay

MONROEVILLE, Alabama (Reuters) - "To Kill a Mockingbird" novelist Harper Lee wrote yet another book that remains unpublished, a close friend said on Tuesday, adding to the mystery surrounding the reclusive writer on the day Lee's "Go Set a Watchman" went on sale.

The unpublished book is a crime story called "The Reverend" based on a true story involving a pastor who killed three people and was acquitted of murder, said Auburn University professor Wayne Flynt, who has known Lee for more than 30 years.

"I know it exists because (Lee's) sister Louise told me," Flynt, a lecturer on Southern culture, told reporters in Lee's hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.

Flynt said he had not asked Lee about "The Reverend."

"I don't ask her anything because she needs friends in her life who just let her be," he said.

Flynt said Louise Conner, who died in 2009, told him about the book in 2003, but not who possessed the manuscript.

"Nelle might have sent it to Louise or to Alice," Flynt said, using the first name by which Lee is known among her family and close friends.

Alice Lee, a lawyer who represented her novelist sister's interests for decades, died in November 2014 at age 103.   Continued...

American author Harper Lee speaks with documentary filmmaker and author Mary McDonagh Murphy (L) and family friend Joy Brown (R) prior to the publication of "Go Set a Watchman" at The Prop & Gavel restaurant in Monroeville, Alabama June 30, 2015 in a picture provided by Mary Murphy & Company LLC. REUTERS/Mary Murphy & Company LLC/Handout