Book Covers Four Years of the Meredith Kercher Investigation and Trials
Death in Perugia covers the story of Meredith Kercher's murder in November 2007 up to the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in October 2011. Follain's account is very much based on the leads - the suspects Knox and Sollecito and Rudy Guede who is currently
serving 16 years; the prosecutors and the defence lawyers; the key witnesses who vary wildly
in personality and reliability; and the relatives and friends of both Kercher and Knox who suffer on both sides of the story. To this effect, Follain's impartiality works beautifully.
Bizarre Behaviour of Amanda Knox
Knox's lack of social mores are a striking aspect of the story throughout. Her tendency to act out bizarre needs - such as yoga at the police station or wear a jumper proclaiming "All You Need is Love" in a court room - strike a discordant tone in the aftermath of Kercher's death. There is something of Albert Camus's The Outsider in Knox's apparent indifference to the news of the horror that shocked the parochial Perugians. While her antics are seen as "cold and detached" by many, this simplistic view infuriates her lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, who says openly: "I'd love to have her as my own daughter." Follain always manages to bring humanity to the book in between the gory detail.
Inconsistencies in Amanda Knox and Boyfriend's Story
Knox and her then-boyfriend Sollecito had several inconsistencies in their accounts of what happened on the night of Kercher's death. Knox apparently had a eureka! moment when everything finally made sense, but legal professionals and police were frustrated at her repeated ability to forget details, change tack or create falsehoods - she blurted out that her employer, Patrick Lumumba, had carried out the crime but then admitted this was only because she was pushed for a name. It could have been the insouciance of a naive twenty-year-old girl in a foreign country, but the review judges thought there was multiple personalities and manipulation at work. Sollecito was a boy who had to fight the limitations of his shyness but also had a fixation with knives and Japanese manga.
Contamination of DNA Leads to Acquittal in Perugia
While Guede's DNA was everywhere at the scene of the crime, Knox and Kercher's were found on a knife from Sollecito's kitchen. His profile was on the victim's bra clasp which was discovered 46 days after the murder. It was this DNA or rather the collection and possible contamination of it that derailed the prosecution case and led to the freedom of the most notorious "angel face" in recent criminal history. The Kerchers remain dignified to the end and the book ends on a salient point from the judge himself when talking to Italian radio two days after the release: "Maybe Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito also know what happened that night.....They may be responsible, but there isn't the evidence."