The Ballad of Jacob Peck by Debra Komar

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Tempting as it is to view The Ballad of Jacob Peck as CSI for the archivist set, the questions it raises, and which Komar explores with such energy and aplomb, are ultimately philosophic and legal ones...
-National Post arts

Synopsis

On a frigid February evening in 1805, Amos Babcock brutally murdered Mercy Hall. Believing that he was being instructed by God, Babcock stabbed and disembowelled his own sister, before dumping her lifeless body in a rural New Brunswick snowbank. The Ballad of Jacob Peck is the tragic and fascinating story of how isolation, duplicity, and religious mania turned impoverished, hard-working people violent, leading to a murder and an execution. Babcock was hanged for the murder of his sister, but in her meticulously researched book, Debra Komar shows that itinerant preacher Jacob Peck should have swung right beside him. The mystery lies not in the whodunit, but rather in a lingering question: should Jacob Peck, whose incendiary sermons directly contributed to the killing, have been charged with the murder of Mercy Hall? In this epic saga, media accounts of what happened in the aftermath of the murder have taken on a life all their own, one built of half-truths, conjecture, and narrative devices designed to titillate, if not inform. A forensic investigation of a crime from the Canadian frontier, the tale of Jacob Peck, Amos Babcock, and Mercy Hall remains as controversial and riveting today as it was more than two hundred years ago.
 

About Debra Komar

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Debra Komar has worked as a forensic anthropologist in the US, UK, and Canada for over twenty years. She has investigated human-rights violations resulting in violent deaths for the United Nations and Physicians for Human Rights, testified as an expert witness in The Hague and across North America, and authored the authoritative Forensic Anthropology: Contemporary Theory and Practice for Oxford University Press.
 
Published April 9, 2013 by Goose Lane Editions. 264 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Crime, History. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Ballad of Jacob Peck
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Emily Donaldson on Apr 19 2013

Tempting as it is to view The Ballad of Jacob Peck as CSI for the archivist set, the questions it raises, and which Komar explores with such energy and aplomb, are ultimately philosophic and legal ones...

Read Full Review of The Ballad of Jacob Peck | See more reviews from National Post arts

National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Emily Donaldson on Apr 19 2013

Tempting as it is to view The Ballad of Jacob Peck as CSI for the archivist set, the questions it raises, and which Komar explores with such energy and aplomb, are ultimately philosophic and legal ones...

Read Full Review of The Ballad of Jacob Peck | See more reviews from National Post arts

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