The Poet and the Murderer by Simon Worrall
A True Story of Literary Crime and the Art of Forgery

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Synopsis

In The Poet and the Murderer, acclaimed journalist Simon Worrall takes readers into the haunting mind of Mark Hofmann, one of the most daring literary forgers and remorseless murderers of the late twentieth century.

He was a young Mormon boy who loathed what he believed to be the hypocrisy of his faith, and who devised secret ways to infiltrate and undermine the church. Mark Hofmann began his career by forging and selling rare Mormon coins, and quickly moved on to creating false, highly controversial religious documents that threw the Church of Latter-Day Saints into turmoil. But it was his infamous Emily Dickinson poem that would prove his greatest deception, stunning the art and literary worlds and earning him thousands from the most distinguished Dickinson scholars. It would also prove his ultimate undoing, when his desperation to keep his greatest forgery a secret drove him to commit ever more heinous crimes-including acts of shocking violence.

Filled with the page-turning suspense and tantalizing sleuthing techniques of a literary thriller, The Poet and the Murderer gives us an unforgettable portrait of a deeply irreligious man and a brilliant con artist whose greatest talent-and greatest tragedy--was his ability to conceal his mad genius behind the unique gifts and enduring celebrity of others.

 

About Simon Worrall

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Simon Worrall lives in East Hampton, New York.
 
Published July 22, 2012 by Simon Worrall. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Arts & Photography, Crime, Religion & Spirituality, Crafts, Hobbies & Home. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Although this ground has been traveled before in at least one lengthy work dedicated only to the Mormon forgeries (The Mormon Murders, by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith), Worrall expands the scope, including a detailed portrait of Dickinson's life and work, the history of forgery, and exam...

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The Guardian

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The Poet and the Murderer: A True Story of Verse, Violence and the Art of Forgery by Simon Worrall 320pp, Fourth Estate, £15.99 The Poison Principle: A Memoir of Family Secrets and Literary Poisonings by Gail Bell 276pp, Macmillan, £12.99 Murder has given literature some of its finest moments.

Aug 10 2002 | Read Full Review of The Poet and the Murderer: A ...

The Guardian

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The Poet and the Murderer by Simon Worrall Fourth Estate £15.99, pp320 Mark Hofmann is perhaps America's most celebrated forger, notorious not only for gulling the Mormon church, but also for creating a 'previously unpublished' poem by one of the country's most loved poets, Emily Dickinson.

Aug 11 2002 | Read Full Review of The Poet and the Murderer: A ...

Publishers Weekly

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Using the Dickinson incident as a guide, Worrall reconstructs the life and crimes of the 20th century's best forger (Hofmann's fake of the 17th-century "Oath of a Freeman" passed a carbon 14 dating test).

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Deseret News

Even though Hofmann confessed to murder, Olds told Worrall that Hofmann did not commit Steven Christensen's murder, because ""I knew he wasn't gone at that time.

May 19 2002 | Read Full Review of The Poet and the Murderer: A ...

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