We Keep the Dead Close

We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper was one of those books that I kept hearing about, and I am so glad I started 2021 by listening to this on audiobook! Liberty from Book Riot never disappoints, does she? Five star read for me–even if it was very very long–we’re talking 15 hours.

When Becky Cooper was a junior at Harvard, she heard a story about a murder there in the 1960s that was unsolved. And she heard that a professor, who was still teaching there, did it. Of course, that led to a decade long obsession with the murder of Jane Britton and an attempt to find out not only what happened to her (aka: whodunit) but also why it went unsolved for so long and why so many rumors swirled around the Harvard Archaeology Department.

What results is 15 hours of in-depth research on the archaeology department, a biography of sorts of several potential suspects and those around Britton, Cooper’s own reflections on her Harvard years and why she is so drawn to and scared by the case, and yes, yes yes, there IS a resolution–with several hours left in the book you find out WHO DID IT, and then Cooper explores what that means for herself and the friends and loved ones of Jane Britton.

You don’t have to know anything about archaeology, Harvard, the 1960s, etc to enjoy this book–but if you want a fiction book to read afterwards, I would recommend The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult. They felt like poles drawn together for me–archaeology mostly, LOL.

This book is HEAVY with information, deep with facts, absolutely inticing, and like a well-done true crime podcast but very very focused. I kind of loved it. I listened to it in basically 3 days straight–hardly ever turning it off. Of course, I did go to Yale and am vaguely obsessed with an unsolved murder there, so this book was like candy to me for that, but the resolution of it also fed into my worst fears for that case–no spoilers, but you’ll know what I mean by the end.

Anyway, a 5 star read for me! Thanks Liberty from Book Riot for talking about it so much!


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