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The sensational 1931 Murder Trial of Professor Kane

Down by the Back River Light

A murder trial that took place over seventy years ago was the talk of the town and the country. A Yankee from a prominent and eccentric family was accused of drowning his wife. His wife's family was local and had numerous ties in the community. A trial, not unlike the sensational Simpson trial of recent times, attracted reporters from all around the world.

When the shadow of the Back River LightBack River Light fell on Sash Kane, the scion of a Pennsylvania family, newspapers reported all the details of Elizabeth City County's murder case of the century. Details such as; the "other woman," Kane's autobiographical sketch, and the Dreiser novel, banned in Boston, found in Kane's Roadster, was the stuff that sold papers. Had fiction mimicked life and, then, life mimicked fiction? Had this university professor held Jenny Kane's "head beneath the waters of the Chesapeake Bay until she drowned," Down by the Back River Light?

Group Discussion Down by the Back River Light
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Down by the Back River Light


The author, Ann Davis, hopes her book will incite lively debates of the justice of our justice system.


"This trial attracted such crowds they were standing in the street outside the courthouse."


"The cast of personalities are too outrageous to be anything but real."