Written in Blood

  • by Diane Fanning
  • Narrated by Rob Granniss
  • 9 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Michael Peterson was a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, a candidate for mayor and a New York Times best-selling novelist. His wife, Kathleen, was the first woman ever admitted to the Duke University School of Engineering, a brilliant executive and a loving and fun-filled mother - the last woman who one would expect to become a victim in her own home.
When her body was found at the foot of a stairway in her Durham home, Michael Peterson said that she had fallen. When an autopsy proved his story to be a lie, the death of another woman 16 years earlier came under suspicion. He was the last person to see Liz Ratliff before she, too, was found dead at the bottom of the stairs in Germany. These two suspicious deaths painted a dark portrait of a once-respected man.


What the Critics Say

Edgar Award Nominee, Best Fact Crime, 2006


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fascinating, But Ridiculously Biased

It's one thing for a non-fiction author to have a point of view, but this author seems to have an axe to grind. She starts out really well, but about halfway through the author turns so biased and snarky it actually took me right out of the narrative. Part of what's so mind-blowing and fascinating about this story is how impossible it is to know whether Peterson is a multiple murderer or a tragic victim of coincidence and prosecutorial over-reach. I can't think of another case where BOTH sides have such strong circumstantial arguments and neither side has any real proof. So when the author starts sounding like a scornful opposition politican instead of a credible reporter of facts, all I could think of was "why the obvious agenda?" Worse, I kept wondering what REALLY happened, because it didn't feel like I was getting it straight. Ultimately, she didn't convince me of his guilt. If anything her obvious bias made me question her point of view more than it made me question Peterson's innocence.

With all that said, I still finished it. The narration was very good, and there was never a moment when I didn't want to know more. She has a lot of interesting facts and anecdotes, and this truly is one of the most fascinating true stories I've ever come across. But I think she torpedoes herself by making those facts feel like opinions and the fascinating story feel like a closing argument.

If you have never read about this amazing case (or if you have never seen the excellent multi-part documentary on the case called "The Staircase"), you might want to pick up this book despite all that. It's a great read, even if it isn't great factual reporting.
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- Dave

Red meat for true-crime junkies

Any additional comments?

This book was really interesting. It was very hard to put down between listens. The story was infuriating - how some slick operators manage to get away with terrible acts - but told in the very detailed, thorough way I like. The fact that the perp was a NY Times bestselling author made it all the more fascinating.

The book is well written, with no annoying defects that I could see. True-crime lovers will want to add this to their collection.

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- farmhouselady

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-08-2012
  • Publisher: Diane Fanning