Read Met Her on the Mountain: A Forty-Year Quest to Solve the Appalachian Cold-Case Murder of Nancy Morgan by Mark I. Pinsky Online


Madison County in the Blue Ridge Mountains is where federal antipoverty worker Nancy Dean Morgan was found naked, hogtied, and strangled in the backseat of her car in June 1970. An inept investigation failed to find a clear explanation of the motive or events of her murder. The case was left unsolved. Years later, after most of the material evidence had been lost or mishanMadison County in the Blue Ridge Mountains is where federal antipoverty worker Nancy Dean Morgan was found naked, hogtied, and strangled in the backseat of her car in June 1970. An inept investigation failed to find a clear explanation of the motive or events of her murder. The case was left unsolved. Years later, after most of the material evidence had been lost or mishandled, one of Nancy's fellow VISTA workers- the last person known to have seen her alive- became the prime suspect, based on the testimony of one of the town's most notorious resident criminals. Did he kill Nancy, or was he another victim of the corrupt local political machine and its adherence to "mountain justice"?Met Her on the Mountain is a tangled tale of rural noir. Pinsky presents the evolution of his investigation and also delves into the brutal history of Madison County. Met Her on the Mountain is a stirring mix of true crime, North Carolina political history, and o...

Title : Met Her on the Mountain: A Forty-Year Quest to Solve the Appalachian Cold-Case Murder of Nancy Morgan
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780895876119
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Met Her on the Mountain: A Forty-Year Quest to Solve the Appalachian Cold-Case Murder of Nancy Morgan Reviews

  • Darcia Helle
    2019-06-25 14:24

    This book is not what I was expecting. I think the title, and to an extent the description, is misleading. Much of the content here covers the Appalachian culture and the overall corruption of a handful of people running the towns. Because of this, the tone of the book is more suited to a sociological study of the area and its people than it is to a true crime story. Pinksy's writing style is relaxed and conversational. He gives us an inside view of Madison County, easily transporting us to that place and time. His descriptions of the area and the people are vivid. I felt like I understood what life was like in this part of the Appalachian Mountains from the 1960s through the 1980s. We're given a lot of back story on the area, which is more about understanding the culture than the crime itself. For instance, Pinsky provides quite a bit of information on the Civil War and how the people were divided in their loyalties. This was interesting, though largely irrelevant to Nancy Morgan's murder. As for the crime itself, we're given little information on the original investigation. We're told, almost in passing, that evidence was lost or perhaps never collected. We're not told who was questioned and/or to what extent. Based on the information provided, I'm not even sure there was any sort of investigation when Nancy Morgan was first murdered.The last third of the book has more of a true crime feel, though this takes place decades after the murder when Pinsky starts his own investigation. He shares his conversations with local people who'd known Nancy, investigators, and suspects. Again, this is all based on Pinsky's own investigation. The direction law enforcement took during this time is sometimes unclear and definitely not the focus.If you're looking for a gritty, detailed, true crime story, this is not that book. If you're looking to immerse yourself in the closed culture within the Appalachian Mountains, while learning about a murdered young woman volunteering there, this is definitely worth your time.

  • Bobbi
    2019-07-08 12:30

    As most of the others who have read this book, I also live in Madison County and moved to Hot Springs a few years after the killing took place. It was certainly an eerie feeling, knowing almost everyone involved. At one time we rented a house from Leroy Johnson, the constable of Hot Springs at the time of the murder. At that point, we didn't know that his son, Richard, was involved (it wasn't til much later that he was a suspect, although my guess is that the sheriff knew all along), although he was certainly a troublemaker around town with the rest of his pals. While this was certainly a horrific crime, I can sympathize with those who do not like to be patronized by the "do gooders" who still come here to help the "poor folks" who live in this beautiful place. I think prejudice toward "hillbillies" is still the only politically correct prejudice left. Folks in this part of the country are proud and good people and mostly want to be left alone. Just because something in your life is good doesn't make it good for everyone else. That said, there was no justification for killing Nancy Morgan. A good read even if you aren't from here. An added note: A few readers have noted that there was no ending to this tale, and that is because there has never been anyone convicted of the crime. Richard Johnson, who some believe committed the crime, was convicted some years later of poisoning his two children with rat poison, one of whom died. He's in prison for the rest of his life.

  • Rebekah Ricardo
    2019-07-18 20:18

    I don't often read non-fiction, but Pinsky's gifted storytelling made this book seem more akin to reading a suspenseful mystery novel than a non-fiction account of decades-old homicide. I read this book within a couple of days, hanging on each word, each page, unable to put it down.With his eloquent writing and journalistic objectivity, Pinsky takes us on a journey to solve one of the most infamous cold case homicides in North Carolina history. It's not just one journey, but multiple ones, layered and intertwined, at times as twisted and complex as the roads and rivers that traverse through the Appalachian Mountains. Having grown up as an outsider in the Appalachian Mountains, I can appreciate all that Pinsky writes about this culture, both those characteristics which are appealing and those that are not. This true-crime story is about more than just a grizzly murder. It's a look into the socio-economic and political issues that were affecting both the United States and Madison County, North Carolina at a time when America was at war with itself. It was these issues that in part led Nancy Morgan to Madison County, and some might argue that these very issues also contributed to her brutal murder.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-07-01 13:37

    A good read about a not-quite-solved murder case by my friend and former colleague Mark Pinsky, who was obsessed with this backwoods killing for more than 40 years. I have family members who live in the North Carolina mountains very near where all these events take place, and I've long heard references to some of the more notorious characters. So I found Mark's book -- while not a revelation -- still hard to put down.

  • Stephen Bates
    2019-07-15 15:17

    This is a brilliant dissection of a 1970 murder case in the backwoods of North Carolina by my friend Mark Pinsky who has been a top journalist and crime reporter in the US over many years. It is a very compelling and atmospheric evocation of the case, the place and its times and is notably balanced and fair-minded. Even if I did not know Mark, I would say it is the best true-crime book I have read for a very long time and I thoroughly recommend it.

  • David Ward
    2019-07-03 13:30

    Met Her on the Mountain: A Forty-Year Quest to Solve the Appalachian Cold-Case Murder of Nancy Morgan by Mark I. Pinsky (John F. Blair Publisher 2014) (364.1523). This true crime novel is set in rural Madison County, North Carolina, which may be found hard against the North Carolina - Tennessee state line in the deepest darkest region of mountainous Western North Carolina. It's easy to misunderstand just how rural and isolated this county is. There are a total of 20,000 county residents spread throughout the county's 450 square miles. The population of the three largest towns in the county is, according to the 2010 census, 560 residents in Hot Springs, 2145 residents in Mars Hill, and 872 residents in Marshall. These three little towns have the look and feel of small towns everywhere; they are quaint little communities that take a fierce and inordinate amount of pride in their status as the only settlements in the county which can boast streetlights!Once you leave these little towns behind and travel into the county hinterlands, you enter the strangely beautiful and forbidding land known as "the back of beyond." This region has been known, since the time of the War of Northern Aggression, as "Bloody Madison." Author Pinsky alludes briefly to a massacre of Union soldiers and sympathizers which earned the county the moniker Bloody Madison. (Stop right now, dear reader, and Google "Bloody Madison Shelton Laurel Massacre." It will chill your you-know-what!) These outlying territories in Madison County do not boast names that invite the casual tourist. I for one would not gambol lightly into an area known as "Sodom." But the subject of Pinsky's book did, and she wound up dead. The message from Bloody Madison: outsiders are not welcome. Be forewarned! These people are hard, but the book is quite well written. My rating: 8/10, finished 3/10/15.

  • Debra Leigh Scott
    2019-07-07 20:22

    Mark Pinsky is not a man willing to give up easily. His lifelong search for the killers of Nancy Morgan, a VISTA worker, is chronicled in this book. I reviewed the book at the time of its publication for The New York Journal of Books. Here is an excerpt from that review: "Mark Pinsky is not a journalist who gives up easily. Met Her on the Mountain, the culmination of 40 years of dedication to solving the murder of Nancy Dean Taylor, is proof.Pinsky was a student at Duke working in the office of their school newspaper on the day in 1970 when news of the murder of Nancy Dean Morgan, VISTA worker in Madison County in western North Carolina, was released.Accounts and photos of her strangled, hogtied, naked corpse found in the backseat of her own government car haunted him. As a student involved in the struggles of the day for economic, racial, and social justice, Pinsky identified with Morgan and with the VISTA program, which sent people into the rural areas of the country with the goal of establishing anti-poverty programs.Pinsky creates a file simply entitled “Nancy Morgan,” which he filled over the decades with investigative materials. During the years, Mark Pinsky becomes known as a journalist specializing in capital murder cases in and around the southeastern region of the U.S., including the cases of Ted Bundy and Jeff McDonnell. Even once he leaves off writing of grizzly murder cases, the long-unsolved murder of Nancy Dean Morgan stays on his mind. He begins visiting Madison County twice a year in order to keep alive a case what area residents would have preferred be allowed to sink into the shadows of a painful past."The entire review, which is much lengthier, can be read at my NYJB page at:

  • Stephanie
    2019-07-17 14:46

    Welcome to the dark side of Appalachia. This book explores the murder of Nancy Morgan; a young idealistic VISTA worker who was killed in 1970. The crime was never solved, but in a county which - at the time - was rife with political corruption, the likelihood of a local with connection being caught and convicted approached nil.The sad thing for me; aside from the gruesome death of this well-meaning young woman, is how poorly the author understands Appalachian culture and the very good reasons people of this region have for being suspicious of outsiders. Almost nothing is here of the positive side of Appalachian. The crime is used to bolster and smear the character of the people with all the stereotypes of the region created by the press during the Hatfield and McCoy feud. Of all the kind and outgoing people in Appalachia, you will only get a glimpse of them here. So the author is an outsider and leave with his book which largely ignores the good and explores the worst of the region. And people wonder why we distrust outsiders.SPOILER ALERT - And; best of all, the crime is not solved.All in all, a very disappointing book.

  • Judith Lindquist
    2019-06-20 20:29

    I moved to Madison County in 2010 and have heard stories about some of the notable characters in Pinsky's book. I recognize that vestiges of the mountain culture still exist and I will always be an "outlander," but my husband and I, both Yankees, have been warmly welcomed by many and have made some close friends among those who have been brought up in the county. One of those interviewed for the book sat on my porch and talked about the case. He disagreed with Pinsky's findings but he had some personal interest in the investigation so I discount his version as much as anyones. I don't think we'll ever know with any certainty who killed Nancy. The beauty of the mountains still stun me, but I am less naive about the down-home straightforwardness of the folks. It's a complicated place, which Pinsky has described well.

  • Rock Angel
    2019-07-19 13:39

    A fictional story written 3 years before this murder that is eerily similar:ChristyAnother true crime story (unrelated) that took place in rural NC just 1 month prior:Blood Done Sign My NameA 2013 movie "Out of the Furnace" provides some visuals of AppalachiaAppalachia in 2014:

  • Amy
    2019-06-23 20:30

    I loved this book I grew up in Madison County and my parents and many genration before them have lived and died in Madison County. I love reading about the history and for such a small population the area is rich with history and people that are proud to tell you about it. I have sinced moved from the area but go back frequently to visit my family and friends. Yes outsiders are hard for everyone to accept but I believe more so before my time. In my travels and meeting people from outside of this area I have never met a single soul that can tell you any history about where they were born and raised and that is something that makes me proud of, that famaily and teachers made an effort to teach us about Madison Countys history. I just wished there was more out there than just the few.

  • Trailhoundz
    2019-07-05 19:17

    This book was about the abduction, rape and death of Nancy Morgan, a VISTA worker in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1960's. The first two parts of the book cover the basics of the story and the Mountain Culture and political "Good ol' Boys" system that existed at the time. It was a bit slow, and written in a very analytical and detached manner. I found the third part, in which the author gets involved in the case, much more 'humanizing' and had the feel of a newspaper's human interest story- intriguing and detailed. My big beef is that the mystery wasn't solved at the end, so readers are really left hanging. I guess from the title, I was really expecting the case to crack open in the end and an arrest to be made. Oh well...

  • Ann
    2019-07-10 18:37

    This book really caught my attention because of the North Carolina setting. I liked seeing the references to Asheville, Durham, Raleigh, etc... The story itself was also interesting to a point. I really felt connected with it especially in the first half. My biggest complaint is there was a lot of historical background that I felt dragged on for a bit. For me, Non-Fiction really needs to hold my attention and I was a little distracted throughout. Overall though, I liked the book and enjoyed following the town's background, unique culture and history. Of course, as I'm sure everyone who reads this will be - I was very disappointment at the lack of resolution. Here's hoping this mystery will not be forever unsolved.

  • Florence
    2019-06-19 20:41

    The 1970 murder of Nancy Morgan, a Vista volunteer in the mountainous region of Western North Carolina went unsolved. Mr. Pinsky, an investigative reporter, developed an interest in the case and pursued it for decades. The mountain people do not take kindly to strangers, but he persisted. I can't tell you the results of his investigation because it would spoil the book. But I can tell you that political corruption, casual, violent crime, and misogyny in that community, at that time, were shockingly commonplace. Mr. Pinsky developed an affection for the region and its people. His tenacity in trying to find justice for Nancy is splendid.

  • Lesley Looper
    2019-07-06 17:22

    I have mixed feelings about this book, which I read pretty quickly. I love learning about North Carolina history, and this book even had a Duke connection (the author is a Duke grad). Learning about the Madison County political machine and corruption was pretty interesting, as was the case of Nancy Morgan's murder. I didn't "google" ahead, so I figured I'd read about how the case was solved (eventually). Nope, close but no cigar. So in that sense, I finished the book feeling dissatisfied and disappointed. It seemed, too, like the author went to a lot of trouble (years of research!) for the case not to be solved. Still, there's a story, though, and many lessons to be learned.

  • Joy Pansiera
    2019-07-17 13:25

    Interesting true story since the event was very close to where I now live.Got a little tiring and I got most of the info I need without finishing.I wouldn't read it if not for that interest.

  • Janice
    2019-06-29 14:25

    This was a well-written true account about Nancy Morgan and her VISTA volunteer work in 1970 in Madison County, North Carolina and the crime committed against her. Journalist Mark Pinsky spent years investigating who it was that harmed her. He also wrote about the culture, at that time, of the people of Madison County, the local law enforcement's handling of the case, and the political environment involved. Pinsky worked hard on this one, a good read...

  • Jane Yancey
    2019-07-03 13:31

    Interesting true story of the murder of a "social worker" in the late 60's in small, politically controlled county in far western North Carolina. Good reminder of the isolation and culture of these rural areas at the time. I felt this book could have been condensed to a magazine format and one could get the same information and draw the same conclusion. I also never thought the author truly relayed his fascination with this case even though he attempted to explain it in the beginning.

  • Janet Whitworth
    2019-06-26 17:18

    As a native of the Leicester community near the Madison county line, and descended from Madison county natives, I can attest to their fierce pride and independence. This book is a good study of the culture of that Western North Carolina mountain county and a fair story about the murder that occurred there in 1970.

  • Tina Shelton
    2019-07-15 12:40

    A must read for the people of my home town in Madison CountyThis is a great book that finally gives some answers to a story that I have heard since I was a little girl. I have known that our county was referred to as "Bloody Madison" but never really knew why. It shames me. This is a must read and a keeper. Who knew that one of the kidnappers is my best friends uncle. ?

  • Rebecca
    2019-07-09 15:16

    Interesting story about the unsolved murder case of a young civil servant back in the 70's. It is an interesting look at local politics and how things really can get covered up. It was a little long and probably could have been edited (a lot repeat chapter after chapter). Can't really recommend but it wasn't a bad read.

  • Debbie
    2019-07-01 17:45

    This book was recommended by a bookseller at Malaprop's in Asheville, NC. I thought it might be an interesting read about an old crime, and thought a little regional history would be thrown in. But it was so much more. I never imagined that the culture and politics of this area would be so different from my own experiences as a southerner.

  • SouthWestZippy
    2019-07-02 16:33

    Federal antipoverty worker Nancy Dean Morgan was found naked, hogtied, and strangled in the backseat of her car in June 1970. I could not get into the book. Dull and hard to follow. To bad, it is a very sad story about a bunch of people who don't care and a handful of people who do but can't get the truth out of anyone.

  • Heidi Worley
    2019-07-02 20:35

    Pinsky has given us a well-researched portrait of a sensitive and difficult tragedy in the county where I was born and raised, but about which I knew little. Told with respect and sensitivity, his commitment to solving this mystery spans more than 40 years and is a book worth reading.

  • Michele Coleman
    2019-07-02 14:20

    Interesting case. I really wanted to read this because of the location. Hot Springs being my vacation spot for many years. Whoever knew such things that went on in this small beautiful hidden gem of a town. Compelling read.

  • Sterling
    2019-07-16 17:21

    Having spent time in the Appalachian area and spent time with the people born and raised there , if I have seen how they protect family and friends. It takes time to be accepted when you are outside looking in. A good book detailing people, culture and area.

  • Grace P.
    2019-06-26 18:43

    A good true crime book and my third book in a row taking place in the N. Carolina mountains (first two were the Gap Creek series). The book takes place in Madison County, NC where parts of the Hunger Games movie were shot.

  • Pat Peters
    2019-06-27 13:29

    Interesting but did not have a conclusion. Spoke about life in that area.

  • Rebecca
    2019-07-05 19:33

    Sad story situated in my adopted county, but luckily "times, they are a'changin" in Mad. Co. My heart goes out to the Morgan and Walker families, though.

  • Sherry
    2019-07-13 18:16

    A true-life mystery that takes place in Madison County, NC and accurately describes some of the locations and attitudes I remember from my visits there.