Author Maria Flook has half a dozen books to her credit. INVISIBLE
EDEN is a case study of a 2002 murder that took place in Truro,
Massachusetts on Cape Cod. The victim is Christa Worthington,
daughter of a prominent old-line family. She has achieved fame, if
not fortune, on her own merit as a fashion writer. She has written
for such publications as Women's Wear Daily, Harper's
Bazaar, the New York Times, London Independent
and J. Crew.
Flook has lived in Truro, the remote end of the Outer Cape, a
clam-strip wilderness that bonds her geographically and personally
to the murdered 46-year-old. She identifies with Worthington's
history. The words flow with a near biblical description of Truro.
She says, "…for us, it's Eden. It's heaven on earth."
Her prime source of public information is First Assistant District
Attorney Michael O'Keefe, with whom she develops a close
relationship during the writing of INVISIBLE EDEN. He picks her
brain for the "what ifs?" of the case. Flook places herself in the
story with strong emotion that could taint a reader's viewpoint.
However, her descriptions of setting and people read like a
travelogue of the region. For true crime buffs, she gives a
well-researched case study of Christa Worthington as victim but in
no way attempts to solve the crime.
INVISIBLE EDEN is a story about a place and its compelling draw on
a former resident who came home to roost. Worthington graduates
from Vassar in the seventies as a member of the intelligentsia who
bursts on the writing scene seeking notoriety. She introduces
herself as "Christa Worthington, with Women's Wear Daily, so
they would know what was what." John Fairchild, her boss at the
magazine, gives her free rein to expound on Nouvelle society's
fashionable soirees. Fairchild sends her to Paris in 1983 to work
as fashion editor for the magazine; there, she mingles with the
rich and famous and sends home tear sheets of her stories for her
Flook's research shows a mixed media portrait of the dead girl. Her
mother was proud of her high-fashion journalism, but her father was
not enthusiastic. Worthington seeks acceptance but never achieves
it. She lives in a "halfway" world, always seeking something that
she never finds. She is on the outside looking in, and allows
herself to be used and abandoned by lovers circling the globe. When
her mother dies of cancer, she comes home to roost in Truro with an
agenda in mind. Motherhood is her goal. Ava is the product of her
union with Tony Jackett, a married local man who becomes her
The scenes that describe Christa's feelings with subsequent action
are emotional but take license with reality, because the author did
not know the victim. She does put together a believable scenario of
what might have happened, pieced together from friends' memories.
The final pages hint at possible solutions to the crime that
include Jackett, neighbor and former lover Tim Arnold, or an
unknown perpetrator. All in all, INVISIBLE EDEN is a
well-researched, bittersweet life story.
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on January 22, 2011
Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod