Where The Crawdads Sing Author Controversy

Where The Crawdads Sing Author Controversy: The Explanation of Delia and Mark Owens’ Murder Controversy!

The film adaptation of Delia Owens’ 2018 best-seller Where The Crawdads Sing, which features original music by Taylor Swift, is currently playing in theatres. The story follows North Carolina teen Clark (played by Daisy Edgar-Kya Jones), who is accused of murder after the body of her ex-boyfriend, Chase Andrews, is found in a marsh.

Much of the novel is devoted to the courtroom drama that develops as Kya maintains her innocence (and movie). Although she was ultimately cleared of murder charges, it turns out that she did kill Andrews and that the fact that he had tried to rape her days before the murder was sufficient justification for her actions.

This murder mystery is a lot darker than it seems at first because Owens was allegedly involved in a murder in Zambia decades ago. The film’s producers have tried to distance themselves from the allegations, but the allegations themselves are well-documented (Jeffrey Goldberg reported on them in 2010 for the New Yorker, and Slate reported on them again in 2019). This much is known:

Owens is Wanted For Questioning in Zambia in Regards To The Death of A Suspected Poacher

Where The Crawdads Sing Author Controversy

Owens, her husband Mark, and her stepson Christopher are all wanted by Zambian authorities in connection with the death of an alleged poacher in 1995. Deadly Game: The Mark and Delia Owens Story, a 1996 documentary on ABC’s Turning Point, depicted the murder.

According to Goldberg, the Owens “Battled Poachers in Zambia’s North Luangwa National Park,” and the show adopted their “Conservationist Methods” in both Botswana and Zambia.

In July, Zambian authorities informed Goldberg that “there is no statute of limitations in Zambia” for the murder of the Owens. Delia Owens and the others are all wanted for questioning in relation to this probe.

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Owens Denies Involvement in The Publicly Televised Killing

Where The Crawdads Sing Author Controversy

The ABC documentary shows the murder itself, with the camera following a man who has been shot and is lying on the ground as he is shot twice more by an unknown assailant. ABC cameraman who caught the murder on tape revealed Christopher Owens as the killer to Goldberg in 2010.

In the same year, however, Delia Owens told Goldberg that she, her husband, and her stepson had no involvement in the murder. We don’t know anything about that,” Owens is quoted as saying by Goldberg. Mark didn’t mean any harm when he dropped fireworks from his plane to scare off poachers.

She then elaborated, “Chris wasn’t there. We don’t know where exactly that happened. It was horrible to witness a shooting like that. The family’s lawyers have also denied any wrongdoing or complicity, as reported by The Atlantic.

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Where Crawdads Sing Now is Unaffected By The Lawsuit

Where The Crawdads Sing Author Controversy

Despite the public’s awareness of the Owens’ suspected involvement in the murder and the uncanny similarity between the real narrative and the one Owens composed, Where The Crawdads Sing was a huge success. With over 15 million copies sold, the book is 2019’s top adult bestseller.

Reese Witherspoon picked this book for her reading group. The tagline for the film adaptation, “Secrets lie buried just under the surface,” was created for the film that Witherspoon produced through her Hello Sunshine production company.

“I found it unusual and unpleasant to be reading the story of a Southern loner, a noble naturalist, who gets away with what is characterized as a righteously motivated murder in the isolated wilderness,” Goldberg told Slate’s Laura Miller in 2019.