Lost in the Stacks: Met Her on the Mountain

Met Her on the MountainNancy Morgan knew she wanted her life to be filled with purpose and meaning.  The sweet and outgoing twenty-four-year-old thought a year’s service with VISTA would be a wonderful way of putting her idealism and compassion into practice.  As a federal antipoverty worker in rural Madison County, North Carolina she educated the community on good nutrition and organized recreational activities for the young people.  Soon she would be leaving Madison County to attend nursing school, but she promised the community she would return to address their overwhelming need for health care.

With its rugged mountains, tumbling streams, and breathtaking views, Madison County was a land rich in natural beauty and mountain culture.  A land of songs and storytelling, of pride and self-reliance, it was also a land of hunger, poverty, and a deep mistrust of outsiders.  Some considered the VISTA workers with their do-gooding notions, alien culture, and meddlesome ways to be an unwelcome intrusion in their lives.

If Nancy felt any misgivings for her safety, it didn’t stop her from performing her job or having a social life.  Late on a June night in 1970 she left her friend, fellow VISTA worker Ed Walker, and started her trip home alone in her government car.  Her naked hogtied body would be found in the car days later.  Was this a political statement from disgruntled locals against VISTA?  A personal attack against Nancy whom some accused of being overly-friendly and flirtatious?  Or was Ed Walker, the last person known to have seen her alive, somehow involved in her tragic murder?

Inept procedures and political intrigue would dog and stall the investigation, but journalist Mark Pinsky, who for years followed and researched the case, puts the pieces together in his gripping true crime narrative Met Her on the Mountain: A Forty-Year Quest to Solve the Appalachian Cold-Case Murder of Nancy Morgan. 

Julie Nelson

Constant reader, book selector, shameless promoter of good reads - these are just a few of the things I do as a Collection Development Professional. I love sharing the hidden gems in our nonfiction collection!