The Third Rainbow Girl

The Third Rainbow Girl

The Long Life of A Double Murder in Appalachia

Book - 2020 | First edition.
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Grand Central Pub
A stunningly written investigation of the murder of two young women--showing how a violent crime casts a shadow over an entire community.

In the early evening of June 25, 1980 in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, two middle-class outsiders named Vicki Durian, 26, and Nancy Santomero, 19, were murdered in an isolated clearing. They were hitchhiking to a festival known as the Rainbow Gathering but never arrived. For thirteen years, no one was prosecuted for the "Rainbow Murders," though deep suspicion was cast on a succession of local residents in the community, depicted as poor, dangerous, and backward. In 1993, a local farmer was convicted, only to be released when a known serial killer and diagnosed schizophrenic named Joseph Paul Franklin claimed responsibility. With the passage of time, as the truth seemed to slip away, the investigation itself caused its own traumas-turning neighbor against neighbor and confirming a fear of the violence outsiders have done to this region for centuries.

Emma Copley Eisenberg spent years living in Pocahontas and re-investigating these brutal acts. Using the past and the present, she shows how this mysterious act of violence has loomed over all those affected for generations, shaping their fears, fates, and the stories they tell about themselves. In The Third Rainbow Girl, Eisenberg follows the threads of this crime through the complex history of Appalachia, forming a searing and wide-ranging portrait of America-its divisions of gender and class, and of its violence.

Baker & Taylor
An investigation into the 1980 murder of two women in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, recreates the events of the tragedy, the targeting of vulnerable suspects and the history of mysterious violence that continues to overshadow the region. 60,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Hachette Books, 2020.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780316449236
Characteristics: 318 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: 3rd rainbow girl


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Feb 23, 2020

Non-fiction about an unsolved murder

Feb 08, 2020

Gosh, I wish there had been resolution in solving the murder of the two girls, but this book isn’t a fantasy. The author, a New Yorker who came to the mountains of West Virginia as a VISTA volunteer, may not have solved the mystery, but in her telling, the reader learns that there’s lots more to West Virginia than most of us realize. I’ve always stuck up my nose at wanting to visit backwards, hillbilly West Virginia. And learning about the variety of people in Virginia was the highlight of the book for me, the murder of the two girls who came for a hippy Rainbow Family gathering was secondary. I think I’d like to visit West Virginia after reading this book.


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