Fact Or Fiction?

New Book Profiles Worthington's Life

"Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod" chronicles the life and death of fashion writer Christa Worthington, who was found stabbed to death in her home on January 6, 2002.

The book, written by local author Maria Flook, has already caused a firestorm in Truro, Mass., a tiny town located on the tip of Cape Cod.

"This is a very volatile story, a woman was murdered in our little town of 1,800 people," Flook told 48 Hours Mystery Correspondent Susan Spencer. "So there are a lot of raw nerves."


"Invisible Eden," which went on sale this week, is under fire for blurring the line between fact, speculation and fiction -- which the book's publisher, Broadway Books, has labeled as "literary non-fiction."

The difficulty of pinning down what is truth and what is fiction has fueled controversy over the book, which reveals Worthington's speculative thoughts, includes conversations between Worthington and her mother -- after they are both dead -- and describes what daughter Ava did and saw after her mother's death.

"This is what writers do," says Flook, 50, who claims her book is not a memoir. "They dramative scenes to create a 'felt-life' in fiction and in non fiction."

In her book, Flook offers some previously unreported details of the Worthington case. Her account of Worthington's life also includes explicit details about the fashion editor's sexual past.

Plus, personal details about the author herself, including a mild flirtation she had with the lead prosecutor of the case, Michael O'Keefe, has brought about question by Worthington's family over the relationship between Flook and the person she claims is the book's main source of information.

In one scene, Flook writes about discussing the case with O'Keefe at his home. O'Keefe is described as sitting before her wearing "only a white towel snugged around his hips" after taking a shower.

Flook, who has seen the crime scene phoots, can testify to the brutality of the murder, which is still unsolved. "It was my introduction to Christa Worthington, to see her half naked body felled on her kitchen floor. In a pool of blood."

Worthington's family recently announced in a statement to the Cape Cod Times that the material O'Keefe provided Flook for her book "compromised the integrity of the investigation and future prosecution of Christa's murder."

Cousins of Worthington have also complained about O'Keefe's comments about the murdered writer, including disparaging remarks to Flook about the victim's sex life which are revealed in the book.

These complaints have prompted a new official from another country to join the investigation. Investigators are now looking for an unknown man they say had sex with Worthington before she was killed. This theory is also highlighted in Flook's book.

Flook is the author of two novels, "Family Night" and "Open Water." She has also written a book of short stories, "You Have the Wrong Man," and a 1999 memoir, "My Sister Life: The Story of My Sister's Disappearance."

Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review and The New Criterion. She currently teaches at Emerson College in Boston.