I didn’t know Amanda Knox from Casey Anthony, and I hadn’t read much more than the headlines enveloping her. So, it was by chance that I picked The Fatal Gift of Beauty, Nina Burleigh’s account of Meredith Kercher’s murder, from the shelf. It’s a terrific book. Burleigh places the murder and Amanda Knox’s arrest and subsequent trial and conviction in an Italy that is similar yet quite different from the fantasies of Americans. She does an excellent job of showing how our perceptions and those of Italians differ and how this affected the way in which the murder was investigated, reported and finally resolved. This is not a sensationalist, true crime expose. Rather, Burleigh spent ten months researching and reporting on the trial. Her style is never shrill, even though most of the events she describes border on or slip off into the surreal. I highly recommend it, for while it is thoughtful and well-written it also is a quick read.