Click here to read reviewer Luan Gaines' take on Invisible Eden.
Basing it somewhat on the style of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, Maria
Flook has a new nonfiction title -- Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and
Murder on Cape Cod -- a true crime/memoir piece about the unsolved murder
in 2002 of 46-year-old Christa Worthington. Worthington and Flook both
lived in Truro, on Cape Cod, although the author did not know the doomed
The book is neither here nor there. It is not truly a memoir, nor solely
about the killing. The book is about Flook almost as much as it is
about Worthington. A lover of both mysteries and memoirs, I found
almost none of the characters sympathetic, and I certainly wanted to.
Invisible Eden has just barely come out and is already raising quite a
ruckus on the Cape's southern tip. Worthington came from old Cape money
but had lived for years in New York, and later in both London and Paris.
City weary, she returned to the Cape to a small family house a few years
ago. As she entered her forties, her main goal in life was to have a
child. She became a spokesperson for a group of women trying to have
children without spouses or partners. She had a few boyfriends in Truro,
notably Tony Jackett, a charismatic, married father, and Tim Arnold, a
divorced father with physical disabilities. She became pregnant, gave
birth and began to raise her child. When Ava was about two, someone
murdered Christa in their home. Ava tried to revive her.
No one has yet been arrested, although there are several suspects,
including Jackett and Arnold. A website in Worthington's memory, with
her photograph (something this book did not have, sadly) asking for
clues and offering a reward, is still online.
One of the difficulties of Invisible Eden is that Flook doesn't make Worthington out to
be likeable; we simply don't care much for her. Between the lines, she comes
across as a confused, lonely, poor little rich girl whose father set a
terribly bad example for male/female relationships. Flook paints
Worthington out to be promiscuous and sloppy, albeit a good fashion
writer. Flook does also admit that the writer was a good mother,
terribly attached to beautiful Ava, even if totally undisciplined with
Flook is always in the story, telling us about writing it and who she
interviewed. She at times feels somewhat of a kindred spirit to her
subject and carries on a mild flirtation with the Federal Assistant D.A.
in the case, Michael O'Keefe. Flook has strong opinions about the towns
of Truro and Provincetown, an area populated by "wannabe artists,
dilettantes, losers, pirates and profiteers, eccentrics and misfits" as
well as dwindling fishing and Portuguese communities. She loves to drop
famous names and fills her readers in on a lot of history and culture of
the area. These latter two things provide fun reading but seem a bit
However, perhaps the biggest disappointment is that one feels no real
insight or wisdom here. Having just picked up an older memoir, Love and
Other Infectious Diseases by Molly Haskell, I find so much wisdom --
about relationships and the reasons things seem to happen -- in the
first 50 pages that I am entranced. This reflection does not come
through in Flook's work. Invisible Eden is modern, gossipy and somewhat
Flook, author of other memoirs and novels, has done an immense amount
of homework, and Worthington's story remains quite fascinating, but the
author is too much in the center of this story. Is Invisible Eden about
Worthington or about Flook's clever retelling of Worthington's murder?