Where the Crawdads Sing tells the fictional story of Kya, a girl left to raise herself along a North Carolina bayou in the 1950s and ’60s. “The marsh girl,” as she’s known, is reviled and shunned by those in the nearby town. In time, Kya is put on trial for murder. Now, there’s a film adapted from the novel by an author with a mysterious past.
It took wildlife scientist Delia Owens a decade to write Where the Crawdads Sing. Her first novel has now been on the New York Times best seller list for 168 weeks (most of that time at the top). Actress Reese Witherspoon loved it so much, she added it to her popular book club and produced the new film adaptation.
“It just blew me away,” Witherspoon told CBS Sunday Morning. “It felt like when I was reading To Kill A Mockingbird or just any sort of classic Southern literature. She layers on this thriller element, there’s a murder …”
And murder—a real life murder in the mid 1990s—is the big elephant in the room. With the film’s release, news has resurfaced that 73-year-old Owens is still wanted for questioning by Zambian authorities as a possible witness, co- conspirator and accessory to federal crimes. At the time, she and her then-husband Mark were living in Zambia as animal conservationists, trying to save elephants from poachers.