Alabama officials on Monday closed a brief elder-abuse investigation of Pulitzer-Prize winning author Harper Lee — and found no wrongdoing — following the surprise announcement earlier this year that a sequel to her classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” will soon hit bookstores.
The State of Alabama interviewed the 88-year-old writer in February after at least one complaint arose of potential elder abuse related to the publication of her second novel, titled “Go Set a Watchman.” Officials also spoke with employees at the assisted living facility where Lee resides, called Meadows of Monroeville in Alabama. On Monday, Department of Human Resources spokesman Barry Spear confirmed to The Associated Press that the entire investigation now is closed with no findings.
Friends, fans, and the local community had debated whether or not Lee chose to publish the sequel this summer, since news broke in February that she would release her second novel. One side believes that her mental condition is too unsteady for her to have authorized the new book. The other faction, though, thinks she was fully competent to make the decision.
Some people have also questioned the timing of the book’s release. Her sister and longtime defender, Alice Lee, died just months before HarperCollins shared its plans to publish the author’s second novel.
Lee, one of the country’s most beloved and known writers, had a stroke in 2007, and suffers from hearing and vision problems. The author’s lawyer reportedly found the original manuscript of the pending book last fall, which Lee had completed but set aside during the 1950s.
“Go Set a Watchman” is set for publication on July 14.