Inspired by True Events
While set in a fictitious town of Murdoch, Mississippi., No Motive in Murdoch was inspired by events from Lara and Jan's personal lives—from the opening scene and Southern one-liners to the true-crime murders that took place in their hometown of Clifton, Texas.
The mother-daughter team spent more than a decade exploring story ideas, brainstorming characters, and reviewing newspaper articles. They wanted to write about the untimely and unexplained deaths that took place in Clifton in the mid-1980s—and do so in a way that honored the real women's stories.
It’s why the book was cast in a fabricated town in Mississippi, far removed from the true events. And it’s, in part, why they originally created a pen name. In the book, many of the details of the real-life events were changed, and a whole new set of storylines and characters was created.
While the book was going to print (and unbeknownst to Lara and Jan), ProPublica Senior Reporter and New York Times Magazine contributor Pamela Colloff was unearthing these events once more. Pamela's brilliantly reported investigative series, "Blood Will Tell," explores what happened in Clifton decades ago.
Explore the Articles
Story by Pamela Colloff. Images by Dan Winters. The New York Times Magazine, May 31, 2018
by Pamela Colloff, ProPublica, June 13, 2018
by Pamela Colloff, ProPublica, June 19, 2018
by Pamela Colloff, ProPublica, June 21, 2018
by Pamela Colloff, ProPublica, June 25, 2018
Story by Pamela Colloff. Images by Dan Winters. The New York Times, July 24, 2018