A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence

Becky Cooper in Crime Reads:

I asked Iva and James to tell me everything they knew. They looked uncomfortable, whispering despite the fact that there wasn’t really anyone there but the barista.

The professor’s name was Karl Lamberg-Karlovsky, they said, and the story James had heard, like the one Morgan told me, was that this Harvard professor—tenured, and still on faculty—had an affair with his student and killed her when she wouldn’t end the liaison and threatened to tell either his wife or the university, he couldn’t remember which. His version also involved red ochre, but none of the cigarette butts. Red ochre, they explained, was used in many ancient burial rituals, either to preserve the dead or to honor them on their way to the afterlife. Its use seemed to limit the circle of suspects to someone with intimate knowledge of anthropology. Everyone in the department at Harvard, they said, knew the story. They had heard that another Harvard archaeology professor got too drunk at a recent faculty dinner and spilled the sordid tale to his students. In fact, they wouldn’t be surprised if most people in the field of archaeology knew and whispered about that particular professor.

I couldn’t understand how such a huge scandal, if any of it was true, could stay so quiet.

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