The Library of Michigan is spearheading a series of special events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1958 publication of Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver. Traver was the pen name of Marquette County attorney, prosecutor, and Michigan Supreme Court Justice, John D. Voelker, who used his experience with the legal system to write his court room thriller. Anatomy of a Murder went on to become a movie by the same name and was filmed in Marquette County in 1959.
Celebration events are scheduled for Ishpeming, Lansing, and Marquette during September and October.
The Lansing City Pulse has more on this in their feature Anatomy of a Murder, turns 50
The defendant was acquitted of first degree murder 50 years ago. To try him again would be double jeopardy, which is unconstitutional. And your honor â€” did we mention that he’s a fictional character? Objections overruled.
The people of the state of Michigan will never rest the case against Lieutenant Frederick Manion. It’s way too much fun. In spring 1958, â€œAnatomy of a Murder,â€ a quirky, racy, philosophical best-seller by a fly-fishing Michigan Supreme Court justice began a six-month run at the top of the New York Times bestseller list, until something even quirkier, racier and more philosophical â€” Vladimir Nabokov’s â€œLolitaâ€ â€” toppled it in late September.
The following year, â€œAnatomyâ€ became a full-scale cultural icon, inspiring a hit movie directed by Otto Preminger, with James Stewart, George C. Scott and Duke Ellington in featured roles.
The naughty-pine crime drama also gave Michigan’s Upper Peninsula its headiest (and only) hour of glamour. Author John Voelker (writing as Robert Traver) set the tale in his â€œremote and raffishâ€ home peninsula, drawing on per sonal experience as a U.P. defense attor ney. A year later, he urged Preminger to drag cast and crew to the shores of Lake Superior, resulting in one of the most off beat and effective location shoots in film history.
The Hollywood wildfire burned out in Ishpeming 50 years ago, but the book and its reputation still tower like old growth.