Sarah Weinman in Crime Reads:
Sandy Fawkes landed in Atlanta on the night of November 7, 1974. She’d spent the day in Washington on a fruitless quest to interview former Vice President Spiro Agnew, part of a one-month tryout with an American weekly newspaper that paid her extraordinarily well, including travel and hotel—far more than her usual employer, the Daily Express, could afford thanks to the country’s current economic crisis.
Sandy had no plans for the evening. As was her habit when landing in a new city, she checked in with the local paper—here, the Atlanta Constitution—to see if one of their reporters might show her around. No one was available. The next option: the hotel bar. Sandy was nervous at the prospect of drinking alone in the South. Atlanta wasn’t London, where the pubs in Soho were so familiar to her they functioned as a second home.
As she wrote a few years later, “years of pulling in pubs and clubs had taught her that, despite being a bit broad in the beam and not exactly a raving beauty, she had a magnetism that drew men as if to a pile of iron filings.” Sandy was single, in her mid-forties. She could travel, pursue flings with younger men—early to mid-twenties was the ideal range—drink heavily without hangover, and keep primary focus on her work.
The year before she had published her most personal piece yet, a stirring account of the heartless murder of seven-year-old Maria Colwell by her abusive stepfather.