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The Legend of Nance Dude

The Legend of Nance Dude
Maurice Stanley

Bright Mountain Books
$12.00 paperback
5 x 7 
264 pages
6 b/w photographs
Published in 1991
Fiction, North Carolina

What would possess a grandmother to murder her two-year-old granddaughter? The brilliant novel The Legend of Nance Dude presents all the known facts surrounding Roberta Putnam’s grizzly murder and the arrest, trial, and subsequent conviction of her grandmother, Nancy Ann Kerley, also known as Nance Dude.

Maurice Stanley learned the story of Nance Dude from his grandmother, who saw Nance and Roberta Putnam out walking not long before Roberta’s death. Stanley has woven a speculative tale, drawing on both historical fact and oral tradition, of Nance Dude’s metamorphosis from happy, loving child to convicted murderess.


"[A] succinct but moving first novel....This powerfully understated story of poverty and despair, augmented by photographs of the real Nance Dude and the scene of the crime, will stun readers with its evocation of a bleak corner of America."
Publishers Weekly

A short clip from the play Nance Dude.



(More information about the Nance Dude play here.)