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February 17, 2022 @ 7:00 pm

Catch the Sparrow: A Virtual Evening with Rachel Rear and Jonathan Dee


February 17, 2022
7:00 pm

Books & Books and Miami Book Fair present…

A Virtual Evening with Rachel Rear

in conversation with

Jonathan Dee


Catch the Sparrow: A Search for a Sister and the Truth of Her Murder

(Bloomsbury Publishing, $27)

Thursday, February 17, 2022, 7 PM ET | On Crowdcast


About the Book:

The gripping story of a young woman’s murder, unsolved for over two decades, brilliantly investigated and reconstructed by her stepsister.

Growing up, Rachel Rear knew the story of Stephanie Kupchynsky’s disappearance. The beautiful violinist and teacher had fled an abusive relationship on Martha’s Vineyard and made a new start for herself near Rochester, NY. She was at the height of her life-in a relationship with a man she hoped to marry and close to her students and her family. And then, one morning, she was gone.

Around Rochester-a region which has spawned such serial killers as Arthur Shawcross and the “Double Initial” killer-Stephanie’s disappearance was just a familiar sort of news item. But Rachel had more reason than most to be haunted by this particular story of a missing woman: Rachel’s mother had married Stephanie’s father after the crime, and Rachel grew up in the shadow of her stepsister’s legacy.

In Catch the Sparrow, Rachel Rear writes a compulsively readable and unerringly poignant reconstruction of the case’s dark and serpentine path across more than two decades. Obsessively cataloging the crime and its costs, drawing intimately closer to the details than any journalist could, she reveals how a dysfunctional justice system laid the groundwork for Stephanie’s murder and stymied the investigation for more than twenty years, and what those hard years meant for the lives of Stephanie’s family and loved ones. Startling, unputdownable, and deeply moving, Catch the Sparrow is a retelling of a crime like no other.


About the Author:

Rachel Rear, a New York City public school teacher and actor, holds an MA from Columbia University and an MFA from the New School. She has been published in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and numerous other publications.

About the Moderator:

Jonathan Dee is the author of seven novels, including The Locals, A Thousand Pardons, and The Privileges, which was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize and winner of the 2011 Prix Fitzgerald and the St. Francis College Literary Prize. He is a National Magazine Award-nominated literary critic for Harper’s and The New Yorker, a former Contributing Writer for The New York Times Magazine, a former senior editor of The Paris Review, and the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. His most recent novel, The Locals, was longlisted for the inaugural Aspen Institute Literary Prize for “a work of fiction with social impact.” It was named a Best Book of 2017 by, among others, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Vox, Kirkus, and the Seattle Times. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University.