This is the author who, among other things, set out to determine the identity of Jack the Ripper, and reminded us that the face of evil would deceive almost all of us. She has lost recently quite a bit of money due to neglect, and been interviewed in The Irish Times. In that publication she speaks of her proletarian upbringing, and the need to fetch tennis balls out of a creek in order to maintain her skills on the court.
Despite her background of poverty and an indifferent public school education, Cornwell earned her place in the prestigious institution [Davidson College] because of her prowess at tennis. “I couldn’t even afford the tennis balls when I was growing up. I used to fish them outta the creek behind the courts,” she says. “I taught myself to play by watching people. I’d hit on the back board, wait for someone to ask me to play, ended up on the boys’ team in high school.”