Alias Grace, a new Netflix drama based off a 1996 Margaret Atwood novel of the same name, has everything you could want in a true crime story. There’s a grisly murder with motivations based in class, sexuality, and pent-up emotion. There’s a suspect who is as much of a mystery as the crime itself. Yet Alias Grace defies expectations for the true crime genre. You’ll get a good story, but not an easy solution.
Though Alias Grace is based around a real crime which took place in 1843, much of what you’ll see in the show is the product of Margaret Atwood’s imagination. Noticing the gaps in Marks’ sparse biography, Atwood "felt [she] was free to invent." Atwood's inventions — including two main characters — are what allow the character of Grace Marks to take on such fascinating dimensions.
Here's what actually happened to the real Grace Marks, and what aspects of the story originated in the novel Alias Grace.
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