Book #26: Who Killed Amanda Palmer

I can't believe it was back in April that we first heard about the coffee-table book project featuring photos of Dresden Dolls and solo artist Amanda Palmer in various "death poses" with accompanying stories by Neil Gaiman. Well, last week a FedEx box finally arrived at my doorstep, and upon opening it the beautiful, morbid sight above greeted my eyes, ensuring that any plans I entertained for the rest of the day were now put aside.

I've been through the Who Killed Amanda Palmer a couple of times now, sometimes listening to Palmer's album of the same name (it was released last September), sometimes not. It's a gorgeously designed book, each photograph a story on its own. Gaiman's presence is to tell the stories behind the pictures, and he takes a delight in mimicking various styles - a page from a young girl's diary detailing her discovery of poor Miss Palmer's body, wrapped in plastic in the nearby lake (a nod to Twin Peaks and the iconic reveal of Laura Palmer's body), to yellowed typewritten pages, picture captions and more traditional stories.

However, as much as Gaiman's stories bring to the project, the real draw is in the images themselves. Palmer shows not only is she utterly fearless in exposing herself to controversy (the book is very NSFW), but that she has a wicked sense of humor - one picture is of a cleated foot sitting on top her head. The caption simply reads : Nema, Age 10 = 1, AFP = 0. Another has Palmer dressed in traditional German dress, a beer stein dropped on the floor and a clarinet shoved down her throat. Not everything is as funny: in her attempts to be killed over and over again Palmer shows a quiet beauty in dread, and brings the theatricality and drama that inhabits everyone's death, whether there's an audience for it or not.

You can take a look at the Who Killed Amanda Palmer, listen to the album (which is great), and see videos of the project over at