Alabama authorities are investigating at least one complaint related to the publication of Lee's new book

By Michelle Tauber
Updated March 12, 2015 02:30 PM
Credit: Taylor Hill/Getty

Authorities in Alabama are investigating at least one complaint of potential elder abuse involving To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee.

The complaint relates to the publication of the 88-year-old author’s new book, Go Set a Watchman, which was announced in February.

Although fans rejoiced at the news of a follow-up to her 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, word of the sequel sparked controversy as well, with the reclusive Lee making a rare public comment to speak out against reports that she was pressured into releasing Watchman.

Now the State of Alabama is getting involved, according to a new report in the New York Times.

The Times reports that Lee, whose sister and longtime advocate Alice died in November at age 103, was interviewed by investigators at the assisted-living facility she now calls home. The newspaper says investigators also interviewed employees at the facility and several of Lee s friends.

Publisher HarperCollins has dismissed suggestions that Lee is not fully cognizant enough to consent to publishing Watchman or that she is being taken advantage of in any way.

The author’s literary agent Andrew Nurnberg also responded Friday in a statement obtained by PEOPLE, which he issued through HarperCollins.

“Having spent quality time with her over the last couple of years, I can categorically state that she is in full possession of her mental faculties,” he said in the statement.

He also added that Lee “could not be better cared for in the residential home where she lives. To suggest otherwise, anonymously and without any supportive evidence, is as shameful as it is sad.”

Likewise, in her statement last month, Lee denied any ambivalence related to the book s publication.

“I m alive and kicking and happy as hell with the reactions to Watchman,” she said.

Reporting by KIM HUBBARD