Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Real mystery stories from the folks who make them up

HALLIE EPHRON: I thought it was brilliant the moment I heard it: a collection of stories by mystery writers writing about real mysteries in their lives. When its editor Victoria Zackheim, approached me to contribute a piece, I knew exactly what real mystery I  wanted to write about. For decades I'd been puzzling over a dear friend's experience communicating with her beloved brother who'd tragically been killed months earlier. Writing about it was my own journey of discovery. Rhys wrote an essay for the collection as well, a fascinating piece about why she was destined to write about World War II. We're joined by an amazing roster of mystery writers.

I was especially thrilled to get a chance to work with Victoria, who's edited numerous wonderful anthologies.


The result, "PRIVATE INVESTIGATONS: Mystery writers on the secrets, riddles, and wonders in their lives" is just out this week and Victoria joins us.

Exciting news: the book is an Amazon BEST BOOK OF THE MONTH!


VICTORIA ZACKHEIM:  Dear Reds, I hope you and yours are safe, healthy, and out of harm’s way. And thank you, Hallie, for inviting me!

I’m just back from a 7am market run—love that one-hour, Seniors Only time slot—and was keenly aware when the guy at the meat counter wrapped my order…and he wasn’t wearing a mask. What to do? Cooking kills the virus, yes? When I arrived at the check-out area, I returned the package. Too careful? Is there such a thing?

This brings me to life’s mysteries, which we’re all quickly learning can…and will…appear at the most unexpected times. 


And, not so coincidentally, is a nifty segue into…

When I create an anthology and begin the process of editing the essays, no matter what their focus, I’m always driven into my own process of introspection. Whether the subject is body image or how we use humor to soften the pain after losing a loved one, the explorations of the authors launch me into my own journey.

Such was the case with Private Investigations: Mystery Writers on the Secrets, Riddles, and Wonders in Their Lives. I waited for the essays to arrive, expecting they would be fascinating. What I did not expect was that they would become a foot firmly placed in the small of my back, nudging and shoving until I was willing to look at my own life-changing mysteries. But…were they mysteries? Did these events shape me into the woman I am today?


The writers in this book have lived, are living, dramatic and life-altering experiences. Can I say the same? And honestly, what constitutes a mystery? Something that surprises? What about something that is the source of despair or joy? Falling in love, surviving illness, basking in the warmth of friendship. The expected and the serendipitous. Holding a newborn for the first time. For me, these are mysteries!


I remember sitting with my mother when she took her last breath. Nearly ninety, she had become increasingly angry that her final years were so difficult. An artist who could no longer paint, a political activist whose voice had been stilled, she felt locked within the walls of her home and her failing body. And then, finally, she was at peace. And still I struggled with the why of it. Oh, my complicated, brilliant mother. Who she was will always remain a mystery in my life.


In this collection, twenty exceptional mystery writers share their own personal secrets, riddles and wonders. Their…mysteries.

Let me offer a few examples. Hallie Ephron visits a spiritualist in the hope of understanding her friend’s claims to have spoken with her murdered brother. Sulari Gentill discovers an uncle in Sri Lanka whose existence was kept a secret, until she stumbles upon a family photograph. Rachel Howzell Hall is living her life balancing writing, family, and career, until a new word joins her lexicon: cancer. We often experience confusion and mystery when there’s violence in our lives. Connie May Fowler recalls her abuse at the hands of her mother, the social pressures she felt as a childless woman, and a recent illness that was frightening, yet reminded her of the kindness of strangers. Difficult experiences for all? Yes, but they persevered and thrived.


Life teaches us such varied lessons, some of which are cloaked in mystery, such as our quest for truth and how we respond to love and loss. This pandemic has certainly unearthed emotions—fears, questions about mortality, a new look at what matters in life—and is leaving many of us confused and on edge. Living in a time of war is frighteningly similar. And yet, at the same time, both pandemic and war remind us of our resilience and courage, even when we’re facing the unknown. 


As Rhys Bowen says in her essay about the human spirit in wartime, My world was filled with wonder, but also with change and uncertainty.

We often see mystery as we work to adjust to our place in the world. Ausma Zehanat Khan, an international human rights attorney, explores the mystery of her origins and her family’s long and complicated journey that brought her to America.


As you read these stories—I resist calling them essays, because the label suggests something impersonal, perhaps even cold, whereas these narratives are rich with warmth and intimacy, sharing and trust—you will hear each author’s voice, share each story. You might frown, sigh, laugh out loud. That’s the magic of personal essays: they’re so damn personal!


If a mystery is an enigma that we must unravel, then I have experienced many. As, I am sure, you have as well.

What are your personal mysteries? What have you seen, survived, and experienced that has made you who you are today?
Perhaps the writers in this anthology will churn up old memories that make you smile, even weep. The point is, you will feel. And as you discover elements of yourself, you might also begin to understand how important all of us are…and the essential part everyone plays in this mysterious theater we call life.


Please share your mysteries! And above all, be safe and well!

HALLIE: What are your personal mysteries? Something that disappeared or was unexpectedly found? Something that happened that shouldn't have. Something you couldn't explain...


PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS edited by Victoria Zackheim,  published by Seal Press
In this thrilling anthology, bestselling mystery writers abandon the cloak of fiction to investigate the suspenseful secrets in their own lives. Contributors include Tasha Alexender, Cara Black, Rhys Bowen, Lynn Cahoon, Steph Cha, Jeffrey Deaver, Carole Nelson Douglas, Robert Dugoni, Hallie Ephron, Connie May Fowler, Sulari Gentill, Rachel Howzell Hall, Ausma Khan, William Kent Kreuger, Caroline Leavitt, Kristen Lepionka, Martin Limón, Anne Perry, Charles Todd, and Jacqueline Winspear.

99 comments:

  1. This is such an intriguing idea; unexpected mysteries of life are sure to make for great reading . . . Happy Book Birthday!
    Our family mystery is a ghostly one: who was the ghost-child who came to play with us when we were babies?

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    1. Tantalizing, Joan... came to play with US??

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    2. Jean and I; later, younger sister Cheryl . . . .

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    3. Now THAT'S a mystery! Will you sit down one day and write the story? I'd read it!

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    4. Victoria, if my mom were still with us, she'd be more than happy to tell you that when Jean and I [we're twins] were very young we played with a child ghost when we were alone in our cribs. Of this, I have absolutely no recollection. However, when my younger sister was a baby, we would hear her laughing and playing with the little ghost when she was alone in her room. If you went into the room, she’d instantly stop playing. But as soon as everyone left . . . .

      I can’t remember anything more than that, but my mom said all three of us played with the little girl ghost. I have no idea if she came and went or if she stayed in the house all the time nor do I know if she ever lived in the house during her lifetime. But she always seemed to be around to keep the babies company . . . .

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    5. I love this story! Especially that "the visitor" brought such joy. We so often read about the fearful elements, a darkness that descends, but your playmate? Delightful!

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  2. What a wonderful idea. Am off to order it for my kindle.

    A mystery I wish I knew more about is that my maternal grandmother had a rifle when she was young (in the wilds of eastern Oregon). I only discovered this recently. Nobody ever talked about that, so now I have to make something up. ;^)

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    1. Hmmm. Hunting jackrabbits? Protection from neighbors? Annie Oakley fan??

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    2. You KNOW she'll become a private detective who can defend herself, Hallie - at least by my pen.

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    3. Edith, I do recall the picture you once showed of your ancestor with the rifle and how intriguing it was. Since then I have seen a picture of me that was taken in the winter of 63-64 (I remember those clothes so clearly). But I am holding gun and it appears I am about to shoot something. The weird thing is I have absolutely no memory of it at all. If someone had said they had seen that picture of me I would have told them they were mistaken; I didn't like guns and I certainly would have been out in the wilds holding one! But I know the picture is me so it must have happened. When I saw the picture all I could think of was your grandmother.

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    4. This sounds like a story in the making...all sorts of reasons why she'd be holding that rifle!

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  3. That's an impressive author lineup!

    My maternal great-grandfather was a coal miner in West Virginia, and when the mine collapsed he was never seen again. No one knows if he was trapped in the mine, or if he got out and wandered off without knowing who he was, or if he did a bunker in the confusion.

    Yesterday's blog was fun. I'm still smiling over whyever Julia would need Ranger to quarantine with.

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    1. Yesterday's blog was a HOOT!
      On your maternal great-grandfather, sounds like the kind of story you could pair with a DNA search results story - so many people are finding unknown half-siblings out there. Who knows...

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    2. That's quite a family history. And I think Hallie's got a good idea, using DNA. If the victims were later removed, perhaps there would be something informative? As a writer, my imagination is already seeing the possibilities!

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  4. Karen, yesterday's blog was so much fun. I kept thinking about it all day and finding other characters to invite over! LOL

    Just one mystery, really. When I was about 13, a scrawny kid, I was waiting outside for my dad to come get me after my music lesson near the center of Hartford. A totally disreputable looking man tried to get me to go with him. He had a story about his daughter to try to lure me, but I was not having any of it. I slipped back into the old Hartt music school building and called my dad and told him to hurry, that there was someone trying to get me to leave with him. It was 3:00 or so on Saturday and the building was almost empty. The guy actually followed me into the lower level where the phones were located near a cafeteria area. I think I said my dad was coming and he left.

    Well, who was that creep? Did he get other young girls to go with him? Was he a serial...something? We'll never know who, what, but sometimes I see a crime show with an abducted young girl and I think of that incident. Still haunts me.

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    1. Oh, Judy, that gives me the shivers! Your young self has good self-preservation instincts, too.

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    2. Judy, did you look for headlines in the newspaper for the next few days to see if there were any incidents of disappearances of young kids?

      Diana

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    3. Yikes! What a smart kid you were to handle it so well. Your fast thinking might have saved your life.

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  5. SO scary! And in the days before cell phones, right? Did you have to use a pay phone? What if you hadn't had a dime?

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    1. Diana, never checked the newspaper, didn't occur to me to do that!
      Karen, I was terrified!
      Hallie, I could have taken one out of my loafer! LOL Nah, I almost always had change. The year was around 1960 so payphones were everywhere.

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  6. Just went back to reading the later day suggestions posted on yesterday's blog...that was so much fun!

    My parents never talked about how they met. I knew it was an arranged marriage set up in Japan by their parents. My father was already living in Hamilton (Ontario) since the 1950s. I don't know how they married or when (I never knew their wedding date). And the details on how my mother eventually emigrated to Canada in the early 1960s and they decided to live in Toronto are another mystery.

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    1. Wow, Grace. And I assume they are gone now and you can't ask? Do you have any aunts or uncles to ask?

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    2. That's the problem with family mysteries - by the time we have enough maturity to want to find the answers, the folks who knew have passed on. I had so many questions about my mother's childhood but I waited too long.

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    3. Edith, my dad is still alive but I doubt he would want to talk about it. I did want to know the answers and had asked several times growing up, but they just refused to answer any questions. I know, my family was pretty weird that way.

      And no aunts, uncles in Canada and my grandparents all passed away in the early 1980s.

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    4. Grace, this sounds like a Lisa See novel!

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    5. Grace, this sounds like a Lisa See novel!

      Diana

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    6. Karen and Diana, since you both mention Lisa See, I had a look at her website and list of books. I would agree that my mother's journey is similar to what happened to the sisters in Shanghai Girl, although it was about 20 years later.

      Another unknown for me was any details about my parents' childhood growing up in Japan during/after WWII. They just mentioned food shortages and unpleasantness but again refused to talk about it at all. Neither of them brought any childhood photos with them to Canada, so it's a huge blank slate that can't be filled.

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    7. She's a really good writer. I don't know how authentic her writing is, but it seems to be.

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    8. Grace, so many places you could go with this story, should you decide to write it. Perhaps you could give ask your dad one more time...it sounds like something you'd love to know. (I don't know you and I'd love to know!)

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  7. The first definition of "mystery" in Merriam-Webster is "something not understood or beyond understanding."

    I don't have any secrets in my family (I don't think) or ghostly/creepy stories. But my mother died at 54, my brother-in-law at 38. Both were warm-hearted, generous people. I will never understand why the people who most deserve to live long, happy lives seem to have theirs cut off short.

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    1. That is indeed a mystery. Sometimes it seems like the opposite is true, too, that the most ornery and stubborn outlast everyone. Present company excluded, of course.

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    2. Liz, undivulged secrets from one generation can become mysteries to subsequent generations, don't you think?

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    3. They say that the good die young. That may be, but it's even more dramatic, for me, that the nasty ones live long, long lives.

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    4. My bullheaded Irish grandfather, who didn't speak to my mom for fifty years dating from just before I was born, lived to a ripe stubborn old 94, denying all his grandkids the pleasure (well, maybe) of knowing him and giving his wife and his daughter decades of anguish. Go figure.

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    5. Hallie and Victoria, yes.

      Karen, yes. Maybe my family has secrets and nobody's bothered to tell me yet. LOL

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  8. My early-morning walk through my neighbourhood this morning dredged up this mystery for me:

    Several years ago, the bigger houses across the street from me that have the Assiniboine River as their backyard boundary were broken into. The morning of the day of the burglaries, I had encountered a tall young man standing at the junction of my (east/west) avenue and the (north) cross street. He was just standing there, seemingly looking at a map -- or some kind of papers -- in his hands. As I passed him, he gave me a daredevil grin. I kept moving. When I returned from work that day, I learned about the burglaries. I have always wondered if he was the culprit or maybe part of the reconnaissance group for a larger gang of thieves...

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    1. Ooooh, that's eerie. And I'll bet you've never seen another person standing at that intersection looking at a map...

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    2. It sounds like your instincts were good...it's the "daredevil grin" that sends a shiver up my back.

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  9. What a terrific idea for a book! It's going on my list for sure. I have two mysteries although neither one really involves me. The first is about my great grandfather who with his pregnant wife and two young children went to the Philippines in 19002 to teach. Just a few months after their third child was born he died of diphtheria. The mystery is his burial site. Their is a huge grave marker for him in a local cemetery but I can't believe his body is really there, although many family members swear this is so. There is evidence he was buried immediately after his death in a cemetery in that country. Family history says that his wife had to stay there and finish out his teaching contract; she was to bring his body when she returned to NY. I find it very doubtful that that happened but no one knows with any certainty. Further evidence, if you want to call it that, is that his wife, my great grandmother who died almost 50 years later, never remarried and is not buried in our local cemetery where his "grave" is. That really proves nothing. A few months ago in our local paper there was a story about a pair of dowsers who worked with old cemeteries to determine where there were bodies - stone have disappeared or markers worn away, if there ever were any. They have very good results and according to them, they can tell many things about the buried remains, even gender. Still, I can't bring myself to get in touch with them but it is tempting.

    I've gone on long enough so I'll save my other mystery for another time.

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    1. Judi, that's a great mystery that is begging to be explored!

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  10. Wow! Talk about a great line-up of authors--with the added bonus of many who are new to me--can't wait to read this book. Exactly the kind of stories I enjoy delving into.

    Like others mentioned here, I waited too long to try and find out information. My father was leading a group of his men through heavy Japanese shelling, I believe in New Guinea, during WWII. He got them all into a hole for safety when a soldier from another unit was struck. He ordered his men to stay put and crawled out after the wounded man. A mortar shell struck, my dad lay atop the wounded soldier and I think was knocked senseless for several moments. When he came too, the man was still alive and he was able to drag him to safety. The other witnesses to this act were all killed when that mortar struck the hole where they'd taken cover. My dad spoke of this only once, to a younger sister when he was in the hospital coming out of anesthesia after a major surgery near the end of his life. I didn't hear the story until long after my father passed away. I have wondered about the man my father saved since then, who he was, if he made it home, if he had a good life.

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    1. What a fascinating story! Whoa. Talk about heroism rewarded.

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    2. Hallie, some time after I heard this story, I was contacted out of the blue by my dad's commanding officer in the Philippines. He was able to trace my dad's commanding officer in New Guinea, but unfortunately, this officer was in a nursing home, suffering from dementia, and his daughter could not provide any further information on my dad's service in New Guinea. So the man whose life he saved remains a mystery.

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    3. What a legacy for you to carry in your heart. Bravery and putting his men's lives first.

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  11. A real mystery? I like Liz's definition "beyond understanding." The legend in my maternal family is that the women are psychic.my mother told of being at her grandmothers house as a small child. "We were in the drawing room and Grandma came in saying, 'I just saw Ollie on the landing',". Uncle Oliver had been killed in the First World War, but he appeared regularly to my great grandmother. I have no stories from my mother or her mother, but my daughter and I are definitely tuned in to the 'other'. In my case, it's really a strong intuition, which I have learned to recognize. Early in our marriage, Victor and I were in Vancouver on vacation. Victor was a very keen amateur photographer and wanted to photograph the colored fountains in Stanley Park at night. So in we drove, parked, and he set up for the shots. Suddenly he cried out, he had managed to knock his contact lense from one eye. Of course in the dark we could see where it landed. But I told him that we would find it. Distraught, partially blinded, he had me drive us back to the hotel. Have I mentioned I had only got my driving license just before we left on this trip. Living in Manhattan at the time, I had had very little real practice. Still we made it back safely and off to bed with a very upset new husband. The following morning, I was determined that we would find his lense. Down to the car, and I asked him to raise the hood. There on the channel where the hood fitted, was the lense. How did I know? I don't know.

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    1. Oh, Celia, I could use your skills! You'll LOVE Hallie's story in the book!

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  12. Next time I can't find my reading glasses, I'm calling you, Celia!

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  13. I agree than yesterday's blog was the most fun I've had in ages.

    Mysteries in my life? You mean the ones that aren't written in books, right?

    That would be my friend, Deanna. We are of an age although I think I'm a few years older, and we come from the same part of the country, the flyover states, Kansas and Missouri to be precise. We didn't meet until we were in our fifties, and we were gobsmacked. We look alike. We are "made" alike, same body build, same hands, same feet. A whole lot alike. Enough alike that when my mother saw Deanna in a picture, she remarked that she'd never seen ME in that blouse.

    Deanna was adopted as an infant. Both of us are only children. I wish she'd do 23 and Me, as I have, but she hasn't so far.



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    1. Wow, that's definitely something worth following! My mind is saying: How could they NOT be related?!

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  14. Happy book birthday! The Private Investigations collection of stories sounds like an anthology that I want to read! Someone mentioned DNA testing. It confirmed most of what I already knew, though a few results were surprising! To our surprise, the DNA showed Irish DNA on Both sides of the family! I came up with lots of interesting answers to the Irish question because we always thought one side of the family came from Spain. It showed 2 percent Irish. Then it should not be surprising, considering that my grandfather's grandfather looked like George Bernard Shaw.

    Diana

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    1. Family mysteries are the best, don't you think? Maybe you and GBS are related!

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  15. What a wonderful line-up of intriguing situations. Gotta come back tomorrow to read the rest.

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    1. As each essay arrived, I was amazed! Such different experiences, all intriguing. Enjoy the read!

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  16. What a wonderful line up and interesting idea. Congrats all!

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    1. Mark, thanks! I was so fortunate that so many gifted authors contributed. Enjoy the book!

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  17. My real life mystery isn't mine - it belongs to by husband and children. Ross's biological grandmother, Lindsay, was a student at one of the Seven Sisters in 1927 when she got "in a family way." Despite the fact her family was well off (kids in college back when only 4% of Americans went to school, lived in a tony suburb of Boston) there was evidently no pressure on the boy involved to "do the right thing." She had her baby (Ross's mother), a family friend adopted it, and there the mystery remains - who was the father, or grandfather, in Ross's case. All we know is that Lindsay claimed she and the young man were engaged, and (we think) he was a student at a Boston-area law school.

    Oh, and that there was a sudden influx of red hair into the family gene pool...

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    1. This is a great family mystery...is there any way you can explore it through old documents?

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    2. Would you ever write about it? It sounds like a plot, ready made, with endless possibilities to imagine.

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    3. I never heard that, Julia. Wow.

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  18. These are such fascinating stories, with Julia's (the last in my feed) sounding just like a plot for a book, with infinite complications. In my own family,there are unanswered questions around how the immigrant generation (my 4 grandparents) came here.Of course the people who knew never wanted to talk about the unhappy past in Europe, and so we only have bits. But there is a real life crime, not so close to me on the family tree, but relatives I knew well growing up and was fond of. A great-uncle in the salvage business (buying and selling) who retired, moved to Florida, but still kept his hand in and had a warehouse until old age. He went over there one day to meet someone, and was killed. Never solved, though local police thought they knew who,a former employee. Horrifying and sad but there's more - he did have a reputation for being a really nice uncle but a questionable businessman with legal issues. An enduring mystery on lots of levels, right?

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  19. One of my dearest high school friends had two sisters and they look nothing alike and are so different personality-wise as well. They had their DNA tested and... turns out they're HALF sistrs. Same mother, different fathers. Looks as if their dads were sperm donors... back in the early days. And each of them has SEVERAL half-siblings out there.

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    1. Oh, I can see it now...murder and mayhem and DNA confusion. Title? Half As Bad!

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  20. Wow, what great stories this morning. And I can't wait to read this anthology! Congrats, Victoria, on such a wonderful collection of authors.

    I don't know much about my family history. Neither parent had any interest, particularly my dad, who was only close to one sibling, my aunt, and never wanted anything to do with the rest of his family.

    I suppose the great unsolvable mystery of my life is the connection I've felt with England since I was a small child, because there is nothing to account for it.

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    1. Hmmm, past life? I see possibilities for a story here....

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    2. Isn't it funny how you can feel a connection to a place? I always felt at home in Ireland, Scotland, and England. Yet my paternal grandfather emigrated from Sweden and I've never felt any interest in traveling there.

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    3. Thanks, Deborah. Did you start reading British novels/stories when you were a child?

      My mother had a sister, but I didn't learn they were actually half sister's until my cousin's wedding, when this wild old man ran around introducing himself as the grandfather of the bride! What a noise he caused...it was great fun!

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  21. You returned the meat. I hope you told them why.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. For a moment, I was lost, Libby...and then I remembered my comment about the meat. Yes, I returned it. (And between us, I called the Health Dept. The next day, everyone in the county received an email that food workers had to wear masks!)

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  22. No big mysteries I can think of. Just relatives of dubious character. My father had a nephew who was only a few years younger than him. He disappeared one day. Abandoned his wife and children. I think he was running away from his parents who just would not stay out of his life. But what a cowardly thing to do. And I think Mom had an aunt who married unwisely. Her husband either abused her or was a child molester; I don't remember which. Anyway the men in the family beat the tar out of him. She was angry and mortified and cut off all communication with her family for years. My parents never told us these interesting tales when we were kids. In fact I never heard them say anything negative about family. It was only when we were adults and they were well up in years that
    they started sharing.

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    1. I grew up in such a tiny house that my parents had problems with private conversations...my sister and I heard so much! But, as far as I know, there were no juicy stories. Well, except Aunt Fanny, who was married five times.

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  23. I realise this is rather late but Julia is Zooming tonight:
    Here are the details, and if you can join please email me- Celia, my email is wakefieldpro@gmail.com, please don't leave the message here as I might miss it, thanks.

    Tonight: Book Carnival event with NYTimes Bestselling author,
    Julia Spencer-Fleming - Apr 21, 2020 05:00 PM Pacific Time

    Join Julia tonight, Tuesday, at Book Carnival, Orange, Ca on Zoom for a special evening of talk all about Julia's just published ninth book- HID FROM OUR EYES - which has already received some very cool reviews: Christian Science Monitor names it one of the "Best 10 Books of April," it's on the USA Today Bestseller List, and it's a "riveting addition to an acclaimed series," according to PEOPLE magazine!

    Event link: Join Zoom Meeting

    For the meeting password email to Celia: Wakefieldpro@gmail.com
    Meeting ID: 869 0842 1980

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    1. I'll try to make it, but I had trouble getting onto the Poison Pen chat last time.

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    2. Thanks! So 8 pm our time? I'll try to make it.

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    3. Celia, I'm so sorry I missed this. Just bought Julia's book and look forward to a terrific read.

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  24. Somehow the Julia Zoom meeting link didn't travel over.
    https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86908421980?pwd=ZVVjN0g0aWl4TEU4Y2F6bkx4ekRWdz09

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  25. This isn't exactly a mystery but something I would've loved to know the details of. My mother's brother served in WWII and because he was from Michigan he knew how to ski; he was an MP and accompanied a shipment of US gold bullion over the Alps on skis. My uncle would never talk about his war experiences and of course, he's now dead. I love historical fiction and this type of story intrigues me.

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    1. Emily, that's a fascinating image! The snowstorm, the struggle, bad people trying to get their hands on the gold...wow!

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  26. OMG, just remembered! A friend of ours walked out her front door to get the paper this past Sunday morning and found a dead man in her front yard.

    He was from the neighborhood, walked daily although he had a terminal illness. He hadn’t been there more than half an hour, want there when her next door neighbor had been out for his paper.

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    1. What a great opening paragraph of a mystery! (Yes, sorry, callous of me to say that before expressing sadness for the man and compassion for the neighbor...)

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  27. What an interesting book Private Investigations promises to be. There are lots of mysteries and stories I can think of about my family or growing up, but our big family mystery has always been the Indian in the family. To me, the mystery is also why we didn't push more to find out about this family member on my father's side. The story goes that my father's grandfather was a Native American, but he and my father's grandmother were not married. My father was born in 1901, so I'm thinking that would make the grandfather and grandmother affair, what, in the first half of the 1800s? It would have been scandalous, at the very least, in that time period. My father and mother have been dead for years now, and my sisters have both passed, too, so the sources of information have dwindled. My brother has never seemed as interested in the family history as we girls were, except maybe for our relationship to Daniel Boone. Anyway, somewhere I did glean some information that the man in question was of the Algonquin tribe and was passing through the area of Kentucky where my father's family would have lived. But, I'm wondering if that information is accurate. There is the Algonquin tribe of Indians, but there is also the Algonquian-speaking tribes, which are a larger group that includes the Algonquin, Cree, Blackfoot, and Delaware. I have one more source that I just recently realized as a source with whom I'm going to speak. My ex-sister-in-law was in my father's real estate business, and my father talked to her a lot, so she might know some family history that I don't.

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    1. That really IS a family secret! I'm wondering if some of the ancestry websites might have access to documents. If nothing else, perhaps a record of the birth. An outside chance, to be sure, but...who knows?

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  28. This is fascinating! True stories are always the best, and the best jumping off places.

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  29. Ooooh, this has just leapt to the top of my TBR pile. A definite must have! I can't think of any personal mysteries at the moment, probably because I'm on deadline and when I'm in the zone like this everything else is shut down. But I will ponder this another day...

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    1. Deadlines are like an enormous wall between our brain and the world! Hope it's going well.

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  30. Rumor is that I have a half sibling from my Dad. Parents are gone and no other siblings, so hard to verify,

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    1. Susan, there might be birth records somewhere. That's a family mystery that, when solved, might be a positive thing for you. New family!

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  31. When my dad died at age 61, all our next-door neighbor talked about was that we couldn't do her grocery shopping for her anymore. Mom and I didn't drive and had to depend on my brother, his wife, and his mother for several months until we learned and got our licenses. I thought God needed more time with her. She's dead now, and I'm not sure she ever changed.

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  32. Sally,what a dilemma. I can't help thinking about today, and what we all must endure if we want a quart of milk.

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  33. Victoria, just found your JRW message in my in box. Julia is doing another on Friday. If you email me, my gmail tag is Wakefieldpro. I'll send you the details

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    1. Celia, thank you! I was able to watch...loved it.

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