Sleuthing from the desk, poking into Ancestry files, Census pages, family histories … it’s been a relatively low-mileage, low-cost sort of detective agency. And now it’s coming into its own. The trigger: publication of my fourth history-hinged adventure novel, The Long Shadow.
Set in 1850 in Vermont, as the anti-slavery, pro-Abolition stew comes to a fierce boil, the book sees three teenage girls thrust into a daring winter escape. Picture the March snowstorm, the frantic race in horse-drawn sleigh, the catamount. The handsome and skillful but mysterious Solomon McBride, lending a hand with the horses and somehow connected to an underground of documents and politics. Alice Sanborn and her friends Jerushah and Sarah face risk and danger. Is Solomon part of that — or is he really on their side?
As for the sleuthing here: I’ve been tracking down “founding families” of Vermont towns, and the long-ago links they may have had with slave-holding before the Revolution. “Clean hands” may not apply if you go back a few generations … More news on that, if you make it to one of the dozen or so book events scheduled in the next few weeks. Get updates and locations and such at my Facebook page. There’s a lot to reveal.
Oh! If you don’t live in northeastern Vermont (where lots of bookstores will have this on the shelves), you can find The Long Shadow here.
Whether you’re reading or writing a mystery, seeing plot as the choices of your protagonist helps grasp how a character is revealed and — sometimes — becomes memorable. Check the Sisters in Crime New England blog http://sincne.wordpress.com for more YA mystery posts. And for my home author blog, check in at http://bethkanell.blogspot.com for regular adventures!
Just as the waters of a river roar through her town, Molly Ballou’s life is riding on a swift current, where change comes faster than a spring flood. As a half – Abenaki Indian, half – French Canadian girl in Vermont, Molly is slowly realizing that her family and others like them are being targeted by a governmental effort to rid the state of so-called “poor citizens.” Not only is Molly facing discrimination, but she is also haunted by the ghostly presence of her drowned older sister and her grieving mother’s evasive love. Curious about her family’s traditions, Molly finds herself drawn to Henry, an Abenaki boy whose connection to the natural world provides solace when Molly’s mother tragically loses a baby and grows increasingly ill. With Henry’s support, sorrow gradually gives way to the joy of self-discovery — and allows Molly to look beyond hardship to a future of promise.
Available at bookstores everywhere, or online (click HERE).
Shawna and Thea are working together on a math project for their eighth-grade class. But the numbers don’t add up, and they make a startling discovery: a secret room in the basement of Thea’s house, an old Vermont inn. The code on the walls makes the girls and everyone in town wonder why there was a secret room. Was it part of the Underground Railroad, or perhaps something less, well, heroic? Discovering the truth is harder than they would have thought, especially when the truth is not what some people want to hear. From the author of The Darkness Under the Water.
Available at bookstores everywhere, and online (click HERE).