Monday, October 31, 2005

Ghosts of the Upstate . . . & Downstate

Yes! We have our share of “haunts” here in upstate South Carolina. For our entries into the plethora of seasonal spookiness this day, might we submit our mysterious rocking chair at Limestone College in Gaffney, which rocks by itself? How about our vanishing woman in blue, observed at roadside by motorists near Blacksburg?

I’ve had the pleasure of lodging on occasion at the Inn at Merridun in Union, where other guests (not me, I’m sad to report) have attested to seeing both human and animal spirits.

These examples are slight, though. If you really want to dabble into southeastern supernatural lore, search for the Gray Man on the Internet. He’s certainly there . . . if nowhere else. . . .

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Six Stories Added to Vintage E-Book Collection

October additions to the "Vintage Short Mystery Classics" series of free e-book downloads include: "The Mystery of Essex Stairs" by Sir Gilbert Campbell, "Talma Gordon" by Pauline E. Hopkins, "The Sapient Monkey" by Headon Hill (Francis Edward Grainger), "Thrawn Janet" by Robert Louis Stevenson, "A Tale of the Great Plague" by Thomas Hood and "The Bravoes of Market-Drayton" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

All are noteworthy (in this editor's opinion—otherwise we wouldn't have taken the time to typeset and proofread them). You may find the last three named above to be of particular interest, though. Here we find Stevenson at his macabre best (as contrasted with "his swashbuckling best"); Doyle's "Bravoes" (not a Sherlock Holmes tale) is a bit unlike Doyle, in several respects; and Hood's "Great Plague," although you wouldn't guess it by the title, offers comic relief to an otherwise sobering series.

A total of 23 classic short stories of intrigue, mystery and crime now are available at the site. More are being added each month—and again, they're free.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Quotable Gems

I—like many of you, I'm sure—collect quotable quotes. Especially interesting to me are those from the pens of mystery authors. A few examples:

“Like fire or the sea, he was too simple to be trusted.”
—G.K. Chesterton, in “The Paradise of Thieves”

“No country is so wild and difficult but men will make it a theatre of war. . . .”
—Ambrose Bierce, in “A Horseman in the Sky”

“ ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ said I soothingly. ‘Jenkins, ring the alarm bell. . . .’”
—Pauline E. Hopkins, in “Talma Gordon”

I'll add more from time to time. Meanwhile, please share some from your own notebooks.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Lizzie Lore

An excellent online resource for modern-day investigators of the still-open 1892 Borden hatchet murder case is the project developed by the University of Massachusetts/Amherst’s History Department and Center for Computer-Based Instructional Technology. It’s at The site contains primary as well as secondary sources, including Edmund Pearson’s 1937 The Trial of Lizzie Borden.

Among the thousands of other Lizzie-related Web sites, two others you may find especially interesting are The Hatchet: Journal of Lizzie Borden Studies ( and the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast in Fall River, MA (