Mystery at Salt Marsh Bridge - Chapter One
edited: Sunday, June 04, 2006
By John M. Prophet
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Sunday, June 04, 2006
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Chapter 1 An Interesting Bit of News
Chapter One of my book begins with Casey Miller stomping out of the principal's office at his school. He is angry and defiant. The reason for his defiance is his frustration about a promise he made to a friend in Shorewood where he used to live. This is an exaggeration of a feeling I had when I was about 10 years old. One of my friends, Billy King, (real person) died when he fell off the roof of the Barker Lumber Company in Waltham, MA. He and some of my other friends, including Bobby King, Billy's younger brother, broke into the lumberyard (reason unknown). For a time, no one had a straight story about this. Rumors flew that Billy may have been murdered, but the rumors were disspelled by the announcement that death was accidental. I have taken liberties with this event by having Bobby (Keith in my book) make Casey promise not to tell the police or anyone about Bobby's involvement in the break-in which meant that if anyone, including the police, quizzed Casey about the case, Casey would have to lie. Shortly after this event, Casey moves from Shorewood to Elm Grove (a fictionalized Scituate, MA where I lived for 30 years). He carries this baggage with him and thus he becomes socially outcast and his personality changed from friendly to angry. I invented the plot about the missing girl, Ann Robertson. In order to get Casey into the case, I also invented a newspaper article from 1898 and stuck it in an old cupboard which Casey had to use because all of the metal lockers in the school were taken. This was my way of getting Casey and Lexie together. Lexie is also new to Elm Grove having moved from San Francisco and she had to use a similar cupboard parked next to Casey's. Though Casey is angry, he sees Lexie as someone he'd like to meet. Casey's personality, size, etc. are from my son, Glenn. Lexie's characteristics come from my two daughters, Jill and Martha. Glenn, growing up, was a risk taker. He rode a motor bike when he was eight years old. On the very day that we moved to the house on First Cliff in Scituate, on the ocean, Glenn took out our small dinghy (with sail) and got caught in a squall resulting in his capsizing and rescue. He came home soaking wet with no apparent effects. Just a day at the beach. Lexie's name came from the Internet, Alexandra. I have depicted Lexie as a child of mixed-racial, professional parents, father caucasian, a salesman for IBM, mother Black, the first Black woman to win an award for book illustration. My living in CA for 10 years taught me about tolerance for all races. Jill is artistic, Lexie aspires to follow in her mother's footsteps as an artist. Martha is a risk taker, with a bubbly personality. Lexie is Jill and Martha personified. Lexie feels like an outcast because she isn't interested in joining groups. There is a group of Black girls at the school, but she doesn't want to join them, or any group. So, Casey's and Lexie's friendship begins here. For the plot to develop, I needed to have Casey and Lexie track the history of the missing girl. Casey is curious about the newspaper article and shares it with Lexie. In the article, mention is made of a memorial plaque for Ann Robertson. In all of my books, I use the same method to get Casey and Lexie involved in a case. I introduce something of interest, something relatively benign, that arouses their curiosity. They cannot resist going deeper into a case. More on Chapter 2 to come.