Cagney Nowak is writing a novel around the 1905 shooting death of baseball legend Ty Cobb's father, William, by his mother a week before Ty was called up by the Detroit Tigers. Although she was acquitted by an all-male jury on the grounds that the incident was accidental, the townspeople of Royston, Georgia, thought otherwise.
Gossip had it that Amanda Cobb, at age thirty-three - and twenty years her husband's junior - was having an affair and that William, having told her he was going out of town on business, returned to catch her with her lover. At her trial, the questions were never raised as to why she had locked her second story window on a hot August night, or why she'd shot twice - surely she knew, after firing the first barrel of her shotgun, at whom she was shooting?
A boyhood friend of Ty's was first on the scene that night, claiming years later that he knew that Amanda had had a lover with her that night, and that he even knew who it was...
When Cagney begins to relive the night of the shooting in his dreams, more than a century later and in the guise of Amanda Cobb, he is led to discover his father's deepest secret.
More than a mystery, The Cobb Legacy is the story of a man's efforts to connect with his dying father, a World War II veteran suffering from what today is known as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and to come to terms with his obsession over the Cobb legacy as well as his own adulterous affair and impending divorce, while doubting that love with an old friend can be his.
Royston, Georgia, August 8, 1905
“They killed him when he was still young. They blew his head off the same week I became a major-leaguer. He never got to see me play. Not one game, not an inning. But I knew he was watching me ... and I never let him down. Never.”
—Tyrus Raymond Cobb
Amanda had just loosened the belt on her robe when she heard a creak from the balcony outside the second story bedroom window. Her oldest boy was playing baseball in Augusta, while the younger two, another son and a daughter, were at friends’ houses.
She retied her robe and quickly stepped, barefoot, over to the bed, where she squatted and felt under the bed for the double-barreled shotgun her husband kept for protection; William was out of town on business. Standing, Amanda strained to cock first one barrel and then the other on the heavy shotgun. Struggling to aim the twin at the window, she tilted her head to listen, over the rush of running water from the bathroom, for sounds from the balcony. She heard a faint scratching at the window and was grateful that she’d had the foresight to lock the doors and windows.
A moment later, the round, white face of William appeared at the glass.
The water suddenly stopped its mad rush and silence, as it often did, filled the void between Amanda and William.
William appeared startled by the sight of his wife armed with the shotgun, but then Amanda watched her husband’s gaze move from the twin barrels aimed at his midsection to a place just over her right shoulder. A moment later his dark eyes narrowed on Amanda’s face.
The pane of glass now separating them, save for its transparency, seemed, to Amanda, a sort of metaphor for what their marriage had become. Meeting her husband’s anger bravely, Amanda felt a corner of her mouth twitch and rise slightly. Too late, William realized his grim fate.
Amanda savored, for a moment, the transition from stern cruelty that normally resided on her husband’s face to fear before she pulled the first trigger. Recoiling from the blast, she heard the shattering of glass and saw a gaping red hole appear in William’s abdomen.
William stumbled backward, landing hard against the balcony railing, and stutter-stepped forward again with a groan, framed within the remnants of the window. The pistol with which he’d armed himself for the occasion clattered to the balcony.
Amanda pulled the second trigger, and the top of William’s head exploded.
Turning to look behind her, to where her husband had confirmed the town’s talk of her duplicity, Amanda told her lover, “You need to go, quickly. There’ll be questions.”