The past becomes the present

January 16, 2015

Hello, I’m Elizabeth Noble and my time on this blog, discussing A Barlow Lens, my latest release is about up. Dreamspinner Press is offering a 25%off coupon code good from now until Monday. The code is Noble0116 (case sensitive). Everyone commenting is eligible to win a free eBook copy of A Barlow Lens. I’ll announce the winner Sunday evening.

In the present day part of the book Val and Wyatt use a number of sources to look back into the past and solve a decades old mystery. I had to really think about how someone now would investigate a murder that took place about 90 years prior. Val and Wyatt had to get pretty crafty when digging up their facts. They used a few resources, old photographs, a museum and drawings from a school girl from the time.

Just like an astronomer uses a telescope and special lens as tools to exploring the night sky, Val and Wyatt used a number tools as well. What they discovered was how the lives of a street cop, a teacher and a gangster collided in 1927. The lives of Tom and Philip intertwined with Val and Wyatt’s years after their deaths.

Every life is a circle.

 

Excerpt:

After coffee and breakfast, Val looked much better and Wyatt definitely felt much better.

“Kevin destroyed all our evidence. How are we going to find out what happened?” Val asked. They sat at the table, and he was finishing a second cup of coffee. “From what we learned so far, I’m having a hard time believing it was Tom who started that fire. I want the end of the story.”

“I agree. That article you read, the one written by one of the surviving students, you said she disputed Tom being at fault,” Wyatt said.

“Yeah.” Val put his coffee cup down with a soft clunk. “Think she’s still alive?”

“I suppose it’s possible. If not, maybe we can track down a relative who might be able to shed some light on things.” He stood up, taking his phone. “I have to call Lily. We were supposed to meet her yesterday, and I want to make sure she’s all right and let her know we’re okay.”

It took them some serious searching, putting both training and skills to good use. Wyatt had years of experience researching and ferreting out useful bits of data from the most mundane sources. He was constantly impressed and surprised by Val’s ingenuity and downright creativity when it came to hunting facts and people on the internet. Val found sites and resources Wyatt would never have thought existed, let alone gone to while trying to locate someone.

They ended up spending a day at the police museum and city hall searching records, even enlisting Lily’s aide. She was able to aim them at documents kept at the museum and a local university containing a great deal about the woman who’d written the article as well as other pieces that had appeared in newspapers over the years. The woman had mounted a campaign to bring the story of what really happened to light, but it never seemed to happen.

It took considerable effort on all their parts, but finally there was a solid trail to be followed. While it didn’t lead to the little girl who grew into the woman who’d written the article, they did have a clear picture of who she was.

“Molly and her brother Dennis, who was three years older, survived the school fire,” Val said, reading Wyatt the notes and timeline they’d put together. “Molly was really an amazing woman. She grew up and married a Tony Petite a few years before we got into World War Two. He was in the Navy and stationed in Hawaii. They not only lived through Pearl Harbor, but she also survived the 1946 tsunami. He wasn’t in Hawaii at that time.”

“That is one lucky woman. She lives through a fire that killed more than survived, the bombing of a naval base, and a tsunami.” Wyatt settled in a chair. He’d bought some large pads of paper with adhesive strips on the back and watched as Val stuck them to the wall, making lists and drawing arrows from one thing to the next.

 

I have a number of old photos sitting in several boxes. Some of them are more than a century old and I love looking at them. Each one tells a story. Do you have any photographs or documents that give you clues into the lives of people living in the past?

3 Responses to “The past becomes the present”

  1. Angela says:

    Yes i have old photo’s of mostly relatives (grandparents, parents and aunts and uncles ec.) and it’s nice to look at those photo’s once in a while and remembering the people in them.

  2. Su says:

    We have quite an interesting collection of photographs and its fascinating to see the Victorian photos where everyone looks uncomfortable but so proper. When I was younger I used to shift threw all the photographs and documents and make up stories about who the people were they were. Recently I did find out more about one of my ancestors, who died in the 1st World War, from his uniform as I could identify his regiment and found out where he served.

    I enjoyed reading this extract and I often wonder what dangers may lurk when you try to find out more about things that happened in the past and those things that may want to be kept secret… :)

  3. Waxapplelover says:

    We don’t have anything very old, but just seeing pictures of grandparents I never met and my mother’s childhood help make her stories so much clearer.

    waxapplelover (at) gmail (com)

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