A Skeleton and a Slave Diary Hidden in the Basement

Annie Young, a Third Culture kid, tech writer, amateur detective and historian is talking with us about her adventures. She is the heroine of my mystery available at various locations. She’s in her early thirties and has long red curly hair and a smile that’s never far from her lips. My goal was to talk to her about the various murders she discovered.

Me: How did you end up in Caleb’s Landing. After all you’d been living in Southern France and taking short-term tech writing assignments in various European cities.

Annie: My dad had sold his business and they were happy living in Geneva, but he had inherited this house in Caleb’s Landing from his aunt. My folks, who hadn’t lived in the States for at least 20 years, decided to spend a year there. I was between assignments and wanted to spend Christmas with them.

Me: What was it like?

Annie: Caleb’s Landing? A typical New England coastal town. In summer plenty of tourists, but the residents take over in winter. I loved it. In many ways it was like I’d imagined New England. My dad lined up with many of his buddies he knew because he’d spent summers there.

Me: But then you discovered a skeleton in a hidden room in the basement.

Annie: That was a shock. We thought it was a runaway slave because of the clothes and a diary by a slave. I was fascinated by the diary. We jumped to the conclusion it was part of the underground railroad. Then we realized there was a modern underground railroad under our noses, but not in the basement.

Me: I don’t understand.

Annie: One of the women got to know was Magda. What a force she was. She was running an underground railroad, so to speak, for abused wives.

Me: Didn’t you have some history project too?

Annie: One of my dad’s friends was upset at the quality of history taught in the schools. He was on the school board and hired me to create some material that went deeper than was being taught. That ended up to a be a major political problem. Between everything, it was nothing like the quiet family holiday I expected.

Me: It sounds like . . . 

Annie’s mobile rings. She apologizes and leaves the room to take the call. She is back in two minutes.

Annie: I’m sorry, I have to run. Can we pick this up another day?

Me: Of course.