By Angie Georgeff
Some bestselling authors are prolific, producing one or more books per month. Others take a year or more – or even a lifetime – to research and write a book. Sharyn McCrumb’s novels tend to appear just about as often as birthdays, so fans work up a pretty good appetite for them in between. Her latest opus, “The Unquiet Grave,” recounts the true story of a murder trial that hinged on the testimony of a ghost. More than 30 years after the verdict, the tale is told by Trout’s lawyer, James P. D. Gardner, who was the first black attorney to practice law in West Virginia. When we meet Mr. Gardner, he is confined to a segregated asylum because of a failed suicide attempt, but he still stands on ceremony.
It is 1897 in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. Pert and pretty Zona Heaster falls head over heels for blacksmith Erasmus Trout Shue. Trout is a once-divorced and once-widowed newcomer to the county with a 10-year-old daughter whom he never sees. Zona’s mother does not trust him, but Zona is 21 and determined to wed. She soon regrets her hasty marriage.
Mary Jane Heaster had been right to suspect Trout’s disposition. When Zona is found dead at the foot of the stairs within months of her wedding, her mother doesn’t believe it was an accident. After all, Trout’s second wife had died in a fall. Her doubts are confirmed when Zona’s ghost appears to her and tells her how she died. When Zona’s body is exhumed, her death is ruled a homicide and her husband is brought to trial.
The Board of Trustees of the Unicoi County Public Library will meet in the library lobby at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21. The public is welcome to attend. If you should require any special accommodations in order to attend the meeting, please call the library at 743-6533.
The autumnal equinox will occur this Friday afternoon, Sept. 22. The sun will shine directly on the equator and day and night will be nearly equal in length. The journey to winter will begin, but nature has not yet finished her work. There are still seeds to be distributed in readiness for next spring. Bring your kids to the library at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 20, for stories and songs about seeds. They will learn how nature prepares for her winter rest and for the new year full of promise that always lies ahead.