Friday, April 2, 2010


Years ago, I visited Natchez, Mississippi for the fifth or sixth time and picked up a book describing an unsolved murder that had occurred there during the early 1930’s. I was so intrigued that I returned to New Iberia, Louisiana and began sketching out a fictional account of the murder. That story simmered at least twenty years before I finally decided to flesh out the manuscript and produce GOAT MAN MURDER.

In this story, Miss Josephine Meredith, a stingy spinster living in Natchez, MS, is visited by her first cousin, Donald Majors, every night, for over twenty years in her home, Meredith Manor. She seems to live in a “time warp” of the 1890’s when Natchez was more affluent and her father, a diplomat, scheduled grand balls in her honor and took her abroad to dance at St. James Court in England.

Miss Meredith’s neighbors, Jonathan Darrow, the “goat man,” who runs around in the woods in a gunny sack, and Miss Livy, a former poetess, cause her grief because their goats cross the boundary line between Meredith Manor and Glendarrow, a decaying antebellum mansion. The goats challenge Miss Meredith’s sharpshooting skills, and her killing of Glendarrow’s prize goats inspires a lot of resentment and murderous feelings in the “goat couple.”

When Miss Meredith is found, feet up, in the brush between Glendarrow and Meredith Manor, Jonathan and Miss Livy become prime suspects. But so is Penelope, Donald Majors’ eccentric sister who spends days floating around in a white peignoir in the cupola of their home contemplating suicide because Donald loves Miss Meredith.

Law officers in Pine Bluff, Arkansas turn up the weapon and body of “Old Tin,” a black man who worked for Miss Meredith. Everything points to Old Tin as the murderer. Jonathan and Miss Livy are released from jail, but Jonathan goes beserk and is confined to an asylum where he confesses that he not only killed his father, The Rev. Darrow, he hired Old Tin to murder Miss Josephine. However, Donald also makes this claim and jumps to his death from Penelope’s cupola.

Penelope joins Jonathan in the asylum and falls in love with her psychiatrist, Dr. Redding. Redding wonders who really killed Miss Josephine, and so will readers of this unsolved murder based on an actual crime that took place in Natchez, MS in the 1930’s.

Ben Blanchard, my young artist friend, did a watercolor for the cover of GOAT MAN MURDER, shown above, and my grandson, Martin Romero, tweaked the painting and designed front and back covers of the book. This mystery should be available on later this month.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

sounds fascinating.