|The Reenactment is a murder mystery
about a modern serial killer who is recreating 19th century murders.
Forty-one year old Acie Luney McBride is an historian and genealogist. She can design an authentic Civil War uniform. She can describe the lynching of Corlew the Ravisher in detail and she can tell you exactly how to hang a man.
Just don't ask her what she had for breakfast!
The great-great-granddaughter of a frontier sheriff, Acie is fascinated by the crime of his era. When she finds a 21st century body on the site of an unsolved 1870 murder she is drawn into the search for the Reenactment Killer. She is also drawn into the lives of the law officers who are tracking him -- cranky Ogden Muldoon, wry Anna Kempe, haunted Brice Abreck and mischievous "Papa Bear" Jones.
The story plays out against the rolling hills and winding river valleys of rural Missouri. It is a deceptively peaceful place. The lovely countryside offers few reminders that here were the murder scenes and hanging fields of days gone by. The police investigating the murders are experienced and dedicated professionals. In the end, though, it is Acie who must face the madman, pitting her knowledge of the past against his in one final reenactment.
|Places in the Book|
While I did change details as needed and occasionally make up a location, most of the places actually exist. Two ghost towns mentioned, Rolles and Ham's Prairie, are both real and once stood where I located them. The two one-room schoolhouses mentioned in Benton county are fictional, but based on real schools.
One location mentioned in the book made the news in October of 2008 in an interesting way. This news photo shows President Obama, during his historic candidacy, appearing before an enormous crowd in St. Louis, MO. The white, Federalist-style building in the background with a copper dome is the historic Old Courthouse, now a museum. The news stories don't mention it (oddly, I thought) but the Old Courthouse was where the Dred Scott slavery case was first heard. Interesting, I thought, that the same building that once saw Black Americans denied personhood should survive to see President Obama on his way to the White House.
In The Reenactment, I hid a couple of bodies at the Old Courthouse, but it was nothing personal. I simply needed a landmark that could be relied on to have not moved in the last 150 years.
|Names in The Reenactment|
Acie Luney is an actual name. My oldest sister found it on an 1830s Kentucky census and mentioned it when we were thinking up silly baby names for one of my niece's children. It was only after I had it firmly associated with my female genealogist that my sister told me the original Acie Luney was a man!
The family name "Quackenbozo" is also a real name culled from an old census.
Pony Hill: An anonymous Vernon County, Missouri historian, writing in the 1880s about the 1867 murder of Brigadier General Joseph Bailey, told how one Thomas Ingram was lynched for helping the killers escape. He mentioned that Ingram was the husband of the woman who had been married to Pony Hill, the notorious geurilla.
Apparently his notoriety was a fleeting thing. I have checked every source I can think of and can find no other mention of Pony Hill. For some reason it seemed to me, when I was writing The Reenactment, that Pony Hill would make a good point for fact and fiction to converge.