Shadow on the Hill
by Diana Staresinic-Deane
Another area writer published a book about the same time I published mine. I "knew" Diana Staresinic-Deane from our local library. She used to work there; I still frequent there. We'd never really had a conversation, however, until we struck one up via email about the time our books were coming out.
Diana's was a fascinating project. Shadow on the Hill tells the true story of a 1925 murder that took place just one county east of here. Florence Knoblock was brutally murdered on May 30, 1925, and her husband was tried twice, but never convicted, for the deed. It was a heart wrenching story, vividly illustrated by the author who spent nearly three years researching to pull together the facts of the case.
I downloaded the book late on a Sunday evening and began reading. After only a few chapters, I remembered what a pansy I am. I got up to lock all the doors and windows in my house and had to find some fluff to read for a few hours before I could go to bed. Still, the opening chapters stuck in my dreams for several nights!
After that, I limited myself to daytime reading so I didn't carry the story into my dreams so completely.
Though the story is factual, bringing together countless newspaper articles, trial transcripts and interviews, it is told in narrative form. I found myself examining all the characters as they were introduced. I won't tell you who I think did it, but I loved the way Diana dropped in pieces of information and clues along the way. In fact, I spent a couple more hours reviewing the evidence once I finished the book!
Aside from the gory details of the murder, I also loved the glimpses of Emporia's past. As someone who has recently adopted Emporia as a hometown, the story filled in a lot of blanks for me regarding the status and reputation of William Lindsey White (who passed away in 1973), in particular.
I highly recommend Shadow on the Hill to both the history and the mystery buffs out there. It is a stellar combination of the two.