Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Abe Lincoln - Mystery Writer

Abraham Lincoln's name has been bandied about quite freely of late, thanks to Barack Obama. While most literate people throughout the world know that Honest Abe had few if any peers when it comes to writing speeches, only a handful are aware that he was a mystery writer. Abe, a great admirer of the works of Edgar Allan Poe, entered the field in 1846 when the Trailor Murder Mystery was first published. In 1952 it was reprinted in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and again in 1977 in Murder Ink.
The story began: In the year 1841, there resided at different points in the State of Illinois, three brothers by the name of Trailor. Their Christian names were William, Henry and Archibald. Archibald resided at Springfield, then as now the seat of government of the State. He was a sober, retiring, and industrious man, of about thirty years of age; a carpenter by trade, and a bachelor, boarding with his partner in business - a Mr. Myers.
Now far be it from me, being the kindly, uncritical gentleman that I am, to criticize the work of another writer, but that is not the most scintillating beginning to a mystery I have ever read. I feel quite safe in saying that had it been submitted to Ellery Queen as having been written by Joe Blow from Kokomo it would have quickly moved from the slush pile to an envelope marked return to sender. That would have been true even had the editors not discovered that despite the title there actually was no murder involved. The final paragraphs revealed that the supposed victim had gone nuts and was found aimlessly wandering about.
Another of the great presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was an avid reader of mysteries, so he too tried his hand at writing them. He couldn't come up with an ending so he sent the manuscript to six prominent writers of the day. Each wrote an ending and the result was published in 1939 in Liberty magazine. Twenty-eight years later it was published in book form with yet another ending by Earle Stanley Gardner.
The moral of the story is that presidents should stick to presidenting and let mystery writers do the writing. The field is crowded enough as it is.


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