ABOUT THE REAL SAM WAH (Behind Cold Midnight):
SAM WAH, 1846-1921: Mr. Wah was born in North China in 1846; despite 1882's "Chinese Exclusion Act" passed by the U.S. Congress, he arrived in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, in 1886. Here he established a laundry business in a basement shop space on Railroad Street, between two other "service" shops. He probably slept in his shop, but he wasn't always there -- at the noon dinner hour he would join other business owners at the Shelburne Restaurant, across the street from the railroad depot. And on a regular basis, he hosted the local "endless poker game," in one of the rooms at the New Avenue Hotel. Thus, he was appreciated by both the women and men of St. Johnsbury!
Even at age 75, Sam Wah wore traditional Chinese clothing and the long braid, called a queue, that marked his submission to China's emperor. Two days after Christmas 1921, his body was found on the floor of his shop -- apparently his money had been stolen and he'd been killed with a blow of one of the heavy "flatirons" from the laundry area.
The town protested his death, and the newspaper and the ministers proclaimed that justice should be served; Mr. Wah was a local resident and also a Christian. The town hired Detective James Woods of Boston (already known for his work in Vermont) to investigate. After many days of "an announcement is about to be made," Detective Woods left town and the crime was never officially solved.
in COLD MIDNIGHT, Claire and Ben find one set of reasons for that situation. Is it the real reason? Probably not! But somehow there must be an explanation, including a reason that the St. Johnsbury business community took a collection to buy a plot at the local cemetery for Mr. Wah, as well as the stone that marks the place even today.
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Ready to meet two girls solving a mystery?
THE SECRET ROOM -- an adventure in a Vermont village.
Have you always wanted to find a secret room? Solve a code? Discover the hidden truth? Shawna and Thea have - and they do it!
See the VIDEO and the AUTHOR INTERVIEW -- even buy the book for yourself or your best friend when you’re ready -- at www.thesecretroombook.com
Shawna and Thea are working together on a math project for their eighth-grade class. But the numbers don't add up, and they make a startling discovery: a secret room in the basement of Thea's house, an old Vermont inn. The code on the walls makes the girls and everyone in town wonder why there was a secret room. Was it part of the Underground Railroad, or perhaps something less, well, heroic? Discovering the truth is harder than they would have thought, especially when the truth is not what some people want to hear. From the author of The Darkness Under the Water, Beth Kanell's new novel is written for young adults ages 10 and up.
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An Exciting Review! Thank you, Howard Frank Mosher!
“American history, friendship, family ties, nature, community. These are some of the themes that Beth Kanell explores in this beautifully written and ever-so-timely novel. The Secret Room is at once a superb, young-adult suspense story, and one of the best, and most realistic, literary mystery novels I've ever read. At its heart are two wonderful young friends and not-so-amateur detectives, Thea and Shawna. What they learn about themselves, their community, and their state and country, past and present, will astonish and delight you. The Secret Room is a masterwork in which every sentence is lovingly crafted and written straight from the heart.” --Howard Frank Mosher, novelist, author of Disappearances; Where the Rivers Flow North; A Stranger in the Kingdom; Walking to Gatlinburg; and more.
FRESHEST NEWS HERE! Contact me, learn more about The Darkness Under the Water (and Vermont’s dark eugenics history), or check out this week’s writing work, all at http://bethkanell.blogspot.com