Please welcome guest author and dear friend Camille Minichino, aka Margaret Grace, aka Ada Madison today. Camille Minichino is a retired physicist turned writer. She has three releases this spring: A re-issue of "The Hydrogen Murder" as an e-book; the second in the Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries, "The Probability of Murder" (by Ada Madison, March 6); and the sixth in the Miniature Mysteries, "Mix-Up in Miniature" (by Margaret Grace, April 2). Soon, every aspect of her life will be a mystery series.
I'm not one to dwell in the past. History—even my own—holds little interest for me.
Or so I thought, until I began writing the Miniature Mysteries.
series started out innocuous enough—after writing 8 novels set in my
real hometown of Revere, Massachusetts, I decided to avoid the annoying
comments about how Malden Street is now One Way and how the ice cream
shop hasn't been there for 20 years. I'd make up my own town; no one
could complain, and I wouldn't have to do research.
give my fictional town character, I named it Lincoln Point, California,
and gave its citizens an obsession with all things Lincoln. The streets
are named after people, places, and events in Lincoln's life
(Springfield Boulevard, Seward's Folly Café, the Mary Todd Hospital);
government buildings feature quotes at the portals ("Government of the
people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the
Earth"); and—most fun of all—there's a reenactment every year of one of
the Lincoln-Douglas debates.
Before I knew it, I was digging into Lincoln lore. I read Doris Kearns
Goodwin's "Team of Rivals," Janis Cooke Newman's "Mary: Mrs. A.
Lincoln," plus all the sites and bits floating in and around Wikipedia.
Maybe I caught the bug from my blog hostess and good friend, Ann
Parker, who always looks so happy and excited when she's doing research
or reporting on it!
the third in the series, "Malice in Miniature," I got lost in the text
of the fifth debate, held at Knox college in Galesburg, Illinois.
struck me even more than the content—the expansion of slavery into the
then territories—was the format of the debates: one candidate spoke for
60 minutes, then the other spoke for 90 minutes, and finally, the first
candidate was allowed a 30-minute "rejoinder."
little different from the campaigns of today! Are today's voters lazy?
Shallow? Suffering from short attention spans? Or are they being
underestimated in terms of their ability to listen to political
That's probably another blog.
different as the format and the content of the Lincoln-Douglas were
from today's debates, I found surprising resonances in the arguments.
Here's Lincoln 150+ years ago:
us discard all this quibbling about this man and the other man—this
race and that race and the other race being inferior, and therefore they
must be placed in an inferior position . . . Let us discard all these
things, and unite as one people throughout this land, until we shall
once more stand up declaring that all men are created equal."
another gem—Lincoln's take on a particular argument of Douglas: "it's
as thin as a homeopathic soup made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon
that had starved to death."
It makes you wonder if Lincoln might have turned to fiction if he'd lived longer!
research taught me some embarrassing things, also. Embarrassing to me,
that is, since I should have known that—what?—Lincoln lost that race!
And—what?—the debates were not recorded, so all we have are estimates
from various reporters about attendance, and—what?—there's no official
copy of the texts!
my book was completed, I realized I'd used about 5% of what I'd read
during my research. But I'd learned a lot and had a great time visiting
Is that what Ann has been trying to tell me? Who'd have thought?
------------------------------ You can find out more about Camille/Margaret/Ada and her books on her website at http://www.minichino.com