Why is this a San Diego Book?
= Coronado Mystery =
1892 gaslamp noirtrue crime mystery and ghost legend - two fabulous books in one volumenew double (4th) edition 2016-17 on the 125th anniversary of San Diego’s famous legendremembering the tragic Beautiful Stranger’s violent and mysterious death at the Hotel del Coronado near San Diego.
First Book: Dead Move: Kate Morgan and the Haunting Mystery of Coronado (nonfiction; true crime cold case analysis). Based entirely on known, true history, with over 100 end notes and scholarly referenceshighly detailed, but entertaining for readers who love a puzzle. This is one of the most challenging you will ever encounter. Also available as a stand-alone.
Second Book: Lethal Journeya noir gaslight period novel closely based on Dead Move. Fast-paced, thriller material with that 19th century patina that takes you to California’s own cobblestone streets, dimly glowing gaslights, and shadowy figures moving in the kind of marine layer fog for which the West Coast is notorious. Also available as a stand-alone.
Publisher recommends: read Lethal Journey (the novel) first - it’s a fast-paced, atmospheric thriller closely based on history, with powerful characters (Kate Morgan, Lizzie Wyllie, John Longfield, John Spreckelsall true people alive in 1892). Then read Dead Move, which is crammed with fascinating, deeply researched evidence solving the case for the first time ever.
On Thanksgiving Day, 24 November 1892, a young woman (the legendary ‘Beautiful Stranger’) checked into the fabulous Hotel del Coronado, near San Diego, under a false name. Dazzling and elegant, she was thought by staff and guests to be a new and upcoming stage actress or socialite.
She was actually a poor factory girl from Detroit with stars in her eyes. She was also a ‘ruined woman’ (pregnant out of wedlock, condemned by Victorian society). Five days laterin a mysterious plot at the hotel that is now explained for the first time by John T. Cullenshe died violently and inexplicably of a gunshot to the head, on the back or beach stairs of the hotel, during one of the century’s most violent ocean storms.
Was it murder or suicide, and why? Instantly, her story became a national sensation in the Yellow Press, fueled by rumors of scandal with men in the highest circles. For the first time ever, penetrate the fog of myth, deception, and cover-up to learn the true story of the Beautiful Stranger. It is a story with not only local, but also national and global implications. Ultimately, it is a tragic and timeless woman’s story, of a ‘ruined woman’ driven to unbearable ends after her betrayal by those she loved and trusted. In death, she was laid out like a fallen princess—a true Victorian Fallen Angel, in the best tradition of the age, as exemplified in Thomas Hardy’s famous tragedy Tess of the D’Urbervilles.
This is a historical and scientific investigation that avoids speculative or paranormal considerations. While neutral on the supernatural, this book gives ghost believers a historical baseline for understanding how the ghost legend came to be.
In the larger historical framework, this 1892 true story dovetails with several other famous stories and people in world history. John Spreckels, who owned the hotel and was the target of this blackmail attempt gone wrong, was involved with family friend President Benjamin Harrison in desperate, last-minute negotiations to save the Spreckels corporate sugar fortune in Hawai'i and save the doomed Hawai'ian monarchy. Another tragic woman touching on this story was the beautiful young Crown Princess Victoria Ka'iulani who (it is said) died of a broken heart, age 24. The Crown Princess was also known as the Peacock Princess because, after her death, the peacocks on her estate began crying loudly and would not stop. Victoria, who was Scottish-Hawai'ian, was named after Queen Victoria in London, where the young woman was studying when rival U.S. corporations overthrew her government in January 1893.
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Two Books in One