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Non-Fiction

Is This the Most Important Criminal Investigation Development Since DNA?

The methods used to investigate crime have evolved considerably over time… fingerprint analysis dates back to the 1880s, and the roots of forensic toxicology go all the way back to the first century, but most think of DNA evidence as the most effective tool in the investigator’s tool chest. The use of DNA evidence is […]

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Non-Fiction

So Many Secrets, part 9: Lost in the Rain

It’s been a long time since I’ve published a new chapter, and there are a number of reasons for that. I started this chapter one night last fall, just as a storm began to roll in. It was just before sundown and the sky was dark and featureless, mostly a flat gray, but just as […]

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Non-Fiction

So Many Secrets, part 8: A Burden on the Family

If someone in your family had fourteen children and seven of them died before the age of two, what would be your first thought? I discovered two ancestors, my Great Great Grandfather and Grandmother, Joseph Maltby and Anna Simpson, had fourteen children in the span of about 25 years, between the mid-1870s and early-1900s, and […]

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Non-Fiction

So Many Secrets, part 7: Sink or Swim

I was in my bed reading a book when I heard the back door close. It was after bedtime on a weeknight and I was supposed to be asleep. I don’t recall if my mom was in bed or working at the time, but my dad had been out having a couple beers, and when […]

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Non-Fiction

So Many Secrets, part 6: A Walk in Brandywine Park

In 1915, a dozen eggs cost about 34 cents, a gallon of milk was 18 cents, and that pound of coffee you’d pay 8 to 10 dollars for today cost just 30 cents. Dedicated gas stations were a new phenomenon and gas was sold mostly as a side-business by drug stores. Canned beer had not […]

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Non-Fiction

So Many Secrets, part 5: Playing with Fire

If you were to ask my mom when was the first moment she worried that I might be headed down the wrong path, maybe to a life of crime, she would have a couple events to choose from. She might tell you about the time in the summer before I entered 3rd grade when I […]

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Non-Fiction

So Many Secrets, part 4: A Midnight Run

In the summer of 1957, a just-founded independent film company shot their first feature film in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in the small communities of Downingtown, Phoenixville, and several others. The movie was intended to be a low-budget scream feature to satisfy teenage drive-in audiences, and the title changed at various points in its development — […]

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Non-Fiction

So Many Secrets, part 3: Murder in Michigan

I was just a kid, maybe 7 years old, when my mom first told me about my uncle Jimmy. Apparently we met once when I was just a baby, but I was too young to remember. He was my mom’s older brother — half-brother in truth, because he had a different father — and had […]

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Non-Fiction

So Many Secrets, part 2: A DNA Match

It was Christmas of 2016 when my wife, Rebecca, bought me an Ancestry DNA kit. She’s a genealogy nut and knew I was interested in tracing my family tree one day. In all honesty, I didn’t think I would come up with much because my family background is rough.

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Non-Fiction

So Many Secrets: A Family Story

The last time my mother saw her father was the day the police came to take him to jail. It was two weeks before Christmas, December 11, 1956, and a warmer than average day in Chester, Pennsylvania, a city on the northwest bank of the Delaware River, about midway between Philadelphia and Wilmington. The mercury […]