New year rewards sleuthing in a big way


“While they talked they remembered the years of their youth, and each thought of the other as he had been at another time.”
~ John Williams, Stoner

Taking a holiday break the last couple of weeks paid off in aces.

Those who follow this blog are aware of my efforts over the last two years to craft my third historical novel, SCAM. Like my previous works, my manuscript is inspired by a true story, in this case one of international intrigue. The story came to my attention via a young woman, Margaret Corey, that I met while we served as members of the Rancho de los Peñasquitos community planning group in San Diego over 30 years ago.

She is the real life daughter of a con artist, counterfeiter, and Casanova, who serves as the touchstone for the main character of my tale. I had made a promise to Margaret three decades back to do something with his story, the one she had so freely shared about a father she had met only once, when she was eleven. I diligently crafted ten pages of copy; then life intervened. Now, I’m finally fulfilling that pledge.

All the research I conducted to complete SCAM, however, felt hollow, because I had failed in a primary focus of my investigation: finding Margaret. I had lost touch with her in the late 1980s and was unable to relocate her despite a sleuthing effort that entailed contacting her father’s publisher, family members I identified through web searches, written exchanges with a niece and shirttail relative, and an electronic message directed to her but never answered.

A few days ago, with a completed manuscript put to bed, I made one last attempt to find her. I retraced old steps, sent another blind message into cybersphere, crossed my fingers, and anticipated what previous efforts had generated: nothing.

Then, on New Year’s Day, I received a brief e-mail: “Yes. I’m on Facebook, also. Margaret Corey.”

Earlier this morning, we chatted by phone for the first time in over thirty years. I was delighted to finally renew our connection and to hear her voice again. As we chatted, I remembered our conversations from decades ago, and I couldn’t help but imagine her and hear her as she had been at another time.


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