If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that my mother and her family lived in Bacon’s Castle, a historic house in Surry, Virginia, when she was a young girl.
She and many of her family members continued to live in the community for the remainder of their lives. I grew up there, and, with the family history, “the Castle House” has always been special to me.
I’ve always remembered, as a pre-teen, reading a mystery novel that was loosely based on the house. The only thing I recalled about it was that it involved people who were traveling, and that my Aunt E had arranged for me to borrow the book.
All through the years, I’d hoped that I could find that book again, but without a title or author, there wasn’t much chance.
THEN….. a couple years ago, Aunt E died. She and her husband had no children, so their house and belongings were left to my Cousin. Last summer, I helped Cousin clean out the house. One day, we were going through some books and placing most of them in a stack for the thrift shop. But Cousin likes mysteries, so she put a few of those aside to take home.
Later that evening, she called me. She had begun reading a book and recognized all the similarities to Bacon’s Castle, including the picture on the book jacket. Not realizing this was the book I’d been hoping to find all these years, she just called to tell me about her “find . She had no idea what a find I would consider it to be.
Bacon’s Castle (“The Castle House” to locals):
Turns out, Skirts Of The Dead Night was written by a native of Surry. The copyright date is 1950.
What was even better than Cousin finding the book, was that Aunt E had two copies. We’re not sure why both of them escaped the thrift shop box; possibly because one had a book jacket, and one didn’t. Cousin, being the generous person that she is, gave both copies to me. Of course, I kept one, and gave one to my son, Marshall. I placed a search online on an out-of-print book site, which will notify me if a copy becomes available. I’m hoping to find one for my sister.
And I’m keeping an eye out at the thrift shops. I know of two copies that almost made it there.