"Isadore's Secret" by Traverse City author Mardi Link offers a gripping, mesmerizing look at an intriguing, gruesome crime that place in a small northern Michigan town over a century ago.
It examines the mysterious disappearance of Sister Janine, a young nun, in the summer of 1907. Her body was discovered buried in the basement of her church over a decade later.
Although the book opens with a teaser, focusing on the discovery of the skeletal bones, it smoothly goes back and explores the history of the controversial case. The author begins with background information about Sister Janine's past, relating views on the nun's duties and work situation.
Link deftly examines the close association of the nun with the church's priest, Father Andrew Bieniawski as well her relationship with her physician, Dr. George Fralick. Sister Janine's sudden disappearance caused quite a stir and a huge concentrated search effort was coordinated.
Many residents of the local Polish community and nearby townspeople joined in the hunt but had no success. A bloodhound and his keeper had similar luck; Father Andrew offered a handsome reward.
Rumors abounded – some said Sister Janine had left the area with a man, other implied that she had returned home to members of her family.
Father Andrew was considered innocent – he was on a fishing trip when Sister Janine turned up missing. But Stanislawa "Stella" Lipczynska, his longtime housekeeper, was under suspicion. She had distinctly negative opinions about Sister Janine and her bad influence upon Father Andrew.
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Monday, October 19, 2009
Northern Michigan author takes a look at another cold case
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