9781595710345

Compass in the Blood

Jr., William E. Coles

ISBN 10: 1595710345 / 1-59571-034-5
ISBN 13: 9781595710345
Publisher: Word Association
Publication Date: 2004
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis:
According to the 1902 newspapers, it was the most bizarre and sensational crime in Pittsburgh history. Katherine Soffel, the wife of the warden of Allegheny County Jail, fell hopelessly in love with one of two brothers awaiting execution in her husband’s prison and helped them escape by smuggling in saws and guns. Then, deserting her marriage and four young children, she fled north with the fugitives in a stolen sleigh. The next day, the three were apprehended by a posse and the boys were shot to pieces. Mrs. Soffel recovered from her wounds, but was sent to prison, divorced by her husband, and forced to live out her life in humiliation.

Now, nearly a century later, Dee Armstrong as a high school senior writes an award-winning term paper on the Soffel case, drawing the attention of Harriet "Harry" Bromfield, a flamboyant and controversial local T.V. journalist. There is evidence, Harry tells Dee, that Mrs. Soffel kept a secret prison diary in which a shockingly different account of the escape is detailed. Would Dee like to help find it? Despite warnings from her feisty roommate Megan and her artist boyfriend Cory that she may be being used, Dee jumps at the chance, convinced that it is an opportunity for fame and fortune, only to find herself torn by conflicting loyalties and caught in the middle of a conspiracy she could never have imagined.

Basing his novel on a real crime and the many unanswered questions surrounding it, William Coles brilliantly blends fact and fiction to create this compelling mystery.

William E. Coles, Jr., native to the hills, valleys, and history of western Pennsylvania by spiritual adoption, has for a number of years taught English with his wife Janet at the University of Pittsburgh. Author of many books and articles on the teaching of writing and literature, he has published three young adults novels with Simon and Schuster/Atheneum: Funnybone in 1992 (with Stephen Schwandt. Voted Publishers’ Pick of the Lists), Another Kind of Monday in 1996 (an ALA best book for young adults and voted Best Books for the Teen Age by the New York Public Library), and Compass in the Blood in 2001.