I am often asked about how I came up with the Magic City Murder Deja Vu story line. Even those that have read the book ask if the Hawes murder story in the book is true. It is! As a matter of fact almost every word of that part of the book is pulled from the public records of old newspaper stories and court records from 1888. The modern day part of the book, is of course, totally fiction.
It all started with my reading a post on Facebook from one of the many historical groups I follow. I cannot remember which one and I have since gone back to try and locate the post, but haven't found it. It was avery brief summary of the accounts of the case and trial and as I read it, I looked out the fourth story window of my office that looks directly across Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. North (Formerly 21st Street) at the alley that in 1888 ran between the County Courthouse and the jail. That part of the alley is now the entrance to the parking garage of a large office building that now stands where the courthouse did in 1888. The Downtown YMCA now stands where the jail did. Out of my window I can still see the First Presbyterian Church on the corner of 4th Avenue and beyond the office building across the street I can see the ornate rooftop of Saint Paul's Cathedral. Both were there in 1888 as the story unfolded. As I read the account in the post it occurred to me that this all played out on the street below more than a hundred and twenty-five years ago! I was hooked and had to know more and so the research began into the Hawes murder case. The story, although not widely known, had been well told so I didn't want to simply retell it, so it became the backdrop to a modern day crime story.