Monday, May 20, 2013

Coffee with a canine: Marianne Wesson & Mo and Amos

Today's featured trio at Coffee with a Canine: Marianne Wesson & Mo and Amos.

The author, on how the dogs got their names:
Mo was named by my husband Ben; his real name is Monster. Ben had just gotten a Ducati Monster motorcycle and was very infatuated with it. But the dog lasted much longer than the bike, and these days we just call him Mo. Or Mojo, Mo-man, and any other stupid two-syllable name that starts with Mo-. Or Mope, when he is wearing that dejected dog look like he is just so very disappointed.

Amos is named in a tradition of rechristening the Pyrenees after we get them home from the rescue shelter. His name was Aramis, like the Musketeer (and the aftershave). But that was just way too pompous a name for a ranch dog, so we tried to find a better name that would sound enough like Aramis that he’d know we were talking to him. (He’s deaf now, so it probably doesn't matter what we call him. Unless he can lip-read, which is possible.) We had to go through...[read on]
About Wesson's new book, A Death at Crooked Creek: The Case of the Cowboy, the Cigarmaker, and the Love Letter, from the publisher:
One winter night in 1879, at a lonely Kansas campsite near Crooked Creek, a man was shot to death. The dead man’s traveling companion identified him as John Hillmon, a cowboy from Lawrence who had been attempting to carve out a life on the blustery prairie. The case might have been soon forgotten and the apparent widow, Sallie Hillmon, left to mourn—except for the $25,000 life insurance policies Hillmon had taken out shortly before his departure. The insurance companies refused to pay on the policies, claiming that the dead man was not John Hillmon, and Sallie was forced to take them to court in a case that would reach the Supreme Court twice. The companies’ case rested on a crucial piece of evidence: a faded love letter written by a disappeared cigarmaker, declaring his intent to travel westward with a “man named Hillmon.”

In A Death at Crooked Creek, Marianne Wesson re-examines the long-neglected evidence in the case of the Kansas cowboy and his wife, recreating the court scenes that led to a significant Supreme Court ruling on the admissibility of hearsay evidence. Wesson employs modern forensic methods to examine the body of the dead man, attempting to determine his true identity and finally put this fascinating mystery to rest.

This engaging and vividly imagined work combines the drama, intrigue, and emotion of excellent storytelling with cutting-edge forensic investigation techniques and legal theory. Wesson’s superbly imagined A Death at Crooked Creek will have general readers, history buffs, and legal scholars alike wondering whether history, and the Justices, may have misunderstood altogether the events at that bleak winter campsite.
Learn more about the book and author at Marianne Wesson's website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Marianne Wesson & Mo and Amos.

--Marshal Zeringue