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The Trial Was A Farce

Rosey Dow Author Interview

Reaping the Whirlwind follows a deputy sheriff in a small town who is investigating a series of seemingly unrelated mysterious deaths. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

My family attended a seminar at the University of Delaware and the presenter said as an aside (it had nothing to do with the topic of the seminar), “The Scopes Trial was a complete farce. Nothing you have heard about the trial was true.” That spurred me to find out more. I immediately went to the library and checked out the biographies of William Jennings Bryan, Clarence Darrow, and John Scopes. They all agreed. The trial was a farce. That was enough to get me started.

What kind of research did you do for this novel to ensure you captured the essence of the stories theme?

Aside from reading the biographies, I purchased the trial transcript and traveled to the town, Dayton, Tennessee, twice. There I scoured through their local history archives and watched video accounts of people who had actually attended the trial. I also consulted with Scopes Trial expert Dr. Richard Cornelius in his office. Dr. Cornelius read the completed manuscript as well to assure that the account was factual.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Every life has value, whether the person has challenges or not. Just because something is in the news as a major event, that doesn’t mean what people are seeing and hearing is actually true.

What is the next story that you’re writing and when will it be published?

Thanks for asking. My next book is coming out in the fall of 2023. Titled SHAKEN BUT NOT STIRRED, it is a paranormal mystery set in northern Pennsylvania. You may read sample chapters at this link.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

No one suspects foul play when an old recluse dies behind locked doors. 
The doctor claims the old woman’s heart gave out, and Deputy Sheriff Trent Tyson doesn’t give the case another thought until the medical examiner finds poison. 
This death is just one in a series of unusual deaths happening in Tyson’s quiet town, which takes the deputy sheriff on the hunt for answers while the rest of the town is cause up in local hysteria, starstruck by visiting celebrities William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow. Within a week, Deputy Sheriff Trent Tyson is on the tenuous trail of a serial killer who snuffs out the unwanted, the disabled—the most helpless and lovable—without reason and with no mercy. 
Reaping the Whirlwind is a historical mystery set during the real events of the Scopes evolution trial in 1925 Dayton, Tennessee. The mystery weaves through trial events in an accurate portrayal of this pivotal case that forever changed the U.S. education system.

Reaping the Whirlwind

Dr. St. Clair claims that Mrs. Ida Johnson died from a heart attack, but her broken tea cup and tansy weed on her kitchen table tell another story. The apparently natural deaths of a homeless man, a congenitally disabled child, and others that followed right after her raise questions about what is happening in the town. Trent Tyson, the town’s deputy sheriff, struggles to disclose the cold-blooded murder while maintaining the peace during The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes. Reaping the Whirlwind by Rosey Dow is a murder mystery rooted in the historical Scopes trial, in which a physics teacher is accused of teaching evolution to his class against the newly enacted law that prohibited the teaching of evolution in high schools.

Author Rosey Dow has done an excellent job of blending the fictional murder mystery with the events of the Scopes trial. The murder mystery is well-written and suspenseful, and it kept me guessing until the end. Unfortunately, there was no link between the murders and no motive strong enough behind them, and it spun my head around as to who could be the murderer.

It shed a lot of light on people’s lifestyles in the twentieth century, and I found it to be very similar to small-town culture today, with some differences. The concise and analytic representation of the trial indicates the painstakingly thorough research that Dow has done. The reaction of the residents and business community is well depicted and demonstrates their efforts to attract tourists and businesses to Dayton. The book’s clean romance between Trent Tyson and Nessa McKenzie is my favorite thing. However, this book could have been more fast-paced, but I enjoyed the introduction of all the characters, from boarding house owner Mrs. McKenzie to town gardener Elmer Bentley.

Reaping the Whirlwind is a captivating historical fiction novel and mystery story. Readers interested in the Scopes Trial of 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee, will enjoy this fictional take on the case of teaching evolution and the historical ramification it had on the US. Education system. Fans of the murder mystery genre will also find it amusing.

Pages: 288 | ISBN : 163698052X

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