Elderly Jonathan Lydell III is proud of his family history. He is related to the Virginia Lees (both Light Horse Harry Lee and Robert E. Lee) and to the Custis family (the decendents of Martha Custis Washington). These connections don't seem to matter to the current generation. But for Lydell, family, status, and history are the only realities - that and his antebellum house. Lydell's house has a very colorful history. And Lydell is committed to restoring the home to its pre-Civil War configuration, complete with a ''stranger room.'' In the 1800s, many family homes sported attached stranger rooms that had separate entrances and locks, and were kept ready for unknown travelers. The intent was to protect the family from unsavory guests. But what of the travelers? Nearly 150 years ago, an inexplicable murder took place inside the Lydell's locked stranger room. The murderer was never caught. Lydell thinks this brutal history just adds to the house's rich character. But when an identical murder is committed in the newly restored stranger room, even Sheriff Ike Schwartz and FBI agent Karl Hedrick can't explain it. Why would history repeat itself? Is there a simple explanation? Or does the Lydell family history hold the key to the mystery?
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December 18, 2009
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