I have always been fascinated by secrets. I suspect I am not alone, and I specifically suspect that I am very much in likeminded company as I send these words out to you.
Ah, I see you agree, and yet you wonder how I know? Well, that will be my own little secret, for a moment or two, anyway.
I suppose one could argue that we are all naturally curious, one way or another. Many of us are most inclined to pick and poke at things, to find out why they are the way they are and what makes them tick – those who soon enough find themselves drawn to Engineering and Science, the tinkerers and mechanics and inventors...
Others are perhaps more enchanted by the locked gate, the closed door, the secret garden...
I would absolutely number myself among the latter. I can remember sitting with my parents in a downtown restaurant in the early 60's, and seeing some sort of three dimensional diorama on an opposing wall. I can still see it in my mind's eye to this day, fifty years later: it was a forest scene, populated (I believe) by an unmoving deer or two, and in retrospect probably not very much to look at – but to my five or six year old eyes it was a thing of wonder, a gateway to another land. I was absolutely convinced that one could, if one wished, actually step into the diorama, and wander off into the very real forest which I was firmly convinced lay just beyond.
I leave to your imaginations the scene that ensued as I was firmly led out of the restaurant, my pleas for a closer look unheeded...
It says something that I recall that moment so vividly to this day.
I have continued to be captivated by Things of Mystery ever since. Mention a lost room, hidden panel or family secret and I am hooked!
And so, I suspect, are you, and now I will tell you how I know such a thing.
For what is more delightfully mysterious than a book? It sits before you at first, newly acquired and unopened, its contents presumably a mystery, its characters as yet strangers, its secret draughts of laughter or tears as yet unknown and untasted – and yet, in a remarkably short time, you and this thing of mystery will have quite probably become the dearest of friends! It will no longer be possible to even imagine having ever lived in this wonderful old world without benefit of the wisdoms so newly gleaned from this most recent of reads.
Ah, that is magic indeed – and the best sort of mystery: the Unread Book. And, as you are all almost certainly lovers of the printed page, I say again that I strongly suspect I am very much in like-minded company.
All of which originally led to the original version of our tale from May 2011: the tale of that secret place rife with rumor, and right at our collective doorstep: the Vanderlip Mansion.
Due to our rather limited space, nearly all of the introduction above had to be scrapped at the time. Now at last I give it to you as originally conceived: a wanderer from the recent past, delighted to at long last set down his weary pack, and take a seat at the table.
And so to you all, whether you seek out devils or angels, westerns or romance, travels through deepest space or into the smallest towns, remember that we lovers of books are all of us detectives, all seeking new delights that even now await us, so close at hand, a mere turn of the page away, behind each unread cover on every shelf at your favorite nearby book store...
Happy Summer Reading!