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A gripping account of the mysterious disappearance of a young nun in a northern Michigan town and the national controversy that followed when she turned up dead and buried in the basement of the church

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Copyright © 2009, University of Michigan. All rights reserved. Posted August 2009.

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Media Kit

  • Author Photo 1 .jpg. Photo credit Pete Morton.
  • Author Photo 2 .jpg. Photo credit Grand Traverse Insider.
  • Photo 1 .jpg. Holy Rosary Church, 1883. Courtesy Traverse Area Historical Society.
  • Photo 2 .jpg. Sexton Jacob Flees, Father Andrew (second from left), and two unidentified local men show off the spoils of a winter hunt. Circa 1910. Collection of Jack Sweeney.
  • Photo 3 .jpg. The only known photograph of Sister Mary Jamina. Courtesy University of Notre Dame Archives.
  • Photo 4 .jpg. Aerial view of Isadore, circa 1975. Courtesy Traverse Area Historical Society.
  • Photo 5 .jpg. Postcard featuring Stella Lipczynska, inside the Leelanau County Jail, Leland, MI, circa 1919. Collection of Dave Tinder.
  • Photo 6 .jpg. Grand Rapids Press coverage. Courtesy Traverse Area Historical Society.
  • Author Biography .doc
  • Hi-Res Cover .jpg
  • Press Release .doc

Description

"In Isadore's Secret, Mardi Link shines a journalist's lamp on this dark, quiet corner of Michigan's history, assuring that the tragic story of Sister Janina is not forgotten. Link's telling is fascinating and thorough, making a story you will not soon forget."
---Steve Lehto, author of Death's Door

A gripping account of the mysterious 1907 disappearance of a young nun in a northern Michigan town and the national controversy that followed when she turned up dead and buried in the basement of her own church.

Swinging planks of lantern light shine through the musty air and onto the dirt floor of the church basement. The oddly glowing rectangles syncopate over the damp ground and illuminate even the darkest, stooped-down corners of the space beyond. The only sound is the ragged breathing of two men, a young parish priest and a much older laborer. Aboveground these men belong completely to this place, in both body and soul. A glimpse of their faces anywhere in the sanctuary, the rectory, the school, the barn, or the gardens would be a welcome sight. But here below, these men of Isadore are interlopers. Only trespassers would sneak silently into the church's sloped underbelly without witness to carry out such a sinful and secret errand as this one. Despite their tools, and their lantern, and their resolve, neither is equipped for the task at hand or for what is to come.

Mardi Link, a former crime reporter, was named Antioch's Betty Crumrine Scholar for Creative Nonfiction in 2007. Her first book, When Evil Came to Good Hart, also published by the University of Michigan Press, spent four months on the Heartland Indie Bestseller List.

This true story was the basis for the Broadway play The Runner Stumbles and the film of the same name.

Front cover: Photograph of cemetery © John L. Russell, Great Lakes Images; image of face ©iStockphoto.com/duncan1890.

Mardi Link, a former crime reporter, was named Antioch's Betty Crumrine Scholar for Creative Nonfiction in 2007. Her first book, When Evil Came to Good Hart, also published by the University of Michigan Press, spent four months on the Heartland Indie Bestseller List.

 

 

Watch: Book trailer

 

Watch: Mardi Link discuss the Emmet County Cold Case on 9&10 News

 

Listen: UMP Author Podcast Series: Mardi Link | MP3 | October 2009

Read: Interview with the Author | MLive.com | 7/26/2010 Read: Author Q&A on Wonders & Marvels | 05/01/2010 Read: Review Capital News Service | 4/23/2010 Read: Review Record-Eagle | 2/8/2010 Read: Review Night Light Review | 1/6/2010 Read: Review A2 Journal/Heritage Newspapers | 12/10/2009 Read: Review on CLEWS | 11/30/2009 Read: Review on Marta's Meanderings Blog | 11/30/2009 
Read: Review CLEWS | 10/6/2009
Read: Review Grand Rapids Press | 10/4/2009
Read: Q&A with Mardi Link | PDF | 10/1/2009
Read: Article Traverse City Record-Eagle | 9/25/2009