By Lisa Karon Richardson
On December 12, 1910 a wealthy and fashionable young woman from New York’s Diamond set, went out for a walk and to do some shopping. She never returned.
Her name was Dorothy Arnold, and on paper at least she had everything to live for. She was a Bryn Mawr graduate and an aspiring writer. The last place she was seen was a bookstore where she mentioned her intention of walking home through Central Park.
At first her family tried to keep the disappearance on the down low. They weren’t too concerned for her safety because just a month before, Dorothy had eloped and spent a week with a young man named George Griscom, Jr.
But Griscom turned out to be in Italy.
As her absence became more worrisome her family engaged the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency and got the police involved as well. Her story became the proverbial media circus. Leads popped up all over the US and even abroad. Her father spent over $100,000 searching for her. Dorothy’s erstwhile suitor, Griscom also spent a small fortune trying to obtain information. But no one ever found her.
Everyone seemed to have a theory. Some thought she’d simply decided to chuck her “old” life and start anew. Rumors circulated of a secret pregnancy and travel to Switzerland. Many assumed she was dead.
Real-life stories like this one drive me crazy. I want closure. I want resolution. And that’s one thing that fiction often offers us (and which I appreciate.) When frustrated by stories that don’t end the way I think they should, I often rewrite them in my head. So maybe you can give me a hand with this one. What do you think happened to Dorothy? How would you wrap up the story?
Influenced by books like The Secret Garden and The Little Princess, LISA KARON RICHARDSON’S early stories were heavy on boarding schools and creepy houses. Now, even though she’s (mostly) grown-up she still loves a healthy dash of adventure in any story she creates, even her real-life story. She’s been a missionary to the Seychelles and Gabon and now that she and her husband are back in America, they are tackling a new adventure, starting a daughter-work church in a new city. Vanishing Act, the second in the Charm and Deceit, series co-authored with Jennifer AlLee, released in September 2013 as did “Midnight Clear,” part of the Mistletoe Memories collection.
Oh, poor Dorothy! The 21st-century-me doesn't think things ended well for her. Walking alone through the park...this might have been a robbery or abduction-for-ransom gone wrong.ReplyDelete
But the rest of me has decided she had become pregnant and her family insisted she go to Europe to have the baby secretly. Griscom was in agreement, having regretted their hasty elopement. However, Dorothy wanted to keep her baby, so she decided to start a new life. She pretended she was a widow and lived off the money she'd taken from her accounts earlier that week. Eventually, she let her parents know she was fine, and they were secretly able to visit her and the grandbaby. Then Dorothy fell in love with a dashing, honorable, honest man, and lived HEA.
Very interesting, Susanne. Give it a few twists, don't tell Griscom, and it'd be a great Secret Baby story.Delete
I like it Susie. Happy endings are my favorites,Delete
I love these kinds of stories, though I don't know what happened here. I'm in the "she was probably murdered and her body never found" camp, but Susie's tale is very intriguing, too. Much more satisfying than mine. :DReplyDelete
Or, DeAnna, the killer used chemicals to disintegrate the body like last week's Blacklist show. That was creepy.Delete
That episode of Blacklist was TOTALLY creepy!Delete
DeAnna, I guess I should have been more explicit in my post, because I completely prefer my endings to be closer.Delete
Oh dear. I'm in the 'She's dead, Jim' camp too.Delete
Robbery gone wrong. But then why would the bad guys not just leave the body? We need Charlotte Pitt on this story. A spurned lover abducted her and when she tried to fight him off, he broke her neck accidentally.
So how did he dispose of the body and why didn't his coachmen sell their story to the press?
Is this some type of personality test? ha ha.
Yes, it is a test. You failed.Delete
Just being silly. But really, that's it, an accident? Surely you can make it more nefarious than that? I know you. You do nefarious very well!
Lisa, you do dig up the most intriguing stories. And I like every single one of them.ReplyDelete
What amazes me is that it must have been an expert job if even the famous Pinkertons couldn't resolve the case. Hmmm... I wonder if she was involved in espionage is some way...
I know what you mean, Anita Mae. If even the Pinkertons couldn't get to the bottom of the case what hope did mere mortals like the police have?Delete
Creepy! Our local historical society just shared a story about a young woman and her brother/husband (no one knows which) who were suspected of multiple murders in Kansas in the late 19th century. Apparently she showed up in my hometown, opened a cafe with all the money she'd saved from the theft/murders, and lived to a ripe old age. WOW. To me, these are reminders that truth really IS stranger than fiction, and to stop discounting all the crazy ideas I want to put into my stories!ReplyDelete
Ha, Niki, that kind of weird history is the goes from sort of interesting to uncomfortable when it comes to our own town, huh!Delete