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True crime author Patrick Sawers to visit Dog Ears Bookstore

Jun 10, 2024 | Events | 0 comments

Patrick Sawers, author of the recently released Come With Me, his second work of historical nonfiction, will visit Dog Ears Bookstore & Café for a book-signing event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 22. The nonprofit community bookstore is located at 688 Abbott Road, Buffalo.

A true crime book, Come With Me is the story of an infamous unsolved crime that took place in Buffalo at the dawn of the 20th century.

This narrative is set when Buffalo is on the world stage for its most important historical event to date, the World’s Fair of 1901, also known as the Pan-American Exposition, where the nation’s well-heeled business owners and citizens gathered to marvel at the electrified buildings and walkways and discuss the latest inventions in the decorative temples of industry. Infamously, President William McKinley spoke at the event and was shot and killed there the next day. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as president when he arrived in town a few days later.

The Exposition was a financial failure, and the city licked its wounds over the winter and spring before dismantling and relocating buildings from the site in the summer of 1902. It was during this time that 5-year-old Marian Murphy was reported missing from her home near Days Park in Allentown. Ten days later, she was found dead in Forest Lawn Cemetery. The main suspect was Charley We, a Chinese immigrant who had established a laundry in the child’s neighborhood. But is he guilty, or is someone in her family responsible? 

“I was drawn to the story because of this time period,” said Sawers. “It’s the Pan-Am era, the world is watching, and the city is just coming into its own. Then, you have the McKinley assassination and the fair didn’t meet its financial obligations so the city was very conscious of the fact that it had a gray cloud over itself. And then, this terrible crime of an innocent child occurs and people are quick to judge. But, do they have the right man?”

Sawers teamed up with Cynthia Van Ness, author and Director of Library & Archives at the Buffalo History Museum, who gave him access to a digital copy of the 1902 Buffalo City Directory, and with John Edens, historian of Forest Lawn Cemetery, to confirm facts he read about in seven newspapers accessed through the Buffalo Library. The City of Buffalo had seven newspapers at the time and they all covered this crime using hundreds of sources of information.

Published by NFB Publishing of Buffalo, Come With Me is available in paperback on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. It is also available locally at Dog Ears Bookstore and Talking Leaves in Buffalo.

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