Father's Secret by Peter George Markwith

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"With the carefully researched history of Newport architecture and
society, Markwith has crafted a compelling mystery that evokes the political and social drama of 1960s New England." — Kirkus Reviews
"A quick pace and likable protagonists make this paranormal treasure hunt a delightful summer escape."— Kirkus Reviews

November 22, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination…and Father’s Secret provides a haunting, fictional glimpse behind the curtain of Camelot in this paranormal mystery with a new twist on history. Isn’t it time we knew what really happened?

Annandale Farm, the most mysterious jewel in the glittering crown of Newport, Rhode Island’s gilded-age mansions, once held the unique distinction of becoming the nation’s Summer White House…until Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

Less than a year following JFK’s assassination, 14 year-old Eddie Sutton moves into the 40-room mansion, along with his father, stepmother and younger sister, Franny. On the day of their arrival, a series of frightening incidents begins, with Down syndrome Franny serving as the conduit to a troubled specter’s cause.

Adding to the intrigue, Eddie’s unconventional Aunt Julia shows up for an extended visit from New York City…and the mansion’s caretaker is soon found murdered in the greenhouse.

Collaborating with two teenage friends, an elderly Newport resident with long-time ties to the mansion, and the family’s devoted butler, Eddie uncovers a legend of hidden gold surrounding the property, and its possible connection to the Kennedy assassination. The more Eddie discovers about Annandale Farm’s puzzling past, the more he learns that members of his family have secrets – secrets some might kill for to keep from being told.

Determined to get to the truth, Eddie and his cohorts launch into a freeform investigation that picks up steam during a visit to the Newport Historical Society. As Eddie unearths the facts, he learns there have been other deaths on the property, as well as the unsolved disappearance of young Ollie Merriweather – a Newport resident whose father built the grand, Greek Revival manor.

As the secrets of the mansion and Eddie’s family converge with supernatural force, the collective power proves potent enough to alter the course of history and change the fortunes of Eddie’s family and his future forever.

Although the characters and plot of this mystery are fictional, Annandale Farm enjoys intriguing real-world history. In 1963, President Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy signed a lease on the 15 acre, oceanfront estate whose perimeter once adjoined Hammersmith Farm – home of the First Lady’s mother and stepfather. The lease, along with plans for turning the house and grounds over to the Department of Interior for use as a permanent Summer White House were scrapped following JFK’s assassination. Several years later, the mansion was demolished. No new structure has ever been built on the original site of the historic Newport cottage, and the reasons behind its untimely demolition remain a riddle.

Built in 1900 and designed by architect Francis Vinton Hoppin (the designer of author Edith Wharton’s historic mansion, The Mount), Annandale Farm stood as a familiar landmark to boaters frequenting Narragansett Bay until its 1969 demolition.

Originally dubbed Armsea Hall, the house holds the number-one spot on the Preservation Society of Newport’s website, The Lost Houses of Newport (http://www.newportmansions.org/learn/history-highlights/lost-newport/1896-1910).

About Peter George Markwith

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Published June 1, 2012 by Unified Business Technologies Press. 356 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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As young Eddie and Livingston, the family’s caretaker, begin to explore their new home and its history, it becomes apparent that there’s more to Annandale Farm than meets the eye.

Jul 26 2012 | Read Full Review of Father's Secret

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