Isadore's Secret (Paperback)
Sin, Murder, and Confession in a Northern Michigan Town
University of Michigan Regional, 9780472050796, 252pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
On August 23, 1907, Sister Janina waved good-bye to her priest, who was headed out for an afternoon of fishing, and retired to her convent cell to take a nap. She was never seen again. The young Felician nun lived in Isadore, Michigan, a tiny town in the state's sparsely populated Leelenau Peninsula. But that didn't stop her case from making national waves.
More than 400 people from the area searched for her, but for more than a decade her disappearance remained a mystery. Her fellow nuns listed her as "lost" in their book of records, and so she remained until an ambitious priest launched a campaign to build a new church at Isadore. That's when her skeleton was found buried in the dirt-floored basement of the old church, causing an uproar that scandalized the small farming town.
Mardi Link's previous true-crime novel, "When Evil Came to Good Hart, " focused on the 1968 murder of a wealthy Detroit area family in their northern Michigan cabin. It was an instant success, topping area best-seller lists and generating rave reviews nationwide. This time Link turns her journalistic and detective skills to a shocking story that remained buried for years.
"Isadore's Secret" has all the ingredients of a terrific whodunit: a young woman murdered, the Catholic confessional, the Michigan Supreme Court, bishops, doctors, priests, detectives, lumbermen, a spy, and one diminutive Polish housekeeper. Many details of the case have been kept secret even into the present day, more than a century later . . . until now. The book gives readers a historic and compelling yarn of sin, murder, and confession, and its sometimes macabre and far-fetched nature makes it all the more shocking that it is a true story, a work of nonfiction.
Mardi Link is a freelance journalist and a founder of Michigan Writers, a nonprofit support group for working writers. She is cofounder and former executive editor of "ForeWord Magazine." In 2007, she was named Antioch's Betty Crumrine Scholar for Creative Nonfiction and was a finalist for the Annie Dillard Creative Nonfiction Award. This is her second book; her first, "When Evil Came to Good Hart, " also published by the University of Michigan Press, spent four months on the Heartland Indie Bestseller List.
Praise For Isadore's Secret: Sin, Murder, and Confession in a Northern Michigan Town…
"An astonishing story told with beautiful, lyrical prose that never overshadows the facts. Mardi Link's achievement with Isadore's Secret is nothing short of stellar."
Gregg Olsen, New York Times bestselling author of Starvation Heights