Today Patricia Gligor, a Cincinnati native, visits the Expat Returneth. Sometimes you don't need to go far to get a taste of foreign culture in the U.S. Patricia's sharing Cincinnati's melting pot today!
Patricia enjoys reading mystery/suspense novels, touring and photographing old houses and traveling, especially to the ocean. Mixed Messages, the first novel in her Malone Mystery Series, was published in April 2012 by Post Mortem Press. Unfinished Business is the second novel in the series.
|Patricia at German Festival|
The first two novels in my Malone mystery series, Mixed Messages and Unfinished Business, take place in Westwood, on the west side of Cincinnati, which is my hometown. (Actually, the third book will also take place in Cincy but it’s only in the early planning stages at this point.)
Cincinnati is a city of immigrants. The two primary groups of people who settled and developed the city are the Germans and the Irish but many other groups have contributed to its cultural diversity. In my series, the main character, Ann Kern, is of Irish descent but her elderly landlady, Olivia Berger, came from a long line of German ancestors. Today, I’d like to tell you a little bit about the largest group of immigrants that came here: the Germans and, in particular, Olivia’s family history.
From about 1830 through the early 1900s, the influx of German people dominated the population. Many of the immigrants came to Cincinnati searching for new opportunities and some came with funds to buy land. They often had technical skills or could work as tradesmen, such as butchers, bakers or tailors. By the 1850s, the German language was used in four newspapers, in all church school classes, for sermons at church and in transactions at banks and stores.
Olivia Berger’s great-grandfather, Wolfgang Berger, came to the United States from Dresden, Germany in the late 1830s, settling in Cincinnati. Wolfgang and his wife, Helga, had a son, Otto. Otto fought in the Civil War from 1861 to 1863 and fortunately came home safely to his wife, Frieda, and their children. In 1863, he built the Victorian that Olivia and her son, Lawrence, live in. (Ann Kern and her family rent the downstairs apartment in the house.)
Seventy-nine year old Olivia has always lived in the house. Her mother, Elsa, was a kind, compassionate woman who fed beggars when they came to their door during the Depression. She died when Olivia was a young girl and Olivia’s father, Klaus, a loving but strict man, raised her. When Olivia was seventeen, she fell in love with Jeremy but her father didn’t approve of the young man and forbade her to see him. Neither Jeremy nor Olivia’s father knew at the time that she was pregnant. Olivia, desperate to see Jeremy and certain they would run away together and get married, climbed out of her bedroom window, slipped on the icy rungs of the fire escape and fell. The baby survived but Olivia would never walk again.
The years go by and Olivia has the old Victorian converted to two apartments because she decides that the house is too large for only two people. She’s had many tenants through the years and, when my series begins, it’s the week of Halloween 2008 and there’s a serial killer on the loose in Westwood.
Olivia and Lawrence play important roles in Mixed Messages and Unfinished Business. If you’d like to read more about them, here’s the link:
Patricia Gligor’s Amazon page:
Blurb for Unfinished Business:
The Westwood Strangler is dead. Or so everyone believes.
Ann Kern is busy preparing for her favorite holiday. She’s especially looking forward to her sister’s annual Christmas visit. But, several things threaten to ruin her festive mood.
The National Weather Service issues a severe winter storm warning for the Cincinnati area, predicting blizzard conditions, and Ann worries that her sister and her new boyfriend won’t be able to make the drive from South Carolina.
Then, a woman is found strangled in Ann’s neighborhood and everyone, including the police, assumes it’s the work of a copycat killer. However, when two more women are murdered in their homes, the police announce their conviction that the Westwood Strangler is responsible.
When Ann hears the news, the sense of safety and security she’s worked so hard to recapture since her attack on Halloween night, shatters. If the intruder who died in her apartment wasn’t the Westwood Strangler, who is? And, who will be the next victim?
At the end of the blog tour, I will be giving away one copy of Unfinished Business, the second novel in my Malone mystery series. Leave a comment and you’re automatically entered to win. Please include your email address with your comment so that, if your name is selected, I may contact you to get your mailing address. The winner will be announced on my blog: http://pat-writersforum.blogspot.com/ on December 11. Best of luck!