Current mood: curious
What connects Carole Lombard and Marion Davies with a lighthouse? In the mind of one author, plenty.
The lighthouse is the Piedras Blancas, located at San Simeon, not far from William Randolph Hearst's ranch (as he called it) or castle (as everyone else did). And what's been found on the beach near the lighthouse -- a corpse -- sets everything in motion in "Uncertain Sanctuary," part of the recently issued anthology of historical mysteries, "Somewhere In Crime."
The premise of "Uncertain Sanctuary," set in 1939, is that a teenage Jewish immigrant hired as a housekeeper finds the corpse and starts to have doubts about her employers, notably a Swiss lighthouse keeper. Davies and her good friend Lombard get involved in the goings-on.
Author Sue McGinty lives in nearby Los Osos, and says she's toured Hearst Castle about 15 times -- she's "obsessed with the place." (Many of us are.) She calls Lombard "the original gutsy dame, a true liberated woman. She's beautiful, of course, but unlike other stars of the era...she doesn't seem obsessed with her looks."
"Somewhere In Crime" is available at most bookstores and through Amazon.com. McGinty has also written "Murder at Cuyamaca Beach" (Aberdeen Bay) and "Murder in Los Lobos" (Daniels Publishing). Learn more about her at http://www.SueMcGinty.com.
As for the lighthouse, it predates Hearst's ranch/castle, as it was built in the 1870s. Here's how it looked in the 1890s, not much different than it appeared in 1939:
On New Year's Eve 1948, nearly two years after Hearst left his home for the last time, a small earthquake damaged the upper portion of the tower, leading to the removal of the lens. The tower now looks like this:
For more on the lighthouse -- a landmark in its own right that is open for tours -- visit http://www.lighthousefriends.com/li