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  • Location: West Virginia

The Red Bird Sings

The Red Bird Sings

Why a Booktrail?

1897: Based on a real-life murder trial in 1897 Virginia

  • ISBN: B09XL91D67
  • Genre: Crime, Historical, Inspired by true events

What you need to know before your trail

West Virginia, 1897. When young Zona Heaster Shue dies only a few months after her wedding, her mother Mary Jane becomes convinced that Zona was murdered – and by none other than her husband, Trout, the handsome blacksmith beloved in their small Southern town.

But when Trout is put on trial, no one believes he could have done it, apart from Mary Jane and Zona’s best friend Lucy, who was always suspicious of Trout. As the trial raises to fever pitch and the men of Greenbrier County stand aligned against them, Mary Jane and Lucy must decide whether to reveal Zona’s greatest secret in the service of justice. But it’s Zona herself, from beyond the grave, who still has one last revelation to make.

Travel Guide

The Greenbrier ghost of West Virginia

This is inspired by a true story. On October 1896, Elva Zona Heaster (Zona in the book) married a blacksmith named Erasmus Stribbling Trout Shue. On January 23, 1897, Zona was found dead and the cause of death was listed as “childbirth”. She was buried on January 24, 1897 in the Soule Chapel Methodist Cemetery.

Her mother, Mary Jane Heaster, later claimed to have seen Zona’s ghost at her bedside. and said that the ghost had told her that Erasmus had killed her. The case is now known as the Greenbrier’s Ghost.

There is a plaque next to where Zona is buried:

“Interred in nearby cemetery is Zona Heaster Shue. Her death in 1897 was presumed natural until her spirit appeared to her mother to describe how she was killed by her husband Edward. Autopsy on the exhumed body verified the apparition’s account. Edward, found guilty of murder, was sentenced to the state prison. Only known case in which testimony from a ghost helped convict a murderer.”

BookTrail Boarding Pass: The Red Bird Sings

Destination/location:  West Virginia Author/guide:    Aoife Fitzpatrick Departure Time: 1897

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