Monday, May 25, 2015

Quarry Ghost

KRISTIE ROLLED a sheet of copy paper from the typewriter and, with a quick intake of breath, raised startled eyes to the shadowy doorway. Across the street from the deserted college journalism office, the chimes of Old Trinity carillonned the hour of seven.

Not the clear cadence of the striking chapel bells, but another sound had caught the girl's attention. Footfalls, soft and steady, whispered along the freshly-scrubbed hallway, padded closer and now hung suspended at the entranceway to the student newspaper workroom.

Aware that she sat alone in a slowly darkening room, Kristie snapped on the overhead, swinging electric bulb.

Framed in the doorway stood a tall man with angular features. His well-cut tweeds and gold-rimmed spectacles suggested that he might be a faculty member. Kristie, however, was quite certain she had never seen him on the campus.

The glare of the unshaded light accentuated a gray-fringed, bald head as the visitor politely removed his hat in approaching the desk.

"Good evening." His voice was low-pitched, friendly. "May I see your journalism school director, please?"

"Mr. Munn? Oh, I'm sorry, sir, he left an hour ago." Kristie smiled to cover her nervousness. The caller's easy manner had quieted her initial alarm. Nevertheless, she was fully conscious that she sat alone in a deserted office. It would be nearly an hour before the Daily Collegian night staff would straggle in to get out the early morning edition.

Long before that time, Kristie expected to be at the women's gymnasium swimming pool, preparing to compete in an important meet at 7:30 p.m. She had remained at the journalism office only to finish an assigned story on the student council election.

"You are in charge here?"

"Not exactly." Kristie squirmed impatiently, wishing the caller would state his business promptly. Any delay now might make her late for the swimming competition.

Quarry Ghost manuscript

Quarry Ghost was published in 1959 by Dodd, Mead & Company. It was Mildred Wirt's last published book and remains very elusive to acquire. It was reprinted in 1960 in the UK under the title of Kristie at College. I really like both covers.

Millie dedicated this book to her daughter:
To Peggy, a champion swimmer, who lost a race and launched a story.

This post was originally posted on Phyllis' Book Reviews. It appeared on 10/24/14.