Today we will be talking with the Fall River Historical Society curators Michael Martins and Dennis Binette who will discuss the story behind their phenomenal book Parallel Lives: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River, published by the Fall River Historical Society in 2011.
Parallel Lives: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River is a ground-breaking work and arguably the only professional biography of Lizzie Borden. Michael and Dennis worked on this book for approximately ten years, tracking down material related to Lizzie and the Borden family, cultivating relationships with owners of private collections and descendants of those who knew Lizzie, and piecing together a vast puzzle: a portrait of Lizzie Borden, Fall River’s most notorious resident and historical mystery.
Parallel Lives received a starred review from Kirkus Review, one of publishing’s highest honors, and Kirkus declared it one of the best books of that year. It is certainly one of the best books for a hard core Lizzie Borden enthusiast. Here to help us gain some insight into Parallel Lives are the co-authors and curators of the Fall River Historical Society, Michael Martins and Dennis Binette.
Listen to the Podcast here or subscribe to the series on iTunes.
Place: Fall River Historical Society, 451 Rock Street, Fall River, MA 02720
Date: Saturday, August 1, 2015
Time: 12:00-3:00 PM
Call for details: (508) 679-1071
The Minuscule Monk
Hear author Richard Behrens read from his latest Lizzie Borden, Girl Detective novel: The Minuscule Monk! Books will be available for purchase at the event and all proceeds benefit The Fall River Historical Society.
Meet Herr Hugo von Trotter, the truth-telling Boston Terrier, and hear how he helped Lizzie solve the Mystery of The Minuscule Monk!
Come hear excerpts from this comic mystery that paints a portrait of Fall River at the height of its splendor and its most infamous citizen at the start of her most excellent career.
The Hatchet Spring 2011 Cover
“The Agitated Elocutionist,” a new Lizzie Borden, Girl Detective mystery by Richard Behrens, has been published in the latest issue of The Hatchet: A Journal of Lizzie Borden and Victorian Studies.
“The Agitated Elocutionist” is the first Girl Detective Mystery to be published since PearTree Press presented the collection “Lizzie Borden, Girl Detective,” in April of 2010 and promises to be just as original and amusing. Lizzie Borden, the Girl Detective of Fall River, is joined by her affluent cousin Sarah Borden for a casual afternoon together during which they shop for clothing, eat lunch, interview crime suspects, disrupt the entire Fall River police department, destroy the career of a famed speech therapist, and send a few jewel thieves to jail. Sarah is a bit rattled by it all, but to Lizzie, it’s all in a day’s unpaid work.
The new story has the honor of being published in a special edition of The Hatchet which features an interview with Michael Martins and Dennis Binette, the authors of Parallel Lives: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River. This new book, soon to be published, promises to be a landmark in Lizzie Borden Studies, a major original work by the Fall River Historical Society. Many rumors conflict on what it contains, but if just a few of those rumors are true, this book will change the way we look at the historical Lizzie Borden and reveal a history that has been concealed for over a hundred years.
The new issue of The Hatchet also features writings by Michael Brimbau, Stefani Koorey, David Marshall James, Kat Koorey, Denise Noe and others. Order your copy now from http://www.lizzieandrewborden.com/HatchetOnline/.
“Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective, is clever and appealing. Every story brings the reader to the streets and characters of Fall River as if you were there with them and of course Lizzie Borden. Congratulations to Richard Behrens for his Victorian creativity and imagination.”
Len Rebello, Author of Lizzie Borden: Past & Present
“In Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective Richard Behrens skillfully captures the essence of historic Fall River, bringing the city to life through the adventures of the youthful, intrepid sleuth, Lizzie Borden. The fictional Lizzie is an absolutely delightful character; she is fearlessly cunning, charismatic, and thoroughly enchanting! A must read for all those intrigued by Fall River history, mystery and, of course, Lizzie Borden.”
Michael Martins, Curator of the Fall River History Society / Co-Author of Parallel Lives: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River
“This is a fun read and you’ll see Lizzie in a whole new light. It is well written and has lots of unique historical details that make it feel very rich and authentic.”
Jill Dalton, writer/performer LIZZIE BORDEN LIVE
“This is Lizzie Borden as you never imagined her; lively, intrepid and clever as a budding detective on the hunt! The stories are a magic carpet ride to another time – old Fall River in all its glory. The settings, the clothing, the language all showcase a young Lizzie Borden against a background of mystery and intrigue with some twists and turns along the way. Move over Nancy Drew, and make room for Miss Lizzie, Girl Detective- so much fun, it’s nearly criminal! “
Shelley Dziedzic, Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts
Richard Behrens read from his novel “Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective” at the Fall River Historical Society on June 5, 2010. Richard is of the opinion that if you lock yourself into a basement bunker with no windows and no lights, whatever you do there will eventually wind up on YouTube. So enjoy these excerpts from the book as performed before an audience of Fall River residents, Lizzie fans and the curators of the Fall River Historical Society. The video comes to us courtesy of Mondo Lizzie Borden.
The Fall River Historical Society is hosting a reading and book signing by author Richard Behrens on June 5, 2010 from noon to 2:30 p.m. The reading will be at 1 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.
The Fall River Historical Society is an important resource for anyone interested in Lizzie Borden, Fall River History, or Victorian American houses, since they are located in a granite mansion built in 1843 on Rock Street on the Hill in Fall River. They also host a Lizzie Borden exhibit which includes the infamous handle-less hatchet that may have been murder weapon and other Lizzie related artifacts. The FRHS is also scheduled to publish Parallel Lives, a major non-fiction study of Lizzie Borden and Fall River, sometime in the next few months. This upcoming book is of particular interest to us because it promises to reveal new material about Lizzie Borden’s life, including the years covered by the Girl Detective stories. You can visit the Historical Society at www.lizzieborden.org for more information.
The Fall River Herald has just graciously published a wonderful article by Deb Allard about Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective on June 3. Thanks Deb!
Fall River is named after the Quequechan (pronounced by Fall Riverites Quick-a-shan) which is the word in the Wampanoag tongue for Falling River. While the city has not been called Fall River continuously since the land’s purchase from the Wampanoag (it has also been dubbed, at various times, Freetown and Troy), the river itself, which originates at two large inland ponds and then courses westward into Mount Hope Bay, has been the single most significant natural resource in the city’s history. The Quequechan provided water power to the mills before the days of steam engines and helped put the city into history as a significant center of American textile production. Other textile centers like Lowell, MA and Manchester, NH were financed by Boston conglomerates, but the mills of Fall River were all developed by local families like the Bordens who, in the early days of the 19th century, owned a lot of land around the Quequechan.
The river, one of great beauty and power, has sadly became covered up by the mills, some of which literally straddled the width of the waters. Even today, the river runs underneath a highway. Like the Wampanoag themselves, it is a ghost of the city’s past and an echo of its conscience. We have no evidence that Lizzie Borden thought much about it, although she must have known of its existence.
The opening chapter of “The Forlorn Maggie” entitled “Hidden Waters” describes the river as being like a wandering ghost under the industrial streets. The people enjoying themselves in the sunlight of Main Street, shopping and gossiping, are not thinking about the mills or the hidden waterway that courses under their feet. All that energy, all that wealth, moving silent, deep, and unobserved.
This video shows several images of the river from various stages of Fall River history.