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Albert Bell of History Faculty
Writes Mystery Novel

Posted October 23, 2000

HOLLAND -- Multiple interests unite in "Kill Her Again," a mystery novel written by Dr. Albert Bell Jr. of the Hope College history faculty.

Bell, whose scholarly interests include early Roman history, set the novel around an archaeological dig in modern-day Italy. His protagonists are a college professor and a travel writer--the latter named from a poem by the first-century Roman writer Ovid--who meet while visiting an excavation near Sulmona in the Apennine Mountains. Sulmona was Ovid's hometown.

Bell began developing a romance novel following a visit to Sulmona in 1983, but found that the story flowed more naturally as a mystery--another of his interests. He concluded that the two types of stories didn't need to be mutually exclusive.

"It occurred to me that I could have my characters meet in this novel and develop their relationship as they investigate crimes in various places," said Bell, who is a professor of history and chair of the department.

He plans to produce a series involving the same pair of protagonists. He is about two-thirds through the second book and has outlines for two more.

Bell noted that as a reader he finds himself drawn to the problem-solving quality of mystery novels. The process, he said, isn't unlike scholarly work.

"In a mystery novel, you have a question--who did this, and why did they do it?," he said. "You proceed slowly. You gather evidence and eliminate possibilities. And hopefully in the end you find the right answer."

His male protagonist, Michael Herrington, has taken the interest a step further and has obtained his private investigator's license. The training becomes useful in "Kill Her Again" when he meets the travel writer Corinna Foster, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the murdered wife of a wealthy Italian politician--with lethal results.

"Kill Her Again" is Bell's third work of fiction. He has also written "Daughter of Lazarus," a historical novel set in first-century Rome, and a children's novel, "The Case of the Lonely Grave." His scholarly work includes the book "A Guide to the New Testament World," which reviews the social, political and cultural background against which the New Testament was written, and a number of articles.

Bell has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1978. He holds a bachelor's degree from Carson Newman College, a master's from Duke University, a master of divinity from Southeastern Seminary and a doctorate from the University of North Carolina.

"Kill Her Again" is published by Authors Choice Press, and is available in paperback for $15.95. Copies are available in the college's Hope-Geneva Bookstore and other area book stores, and may also be ordered on-line through www.bn.com or www.booksamillion.com.

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