Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hip Deep In Evil

I have been working on my true crime book more recently.  And, in the coming weeks, will be stepping up my work on it.  I have to admit it is fun - and at the same time more than a little creepy. 

The bombing murder of Nola Puyear took place on August 18, 1967 on the main street of Marshall Michigan.  It was exceedingly violent – you don’t kill someone with explosives cleanly.  It was also a crime that held the community in fear. It wasn’t until October of that year that the murderer, Enoch Dalton Chism, was arrested. 

Michigan Avenue, Marshall MI, 1967

I am pleased with the number of people still alive who are coming forth for interviews.  A number of the investigators who worked on the case and knew the killer are still alive – as are the lawyers on both sides of the case.  I am amazed at their memories.  Some facts have been forgotten, but often times what is remembered is a fascinating level of detail I thrive on as a writer.  I was surprised at how much these men have been willing to share. 

I can say from the large amount of court records and police reports that I have culled over, I have formed an opinion of the murderer.  When you’re an author and you get “into the head” of someone that is touched with evil, it is can keep you up at night.  It’s akin to watching a horror movie as a kid and not being able to sleep.  There’s nothing there to be afraid of, but the fear remains.  That’s how it is with this criminal. 

I have a lot of questions that might never get answered – especially about the killer.  At the same time I have uncovered details that are far beyond disturbing.  I have had to look into the face of domestic violence in the era of “Mad Men” and at the same time study a killer that used a bomb in the mail to kill someone.  This was a murder that didn’t have to happen – but the legal system and the community as a whole failed. 

My nights have been disturbed as of late…but I believe it will all be worth it in the end.  I hope as readers, you feel the same.  In the meantime, I need to “borrow” my grandson’s night light…


  1. I am from Marshall and I am looking forward to reading your book whrn it comes out.

  2. I covered the Chism murder trial for the Marshall Chronicle, met Enoch and spent the night in the county jail after the verdict was delivered and Enoch was put on suicide watch. I put a lot of detail into my trial coverage, so I hope you've had access to it.

    When do you expect your book to come out?

  3. The book is due out next spring from the U of M Press. Gregory - I DID read your material and heavily footnoted it!