The Tenth Witness


The Second World War cast a long shadow over my childhood.  I was raised in the most secure of homes in Baltimore, Maryland, with loving parents and brothers.  I wasn’t a fearful child; I had no reason to be.  Still, every kid has nightmares, and mine concerned German-speaking, swastika-wearing soldiers who tore into homes in the dark of night and herded children into cattle cars.  The parents of close friends survived that treatment, though they lost entire families.  The horror was very real to me as a child and has remained so.

I’ve tried facing my fears in this story by asking the young Henri Poincaré, protagonist of All Cry Chaos, to care deeply for a woman whose father was a Nazi.  What is the legacy of such hatred?  We know the perpetrators were bad people.  But what of their children?  Growing up in such a household, what does one choose to remember and to forget?  Must the sins of fathers be visited on sons and daughters?  I took these and related questions with me to Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands as I conducted research.

The Tenth Witness is the result.  It is a love story, I hope.  Also a mystery and thriller.  It gave me a chance to open a closet door and stare down a boogeyman.  I invite you to read—and, if you do, to let me know what you think.