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Irvin S. Cobb, Faith, Hope and Charity, I have a vague memory of this possibly having been done as a 'Twilight Zone' or similar show episode. G This is a shot in the dark, but since no-one else has answered, I figured I'd try. The whole book is posted online.

There was a treasure hunt involved. I think I know this book, but of course author and title currently elude me. The spy kid meets some girls who live in the only painted house on the island, and there is a man named Eugene who runs a sort of general store.

The medium of exchange is called krinks, and the children sing a song "Earn krinks for Eugene to drink a-drink drink. Maybe this will trigger someone's memory that's better than mine. Grattan, Madeleine, William Pene du Bois. Jexium Island. Drawn from memories of a childhood near the banks of the Garonne and inspired by tales of the Resistance. The heroes crack a ring of kidnappers who capture children to work on a North Atlantic island of jexium deposits. An uneven but memorable book.

I am sure this is the book you are seeking. It has black and white illustrations by William Pene du Bois, and is the story of Serge, who makes his way from France to the coast of Newfoundland to search for his kidnapped foster sister Angele. There he finds many children who have been captured to work on an island of jexium deposits.

Marion Conger illus. This is just a remote guess, depending on how definite your memories are, but your description reminded me of this book, which has Peter and Mary going through the year with the different holidays. The stove is old-fashioned with a big copper kettle on top. There's a short description in the Solved Mysteries section. Hope this helps Wilken, Elosie, Baby's Christmas. I think all of the Christmas activities take place at "Baby's" home. In the original version of this book the illustrations were absolutely gorgeous!

The children are facing the creche, holding hands, with their backs to the reader. I think it probably is Wilkin although it could be Tasha Tudor. I'll find it, it's around here somewhere! It may be the Golden book Christmas in the Country. Betty strings popcorn and cranberies in the kitchen for the Christmas tree which Bob chops down in the pasture. It was published I think in the late 's the illustrations place the story around the turn of the century.

The story ends with imagining the animals in the barn getting ready for Christmas. Marcia Martin, illus. A Wonder Book. This doesn't match exactly but it's very close. Three children, Bobby, Sally, and Baby celebrate Christmas with their parents. There's a picture of mother taking gingerbread cookies out of the oven and a picture of Sally and Baby looking at a nativity manger under the tree. They also go shopping for ornaments, sit on Santa's lap, and pick out a tree with Daddy. At the end the children say "Oh, we can hardly wait until next Christmas! Thanks anyway! Okay, this is a long shot but the description of the cover reminded me of this book.

The girl is in the snowy woods and there is a fox peeking out from behind a tree. The background is dark green. But the girl and the animals are searching for Christmas because they have never seen one so while the anxiety is there the story doesn't sound the same. Andre Norton, The white jade fox. I know this is the wrong colour, but the psychic elements and the atmosphere described brought this book to mind. I am sorry to say that neither one of these is the book I am searching for, I really wish I could remember more about it, sometimes I think that something is about to surface, but is gone before it formulate's in my mind.

Thank you for trying! The Search Continues! London, Bodley Head This may be a bit early, however Severn's books do sometimes have supernatural or unsettling elements to them. So Phillippa was left to amuse herself, and it was during one of her solitary walks in Wild Valley that she first saw Foxy-boy. Was he a Fox or a boy? What was he doing in the Valley? And would Phillippa ever be able to get near enough to him to find out? Unfortunatly, Foxy-Boy wasn't it either. If I recall correctly, I think the girl may have become a fox in the end, but I'm not ever possitive about that.

Thanks for trying! Chilton, Nightmare , , approximate. Girl is in motorbike accident and gets sent back in time as an old woman in a forest. She finds a fox tail, which she wants to sell to have food for the winter. The fox evil spirit starts haunting her. Frank Herrmann, Giant Alexander series. One of these? He holds a little friend Timmy in his shirt pocket - if that helps identify the book as one of the series. See T59 for some suggestions. Picture is in dark tones. Scholastic Book Club put out a paperback version.

There is a good description under "Solved Mysteries. In the book described, the girl who befriends the hippy girl is very straight laced. She goes to the hippy's house and the girl has an enormous room which she can skate in - but she doesn't have her parent's love. I know that the description doesn't immediately fit, but I think this is the book you're thinking of.

This is not Jennifer, Hecate, MacBeth It sounds more like The Birds of Summer , but in that book the children's mother is the one who is hippie-like and they live with her. Set in the s, the novel tells the story of Summer Mclntyre, who lives with her mother. Oriole, and her sevenyear-old sister, Sparrow, in Alvarro, California. Oriole harbors romantic visions of getting back to nature and living the simple life, but she depends upon welfare to raise her family.

The Mclntyres live in a wooded area in a trailer that they rent from their friends and neighbors, the Fishers. The Fishers own some greenhouses in which they grow strawberries and tomatoes to sell in town. She learns about runestones from one of the friends too. Wylly Folk St. The girl went to visit family and met the ghost of her half-sister who had drowned.

There was an owl figurine which her sister had made that solved a mystery. Rachel Field, Polly Patchwork , ca Polly is a little girl who lives with her grandmother. They are very poor, and the grandmother makes Polly a dress out of an old patchwork quilt, telling Polly stories about family members who contributed squares to the quilt. When Polly wears the dress to school, the kids make fun of her, but in a spelling bee Polly looks at one of the squares and gets help from an ancestor in spelling Mississippi.

That sounds like it should be it, but I don't think it is. I distinctly remember "green," as in a green dress or coat. I don't remember the title or author but the story I'm thinking of was part of a larger book like a reader. The girl's family might have been Quaker or Amish or something like that because she says that her mother knew how to make beautiful dresses without ruffles or trim.

Another family loses their home a fire? Her family is surprised but she actually means to give her everyday dress so she can wear her new green one. Her grandmother makes her fetch her new dress to give away and she grumbles to herself because her everyday dress should be good enough for that other girl. The story had a turn-of-the-century feel like a Laura Ingalls Wilder although it was not the Little House series. Hope this is the story and gives a few more clues. I remember reading a bioliography of Susan B.

Anthony that describe that story. It also had a story about her working in her father's thread mill, and seeing it as unfair that young girls work hard and their father would take their earnings. She had gotten the job after wishing on a star for something excited to do. Also after she gave away her new dress she actually felt happy because she didn't need to worry about keeping her new dress prefect.

It seems that I remember the bioliography as part of a nonfiction series of varies American heros, Presidents, Presidents wives or mothers. Hope this help. Anthony : champion of women's rights. This is the story that I was thinking of but I don't know if the dress was green. The grandmother is the one who tells Susan B. Anthony that she can't give her old dress away. The girl who receives the new dress just had her mother die after a long illness so the mother had not been able to take care of the family for a long time.

At the end, Susan is happy because her old dress is comfortable and she wouldn't have been able to jump across the creek if she had been wearing the new one for fear of getting it dirty. Carolyn Haywood, Betsy and the Circus Make-believe daughter , I'm not sure why this one comes to mind, but you can see a copy of it on this website.

It's about three friends, all named Matilda except they have different nicknames , and I'm pretty sure one of them has some kind of oddball family background such as being circus performers. That sounds so familiar Barbara Chapman, Santa's Footprints , If this is the same book you people solved for me some time ago! It sounds very similar to the short story The Wonderful Mistake. Thanks for your suggestion, but I just looked up The Wonderful Mistake , and I'm afraid that's not it. In the book I'm looking for, the first girl not rich per se, just middle-class is given a beautiful new doll, and invites her friends over so she can show it off.

The poor girl is somehow invited also, though I don't think she is liked by the others. Possibly the first girl's mother made her invite the poor girl? Or maybe the girl just invited her whole class and the poor girl tagged along? Anyway, the doll disappears, and everyone assumes the poor girl stole her - which she may have done, I don't recall. The doll is later anonymously returned to its owner, but the first girl meanwhile gains some understanding of or sympathy for the poor girl. She decides perhaps with some urging from her mother or some other relative?

She might even have dropped the doll off anonymously for the poor girl? The story takes place during the winter time, at or shortly before Christmas. I seem to recall the first girl walking home through a light snowfall after giving away her doll. The book itself was fairly small, I think with a blue cloth-covered binding, and the writing on the cover may have been in silver.

It was mostly text, but I think there were small line drawings on the first page of each chapter, above the text. There may have also been some larger line drawings scattered throughout the text, but I don't think there were any color pictures. Despite the choice of keeping the old, well-loved doll, this is not The Best Loved Doll, either. I'm almost positive that the book was a single story, not a collection of short stories.

Thanks for your help! This seems too obvious, but could it be Goodnight, Moon? It's been years since my son and I read it, but maybe? What a wonderful tribute to Goodnight Moon, but the words "I love you" do not appear in the book. Thanks for the reply but unfortunately it is not Goodnight Moon. My daughter did remember that on the page that said "goodnight mother, I love you" was the picture of a little girl in bed telling her mother goodnight.

She also remembered that it was not a "Golden Book" it was smaller in size or hard bound book. Any and all input is appreciated. Starts out "Goodnight Red sun, goodnight stars, goodnight bus goodnight cars I have this book -- it too was one of my favorites as a little girl and it took me a long time to track down a copy. It's about a little girl getting ready for bed and she's saying "Good night" to everything she sees like the sun, the things and people she can see out the window.

Then she says hello to her bed and good night to her stuffed animals and her baby sibling then she says "Good night, Mother. I love you! Just wanted to add that I think the Green Glassy of the story title, which I believe was a snow globe, had inside of it the figure of a bear. I am still hoping someone remembers this story. Mary Grannan, Just Mary Stories. Just Mary was a radio personality in Canada. This book which has both the skating mice and the Bear in the Glassy is a combination of two of her books - Just Mary and Just Mary again.

Try looking at some of Joan Aiken's adult novels from the 's - there was one that seems similar - the girl was a musician or music teacher and there was some kind of mystery subplot. The Greengage Summer. I'm not sure of the author, maybe Penelope Mortimer. I think this could be your book. Flanders, Rebecca, Yesterday Comes Tomorrow. Harlequin I'm dubious about this one, but it's the closest I've found so far.

Then the present and the past merged, and Amelia Langston was back in on the Aury Plantation with Jeffrey Craig, the prime suspect in a murder. There she discovered everything that had been missing from her life Was this a fantasy or a frightening reality? I don't believe that there was a murder and it didn't have a plantation. It was almost from a Victorian time. He made a kind of washing machine and a toilet.

As the book unfolds, you learn that the professor had also come through the sundial. He wasn't inventing things, he was re-inventing things. In the story there were 2 brothers. The hero was the black sheep of the family. When the girl had gone back in time she knew some of the characters and the plot of the mystery regarding the stolen necklace. She was very suspicious of the black sheep brother. I really believe that the word Time was in the title. I thought the name was A Stitch in Time. She brought her best friend. Every other guest for the weekend had a title.

She was called the Mysterious Lady. She thought that she was gypped. It turns out she was playing herself in the mystery. I come home from teaching every day and I look to see if one of your readers remembers. I have faith in your site! It'll happen. My sister is sending a couple stumpers your way, too. I just read an interview with the director Lars von Trier who said that all of his movies are influenced by a book called Gold Heart -- I wonder if it's the same one?

Grimm, Star Money. This should be in any full collection of Grimms fairy tales. Grimm, The Falling Stars , Illustrated by Eugen Sopko. A beautiful picture book version of Star Money by Grimm. May be out of print as I got my copy years ago. It is a great story for the Christmas holidays. The story of Star Money is used in many Waldorf schools around that time of year. In this large Golden book of stories the name of which I can't remember exactly, but I have it at home is a story about a little BOY who doesn't want to take a bath.

He goes outdoors to see how the cat, the pig, etc. Might be what you're thinking of. David L. Harrison, The Book of Giant Stories , 's. The book cover is green with a giant on the front. It contains three different stories about three different giants. I also had this book as a child in the 70's I hope this is the one you are looking for!

Jessamyn West, Leafy Rivers. Late 70's. It was definitely a witch, and I think she was trying to be a little girl. Anna Elizabeth Bennett, Little Witch. Maybe the stumper requester could look at Solved Mysteries, to rule it out? I remember this book too, but unfortunately no more details. I think you're right that the witch baked these green and purple cookies for Parent Night or Back-to-School Night.

I think the rest of the parents who were there found them very unappetizing they were lumpy and misshapen too. The witch might have been hiding the fact that she was a witch, and trying to go to school like an ordinary girl -- that might be why she didn't ask her parents to make the cookies, because either they didn't know or didn't approve? I would have read it in the 70's. Timothy and two witches. This book is written for an older age group, but I can't remember the name I think this may be the same as "E Evil witches, good dragon" which seems very similar--right down to the blue pudding.

Someone posted there that it was The Mythical Beast. Worth checking out, I would think. I don't remember anything about a teenage girl anthology, so this story appears to have been printed in a book of short stories with a different focus.

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Regardless, it's there. This story is either part of Young Mutants possible or Young Extraterrestrials. Contents at the bottom of this webpage. Young Extraterrestrials cover big. Young Mutants cover big. It could also be other books in the Young series, but I think it's one of those two. Series listed here, although I disagree with the review content. Brock, No Flying in the House. This story is about a girl who feels different and finds out she's a fairy she can kiss her elbow.

There's a little magical dog as well. Kris Neville: Bettyann This is indisputably the science fiction classic Bettyann. When a "car accident" actually a spaceship crash, I think kills her parents and damages her arm she's adopted by an old couple. As a teenager she has an instinct to heal sick people.

Her real family find her and tell her everything. They are shapeshifters and show her how to restore her arm. They take it for granted she will want to come back with them, but she changes into a bird and flies back to her earthly home. It is somber, as you said, but beautiful. There is a sequel called Bettyann's Children. Thanks to the people who have sent suggestions. The book definitely isn't No Flying in the House. The story I'm thinking of is fairly somber. I'll try to find a copy of the Young They sound promising. The girl's name is Anna Lavinia, she travels on a train and is given, I think, some kind of food by an old woman.

Whether or not it's jelly donuts, I can't confirm right now, since my Mom has the book. Do "lavender blue days" a cat named Strawberry and floating down to the ground with an umbrella after jumping off a cliff sound familiar? Dorothy Canfield, Understood Betsy , 's, approximate. In this book, there is a chapter where Betsy and Molly go to the fair and the people they are supposed to ride home with leave without them.

Betsy earns the money for train tickets by running the donut booth so the girl can go to dance with her boyfriend for an hour. When the girl comes back, she hands Betsy a bag of donuts. Maybe this is your book? Catherine Storr, Marianne Dreams. The link has a synopsis of the story. Doesn't quite match the description in the stumper, but some how it feels like it might be the book being looked for. I read the book a while ago. Our local library no longer has a copy, but wasn't a movie made of it a year or two ago? Thanks for the feedback, but this book is definitely not Marianne Dreams.

I do remember Marianne Dreams though, as it was a TV series in England during the Seventies, and I was disturbed by the rocks with eyes. I also thought it silly that she drew a lighthouse as a light source to aid their escape, instead of a constant source of light. Kate Seredy, The Good Master.

Kathryn Worth, They Loved to Laugh. A deluge of ripe apples is Martitia's introduction to the five fun-loving Gardner boys when their father, Dr. David, brings the sixteen-year-old orphan girl to the hospitable Gardner home in North Carolina. They Loved to Laugh. This is about a young girl, Martitia? Her aunt always says, "Every tub must stand on its own bottom" and the boys make her think she is eating dog meat. Daringer, Helen F. Wonderful book about an orphan who goes to stay with an older woman, then stays with a lively family on a farm and has to decide if she will stay there or return to the woman.

Thank you. They loved to laugh could indeed be a possibility and it's good to know that it's been reprinted. I had considered Kate Seredy's books before, but the descriptions don't sound right nor the Hungarian setting. I am very sure this story takes place entirely in the USA.

Carol Brink, Caddy Woodlawn. Caddy herself lives on a farm with her siblings however, some cousins from the city visit, and there's a lot of adjustment and "growing up," including "goading" of each other. As I recall, Caddy's a tomboy and the girl cousins aren't, which leads to problems. The "mood" and time you described seemed right, so I wondered if maybe your memory had inadvertently "reversed" the plot, remembering the more common plot where the protagonist goes to the cousins' farm instead of having cousins come to hers.

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Since you've tried so many other books with no luck, I thought I'd suggest this. Louisa M. Alcott, Eight Cousins. A long shot -- but perhaps this is it? There is a hoard of cousins Thank you for these additional tips! I will give Adopted Jane a try and take another look at Caddie Woodlawn and also the sequel Magical melons. I had dismissed "Caddie" for the very reason you stated, but one never knows how memory can play tricks! This is probably a long shot, as it's such a well-known book, but is there any chance this could be Anne of Green Gables or one of its sequels?

This one kind of fits. The character is named Julie. She goes to live with her aunt after her mother dies. The book covers her life from age 7 to age 18 or so. Louisa May Alcott, Eight Cousins. This is a far out in left field suggestion but it does involve hoards of cousins. Rose is orphaned and is sent to live with her father's aunts in San Francisco. She befriends her 7 boy cousins and they have adventures that include sailing, gardening, visiting the country, etc. She spends a great deal of time adjusting to her new life since she has spent most of her life in a girls' boarding school.

Thanks for more suggestions. No, it's not Eight Cousins or any of L. Montgomery's books. My sense is that the author is much more obscure and that's one reason I can't pin down this book. Maybe too young, but have the feel that you're looking for. Nine-year-old Nancy is sent to live with her Swedish grandparents for a year. I wanted flowered wallpaper and a sewing basket for years after reading these books.

Elizabeth Witheridge, Never Younger, Jeannie , It's great to have so many possibilities and to re-read and get acquainted with some excellent books.

  • The Tao of Maggie: The Sound of One Hound Barking.
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  • From the Teeth of Angels.
  • ScatterShot.
  • Messy Megan.
  • Feng Shui Essnetials - 9 Purple Life Star.
  • Driven to Love.

I am working my way through all your suggestions. Unfortunately, I know now that my long lost book is not either of the Caddie books, which are simply wonderful stories. In fact, I am wondering if my unknown writer writes as well as some of these others. I think my adult self may be alot more critical of a very sentimental, sweet, and even overwrought story which I suspect I am looking for. It may also be written even earlier than I think - two reasons why I am doubtful about Up a road slowly which is next in line.

Thank you again to everyone, and I will continue to keep you posted. Jean Webster, Daddy Long Legs. This is a total long shot. Only part of this book takes place on a farm. She did wear gingham uniforms in the orphanage She is older when she is on the farm-- she is sent to college by a mysterious benefactor.

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Something about your description triggered thoughts of this book. As I said-- a long shot. But a good read anyway! No, it's not Daddy Long Legs although it was a fun read - skimmed through the online version and want to come back to it later. I'm still waiting for more of your suggestions to arrive in concrete form as ordered books. Alas, need to be reading nothing but school books before too very long, so all this enjoyable detective work will have to be put on hold for awhile!

Never younger, Jeannie just arrived today. There is nothing familiar about the look of it, but just in skimming through the text it certainly has the "right feel", as does Up a road slowly. Alice Lunt, Eileen of Redstone Farm , Probably not it, because this one takes place in Scotland or England, but otherwise it sounds similar.

Thank you for continuing to take an interest in my archived post! I will order a copy of Eileen of Redstone Farm - you just never know I have enjoyed reading these books with a similar theme.

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I did read They loved to laugh and thought it was a moving and well-written book, with a very similar feel to what I'm looking for, but alas not the one. Of that I am very sure. Frances Salomon Murphy, Runaway Alice. This could be it - Alice is an orphan who goes to live on a farm as a foster child. Might be worth a try This isn't by any chance Bluebonnets for Lucinda , is it?

That is long out of print. One chapter was reprinted in pre Childcraft, the one where Lucinda's been told to stay away from the foul-tempered geese, but she finds that if she plays her music box the geese become interested in the music and calm down. Once again, I do appreciate more suggestions for my post.

It still haunts me and I fear my memories are just too vague. She was sure they would discover every bad and semi-bad thing she had ever done. Like how she had once hurled her company-issued smartphone out her car window, on the day she quit the mortgage business in disgust. Peters found a therapist. How police had not arrested her but still might, any day. Nobody gets out of that. It occurred to Peters that her own therapist might not believe her. She wondered how many other people, even her friends, harbored doubts. They had worked quietly for weeks, watching the Easters, learning their habits, and now the detectives were prepared to move.

Early on the morning of March 4, , a small army of Irvine police — nearly two dozen — gathered at the station to rehearse the plan. Andreozzi and his team had debated how to get Kent Easter to talk. They had to get him alone, away from his colleagues. They would be foolish to underestimate his intelligence. But they thought that a man accustomed to winning with his brain might be undone by his faith in its powers. So they would come on gently, playing dumb.

Easter had just pulled into the garage, into his reserved parking spot, when Andreozzi climbed out of his car and hailed him, and was joined moments later by another plainclothesman. Their questions were vague: Was he aware of anything that had happened recently at Plaza Vista elementary? At first Easter seemed happy to talk. He had a problem last year, he said.

His son had been locked out of the school, and a school volunteer had berated him for being slow. He and his wife had filed complaints, but then moved on. They mentioned the name Kelli Peters. As the questions grew more pointed, Andreozzi watched Easter cross his arms. He no longer seemed happy to see the detectives. I work in criminal investigations. All I do is follow people around. Was there any reason he would have been out in the small hours of the morning? Easter now looked very nervous, and when he was nervous he did what the caller had done.

He began to stutter. But we can follow the dots from one to the next to the next. Knowing what I just told you, is there anything that you would like to add to your statement to me, whether retracting or adding anything to your statement? The search warrant crackled as Andreozzi pulled it out of his back pocket.

They were in a miniature plastic baggie. This article appeared in print and online on August 29, She bounced a basketball in the driveway with her 3-year-old daughter as Irvine police moved methodically through her house, snapping photos and jotting notes. Inside, detectives found what seemed the well-appointed home of ordinary suburban parents. A garage cluttered with exercise equipment. It had just come out. She smiled glamorously from the back cover, with styled blond hair and arresting blue eyes. Like its author, the female protagonist was a Berkeley-educated lawyer who had found work at a Bay Area firm.

While Jill Easter waited unhappily for police to complete their search, a second team of Irvine cops had converged on a target a few miles away. It was March 4, For the search, they relied on Paul Jensen, a personal injury lawyer who also served as an unpaid special master for the courts. He would take what looked relevant and leave the rest.

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That morning, when Jensen showed up at the Irvine Police Department for the operational briefing, he counted a throng of cops — maybe 15 or 20 — and thought it seemed like overkill. They were ready for Pablo Escobar. Why are you here? What gives you the right? This is Newport Beach, not Irvine! Only after a cop threatened someone with arrest did things quiet down. Neither of the Easters was arrested that day. Detectives believed their contents might clinch the case. But the phones were soon locked up inside the chambers of an Orange County judge, where they would languish as legal arguments raged.

It was complicated enough to bring a case against two attorneys, even more so when they were married to each other. Detectives were sitting in an unmarked car, waiting to approach the Easter house, when the firefighter came strolling up the block and spotted them. He took off, holding a phone to his ear. Police stopped the firefighter as he pulled away in his pickup. His name was Glen Gomez. He drove an engine for a Los Angeles Fire Department station house, 50 miles north.

They arranged trysts, swapped explicit photos and traded exuberantly pornographic texts, court records would show. They were tight-lipped with details, but told him that he was in the middle of something very serious, something that could hurt both his family and his career. On March 23, nearly three weeks after the warrants were served, he agreed.

He wanted to show he had nothing to hide, and seemed to have a second motive: curiosity. He met her in a park down the block from her house. She brought her two youngest children. She told them her male friend was the park ranger. She told them to go play. There was a playground with a sandbox, swings, slide and seesaw.

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As investigators listened in, Gomez, who had been given a loose script, told her cops had been asking him questions. He wanted to know what it was all about. He said he thought they should keep their distance, for a while. He pressed her. Easter accused him of abandoning her. She continued to scold him. Her tone was growing angrier and angrier. This is the moment, this is when I needed someone and you turned your back on me!

And I will not survive this! She detailed the affair in a letter to the dance studio where his wife worked, Gomez told police. Irvine Police Det. Police insisted that Peters keep quiet even about the little she did know. Anything she said could derail the investigation. If word got back to the Easters, they might find some way to stop it cold. Months went by, and they were nowhere close to making arrests.

Jill Easter had hired Paul Meyer, an Orange County defense lawyer so formidable that judges turned to him when they were in trouble. Kent Easter had enlisted Thomas Bienert Jr. So far, however, defense arguments had thwarted police from examining whatever incriminating messages the phones might contain.

Sitting in a windowless office, Jensen, the volunteer special master, combed through 20, emails on the BlackBerry, weeding out the thousands that seemed to fall under attorney-client and attorney work-product privilege. What he was not qualified to do, he told the judge, was to screen the phones for spousal privilege, and with this chore still undone in late October — more than eight months after the crime — he insisted he was done with the case.

He had a practice to run. To their chagrin, the most anticipated ones — the 15 predawn texts — had been erased before the phones were seized. At the Irvine Police Department, the frustration was climbing. The prosecutor, Deputy Dist. Lynda Fernandez, seemed stuck in a holding pattern as the court weighed whether to release more evidence. A year passed. His firm named him an equity partner, cutting him into a share of the profits. For Kelli Peters, it was a time of self-consciousness and dread.

In the mornings, she searched her car carefully for drugs. At Plaza Vista elementary, where she still had a desk in the front office, people were always bringing her cakes and telling her she was in their prayers. Now and then she saw Jill Easter arrive, looking rushed, to pick up her son. Peters felt a chill and looked away. Her daughter, Sydnie, who turned 11 that year, refused to sleep alone, fearing she would be abducted.

At recess, Peters would find her sitting alone or wandering the yard, talking to herself. Peters bought her a sketchbook to carry at school, and her daughter hid behind it, drawing superheroes and ponies. Peters asked other moms to please encourage their kids to play with her, but this made her daughter feel pitied, and eventually she was begging to leave the school. Anxiety pervaded every hour. When Peters came home, she hurried to her door, afraid someone might be hiding in the hallway.

Her husband would return from work to find her crying. Peters slept fitfully, haunted by dreams in which Jill Easter was slashing her throat. In her waking hours she found her hands pulling her scarf protectively around her neck. She discovered a bald spot on her scalp. She got off Facebook. She snapped when people forgot to lock the doors. At the big artificial lake where she took her dogs, and where she had watched generations of Canada geese grow up, she now feared to walk alone.

She made sure friends were with her, one on each side. Her famously safe, master-planned city now seemed alive with hidden menace. It made her grateful to live in an apartment, with one door in and out. Often, her family would catch Kelli Peters talking to herself. She would be in the kitchen reliving her encounter with police at the school, pleading, explaining. Please put the drugs away, she would mutter. She drains his bank account. She sets him up for a visa violation. She makes an anonymous call to cops.

As they close in, he leaps to his death. Guilt consumes her. These were not the themes emphasized in marketing the book, as police learned when they discovered her online promotional page, which instead touted the seductions of lawbreaking:. This article appeared in print and online on August 31, The Orange County D. Christopher Duff, a career prosecutor in his early 40s, joined the team in the spring of Duff was struck by how thoroughly the Irvine police had investigated a crime in which the victim had suffered no physical harm.

They had put 20 detectives on the case against Kent and Jill Easter at one time or another, and the lead investigator had spent six months on it exclusively. Duff considered the possibilities. In so many places, he thought, it would have gone differently. If the attempted frame-up had happened in one of the gang neighborhoods of Los Angeles where he used to prosecute shootings, rather than in a rich, placid city in Orange County It was easy to picture. It would have stolen not just her freedom but her name. When Duff met Peters, she seemed raw-nerved and brittle, the kind of person who would be traumatized by a trip through jail.

He also knew jurors would find Peters sympathetic. Duff was inheriting a case that had languished for more than a year, to the vocal frustration of Irvine cops. Looking over the evidence, the prosecutor decided he had enough. He had motive and opportunity. He had incriminating smartphone pings. He had convicted killers on less. If charges were ever filed, their lawyers told them, the D. This would allow the Easters to surrender at an appointed time, with bail already arranged, and they could be in and out of booking quickly.

They would avoid the pinch of handcuffs, a luxury available to people with money and good lawyers. In June , police moved secretly under his direction. They obtained arrest warrants, careful not to record them in the public court computers. Kent Easter had just dropped off two of his children at a tennis camp when the patrol car pulled him over near a busy intersection in Irvine. He was heading to work, to the Newport Beach office tower with his master-of-the-universe view on the 14th floor.

He was in a suit, an equity partner, a high-dollar litigator. He had a deposition that day, and boxes of legal papers in the trunk. They were quickly out on bail, but their mug shots were all over the news. No one had been killed, but something about the crime — the power and pettiness of the defendants, combined with the harmlessness of their victim — engendered a depth of indignation few cases matched. Now the Easters became symbols of this status-obsessed milieu at its most deranged, with an inexplicable crime that seemed to throb weirdly at the nexus of suburban psychosis and class privilege.

This had far sharper urgency for Kent Easter, the family breadwinner, than for Jill Easter, whose license had been inactive for years. DNA from both Easters had turned up on the planted drugs, but the weight of the evidence was stronger against husband than against wife. It was Kent who had been captured on tape making a phony call to police, implicating Peters.

But it was Jill Easter who took the blame for planting the drugs, in a declaration filed with the court and quickly sealed. It was not a confession in the normal sense. It could not be used against her. It was offered for a narrow purpose — as part of an ingenious defense motion to try the Easters separately. He could if the trials were severed. If she could testify credibly that she had planted the drugs, he would go free too.

Game over. It was a far-seeing strategy, equal parts cold logic and derring-do, but it had a flaw. He seemed to have doubts. By fall , Duff was making final preparations for trial, papering his home and office with yellow Post-it notes on which he would scribble ideas at all hours. Then his telephone rang. It was Meyer.


Jill Easter would agree to plead guilty to a felony count of false imprisonment by fraud or deceit. The sentence — to begin after his trial — was days in county jail. She would serve less than half, plus hours at a Costa Mesa soup kitchen. She was promptly disbarred. Her Boalt Hall law degree was now useless. The Central Justice Center in Santa Ana was a sad wreck of a building, with overcrowded elevators, graffiti-scratched bathrooms and walls covered with fading portraits of former judges, retired or dead.

Into this setting, in November , strode Kent Easter and his imposing defense team. It was headed by Thomas Bienert Jr. From the witness stand, Kelli Peters faced jurors and recounted her experience, shaking with tears. She described being detained by police when they found drugs in her car at Plaza Vista School.

When Bienert questioned Officer Charles Shaver about that day, the defense attorney sought to minimize her ordeal. Put in the squad car? All the windows are closed and the doors are locked; there are no bullet holes anywhere in the car. A man is sitting in a room. Another person enters, carrying a closed cardboard box, and sits down nearby. Though the first man can't see, hear, or smell the box's contents, he knows what's in the box. ES original answer.

There is blood on the ceiling of my bedroom. MI original answer. A man in uniform stands on the beach of a tropical island. He takes out a cigarette, lights it, and begins smoking. He takes out a letter and begins reading it. The cigarette burns down between his fingers, but he doesn't throw it away.

He cries. RW answer. A woman is heating her coffee in a small microwave oven. She puts it in for exactly two minutes. She then opens the door, closes it, then heats her coffee for two more seconds. A man tries the new cologne his wife gave him for his birthday. He goes out to get some food, and is killed. RW original answer. A man takes a two-week cruise to Mexico from the U. Shortly after he gets back, he takes a three-day cruise which doesn't stop at any other ports. He stays in his cabin all the time on both cruises. MI, from "The Wager" answer. A man is lying face down, dead, in the desert, with a match near his outstretched hand.

JH; partial JM wording answer. A man is lying, dead, face down in the desert wearing a backpack. She lost her job when she invited them to dinner. DS original answer. A man tells his boss, "Don't take your planned flight today! I had a dream last night that if you do, your plane will crash and you'll die. From How Come? A man finishes getting dressed, lies down and dies. CH original? Every day a man drinks his breakfast and drinks his lunch. When his boss finds out, he is immediately fired. The man moves to another job and begins doing the same thing; this time, when his boss finds out, the boss jokingly tells him that he'll be fired if he stops.

RSW answer. A car without a driver moves; a man dies. EMS answer. A man gets onto an elevator. When the elevator stops, he knows his wife is dead. LA; partial KH wording answer. A man is killed on a train. He is found to have written "elf" on the floor in his own blood. Hoch answer. A man lies dead next to a feather. PRO answer. A man ran into a fire, and lived. A man stayed where there was no fire, and died. EW original answer. Four people are on a grass-covered island.

A fire burns from one end of the island to the other, but no one gets severely burnt. BJ answer. A flash of light, a man dies. ST original answer. A man is running along a corridor with a piece of paper in his hand. The lights flicker and the man drops to his knees and cries out, "Oh no!

Browning is glad the car ran out of gas. A dying man gives another man a gift, and then the dying man dies. Shortly after that the second man dies. HJS answer. A man is lying dead in a room. There is a large pile of gold and jewels on the floor, a chandelier attached to the ceiling, and a large open window. DVS; partial JM wording answer. A man enters the elevator of a high rise apartment building, takes off one glove, and pushes the button for the tenth floor. The next day, the same man enters the elevator, puts on one glove, and pushes the button for the tenth floor.

RA original answer. A woman came home with a bag of groceries, got the mail, and walked into the house. On the way to the kitchen, she went through the living room and looked at her husband, who had blown his brains out.

She then continued to the kitchen, put away the groceries, and made dinner. The king dies and two men both claim to be his long-lost son. One of the king's advisors proposes a test to determine the identity of the true heir. One claimant agrees to the test; the other refuses. The one who agreed is sent packing; the one who refused is identified as the rightful heir.

An old man gets the hiccups. Soon, he is rushed to the hospital. A man is found dead outside a large building with a hole in him. JM, modified from PRO answer. A man dies in his own home. ME original answer. A body is discovered in a park in Chicago in the middle of summer. It has a fractured skull and many other broken bones, but the cause of death was hypothermia. MI, from Hill Street Blues answer. Three men die. On the pavement are pieces of ice and broken glass. JJ answer. If he had wanted chocolate ice cream, his brother would be alive today. TiM original answer.

A man kills his wife, then goes inside his house and kills himself. If he'd turned on the light, he'd have lived. JM answer. A man is found dead on the floor in the living room. A man went into a restaurant, had a large meal, and paid nothing for it. Navy sailor on the deck of a cruiser noticed an explosive mine in the water directly in the path of the ship.

With no time to communicate the situation to the captain of the ship, the sailor saved the lives of the crew and the ship. BB answer. A man leaves a motel room, goes to his car, and honks the horn. AS original answer. As I drive to work on my motorcycle, there is one corner which I go around at a certain speed whether it's rainy or sunny. If it's cloudy but not raining, however, I usually go faster. SW original answer. A man opens his mouth and dies shortly afterwards. A married couple goes to a movie.

During the movie the husband strangles the wife. He is able to get her body home without attracting attention. Music stops and a woman dies. DVS answer. Abel walks out of the ocean. Cain asks him who he is, and Abel answers.