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Mysterious Murders in The Thumb

Michigan Murder Mystery

The Thumb Pointed Fingers is a genealogical fiction murder mystery based on actual events that occurred in Sanilac and Huron County Michigan in the early 1900’s. The story is focused on Carrie Sparling’s life on the farm near Tyre. It was a storybook setting for Carrie’s growing and prosperous family until the untimely demise of her husband J.W., and three of her six young adult children. The Sparling’s family doctor, the handsome Dr. Robert MacGregor became ensnared in the mysterious and unexplainable deaths and would live to regret taking on Carrie as a patient.


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This is author Jackie Howard’s first book. She, like myself and thousands of others in the Thumb are related to the Sparling family and have heard the tale of the “Dying Sparlings”. The book does a wonderful job of portraying what life was like in the years before the automobile. Living in a small rural area. The need for a large family garden, the constant chores and activity associated with the farm. It notes the crucial role women played in the economic success of rural families. It also points out the lasting effects on those families who survived the 1881 Great Fire and the physiological toll it took on many. It’s a wonderful glimpse of life in an era long past coupled with an murder mystery that to many is still unsolved to this day.


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