Secret Witness: The Untold Story of the 1967 Bombing in Marshall, Michigan

Secret Witness: The Untold Story of the 1967 Bombing in Marshall, Michigan

by Blaine Pardoe


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Every small town has a moment when the real world abruptly intrudes, shattering the town's notions of itself and its people. For citizens of Marshall, Michigan, that moment came August 18, 1967. Nola Puyear was working downtown at the Tasty Cafe that morning when she received a package. She opened it and was instantly killed in a fiery explosion.

In the months that followed, law enforcement and prosecutors wrestled with a crime that to all appearances was senseless. Evidence recovered from the blown-up restaurant, including a bottle of pills that had been tainted with lye, suggested a concerted plot to murder Mrs. Puyear. But why had someone wanted to kill the well-liked woman, by all accounts a pillar of her close-knit community? For that matter, was Marshall really the quaint paradise it seemed to be?

Secret Witness brings to light startling new evidence and freshly uncovered facts to address these and other questions that, to this day, surround one of Michigan's most brutal murders. Based on extensive interviews with surviving prosecutors, police, and witnesses, Blaine Pardoe re-creates the investigation that pried into Marshall's dark underbelly and uncovered the seamy private lives led by some of the town's citizenry but led to only tenuous theories about the bombing. The book also examines the pivotal role played by the Secret Witness program, an initiative by the Detroit News that offered rewards for anonymous tips related to violent crimes. What's ultimately revealed is the true depth of evil that occurred in Marshall that day. Every small town has dirty little secrets. This time, they were deadly.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780472035021
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication date: 04/30/2012
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 1,150,749
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Blaine Pardoe lives in Virginia but was raised in Battle Creek and Marshall, Michigan. He is an accomplished historian, with several historical nonfiction books to his credit as well as a large number of science fiction and military novels. He is the author of Lost Eagles: One Man's Mission to Find Missing Airmen in Two World Wars, a winner of the State History Award.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xiii

Prologue: Delivery of Death 1

1 A Blast in the Heart of a Small Town 9

2 Collateral Damage 22

3 Small Towns and Their Dirty Little Secrets 36

4 The Secret Witness 69

5 A Wolf among Sheep 82

6 A "Vile and Unpredictable Temper" 93

7 To Catch a "Tiger" 101

8 The Quest for a Motive 111

9 The Long Road to Trial 127

10 "Did Enoch Chism, In Fact, Do It?" 137

11 "Murder Is Not the Product of a Normal Mind" 153

12 The Appeal 164

13 A Shadow Returns to a Peaceful Community 170

Epilogue 176

Authors Afterword 179

Cast of Characters 183

Notes for Book Clubs 187

Notes 191

About the Author 211

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