George Lankford Book Signing at Old Independence Regional Museum in Batesville

“Surprised by Death”

George Lankford Book Signing at Old Independence Regional Museum

On Saturday, May 16th, at 2:00 p.m. Old Independence Regional Museum will host a book signing for Dr. George Lankford’s new novel “Surprised by Death”.   The story revolves around the murder of a 17-year-old, Nick Burton, a Batesville resident in 1841. Lankford, professor emeritus of Lyon College in Batesville, describes his book as “part historical novel, part fictionalized history, and part fantasy.”

Burton, the murder victim, is just one of the many characters in the novel who really existed. Lankford said Burton’s murder is a well-known case in local history, but he believes it came to a wrong conclusion. The book tries to treat it as a “cold case,” offering a new resolution to the story. Lankford has written numerous non-fiction books, but this is his first novel. He said in the process of writing the book, he encountered a number of problems about how to treat historical evidence in a fictional fashion.

According to Lankford those who wish to research the case themselves, will find that many of the documents from the case have been printed in the Independence County Historical Society’s Chronicle.  The Old Independence Regional Museum also houses documents and artifacts relevant to the case.

Dr. Lankford is currently president of the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. He received the Best Edited Documentary Award from the Arkansas Historical Society in 2007 and 2008. He continues to focus his research on Arkansas history.

Old Independence Regional Museum, located at 380 South Ninth Street in Batesville is non-profit institution serving 12-counties in north central Arkansas.   The Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from 1:30 to 4 p.m. on Sundays.  The museum is located at 380 South 9th street, between Boswell and Vine Streets in Batesville.  The Museum’s Gift Shop is open to the public and has an extensive collection of books, historical reproductions and gift items related to local history and culture for all ages.   Call 870-793-2121 for more information.