Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

1 hour ago

When we meet the heroin dealer called Bone, he has just shot up. He has a lot to say anyway. He tells us about his career--it pretty much tracks the evolution of drug use in America these past ten years or so. He tells us about his rough past. And he tells us about how he died a week ago. He overdosed on his own supply and his friend took his body to the emergency room, then left.

New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

5 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

'Quiet Dell' Revives A Depression-Era Murder Story

Oct 15, 2013
Originally published on October 15, 2013 6:12 pm

The Quiet Dell murders were among the first big, sensational crime stories of the Depression: A serial killer corresponded with vulnerable widows he met through lonely hearts clubs, then lured them to their deaths.

As a child, writer Jayne Anne Phillips learned about the murders from her mother, who was a child in 1931, when the murders took place. Phillips says she didn't talk a lot about the tragedy, but whenever they drove close to where the crime occurred — near Clarksburg, W.Va. — her mother would say, "There's the road to Quiet Dell."

Phillips' new novel, Quiet Dell, revisits the murders. She says that after hearing her mother's recollections, she developed a strong connection to the sensory details of the story.

"The long, dusty road; the heat of August; cars lined up as far as she could see; being very small and huge crowds of people; hearing the sound of them taking apart the murder garage for souvenirs — the whole experience was something that stayed with me," she says.

Writing The Eichers Back To Life

Murderer Harry Powers killed two women — Dorothy Lemke and Asta Eicher — at Quiet Dell, along with Eicher's three children. Phillips opens the book with a vivid portrait of the Eicher family, imagining what their lives might have been like in the weeks before they were killed. She says she felt a responsibility to the children.

"The tragedy of their loss was somehow answered for me in the process of writing them," Phillips says. "They became real to me and alive and saved, in a sense."

Phillips uses the character of Emily Thornhill to fill in the details of the investigation into the murders and the trial that follows. Emily, a young woman from Chicago, is one of hundreds of reporters who descend on Quiet Dell in the weeks after the murders. She is determined to find out as much as she can about the children and the man who killed them.

"She wants justice for the family," Phillips says. "She wants it known what happened to them. And in her own life, which is rather separate from her job, she remembers them. And of course the reader comes to see that having been involved in this case changes her life forever in ways that she could not have expected or predicted."

What Comes After A Sudden Death

Perhaps the most vividly drawn character in the book is Annabel, the youngest member of the Eicher family. A fanciful child who lives in her imagination, Annabel bursts with energy and ideas. She remains a presence in the book even after her death. In this passage, she hovers over the site where she and her family were held captive before they were killed:

"Quiet Dell is beautiful, the trees at once gently riffling their great canopies, leading like stair steps up the sides of densely scented hills, ridge over ridge, as far as she can see. She looks back to find the others, but the garage building is a black hole. She hovers there and sees grasses and roots grow toward it at lightning speed, rushing and meeting and growing up, a fountain of green, for years are passing and the urgent land hums and flows, erasing the harrowing dark."

When Annabel enters the picture, Phillips' writing becomes lyrical; the child's spirit is felt, but not seen. Even so, Phillips says, Annabel is not a ghost

"She doesn't appear to anyone," she says. "She can turn in the breath of a thought, she can move in and out of time. She sees things that may be, or things that will be, so it's more almost a physics problem, you know: Where does all this energy go, especially in the case of very sudden deaths?"

But it's Emily's story that dominates the narrative. Through her involvement in the case, her world expands: She finds new friends and new people to love — people who help in her quest for justice for a family she never even knew.

"We do know that in desperate circumstances people are bound together so deeply," Phillips says. "And, in a sense, all these lives that are sort of pulled together by the tragedy are a testament to these children, because everything going forward for all of these characters is marked by the goodness of these children and the fact that these characters protected and defended them when they could not do that for themselves."

Asta Eicher and her children could not be saved, but Phillips hopes that by remembering them, by imagining the lives they lived and the people who were their champions, she has played her own small part in shedding light on a dark corner of history.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

Sometimes a story from childhood stays with us. That was the case with writer Jayne Anne Phillips, whose mother used to tell her about the Quiet Dell murders that took place near Clarksburg, West Virginia, in 1931. It was one of the first big sensational crime stories of the Depression. It involved a serial killer who corresponded with vulnerable widows he met through lonely hearts clubs and then lured them to their deaths.

Phillips returns to this story in her new novel, "Quiet Dell." NPR's Lynn Neary reports.

LYNN NEARY, BYLINE: Phillips says her mother didn't talk a lot about the murders, which took place when she was a child. But whenever they drove near the area where the crime occurred, she would say, there's the road to Quiet Dell. Phillips says she had a strong connection to the sensory details of the story.

JAYNE ANNE PHILLIPS: Oh, the long dusty road, the heat of August, cars lined up as far as you could see, being very small and huge crowds of people, hearing the sound of them taking apart the murder garage for souvenirs. The whole experience was something that stayed with me.

NEARY: Two women were killed at Quiet Dell by the murderer Harry Powers, but so were the three children of one of the women, Asta Eicher, a widow from Chicago. Phillips opens the book with a vivid portrait of the family, imagining what their lives might have been like in the weeks before they were killed. Phillips says she felt a responsibility to the children.

PHILLIPS: The tragedy of their loss was somehow answered for me in the process of writing them. They became real to me and alive and saved, in a sense.

NEARY: Philips uses the character of Emily Thornhill to fill in the details of the investigation into the murders and the trial that follows. Emily, a young woman from Chicago, is one of hundreds of reporters who descend on Quiet Dell in the weeks after the murders. She is determined to find out as much as she can about the children and the man who killed them.

PHILLIPS: She wants justice for the family. She wants it known what happened to them. And in her own life, which is rather separate from her job, she remembers them. And, of course, the reader comes to see that having been involved in this case changes her life forever in ways she could not have expected or predicted.

NEARY: Perhaps the most vividly drawn character in the book is the youngest member of the Eicher family, Annabel, a fanciful child who lives in her imagination. Annabel bursts with energy and ideas. She remains a presence in the book even after her death. In this passage, she hovers over the site where she and her family were held captive before they were killed.

PHILLIPS: (Reading) Quiet Dell is beautiful, the trees at once gently riffling their great canopies, leading like stair steps up the sides of densely scented hills, ridge over ridge, as far as she can see. She looks back to find the others, but the garage building is a black hole. She hovers there and sees grasses and roots grow toward it at lightning speed, rushing and meeting and growing up, a fountain of green, for years are passing and the urgent land hums and flows, erasing the harrowing dark.

NEARY: When Annabel enters the picture, Phillips' writing becomes lyrical. The child's spirit is felt but not seen. Even so, Phillips says, Annabel is not a ghost.

PHILLIPS: No, I don't think of her as a ghost. She doesn't appear to anyone. She can turn in the breath of a thought. She can move in and out of time. She sees things that may be or things that will be. So it's more almost a physics problem, you know. Where does all this energy go, especially in cases of very sudden deaths?

NEARY: But it is Emily's story that dominates the narrative. Through her involvement in the case, her world expands. She finds new friends, new people to love, people who help her in her quest for justice for a family she never even knew.

PHILLIPS: We do know that in desperate circumstances, people are bound together so deeply. And in a sense, all these lives that are sort of pulled together by the tragedy are a testament to these children because everything going forward for all of these characters is marked by the goodness of these children and the fact that these characters protected and defended them when they could not do that for themselves.

NEARY: Asta Eicher and her children could not be saved but Phillips hopes that by remembering them, by imagining the lives they lived and the people who were their champions, she has played her own small part in shedding light on a dark corner of history. Lynn Neary, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.