Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Flaming Ambrose Redux

For image link, see item 3.

1) If you didn't follow yesterday's Wikipedia link to the life of Ambrose Bierce, shame on you. And here's one fascinating nugget you missed, his ultimate disappearance:

In October 1913, the septuagenarian Bierce departed Washington on a tour to revisit his old Civil War battlefields. By December, he had proceeded on through Louisiana and Texas, crossing by way of El Paso into Mexico, which was then in the throes of revolution. In Ciudad Juárez, he joined the army of Pancho Villa as an observer, in which role he participated in the battle of Tierra Blanca. He is known to have accompanied Villa's army as far as the city of Chihuahua, Chihuahua. After a last letter to a close friend, sent from that city on December 26, 1913, he vanished without a trace, becoming one of the most famous disappearances in American literary history. Subsequent investigations to ascertain his fate were fruitless and, despite many decades of speculation, his disappearance remains a mystery.

In one of his last letters, Bierce wrote:
"Good-by — if you hear of my being stood up against a Mexican stone wall and shot to rags please know that I think that a pretty good way to depart this life. It beats old age, disease, or falling down the cellar stairs. To be a Gringo in Mexico — ah, that is euthanasia".

2) The Straight Dope on what happens when those declared dead turn up alive.

3) My latest review, Shelly Reuben's The Skirt Man, is up at mysterybookspot. I thought it was a terrific read.

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