BIG RAPIDS - On an early August afternoon in 1907, a Michigan priest waved good-bye to Sister Janina for the last time. Thinking he’d left her in the protection of their convent, he did not foresee the murder of this woman or the resulting scandal that would settle in the quaint town of Isadore.
After the overdue discovery of her remains, a trial that made national headlines, and more than 100 years of no new information, Mardi Link exposes and explores the secrets surrounding the murder of Sister Janina in her true-crime book as part of the Library of Michigan’s 2010 Michigan Notable Authors Tour.
Link, Michigan resident and former crime reporter, and her book Isadore’s Secret: Sin, Murder, and Confession in a Northern Michigan Town, will be the focus of an event held in Ferris State University’s Library for Information, Technology and Education (FLITE) at 7 p.m. on May 25.
“Living in Northern Michigan for the past 20 years, I'm pretty familiar with the areas’ local legends,” Link explained in a recent interview. “The mystery of what happened to Sister Janina is just one of these, but one I also thought had more truth than fiction attached to it. I wanted to separate what was true about her story from what was invented. What, I wondered, could drive someone to kill a naive Felician nun?”
In this true-crime book, Link carefully constructs the facts around the young nun’s disappearance with documents, original research and interviews with the family members of those involved. Link will visit Big Rapids to discuss her novel, host a book signing and answer the questions of local book enthusiasts.
“The Ferris State University Library is pleased to be collaborating with the Big Rapids Community Library and Great Lakes Book and Supply to host Mardi Link's visit to Big Rapids,” FLITE Interim Dean Leah Monger said. “We are looking forward to providing a forum for the local community to hear a distinguished Michigan author speak about her craft and her award-winning book.”
The Michigan Notable Books Tour was designed to promote reading and raise awareness of Michigan’s literary heritage. The program annually selects 20 of the most outstanding books published during the year; these titles are reflective of Michigan's diverse ethnic, historical, literary and cultural experience.
“This year’s Michigan Notable Books delve into wonderfully diverse topics and offer something of interest for just about everyone,” said State Librarian Nancy R. Robertson. “The tour offers the opportunity for book enthusiasts in many corners of the state to join in the conversation about what constitutes great writing and to hear from some of the Great Lakes region’s most beloved authors.”
Link is a freelance journalist and one of the founders of Michigan Writers, a nonprofit support group for working writers in the Great Lakes State; Isadore’s Secret is her second book. When Evil Came to Good Hart: An Up North Michigan Cold Case was published in 2008 by the University of Michigan Press and spent four months on the Heartland Bestseller List.