A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon a press release that caught my eye. It extolled the virtues of Adam Dumphy’s latest book A Casebook Of Curious Cases. A series of short stories in the mystery genre. There was something in this press release that I cannot put my finger on, but it made me want to find out more about Adam Dumphy and his book.

To streamline the process I gave the project to my Director Of Research, AKA my wife Jan. She came back about an hour later and told me that it was almost as if Adam Dumphy did not exist. The only contact information she could find was that of the publisher.

Being someone involved loosely in the book industry, dealing with publishers is not my favorite thing. In fact I’d rather disembowel myself with a plastic butter knife!

Under normal circumstances I drop projects at this stage and move on to something else. However this particular day I had some downtime, it was too hot to sit outside and write, and just about everyone that I needed to talk to about other projects were either on vacation or practicing self mutilation because they were tied up in horrendous battles with their Publishers. Plastic Butter Knife Futures were soaring on the stock exchange!

I decided to take on the task of locating the mysterious Adam Dumphy.

My first discovery was a couple of long since abandoned internet real estate claims. The land had been marked, but the ground never broken. Of course Adam Dumphy may not be a real person? It could just be a Non de Guerre. If that was the case then that might account for the lack of clues.

I continued on with my search. One way another I was going to resolve the curious case of Adam Dumphy. I quickly discovered that Curious Cases was hardly his first published book, he has more than 20 titles in print.

When I am not working with books I tend to spend my time reporting on crime stories, both old and new. As a result I have many friends that are investigators, A mantra that I hear from them is ‘establish a timeline’ of events. The only time line I had were the dates of publication. I was pretty sure (based on bits and pieces) that Adam Dumphy was an older gentleman, who likely had some connection to the medical world.

The time line surprised me, everything seemed to start only 10 years ago! That is a book every six months!

OK, what could I do next in this quest? Again I tried to put myself in the shoes of the people I know. I recalled a couple of conversations I had with Terry Turchie, for those of you not familiar with the name he was the lead FBI agent on the Unabomber and Eric Rudolf cases. “You have to look at everything no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time”.

My good friend William Cobra Staubs is a Bail Bondsman and frequently tasked with the problem of finding people that do not want to be found. “it takes shoe leather, pound the streets and shake the trees”.

My shoe leather are the computers on my desk, and my streets are the internet.

Plotting my campaign my wife asked what evil mischief I was up to? “I am going to find Adam Dumphy”. “that’s nice dear”, and went back to watching a soap opera.

On about page 47 of some obscure Google search query I found potential pay dirt! A reference to Adam Dumphy on a music site for a San Diego musician.

An email to the agent  resulted in me talking to Joe Rathburn. I had indeed hit pay dirt. Joe is Adam Dumphy’s son-in-law.

I learned much from Joe about Adam Dumphy. He was indeed in the medical world for many years, he had wanted to write, and had many stories written in his head but had never actually sat down and committed them to paper.

He lost his wife of 53 years in 2000. Retired and distraught he took to the keyboard to start writing. And writing has become his passion.

Adam kindly forwarded a copy of A Casebook Of Curious Cases to me. I am enjoying the stories a great deal. He may be 87 years old, but he certainly knows how to pen a tale.

In some ways his stories remind me of Roald Dahl. Dahl is best known as a children’s author, but he also wrote a series of short stories aimed at adults that were turned into a TV series ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’. Adam Dumphy very much follows the same ‘twist in the tale’ construction. Little is how it seems.

It is a great book, and I have no doubt that you will be hearing more about the reclusive Adam Dumphy from me soon.

I’ll end this article with some advice to all authors, you can run, and you can hide, but us book reviewers will find you :)

Simon Barrett

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