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Cornflower's Ghost - cover image

Cornflower's Ghost: An Historical Mystery

by Thomas Pullyblank

Publication Information Sheet
ISBN-13: 978-0-9789066-5-8
ISBN-10: 0-9789066-5-9
LCCN: 2009934094
SCP Product #: SCP-0016
Retail Price: $19.95
Physical: 232 pages; 5.25" x 8"; softcover; perfect binding
Pub. Date: October 3, 2009
Retail Distribution: Click link for info
Library Distribution: Click link for info

Amazon Kindle: October 2011

Softcover - $19.95
Ordering & shipping info

Book Summary

After grieving the loss of his parents and brother, graduate student Tom Flanagan returns from a lengthy sabbatical to his winter-locked SUNY upstate campus to begin life anew in the spring semester, only to learn of the "accidental" death of his history professor, Peter Langley. Puzzled by the accounts of the accident, Tom is driven to pursue the facts of the case-and is immediately drawn into the intrigue surrounding another death—that of the Revolutionary War hero Theodorick Crane—Langley's obsession throughout his entire academic career. Putting his historical research skills to work, Tom pursues the two mysteries and soon becomes intimately involved with Crane's descendants: a manipulative college administrator, her even more manipulative Congressman husband, and their captivating niece—all of whom have vague former connections to Langley. Standing in the shadows behind it all is the ghost of Cornflower, an Iroquois woman executed for treason by Crane, who seems to be the key to unlocking the secrets of the past. But as the semester progresses and Tom delves deeper into Langley's life and death, he and those close to him become tangled in a dangerous web of political ambition and academic deceit, the unraveling of which threatens to disrupt the lives of all involved.

Thomas Pullyblank has skillfully woven a tapestry of historical mystery and modern-day campus politics into a uniquely American story that addresses the larger question of how our past should or should not be employed to address contemporary issues. Based upon two hundred years of upstate New York history, Cornflower's Ghost translates meticulous research into believable historical characters and events. As with the lessons of history, each of the contemporary characters strives not just to solve a historical puzzle, but rather to gain some degree of self-understanding.

Book Preview (1.2MB PDF - Chapter One)

Advance Reviews

"Cornflower's Ghost is a vastly entertaining novel, replete with mysterious deaths, romantic intrigues, political deceits and historical schemes covering more than 200 years. Implicated in these antics are professors and graduate students at a modern university, 1960s radicals, leaders of the American Revolution, 18th century politicians, and the specter of an Iroquois ghost. Thomas Pullyblank weaves this tale with a keen eye for detail and a storyteller's gift. But there's more than just a good story here: at the center of Cornflower's Ghost is history itself, and how we use the past to define ourselves and give meaning to our current struggles. Amid all the intrigue and suspense, Pullyblank's characters are fighting to claim the past and to understand it, since only history can reveal the answers to the secrets at the heart of Cornflower's Ghost. It's a novel that pulls you in and keeps you thinking long after you've turned the last page."

Brian Carso Jr., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History, Misericordia University

"Pullyblank's intricate tale of love, betrayal, lies, and murder cleverly weaves past and present in ways that will change the way we think about history. In fast-moving episodes full of plot twists and turns he deftly explores a fascinating region of the country--upstate New York--and the characters that have had parts both major and minor in the unfolding drama of the state's history. Importantly, Cornflower's Ghost is a vivid reminder that the past is always with us, and it profoundly affects how we live in the present and how we shape the future."

Paul S. D'Ambrosio, Ph.D., Vice President and Chief Curator, New York State Historical Association

Book Club Resources

The following items are useful for book clubs and reading circles that wish to read and discuss this book. They are also useful for individual readers who might want to get more out of their reading experience.

Media Coverage

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Press Releases

(PDF documents)

  • 3/10/2010 - Author Interview on WSKG Public Radio's "Off the Page"
  • 10/3/2009 - Publication Announcement

About the Author

Thomas Pullyblank was born and raised in rural upstate New York. Having earned degrees in history at the University at Albany and a Master of Divinity degree from the Boston University School of Theology, Pullyblank now teaches history at the SUNY College at Oneonta and serves as a United Methodist pastor near Cooperstown, New York. He lives on a small working farm with his wife and son. This is his first novel. He is currently working on a second upstate New York historical mystery featuring Tom Flanagan.

Author Interview Q & A (42K PDF)

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