posted October 23, 2000

Albert Bell of History Faculty Writes Mystery Novel

Multiple interests unite in "Kill Her Again," a mystery novel written by Dr. Albert Bell Jr. of the Hope College history faculty.

Bell, whose scholarly interests include early
Roman history, set the novel around an archaeological dig in
modern-day Italy. His protagonists are a college professor
and a travel writer--the latter named from a poem by the
first-century Roman writer Ovid--who meet while visiting an
excavation near Sulmona in the Apennine Mountains. Sulmona
was Ovid's hometown.

Bell began developing a romance novel following a
visit to Sulmona in 1983, but found that the story flowed
more naturally as a mystery--another of his interests. He
concluded that the two types of stories didn't need to be
mutually exclusive.

"It occurred to me that I could have my characters
meet in this novel and develop their relationship as they
investigate crimes in various places," said Bell, who is a
professor of history and chair of the department.

He plans to produce a series involving the same
pair of protagonists. He is about two-thirds through the
second book and has outlines for two more.

Bell noted that as a reader he finds himself drawn
to the problem-solving quality of mystery novels. The
process, he said, isn't unlike scholarly work.

"In a mystery novel, you have a question--who did
this, and why did they do it?," he said. "You proceed
slowly. You gather evidence and eliminate possibilities.
And hopefully in the end you find the right answer."

His male protagonist, Michael Herrington, has
taken the interest a step further and has obtained his
private investigator's license. The training becomes useful
in "Kill Her Again" when he meets the travel writer Corinna
Foster, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the murdered
wife of a wealthy Italian politician--with lethal results.

"Kill Her Again" is Bell's third work of fiction.
He has also written "Daughter of Lazarus," a historical
novel set in first-century Rome, and a children's novel,
"The Case of the Lonely Grave." His scholarly work includes
the book "A Guide to the New Testament World," which reviews
the social, political and cultural background against which
the New Testament was written, and a number of articles.

Bell has been a member of the Hope faculty since
1978. He holds a bachelor's degree from Carson Newman
College, a master's from Duke University, a master of
divinity from Southeastern Seminary and a doctorate from the
University of North Carolina.

"Kill Her Again" is published by Authors Choice
Press, and is available in paperback for $15.95. Copies are
available in the college's Hope-Geneva Bookstore and other
area book stores, and may also be ordered on-line through
www.bn.com or www.booksamillion.com.