Book Discussion Questions

1. 1925 was a transitional time for Kansans. How did access to utilities, communication, and transportation vary for different people in different places?

2. How do the perspectives of Daily Republican editor John Redmond and Emporia Gazette reporter Bill White shape the story?

3. How does the notion that the murderer “couldn’t be one of us” impact the investigation?

4. What role does racial tension and prejudice play in the investigation of Florence Knoblock’s murder?

5. How are gossip and, conversely, secrets driving forces in Shadow on the Hill?

6. What are the differences between modern and past police/detective work? How differently would Florence Knoblock’s murder been handled had it happened today instead of in 1925?

7. The story recorded in the newspapers in 1925 was very different from the story Coffey County locals were telling when the author began researching the story in 2007. How did the story evolve?

8. How does the concept of family impact the investigation and those involved? Are there individuals whose lives are impacted positively or negatively because of family loyalty or lack thereof?

9. As the author contacted descendants of people mentioned in the story, she was surprised to discover how few of them knew anything about the Knoblock murder. Why would individuals choose to share or keep quiet about this story when talking to their families about the past?

10. Unlike a fiction murder mystery, Shadow on the Hill does not neatly tie up all of the loose ends. What unanswered questions haunted you the most after finishing the book?

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