Treva Hall Melvin
It's 1972 and fourteen-year-old New Yorker Lizbeth Landers is sent to the sleepy town of Ahoskie, North Carolina to spend the summer with relatives. Her expectation of boredom is quickly dispelled when police sirens and flashing lights draw her to a horrible scene at the Danbury Bridge. Mr. Samuel, owner of Samuel's Lumber Yard, has driven his car off the bridge and into the river, drowning himself and his daughter. Curiously, Mr. Samuel died clutching a unique 1909 wheat penny-a penny that is then stolen from the Sheriff's office. Lizbeth witnesses Miss Violet's grief upon learning that her husband and child are dead, and decides she will help by finding the penny. Her search involves Lizbeth in the lives of many Ahoskie residents, including mean old Mr. Jake, Ms. Melanie Neely, otherwise known as 'Ms. McMeanie,' and Mr. Samuel's handsome brother Ben, who struggles to keep the business afloat after his brother's death. Lizbeth searches through the collection plates at church and in the coin jars of crazy Aunt Ode, a strange old woman missing one eye and most of her teeth, who keeps a flask in her apron pocket and a secret in her soul. Treva Hall Melvin has been a practicing attorney in all levels of government as a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney. A native New Yorker, she graduated from Villanova Law School in Pennsylvania and now lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband, their two children, and their dog Audrey. She loves athletics and antiquing.