In our tale for November, “Justice in Zymo,” prominent member of the community Lettice Morgan dies the day after Veterans Day, having apparently taken her own life. Her college roommate Jayne Justice travels to the upstate New York town of Zymo to attend Lettice’s memorial service and resolves to find out what really caused the death of her friend.
The genesis of this story is a trip I made to Auburn, New York to attend a book signing. Auburn is situated at the north end of Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. At the southern end of Cayuga Lake is Cornell University where I did my undergraduate work. Today the lake is surrounded by vineyards and wineries, adding a new layer of complexity to the character of the region.
Those who are familiar with Auburn will recognize many of its landmarks in the fictional Zymo including the Willard Memorial Chapel (the Morgan Chapel of the story) famous for its interior by Louis Comfort Tiffany, Downtown Books and Coffee (Books and Beans) and the bar around the corner, The Skeleton Key. The main character of the story, Jayne Justice, reflects on her college days which happen to coincide with my tenure at Cornell (1969-1973) during which the student protests against the Vietnam War reached high tide. Jayne may have regrets about not taking a more active role during those long ago days of anti-war demonstrations, but she redeems herself as Lettice Morgan’s avenger.