What does it say about me that when my college alumni magazine arrived today, I turned first to the obituaries?
Good news. No one from my own class died. But then I read all the obits. Compelling reading.
Since I've been reading up on World War II and the Cold War, I read the obit of Robert Charles Tucker, class of '39, several times. He served in the OSS (predecessor to the CIA) in World War II and then joined the Foreign Service. Stationed in Moscow, he married a Russian woman whom he met at the opera. She was refused an exit visa. He stayed in Russia till Stalin's death eight years after the war when the visa came through. (Shades of Casablanca!) He became a professor and founded Princeton's Russian studies program.
I don't want to exploit the dead. But I can't help thinking that the next time I'm casting about ideas for crime fiction, I'll spend a few days checking out the obituaries in newspapers and alumni magazines.