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'Murder & Mayhem'

Popular book on local crime reprinted; book signing Sunday

Posted: August 2, 2011 5:10 p.m.
Updated: August 3, 2011 5:00 a.m.

During the past several years, local residents have been unable to snag a copy of Kershaw author Miles Gardner’s book, “Murder and Mayhem in Old Kershaw: And in Nearby Sections of Lancaster, Kershaw and Chesterfield Counties.”

But after years of demand, the popular book is now in its third printing.

“The first book printed in 2004, and after that we went through three printings and sold 1,600 copies. But so many people have asked for it, so we’ve done another 500 copies,” Gardner said. “That made me feel good --  when I started writing this book, I had no idea that I would sell 1,600 copies. And now, we’re doing a third printing.”

 Gardner, who will sign copies of his book Sunday at the Camden Archives and Museum, said his book contains true stories about events and murders that occurred in Kershaw County, as well as nearby counties.

Many of the stories included in the book were ones he said he remembers hearing as a child. And, he added, there is no story that is less than 60 years old included in his first book.

“For example, in the first book, you’ll find some stories about local men in the Civil War,” he said, also mentioning there are stories about migrations to the West.

A retired English and French teacher from the old Bethune High School, Gardner said he always figured he would write a history book one day.

But helping a family member research an old murder, Gardner said, gave him enough inspiration to collect, research and recount several more stories about local families and the county’s history.

“A lot of work went into writing these books, but I think the most wonderful part of it all was being able to talk to all of the people. After we printed the first book, we got lots of feedback from people saying that it got them interested in learning more about their own history,” he said, adding that some people recognized their own great-grandparents in pictures included in the book. “And to hear that made me feel good.”

Gardner will sign copies of his book from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the archives, 1314 Broad St., Camden. Copies of the book and its sequel, “Further Tales of Murder and Mayhem in Old Kershaw, SC,” will be available for purchase Sunday afternoon.

Gardner said a third and final volume in the “Murder and Mayhem” series is also in preparation. Purchasers will be offered a list of stories being considered for inclusion in it and are encouraged to contact Gardner with any comments, details or photographs that might enhance those tales.

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