The Fall of the House of Spade

The Fall of the House of Spade. Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, 2007.

In 1913, several brutal murders occurred in the small town of Canton, Kentucky. Quentin Spade, the scion of a wealthy family—intellectual, respected, artistic, reserved—was accused of being a psychotic killer—but was he?

In the early Twenty-First Century, Tiffany Gray, a Murray State college student, becomes obsessed with the century old murders and attempts to discover what happened. The Fall of the House of Spade is a fast-paced novel which moves back and forth from past to present. It presents a story of greed, hatred, political treachery, vengeance, violence, and love, set against the decline of Canton as a center of riverboat trade and wealth.

The novel had a rather unusual beginning. Back during the Christmas break of 1984, I read Frank Spiering’s Lizzie, the Story of Lizzie Borden. Spiering’s work is intriguing, well-researched, but offers an astounding and, I think, implausible solution to this enduring murder mystery. Right away I began wondering whether Spiering’s theory could be applied to another murder, a fictional one. The characters of a mother and son soon began developing in my mind; the basic plot quickly formed itself, but nearly twenty-five years elapsed before I could give the characters, in Shakespeare’s words, “a local habitation and a name”.

Meanwhile, bits of local history and lore began attaching themselves to my basic plot, modifying it. The tale became set in Western Kentucky. Still, at times I wondered whether I would ever write this tale that off and on obsessed me. Then, in the fall of 2005, I knew the story was ready to be told. Strangely enough, it flowed rather easily.

"Kenneth Tucker...finds a way to show the western Kentucky of yesteryear as its own version of 'the dark and bloody ground.'"
--Steve Flairty, Kentucky Monthly Magazine.