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Local author releases story of family's tragic past

Local author releases story of family's tragic past

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The long-buried secrets of the Grimm family ancestors are synonymous in Washington State, but they have followed Michael Grimm all the way to Virginia.

By releasing his first novel, “Tell Edith Goodbye: A True Crime Story of Depravity and Obsession During the Great Depression,” Grimm of Union Hall has helped to fill in the blanks for much of his family still living, as well as brought light to the pain inflicted upon his family for generations.

“I am very aware of the impact of a crime of this nature on victims,” Grimm said.

The crime he refers to is one of deception, murder, obsession and the robbing of a young girl’s innocence.

“Tell Edith Goodbye” is a true crime story set in the Skagit Valley of Washington during the Great Depression. In the book, Grimm explains in great detail what life was like during his father’s childhood, and what it was like to live during such a desolate period in history. Edith, Grimm’s aunt, was a young girl living with her parents and siblings. The family, like most during that time, was poor and destitute. Edith’s father was suffering from numerous ailments, and the family was in need of help. So desperate were they, that a drifter was able to pass himself off as a friend, take advantage of the family’s trust and, eventually, charm his way into their lives and their home.

The events that followed proved deadly and altered the future of the Grimm family forever.

“I’ve carried the events of this book with me since childhood,” Grimm said. “I was determined to write about it but, at the risk of opening old wounds, I held off for years.”

“Tell Edith Goodbye” is 10 years in the making.

“I’ve worked on this book for at least 10 years, maybe longer,” said Grimm.

The book’s details are backed by extensive historical research, including court records, police records, newspaper articles and records from the state’s department of corrections. It includes many original crime scene photos – some graphic in nature – and actual accounts from witnesses and recollections from family living during that time.

“It was such a lingering and heinous event in the history of a small, rural community that for the next 40 to 50 years, the name ‘Grimm’ was synonymous with the events that took place,” Grimm said. “This is actually a resurrection of events that happened over 80 years ago.”

Grimm said the story and mystery of his family’s past was instrumental in his decision to pursue a career in law enforcement and law enforcement support.

Grimm is a renowned forensic scientist, now retired, with 38 years of service with both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Virginia Department of Forensic Science.

Though he has worked and testified in hundreds of death penalty cases throughout the United States, he said he remains neutral on the subject of capital punishment.

Grimm grew up in western Washington, but has lived in Franklin County for 38 years. He and his wife, Judy, are the owners of Evident Crime Scene Products in Union Hall. The couple has two sons, Michael and Paul, and one grandson, Alex.

“Tell Edith Goodbye,” published by Outskirts Press, can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million for $19.95.

A book signing is set for Thursday, Sept. 26 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Franklin County Historical Society on South Main Street in Rocky Mount. Copies of the book will also be available for purchase at the historical society at a reduced rate.

Grimm will also sell and sign copies of his book Saturday, Sept. 28 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mama Ann’s Gifts & Goodies (formerly The General Store) at 213 Scruggs Road in Moneta.

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