I was away at school in 1975 when I got a call from my mother in Nashville. A young girl had disappeared a few blocks from our home in the Green Hills neighborhood and an intense search for the child was under way. Helicopters were flying overhead day and night, and my mother, like everyone else in the area, was horrified at the prospect that something terrible had happened to nine-year-old Marcia Trimble. The girl had vanished while delivering Girl Scout cookies to her neighbors.
It would be more than three decades before the mystery of Marcia’s disappearance was finally solved, and during that time, the case took a toll not only on the little girl’s family and on several young men in the neighborhood who were falsely suspected of involvement in the crime—but, more broadly, on the city as whole. Nashville had lost its innocence and would never be quite the same.
Authors Douglas Jones and Phyllis Gobbell pulled together a wealth of research to tell the whole story in a fascinating true crime account, A Season of Darkness, published today by Berkley. In our current era of 24-hour cable news, a story like the Marcia Trimble murder would be broadcast across the country within hours. But 35 years ago, the world moved at a slower pace and the case never generated much coverage outside Nashville. If you’re a true crime reader or want to know more about the mystery that gripped a city for more than 30 years, check out the book and our Q&A with the authors.