Katharine Wright is the Perfect Sleuth

by Amanda Flower

When I started thinking about an idea for a new mystery series, I wanted to write a historical novel, featuring an Ohioan. I am an Ohio girl through and through. I lived in the state my entire life, and although I have written novels set as far away as Scotland, the majority of my books are set in the Buckeye State. I started looking at famous Ohioans, and at the very top of the list were the Wright Brothers. Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio were the first to succeed in powered-flight on December 17, 1903. I knew they were the perfect duo for the novel.

I thought that I had a pretty good handle on the Wrights’ story, but as I learned more, I realized that I knew very little. The most fascinating fact I came upon was the brothers’ younger sister Katharine, who was in many ways the silent third partner in their success. Soon, my focus turned from the Wright Brothers themselves to Katharine, who was an amazing, educated, strong, and loyal woman.

Katharine was three years younger than Orville and even shared the same birthday with her brother. She was the only one of the siblings to go to and graduate from college. She taught Latin at the high school level and ran the Wright Brothers bicycle shop when they were in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina trying to master their flying machine. The Wright Brothers would not accept donations or money of any kind for their project, so the bicycle shop had to be successful to support their flying machine.

She always put her family first, and when Orville was in a terrible plane accident, she left her teaching position to nurse him back to health.

When the Wright Brothers were successful and trying to sell their airplane in Europe to different nations, Katharine joined them and learned French to help her brothers to communicate with dignitaries overseas.

She became involved in the suffragette movement and convinced her father and Orville to participate too. Sadly by this time, Wilbur had passed away.

She did everything for her family, but at the same time she pursued her own interest, had her own goals and dreams. Honestly, I could not have found a better amateur sleuth for a mystery novel. I can’t wait for more readers to learn about this amazing person in To Slip the Bonds of Earth.

While not as famous as her older siblings Wilbur and Orville, the celebrated inventors of flight, Katharine Wright is equally inventive – especially when it comes to solving crimes – in USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower’s radiant new historical mystery series inspired by the real sister of the Wright Brothers.

December 1903: While Wilbur and Orville Wright’s flying machine is quite literally taking off in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina with its historic fifty-seven second flight, their sister Katharine is back home in Dayton, Ohio, running the bicycle shop, teaching Latin, and looking after the family. A Latin teacher and suffragette, Katharine is fiercely independent, intellectual, and the only Wright sibling to finish college. But at twenty-nine, she’s frustrated by the gender inequality in academia and is looking for a new challenge. She never suspects it will be sleuthing…

Returning home to Dayton, Wilbur and Orville accept an invitation to a friend’s party. Nervous about leaving their as-yet-unpatented flyer plans unattended, Wilbur decides to bring them to the festivities . . . where they are stolen right out from under his nose. As always, it’s Katharine’s job to problem solve—and in this case, crime-solve.

As she sets out to uncover the thief among their circle of friends, Katharine soon gets more than she bargained for: She finds her number one suspect dead with a letter opener lodged in his chest. It seems the patent is the least of her brothers’ worries. They have a far more earthbound concern—prison. Now Katharine will have to keep her feet on the ground and put all her skills to work to make sure Wilbur and Orville are free to fly another day.