By Janee Law
Author and Huntington resident Kerriann Flanagan Brosky is known for her bone-chilling books based on real-life events across Long Island. Just in time for Halloween, Brosky will be touring Long Island to market her new book, “Historic Crimes of Long Island: Misdeeds from the 1600s to the 1950s.”
This is Brosky’s eighth book, following her books on paranormal events on Long Island, such as “Historic Haunts Of Long Island: Ghosts and Legends from the Gold Coast to Montauk Point,” which the eight-time award winner released in 2015.
“Historic Crimes of Long Island” features a collection of 20 ghastly and captivating historical crimes that took place on Long Island, between the 1600s-1950s.
The book starts with the unsolved 1872 murder of Charles Kelsey, a wealthy Huntington farmer, who was tarred and feathered before disappearing. Half of Kelsey’s body was found floating in Oyster Bay months later and the upper portion of his body was never found.
The book discusses a series of other crimes that took place on Long Island, including several around the Huntington area, such as the 1842 Alexander Smith murder in Greenlawn; the story of Dr. James W. Simpson, who survived from a gunshot by his mother-in-law in 1908 in Northport; the horrific acts led by Colonel Benjamin Thompson, also known as Count Rumford, at Old Burial Ground in Huntington during the American Revolutionary War; the murder of broker Henry Hemming and suicide of gardener Frank Eberhardt that took place on Duck Island in Asharoken in 1921.
Brosky said it took around a year of research to put the book together and that she loved it.
“Writing a book like this was like solving a puzzle at times because some of it was real ‘who done it?’ stories, where there was no answer and no solution to some of the stories,” Brosky said. “I really liked putting the pieces together and seeing it come together as a coherent story.”
She admits that she was more frightened writing this book than the “Ghost of Long Island” books since these stories involved crimes, some unsolved.
“What I learned from it is that the same thing is true today,” she said. “There are good people, there are bad people, and people commit crimes, and it’s always for the same reason.”
She added that the book demonstrates recurring motives like jealousy, love, money and revenge.
“People are fascinated with these crimes, let alone ones that are historic in nature, because it gives us an insight as to what goes on behind closed doors. They want to know what happens,” said Brosky, who was vice president of the Huntington Historical Society from 1997-2003 and has served on the Greenlawn-Centerport Historical Association board.
She added, “I think this book is going to be just as popular because people are obsessed with crimes and why people do things, and the stories are really fascinating.”
The book was officially published on Sept. 4 and Brosky kicked off the tour with a book launch at Book Revue in Huntington on Friday.
At her book launch event, Brosky announced that she’s signed a contract to have her debut novel “The Medal,” which was published in 2012, turned into a film. Although the project is in its infancy, Brosky said she’s excited for the process to beginning.
Brosky is set to host lectures and book signings for “Historic Crimes” at several other locations across Huntington leading up to Huntington. The next one is Thursday, Oct. 19, from 12 noon-2:30 p.m. at Black & Blue Seafood Chophouse for a Huntington Historical Society Lecture and Luncheon. She’ll also make an appearance at Cold Spring Harbor Library on Thursday night from 7-8:30 p.m.
For more information on her books and other upcoming appearances, visit Kerriannflanaganbrosky.com.