AND THE REST IS MYSTERY

Souvenir of True Friendship

I’d nicknamed her AK-57 for the year she was born, a moniker that wasn’t lost on Amanda Kyle Williams who fostered an irreverent, self-deprecating sense of humor about herself, the world at large and, oh yeah, serial killers.

We were wired (as I believe everyone is) through happenstance.

In 2012, I was asked by a mutual friend to add my name to a list of those vying for a chance to win a free copy of her recently released hit novel, The Stranger You Seek, even though I’m an irremediable romantic who avoids most media pertaining to violence. In fact, I’d never read a mystery — not even In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, whose other written works are all favorites of mine.

So, I was a tad taken aback when Amanda friended me on Facebook to say I’d won a copy of her novel and asked me to provide shipping information to Bantam Books.

I immediately confessed to my disinterest in reading mysteries — but ended up agreeing to making her the one exception to my rule after learning we had more than wordsmithing in common. Big things, like our love for animals, rescuing dogs, and the feeding of feral cats. Little things, like the linoleum of her entryway being the identical pattern to that on the kitchen floor of the first apartment I’d ever leased. And other things, like how she’d signed with the same literary agency that rejected my query, we both had a Pekingese named Bella, we’d both been private detectives, and we each had a cat that threatened us within an inch of our toes and nose on a daily basis.

She’d requested my brutally honest opinion of her book, so I gave it: No, her account of Atlanta didn’t make me want to visit . Yes, her description of the Carolina coast tempted me to move there. I’d warned her that I prided myself in using my chess expertise to predict plots ahead of endings. She humbled me by proving I hadn’t a clue as to who the killer in Stranger was until being astounded during the final pages.

But our lives were seldom similar otherwise. She had difficulty reading because of dyslexia; I am a voracious reader without afflictions. She lost a parent at a young age following her mother’s slow decline. My mom passed instantly as I turned sixty. The love of her life succumbed to a malignancy after their twenty years together. My love affair still flourishes at nearly fifty.

Yet we both understood how it felt to lose a cherished sibling after providing steadfast care during their inevitable demise, just as we both knew my combat against heart failure is pure child’s play compared to her valiant fight against cancer  — truly, life’s most insidious serial killer.

Amanda Kyle Williams lost her battle on Friday morning, August 31st, two weeks after turning 61.

And, although we never actually met face-to-face, eye-to-eye, shoulder-to-shoulder, or toe-to-toe, we existed as tongue-in-cheek and heart-to-heart kindred spirits for six remarkable years.

Losing her saddens me.

Deeply.
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Marguerite Quantaine is an essayist, author, and animal rescue activist.
And The Rest Is Mystery © 9.2.18
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I value your opinion and appreciate your sharing of this essay with others. Please select LEAVE A REPLY by clicking below the headline to express your thoughts on this post. I’m all eyes and heart.
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Crying Girl and her Doll

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18 thoughts on “AND THE REST IS MYSTERY

  1. Linda Krouse

    Thank you Marguerite. Although I never met her I feel she was a brave and valiant friend. She certainly was a fine example of courage and womanhood. Peace and all good to you and yours.

    Reply
    1. margueritequantaine Post author

      With claws out and hisses of “where’s my food?” no doubt, Marj. And that would delight her because she never got over missing Spike. (None of us have.) I think we’ll go on missing her in that way, don’t you? Thank you.

      Reply
  2. Maeve T

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend, Marguerite (hugs). Regrettable even more is the fact I’ve never heard of Amanda before, but I shall rectify that as soon as possible and raise a glass in her honor … and your’s as well.

    Reply
  3. Nancy Heredia

    Oy my dear friend, you so beautifully captured here what she was like, I feel such a pang of loss though I never met her, I naturally admired her for her books, since I am a mystery fan. I delighted in her commercial and critical success, knowing she was one of ‘ours’. That she and Sandra Moran have been taken from us is too mysterious to think about. Such lights should never go out.

    Reply
    1. margueritequantaine Post author

      I think that says it all, Nancy — that you delighted in her “commercial and critical success.” So many people become envious and jealous and miss out on the joy one can feel on behalf of another. She worked hard for her triumph. She travelled, and met, and sacrificed time she might have preferred to spend closer to home. For sure, she loved her home and her animals. I’ve been assured they all will have good homes. Knowing that is of great comfort to me.

      Reply
  4. Judy Clack Bowen

    I met AK once at a book fair in Decatur, Ga. Other than that we were friends on Facebook. I also felt a real connection to her. Maybe she was just such an open, giving person that we all felt a closeness to her. It really leaves a void in my life to know she is gone. Maybe she found Spike again. Thank you for your essay. I really enjoyed reading it.

    Reply
    1. margueritequantaine Post author

      Yes, Judy, exactly. Those, who never actually met her felt they had because of her ability to embrace others lives and make them part of her own. Thanks for being a one degree of separation.

      Reply
  5. Helen Darzanos-Griffiths

    Thankyou Marguerite for this lovely insight to both your lives, I found AKW after our little library had her first book on display as “Must Read”. She had me by page one.. I wrote and told her how much I enjoyed the book, that I guessed early on who the killer was ( and told her why) but for the life of me didn’t know the right pronunciation of Keye. Amanda replied back with a big LOL and we became firm FB friends from there on. She was the bright spark on my News feed every day. It makes me so angry that this insipid disease should come to her in a time when she had her life looking fabulous before her, literary success, friends, her animals. She was an inspiration to me and to lots of others I imagine. I will miss her deeply. What a woman.

    Reply
    1. margueritequantaine Post author

      A tragedy indeed, Helen. She triumphed over so many battles during her brief life, only to be yet another casualty of the hundred year war against cancer. Thank you for taking the time to find her and friend her. Connecting with a reader is a writer’s most precious of gifts.

      Reply

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