What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

Amazing But True: Stories about People, Places and Things
This topic is about Amazing But True
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SOLVED: Children's/YA > SOLVED. YA book, unbelievable-but-true-type stories compilation circa 1980/1990: a murder committed exactly the same way 100 years later, a young girl saved from being buried at sea by a kitten, a sculptor whose muse is actually a pair of twins, etc. [s]

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message 1: by Aerianna (last edited May 01, 2020 06:07AM) (new)

Aerianna (annairea) | 8 comments I remember reading this book sometime in the noughties, but the pages had browned and and the spine was cracked. It wasn’t very large, maybe a couple hundred pages or so. There were a lot of amazing detective type stories. The main three I remember, and could fit, are in the description spoiler free, but if you don’t mind spoilers I will summarize them as best I can below, plus one more. Actually, I’m not sure if the stories ARE true though I seem to recall the book advertising them that way; I’ve tried googling them now and can’t find any results.

History repeating itself:
Two neighbors living side by side, become embroiled in extortion. Their conflict comes to a head when one kills the other with a trophy. The detective solves the case when he realizes it looks familiar, and finds the record from a hundred years ago—all the details the same, down to the names, addresses, the murder weapon, and even the spot the body was buried.

Saved by the mew:
(The name Françoise comes to mind for this one.) A little girl boards a ship and becomes ill. Those aboard do all they can for her, until at last she appears to die. She’s placed into a casket and about to be tossed overboard when the sailors hear something—meowing. They stop and open the casket, to find the girl’s kitten inside, and the girl still alive!

Seeing double:
A sculptor works passionately on a statue of a Greek goddess, modeled by the woman he loves. But the woman is enigmatic; hot one day, cold the next. One day, while she is posing for him, he confronts her about seeing her with another man, which she denies and he kills her in a fit of rage—then makes a mould of his statue, and hides her body inside after destroying the original. Later he sees his muse again on the streets—alive and with the same man! It turns out, he didn’t know she had a twin all along, who would pose for him when the woman he loved was busy or tired. Devastated by the misunderstanding, he rushes to where his finished product is on display, smashing it on the spot, revealing her corpse and his crime.

The voice of an angel:
A Chinese emperor commissions bells from bellfounders everywhere. His dreams are haunted by the clear and perfect sound, and he can’t rest until he hears it. One particular bellmaker is the last hope for his dream, and the man is determined to succeed. Eventually, he has a vision of his own: he needs to add a virgin girl to the molten metal before he casts it. He is devastated; how can he justify taking the life of a young girl—or worse, disappoint the emperor? Before he can settle his moral quandary, his daughter decides for him, and throws herself into the pot. All that’s left of her is a single slipper—the Chinese word for which haunts the man forever, in the form of the sound of that perfect bell.


message 2: by Aerianna (new)

Aerianna (annairea) | 8 comments bump


message 3: by Ayshe (new)

Ayshe | 4132 comments I found snippet of something similar to the second one in Google books in Ripley's Believe It or Not! Book of Chance: "The marquise de Maintenon, second wife of Louis XIV of France, lived to become queen— thanks to a cat. Francoise d'Aubigne, daughter of the French governor of the island of Marie Gallant, was just 3 when she was pronounced dead at sea ..."


message 4: by Aerianna (new)

Aerianna (annairea) | 8 comments Ayshe wrote: "I found snippet of something similar to the second one in Google books in Ripley's Believe It or Not! Book of Chance: "The marquise de Maintenon, second wife of Louis XIV of France, ..."

That's definitely the particular story! Unfortunately I'm trying to verify other stories in the book but I'm not able to... so I'm not sure if it's the right book or another one with the same story, or I read it somewhere else!


message 5: by Ayshe (new)

Ayshe | 4132 comments The fourth one seems to be known as "The great bell of Peking", I wasn't able to find if they've been in one Ripley's book.


message 6: by Aerianna (new)

Aerianna (annairea) | 8 comments Bump with more info! I've remembered another story: the cursed Aria. Don't remember the composer, but the tale goes that the Aria was written for a particular Soprano... however, any time it was performed, an accident befalls whomever the Soprano happens to be looking at, when she sings the line "may God strike him dead!"


message 7: by Aerianna (last edited May 01, 2020 05:47AM) (new)

Aerianna (annairea) | 8 comments I purchased the book and it took a while to come from America, but it definitely is NOT the correct book. A different version perhaps? It is much too large to flip through conclusively, and I found the story about the Aria, although I got the details wrong--the singer was a male tenor, and the line was "may God crush him." I am quite surprised that this story was in there, though I couldn't find any others--even the one about Francoise and the kitten. (Again there are too many samples to read the book extensively in such a short time. My book was more straight forward.)

I will add that all of the stories in this book are written like little blurbs, or by plot point. The book I recall reading included them more as short stories with detail and prose--along the lines of a chapter per tale.

Edit to add: it is a fascinating book however, and my husband and I will enjoy reading it!


message 8: by Ayshe (new)

Ayshe | 4132 comments How about Amazing But True: Stories about People, Places and Things? I googled stories "cursed aria" and found this forum topic: https://www.talkclassical.com/19934-c... where one poster mentions the book: When I was a kid, I bought a book called "Amazing But True Mysteries!" (Yes, with the exclamation point.) I distinctly remember that this story was in that book. The aria cited in the book was "O Dieu, écrases-le!" ("Oh God, smash him!")

If you google "Amazing But True" doug storer "People, Places and Things" few pages of the content come up in Images from expired etsy listing, but I don't see any that could fit the other stories, maybe have a look, just in case.


message 9: by Aerianna (last edited Jun 25, 2020 02:09AM) (new)

Aerianna (annairea) | 8 comments Ayshe wrote: "How about Amazing But True: Stories about People, Places and Things? I googled stories "cursed aria" and found this forum topic: https://www.talkclassical.com/19934-c... w..."

This is it! The listing for "Amazing But True! Mysteries" by Doug Storer 1977 with the tagline, "Strange events and buried secrets from the forgotten annals of history.", the cover with the statue, ship captain, and suited man is the exact cover! I had forgotten what it looked like. Thank you!


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