Let me give you one for-instance: in the first Pastor and Professor mystery, my story is based on an incident which occurred in my home town when I was in high school. A Chinese man emerged from the attic of one of the local churches one morning desperately in need of medical attention and was taken to the ER by the church secretary. Over the next couple of days it became apparent this individual had been hiding in the church attic for years, slipping in and out when he could. The congregation’s response was to raise money for his medical expenses, rent for an efficiency apartment and give him a part-time job as janitor.
In I Was a Stranger, the refugee became a Somali named Gideon who is living in the basement of the original president’s residence on the campus of Emerick College. He is driven out of hiding by a fire into the arms of a retired professor who had befriended him years earlier when Gideon was an undergraduate student.
And the mystery? Who started the fire and what will become of the young man who ran for his life?