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A Brandywine Mystery

Local author is inspired by setting, history

By Nancy Menefee Jackson |

When Gene Pisasale visited the Brandywine Battlefield last summer, he had no idea that a year later he’d be the author of a mystery novel set in the Brandywine Valley.

After touring the park, he was shocked to learn that it was likely to close, along with Washington’s Crossing.

“These spots are really sacred ground – they’re precious,” he said. “They are parts of our history, our heritage – if they disappear, they’re gone forever. There are kids graduating today who don’t know the difference between the Liberty Bell and Taco Bell.”

That visit – and his concern for the battlefield and the history it contains — inspired him to write “Lafayette’s Gold — The Lost Brandywine Treasure.”

“I thought if I could write a historical mystery novel, that would highlight our history,” Pisasale said. The 53-year-old Kennett Square resident, who works by day in the financial services industry, had written a previous novel, “Vineyard Days,” set in Martha’s Vineyard.

“Lafayette’s Gold” took about seven months to write, “but I’ve had a book in me for many years,” he says with a laugh. “I’ve been a history buff for many years.”

He self-published the book, now available through Amazon.com and at area stores, through Outskirts Press.

“As with many unknown authors, it’s pretty difficult to try to get published,” he said. “These are stories I wanted to get out.” He’s pleased so far with the response in sales and some positive reviews.

Those who live in the Brandywine will recognize familiar spots, such as Brandywine Creek State Park, the Brandywine River Museum, and Hank’s Place, a popular diner, as well as spots in and around Kennett Square and Chadds Ford. Those not familiar with the area will appreciate a good mystery, along the lines of “National Treasure” or “The Da Vinci Code.”

“I truly love to write and I truly love learning even more about our history,” Pisasale said, adding that he’s already planning a sequel to “Lafayette’s Gold.” “I love the genre historical mystery because you get to add the creative element to real history.”

Pisasale will be signing books at Borders at the Brinton Lake Shopping Center in Glen Mills Aug. 21 from 2pm to 4pm and at the Borders in Wynnewood on Aug. 28 from 1pm to 3pm. The Chadds Ford Historical Society will host a book signing during Chadds Ford Days on Sept. 11 and 12 from 11am to 5pm.

Pisasale will give a lecture and sign books at the Rachel Kohl Library in Glen Mills at 2pm on Sept. 18, and he”ll speak at the Narberth Community Library at 7pm on Sept. 21. He will also sign books at the Brandywine Creek State Park Nature Center in Wilmington during the Revolutionary Days Event, Sept. 25-26, from 10am to 5pm. Locals can meet him when he signs books at The Mushroom Cap in Kennett Square on Oct. 1 from 6pm to 9pm. The Bayard Taylor Memorial Library in Kennett Square will host a lecture and book signing on Oct. 16 at 10am, and Pisasale will also appear at Waldenbooks in Dover on Nov. 6 from 1pm. to 3pm.

“Lafayette’s Gold – The Lost Brandywine Treasure” is available at Macaluso’s Rare Books, The Mushroom Cap, and The General Store in Kennett’s Square; Chester County Book & Music in Westchester; Ninth Street Books and the Brandywine Creek State Park Nature Center in Wilmington; and the Sanderson Museum in Chadds Ford.