The Fire She Set
They grew up knowing they had secrets to keep. They did not talk about their mom's extended absences or why their dad put Scotch tape on the backdoor frame. To cover up the chaos, they kept their clothes neat and got good grades. But when they were teenagers, an arson fire destroyed their home and killed their parents. Rumors were thick that summer that smart, angry, fourteen-year-old Lisa set the blaze. Then, adult powers they did not understand squelched the investigation. As teenagers accustomed to keeping silent, they packed up and moved on.
Forty years later, Leigh, the oldest, decided it was time to find out who killed their parents. She obtained copies of the police and fire investigations and began unwrapping the past. This memoir is the story of that investigation as Leigh tried to piece together the truth, but found more lies instead. With the help of her sisters, Leigh was able to reconstruct much of what happened to them in the beach towns around Atlantic City in the early 1970s. After the fire, one sister turned to heroin and another to alcohol; Leigh became Miss Atlantic City. Then, one by one, they each moved to California and shut the door on their past, even though they privately wondered whether one of them killed Frank and Nancy Overton. It's funny. They never wondered whether one of their parents was trying to kill them.