Fellow lovers of Wallace and Idaho history,
“The Rossi Murder,” my 94.4K-word manuscript, is still in need of a publisher. After a three-month stay at WSU Press it was courteously declined. As you might imagine, I’d hate to see the 18 months of effort congealed in this work go to waste. My hope is that Facebook and the World Wide Web may send news of its languishing situation far and wide. And, as a result, a publisher somewhere will get wind of the story and come knocking. I know, I know: it’s a longshot. But that’s my hope and — for now at least — I’m sticking with it.
HOW I CAME UPON THIS STORY
Wife Maggie, daughter Alexis, and I moved (from Berkeley, California) to the historic little mining town of Wallace, in Idaho’s northern panhandle, in November, 1997. We soon started looking around our new environment. It wasn’t long before we discovered beautiful, forested Nine Mile Cemetery, which lies a little more than a mile north of town on Nine Mile Creek Road. The cemetery’s entrance road runs upward between two hillsides. To the right, very near the entrance and only a few feet from the graveyard’s flagpole, sits the prominent grave of Herman J. Rossi. In due course I would hear the rumor that Rossi’s grave had been consigned to this location, across the road from the cemetery’s main grounds, because of objections that he was a murderer. (Despite all the years that have passed since I’ve never been able to securely confirm or disconfirm it – although I question this rumor’s verity at the end of this book.)
Also early in our Wallace experience, I acquired a copy of Patricia Hart and Ivar Nelson’s wonderful, large-format book titled Mining Town. It offered an intelligent and affectionate account of Wallace’s history alongside eloquent photographs drawn from a remarkable array of images housed down at the University of Idaho’s Library in Moscow – called the Barnard-Stockbridge Photographic Collection. Hart and Nelson’s text, as it happens, neatly summarized the main points of the notorious Rossi murder in two pages (140-141): Herman Rossi’s second wife, who was 15 years his junior, had a serious drinking problem. On discovering, on his return, that she had enjoyed a drunken weekend with a young lover, Clarence “Gabe” Dahlquist, in the Rossi home while he was away for a week in Boise, Rossi strode downtown to the Samuels Hotel, assaulted Dahlquist in the lobby, and then shot him as he fled across the room. Three and a half months later Rossi was found not guilty of murder by a jury that wasted little time on deliberation. I remember thinking, on reading Hart and Nelson’s brief account, that there had to be a lot more to this story. Continue reading