Local radio show moderator to discuss his murder-mystery
by LOUIS MEDINA, Californian staff writer
Tuesday, May 6 2008 10:32 AM
Local National Public Radio listeners will easily recognize the name Terry Phillips: He is the moderator of "Quality of Life," a weekly hourlong interview/call-in show airing at 9 a.m. Tuesdays on KPRX 89.1 FM.
What regular listeners to the Central Valley issues-focused show may not know is that Phillips has written a book -- and a historical murder mystery novel at that -- called "Murder at the Altar."
Based on the actual stabbing death of the head of the Armenian Church in America in front of his New York congregation around Christmas 1933, the book explores the themes of human likeness and separateness often exacerbated by political conflict, that can make even oppressed peoples and families enemies of each other. Readers will wonder who killed the archbishop: the KGB? terrorists? dissatisfied nationalists?
If that brief description of the novel doesn't get fans excited, maybe this will: Phillips will be holding a discussion followed by a signing of his book Saturday at the Beale Memorial Library downtown.
"Terry Phillips is a staple of our community and we all know him from his program, but this is the first novel he has written and it's a murder mystery," said librarian Susan Berumen. "It will be pretty exciting to talk to him and find out why he did it. He's done everything: He's been a war correspondent, a commentator, and now he's gone into fiction."
One reason Phillips, a Bakersfield local, chose to write the book lies in his roots: His mother's family is Armenian and some of his relatives actually attended the church where the murder he writes about took place, he said.
"It's so important for me to be able to communicate with my neighbors about a subject that is not only important to me but I think important to us all," Phillips said. "This is a story that is very little known or understood today, but that is a defining story for people everywhere. Particularly at a time when we are told to worry about terrorism, this is a very current story with ancient roots."
He said the first time he read from the book in a public setting was to a group of middle-school students who were mostly of Mexican origin and they could relate to it.
Phillips said he grew up seeing how Armenians -- many of whom settled throughout California, including the Central Valley -- remain divided to this day about issues related to their troubled history before the tragic focal event of his book took place.
What: A discussion by Valley Public Radio's "Quality of Life" program moderator Terry Phillips, of his first historical murder mystery, "Murder at the Altar."
When: 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: At the Tejon Room on the second floor of the Beale Memorial Library, 701 Truxtun Ave. downtown.
Admission: Free. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. The book will be available for purchase and signing after the program. It retails for $14.95. For more information on the book, visit http://www.terrypress.com/
Causes Terry Phillips Supports
Armenia Fund, ACLU, Doctors Without Borders, World Wildlife Fund, Amnesty International