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Catawba's September 20th Community Forum: Nobody Dies in Pinehurst

September 07, 2011

Category: Events

BookThe sensational inquiry into the 1935 death of youthful hotel heiress Elva Statler Davidson in Pinehurst, North Carolina, made front-page headlines across the nation and has been described as the O.J. Simpson trial of its day. But few modern residents of the town had even heard of this long-cold case until journalist Steve Bouser, former editor of The Salisbury Post, became so caught up in the story that he turned it into the recently published book, Death of a Pinehurst Princess.

At the time of Davidson's death, the resort town of Pinehurst took great pains to banish all unpleasantness from its environs. Funeral homes, for example, were forbidden inside the town limits, leading to the common local saying: "Nobody dies in Pinehurst."   Wealthy young Elva Statler Davidson most certainly did die in Pinehurst, however, and under very mysterious circumstances. Almost immediately, some residents suspected that her ne'er-do-well husband had a hand in her demise. For weeks, the ensuing investigation supplied headlines across the entire nation.

Bouser left The Salisbury Post in 1993 to spend several years involved with programs to assist newly independent Russian newspapers in the aftermath of the Soviet collapse. He is now editor of The Pilot in Southern Pines. Besides Death of a Pinehurst Princess, he has written two plays and is now finishing a book about his Russian experiences. He has aired a number of commentaries on NPR's "All Things Considered" and has served for several semesters as an adjunct lecturer in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Steve and his wife, Brenda, have a daughter, Kate, a recent master's degree graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill. He also has two older sons, Jacob and Benjamin, from a previous marriage.

Join us for the first Catawba College Community Forum of the 2011-2012 academic year on Tuesday, September 20, at 7:30 p.m. in Tom Smith Auditorium of Ralph W. Ketner Hall on the campus of Catawba College for a look at this infamous slice of North Carolina history. Admission, as always, is free.