There’s an email making the rounds of various writers’ email boxes. It came to me a couple of weeks ago–now many people on the Sisters In Crime listserve say it’s definitely a scam.

Here it is:

My sister is one of your biggest fans and she has terminal breast cancer and her birthday is coming up and I was wondering if I could get her an autographed copies of one of your books. She would enjoy it so much.Thank you so much.
Kathy Sickles

Her address is below:
Cindy Lewis
3816 Highway Avenue
Highland,Indiana 46322

The first thing that should have tipped me off is that Kathy Sickles never addresses me by name. (Neither did she address any other writer individually, I hear.) Second thing–I only have one novel that’s available in stores. I had figured that the whole “biggest fan” thing was an exaggeration. Everyone does it. Third–It was written in some giant weird typeface that made it look kind of amateurish and childish. People don’t really do that. Unless they’re children. And was the “an autographed copies of one of your books” some kind of pathetic grammar trick to reinforce the amateurish/childish thing?

On the other hand (as two folks on the listserve pointed out): Who puts a street address on an email scam? And who would do this for books that they can already get on ebay for $.04!

I get at least one charitable request through my website each week. Charity is important to me. And I am naive–occasionally willfully so. I desperately want to believe the best about everyone I meet. I try to respond if I can.

Whatever the case, whoever resides at 3816 Highland Avenue now has two signed copies of IM–One from the UK because I thought it would be kind of fun. I really don’t want to hope that Cindy Lewis actually lives there and truly has cancer. If she does, maybe her loving sister just wanted to flood her with books and good wishes. That would be a nice thing.

But I’m skeptical.

I don’t know what to believe.

6 thoughts on “Fished?”

  1. Pinckney says:

    It’s only about five and a half hours from here. Let’s go visit!

  2. Jen HE says:

    Laura, you are so lovely sending those books. Oh but I really think you should take P up on his suggestion of a trip there — pick a nice weekend and stay over somewhere en route. I’d love to hear how it went!

  3. Kathy Sickles says:

    Thank you, You see I know my sister appreciated those books, Because I was with her on her birthday and she brought out all the autographed copies of the books she got and showed them to her guests.This is not a Scam, I am a real person, and so is my sister and tragically so is her inflammatory breast cancer(If anyone cared to investigate they could find my myspace or my yahoo 360 from my e-mail addy.)THis is not a scam and not a joke, Cancer is NO JOke to me, I lost my brother two years ago to bone cancer and my father 13 years ago to Liver cancer .I’m surethere are many other people that do not think cancer is a joke, Just visit an ocology floor in a hospital or sit with someone while they are receiving chemo. IT is no joke and I would do anything for my sister, for the little time she has left here, Just to hearthe joy in her voice or the look on her face when she receives a book.
    Kathy Sickles

  4. Laura says:

    Thank you, Kathy, for your gracious response. I wish you and your sister only the best.

  5. Pinckney says:

    Just for the record: When Ms Sickles suggests that L “visit an oncology floor in a hospital or sit with someone while they are receiving chemo” – she did both of those things, a lot, when I went through chemotherapy about 7 years ago.

    Nuf sed.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I got this email yesterday, and googled the two women’s names and came up upon this blog. Same wording in email, but she’s cleaned up the grammar and typos (and addressed me by name) after you pointed out all the inconsistencies.

    Laura, thanks for posting this. Btw, I don’t write mysteries, but it would seem Kathy Sickles is now not discriminating across genre lines.

    There’s another entry re. this scam in a blog titled Inkspot.

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