One Car. One Man. No Answers.

The world of stamp collecting doesn’t seem like a world of intrigue and crime, a place where people end up dead in a car in Maine. But some people think that’s exactly what happened to Massachusetts man James Arlington Cassidy

Stamp collecting has been a hobby since 1840, which is when the first pre-paid stamp, Penny Black, was issued.

It’s still considered one of the world’s most popular hobby, the “hobby of kings.” And its devotees include laborers, kings, artists, children, the random landscape artist and my nana Morse.

When she died, I inherited a box of her stamps, which I’m ashamed to say is in the garage of our extra house, stored on a wooden shelf full of spider webs.

Famous collectors include Queen Elizabeth 11, Amelia Earhart, Charlie Chapman, Ayyn Rand, Franklin Roosevelt, Dr. Sally Ride, and Simon Wiesenthal.

And, um, Rena Philbrick Morse, my nana.

Stamp collecting is a place of little rules,  kind of the Wild West of hobbies. And it doesn’t require a lot of equipment or accessories. You don’t need a helmet. You don’t need special shoes. You just need a love of stamps.

And the stamps lead to learning. Each are almost a tiny treasure hunt of design. What does this symbol mean? Who created this design? What country is this from? It’s a hobby of questions.

Collectors use tongs. They sometimes soak off the stamp off envelope remnants.

Collectors might focus on what the stamp features or where it’s from or because they are obvious shapes of weirdness. There are clubs. People collect them in journals. There are how-to books and periodicals. And clubs. And sometimes people get really excited about them—so excited that they could potentially commit murder? Maybe.

Join us as we try to parse through the facts and fiction of the death of James Cassidy, III.


Anyone with information about the cold case is asked to contact the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit – North at 207-973-3750 or leave a tip here.



About the Author
I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.

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