Author Peter Pettingill will speak on March 16 about his new book, The Murder of Mattie Hackett. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Mattie Hackett was 17 years of age when she was murdered in Readfield in August, 1905. The mystery remains unsolved to this day. SUBMITTED PHOTO

READFIELD — The Readfield Historical Society (RHS) will hold its 2024 annual meeting on Saturday at 1 p.m., March 16 at Gile Hall, 8 Old Kents Hill Road. Following a brief business meeting, election of officers, and the annual recognition of a (hopefully surprised) volunteer, a program will be given by author, Peter M. Pettingill about his newly released book regarding the August 1905 murder of Mattie Hackett.

Hackett was a recent Kents Hill School student and working at the Elmwood Hotel in Readfield Corner that summer when she was murdered near her parents’ farm on P Ridge Road. A yearlong investigation ensued, which Pettingill recounts in his historical novel The Murder of Mattie Hackett.

Diligently researched and vividly detailed, the book delves into the people involved, the political and social factors that drove the case, and the mysteries that still surround Hackett’s murder over a century later.

The book spans more than a decade, from the time of Hackett’s murder in 1905 through the investigations and eventual trial of a Readfield woman in 1912. Pettingill took great care to examine the suspects, witnesses, personalities, setting, and time period that contributed to the unfolding real-life drama.

The Murder of Mattie Hackett is an engaging read for true crime fans and history buffs. RHS historian and genealogist Dale Potter-Clark related, “Anyone who has heard stories about this murder from their grandparents or older Readfield townspeople over the years will learn a good deal from the significant information the book divulges, much of which is assuredly unknown to anyone alive today.”

Peter Pettingill will be available to sell and sign his book at the event.

The Readfield Historical Society was established in 1985 to preserve the rich history of Readfield and its people through research, community outreach, the preservation of artifacts, textiles, documents, and photos.

The museum and archives at 754 Main Street is open during the summer months and by appointment as the weather allows. FMI about the annual meeting or other RHS offerings contact, phone (207) 377-2299 or visit them on Facebook.

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