I’d been interested in Edinburg, Texas (they dropped the ‘h’ in the 1930s) ever since I’d bought a souvenir mug in a junk shop that read: Edinburg: Gateway to the Future. In fact, located as it is in the Rio Grande Valley 19 miles from the Mexican Border, it’s more like a gateway to drug war horror. But who could resist such a promise? The town also has an interesting origin: founded in 1908, it was originally called ‘Chapin’- until Mr. Chapin shot and killed a man, that is. Concerned about bad PR, the locals renamed their town after the birthplace of John Young, a big man in the history of the Valley. Actually, nobody remembered what town Young came from - only that he was Scottish. Edinburgh was their best guess.
A few years ago I took a break from my excessively wholesome diet of quality literature to go grazing in the world of trash. I read celebrity biographies, airport thrillers, detective stories - even new age twaddle like Paulo Coehlo's The Alchemist. Some discoveries gave rise to new reading habits, while others - such as the Coehlo - led only to envy of the author's stupendous wealth and amazement he could get away with it. Nothing, however, gripped me like the "true crime" stories.