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Barber to self-publish fifth book, ‘Murder on Alum Creek’


ALUM CREEK — Jim Ryan has operated The Barber Shop on Alum Creek for six decades, but in recent years he’s been known as much for his wordsmithing as his hair cutting.

Cultivating customers from Lincoln, Boone and Kanawha counties through the years, Ryan penned his first self-published book in 2002 when he produced, “Barbershop Tales: Alkol to Olcott.”

Ryan, 80, said his latest book, “Murder on Alum Creek” — which is on schedule to be printed in April — came about through a conversation in his barbershop when he was 20 years old, not long after he purchased the business in the late 1950s.

“This man says to me, ‘Barber Ryan, did you know you had a murder here in the community where a preacher drowned his wife?’ and I told him that I hadn’t.”
Over time, Ryan said he kept hearing more and more about the murder from others in the community. The story of the Baptist preacher killing his wife seemed to come up again and again through the years.
Find the rest of the article from the Huntington Herald-Dispatch.