While working as a home health nurse in Eldorado, Perri discovers there's a lot more going on in southern Illinois than she bargained for. While pursuing her interest in her own genealogical research, she becomes entangled in local legends, a centuries-old mystery surrounding a historic house in a nearly abandoned town, persistent rumors of hidden riches, and the double murder of the home’s owners.
The Greek-revival five-column bank that appears on the cover was the First registered state bank in Illinois and is still standing in Old Shawneetown. Construction began in 1838 and it opened in 1841. It served until 1942, when it was permanently closed following the devastating 1937 flood which prompted the removal of the majority of the population to a new location, now called Shawneetown, several miles away from the Ohio River. 

(Old) Shawneetown was home to the very first chartered bank in Illinois. The John Marshall House & Bank, pictured below, was established in 1816. A replica of the building stands a couple hundred yards inland from its original position which is now against the levee built over what was Front Street at the time. A few remnants of the original home are extant, including the visible eastern edge of the foundation. In Drawing on the Past, the reference to a clerk who slept on the money at night to prevent theft is true. There was no law enforcement or alarm system, and the bank had no secure safe. The hinged door that led to a storage area in the floor of the parlour of the house is depicted in the replica, with the original iron door on display. This bank once declined a loan requested by the city of Chicago. 

The John Marshall Bank is open for public tours. The five-column bank was partially restored in the 1970s, but the money ran out and no further work has been done. Having been cleaned and made safe for foot traffic by volunteers from the Gallatin County Historical Society and others, it opened for self-guided tours on September 24. It is open Sundays from 12-4pm through the end of October, 2017. There was one other bank in town on the same street, City National, built circa 1907-1910. It is unused, doors and windows boarded. Out of what was once a bustling downtown, these are the only two buildings still standing on their block after the flood waters and subsequent decay brought the others down. Other victims to time include the Rawlings Hotel which once hosted General Lafayette on his visit in 1825, the enormous Victorian-era Riverside Hotel, original early brick buildings, and unique houses that once graced the downtown area. 

Cave-in-Rock remains much as it was in 1819 and for thousands of years since it was formed. The cave has a very long and vivid history: river pirates, bandits, counterfeiters, and more. While the McCade house, as described in the book, did not exist, it is in keeping with other early brick structures in the area. Gold Hill Cemetery still exists, but only barely. Most of the stones have vanished, either swallowed by the earth, washed down the hill by rains, or crumbled into rubble. Remnants of the Salt Works can still be seen in various places along the Saline River. Below is a photo I took of the old salt well on August 26, 2017. All other photos taken by me on the same date.