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Sheldon’s Deep Water goes to Keene

The one-man play looks back hundred years to the still unsolved murder of Jaffrey man William K. Dean.

  • COURTESY PHOTOWilliam K. Dean of Jaffrey was murdered 100 years ago, and the mystery of his murder is the topic of a play by Ken Sheldon. COURTESY PHOTOWilliam K. Dean of Jaffrey was murdered 100 years ago, and the mystery of his murder is the topic of a play by Ken Sheldon.

  • Ken Sheldon, who is known throughout the Monadnock region as an author, performer, humorist, and the creator of Frost Heaves, will present a performance in Keene on November 28 of “Deep Water – The Murder of William K. Dean.” COURTESY PHOTO


Friday, November 16, 2018 1:8PM

On the night of August 13, 1918, at the height of World War I, William K. Dean of Jaffrey was brutally murdered. Was it his wife? His friend, the banker? A German spy?

One hundred years later, the crime remains unsolved and has been turned into a play entitled Deep Water – The Murder of William K. Dean. Written and performed by Ken Sheldon, Deep Water is based on actual transcripts of the Grand Jury investigation, FBI interviews, newspaper accounts, and other historic documents. It features hundreds of historic images, video footage, and voiceover actors, some portraying their own ancestors, witnesses in the Dean Murder investigation.

On Wednesday, November 28 at 7 pm, Ken Sheldon will bring a performance of Deep Water to the Historical Society of Cheshire County, 246 Main Street in Keene. Tickets are $15 or $12 for members of the Historical Society. Tickets are available online at www.hsccnh.org or by calling the Historical Society at 603-352-1895.

Ken Sheldon is known throughout the Monadnock region and beyond for his portrayals of Fred Marple, a character from the fictional town of Frost Heaves. He has also written suspense novels, children’s books, and pieces for Yankee Magazine.

“Having lived in Jaffrey at one time, I was familiar with the basic outlines of the story,” says Sheldon. “But I had no idea how complex and compelling the real story would turn out to be. It combines elements of a spy story, war hysteria, class divisions, small town life and politics, and of course, murder.”

“Doing the research, I really gained an appreciation for what life in the Monadnock region was like at the time. I think people were more reticent, more polite, and more observant of what went on around them, in part because life went on pretty much the same day after day. Anything different – like high-powered cars going by your house at night – stood out.”

Deep Water has been called “outstanding,” “amazing,” and “a spectacular presentation!” The play was commissioned by the Jaffrey Historical Society and produced by Robert Stephenson with support from the Bean Foundation.

The Historical Society of Cheshire County is located at 246 Main Street in Keene, New Hampshire. The organization has been collecting, preserving, and communicating the history of Cheshire County for 91 years. The Society puts on about 150 programs each year to help people of all ages “find their place in history.” For more information, visit hsccnh.org or call 603.352.1895.