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James McBride

EASTERN SHORE SONGS

James McBride had no idea Maryland's Eastern Shore would be the setting for his next novel when he first headed there about seven years ago. In fact, he says, he was on his way to Washington to research a book on the death of Abraham Lincoln when he impulsively decided to turn left on U.S. 50 instead of right.

"I wanted to visit the house where Lincoln died," says McBride, a Brooklyn native with homes in New York and Bucks County, Pa. "I started driving down that way, but then I just veered off at Annapolis and started heading in the other direction."

What he found, says McBride, who will be in town for this weekend's Baltimore Book Festival, was an...

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