Major Characters

Dell Peterson

Fifty-two-year-old professor of criminal law, recent widower, and experienced hiker who agrees to help the Appalachian Trail Conference and police search for the serial murderer of Appalachian Trail hikers.

Willow Monroe

Runaway and abused fifteen-year-old girl who encounters Dell on the Pennsylvania section of the Appalachian Trail. They develop a close father-daughter relationship and she bonds with his German shepherd.


Dell’s female German shepherd who is a gifted search and rescue dog and fiercely protective of both Dell and Willow.

Grace Lombardi

An attorney, Dell’s former student, and his late wife’s best friend.  Grace and Dell fall in love. She joins Dell and Tara for the search in Maine’s “Hundred Mile Wilderness.”

Henry Dubois

Denied tenure at Colby College by female faculty members and administrators for misogynistic behavior, former English professor Dubois takes perverse revenge by killing Appalachian Trail hikers, especially women.

Brad Hornbeck

Dell’s friend since childhood and president of the Appalachian Trail Conference who urges Dell to assist in the apprehension of the murderer.

Tony Scaperelli

Hard-nosed FBI agent who is initially resistant to having either Dell or Grace involved in the investigation.

References to real people – living or dead – locations, entities, or events are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

D.L. Clarke

In May 1991, criminal law professor Dell Peterson agrees to assist the FBI and state police apprehend a misogynistic killer of Appalachian Trail hikers. On the Pennsylvania section of the trail Dell encounters, befriends, and hikes with Willow, a runaway teenage girl. But when Dell must return home to Washington, D.C., Willow continues hiking north alone.  A vicious murder in Maine brings Dell, Tara, and now Grace back to the Appalachian Trail to find Willow and help catch the killer. They join the FBI and state police in a tension-filled search in Maine’s forbidding “Hundred Mile Wilderness.”

Duncan L. Clarke

Duncan L. Clarke


Duncan L. Clarke is a writer in Carmel, California. He has twice hiked the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine with his German shepherd and he is a fifty-year member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. His debut novel, A Little Rebellion Is a Good Thing (Brandylane/Belle Isle Books, 2020) told of a student uprising at a public women’s college in Virginia. Clarke is Professor Emeritus of International Relations and former Director of the United States Foreign Policy Program at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, D.C. He has authored numerous articles and five books on U.S. Defense and foreign policy.

Set in 1969 Southwest Virginia, A LITTLE REBELLION IS A GOOD THING is the story of a newly hired professor who, at great risk to himself, challenges the paternalistic and unconstitutional policies of a rural state women’s college.

A LITTLE REBELLION IS A GOOD THING: Troubles at Traymore College

Major Characters

David Pritchard

Twenty-seven-year-old lawyer and recent Ph.D. recipient who is a new professor at a rural Virginia women’s college. David leads a movement to oust the repressive college president by aligning with key students and faculty.

Elzic Barton

Harsh autocratic college president who is determined to “protect my girls from dangerous and immoral elements” symbolized by David. Barton and David are locked in an irreconcilable and potentially deadly struggle.


David’s German shepherd who loves women, distrusts men, and comes to David’s rescue.

Valerie Tavernetti

Twenty-three-year-old president of the honor society who flees an abusive marriage, assertively seeks David’s emotional support, and becomes his first “intimate ally.”

Dean Evelyn Baird

The only high-ranking woman in an otherwise male-administered women’s college. The thirty-seven-year-old dean of students is attracted to David, provides him with vital information about Barton, and becomes a crucial “intimate ally.”

Kim Sherman

A twenty-four-year-old student plaintiff in a successful lawsuit against Barton, Kim is an adventurous and innovative New Yorker who becomes David’s third “intimate ally.”


A gorgeous and provocative nineteen-year-old temptress who, while not a full-fledged “intimate ally,” makes life risky for David.

“The portrayal of several characters is grounded largely in reality. To my knowledge, all personal names have been changed. Some events and place names (including that of the college itself) have also been altered, or, are products of my imagination.”

D.L. Clarke

In September 1969, a young New Yorker found himself in a sea of 4,000 single women in an era of profound social change. The basic academic freedoms of students and faculty alike were severely constrained. And sensitive interpersonal relationships had to be delicately finessed.