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"The Tale Grew In The Telling"

If the light hadn't stopped us at the corner of Canal and City Park Avenue, I might never have seen the crumbling old cemetery and its mysterious gate.

My family left New Orleans when I was ten and I still loved to visit that mystical city filled with voodoo and magic. I had never seen this cemetery. There are no signs or markers. Then, above the gate, I saw three words: "Odd Fellows Rest."

That night and long after, I continued to wonder who or what were the Odd Fellows? 

I studied the past history and present reality of the Odd Fellows. That gate and the Odd Fellows are the inspiration for my in-progress thriller novel "The Fourth Degree."

The heroine of The Fourth Degree, June H. Quinn, a discredited Washington, DC political operative, is hired by the Odd Fellows. The Odd Fellows have a secret and they once had something other superpowers want. But do they still have it and who will find it first?

The action unfolds in Washington, Paris, and New Orleans and spans the past and the present. June has to decide between power and principle.


This story started with a gate. But as Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien said, “the tale grew in the telling.”

Welcome to the Fourth Degree.

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About Melinda Farris

Melinda Farris, author

Melinda Farris's first career was as a Washington, DC political operative and international democracy consultant. She worked on Capitol Hill, advised Cabinet nominees on a Presidential transition team, and coached democratic forces in Russia, Zimbabwe, and Afghanistan.

Excerpts from her unpublished first novel, The Fourth Degree, have been described as The Da Vinci Code meets National Treasure and received awards from the Southeastern Writers Association, Writer's Digest, and The Seven Hills Literary Review.

Melinda graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and, in 2023, received her MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University. She is the founder of the St. Simons Island Writers Group. The Georgia Writers Museum selected her to present "How to Create Suspense" at their 2024 annual retreat. She joined Oglethorpe Lodge #1, Savannah Odd Fellows.

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About The Fourth Degree

a dual timeline novel

The story involves dozens of characters from different nationalities, a sprawling contemporary political plot, and a sweeping historical component across many centuries. In 1727 Madeline Hachard, a young Ursuline nun, is selected by Cardinal de Fleury to carry a valuable artifact out of France to safety in New Orleans. June Quinn and the Odd Fellows intersect with Madeline in present day New Orleans.

Odd Fellow Secret Symbols
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Contact with publishing, speaking and workshop inquiries.



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