Susan is now available. It may be ordered at the following venues:
Illinois University Press, Amazon,
published in October 2003 by Southern Illinois UniversityPress,
is a memoir about the author's sister, Susan Hurley Harrison, a
talented but troubled woman whose lack of self-confidence led her
dependent on alcohol and ensnared in a violent second marriage.
Susan disappeared on August 5, 1994, just after visiting her estranged
husband, James J. Harrison, a wealthy former chief financial officer
of Baltimore's McCormick Spice Company.
The next two-plus years were a nightmare for Moran, her three brothers,
and Susan's two sons from her first marriage. They spent all
of their waking non-work hours searching for Susan: putting pressure
on the police, hiring a private investigator, trying to enlist the
assistance of the FBI, appearing on Unsolved Mysteries and
American Journal, and constantly pleading with the public
for help. Finally, the day after Thanksgiving 1996, two hikers
stumbled upon Susan's remains in a remote, heavily wooded area of
Frederick County, Maryland. Two weeks later her death was
ruled a homicide, caused by a severe blow to the head.
No one has ever been charged with Susan Hurley Harrison's murder.
Despite a lengthy list of Susan's calls to the police alleging abuse
by her husband, and despite recorded rib fractures, lacerations,
a black eye, and numerous other injuries, the Maryland state's attorney
general's office concluded that there was not enough evidence to
prosecute. And so Moran and her brothers and nephews have
had to live with the tormenting knowledge that Susan's murder will
go unavenged. Their pain and anger are increased every time
they read yet another newspaper article about a similar case that
did result in a charge and convictionoften with less compelling
circumstantial evidence than in Susan's case.
It was her outrage at the unevenness of the way the law is applied
in murder cases that spurred Moran to write Finding Susan.
She wanted the book to achieve for her sister the justice that Susan
was denied in the courts. The book is also intended to help
other women caught in the trap of alcoholism and domestic violence;
it includes appendixes providing practical advice to victims, giving
domestic violence hotline numbers across the country, and recommending
self-help and other books on the topics of spousal abuse and female
Although Moran continues in her career as a college professor, she
is developing an avocation as an anti-domestic violence advocate.
She welcomes email suggestions from website visitors concerning
conferences, newsletters, interest groups, and other resources where
she might put the word out about her forthcoming book.