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Knowing that horse hooves can be used to make glue, Miriam found a valuable clue for solving the mystery in my new short story, “The Brother.”

“Oh, Lord!” I slapped my mouth with an open palm as I edged toward the counter above the furnace. “These are hooves. They’ve been making glue from the hooves of horses!”

Hoof glue was invented in ancient times. When it was first introduced in Ancient Egypt, it was made by the prolonged boiling of animal hooves. The most popular uses of that glue (which was expensive and rare) were for reinforcing papyrus scrolls and creating furniture for nobility. Several examples of such furniture are preserved in the tombs of the pharaohs, including the casket of Tutankhamun.

The storable form of hoof glue is a hard block of resin-like material. To use it, one would break off a chunk, mix it with hot water, and allow it to melt. Once melted, it can be simmered to reduce it to the appropriate thickness and then applied to the object in question.

And what a perfect glue for the climate in Alexandria! Although the glue can be dissolved by water— moisture or even high humidity will weaken the bond—it does not become brittle when dry. So, it’s ideal for a desert climate.

Of course, you and Miriam will need other clues to solve the crime. But now you’re in a position to guide her. The story will soon appear in Crime Pays, an anthology published by Hellbound Books. Just go to my website to get a head start on the story. Click here.

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