Novelist and the museum curator: a story of coincidence

two-beths-getty.jpgSanta Monica author and TV writer Robert Masello's novel "Bestiary" has a heroine who's a curator of medieval manuscripts at the Getty. Her name is Beth Cox. After the book came out, he got a call from a woman who, like his character, is a specialist in bestiaries. She, too, was named Beth — and she is a curator of medieval the Getty. Some of the rest you can probably predict, as Masello posts at the Getty blog.

while her last name wasn’t Cox—it was Morrison—she had indeed dated a guy named Cox (“whom my mother was dying for me to marry”). And after checking my website, she also discovered that she had been born in Princeton, New Jersey, where I’d gone to college, while she had gone to Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois, the town where I was born and raised. The coincidences went on from there, and as the real Beth put it in that e-mail, “I was quite pleasantly surprised to find that the basic material of my life could be intriguing enough for an author to invent it!”

Well, as you can guess, we had to meet in person, which we did, over lunch in the Getty cafeteria. Again, I saw that I had most of the details right—she was young, pretty, tall, but, disappointingly, a redhead. My Beth was a brunette. How could I have been so wrong?

No romance (that we know of), but they have become friends.

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