CSI Creator’s “Mountain Mystery” Story Wraps Up at Lake Arrowhead Country Club

Editor's note: "Mountain Mystery" can also be read on the Lake Arrowhead Country Club's website. Click here to read it.

Anthony Zuiker, the creator of CSI and a homeowner in Lake Arrowhead, has been writing a 10-part fictional mystery story about a girl who goes missing around the lake. Each week, he has released a new page, with the two-page finale being released on Monday, July 8. The story, “Missing Syringa,” has appeared in the Lake Arrowhead Country Club’s weekly newsletter.

To celebrate the story’s completion, Anthony held a reception and cocktail party at the Country Club on Tuesday, July 9. At the event, he had a Q&A with other country club members and brought in a young actress to play the role of the missing girl from the story, Syringa.

The 14-year-old actress, Morgan Bastin, was in the finale of CSI and has also played in Kelly Clarkson’s Cautionary Christmas Music Tale and as Chloe Kardashian in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.

Morgan said she found acting because her grandmother wanted her to do something with the arts. Since people have always told her she was a drama queen, so she took an acting class.

“I fell in love with it from there,” Morgan said. “The feeling of being someone else while also incorporating myself is so interesting.” 

“Halloween is my favorite holiday because I get to be somebody or something else and it helps me discover new parts of myself that I didn’t even know I had. It’s really cool,” Morgan added.

Morgan said she got involved with Anthony’s "Mountain Mystery" story when she posted a picture of herself on Instagram and Anthony wanted to use the picture to represent Syringa for his story.

For the reception, Anthony brought in Morgan and her dad from Texas the night before. During the Q&A, Morgan played the role of Syringa and answered the audience’s questions about the character and events in the story as if everything in the story was a real event. The Q&A revealed a few details and internal thoughts of the characters that weren’t in the story and expanded on the story with the help of audience participation.

Anthony said the story came about because he wanted to do something for the community that was “within the skillset of telling a story.” He also tried to incorporate Lake Arrowhead into the story as much as possible. He did this by setting the story in Lake Arrowhead, including well-known people who live here and using local businesses as part of the story alongside the fictional characters his story revolves around.

“Missing Syringa was the first attempt at doing a crime story just for you and nobody else,” Anthony said. “It’s a piece of prose only for you. If you like it, we’ll do it again!”

The audience of about 40 people responded to the possibility of another story with applause and affirmation.

“It’s official, I’ll write another one for the future,” Anthony said.

Anthony then thanked Morgan for being there before opening the floor for attendees to get her autograph.

“[Morgan] is a phenomenal actress, super emotional, beautiful, talented, and here for you guys,” Anthony said. “Thank you very much, Morgan, for doing this.”

“Michelle [and I], we couldn’t be happier to be semi-retired, up in this community, enjoying the lake, the community, the culture,” Anthony continued. “We are involved in the community, we appreciate your attendance very much and now we’re telling great stories to entertain you guys.”

Right now, only those who get the Country Club’s newsletter have been able to read the story. Going forward, Anthony said he may compile a number of these stories into an anthology once more of them have been written.

“It’s fun for me if I know people will… enjoy it,” Anthony said about the stories.