Unspeakable Crimes in DC – January, 2019

On January 5 I had the great pleasure of participating in a panel discussion with three wonderful crime writers at East City Bookshop in Washington, D.C.

Having a laugh

Laughing, from the left, Cheryl Head, John Copenhaver, me, Sherry Harris

Called Unspeakable Crimes, LGBTQ Mystery Writing, the evening was sponsored by OutWrite and held at East City Bookshop on Pennsylvania Avenue. East City Bookshop 010519

The other participating authors were Cheryl Head, John Copenhaver and Sisters in Crime president Sherry Harris, who moderated the discussion.

Cheryl writes the fabulous Charlie Mack Motown Mystery series, featuring an African American lesbian PI from the east side of Detroit. The first book is Bury Me When I’m Dead. The second is Wake Me When It’s Over and the third, to be released in March, is Catch Me When I’m Falling.  If you read one, you’ll read them all.  Trust me.

Cheryl reading 2

John’s debut novel, Dodging and Burning, is getting a lot of well-deserved buzz. A historical crime novel set in WWII-era Virginia, it received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, and was LJ’s Debut of the Month. I know I couldn’t put it down, and agree with the rave reviews. It was called “a riveting debut” by Associated Press and  “a masterwork of tone and voice” by BOLO Books.

John's debut novel is a knockout

John’s debut novel is a knockout

Sherry Harris is the author of a terrific cozy series, the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries. Her sixth book in the series, The Gun Also Rises, will be released on January 29. Sherry is an accomplished moderator who got us talking about the need for and value of LGBTQ protagonists in crime fiction and many other aspects of our writing lives.

Me, with Sherry Harris.

Me, with Sherry Harris.

A summary of the discussion was published this week by the indefatigable Kristopher Zgorski of Bolo Books. You can find it here. http://bolobooks.com/2019/01/unspeakable-crimes-a-bolo-books-event-recap/

I was delighted to see my friend Ed Aymar, whose much- anticipated thriller The Unrepentant, will be out in March.

I was delighted to see my friend Ed Aymar, whose much- anticipated thriller The Unrepentant, will be out in March.

It was great to spend the evening with such terrific, talented writers, to see old friends and meet some new ones. Many thanks to East City Bookshop https://www.eastcitybookshop.com/ for hosting and OutWrite DC http://thedccenter.org/outwrite/ for sponsoring this event.

All credit goes to my wonderful spouse, Diane Kenty, for the fine photographs.

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Fun at Libraries

I participated in two wonderful events at Maine libraries in the past week.  On October 26-27, Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor held its fourth annual Murder By The Book conference.

Lynne Raimondo (face in hands, at far left) did her best to herd the cats on this panel, titled "A Woman's Place is on the Page . . . And Writing It." We are, from left, Beth Ineson, Jim Ziskin, Dorothy Cannell, Julia Spencer-Fleming and me.

Lynne Raimondo (face in hands, at far left) did her best to herd the cats on this panel, titled “A Woman’s Place is on the Page . . . And Writing It.” We are, from left, Beth Ineson, Jim Ziskin, Dorothy Cannell, Julia Spencer-Fleming and me.

Crime writers from Maine and other parts of New England convened Friday night for a reception at which an original play was given a staged reading and writers read brief passages of work in progress.  The play was an absolute hoot!

In the staged reading of the murder mystery at MBTB

In the staged reading of the murder mystery at MBTB

Penned by husband and wife team Robert and Robin Lawton, it involved the murder of mystery writer Royal Pane on a private island off the coast of Maine during an exclusive weekend for mystery writers hosted by billionaire I. Reed Toomuch.

David Rosenfelt, second from left, was the guest of honor. I'm to his left, Julia Spencer-Fleming and Vaughn Hardacker are to his right.

David Rosenfelt, second from left, was the guest of honor at Murder by the Book. I’m to his left, Julia Spencer-Fleming and Vaughn Hardacker are to his right.


Some of us performed the parts of characters with names suspiciously similar to our own (I was Brenda Buckminster, for example). It was a lot of fun.

The Saturday workshops were terrific, and the schmoozing was, as always, top notch.


On November 1, I was with fellow Maine crime writers Barbara Ross and Richard Cass at the Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth for an interactive workshop in which we built a mystery on the spot based on suggestions from the audience about who done it and how.

We asked the audience to make suggestions about the key parts of the book, and took it from there.

We asked the audience to make suggestions about the key parts of the book, and took it from there.

The energetic and engaged audience had us laughing from start to finish.  Thanks to librarian Janie Downey Maxwell for setting it up!

From left, Dick Cass, Barb Ross, librarian Janie Downey Maxwell and me.

From left, Dick Cass, Barb Ross, librarian Janie Downey Maxwell and me.


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September Fun

September came and went in a blink, which so often happens when you are having a lot of fun.

The Vinoy Hotel, built in 1925, abandoned in the 1970s, revived in the 1990s. A terrific conference venue.

The Vinoy Hotel, built in 1925, abandoned in the 1970s, revived in the 1990s. It was a terrific conference venue.

Bouchercon, the international conference of crime writers, was in St. Petersburg, Florida the weekend after Labor Day weekend. Held at the fabulous Vinoy Renaissance Hotel, it was a blast.  Highlights? Watching Lawrence Block interview Ian Rankin, the panel of women thriller authors (Lori Roy, Shannon Kirk, Meg Gardiner, Chris Goff and Lara Dearman – wow!), the Anthony Awards ceremony, and the opportunity to meet and chat with so many writers, agents and editors throughout the weekend.

I took part in a panel discussion titled “Somewhere Over the Rainbow – LGBTQ in Crime Fiction,” with Stephanie Gayle, John H. Copenhaver, J.M. Redmann and Alison R. Solomon, moderated by publicist extraordinare Dana Kaye. It was a good discussion with terrific writers, some of whom I’d not met before and all of whom I look forward to hanging out with at future conferences.

Bouchercon panel

In the middle of the month I took myself off to Peaks Island for a week’s writing retreat as part of the Illustration Institute’s Faison Residency Program.

A favorite spot on Peaks Island, a short walk from the cottage where I holed up and wrote for a week.

A favorite spot on Peaks Island, a short walk from the cottage where I holed up and wrote for a week.

The brilliant memoirist Elizabeth Peavey was also in residence that week, in a long, low stone house across the lane from the wonderful, multi-porched turn of the twentieth century cottage where I stayed.

The Guest House, where I had a week's writing retreat

The Guest House, where I had a week’s writing retreat

Liz and I shared dinner and writing talk a couple of nights, and on Thursday the 20th did a joint presentation at the Fifth Maine Regiment Hall and Museum.

It was great to see so many friends on Peaks at the beautiful Fifth Maine. Thanks to Bill and Nancy Hall, who manage the historic treasure, for making it available for this event.

It was great to see so many friends on Peaks at the beautiful Fifth Maine. Thanks to Bill and Nancy Hall, who manage the historic treasure, for making it available for this event.


Memoir and mystery are different genres to be sure, but writing is writing.

From left, Elizabeth Peavey, Nancy Gibson-Nash, Scott Nash and me at Fifth Maine

From left, Elizabeth Peavey, Nancy Gibson-Nash, Scott Nash and me at Fifth Maine

It was a pleasure to meet with such an enthusiastic audience of readers and talk with Liz about our process and current projects.

With John Faison, whose work with the Illustration Institute to create the artist residency honors his late wife, Marilyn Mazza Faison.

With John Faison, whose work with the Illustration Institute to create the artist residency honors his late wife, Marilyn Mazza Faison.


Many thanks to Scott and Nancy Gibson-Nash of the Illustration Institute for inviting me for a second year, and to John Faison, whose generosity has taken the residency program from dream to reality.

I’m sure the artists who have participated in the Faison residency agree – there’s nothing quite like uninterrupted time in an inspirational setting to create. It’s a treasure beyond words.

In October I’ll be up on Bar Harbor at the beautiful Jesup Memorial Library for the annual Murder By The Book conference October 26-27 (for details: https://jesuplibrary.org/mbtb/) and on Tuesday October 30th I’ll be at Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth with my colleagues Barbara Ross and Richard Cass constructing a mystery with the assistance of the audience. For more info: http://www.thomasmemoriallibrary.org/events/?event_id=7228


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Making Writing Space, Redux

This post first appeared on the Maine Crime Writers blog on August 20, 2018.

We’re just back from our annual visit to beautiful Brooklin, Maine, the inspirational place I wrote about here on MCW three Augusts ago. We had two marvelous weeks there this year (which means, of course, twice the bracing swims, twice the stunning sunsets and twice the fabulous blueberry pie). Immersed in a new series, I also got twice as much writing done.

When I went back to read the post I wrote in 2015 about how it feels to be surrounded by E.B. White’s spirit when we visit Allen Cove, I realized I couldn’t say it better, so here it is again.  I hope you enjoy this August 12, 2015 post, and invite comments about the places that inspire you.


What happens to me when I cross the Piscataqua and plunge rapidly into Maine at a cost of seventy-five cents in tolls? I cannot describe it. I do not ordinarily spy a partridge in a pear tree, or three French hens, but I do have the sensation of having received a gift from a true love. And when, five hours later, I dip down across the Narramissic and look back at the tiny town of Orland, the white spire of its church against the pale-red sky stirs me in a way that Chartres could never do.”—E.B. White, Home-Coming, 1955

 I am lucky enough to live in Maine all the time and don’t have to cross the Piscataqua to make a pilgrimage to Allen Cove in Brooklin, Maine, where the incomparable E.B. White lived and wrote for so many years.

E.B. White

E.B. White

But just as he did on his long rides from away, I feel a delicious anticipation when crossing the Narramissic River in the Hancock County town of Orland. From there it’s less than a half hour to the shore of Allen Cove, where I also lived once upon a time. My period of residence began eight years after the 1985 death of the famed essayist, author and authority on writerly style.

The gravestones of Katharine and E.B. White, admirable, brilliant writers both.

In the mid-90s I lived in a rented cottage on the south side of E.B. and Katharine White’s former hayfield, across the road from their old saltwater farm. Though I had turned in my journalist’s badge by then, I still thought of myself as a writer, self-identity being a fairly fixed thing by the time you’re thirty-something. I was a recent law school grad, and had yet to realize that the legal and literate sides of my brain could sing—or at least hum—in harmony. Though the writer part of me was in a fallow period, I thought a lot about the man who used to live across the road. I bought and read as much of his work as I could find. (I later discovered Katharine White’s work, which is a blog post for another day.)

The summer folks who had bought the Whites’ farm urged me to hike around on the farm throughout the winter, and even loaned me a pair of snowshoes for that purpose. Without the smell of humans on the land, the deer would decimate the orchard, they said, so tromp around to your heart’s content. That’s how the Whites’ former place became mine to ramble during the cold weather months 20 years ago.

I was especially drawn to the converted boathouse on the shore of Allen Cove where E.B. White wrote. I spent considerable time peering through the window of his former writing space, studying its spare beauty.

Here’s how he described it:

The house in which I sit this morning was built to accommodate a boat, not a man, but by long experience I have learned that in most respects it shelters me better than the larger dwelling where my bed is, and which, by design, is a manhouse, not a boathouse. Here in the boathouse I am a wilder and, it would appear, a healthier man, by a safe margin. I have a chair, a bench, a table, and I can walk into the water if I tire of the land . . . A mouse and a squirrel share the house with me. The building is, in fact, a multiple dwelling, a semidetached affair. It is because I am semidetached while here that I find it possible to transact this private business with the fewest obstacles.—E.B. White, A Slight Sound At Evening, 1954.

Semidetached in the boathouse

Semidetached in the boathouse

My visits to his former coveside writing space occurred at a time when I was unable to achieve the semidetachment necessary to make up my own stories. Yet I yearned for a physical and mental writing space of my own, on the shore of Allen Cove or any other shore for that matter. I was learning to be a lawyer in rural Maine, but my new profession still felt like playacting, and part of me wanted to be offstage, writing the lines.

Two decades later I have figured out that I’m capable of doing both. I am a lawyer and a crime writer. My writing space is nothing like the boathouse into which I peeked on those cold afternoons on the shore of Allen Cove. But like White, I write every day, and feel as though I’ve received a gift when I cross that little river on the journey back to Brooklin.

A blueberry pie is always a gift

A blueberry pie is always a gift

This year, two days after I delivered the manuscript for my third Joe Gale mystery, we pointed the car north and east and yelped with joy when we crossed the Narramissic. We only had a week, but boy, did we make the most of it in a modest rented cottage around Allen Cove from the Whites’ place.

Allen Cove at Sunset, August, 2015

Allen Cove at sunset, August, 2015

We ate lots of blueberry pie. Took looooong swims in the cove when the tide was high. Hiked through hushed woodlands. Ate more pie. Sat in awe of sunsets that went on for an hour. Watched  a gang of greater yellowlegs dance along the shore. Listened for the nightly hermit thrush serenade while doing the supper dishes. Slept with the windows wide open to welcome the cool night breeze off the water. Ate still more pie.

A greater yellowlegs sashaying along the shoreline

A greater yellowlegs sashaying along the shoreline

And every now and then I picked up the binoculars and reconnoitered the shoreline of the cove until E.B. White’s little boathouse came into focus, still standing for the proposition that every writer needs to find their own space to write.

Brenda Buchanan is the author of the Joe Gale Mystery Series, featuring a diehard Maine newspaper reporter who covers the crime and courts beat. Three books—QUICK PIVOT, COVER STORY and TRUTH BEAT—are available everywhere e-books are sold.  She is hard at work on a new series that has as its protagonist a Portland criminal defense lawyer willing to take on cases others won’t touch in a town to which she swore she would never return.


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Maine Crime Wave 2018

This past weekend was the annual Maine Crime Wave conference and what a time we had.

Katrina Niidas Holm during her brilliant Life of a Book interview with Guest of Honor Douglas Preston and his editor, Millicent Bennett.

Katrina Niidas Holm, on the left, conducts a brilliant Life of a Book interview with Guest of Honor Douglas Preston and his editor, Millicent Bennett.

Acclaimed thriller and non-fiction author Douglas Preston was the Guest of Honor and the winner of the 2018 Maine CrimeMaster Award. He wowed the crowd on Friday night and Saturday morning with tales of his research trips to remote parts of the planet and terrific anecdotes about his on-going collaboration with Lincoln Child on thrillers that top the best-seller lists.

Barbara Ross led a terrific panel discussion Friday night about crafting irresistible openings, with Julia Spencer-Fleming and R.G. Belsky.

Left to right, moderator Barbara Ross, Julia Spencer-Fleming, R.G. Belsky talk about irresistible openings.

Left to right, moderator Barbara Ross, Julia Spencer-Fleming, R.G. Belsky talk about irresistible openings.

An hour later I moderated a discussion with domestic suspense writers Daniel Palmer and Joseph Souza about writing compelling endings.

Compelling Closings PanelPretty much the entire gang associated with the Maine Crime Writers blog was there, which is always a wonderful thing.

The gang

Top row, left to right, Gayle Lynds, Dick Cass, me, Bruce Coffin. Front row, Lea Wait, Jen Blood, Sandra Neilly, Maureen Milliken and Barbara Ross. Also at the conference, but not in the photo, were MCW bloggers Kate Flora, John Clark, Vaughn Hardaker, Susan Vaughn and Joe Souza.

Enormous thanks go out to Gayle Lynds and the rest of the organizing committee, and to Josh Bodwell, executive director of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. Gayle Lynds 2

Putting on a two-day conference with such high quality programming takes a lot of work, and they deserve tremendous credit. The venue, the schedule, the food and the inclusive tone were pitch-perfect.

Thanks also to bookseller Barbara Kelly of Kelly’s Books-to-Go for managing the brisk business at the book table with her trademark smile.

Credit for these photos  goes to my spouse, Diane Kenty, who did a wonderful job capturing the happy and engaged spirit of the weekend.

Gerry Boyle and Kate Flora.

Gerry Boyle and Kate Flora.

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Reading and Watching

Most everybody who is anybody was at Malice Domestic the last weekend of April. This year I missed the fun.

It would have been great to hang out with my MCW colleagues Lea Wait, Barb Ross, Kathy Lynn Emerson, Maureen Milliken and Bruce Coffin, not to mention the hundreds of other mystery writers who converge on unsuspecting Bethesda, Maryland every spring. They’re my peeps, and I enjoy spending time with them, but the truth is I would have spent the weekend stalking Ann Cleeves and Brenda Blethyn.

If you don’t know, Ann Cleeves is a British writer who has written more than thirty novels—most of which I have read, many more than once—and Brenda Blethyn is an English actress most recently famous for her role as Vera in the BBC television series of the same name, based on Ann Cleeves’ books about brilliant, intrepid Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope.

I am a huge fan of both women. I’ve met Ann twice before, once at Malice and again at Bouchercon last fall, and both times had to work hard not to come across as a total fangirl.

Here I am with Ann Cleeves last fall, trying not to gush.

I admire her intricately-plotted novels, which are peopled by fascinating characters. (Her Shetland series, featuring Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, is as good as the Vera series, and also has inspired a BBC television series called Shetland, featuring Douglas Henshall.) On the performance side of the slate, the casting of Brenda Blethyn to play the role of Vera was absolutely inspired.

If any readers of this blog haven’t read Ann’s work, or haven’t seen Brenda become her characters, you owe it to yourself to binge-read the Vera books, then binge-watch the Vera series. It’s available on Acorn and BritBox, perhaps can also be found elsewhere on your entertainment dial. When you get done with the Vera series, dig into the Shetland books, then treat yourself to the Shetland TV series. If you’re like me, the books and the dramatic interpretation of them will have you dreaming of making a journey to that remote archipelago on the edge of the North Sea.

Now I have some some questions for you, dear readers.

If an author’s work has been dramatized on TV or in film, do you prefer to read the book first, or watch the show/movie first? Why?

For those of you who write crime fiction, do you read in the genre while you are writing, or no? Why or why not?

If you don’t read crime fiction while writing, do you watch mystery/crime shows on TV?

If so, what are your favorites?

My answers:

I read the book first, without fail.

I always have book going when I’m writing, and 90% of the time it’s crime fiction. I find it inspiring to read others’ work, don’t fear that I’ll unconsciously appropriate their style or voice.

Similarly, I come away both motivated and entertained when I watch well-written crime fiction shows on TV.

In addition to Vera and Shetland, I loved Foyle’s War, became totally absorbed in Broadchurch and some Friday nights want nothing more to kick back with my pal Sheriff Walt Longmire.

I’m always looking for new ideas, so please let me know your thoughts.

This post first appeared on the Maine Crime Writers blog on May 2, 2018.

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Spring In My Step

It’s here!  It’s here!  It’s finally here!

It was a long, damn winter, wasn’t it? The pre-Christmas snow. The post-Christmas cold snap that went on f-o-r-e-v-e-r. The ice and the slush and those three annoying nor’easters in the month of March. About two weeks ago everybody but the skiers screamed “enough, already,” and my voice was among them. But now there’s spring in my step.

It’s a season of milestones, and four big ones happened in the past week.

First things first, I took the ice grippers out of my car. For months they’ve been either on my feet or on the floor of the back seat, at the ready to get me from car to work without taking a flip, which is soooo easy to do on the brick skating rinks otherwise known as Old Port sidewalks.

Goldfinches at our feeder.

Second, we’re leaving a window open at night, welcoming the breeze and the morning birdsong. So far we’re hearing chickadees, titmice, cardinals and goldfinches. There’s music in the air at other times of the day as well. One afternoon last week I heard my first red-winged blackbird of the season. Before we know it, the warblers—the handsome virtuosos who fill Maine’s yards and woods with intricate tunes—will be back.

Flowers are showing up as well. Our snowdrops and crocus bloomed one short week after the snow melted. Daffodil and tulip shoots are in evidence, and soon the front yard will be a riot of color.

They were just hiding under all that snow!

Last but certainly not least, baseball season has begun. I’m writing this on Easter Sunday, when my Red Sox have just won their third game of the season after an unfortunate loss the first day out of the gate. It’s such a pleasure to hear the crack of the bat, not to mention the radio broadcast of Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett.  Someday soon we’ll make a pilgrimage to the little jewel box in Boston, where the home season starts tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the Fenway Park opener.

The joys of spring are many and vary from person to person. Besides the wonders of last week noted above, I look forward to:

Raking out the raised beds and seeding some greens. We usually do this on Patriot’s Day. Because we have a cold frame, we’ll be eating our own greens in May.

Our raised beds, one with cold frame. This is last spring, but soon!

Giving the car—especially the mud-encrusted mats—a good scrub and driving with the sunroof open, especially on a Sunday afternoon when the destination involves ice cream.

Getting out the deck furniture and holding the first cookout of the season. I’m already grilling on a regular basis, but I look forward to the day when I can lounge on the deck sans fleece while grilling fish, or pizza or kebabs, and eating supper outside.

Hearing the rising trill of peepers, the amphibious chorus that echoes around the vernal pools and marshland. Drive with your windows down in a week or two and there they’ll be, calling their little hearts out.

Can’t you just taste the wonderful balance of strawberries and rhubarb?

Getting ahead of myself a bit, I can’t wait for warm weather food. Local strawberries tarted up with rhubarb. Sauteed fiddleheads. Lobster rolls at a picnic table with a view.

This post was originally posted on the Maine Crime Writers blog on 

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On Watching My Characters Take The Stage

Last week Barbara Ross posted some wonderful photos from the Portland Stage Company event on March 5th, where actors performed staged readings of work by Lea Wait, Dick Cass, Chris Holm, Barb and me.

As Barb said, it was a joy to have our work read by such skilled actors and to take the stage together for the post-performance audience discussion led by the terrific Bess Welden. Unfortunately, Lea was unable to be there in person. Her scene from Twisted Threads was the final piece of the night, and the audience ate it up.

Narrator Bess Welden introduces the scene from Cover Story.

This is the second year I’ve had the opportunity to participate in this Portland Stage collaboration, and both times I’ve come away with a deeper understanding of the characters I write. You might wonder how that could be. After all, I birthed Joe Gale and all my other literary babies. How could watching a bunch of actors read the words I put in my characters’ mouths give me greater insight into their hearts and minds? Because seeing other people interpret my work pries it from my strong fingers, and gives my imaginary friends an existence independent of me.

Like a mother watching her six-year-old get on the school bus, it’s a good thing.

The challenge inherent in the exercise is to identify a scene capable of standing alone, a ten-minute excerpt with a coherent beginning, middle and end, a narrative arc and an emotional one, too.

My scene was from Cover Story, the second book in my Joe Gale series, in which Joe goes to Machias in the dead of winter to cover a high-profile murder trial.

Actor Rob Cameron made a fabulous Joe Gale.

Rob Cameron took on the role of shaggy-haired Joe, who submits himself to a haircut at the barbershop operated by ex-Marine Claude LeClair. Three lines in, I nearly jumped out of my seat.

I’ve long held an image in my mind of my main character, not just his build and face, but his attitude as well. In Rob Cameron’s gestures and tone of voice, Joe Gale came alive—a bulldog reporter with a kind heart, protected by the sarcastic sense of humor that is a journalist’s armor.

Claude LeClair, the mad barber of Machias, was read by Andrew Harris.

As for mad barber Claude LeClair, actor Andrew Harris hit all the marks in his portrayal of the angry, opinionated father-in-law of the man on trial for murdering a DHHS caseworker.

A side benefit of re-tooling a scene from a book to be read on stage is the chance to add and subtract from the written page in order to make a performance fly. Last year the adapting process was a bit intimidating. This year it felt like freedom.

Starting from the assumption that many in the audience hadn’t read Cover Story, I transformed a low-key character from the book’s barbershop scene —Claude’s brother-in-law Lenny, a man of few words—into his sharp-tongued sister-in-law, Mary Lou.

Moira Driscoll took a revamped character and ran with the part.

Actor Moira Driscoll got what I was going for when I gave Lenny a literary sex change and attitude adjustment.

In fact, Moira did such a good job reading her part as Claude’s needling antagonist I wish I could go back in time and put Mary Lou in the book.

I hope the partnership between Portland Stage Company and Maine’s crime writers continues for a long time to come.

Huge props go to Director Eileen Phelan, who chooses the scenes, casts the parts and works with the writers and the actors to achieve collaborative success.

Eileen Phelan, the marvelous director of the staged readings, with yours truly after the show.

Creative and community-minded, she is the engine behind this effort. Thank you, Eileen, for your support and inspiration.


Readers of this blog should take note that every winter season, PSC stages a mystery, and these staged readings featuring the work of Maine crime writers grew out of that annual tradition. This year the crime-themed play is Red Herring, which runs through March 25.

Here’s the storyline: Maggie’s a tough, Boston cop, trying to get her finger on the one man who gave her the slip: a sly crime boss who worked his way into her heart. As she deals with murder, mystery, and intrigue in Boston Harbor, she also has to deal with Frank, an FBI gumshoe with a proposal more dangerous than commie spies, murderous mobs, and McCarthyism combined: marriage.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? There are twelve days left in its run. Here’s the link for tickets: https://portlandstage.secure.force.com/ticket#details_a0Sj00000051DQvEAM

Originally Posted on the Maine Crime Writers blog on

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The Winter Beach Between Two Storms

On this first day of Daylight Savings Time, we in coastal Maine find ourselves between two significant snowstorms. Last week we got a foot of dense, heavy snow, obliterating the brave crocus and tulips that poked their noses out of the front flowerbeds. (No worries, they are hardy and will survive. We just won’t see them again for a while.)

Two days from now, another big snow is forecast, 12″ to 18″, some say, 10″ – 16″ say others. It doesn’t matter. When you’re ready for spring, predictions of frozen precipitation are not welcome.

But what can you do, right? Today we went to the beach, as we do most Sundays, but this time we had reason to be up on the Midcoast so we enjoyed the treat of a long stroll at Reid State Park in Georgetown, where the sky and the dunes and the beach were gorgeous. Weather systems were blowing past in the blink of an eye, at one point loosing a squall of flurries on us.

Take a look:

It was a changeable weather day over the sea

It was a changeable weather day over the sea

My iPhone caught the snowflakes as they eddied past.

My iPhone caught the snowflakes as they eddied past.

There weren't many people about.

There weren’t many people about.

Look what I found! Talk about a nice garden centerpiece. If I only had a truck . . .

Look what I found! Talk about a nice garden centerpiece. If I only had a truck . . .

Now that is a wonderful hunk o’ driftwood.

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On comes the New Year

It is our custom to walk the beach on New Year’s Day no matter the weather, to inspect the sea and the detritus the waves have carried to shore.

A lost trap

A lost trap

The first day of 2017 was sunny and warm with a light breeze, making for an especially pleasant visit to Scarborough Beach. Temps have been up and down in recent weeks, so there were no skaters on the ponds that flank the path.



The tracks of an intrepid skier—no doubt left on a recent cold day—were the only marks across the now-thinned ice.


A lone glove was marooned above the high tide line. I photographed it to add to my collection of images of solo mitts found on the beach.
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