Mystery in Maine

Hi. Barb here. Regular readers of this blog may remember that I wrote about a special writing retreat in Old Orchard Beach with three fellow authors who signed contracts for cozy mysteries due out in 2013. One of those author is Edith Maxwell, who as Tace Baker has written a terrific mystery about Quaker Linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau titled Speaking of Murder which happily is already available.

 Edith guests today on Maine Crime Writers. Welcome, Edith!

Thanks to Barb Ross for letting me visit the blog of many of my favorite writers!

Although my mysteries take place in Massachusetts, I have fond memories of time spent in Maine.

In 1981, when my Kennebunk-bred boyfriend Henry suggested we drive from our grad-school digs in Bloomington, Indiana, to his family’s vacation home in Maine, I was up for it. He sent a postcard to Russy Gott, the lobsterman who also ran the mail boat that doubled as ferry, to inform him of when we expected to need a ride to the island. Postcard was the only way to arrange the ride.

We arrived at Bass Harbor with our food and drink for the week. Sure enough, gruff Russy waited. He helped us load up the boat, made little or no conversation on the rough ride out to the island, and waited while we unloaded.

As he motored off, Henry gestured to a garden cart that rested at the top of the hill. “That’s our taxi,” he said in his least inhibited Downeast accent. There were no motorized vehicles on the island, so we loaded up the cart and trekked across to the Kingsbury house on the other side of the island.

It was an idyllic week. I could watch the osprey on its nest from the double-seater latrine that faced the water, door optional. Our water, cold and delicious, came from a pump in the kitchen. We split wood for the fire. We sipped bourbon as we sat on the rocks to watch the sunset and used an antique chamber pot at night. The rustic cabin was full of books, blue print china, and all the time in the world.

Henry took me to visit an old woman who lived on island from May to November, and she served us her homemade dandelion wine. I imagined coming back alone to write my dissertation (that was in my pre-fiction days). But I now realize it was a classic setting for mayhem. People trapped together on an island. No communication with the mainland. Waves crashing on jagged rocks.

It wouldn’t surprise me if in a future Local Foods Mystery my protagonist, organic farmer Cam Flaherty, heads to a Maine island after she visits the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, or if Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau and her beau from Speaking of Murder take a week’s vacation on Great Gott’s and encounter mystery and murder instead of paradise.

What’s your favorite Maine island? Have you ever motored over to Great Gott’s? Do isolated islands get cell phone coverage these days?

Edith Maxwell is the author of Speaking of Murder (Barking Rain Press, under pseudonym Tace Baker) featuring Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau. Edith holds a PhD in linguistics and is a member of Amesbury Monthly Meeting of Friends. The book was first runner up in the Linda Howard Award for Excellence contest

Edith also writes the Local Foods Mysteries.  A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die introduces organic farmer Cam Flaherty and a colorful Locavore Club (Kensington Publishing, June 2013).

A mother and technical writer, Edith is a fourth-generation Californian but lives north of Boston in an antique house with her beau and three cats.

Find her at, @edithmaxwell, and Tace Baker can be found at, @tacebaker, and

About Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at
This entry was posted in Barb's Posts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Mystery in Maine

  1. Deanna says:

    Wonderful! I have Speaking of Murder on my list at my local Library! Dee

  2. KB Inglee says:

    Not exactly a Maine island, I spent sumers on Star Island. We did row over to to Maine to see the site of the famous ax murders on Smuttynose.

    • Barb Ross says:

      KB–I went two writing retreats on Star Island–and loved it! You can certainly see Maine from there!

      • I like the sound of a writing retreat on an island, Barb. Are they still held?

      • Barb Ross says:

        You would love it, Edith! I went through Writelines, which is run by my friend Dale Slongwhite. Here’s the website where you can see the gorgeous photos. There may be others there directly through Star Island.

        Very inspiring landscape. I read Anita Shreve’s The Weight of Water about a murder on an island about 50 yards away while I was there the first time. Chilling.

    • Cool! I’ll have to look up the ax murders. Interesting. I knew someone who baked summers at Star Island. In fact, the very Mainer I went to Gott’s Island with, Henry Kingsbury. Ever run into him, KB?

  3. VR Barkowski says:

    After writing a story about one of the islands (Monhegan), I’ve had an overwhelming desire to visit in person. Let’s face it, traipsing about with Google maps and YouTube is a poor substitute. Maybe one day when the seas are calm… very calm. I got queasy watching a video of the mail boat leaving the island. 🙂

  4. Look at this, I just found a facebook page for Gotts Island!

  5. Ruth McCarty says:

    Sounds like a wonderful time, Edith. And a writers retreat sounds like something I could use right now!

Leave a Reply