Waking October

Shameless Commerce Department: The third book in the Elder Darrow jazz mystery series, Burton’s Solo, drops, as we say in the biz, on November 1, 2018. You can preorder (and keep your money out of Jeff Bezos’s grimy paws) here. Stay tuned for info on a launch party and various events through the fall and early winter.

I thought I was going run out of things to talk about this month, but then I took the harrowing trip going out of of New Harbor to Monhegan on the Hardy Days cruise, eight or nine foot seas all the way. It would have been considerably less nervous-making if the woman in front of me wasn’t fingering her rosary the whole way. There was a certain amount of gulping and swallowing during the trip, though nothing more untoward than that. And by the time I’d wrapped myself around a Blackheart Imperial Stout at the Monhegan Brewing Company (10.1%!), I was all set for the ride home.

Have I mentioned yet how pleasant it is to drive out through Brunswick and Bath and barely pause at the Wiscasset Bridge, driving the length of Route 1 in a gear higher than first?

Then this week, the political theater got me so goddamned mad I couldn’t see straight—for several consecutive days. I grew up in Boston, the self-named Hub of the Universe (Legend has it that if there’s ever a nuclear holocaust that takes out large parts of the world, the headline in the Globe will read Hub Man Killed in Blast.) The city was well-known for dirty politics and general backroom skullduggery—c.f. Billy Bulger, James Curley, et al—but the sheer sleaze and overt self-interest displayed by the so-called servants of the people in Washington (looking at you, Senator Collins) was and is enough to gag a sword-swallower. I wanted nothing so much as to go down the line of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ds and Rs alike, and dope-slap every one of them. It’s as if our entire Federal government relocated to a planet without enough oxygen to support brain life.

Tinker, my meditation expert, tells me all this is why I wake up every morning at three, but I prefer to believe it’s because my brain is dreaming up new ways to murder people (in my books! In my books!) and also to appreciate the unmatchable glory of a New England fall. I’m sorry to be predictable with that sentiment, but there is no finer weather than a bluebird day in October, dry and bright and full of oxygen (at least until CMP figures out a way to pipe our good air to Massachusetts too. Maybe we could trade some electricity for decent broadband?)

But the antidote to too much bitching is to remind myself to be thankful: for surviving another summer in a resort town and what’s rapidly becoming a theme-park city, for still eating well out of the garden, for having both my parents alive and well and sharp at 91, for being able to do the work I love, and for my readers.

Yes, I’m soft as a fucking grape, but I hear the ripe ones make the best wine. Take a break, take a walk in the woods, and thank whatever lucky stars are yours. I’ll be back to killing people tomorrow.

About Richard Cass

Dick is the author of the Elder Darrow Jazz Mystery series, the story of an alcoholic who walks into a dive bar in Boston . . . and buys it. Solo Act was a Finalist for the Maine Literary Award in Crime Fiction in 2017 and In Solo Time won the award in 2018. The third book in the series, Burton's Solo, came out in 2018 and Last Call at the Esposito in 2019. Sweetie Bogan's Sorrow was published in 2020, to thunderous pandemic acclaim. The sixth book in the series, Mickey's Mayhem, will come out in 2021. Dick lives and writes in Cape Elizabeth.
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4 Responses to Waking October

  1. Gram says:


  2. I love this post, you old softie. Eagerly awaiting Burton’s Solo, my friend.

  3. Barbara Ross says:

    You old curmudgeon!

  4. You’ll be happy to know that statewide broadband (and cell service) seem to be up there on every candidate’s list this fall. I remember the quasi-ominous traverse to Monhegan, but when we arrived, the sun came out and we got a day of ‘killer photos’ before a more sedate return. Congrats on book three.

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