Darcy Scott here. Seeing as we’re fast heading toward autumn and this being my initial post as a member of Maine Crime Writers, I thought I’d introduce myself by offering my version of “What I Did On My Summer Vacation.” Well, sort of.
There’s the boating, of course. My husband and I are what’s often referred to as “balls-to-the-wall sailors,” having sailed to Grenada and back on a whim, island-hopped through the Caribbean for a year, and been struck by lightning in the middle of the Gulf Stream during an especially wild-ass cruise to Bermuda. Most of our adventuring is far more local and tame, however, living as we do from May through October on a workhorse of a sailboat plying the waters of coastal Maine. Think of it as a floating seasonal cottage, a kind of broad-ranging summer real estate that includes moorings in both Kittery and Rockland and lots of far-flung, remote harbors where we sit at anchor while occasionally tending to business. For me, this means writing, and it’s from this floating platform that I conduct almost all my research for the Maine-based “Island Mysteries” (Matinicus, Reese’s Leap and the recently released Ragged Island) that have come to define my writing career.
An alternate version of “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” might be “What I Read On…” etc., etc.—which is how we sailing types fill our days when we’re not moving the boat hither and yon, sourcing the latest missing/broken/worn out boat part, or, in my case, searching out islands with particularly interesting histories that might lend themselves to the murder mystery genre.
Being a writer of that genre myself, it’s hardly surprising that I lean heavily that way when choosing my reading material. I tend to shy from what I call the “big box” writers like Grisham, this year gravitating toward local fiction, including Paul Doiron’s excellent Almost Midnight and the delicious darkness of Kate Flora’s A Child Shall Lead Them. This time out, I discovered a few new not-so-local authors, as well; the excellent thrillers of Alafair Burke and Rachel Caine come to mind, and the Wyoming-based Joe Pickett novels by C.J. Box.
Then there’s Kate Atkinson’s Big Sky and Mark Wisniewski’s Show Up, Look Good—a long, belly laugh of a story about a flighty twenty-something woman from the Midwest who relocates to Manhattan on a whim, this after breaking up with a fiancé who prefers sex with power tools. Chapter One opens with “I know of a secret murder and I’ve loved a speechless man…,” and, boy, if that doesn’t grab your attention, I don’t know what will. And just for fun, I packed a couple nautical books into the bulging bookshelves that line the cabin where we bunk: Three Sheets to the Wind: The Nautical Origins of Everyday Expressions, and Murder Aboard: The Herbert Fuller Tragedy and the Ordeal of Thomas Bram.
I guess I got carried away, because I received a rather terse email from my daughter asking me to stop having books shipped to her until I could once again retrieve my own mail, as it seems the things are piling up in her hallway. Ouch.
Okay, said I grudgingly as I wracked my brain for how many more of the things were still heading her way—this as she told me that Robert Crais’s latest, A Dangerous Man, had turned up in yesterday’s mail.
Hot damn. I’ve been waiting for that one.
Darcy Scott (Best Mystery, 2013 Indie Book Awards; Silver Award, 2013 Readers Favorite Book Awards; Bronze Award, 2013 IPPY Awards; Winner, 2019 National Indie Excellence Award) is a live-aboard sailor and experienced ocean cruiser with more than 20,000 blue water miles under her belt. For all her wandering, her summer home and favorite cruising grounds remain along the coast of Maine—the history and rugged beauty of its sparsely populated out-islands serving as inspiration for much of her fiction, including her popular Maine-based Island Mystery Series. Her debut novel, Hunter Huntress, was published in 2010 by Snowbooks, Ltd., UK.