About the Author
I have come into writing historical mystery novels from a lifelong love of delving into the past. It began in third grade with the tales of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table and evolved into a career teaching and researching history at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL. Along the way, I served as an army medic in Korea and as vicar of a small church on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi.
While commuting, 1988-1994, between Williamstown, Mass. and Macomb, I wanted to make use of time on board and in airports. Many of my fellow passengers were reading crime novels. I thought why not exploit my fund of historical settings and write an historical mystery. I was also teaching "The History of Modern Crime & Police". The idea of Mute Witness blossomed in the air between Albany and Chicago. In 1994, I turned seriously to the art of writing fiction under the tutelage of a colleague in WIU's English department.
I already knew a great deal of "high" history [major personalities; political, social and economic trends, etc.]. To write an historical novel I needed to learn more "low" history [puppetry, clothing, cuisine, popular customs, sport, etc.] and gather maps and images of the times.
James Joyce in The Dubliners, Willa Cather in Death Comes for the Archbishop have influenced my literary style. P.D. James and Elizabeth George showed me how mystery fiction could become serious literature. Anne Perry, Miriam Grace Monfredo, and Candace Robb have taught me how to visualize an historical setting.
After nine novels set in England and France in the late eighteenth century, I took on the challenge of a new series of historical novels. In my career in academe I had researched and taught a wide range of topics on American, as well as European history. My master's thesis on Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and his economic and social views supplied background for a series placed in the Gay Nineties, the highpoint of the Gilded Age, the adolescence of modern America.
My historical mystery series, featuring Anne Cartier and Colonel Paul de Saint-Martin, is set in England and France in the years leading to the French Revolution.
I live in Williamstown, a lively small college town in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts.