Sunday, April 03, 2011

#SampleSunday: "The View from the Lighthouse"

From the Murder section of love, murder, etc., my collection of short stories, comes this excerpt from The View from the Lighthouse":


Before the infamous murder-suicide in October of 1958 at the lighthouse, Laighton Island had a year-round population of about 200 people. But after Sylvester Martinelli's body was found on the rocks below Laighton's Light --- along with Cicely Walcott's --- things began to change. It was a sad story. Both the Martinellis and the Walcotts had lived on Laighton Island for a couple of generations and Cicely was as beloved as Sylvester was disliked. Even when the details of the story became known nobody could believe it --- beautiful Cicely Walcott having an affair with a known good-for-nothing like Sylvester Martinelli. It defied imagination.

Sylvester had started out as a fisherman like most of the local guys but, truth was, he was far more interested in women than he was in fish. While the rest of the fleet was out on Stellwagen Bank pulling up cod and halibut, Sylvester's boat could usually be found in Gloucester Harbor and Sylvester could be found in the bed of one of the fellows out on Stellwagen Bank. Not alone. When he managed to impregnate Judythe Geary whose father was an officer at the local Coast Guard station, he received an ultimatum --- along with a black eye, some cracked ribs, and a very sore jaw. Straighten up and settle down or you're bait. Sylvester found himself back on Laighton Island with a wife and a job as the Laighton Lighthouse's keeper. By 1958 he had four more children but he never stopped his wicked ways. Lots of ladies were invited to the top of the lighthouse to enjoy the view, and whatever else was to be enjoyed up there.

I wasn't even born when Cicely Walcott died but I feel a sort of kinship with her. They say she was beautiful. In the only picture of her that exists from that time her face is turned toward the sea and her long blond hair is blowing around it. She is in her garden on the island. Folks said her garden was modeled after Celia Thaxter's up on Appledore in the Isles of Shoals and was rumored to be even more beautiful. Painters from Rocky Neck Art Colony arrived by boat all summer to paint there. In the picture her dress is billowing out on one side and plastered to her slender figure on the other side. She looks sort of like a garden fairy. I'm not the beauty Cicely was but I know all too well what it means to love the wrong man.

It's fifty years now since the night that Cicely died. These days I'm the only year-round resident out here. I live in the lighthouse-keeper's house where Sylvester and his family once lived. Most of the furniture is the same. Sometimes when I am sitting at the big wooden kitchen table overlooking the water between here and Gloucester I imagine Sylvester sitting across the table from me with a bottle of beer and the Gloucester Daily Times. I swear I can smell the tobacco from his pipe. (Read the rest...)
This is the perfect recipe for a quick sweet treat when you are contemplating murder, from my cookbook/memoir: Fry Bacon. Add Onions:
No-Bake Maple Pie
In a double boiler or heavy sauce pan combine 1¾ c. maple syrup and one cup of milk into which you have beaten 3 egg yolks. Bring very gently to a light boil. Add ¼ c. butter, and ½ tsp. salt. Into a little milk stir 2 tbsp. cornstarch and add it to the thickened syrup mixture. Allow to thicken then spoon into a baked pie shell. Chill and top with whipped cream.

Thanks for stopping by! 


  1. Loved the sample! Well done. You did a great job setting the scene and the atmosphere.

  2. Great sample! And the recipe sounds pretty yummy, as well!

  3. Great sample! And the recipe sounds pretty yummy, as well!

  4. Kathleen: this sample has really whetted my appetite to read more. CSB

  5. Thanks, Consuelo, I hope you enjoy it.

    Once I get this e-reader gizmo figured out I'm going to start doing more indie e-book reviews here.


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