Susan is not only an excellent writer but a good friend.
Her writing is intelligent and cleverly crafted.
I'm very pleased to have her on my blog today.
Susan Oleksiw writes the Mellingham series featuring Chief Joe Silva (Murder in Mellingham, 1993), set in a small New England town. Come About for Murder is Book 7 in the series, and features Joe's stepson, Philip.
Susan also writes the Anita Ray series featuring an Indian-American photographer living in her aunt's tourist hotel in South India (Under the Eye of Kali, 2010). The next entry in the series is When Krishna Calls (August 2016).
Susan's short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and numerous anthologies. She was co-founder of Level Best Books, which publishes an annual anthology of New England crime fiction.
She published A Reader's Guide to the Classic British Mystery (G.K. Hall, 1988), and served as co-editor for The Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Writing (1999).
Born and raised in New England, Susan has lived in the Northeast, the Southwest, and India. She now lives outside Boston, MA.
Come About for Murder: A Mellingham Mystery
In his last will and testament, Commodore Charles Jeremiah Winslow, one of the greatest yachting enthusiasts in the history of Mellingham Yacht Club, asked to be wrapped in a mainsail and cremated, with his ashes left to sink into Mellingham Bay. His family argued for six days and six nights over whether or not to comply with his wishes, but when they understood how much money was riding on this, they agreed to do as he wanted.
Annie Beckwith, only a teenager at the time, thought it was a terrible waste of a good sail. But she agreed one hundred percent with his longing to remain in the sea for eternity and his equally strong desire to stay out of the family mausoleum. Her sister had achieved this two weeks earlier by falling off a sailboat and disappearing below the waves, but her sister’s husband, Randall Connolly, had died on land only two days later, early on Sunday morning. So here Annie was, on a Friday morning in August, standing outside the family mausoleum and all she could think about was that it was a perfect day for a sail.
If the day had been gray and rainy, that would make Randall’s funeral all so much easier. Funerals required a certain backdrop—dark gloomy weather, people in black leaning on each other as their umbrellas flapped in the rain, the cold wind sending sharp tendrils around bare ankles. The weather should make everyone miserable. Instead, she got men and women in casual clothes, khakis and summer dresses, and a sunny day with perfect air.
The clouds were just the right size, the right shape, little puffs to move a boat along, sending it cutting through the waves, lifting the spindrift to the bow and the faces of the crew. The sky was just the right hue to shade into the ocean, merging sea and sky into one magnificent world that animated her soul.
Annie’s thoughts went to the Lady Mistral, which should have been riding at anchor as the light breeze sent waves rippling along her water line. Annie imagined the halyards slapping the top of the mast, the creak of floorboards and the coaming. But the boat wasn’t at one with the sea and the wind. It was dry-docked at Mellingham Marina by order of Chief Joe Silva and various other authorities, including the Coast Guard. Annie winced at the thought. It was bad enough that she had to shut her eyes against the image of her sister slipping into the ocean. But to have the chief of police of quiet little Mellingham suspecting something more than an accident made her stomach clench and her knees go weak. She couldn't even bring herself to look at him, though she knew he stood among the other mourners, his uniform exchanged for a dark suit.