My book, Murder in the Maple Woods, has multiple origins: my affection for a good mystery combined with my love of language and writing and my desire to present a true picture of the way of life in the big, remote, largely francophone maple syrup operations along the northwest edge of Maine.
I was raised on classic English murder mysteries and have always considered them to be the basis for any good story. Working as an organic inspector in the big sugar above Jackman - which I have done for many years - got me thinking about writing a mystery set
in these remote camps. They are little known or understood - manned by remarkable people who produce millions of dollars’ worth of syrup under impossibly tough conditions.
Simone Thibodeau is a sometimes-cranky young organic inspector, who finds herself asking questions about a boy’s apparently accidental death in her uncle’s sugar bush. Her determination to find answers compels her to face her issues with her father, and to reach out to her shy, withdrawn cousin. She gets help from a nice guy from the US Border Crossing station, and from a rescue pitbull.
Murder in the Maple Woods received a 2021 Maine Literary Award nomination. Readers who know the north woods will find familiar situations, and those who have never ventured deep into the remoter parts of Maine will find and authentic portrait of a small part of the life there.
Simone followed a main line for a while, noting careful attempts to pad wires that circled trees, and to use anything but maples to anchor the lines. She liked being up there in the distant woods, away from the noisy camps. She felt like she knew who she was there, unchallenged by the impossibility of dealing with people and their expectations.
From "Murder in the Maple Woods"