Mystery Stories

Bitter Pills in Murder Ink II

Judith Janoo on “Bitter Pills.” I grew up watching fishing boats come in and out of our small Maine harbor. When the opportunity arose to write a mystery story for possible publication in Murder Ink II, my mind was already climbing over the rocks to get to the sea. “Bitter Pills” scratches the surface of quirky, gutsy, eccentric characters that inhabit this coastline. It reflects he fact that fishermen, when the fishing grounds are depleted, have no one to bail them out. The ocean belongs to no one, and there’s international competition, too, for its dwindling resources. Ted Holmes, aspiring to be the Michael Moore of the Maine Coast, bought the local weekly newspaper. The news thus far in this fishing town consisting of who launched the longest mid-water trawler, caught the most herring, or took in the most stray beagles. But now, out of the blue, Ted finds himself investigating a disappearance, and uncovering the story behind a murder. This was so much fun to write. There’s something about a dead body that gets the ink flowing.
 Murder Ink II features the excellent writing of Karen and Roxanne Dent, Amy Ray, Judi Ann Calhoun, Gregory Norris, Mark Arsenault, Judith Janoo, Tim Horvath, Brendan DuBois, Victor Infante, SJ Cahill, Jason Allard, O. Lucio d' Arc, Patrick Sullivan, Shana Chatier, Mary Duquette, and Lisa Echelbecker. The collection is edited by the fine Dan Szczesny, and published by George Greer, Plaidswede Press.

Tangled Trawl Lines

Judith Janoo on "Tangled Trawl Lines.”  Ted Holmes, owner and editor of a small weekly newspaper, The Coastal Chronicle, plunges into a new mystery. He’s been working a feature on the lobster industry in his coastal Maine town but finds the subject of his profile, a seasoned lobsterman, has drowned. Why would an experienced fisherman, cautious and meticulous, end up overboard tangled in his own trap line? And did someone want him out of the harbor? Ted sets aside his profile casting a light on the industry that sustains his community to get at the truth of this man’s death. Ted has had a few successes, like stumbling into the murderer in Volume II of this series and covering that story, but mostly he struggles to sell enough papers to pay Rocko, his ace reporter, and a few part-time columnists. In matters of the heart Ted’s been schooled in the hard knocks of female rejection. But like any real newshound, he considers persistence his virtue. Holmesport may resemble the harbor town where I learned many of the mysteries of life, but the characters and events of this story floated in from somewhere miles offshore. 

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