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Sunday, June 12, 2022

A night at the drive-in movie: scenes from THE IRON LUNG MYSTERY


Today, another look at an episode in my forthcoming book The Iron Lung Mystery, which is Number 6 in my Double V Mysteries series. 


Above we have a shot of the entrance to the Neponset Drive-in movie theater in Dorchester, Massachusetts.  Elmer and Juliet move away from the scene of the crime for an evening to take a young child for her first experience at a drive-in movie.  (And, as with so many events in this series, it's also Elmer's first experience.  Having lived a hardscrabble boyhood during the Great Depression, and then spending several years as a young adult in prison, Elmer's missed out on a lot.  Juliet is only too happy to be his guide.)  

Also along for the ride this evening is the attorney who hired the duo to ferret out the mystery in this case, and he happens to be Elmer's old friend from boyhood days.  We've got one foot in the past and one foot in the unsettling present in this novel -- and the future?  Well, we know what lay ahead in pop culture in the 1950s, but we have to let Elmer and Juliet see for themselves and cope as best they can.  But the little girl enjoying the cartoon in the front seat (back in the day you got two movies and a couple cartoons for your ticket)?  Her future is in Juliet's and Elmer's hands.

The Neponset Drive-in was on Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester, right along the Neponset River on the site of a former dump.  It opened in September 1950 and was popular for years, just about a full year before our characters' visit there in August 1951, but as with many drive-ins in the colder climates, fell out of use and in disrepair by the 1970s and 1980s.  It is long since gone, now the site of Pope John Paul II Park.

Perhaps you have happy memories of going to the drive-in in younger days.  I'd love to hear them.

More on The Iron Lung Mystery in weeks to come, and I'll let you know when you can pre-order.

The photo above is from the Dorchester history website: Dorchester Atheneum 2

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Elmer and Juliet visit Vaughn Monroe's The Meadows in Framingham, Mass.


May 21st marked the 49th year since the passing of singer, Big Band leader, sometimes actor Vaughn Monroe whose unique vocals and orchestrations thrilled the Greatest Generation. 


Originally from the Midwest, he studied voice for a semester at the New England Conservatory in Boston, and five years later, in 1940, formed his band.  It was in that same year he built The Meadows in Framingham, Massachusetts, his restaurant and nightclub, and continued to perform there, when he was not touring, until his death in 1973.

In my upcoming book number 6 in my Double V Mysteries series, Elmer and Juliet double-date (but not with each other) at The Meadows while Vaughn Monroe performs and even hosts his live radio program, the Camel Caravan, sponsored by Camel cigarettes. 

Above is the cover of the novelty tune "The Meadows - Route 9 on the Turnpike" by Jack Edwards and Johnny Watson.

Here's a song by Vaughn Monroe and his "girl singers," the Mood Maids - "Dream a Little Dream of Me."  Pretend you're with Elmer and Juliet, their dates, and the radio audience at home, at The Meadows in the late summer of 1951.  

Book number six is The Iron Lung Mystery.  More on that in weeks to come.

More on Vaughn Monroe in this previous post, and this one.

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Jacqueline T. Lynch is the author of States of Mind: New England

Comedy and Tragedy on the Mountain: 70 Years of Summer Theatre on Mt. Tom, Holyoke, Massachusetts

The Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts

Beside the Still Waters (a novel of the Quabbin Reservoir towns); 

and the Double V Mysteries series of novels set around New England in the early 1950s.



Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Travelogue film of New England - 1940s

Have a look at a nostalgic view of New England in this travelogue film from the 1940s.  Summer in New England is something eternal.



Or watch on YouTube here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Link to replay of Quabbin novel presentation


Four towns…dismantled as an entire valley is prepared to be flooded.
The past is being wiped clean, the present threatens, the future belongs to the fearless.

Three generations weave a tapestry of isolation and stubborn independence, battling the forces of nature, the Commonwealth, and each other in this family saga. A courageous girl becomes the guardian of her family’s heritage, and ultimately, the one to determine what happens next.

Beside the Still Waters is based on actual events that displaced four entire towns in central Massachusetts in the 1920s and 1930s for the construction of the Quabbin Reservoir. Families are torn apart, divided between those who protest the construction, those who give up and leave while they can, and those who help to build the dam that will flood the towns. 

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Last December, I gave a Zoom PowerPoint presentation on the historical background of my novel Beside the Still Waters.

Here's a link to the replay of this talk for the Amherst (Massachusetts) Historical Society. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Forest Park ponds - Springfield, Massachusetts


 A postcard view of the lily ponds at Forest Park, Springfield, Massachusetts, possibly from the 1920s.

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Jacqueline T. Lynch is the author of States of Mind: New England

Comedy and Tragedy on the Mountain: 70 Years of Summer Theatre on Mt. Tom, Holyoke, Massachusetts

The Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts

Beside the Still Waters (a novel of the Quabbin Reservoir towns); 

and the Double V Mysteries series of novels set around New England in the early 1950s.


Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The Barney Mausoleum - Springfield, Massachusetts


Two postcard views of the Barney mausoleum in Forest Park, Springfield, Massachusetts.  The first, a photo from 1909; and the second, an illustration from the 1930s.  Inventor and industrialist Everett Hosmer Barney (1835-1916) was probably most famous for two things: inventing the clamp-on ice skate, and for the donation of 178 acres of his extensive estate to be added to Forest Park in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts.


In 1892, Everett Barney constructed this granite and marble mausoleum for his son on a Laurel Hill, near his Victorian mansion, which we discussed in this previous post. The mausoleum is the final resting place of Everett Hosmer Barney, his wife Eliza Jane Knowles Barney, and their son, George Murray Barney. The mausoleum has two sets of stairs leading up to a temple with twelve pink marble Ionic columns. 

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Jacqueline T. Lynch is the author of Comedy and Tragedy on the Mountain: 70 Years of Summer Theatre on Mt. Tom, Holyoke, MassachusettsStates of Mind: New England (collected essays from this blog); The Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts; and Beside the Still Waters - a novel on the construction of the Quabbin Reservoir.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Mystery series set in post-War New England - the Double V Mysteries

 


Looking for Christmas gifts for the historical mystery lover -- who also happens to love New England?  

My "Double V Mysteries" series is set in New England, beginning in the spring of 1949.  The two main characters -- who will become partners -- are introduced in CADMIUM YELLOW, BLOOD RED.  She is an administrator at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, who has just discovered her husband's infidelity.

He is an ex-con, recently released from the state penitentiary in Wethersfield, Connecticut.  His wife has passed away and his daughter is kidnapped, but the gang who has her assures him she will be returned if he helps them with his particular specialty. He must break into the Wadsworth.  She meets him on his practice run as he literally drops into her office, the same night her husband is found murdered.

They are both suspects.  They have nobody to rely on but each other.  And each has a mystery to solve.

The book is available in paperback through Amazon, but the eBook version is FREE and available through a variety of online shops:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Apple

And a variety of other online shops here.


Give it a try and perhaps you'll like to continue the adventures with Juliet Van Allen and Elmer Vartanian -- the "Double V" duo -- in the rest of the (so far) five-book series:


SPEAK OUT BEFORE YOU DIE
(in which a murder occurs in a snowbound mansion in Hartford on New Year's Eve, 1949)

Here at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online shops.



DISMOUNT AND MURDER
(Nasty doings at the Litchfield, Connecticut, horse show, summer of 1950.  Maine recovers from the year before in the "Summer Maine Burned," Oh, and a murder.)

Here at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online shops.



WHITEWASH IN THE BERKSHIRES
(Juliet is blacklisted during the Communist witch hunts. Intrigue and kidnapping in an underground bunker in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts in the winter of 1951.  Oh, and a murder.)

Here at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online shops.




MURDER AT THE SUMMER THEATER
(Juliet must join the cast to help ferret out clues in backstage shenanigans in the summer of 1951 on the Connecticut shore when the lead actress goes missing. Possibly murdered.)

Here at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online shops.



Follow the adventure, follow the clues, and watch this blog for the next novel in the series coming in late 2022!


Now Available