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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.


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.

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