When a graduate student of twenty-three, I went with my kindly old thesis advisor to my first scientific conference in a place called Woods Hole. Sweaty clicker in hand, I stumbled through my presentation at the marine lab there. The talk survived with only mild bruising to the ego, I set out with the resilience and alacrity of youth to explore the seaside village.
Woods Hole, I was keenly aware, was a place of legend. The marine lab, the oldest in the U.S., was where a young Rachel Carson studied marine biology and nearly fifty Nobel Laureates made legendary discoveries and trained the next generation of scientists. The ivy-covered oceanographic institute across Water Street housed the deep sea submersible Alvin that discovered the ghost ship Titanic and astonishingly weird creatures at the hydrothermal vents. Giant research vessels tugged at their mooring lines, anxious to cast off for further oceanic adventures. Woods Hole, its ineffable vibe, its wind-swept landscape of greys and blues, and its brilliant, often quirky, scientists had me in its grip. I told myself, as I climbed into my professor’s car at the day’s end, that I would return.
Return I did. For over ten summers my family, mellow elkhounds, yowling cats, kayaks and bicycles were crammed into an old minivan and headed up I95. Winters in Philadelphia, summers in Woods Hole became the rhythm of our life. Then, in my mind’s eye, fictional characters … the Nobel Laureate Lindsey Nolan, the wild Maggie May, the roguish biker Derick Briggs, the gorgeous Polynesian Sara Kauni started populating the Woods Hole landscape.
A writing pad eased aside a lab notebook and stories, three mysteries, emerged. On the same jetty at Stony Beach where my children searched for starfish, Maggie in The Bends furiously chain-smoked cigarettes, leaving herself with no alibi for the murder of Edward Gripp. In the Captain Kidd restaurant and bar where we drank strawberry smoothies, Lindsey in The Bottom Dwellers tossed back one too many glasses of scotch. At Taft Park where we played tag in the wooden lighthouse, Lindsey and Derick formed a wary partnership to combat a Viking plague in AEgir’s Curse. Also in AEgir’s Curse, a guileless marine biologist named Jessie McCabe cruised her dive boat Mermaid under the Bascule bridge, the entryway to Eel Pond and the village of Woods Hole…where the adventures begin.
Welcome to the world of the Woods Hole Mysteries!