BAR PORT – Dick Broom, the reporter who covered Mount Desert municipal news, education and Acadia National Park for 12 years, sometimes with his golden retriever nearby, has kept secrets.
But now those secrets are out and on the shelves of local bookstores.
This fall, Broom published two books, a mystery titled “Death Once Removed” and a novel called “The Gandhi Lodge”.
Both are part of a cache of fiction that Broom wrote years ago and is putting aside.
“You write something and you think it’s good,” Broom said. “I’ve heard from a number of people, indirectly or directly, that they really like Death Once Removed. I heard from a number of people who didn’t need to say anything that they liked it.
“The Gandhi Lodge – I don’t know if people will like it or not,” Broom said. “Questions of good and bad, good and bad. Under what circumstances is it okay to do something wrong to achieve this end? ”
Broom had a career in public relations before he and his wife, Sharon, moved to Maine in 1999 from Chapel Hill, NC Sharon had been hired to serve as director of development and public relations for The Abbe Museum. He worked as a freelance writer before being recruited by local newspapers.
“When we moved here, I was working as a freelance,” Broom said. “I had an idea for a mystery, so I wrote it down.”
Broom said he thought about finding an agent or publisher but didn’t.
“I just put it aside, so I wrote another one – it’s ‘Death Once Removed’. Then I wrote a third one, ‘Gandhi Lodge’, ”he said.
“I had a hard time wrapping up, and then I got a job at the Bar Harbor Times,” Broom said. It was in 2003.
“Years and years have passed and a few months ago I started to think about this second [‘Death Once Removed’] might have possibilities, ”he said.
So the native of Asheville, North Carolina, decided to share his fiction with the world.
“I didn’t do this to make a lot of money,” Broom said. “I just wanted to get them out.”
“Self-publishing doesn’t have the stigma it had a few years ago,” he noted.
The reporter spoke to his former editor, Earl Brechlin, who referred him to a publishing house called 48 Hour Books.
“They’ll do the design and the formatting, and then they’ll print the book and send it to you,” Broom said. “My experience each time has been wonderful. They are so well organized. You send them the manuscript, the cover copy.
“They sent me a copy of the printed book, ‘I said’ Sounds good, ‘” Broom said. “Once you sign the final proof, they print the book within 48 hours. They ship it UPS. So from the time I first signed up and sent the manuscript to them, it was less than three weeks. They are just wonderful.
“Dick’s extraordinary skills as a journalist make him such a good writer,” said Brechlin, the former editor of Mount Desert Islander. “He is meticulous, detail-oriented and an exceptional listener. He knows how to tell a story.
“For years Dick Broom has been the consummate journalist, covering events on Mount Desert Island with grace and skill,” said novelist and Mount Desert Select board chair, Martha Dudman. “What a pleasure to discover that he is also an author of detective novels. Fans of his excellent reporting in the Mount Desert Islander can now enjoy his skillful storytelling and sly humor in “Death Once Removed”.
Here is a summary of the mystery:
“An American medical student at the University of the Leeward Islands in St. John’s Antigua is found dead at the foot of a cliff by the ocean. A tragic accident? Suicide? Or something else? And what is the small object that her grandmother, who lives in a retirement community in Virginia, found among the ashes of her cremated husband? Anyway, how did it get there?
Broom, having a rather dry mind, wrote fictional reviews for “Death Once Removed”, which are published on the cover of the book.
“A delicious mix of words and phrases. – Okra magazine
“You just can’t read this book without thinking about how long it took. -Steven Kling
“The ending will shock you, unless you’ve been careful.” – Tess Guestersen
Broom’s wife of 50 years, Sharon, advised against including fictitious reviews, but Broom followed them anyway.
“Sharon told me not to do this,” Broom recalls. But it was fun. “
Broom also published “The Gandhi Lodge”, the plot of which he describes as “A Crime of Conscience on the Coast of Maine”.
“Rationalization is liberating. Insidiously alluring, it gives a person the right to do things that range from moral ambiguity to the objectionable. Justification by Phil and Sarah Bradford. They felt that what they were doing, although technically wrong – okay, positively criminal – was justified because it was in the service of a greater good.
“Was he right or was he just self-righteous?” Would Gandhi have approved? His teachings were sometimes contradictory. The story of a kidnapping on Mount Desert Island on the coast of Maine raises questions about right and wrong and the kindness it takes to atone for evil – if at all possible.
You’ve heard the old adage that life mimics art and if you’re one of Broom’s sources or neighbors, you might know that Broom is living with a terminal illness, ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). ), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a progressive disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
Coincidentally, years ago, when Broom was working on “The Gandhi Lodge,” the writer had to give a character a terminal illness that would start with mild symptoms and then progress. So Broom started to do some research.
“I did some research to find out what would be a good disease to give to this character and it turned out to be ALS, having no idea that would be part of my future as well,” he said. -he declares.
You can find Broom’s fiction at Sherman’s Books.
If you are going to write mysteries, it is usually helpful to read them. Broom is a particular fan of CJ Sansom, who wrote the “Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery” series.