The Corpse in the Compost

Fortunately, the title of this post does not come from personal experience. So far, there have been no corpses in my compost.

Instead, this is the title of a mystery novel written by A. Carman Clark. This lovely book captures the essence of rural Maine through the eyes of its protagonist, Amy Creighton, a woman of boundless curiosity who loves to cook and garden. She cherishes her solitude, but at the drop of a hat, she is ready to make muffins for friends and guests. When a corpse turns up in a neighbor’s compost, what is this freelance editor to do but to start investigating?

Amy’s knowledge of small-town life and her sympathy for the confined lives of some of the villagers makes her a sympathetic listener for both young and old.  Gradually, the details of the crime begun to emerge.

A. Carman Clark, a good writer and a good cook, was a friend of mine. When she was eighty-three, Arley published her first Amy Creighton mystery, The Maine Mulch Murder. Encouraged by the reception, Arley wrote a second book, The Corpse in the Compost. Unfortunately, Arley died before it was ready to be published, but she did leave a draft manuscript with notes and suggestions from a friend, from an editor, and from her daughter Kate Flora, also a writer.

On the Maine Crime Writer’s blog, Kate writes “Two summer ago, in the space between my own books, and nudged by Ann and Paula at the Mainely Murders bookstore http://mainelymurders.com, who had created a following for Maine MulchI sat down with the manuscript and started editing. As I’ve blogged about before, there were a lot of questions I wanted to ask my mother. As she was unavailable, I had to wing it. I’ll never know whether I made the right choices. But we were close, and I could usually find her ‘voice’ in making changes or amendments to the book.”

I’m happy to report that Kate succeeded beautifully in capturing Arley’s voice—crisp, precise, sympathetic, and observant.

“The Corpse in the Compost” is available through Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Corpse-Compost-Amy-Cre…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

Be sure to buy two copies: One for yourself and one for a gift.  This is a gem of a book you’ll want to give to your mystery-loving friends.

18 thoughts on “The Corpse in the Compost”

  1. I finished both of her books recently and enjoyed them greatly. I love reading books that take place in Maine and these two cozy mysteries had aspects I appreciate: realistic characters, familiar settings and loads of action.

  2. These books do sound delightful, Laurie. They’re waiting on the wishlist now! They sound fun anyway, but I especially like knowing about how they’ve come into being. Arley was clearly a special lady 🙂

  3. It’s so lovely that Kate completed the book for her mother Laurie 💜 It’s not the type of book I’d read but I can imagine it will be extra special for you and all who knew your friend Arley 🙂💖 xxx

  4. This was a really lovely story! Good for Kate! I recently returned to WP after a few years hiatus, and yet another blog. I don’t think I knew you authored any books until today. I used to be an avid mystery reader, but then I discovered other literature existed. Recently, I have started to include mysteries, once again. I always enjoy a story whose location is one that I’m familiar with, especially in towns where I have lived (two of them: Silver Linings Playbook and Unsheltered).

  5. This makes me think of the Virgina Rich mysteries, featuring Eugenia Potter (a couple of which were set in Maine!) When Rich died, Nancy Pickard took over the series and did a couple more books. I loved these books. I’ll see if my library has the Clark books.

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