HomePress articles
 
 

Enter subhead content here

1. Gloucester Daily Times on 'Murder at Hammond Castle' and 'The Wave: a Novel in the Time of Global Warming'

2. Catching up with Gunilla Caulfield

 

'Murder at Hammond Castle' and 'The Wave: a Novel in the Time of Global Warming'
Gloucester Daily Times
Jonathan L"Ecuyer
Staff Writer
Former librarian gives Annie Quitnot a new case
Former long-time Rockport librarian Gunilla Caulfield has released her second in a series of mystery novels featuring reference librarian turned sleuth character Annie Quitnot. The High Street resident released the first novel, "Murder on Bearskin Neck," last November.
The book has done well in local stores, especially Toad Hall Bookstore in Rockport, which has sold nearly 500 copies, rivaling local sales of the latest Harry Potter novel, Toad Hall employees have said. The book also continues to do well at the Bookstore of Gloucester and Dogtown Books.
While Quitnot solves the murder of a local artists in the first novel even as she is suspected by locals of committing the crime, in the second installment, Quitnot must solve a murder that takes place during a wedding at Hammond Castle.
The aptly titled "murder at Hammond Castle" is expected to be released in the coming weeks. Hammond castle curator John Pettibone said he is hoping to get a few copies before that attraction closes next month at the conclusion of its Halloween events.
The novel is just the latest work by the busy author, who has also published two other books recently, including "The Wave: A Novel in the Time of Global Warming."
That story takes place in 2050, when global warming causes a disastrous global wave with many ramifications. Cape Ann is one of the locations in the book, but a very different Cape Ann, peeled down to bedrock and greatly diminished, Caulfield said.
A group of people settle there, and they make up one of the plot lines. The president and his wife Ariana are central characters, along with the "American Pope." Other locations are Camp David, Monticello, and a camp in Vermont, where a group of citizens gather to try to help restore a government.

CATCHING UP WITH GUNILLA CAULFIELD

Mystery author and her sleuth have Rockport Library in common

Excerpts from an article by Rosemary Ford, Cape Ann Magazine
ABOUT GUNILLA CAULFIELD
>Personal: Grew up in Stockholm, Sweden. Married to Tom Caulfield. Mother of three, grandmother of four.>Hobbies: European-style knitting, quilting. Caulfield had an antique shop and quilt business in Newburyport in the 1980s called The Tree of Life. Her quilt group of 30 years gets together every Tuesday and is now working on a quilt based on Van Gogh’s painting “The Starry Night.”>Little known fact: Caulfield practiced fencing in her youth. She studied with Bela rerrich, the Hungarian Olympic champion, but quit when another fencer in her group was accidentally killed during a match.>Now reading: “The Star Thrower,” a collection of poems and essays by the late Loren Eiseley, a naturalist and philosopher. 

As the saying goes, there are two kinds of folks who sit around thinking about killing people: psychopaths and mystery writers. Luckily for Rockport, Gunilla Caulfield is one of the latter… Her protagonist is the aptly named Annie Quitnot.

Caulfield found that last name while looking through a book of Irish surnames. She liked the sound of the name – as well as its implications.

“She sticks with it,” said Caulfield, who has lived in Rockport since the 1970s.

Quitnot is a librarian in Rockport, as was Caulfield before she retired to write full time. And Rockport Public Library – one of Caulfield’s favorite places to work – figures heavily in the mystery.

“The people in this town are great – and they are great library users,” Caulfield said. “The library is very much a meeting place.”

Caulfield and Quitnot have many things in common – living on Cape Ann, working in a library and pursuing artistic hobbies. (Annie Quitnot is proficient in bookbinding, paper marbling and paper making. Caulfield has enjoyed these pursuits but rarely has time for them now that she is writing.)

Still, she wouldn’t call the character an alter ego.

For one thing, Quitnot has no Swedish connections, while Caulfield grew up in Stockholm. For another, Quitnot is younger and unmarried.

However, Caulfield said they do possess some of the same personality traits, including a love of finding the answer to any question.

“Annie has to solve every puzzle or question in front of her,” Caulfield said. “So do I.”

In the book, Quitnot is suspected of murdering her former lover. Though there is little evidence, most of the small town seems convinced of her guilt. Quitnot uses her fact-finding skills as a reference librarian and her circle of loyal friends to prove she is innocent and find the real killer. The trail of clues leads Quitnot on an adventure through Cape Ann’s scenic vistas.

The idea for sharing her hometown with the world came from one of her favorite authors, Philip Craig, who penned a mystery series set on Martha’s Vineyard, his home. Caulfield decided to follow his example when she began “Murder on Bearskin Neck” three years ago.

As much as she likes a good mystery, Caulfield really wants to give the world a sense of what life is like on Cape Ann, which the longtime resident sees as rapidly changing. With more and more commercial fishermen leaving the industry for pursuits that cater to tourists, Caulfield wants to capture the region before it exists only in paintings and photographs.

“I wanted to include some of these days before they disappear before my eyes,” she said.

Caulfield uses her knowledge of Cape Ann culture and customs to add color and interest to the locales in her books.

One setting taken from life is the Rockport Coffee Shop formerly named Oleana’s and still called that by locals. She describes the colorful mix of locals who frequent the shop – from fishermen to shopkeepers – to exchange gossip.

Caulfields mystery makes much reference to Cape Ann’s active arts community. She knows the art world well, having owned a gallery of her own on Boston’s Newbury Street, called the Kanegis Gallery, with her late first husband. For those who recognize the name, it’s her son, Mark Kanegis, who owns the Kanegis Gallery on Bearskin Neck. Mark also shot the cover art for Caulfield’s mystery novel.

Caulfield recently published her second book, “The Bookseller and Other Stories.” Some of these take place in Sweden and others in Boston’s Back Bay, her old stomping grounds.

“That was a memory lane thing for me, too,” she said.

Caulfield said telling stories comes naturally – she’s been a storyteller since childhood. As a teen, she fell in love with the written word and would sometimes cut class to read and reread Shakespeare.

Caulfield’s sleuth Quitnot also loves Shakespeare and is even more knowledgeable about the Bard, thanks to the reference books Caulfield consulted to put words in Annie’s mouth.

Excerpts from “Murder on Bearskin Neck:”

“The coffee shop (which in the old days was named Oleana’s and is still referred to as that by some of the old-timers) is the best place in town for news of the gossipy variety. It opens at six thirty in the morning and seats fifteen customers – less when the stools at the counter get loose and are ‘temporarily’ removed, a time span that sometimes runs to months.” ”Running as quickly and quietly as she can, (Annie) makes her way through the woods, toward Granite Street. It’s downhill all the way, and she nearly falls headlong several times. She jumps across boulders and skids along on the soft pine needles. Acorns on the steep trail roll under her feet like well-oiled ball bearings. The sun is just below the horizon now, and soon it will appear and cast its pink light over the coastline. Annie hurries across the street and over towards The Avenues, where Clare lives. Clare rents a small cottage on the lower end of Have Avenue. ‘The Avenues’ is a quiet section of Pigeon Cove, quiet streets with a mix of quaint, modest gingerbread cottages and larger ostentatious homes of the seriously affluent, often flanked by great magnolias and impressive topiary. On the seaside, The Avenues are bordered by the Atlantic Path, a walking trail along the rocky shoreline with a grand view of Sandy Bay, downtown Rockport, and the open sea.”