Monday, 25 August 2014


My obituary of Jeremiah Healy has been up at the Guardian online as of last Friday (while I was out of touch in the wilds of New Hampshire); I don't know if it's been in the paper paper or not. You can link to it here. It's pretty much as written: there was an odd addition that said the books were set in 'Beantown', a fictionalised Boston, but that was removed.

The bit mentioned from my essay in Following The Detectives, about demolishing a whole neighbourhood was actually a quote from Jerry, a joke, but one that established the location of Beth's cemetery perfectly for my essay. Jerry also spoke admiringly and knowingly of the other Boston writers who featured in the essay: Parker, Dennis Lehane and George V. Higgins--I mentioned this in my copy but it was edited out. I think there would be an interesting essay to be written about connections between Higgins and Healy and their fictions. And of course Spenser knows a cop named Healy...

I knew the Healy books well, but I can't pretend to have known Jerry. Yet I could have extended the obit much further from the personal comments of writers, critics and fans all of whom found him a fascinating and memorable person, as well as a dedicated and talented writer. It was for me a privilege to be able to write about him, and something that helped mitigate the sad circumstances of his death. I hadn't read the Terry Devane books, so I've ordered the first one, and hope to renew our acquaintance that way.

No comments :