Sunday, February 24, 2013

Robin Hathaway: R.I.P.

Sad news. Robin Hathaway passed away on Saturday, Februarty 16, of cancer at a daughter's home in Reston, Va. She was 79.

From her website:
Robin graduated from Germantown Friends School and Smith College (BA/English). While her two daughters were young she owned and operated a printing/advertising firm Barnhouse Press from her home (there was a printing press in the barn and one in the house) and did freelance writing and photography. One daughter claims she was lulled to sleep by the methodical beat of a printing press in the kitchen and a close friend claimed she once found ink in her mashed potatoes!

But Robin had always wanted to write, and on her 50th birthday her husband told her, "It's now or never." So she began. She wrote three mystery novels in three years featuring Dr. Andrew Fenimore, an old-fashioned cardiologist who still made house calls. Robin's amateur sleuth was patterned after her husband, who just happened to also be a cardiologist.

For the next ten years she sent her mysteries out, and for ten years they bounced back like india rubber balls. On her sixtieth birthday, Robin became very discouraged. She was ready to give up when a member of the Delaware Valley Sisters in Crime told her about a contest --the St. Martin's Malice Domestic Contest for Best Traditional Mystery. .Deciding to give it one last try, she sent in her first Fenimore novel, THE DOCTOR DIGS A GRAVE, and promptly forgot all about it. Nine months later she received a mysterious phone call from a woman who told her, "You've won!" At first Robin thought it might be the lottery, until the woman revealed her identity as a senior editor at St. Martin's Press, and told her THE DOCTOR DIGS A GRAVE had won the contest and they wanted to publish it. Robin's reaction was to get a migraine headache that lasted for three days!

In 1998, this book won an Agatha Award. Four more books followed. In THE DOCTOR MAKES A DOLLHOUSE CALL each murder is preceded by a death set up in miniature in a dollhouse. The third novel, THE DOCTOR AND THE DEAD MAN’S CHEST, involves pirate treasure on the Delaware Bay. In THE DOCTOR DINES IN PRAGUE, the doctor solves a mystery in his mother's homeland, the Czech Republic. The fifth Fenimore mystery, THE DOCTOR ROCKS THE BOAT, is set on Philadelphia's famous Boathouse Row. Fenimore's effort to relax on the river results in murder and mayhem. To be released in June 2006.

In 2003, Robin launched a new suspense series with SCARECROW, introducing Jo Banks, a young woman doctor. Jo provides medical services at motels and makes her house calls on a motorcycle in the wilds of south Jersey. Her first adventure involved smugglers that exploited immigrants using them for slave labor. Workers who didn’t produce ended up as food for buzzards. In the sequel, SATAN’S PONY, ( Sept. 04) a motorcycle gang invades Jo's motel. When a biker is murdered, Jo defends an innocent suspect and helps find the real murderer. In the name of research, for this novel, Robin enticed a biker to let her mount his Harley and have her picture taken for the book jacket.

Her short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Arthur Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and Death Knell.

I will miss her books, her sense of humor, and her support of everyone in the mystery community. She will be missed by many.

1 comment:

KateH said...

Oh, bummer. I loved the Dr. Fenimore books and was hoping there might be more of them.