Rose Lives On

News Flash: Dianne Casey is the lucky giveaway winner! Congratulations, Dianne, and please check your email.

Edith/Maddie writing from northeast MA, where flowers are trying to bloom.

Big news – my Quaker Midwife short story collection is out today! I introduced you to it here in January, and it’s finally release day. Read down for a giveaway.

But first some background. The Quaker Midwife Mysteries series began with a short story originally titled, “Breaking the Silence,” which appeared in Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold. The story won an Honorable Mention in that year’s Al Blanchard Short Crime Fiction contest. Oddly, it precedes Rose and is told by her niece Faith Baily.

After the first book in the series came out, I kept writing short stories including Rose and her amateur sleuthing in Amesbury, Massachusetts. They appeared in subsequent Level Best anthologies, Malice Domestic and Bouchercon collections, Kings River Life Magazine, and elsewhere. Two stories – “A Questionable Death” and “The Mayor and the Midwife” – were nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Short Story.

But I knew many fans of the novels hadn’t had a chance to read the short stories. What better way to keep the love for Rose alive than collecting and publishing her shorter tales? I wrote a short intro for each story, too.

For this collection, I wanted to bookend the stories with Rose’s origin story while she’s an apprentice to her midwifery teacher, Orpha Perkins, and with a story that takes place well after the last book in the series. “In Pursuit of Justice” opens with John Greenleaf Whittier, a character in each series book, asking for Rose’s assistance in the suspicious death of a fellow Quaker in 1886, two years before the first book in the series. The victim is a father whose wife gave birth six months earlier with Rose in attendance, and Rose agrees to help.

In the “The Management of Secrets,” the last story in the collection, Rose is urged to come out of sleuthing retirement in January of 1900 to work on a stubborn case again involving members of her faith. Now a mother of four, she agrees.

These Crippen & Landru collections also include a chapbook story, which is printed separately and included with the signed, numbered, hardcover edition of the book.

For the chapbook I wrote “Labor’s Peril,” which was inspired by Amesbury’s history of strikes against the horribly abusive practices of textile mill owners in the era. George Edwin McNeill, the “Father of the Eight-Hour Work Day,” was born in Amesbury and is widely regarded as responsible for prodding the labor movement into life.

What could be more appropriate than labor and social justice to include in a story about a Quaker midwife?

Besides Victoria Thompson’s fabulous introduction to the collection, for which I am so grateful, I’ve gotten a few other glowing endorsements.

“For lovers of Call the Midwife, Edith Maxwell’s A Questionable Death is a must read! The book’s ten midwife Rose Carroll short stories, featuring history, birth, and murder, will leave you wanting more.” —Award Winning Author Debra H. Goldstein

“I so enjoyed spending time with Edith Maxwell’s beloved sleuth, Rose Carroll, in these astute and thought-provoking stories!” —Alyssa Maxwell, author of The Gilded Newport Mysteries

“Edith Maxwell’s Rose Carroll is more than a Quaker midwife in late 19 th  century New England. She’s a moral compass, an astute observer, and a staunch advocate for women in a time when women’s rights were more trampled than honored—and a fine detective who uses her ability to go where the police can’t to work tirelessly for justice. The compact, compelling stories in A Questionable Death will satisfy the mystery lover and the history lover alike.” —Leslie Budewitz, three-time Agatha Award-winning author of the Spice Shop Mysteries and the “Stagecoach Mary” Fields short stories

Ever since I ended the series, I’ve heard from so many fans about how much they miss Rose – a lot – and hope I’ll continue writing the books. New books are not in the cards right now, but I hope sinking into a few fresh shorter tales helps.

And remember,  if you are in New England, please reserve the early evening of May 6 for an in-person launch party at Amesbury’s fabulous Industrial History Center. We will have wine and cheese and books and conversation!

Readers: If you’ve read the books, who is your favorite character from the Quaker Midwife series? Anyone, have you followed other favorite novelists to short stories they’ve written? I’ll send one lucky winner a copy of the paperback edition of the collection.

39 Thoughts

  1. Edith, once again let me say congratulations on today’s publication of A Questionable Death…!

    No need to enter me into the giveaway since I have my copy of the book.

    I pick up the occasional short story collection when there is an author or authors in it that I like to read. Especially if it features the characters they are known for writing.

  2. Rose is and has been my favorite character in the Midwife series. I am in awe of her calm and ability to carry on despite the restrictions of her time. I enjoy reading shorts based on characters I love. The shorts always seem to highlight an aspect of the character’s personality that wouldn’t be able to be showcased in the novel.

    Looking forward to reading this.

  3. Congratulations on the release of A QUESTIONABLE DEATH! I have to admit that I haven’t had the chance to read many of the short stories. I’d love to be able to rectify that.

    Love Rose Carroil – naturally, but I also have a tender spot in my heart for Dr. David Dodge, her ever loving fellow.

    Thank you for the fabulous chance to win a copy!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. I love David, too. He’s rarely had a bad moment! He’s in A Questionable Death, for sure. Not positive about the other stories.

  4. Congratulations on the release of A Questionable Death! I am one of those readers who was sad to see the series end, so I’m looking forward to reading these short stories. Besides Rose, my favorite character is her niece, Faith. Even though she is young, she knows what she wants and is determined to make it happen. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of the book! cking78503(at)aol(dot)com

  5. Congratulations, Edith, on another launch! I am glad you have the outlet of short stories to enjoy spending more time with Rose and her world!

  6. I am so excited about this book! I love Rose and her family & friends, hard to pick a favorite. (Don’t include me for the giveaway, my pre-ordered book is in transit!)

  7. I think Hammett’s Continental Op who went on to Red Harvest fame is probably the quintessential character who jumped from short stories to novels. It so often goes the other way–Dorothy Sayers, John Connolly, Craig Johnson all had break out novels that left details about their characters dangling, which they answered in short stories.

  8. I will read a favorite writer’s short stories, blog posts, letter to the editor . . . 😉 I’ve also found short story anthologies a good introduction to new favorite authors.
    Choosing a favorite? Hard to do, but besides Rose and her supportive mother, I’d like to name her brave postmistress friend, if my persistent “name dyslexia” would let me name her . . . but as Mom said when calling us by the wrong names, “you know who I mean.” Thanks for bringing us more Rose, David, et al. <3

  9. I have just begun to read the Quaker Midwife Mysteries, and I already love Rose Carroll! I get a kick out of her bold nature. She just goes ahead and seeks people out and asks them questions. She is such a strong young woman and is not afraid to be single at a time when women were expected to marry. Women couldn’t even own property, for heaven’s sake! She has an interesting career as a midwife. Her patients share all kinds of personal information with her, which makes for very interesting reading!

  10. Sometimes, I’ve followed to short stories. Other times, I haven’t. It depends on the author and how easy it is to get the short stories. (No need to enter me in the giveaway.)

  11. Until I recently started reading the books with three wonderful cozy authors writing about some of my favorite characters, I was not really a big fan of short stories or novellas. Now I find them amazing. They provide a perspective that is otherwise missing in a full length novel or as in the Quaker Midwife series, allow a much loved character to continue to live for us. In addition to Rose, I am especially fond of Faith. She is such a strong, loving, independent character.
    Congratulations on the release and certainly hope to see Rose continue on!

  12. Thank you, Edith/Maddie, for writing such an intriguing and fascinating book series. I confess I have not read your Quaker Midwife Mysteries…with so many other cozies to read, I had missed on the chance to read this series. After reading this blog, my interest has peaked, and I must read this series before Cece Barton arrives 🙂 One of the authors I love is Linda Reilly, and she wrote a short story that I found and really liked it. It is called SAMMY THE SLEUTH. I always try to read early writings by all my favorite authors, and try to keep up with what “was” and what “is to be” in my author’s exciting writing careers. Thank you for sharing so many hours of fun with us eager readers. Luis at ole for travel

  13. Once again, congrats Edith. I did something similar with my Laurel Highlands short stories and I know Annette Dashofy did a collection of Zoe and Pete short stories.

  14. I’ve read and loved every one of the Quaker Midwife books. Excluding Rose and David my favorite character would be Kevin Donovan. He is a good friend to Rose

  15. Congratulations on the release of “A Questionable Death”. I do read short stories written by my favorite authors. I haven’t read this series yet, but this sounds like a great way to start.

  16. Congratulations! I have not read any of these stories but they certainly sound good. I do enjoy reading short stories and have found many new to me authors by trying their short stories first. I think they are a great introduction to an author’s style of writing.

  17. This is a new series to me. It looks very intriguing. Thank you for sharing. God bless you. Happy Easter.

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