Mystery Authors You May Have Missed
Archer Mayor


Multi-faceted is an understatement in summarizing Archer Mayor’s background.  Mayor was born in New York in 1950 and graduated from Yale University in 1973.  He was a researcher, editor, medical illustrator, photographer, and freelance writer before writing fiction.  In addition, he works as a volunteer firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician for the NewBrook Fire Department in Newfane, Vermont; is an assistant medical examiner for the state of Vermont; and is a part-time patrol officer for the Bellows Falls Police Department.

What he writes: Archer Mayor has written a series of police procedural novels featuring Lt. Joe Gunther, all set in Brattleboro, Vermont, a decaying 19th century industrial town.  Although hard-boiled police procedurals, the human side of relationships is not neglected.  In an interview, Archer Mayor states “mysteries are less puzzle than process, and more about people than any convoluted, sensationalist plot.”  His real life experiences make the novels especially authentic and realistic, with his characters psychologically fleshed out.  Mayor's background in research makes the details and the local history asides equally memorable.  Marilyn Stasio of The New York Times says the “strength of these narratives has always come from the author’s profound understanding of his region and from his hero’s intuitive ability to relate to the people who live there.”  The so-called serene New England setting of these mysteries proves that murders can happen anywhere.


List of works
The Lt. Joe Gunther Series
  Open Season (1988) The Disposable Man (1998)
  Borderlines (1990) Occam's Razor (1999)
  Scent of Evil (1992) The Marble Mask (2000)
  The Skeleton's Knee (1993) Tucker Peak (2001)
  Fruits of the Poisonous Tree (1994) The Sniper's Wife (2002) with Detective Willy Kunkle
  The Dark Root (1995) Gatekeeper (2003)
  The Ragman's Memory (1996) The Surrogate Thief (2004)
  Bellows Falls (1997) St. Albans Fire (2005)
Awards and honors
2004 winner of the New England Booksellers Association/NEBA award for best fiction – the first time a crime fiction writer has been so honored
The New York Times named The Ragman’s Memory and The Sniper’s Wife to its “notable” mysteries of the year lists in 1997 and 2002 respectively.
The Skeleton’s Knee was selected by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the best ten mystery books of the year” in 1993.
What the critics say
“As a stylist, Mayor is one of those meticulous construction workers who are fascinated by the way things function. He’s the boss man on procedures..” — New York Times Book Review, November 21, 1999
“Archer Mayor is producing what is consistently the best police-procedural series being written in America.” — The Chicago Tribune, October 31, 2004


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