Book dedications carry a lot of meaning for me. I dedicated Book 4, The Upstaged Coroner, to my Shakespeare professor who passed away at age 96. (He had a doppelgänger in the book.) I dedicated Book 6, The Watchful Coroner, to my former boss who passed away early in the COVID days. Book 7, The Accused Coroner, wraps up the first arc of the Fenway Stevenson series, and it has a dedication to someone very important to the development of the series: Barbara Hansen.
Barbara Hansen was the mother of my story editor, Max Christian Hansen, and she was an avid reader of exactly the kind of mysteries I love—Sue Grafton was one of her favorites.
I met Max in 2017 in a local writing group when I became serious about finishing The Reluctant Coroner. He thought his mom would like my novel, and he was right. Even after Max began editing my books, his mother would voraciously read the paperback as soon as it came out—I think she read the first paperback available for the first few books in the series. And after finishing each Fenway Stevenson mystery, she pestered Max about when I would come out with my next book (and he'd pester me in turn).
Barbara Hansen was an accountant by trade, and finally, after a couple of decades of pruning down her client list, retired in her early 90s. After I came out with The Courtroom Coroner, I went over to Max's house and his mother was delighted to see me, and even though we’d met a few times, she shook my hand as if I were Sue Grafton. (She may very well have been my biggest fan.) She passed away last year, and I wish she'd been able to read The Accused Coroner. I think she would have enjoyed seeing how this character arc wrapped up—and then she would have pestered Max about when Fenway 8 would be released!