I used my family’s cranberry-growing heritage to create an early 20th century murder mystery that takes place in northern Wisconsin. The leading personalities are from Chicago, a Wisconsin farming community and an Ojibwe reservation. It took forty years for these diverse characters to investigate at a murder that had taken place in 1919. Each had their reasons to delay its discovery.
I tried to convey the hardships of early cranberry cultivation, before the use of chemical herbicides, when harvesting was a community activity, and prior to sprinkler systems, which are used today to protect against frost. I wanted the reader to know how logging the pinery affected the Ojibwe people and changed the terrain of the upper Midwest. I tried to express the serenity and wildness of the North Woods of Wisconsin, where neighbors are few and mosquitoes are many, where loons provide your morning wake-up call and whip-poor-wills won’t let you sleep at night.
At harvest beds were flooded and the cranberries were raked.