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Paperback, 5.5″x8.5″
245 pages
ISBN: 978-1-63381-057-0

Ayer_DeadDrunk_lgby Jean Ayer

The worlds of Maine folk and summer people collide in this riveting tale of drinking, death, and social divisions in a classic resort town. The story is told from the points of view of both seasonal and native characters, exposing unspoken discord. The sudden death of a member of the summer community cannot interrupt the practiced nonchalance with which they interact—even when a police investigation uncovers the possibility of murder. An ironic mystery full of dysfunction and wry wit, Jean Ayer’s novel captures, with candor and keen insight, the pain of addiction and the dichotomy between the vacationing rich and the working-class residents who serve them. To the wealthy and fabulous friends of the deceased, his demise seems no more than a nuisance interrupting their leisurely drinking hours. But murder or no, the effects of alcohol continue to corrode the façade and tear apart the family of the deceased. The solution to the mystery turns out to be surprising yet inevitable.


While raising a family in Maine, JEAN AYER (1924–2013) learned to know and love the place and its people. Her home life, however, fell apart. In order to puzzle out the chain of events that led to her divorce, she studied creative writing. She wrote fictional short stories based on the progression of alcoholism in her former husband and its crippling effects on their family. The stories inspired further investigation of the seemingly inscrutable mystery of what happened. Her work on the problem was informed by her participation in Al-Anon and related programs. Fiction allowed her to weave together familiar characters and places into an intriguing mystery. This novel is the surprising result of that quest.

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