New York Times Best Selling Author of the Duncan Kincaid / Gemma James Novels

The Maps by Laura Hartman Maestro

 

Laura Hartman Maestro,
Illustrator of Books by Deborah Crombie

Before the first drop of ink touches the paper, Deborah sends Laura an advance copy of the manuscript tagged with suggestions for emphasis, maps of the area, and photographs of recognizable landmarks that are featured prominently in the book.

After conferring with Deborah, Laura submits a preliminary pencil drawing. Because Laura draws the maps by hand, rather than digitally, she takes great care in the preparation of the illustration. Once Deborah reviews the penciled illustration and they discuss the final details, Laura begins the ink version. The creation of these charming maps takes about three weeks.

With the help of Laura’s maps, readers have retraced Duncan and Gemma’s footsteps throughout the environs of east, south, and west London, Glastonbury, the Scottish Highlands, Cheshire, and now Henley-on-Thames, visiting the scenes of the crimes and the landmarks that figure prominently in the books .

 


  

To Dwell in Darkness

map dwell

Necessary as Blood

With Necessary as Blood, Laura Maestro has captured the color and texture of London’s East End, in settings both real and imagined, with consummate skill.

Beneath the title, three-year-old Charlotte Malik naps with her plush elephant, Bob, under the loft windows in her mother Sandra’s studio. Sandra, a textile artist, keeps colored pencils on her worktable in a mug commemorating the Duke of Edinburgh—only the mug’s manufacturer misspelled “Duke.” Although not old enough to read, Charlotte loves the joke and calls the pencils her “duck pencils.”

Sandra, Charlotte, and Sandra’s husband, Pakistani lawyer Naz Malik, live in a Georgian house in Fournier Street that Sandra and Naz restored themselves. The houses in Fournier Street were built by refugee French Protestant silk weavers, the Huguenots, in the early 18th century, and although for many years they were used as slum tenements, most have now been returned to something near their former elegance.

Around the corner from Fournier Street, just off Brick Lane in Ely Yard (part of the old Truman Brewery), is the Rootmaster, an old double-decker Routemaster bus that has been turned into a vegetarian restaurant. Charlotte may not understand the pun, but she loves to climb the stairs to the tablemap bloods on the top deck.

The area between Commercial Street and Brick Lane is the heart of this part of the East End. Old Spitalfields Market, once one of London’s bustling produce markets, is now a covered arcade filled with shops and restaurants, although vendors still set up stalls on Friday and Saturday.

Fournier Street is anchored at the Spitalfields end by Christ Church Spitalfields, an Anglican church built between 1714 and 1729 to a design by Nicholas Hawksmoor. The church faces the City ofLondon, and was part of an initiative to build fifty new Anglican churches enacted by Parliament in 1711. The government hoped to counteract the influence of French Protestants, but only twelve of the planned fifty churches were completed. Six of the twelve were designed by Hawksmoor.

At the Brick Lane end of Fournier Street is the Jamme Mosjid Mosque. Much of this part of Brick Lane is strongly Bangladeshi, and the streets are sign-posted in both English and Bengali. The Jamme Mosjid was built as a French Protestant Church in 1763. In 1819 it became a Methodist chapel, and in 1898 a synagogue. In 1976 it became a mosque, thus reflecting once again the changing character of the neighborhood and its people.

Nowhere in the East End are you far from the City of London or the river Thames, and from many vantage points you can see the new glass tower blocks of Bishopsgate, which seem to be marching inexorably eastwards. But the twisty streets hide 30 St. Mary Axe, known as “the Gherkin,” until you are almost upon it. The Gherkin, completed in 2003, is now as familiar a part of the London riverscape and skyline as St. Paul’s Cathedral. London, as always, juxtaposes the old and the new.

 


 

Where Memories Lie

Where Memories Lie presented a challenge for illustrator Laura Maestro, as the novel’s action is spread over a large area of London, including Notting Hill, Chelsea, Soho, and the City of London, and parts of the story take place in the late 1940s and early 1950s as well as the present day. Fortunately, much of London is enduring, so that landmarks like the Albert Bridge haven’t changed. Gavin Hoxley (the detective who worked on the murder case in 1952) lived in a house that still stands in Tedworth Square, Chelsea, just across from a house once occupied by Mark Twain. It’s hard to imagine that the lovely garden in the square’map memoriess center was used as a vegetable allotment during the war.

The oddly triangular Lucan Place Police Station, where Gavin works and Gemma later searches through his old case reports, is one of the few police stations in London still in its original building. Notting Hill Police Station is another.

While Gemma’s and Duncan’s house, and Erika Rosenthal’s nearby, are fictional, Laura has captured the wedding-cake architecture of these Victorian streets in Notting Hill.

Like down-at-heel actor Harry Pevensey, you can have a drink or a meal at The French House with its cheerful French flags on Dean Street in Soho, but you won’t be able to use your mobile phone!

Or you can wander down Portobello Road on a Saturday morning. Browse the antique stalls and arcades, pick up a chocolate croissant from Mr. Christian’s Deli on Elgin Crescent, check out Books for Cooks (possibly the best cookery bookshop in the world), and the Travel Bookshop, which was the model for Hugh Grant’s Notting Hill bookshop in Richard Curtis’s film, Notting Hill. Alas, the blue door of Hugh Grant’s flat has since been painted black. Shop for flowers and produce from the stalls on the lower end of Portobello Road, like the woman in Laura’s charming illustration. And then, on a very lucky day, you might have a Pimm’s at The Duke of Wellington and catch the fabulous jazz fusion guitarists who sometimes busk in front of the pub.

Laura somehow manages to portray the animals in the novels exactly the way I see them, as she’s done with Gemma’s blue roan cocker spaniel, Geordie, and his feline buddy, Sid. But my favorite is the English mastiff, Mo, who takes pride of place in the map’s center. Mo’s owner, Susan Braunstein, won the opportunity in a Humane Society raffle to have her rescued mastiff portrayed as a character in the book, and I hope both Laura and I have done Mo justice.


 

Water Like a Stone

Nantwich is an ancient market town, situated in the fertile reaches of the Cheshire Plain. Romans mined salt here, hence the name—wych means salt. In Tudor times it was the last English garrison on a major route into Wales. When the town burned to the ground in the late 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I contributed monies for its rebuilding as a protection against Spanish invaders, so that Nantwich has one of the most purely Elizabethan black-and-white timbered town squares in England.

map water

A few streets from the house where Duncan’s sister Juliet lives, the great red-brick edifice of St. Mary’s Church, known as the cathedral of South Cheshire, dominates the town center. Across the square, light sparks from the leaded windows of the old Crown Hotel as it leans precariously over the High Street.

Just to the west of the town runs the Shropshire Union Canal. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the canal was the major trade route between the Potteries to the south and the industrial cities to the north—Liverpool, Manchester, and Leeds. Now the working narrow boats are gone, but brightly-colored pleasure boats, both new and old, vie the reed-lined waterway, watched by the resident swans.

Above Nantwich, the Llangollen Canal meanders south-west into Wales, and at Barbridge the Shropshire Union meets the Middlewich Canal which carries boat traffic to Manchester and points north-east. Here the Barbridge Inn provides food, drink, fires, and good company, and if one is lucky enough, New Orleans jazz played by the Salt City Jazzmen.

The author’s photo of the bridge at Stoke, the scene of the fictional dairy barn, graces the cover of Water Like a Stone.

 

 

 



In a Dark House

In a Dark House takes place in the East London neighborhood known as Southwark, Bankside and South Bank, the environs of Charles Dickens’ childhood. Much of the neglected Victorian wharf and warehouses are transitioning to luxury flats and retail space, and are major destinations for the tourists and the trendy.

The Southwark Station firefighters wear the London map houseFire Brigade badge proudly, honoring the men of the Victorian era who bravely fought the 1861 Tooley Street fire that burned for two days, and the blitz of World War II. The docks were easily identifiable from the air and were attacked more than any other civilian target. Nearly 1,000 high explosive bombs and thousands of incendiaries were dropped...At the same time large areas of residential Dockland were devastated. During the whole of the blitz, 30,000 people were killed. Slightly more than half of these casualties were in London and a high proportion of these were in Dockland.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and Exhibition is situated beside the Bankside Power Station that has metamorphosed into the Tate Modern.

Sub Officer Jake Martinelli, from the Southwark Fire Brigade Station, works with the black-and-tan German shepherd dog, Scully, an accelerant detection dog with dark comma-shaped patches above her eyes that give her a quizzical expression. This illustration shows Scully with the paw protectors worn to prevent burns while investigating extinguished fires.

At the center of Guy’s Hospital’s quadrangle, a stone’s throw from the George Inn, Gemma finds a statue of Sir Thomas Guy.

The windows of St. George The Martyr Church illustrates the beauty and craftsmanship of the stain-glass windows prevalent in churches throughout the Southwark area. On Winnie’s advice, Gemma detours to find the chapel at Guy’s Hospital, just to take in the windows. She is delighted by the chapel, feeling as if she has stepped inside a Faberge Easter egg.

Crossbones Graveyard is a medieval cemetery, an unconsecrated burial ground for prostitutes and others who couldn’t afford proper burial. When London Transport began work on the Jubilee Line extension, they started digging up bodies. Work was stopped and the place has been in limbo ever since.

The George Inn, replete with bar, is the last of the ancient galleried inns of Southwark.

The four-story Southwark Street warehouse, the scene of the first fire of In A Dark House, was a grey-brown brick belied by the graceful arches of large windows. The square edges of its corners were softened by gentle curves, it dark façade lightened by touches of cream brick round windows and roof. Beautiful in its form and symmetry, it is a striking example of the best of Victorian architecture. A photo of the warehouse taken by the author was beautifully adapted by the publisher for the cover of the William Morrow hardcover edition (U. S.).

Helping Hands, women’s/family- violence shelter, houses 10 client families at full capacity. While it is more ornate than its Southwark Street warehouse neighbor, the building shows signs of neglect and decay.

The cover art on the William Morrow hardcover edition is taken from the author's photo of an old warehouse in Southwark, London.


 

Now May You Weep

Situated in the Scottish Highlands, Aviemore boasts a ski and hiking center and doll-house railway station.

A sleek, black Labrador, Murphy, is companion to th map weepe animal-whisperer Callum MacGillivray, who silently watches the comings and goings of his neighbors’ B&B and Alison Grant.

Innesfree, Bed & Breakfast Inn, a comfortable and welcoming converted farmhouse and barn, is where the story is anchored in modern day. A pun on the owner’s name, John Innes serves as chef, along with his wife, Louise, who runs the house and does the gardening.

MacGillivray’s Stables is the home and business of sister and brother Janet and Tom MacGillivray, Tom’s son Callum, his black Lab Murphy, and a stable of hill ponies. The stables business is dependent on the trekking trade and the occasional riding classes for novices.

Benvulin, home of Donald Brodie, was built by his great-great grandfather and is the site of the Brodie family Highland whiskey distillery. From the Gaelic meaning mill hill, this fairy-tale design of twin pagoda-roofed kilns was made popular by Victorian architect Charles Dig.

Rothiermurchus Estates – the famous estate of the Grant family, and former home of Elizabeth Grant, who chronicled her life in Memoirs of a Highland Lady, published in 1898.

Nestled in the Braes of Glenlivet, Carnmore was Hazel’s childhood home until at 14, her family moved to Newcastle and she was shipped off to school in Hampshire. 1980 was the last year the whiskey distillery operated.

The cover photo featured on the William Morrow hardcover edition ( U.S.) is the historic Speyside distillery, Cardhu.


 

A Finer End

Gemma and Duncan explore the environs of Glastonbury in A Finer End.

As Faith’s delivery draws closer she is magnetically pulled to the ever- vigilant Tor.

Edmund, a young 12th century monk, speaks from Glastonbury Abbey throughout the book.

Andrew’s liver-and-white Springer Spaniel, Phoebe, is his companion on walks around the Tor. map finer

Garnet’s familiar, the calico cat Dion, faithfully sleeps at the foot of Faith’s bed.

The Abbey Ruins find their way into the unconscious thoughts of artist Fiona, as well as Gemma and Winnie.

Standing high on the western flank of the Tor is Garnet’s ramshackle farm, where she prefers the ochre warmth and comforting shadows of lantern light rather than electricity, and the spring water that bubbles right up from the heart of the sacred hill to the chemically poisoned water the town pumps out of its tanks. As a ceramist, she restores tile flooring: often for churches, using only the materials and techniques available to the original artisans.

Buddy, the Texas Hill Country proprietor of the Dream Café, employs Faith to look after customers serving tea and soup in the café that is built into the base of the Tor. His history reaches back to the days of the first Glastonbury festival.

George & Pilgrims is the pub at Market Cross where Nick Carlisle, who works in the New Age bookstore upstairs from architect Jack Montfort’s office, meets Jack as Jack experiences his second episode of automatic writing.

 

 


 

Kissed a Sad Goodbye

Near the East London docks, the police discover Annabelle Hammond’s body in Mudchute Park, her jacket and short skirt carefully arranged to preserve her modesty.

The Mudchute is an area of land that originally belonged to the dock authorities. Covering about 30 acres, roughly square in shape, it has high clinker banks (on which grass and wild flowers now flourish). These banks were built to contain a lake of silt dredged up during the building of Millwall Dock in the 1880s and 1890s. The last of the docks closed in the late 1970s, and by the early 80s, the Island was a rotting wasteland.

map goodby

Bounded on three-sides by the river Thames, and communications hindered (in those days) by the swing bridges at the entrances to the working docks, (the Island) had (and still has) a special feeling of isolation, which separates it from the rest of East London.

The Island (of the Dogs) population had reached its peak of around 21,000 in 1900…The green field has been replaced by docks, warehouse, factories and streets of terraced houses. In this predominately working-class community, young people found a job, married and set up house not far from their parents.

Island Gardens, a small park on the riverbank opposite Greenwich, created by the London County Council in 1895, is one of many places in the East End where people are attracted to the music of the buskers, who play selections that range from classical music, New Orleans jazz , to solo clarinet.

Stebondale Street includes a short block of half a dozen homes that survived the bombing of London during World War II.

Hammond ’s Fine Teas occupies one of the last of the old warehouses on the river. The four-storied, brown-bricked square bastion of Victorian industrial prowess has been home to the family-run business since 1879. Its grimness is relieved by an arch of orange brick set in above each of its many windows, and another over the main door. A pediment rises above the flat roof, giving the façade an incongruously playful air. No windows are found along the sides at ground level and the back of the building is flush with the waterline. Hammond’s is renown for its blending of teas from India, Sri Lanka, China, Africa, and even South America.

On their way to the Island Gardens entrance to the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, Gemma and Kincaid walk past the knee-high iron railing that separates the flower bed from the round brick bulk of the Isle of Dogs entrance to the tunnel. (pg. 15) A curving split-rail fence separates the grassy area bordering the path from the slopping ground that marks the park’s edge and entrance. The flat, trellised top of the wooden gate give it the look of a Japanese shrine beyond the thick screen of trees, the gleaming buildings of Canary Wharf rising incongruously against the pastoral view.

Cutty Sark sits in dry dock at Greenwich Pier. The ship was the last survivor of the lovely clippers that had once unloaded their cargos in the East End’s docks. By 1808, over 10,000 coasters and nearly 3,500 foreign-going vessels contributed particularly to the river (Thames) traffic jam…In September 1793, (the East India Merchants) held a meeting in an attempt to resolve it, which was to lead in due course to the building of London’s first commercial docks.


 

 

 

More About Laura Hartman Maestro

Born in New York City, Laura Hartman grew up in the Norwood section of the Bronx. She always loved to draw, especially animals (she remembers that a nursery school teacher was particularly impressed with one of her chickens). Laura was graduated from the High School of Music and Art (now the LaGuardia High School of the Arts), where she met her future husband, Vittorio Maestro, who is now an editor at Natural History magazine. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The Cooper Union in New York City. Her work experience before becoming a freelance illustrator included three-dimensional craft design and illustration at McCall’s Needlework and Crafts magazine, Arrow Handicrafts Company, and Ned Strongin Associates (a toy design company).

Laura describes her preferred style as “friendly realism,” and her favorite medium for print reproduction is black line with stippling (shading with tiny dots), using technical pens. Because she does not create art digitally, on a computer, altering an illustration once it is completed is not a snap (or a click). Before proceeding, therefore, she reads the manuscript, researches subject matter, and submits a tight preliminary drawing in pencil for the author’s and publisher’s approval. Laura has illustrated a wide range of subjects, mostly for adults, including fiction, animals, biology, history, cooking (notably The All New All Purpose Joy of Cooking), and various how-to- and health-related topics. For both fiction and non-fiction she has created many endpapers—typically decorative maps—that are used on the insides of a book’s front and back covers and the facing pages. Laura and he husband have lived in Chicago and Japan and spend their favorite vacations in Scotland and Italy. They live in Brooklyn with their two cats.






A Sampling of Books Illustrated by Laura Hartman Maestro
**Endpaper
*Decorative map

FICTION

Books by Deborah Crombie

In a Dark House (Morrow, 2004)**
Now May You Weep (Morrow, 2003)**
A Finer End (Bantam, 2001)**
Kissed a Sad Goodbye (Bantam, 1999)**

Other Mysteries

The Game, by Laurie King (Bantam, 2003)*
She’s Not There, Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Henry Holt, 2002) *
The Wailing Wind, by Tony Hillerman (HarperCollins, 2002)**
In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner, by Elizabeth George (Bantam, 1999)**
Deception on His Mind, by Elizabeth George (Bantam, 1997)**
In the Presence of the Enemy, by Elizabeth George (Bantam, 1996) *
For the Sake of Elena, by Elizabeth George (Bantam, 1992)**
Well-Schooled in Murder, by Elizabeth George (Bantam, 1990)**

Novels

Ya Yas in Bloom, by Rebecca Wells (HarperCollins 2005)**
Fire Along the Sky, by Sara Donati (Bantam, 2004)**
Shooting the Sun, by Max Byrd (Bantam Dell, 2004) *
Lake in the Clouds, by Sara Donati (Bantam, 2002)**
A Singular Hostage, by Thalassa Ali (Bantam, 2002) *
Utopia, by Lincoln Child (Doubleday, 2002)**
A Common Life, by Jan Karon (Viking, 2001)
Dawn on a Distant Shore, by Sara Donati (Bantam, 2000)**
Into the Wilderness, by Sara Donati (Bantam, 1998)**
The First King of Shannara, by Terry Brooks (Del Rey, 1996)** [color]


NONFICTION

Biography/History

The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America, by Russell Shorto (Doubleday, 2004)**
Orphans Preferred: The Twisted Truth and Lasting Legend of the Pony
Express, by Christopher Corbett (Broadway Books, 2003)**
Ship Ablaze: The Tragedy of the Steamboat General Slocum, by Edward T. O’Donnell (Broadway Books, 2003) *
The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream, by H. W. Brands (Random House, 2002)** & *
Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure, by Don and Petie Kladstrup (Broadway Books 2001)**
Dreaming in Clay on the Coast of Mississippi, by Christopher Maurer with Maria Estrella Iglesias (Doubleday, 2000)**


Cookbooks

The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion (Countryman press, 2004)
The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion (Countryman press, 2003)
Cooksmart, by Pam Anderson (Houghton Mifflin, 2002)
The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen, by Peter Berley (Regan Books/HarperCollins, 2000)
Cookies Unlimited, by Nick Malgieri (HarperCollins 2000)
The Best of Gourmet (Condé Nast, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001) [International sections]
Pasta Improvvisata, by Erica de Mane (Scribner, 1999)
The Joy of Cooking (The All New All Purpose revised edition), by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker (Scribner, 1997)
Chocolate, by Nick Malgieri (HarperCollins 1998)
The Pie and Pastry Bible, by Rose Levy Berenbaum (William Morrow, 1998)
How to Bake, by Nick Malgieri (HarperCollins 1995)
The Thrill of the Grill, by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby (William Morrow, 1993)
The Splendid Table, by Lynne Rossetto Kasper (William Morrow, 1992) [excluding endpaper]
Rose’s Celebrations, by Rose Levy Berenbaum (William Morrow, 1992)
Sweet Miniatures, by Flo Braker (William Morrow, 1991)
Rose’s Christmas Cookies, by Rose Levy Berenbaum (William Morrow, 1990)
A Space-Age Cookbook for Kids, by Shirley Parenteau and Barbara Douglas (Prentice hall, 1979) [including cover; illustrator by-line credit]

Travel/Journalism

Ella in Europe: An American Dog’s International Adventures, by Michael Konik (Random House 2005)**
Climbing Brandon: Science and Faith on Ireland’s Holy Mountain, by Chet Raymo (Walker & Co, 2004)
Searching for El Dorado: A Journey into the South American Rainforest on the Trail of the World’s Largest Gold Rush, By Marc Herman (Nan Talese/ Dobleday, 2002) *


Science/Health

The Fat Free Truth, by Susan Canavan (Houghton Mifflin, 2004)
Dr. Guttmacher’s Pregnancy, Birth and Family Planning: Revised and Updated, by Lichtman, Simpson, and Rosenfield (New American Library, 2003)
Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea [Companion to PBS History Series], by Carl Zimmer (HarperCollins, 2001)** [color illustrations]
Your Burro Is No Jackass, by Jim Aylward (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1981) [juvenile; including cover]


Other

How to Speak Dog, by Stanley Coren (Free Press, 2000)
The Witches’ Companion: The Official Guide to Anne Rice’s Lives of the Mayfair Witches, by Katherine Ramsland (Ballantine, 1994)
The Handtool Companion, by Kate and Gene Hamilton (Henry Holt, 1994)
The Vampire Companion: The Official Guide to Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles, by Katherine Ramsland (Ballantine, 1993)
The Tellington Touch, by Linda Tellington Jones (Viking Penguin, 1992)