Drinkwater’s Folly by James Pendleton

Looking for something new and different for your blog post? How about mining your acknowledgments page? That’s what I did and, lo and behold, came up with a gem.

drinkwater follyI met James Pendleton and his wife when he was signing Drinkwater’s Folly on April 28, 2007, eight years ago today. I told him I was writing a mystery (Murder at the Book Group took me years to write) and he said, “Don’t ever let anyone discourage you.” It wasn’t just his words that have stuck with me to this day—it was his sincerity and forthrightness. And the fact that he came along just when I needed to hear his simple yet sage advice.

I wanted to contact Mr. Pendleton personally to thank him. Since he doesn’t have an online presence I had no way of reaching him other than the old school method: writing to his publisher, Ivy House Publishing Group. As Ivy House is out of business, that turned out to be a dead end. But I have a few other avenues to try before I give up.

In the meantime I’ll send my thanks out to the universe and believe that Mr. Pendleton hears it on some level of awareness. And he will forever have a place of honor in my acknowledgments for Murder at the Book Group.

Drinkwater’s Folly is set in the South during the turbulent sixties. It may not be known to many readers (a sleeper, to borrow movie parlance), but is worth seeking out.

Patricia Randall, the story’s heroine, is bold, intrepid, and ambitious. I rarely read depictions of professional women in the sixties showing these traits. Especially not in the South. And the depiction of race relations seemed more typical of recent decades than of the sixties. But James Pendleton grew up in the South and was an adult during that decade. So his up close views on women and on race issues either differs from what was commonly perceived—or he superimposed the present on the past.

The author also wrote Missing Pieces, his memoir of growing up in the South during wartime; and Nightman, a dark tale of the South, that he co-wrote with Jerome Johnson.

If anyone has knowledge of James Pendleton, please let me know.



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