Mary Logue (1952–) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights
Born 1952; partner of Pete Hautman (a writer).
Office—c/o Mid-List Press, 4324 12th Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN, 55407-3218. Agent—Jennifer Flanney, Flanney Literary, 1140 Widefield Ct., Napervielle, IL 60563 (for Jane Chelius, 548 Second St., Brooklyn, NY 11215 (for adult).
Poet, mystery novelist, editor, and author of children's books.
First Book of Poetry award, Mid-List Press, for Discriminating Evidence.
FOR CHILDREN; FICTION
The Missing Statue of Minnehaha, illustrated by Duane Krych, Child's World (Chanhassen, MN), 1993.
The Haunting of Hunter House, illustrated by Duane Krych, Child's World (Chanhassen, MN), 1993.
Dancing with an Alien, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2000.
FOR CHILDREN; NONFICTION
Forgiveness: The Story of Mahatma Gandhi, Child's World (Chanhassen, MN), 1996.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Love, Child's World (Chanhassen, MN), 1996.
Trust: The Story of Helen Keller, Child's World (Chanhassen, MN), 1999.
Sea Jellies, Child's World (Chanhassen, MN), 2005.
Sea Stars, Child's World (Chanhassen, MN), 2005.
Sponges, Child's World (Chanhassen, MN), 2005.
Imagination: The Story of Walt Disney, Child's World (Chanhassen, MN), in press.
MYSTERY NOVELS; FOR ADULTS
Red Lake of the Heart, Dell (New York, NY), 1987.
Still Explosion: A Laura Malloy Mystery, Seal Press (Seattle, WA), 1993.
Blood Country: A Claire Watkins Mystery, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1999.
Dark Coulee, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 2000.
Glare Ice, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 2001.
Bone Harvest, Ballantine (New York, NY), 2004.
Widow's Weeds, Ballantine (New York, NY), 2005.
(Editor) The Thief of Sadness/NorHaven Poetry Collective, illustrated by Marion Pinski and others, PLS Press (St. Paul, MN), 1979.
(Editor with Lawrence Sutin) Believing Everything: An Anthology of New Writing, illustrated by Lynn Weaver, Holy Cow! Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1980.
Discriminating Evidence (poetry), Mid-List Press (Denver, CO), 1990.
Halfway Home: A Granddaughter's Biography, Minnesota Historical Society (St. Paul, MN), 1996.
Settling: Poems, Mid-List Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1997.
(Translator) Brigitte Gandiol-Coppin and others, Ancient Civilizations, Creative Education (Mankato, MN), 2001.
(Translator) Christophe Gallaz, The Wolf Who Loved Music, Creative Education (Mankato, MN), 2003.
Meticulous Attachment (poetry), Mid-List Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.
Work in Progress
Maiden Rock, a mystery novel.
A versatile writer, Mary Logue has established a multi-dimensional presence in the literary world as poet, editor of poetry anthologies, author of mystery novels for adults, and author of children's books that include nonfiction and mystery fiction. In an article posted on the Pete Hautman Web site, Logue claimed an early interest in writing: "I wrote my first mystery when I was in fifth grade about a strange jeep trail that circled the pond I lived on, and a set of adoption papers found on a dirt road."
Logue's first publications were anthologies that she edited or co-edited. In 1979, for example, she compiled The Thief of Sadness, an anthology of works produced by members of the NorHaven Poetry Collective in the Twin Cities area that introduced several new voices of mentally challenged women authors in that region. A second anthology came one year later: Believing Everything: An Anthology of New Writing, on which Logue worked with Lawrence Sutin. As a poet herself, Logue has also authored three volumes of verse. Discriminating Evidence, which won a First Book of Poetry award from Mid-List Press; Settling, a 1997 offering from the same publishing house; and Meticulous Attachment. In an interview for the Mystery One Bookstore Web site, Logue noted: "It takes me about five to ten years to write a book of poetry, but poetry is a constant in my life—both reading and writing it."
Logue has also written for young adults, including her 2002 title Dancing with an Alien, the story of a teenaged alien boy, Branko, who comes to Earth to find a wife. All the women on Branko's home planet have died and there is a desperate need for women who will bear children. When he finds Tonia, a woman he really loves, he cannot ask her to go through the ordeal of constant childbearing after all. According to Paula Rohrlick in Kliatt, "Logue conveys the overwhelming feelings of first love nicely." Trish Anderson in the School Library Journal noted that "Logue uses the agonizing choices and different voices to develop the characters with whom readers can sympathize."
While Logue is best known for her mystery novels for adults, she has penned several books for children, such as biographies of nineteenth-century British poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Mohandas Karamchand "Mahatma" Gandhi, Helen Keller, and animator Walt Disney. She has also written two children's mysteries featuring a young heroine named Barb. In The Haunting of Hunter House Barb and two of her cousins, Burr and Smidgen, glimpse a light in a vacant house and investigate the phenomenon. In The Missing Statue of Minnehaha the setting is a summer retreat named Camp Minnehaha where Barb and Burr are working as junior counselors. The pair investigate the disappearance of a statuette which is the prize in the camp's annual contest.
Logue's early mysteries include Red Lake of the Heart and Still Explosion. Still Explosion centers on detective-narrator Laura Molloy, a female journalist who works for the Twin Cities Times. Only moments after Malloy has arrived at an abortion clinic to interview the director, a bomb goes off in the clinic, killing a young man who had been escorting his girlfriend to get an abortion. The young man himself is suspected of being the bomber, but Laura, doubting that story, investigates other suspects as well: the hard-line leader of an antiabortion organization, his wife, his lesbian ex-wife, and both the girlfriend and the brother of the dead man. In the course of her protagonist's investigation, Logue finds opportunities to sketch in a brief history of abortion and of the controversy surrounding that procedure. The plot, which includes the depositing of a dead fetus on the doorstep of the bombing victim's girlfriend, builds to what Marie Kuda, writing in Booklist, called "an explosive ending."
A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that Laura Malloy's investigation is "carefully constructed" so that neither Laura nor the reader can "ascertain the balance of personal and political causes" behind the death. Assessing the novel's own political stance as "emphati-cally pro-choice," the critic predicted that readers' degree of satisfaction with the book would depend largely on the extent to which they shared that outlook. A reviewer for Library Journal, however, recommended library purchase of the volume because of its "workable prose, plot, and issue."
Following her first two stand-alone mysteries, Logue settled down to write a mystery series featuring a recurring character named Claire Watkins. Claire is a deputy sheriff in Pepin County in western Wisconsin, near the Mississippi River. She is a widow with a young daughter, Meg, to whom Claire is devoted, as well as a supportive sister and a possible new beau. Claire's stories are police procedurals: mysteries that show how a crime is actually investigated and solved by police. In Dark Coulee Claire hopes to discover just who stabbed to death local farmer Jed Spitzler at a town dance. Her investigation uncovers problems in the Spitzler household, including secrets kept by his troubled teenaged children. Meanwhile, she must also struggle with
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memories of her late husband and the day-to-day worries of raising her daughter in a new community. A Publishers Weekly critic wrote that Logue "uses her talents as a poet to depict small-town life and give rich insights into the hearts of her characters." Jenny McLarin, in a review for Booklist, called the "Claire Watkins" books a "gracefully written series full of well-drawn characters."
Claire returns in Glare Ice, which finds her trying to determine who killed Buck Owens, tied him up in his truck, and drove the truck through the ice of frozen Pepin Lake. While Buck was physically abusive to his girlfriend Stephanie, who may have killed him in revenge, many others also had reason to see him gone: Stephanie's brother is a suspect, as is her former boy-friend, a local police officer. Claire must sort through a tangle of motives while trying to plan Thanksgiving dinner, help Meg stand up to a bullying teacher at school, and deal with a massive snowstorm. A Publishers Weekly reviewer praised the "powerful sense of place and good clean writing" on display in Logue's novel.
Bone Harvest details the theft of lethal pesticides from a local farmers' cooperative. The dangerous poisons are soon used to kill the garden outside the sheriff's office, murder aflock of chickens, and, most upsetting of all, poison the lemonade at the town's Fourth of July picnic. Locals speculate that it all goes back to the murder of a German family some fifty years before. Claire needs to find whoever stole the pesticides before someone gets killed. A critic for Publishers Weekly found that "fine writing, a charming setting and an attractive and intelligent heroine add up to a satisfying and pleasurable read." David Wright, in a review for Booklist, noted the story's "ample suspense and swift turnings."
Logue is also the author of Halfway Home: A Grand-daughter's Biography, which the Minnesota Historical Society Press issued in 1996. It deals with the life of Logue's grandmother, Mae McNally Kirwin (1894–1961), who lived in Chokio, Minnesota, for much of her life; it is also, in the nature of things, a study of family and social life in Minnesota during the earlier part of the twentieth century.
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, April 1, 1993, Marie Kuda, review of Still Explosion, p. 1415; October 1, 1999, p. 346; October 15, 2000, Jenny McLarin, review of Dark Coulee, p. 424; April 1, 2004, David Wright, review of Bone Harvest, p. 1353.
Horn Book, January-June, 1993, p. 301.
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 1993, p. 335; September 1, 2001, review of Glare Ice, p. 1249; April 1, 2004, review of Bone Harvest, p. 303.
Kliatt, March, 2002, Paula Rohrlick, review of Dancing with an Alien, p. 24.
Library Journal, April 1, 1993, review of Still Explosion, p. 135; November 1, 2000, Rex E. Klett, review of Dark Coulee, p. 141.
Publishers Weekly, April 5, 1993, review of Still Explosion, p. 68; October 2, 2000, review of Dark Coulee, p. 61; October 15, 2001, review of Glare Ice, p. 48; November 24, 2003, review of The Wolf Who Loved Music, p. 64; May 24, 2004, review of Bone Harvest, p. 44.
School Library Journal, July, 2000, Trish Anderson, review of Dancing with an Alien, p. 107; April, 2001, Pam Johnson, review of Dark Coulee, p. 171.
Minnesota Center for the Book Web site, www.mnbooks.org/ (June 15, 2005).
Mystery One Bookstore Web site, http://www.mysteryone.com/ (May 6, 2005), interview with Logue.
Pete Hautman Web site, http://www.petehautman.com/ (May 6, 2005), "Mary Logue."
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