JEREMIAH HEALY: An Appreciation

A few months ago I was looking through my bookshelves for a mystery to re-read, and I came across the several Jeremiah Healy books I own.  I remember wondering why there hadn’t been a new John Francis Cuddy book in a number of years; when I checked Mr. Healy’s website I realized it had been more than a decade.

I actually toyed with the idea of contacting him through his website to ask whether his readers could expect another in the Cuddy series anytime soon.  But, like many other good intentions, that idea got lost among numerous things I had to think about or do, so I never attempted to contact him.

Reading about Jeremiah Healy’s death last month, I felt so sad.  He was a talented writer who made his Boston-based private investigator stand out from the crowd.  John Francis Cuddy was a veteran, a law school dropout, a widower at a very young age, and a really nice guy.  His compassion and kindness, as well as his toughness when necessary, are evident in each of the dozen books in which he appears.

Mr. Healy’s private life had its own difficulties.  He battled depression for years and apparently had a drinking problem.  Despite this, he had successful careers before beginning writing mysteries; he was an attorney in private practice and later taught at a Boston law school.  

It seems unbearably cruel that such a talented and well-liked man (glowing epitaphs from such authors as Harlan Coben and Lawrence Block) felt so overwhelmed by depression that he took his own life.  But as Cuddy’s late wife, Beth, told Cuddy, “If you’re waiting for life to be fair, John, I think you’re in for a very long siege.”

What is fair, though, as well as true, is that Jeremiah Healy will be remembered by his many fans as a outstanding writer who created an original character and brought reading enjoyment to many.  

 

 

 

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