WelcomeWelcome to my website, the purpose of which is to honor and promote the world of Portland Police Detective Matthew Toussaint through my novels, Raggedy Man and A Cup of Hemlock. These murder mysteries tell stories of characters in conflict not only with one another, but also with powerful social and political forces that seem, at times, contrary to the fundamental principles and values that form the bedrock of American society. But they are also just that: murder mysteries, tracing the complex intersections between cops and crooks.
In Raggedy Man, the first in the series, Toussaint and his young assistant, Detective Missy Owens, work to discover who murdered Ben Foeller, the son of Portland’s premier dynastic family, a young man whose body was discovered under a bridge approach in the city. In A Cup of Hemlock, the detectives are charged with finding the killer of Nick Lehrer, a high school teacher who was brutally gunned down in his classroom while working late at night. These novels probe political, ethical, and philosophic concerns while personalizing these issues in a large, varied, and colorful cast of characters—including the city of Portland itself, which is detailed in all its idiosyncratic, diverse magnificence.
As a reader, I have always been drawn to the big novels of the 19th century—Dickens, Tolstoy, Melville, Hugo. I harbor a nearly equal affection for mid-20th century American detective fiction—stories of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, Hammett’s Sam Spade, and Macdonald’s Lew Archer. As a writer, it is my goal to combine and meld these genres: the monumental opus of yore for its prospects for character delineation, social examination, theme exploration, and just plain good writing; the mystery for its potential for a compelling narrative and the fun of playing with stereotypes.
Thus was Detective Sergeant Matthew Toussaint born and given homicide investigations in my favorite city, Portland, Oregon. You should see soon, in these pages, announcements of more stories set in The Rose City, more crimes against humanity perpetrated by cold-blooded killers in league with certain political forces masquerading as guardians of the public good.