Ten Years Have Got Behind You*

This post is in memory of Maxine Clarke, generous friend of crime fiction and crime writers, and an integral part of the crime fiction community, who passed on ten years ago today as this is posted. I was proud to call her a friend, even though we never met in person. Those of us who knew her can tell you all about her wit, intelligence, skills, and the way she held us together as a community. She is much missed.


Dear Maxine,

It’s hard to believe that ten years have gone by since your passing. It doesn’t seem that it could be that long. I hope you know that I miss you and think of you often. The world has changed a lot since you left it; so many things have happened. In some ways, it looks quite different, and I wonder what you would have made of some of the social, technological, and political changes we’ve all been through. Knowing you, you’d have sensible ideas about it all, and I’d have loved to hear them.

You may not be aware of it, but you left behind a rich legacy for our crime fiction community. The CWA now sponsors an award in your memory – the Petrona Award. I think you’d be pleased; it’s given to the best in translated Scandinavian crime fiction, and there’ve been some very worthy winners. There’ve been some terrific Dagger winners, too, as well as winners of the Ngaio Marsh Award for the best in New Zealand crime fiction (That was just a couple of years old when you passed; it’s still going strong). And of course, there are other awards as well.

There’s other excellent crime fiction out there, too. You always knew, though, that awards don’t necessarily mean that a book is excellent, and there are plenty of excellent books that don’t really get noticed. Fortunately, there are some very high-quality blogs that talk about, as you used to call it, intelligent crime fiction. Your blog voice at Petrona is sorely missed, though, especially among those of us who knew you. I’d have loved to get your views on what’s being published these days. Some of it really is good; some of it….well, anyway, I always appreciated your candor about what you read.

We still have an active crime fiction blogging community. You drew us together, and many of us are still in touch. Technology has changed, so it’s not the same sort of connection we used to have. Still, we’re connected. And there are new voices in the community, and that’s wonderful, too. We still learn from each other, and that’s, I’m sure, what you would have wanted.

As for me? I’ve had a few books published since you passed, and I’m working on another now. I would have loved to have your input on them, not to be praised (although that would be great) but to get your insights. You were always so kind about reading and reviewing books from ‘nobody’ authors like me, and I hope you knew just how encouraging that was. You taught me a lot about the genre, and I still remember some of the things you used to write about it. I’m still blogging, too, and your memory has had a lot to do with that. I do my best to make sure my blog lives up to the high bar you set; someday I hope it will.

You will always be a part of the crime fiction community, even for those who never met you. You enriched it (and us), and your legacy will live on. Thinking of you and wishing your family well…




*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Pink Floyd’s Time

24 thoughts on “Ten Years Have Got Behind You*

  1. Lovely post, Margot. I never knew Maxine, joining the blogosphere not long after her death, but I felt I got to know her through you and some of the other bloggers who hold her in such high regard. No better legacy than to be remembered with such warm affection. 🙂


    1. Thanks, FIctionFan – very much. 🙂 I think you’d have really liked Maxine, and I am certain you’d have respected her insights and her blog and enjoyed her wit. I wish you two had had the chance to meet, in person or virtually.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a heartfelt post, Margot. I have known Maxine only through her blog and other bloggers. I agree with FF that there is no better legacy than to be remembered with such esteem regard and affection.


    1. Thank you, Neeru. I’m very glad you had the chance to read Maxine’s blog; I thought it was a such a fine blog. And that’s the thing, isn’t it; a true legacy is how one is remembered. Maxine has a very rich legacy indeed.


  3. Hatd to believe it’s been 10 years. I was only just discovering Maxine when she passed away, and I feel so sorry that I never got a chance to talk with her more. But she would have been delighted to see the Petrona Prize and so many exciting new authors.


    1. It is hard to believe, isn’t it, Marina Sofia? I’m glad you at least got the chance to know her a bit. She always had such great insights and a fine wit. And I think you’re right; she really would have been delighted about the number of fine new voices in the genres. I’ll bet she’d have loved the Petrona Award, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for a lovely letter to Maxine. If not for your post I would not have remembered the anniversary of her passing. I think of her occasionally. The memories are good. I hope you do not mind that I posted a link to this post on my blog. I also decided to re-print my post from 10 years ago after she was gone. I will always miss her.


    1. I miss Maxine, too, Bill, and always will. Her passing left a hole in the world of crime fiction. I have good memories of her, too, and am grateful for that. Thank you for the kind words and for linking to my post – I’m flattered.


  5. Reblogged this on Nordic Noir and commented:
    What a wonderful thing to write. I didn’t know Maxine but I feel very honoured to be a Petrona judge in 2022 and for 2023. The Nordic Noir Blog is ten years old in 2023 and I still love sharing our passion for crime fiction.


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