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A Cup of Hemlock and Raggedy Man are available for purchase!

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For enquiries, contact:
Clyde Curley
2112 J Street Bellingham, WA 98225
360-738-6862

 

About Clyde

The Detective Toussaint novels are the first serious works of fiction I’ve undertaken since the Frankie Fox sagas I wrote (and illustrated!) in 1954. I was ten years old. My models were not Charles Dickens or Ross Macdonald, but the immortal Walter R. Brooks and his series of novels set on the Bean Farm featuring Freddy the Pig and his pals, a charming, compelling collection of talking animals whose adventures and misadventures captivated this budding reader. (Orwell’s Animal Farm came later, when I was 15. My reaction? “What the…?”)

Getting to the Arlington, Virginia, Public Library in the Clarendon shopping area was a serious walk from our house on Washington Boulevard, but I made it willingly on hot, humid summer days and frigid, snowy weekends to bring home treasured volumes like Freddy Goes to Florida and Freddy and the Bean Home News. What followed was laborious hunting and pecking on the old Underwood in the attic bedroom where I churned out my own stories of talking animals. When asked by my fourth grade teacher what I wanted to be when I grew up, I proudly announced—to the consternation of the kids around me—“an author.”

With respect to biography relevant to the current circumstances, this is all that matters: I’ve grown up, and now I’m an author. Stories and characters and the ideas generated by them: Is there anything else? Well, sure. But although William Shakespeare passed from this mortal coil long ago, Malvolio, Bottom, Iago, and Juliet—and their troubles—have survived the centuries. They will carry on as long as there are readers. Likewise—maybe—Freddy the pig, Charles the rooster, and Mrs. Wiggins the cow. For me, the permanence of art stands as a bulwark against the slings and arrows of outrageous real life, and the highest, richest form of art is that which is formed from words—the first and most important attribute of humans as we strive to behave less like animals and more like gods.

Bookworm that I was (and am), it was only natural that after a childhood and youth passed in moving from place to place as the eldest son in a Navy family (books are what you can take with you), when it came to figuring out how I was going to make my own life with a guaranteed paycheck I stumbled across the notion of teaching high school English. Following college at San Francisco State and marriage to the sweetheart of my dreams, Susan Allison, this is what I did, first at Astoria High School, then South Albany High School, then Milwaukie High School, all in Oregon. This last gig, from 1986 to 2001, landed me and my family in Portland, which was in many ways the city of my dreams. This is not the place to detail my working life, but I will say that teaching high school English was enriching, frustrating, exhausting, and satisfying. (I took smug comfort when Ken Kesey told an OCTE convention in Eugene that there’s a halo waiting in heaven for English teachers. Of course there is.)

I should probably mention that a guitar and a banjo found their way into my hands in early adolescence; I hold onto them still. However, this is not the place to delve into my love of traditional folk music—other than to say that as a fiddler and guitarist, I continue to strive to get it right. Just as important, I continue to cherish the friendships I’ve developed over the long years playing this great music handed to us by the traditions. (Readers wanting to know more about this can go to theportlandcollection.com.)

Central in my life now that I’m retired to the bayside city of Bellingham, Washington, is this writing, this compulsion to play with words, with ideas—with the act of creation. This I take seriously. This I take pleasurably. It’s my hope that the fun and the work of making these books with Detective Sergeant Matthew Toussaint at the center of a world of murder, compassion, ignorance, commitment, selfishness, and altruism as they play out in Portland, Oregon, will produce books worthy of your interest and your dollar. As for the Frankie Fox epic: Sorry. Not available. I ran out the string on that one long ago.