Background – Death of a Deacon

Although Death of a Deacon is a work of fiction and the characters are fictitious, I drew upon actual experiences, and the characters are composites of people I have known. For example, the carbon monoxide leak in the school, which plays a central role in the plot, is based upon an incident that actually happened in a school attended by my grandchildren. I did not have to draw upon much imagination to describe the incident and the emergency services response; I was there and I saw it unfold in much the same way.

In a similar way, you may think the characters on the parish council are incredible, but believe me, they’re not. They are composites of characters I have served with on parish councils. Life in a parish is messy.

“Death of a Deacon” and its sequel “Ulster Legacy,” are intended to fall into a sub-category of mystery novels called “cozies.” They combine mystery with romance. Well-known practitioners of the cozy are Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Carola Dunn, Karen Baugh Menuhin, Lee Strauss, and Beth Byers. I was also heavily influenced in my desire to write mysteries by G. K. Chesterton, who is one of the fathers of the modern mystery novel. I would not call his Father Brown books cozies, but they are masterpieces of the detective novel genre.

My daughter was a police officer for eighteen years. Our family was sort of a mini “Blue Bloods” and much of the police lore and procedure in the novel was gleaned from eighteen years of dinner table conversation in our house.

In the novel I deliberately did not name the city. In the sequel, “Ulster Legacy,” involving the same characters, I do. I hope you enjoy both.


Michael P. McKeating has been a licensed attorney for 32 years, specializing in criminal law. He is also a former newspaper reporter and editor. He is a widower with two adult children, and lives in Buffalo, New York. He is a Vietnam veteran, and has traveled extensively in Ireland, Britain, France, Spain, Italy and Portugal.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: