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Hampshire Professor D’Avanzo Writes Eco-Mystery

D'Avanzo's debut novel, Cold Blood, Hot Sea, uses fiction to engage readers in climate-change science and politics

Professor Emerita of Ecology Charlene D’Avanzo’s debut novel, Cold Blood, Hot Sea (Torrey House Press) was released on June 7. The book is the first in what D’Avanzo says will be her Maine Oceanography Mystery series.

Hampshire College Professor Emirita Charlene D'Avanzo's New Book 'Cold Blood, Hot Sea'

D'Avanzo uses fiction to engage readers in climate-change science and politics. Among the numerous positive reviews, independent publisher Foreword Magazine writes that the book “will make for great beach reading, but it also has meat on its bones, with rich characterization and an intriguing mystery at its core.”

Author and activist Bill McKibben writes, “Sleuths will have to figure out who done it, but the real crime is the backdrop here: the endless heating of a fragile planet.”

In the book, Mara Tusconi is studying the ocean’s temperature when there is an accident—or murder—aboard her research ship: Peter, a fellow oceanographer and friend, is crushed by a half-ton buoy. Freak accident? Mara doesn’t think so. She is shaken to the core, but when the Maine Oceanographic Institute makes only half-hearted inquiries, she sets out to find out what really happened to her friend. She risks her job as her boss forbids the investigation and almost drowns when a motorboat tries to run into the kayak she’s in. Then Mara discovers, as D’Avanzo describes it, “a shocking intrigue as big and dark as the ocean.”

D’Avanzo says she was motivated to write this “cli-fi” mystery when she heard UMass climate scientist Ray Bradley talk about the harassment he had to deal with at the hands of climate-change doubters. Realizing the critical role of fiction in social change, she decided on the spot that people might finally understand the lives and trials of climate researchers by way of a novel.

For more information about the book and environmental mysteries, visit D’Avanzo’s website.


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