When the witch met Petrona

The world of blogging is a rather nice place to be. You meet interesting people, like other bloggers with whom you share so much. And the really good ones make you wish you were that little bit better at it.

Maxine Clarke who blogged as Petrona was one of them. She knew a lot about crime, which turned out to my advantage that evening in 2008 when I invited myself onto her team for the crime pub quiz in Bristol. We’d never met, but she came highly recommended by Declan Burke, so I felt free to borrow the friend of a friend. (We came third, mainly thanks to Maxine and her colleague Karen of Eurocrime.)

I always had the feeling that I ought to know more about the Nordic crime scene because of my background, but it would have been impossible to beat Maxine. From what I knew of her, she had a good job, a family, and she still managed to read all the interesting crime novels and write reviews for her own as well as Karen’s blogs.

By the time I ran out of time for too much daily blog reading, I tended to use Petrona as somewhere I would go to look for information. I could generally be sure of finding anything relevant on there.

Every now and then Maxine would leave a comment on Bookwitch, either because I’d blogged on crime, or because there was something YA that she also knew about. I believe our daughters are about the same age, which is how we ended up reading the same books for that age group as well.

This is what makes it especially sad that Maxine died earlier this week; leaving someone young behind. Because for all her expertise on the Scandinavians, it was sharing YA books that I found the most fun.

Bloggers at Crime Fest copy

I stole this photo of Maxine (left) with Rhian, Karen and Declan some years ago. I’m not sure who from, but it was in a good cause.

There is a collection of blogs posts about Maxine here.

(And as an amusing aside, I have to thank Rhian for pointing me in the direction of a long ago post by Maxine, featuring Mark Harmon. If only I’d known…)

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6 responses to “When the witch met Petrona

  1. Thanks very much for kindly linking to my post. And thanks especially for sharing your memories – and that lovely ‘photo. Maxine was an extraordinary person and will be very much missed.

  2. Thanks for posting this. I saw her name come up frequently, but she was in a slightly different subset of this odd crossover crime ficiton community and I didn’t know her well, but was still saddened to hear of her death. It’s nice to get a better sense of her, however belatedly.

  3. Pingback: Maxine Clarke – Petrona – a tribute to a dedicated crime fiction reader | It's a crime! (Or a mystery...)

  4. Thank you for posting this, with photos.

  5. And apparently I can’t manage technology today. To continue, it is, as Seana said, nice to get a better sense of Maxine. We only ever communicated via blog comments, and yet I will miss her insight and wise words.

  6. Yes, it’s a strange world where you have never met people you feel you know well. And how you know them better than that other parent you saw in the school playground for ten years. Or the person down the road from you.

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