Maxine Clarke of Petrona

Posted: December 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

I had sent our dear Maxine an email card last week, and she hadn’t replied which was so unlike her. I knew her health was very bad but hoped I was wrong and that perhaps she might be on holiday. The dreadful news of her death came yesterday. My computer froze earlier today, it was if it could not or would not accept the terrible news. Other people have spoken movingly of Maxine’s qualities, and as I read through the dozens of emails we had exchanged over the last six years I thought what a kind and very brave lady she was. {We only met in person twice, she was lovely.} 

She tempted so many inexperienced bloggers to dip their toe in the blogging water and then jump in with her helpful comments and encouragement, that we all owe Maxine a great debt of gratitude. Her own blog Petrona was a source of pleasure, excellent writing, valuable opinions, and a constant temptation to plagiarise. 

Maxine was a true friend, I will miss her terribly.

[The photos show Maxine at Crime Fest and with Hakan Nesser, and translator Don Bartlett, one of her favourites.]


  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Norman – Thanks for the wonderful tribute and for sharing the ‘photos. Maxine was indeed lovely, brave, encouraging, knowledgeable and a lot more too. Her passing has left a huge, gaping hole in the crime fiction community and we will all miss her.

  2. Lovely comments, Norm.

  3. […] crime fiction bloggers including Margot Kinberg, Rhian Davies, Mrs Peabody, Mysteries in Paradise, Crimescraps and Aly Monroe (I’ll add more as they are posted). I’d just like to add that blogging […]

  4. Mrs P. says:

    Thank you, Norman – this is a lovely tribute. And you’re quite right: we do all owe Maxine a great debt of gratitude.

  5. Yes we do owe her a lot Norman, I take some small measure of comfort from the fact that she knew this – that we all told her how much she meant to us in our own way.

  6. Philip Amos says:

    For some time, circumstances have allowed me time to read only two crime fiction blogs, the two I have long most admired — Petrona and Crime Scraps. Earlier, I exchanged many comments with Maxine on various blogs, and I developed a true fondness for her. Somehow, even in these essentially impersonal communications, her kindness shone through, and her intelligence, of course, was radiant. I’ve already had four pieces of shocking news this month, and here is a fifth. I’m devastated, quite unable to imagine my very early morning routine without Petrona — without Maxine. I shall miss her greatly. My thoughts are with her husband and daughters.

  7. Peter says:

    Maxine encouraged me early on. In fact, she posted the first-ever comment on Detectives Beyond Borders, back in 2006. And when we met in person, we met at a suitable location for someone who so loved books: the cafeteria of the British Library in London.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    “Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”

  8. How very sad, thanks for sharing. Condolences to those who knew her, I was new to her blog this year, a few months.

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