Occupation: Landscaper and Snowplow Driver, Cape Willington, Maine

If you live in Cape Willington, Maine, or in the general vicinity of Down East Maine, you probably know me already, or at least you’ve heard about me. My name is Mick Rilke, and I get around. Some people in town like to call me a bad boy, a flirt, a shady dealer. Let them say what they want. I like to think of myself as having a heart of gold. Hey, I earned it. I help people out by the nature of my business. I’m a landscaper, snowplow driver, and property caretaker, among other things. I’m a busy guy, so whose business is it if I like to flirt with the ladies? A little smile will get you anywhere. That’s my opinion, anyway.

Like most days, today is a busy day for me. During the winter, I plow snow and do winter cleanup. In the summer, I mow yards, lay down fertilizer, put plants into the ground, and trim trees. Today, I’m up bright and early, at 6 a.m. My first stop is to gas up my new red plow truck. I love this baby. She’s a beauty with a smooth ride and she can plow a driveway clean in no time. I worked hard to get the money to buy her. I should probably name her, like a boat. Ruby would be a fitting name, don’t you think?

I like to get a few lottery tickets while I’m at the station—you never know when luck will strike. I also need a cup of that good old gas station coffee. It’s like engine oil to my body. Maybe I’ll flirt a little, too. Depends on who’s working.

Next on my agenda is checking in on a few houses, especially driveways at this time of year. Mud season is here big time, and along with that is leftover ice, so I want to make sure the driveways are clear. Wouldn’t want anyone to get stuck, now would we? Then I have several repairs to take care of. One of my customers has a beauty of a stone wall that was hit and damaged by the town plow truck. Glad it wasn’t me that hit it, but I’m happy to repair it. It takes a bit of muscle, but I have plenty of that.

After that I need to go to the town transfer station, where they keep the mounds of sand and road salt. I need another load. It could snow again any day now, since it’s March and it’s Maine. Late winter storms are the worst, you know. We only have two seasons around here—mud season and winter. That joke cracks me up every time.

When all my work is finished for the day, I’ll head back home. I keep a neat workshop and office in an outbuilding by my barn. I spend a lot of time in there. It’s my own space out of the house. I have a collection of newspaper clippings from the Cape Crier and other local papers. It’s all things of interest to me, from the past and present. I also collect old maps of Cape Willington and Maine. Those I hang up on the walls. I have lived in this town my whole life, so I like to keep track of people’s comings and goings. That’s what life is all about, you know? I take care of my place, and pretty much mind my own business otherwise. So that’s a day in my life. You never know when it will be your last, so live it large.

I’ll leave you with one last bit of advice, especially if you live in Maine during mud season in March. Here you go—this one is a keeper, by the way. You might want to post it on your fridge, just so you don’t forget it:

  1. In snow, drive slow; in mud, drive as fast as you can.
  2. When driving in mud, stay in the ruts when possible—unless you’re going sideways, in which case . . .
  3. Hitch up the horses.

That joke always cracks me up, too. I told it to Candy Holliday just a week or so ago, and it made her laugh also. She told me she was going to put it into the local paper. I’ll be famous! But seriously, be careful during mud season. Early spring can easily fool you, as all true Mainers know, so don’t be its latest victim!

You can read more about Mick in Town in a Maple Madness, the eighth book in the “Candy Holliday” mystery series.

The New York Times bestselling author of Town in a Cinnamon Toast returns to Cape Willington, Maine, where blueberry farmer Candy Holliday springs ahead into sleuthing. . .

The imminent arrival of spring has the locals gearing up for their sweetest celebration ever—the first annual Maple Madness Weekend. Along with maple sugar house tours, a community-wide marshmallow roast, and a weekend-long pancake breakfast, restaurants will be serving up special maple syrup dishes. But the weekend festivities are put in jeopardy when things start to get sticky. . .

One of Candy’s friends is accused of stealing sap from a rival’s sugar maple trees, and landscaper Mick Rilke is found dead, floating down the river wrapped up in a fisherman’s net. As Candy taps into Mick’s life, his unsavory side comes to light, as well as a possible connection to both crimes. Now it’s up to Candy to follow the flow of suspects to a cold-blooded killer. . .

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All comments are welcomed.

NOTE: Mick Rilke plays a significant role in Town in a Maple Madness, the eighth book in the Candy Holliday Murder Mystery Series, which was published on April 4, 2017, by Berkeley Prime Crime, and available in both print and as an ebook. Other titles in the New York Times bestselling series include Town in a Cinnamon Toast (Book 7), Town in a Sweet Pickle (Book 6), Town in a Strawberry Swirl (Book 5), Town in a Pumpkin Bash (Book 4), Town in a Wild Moose Chase (Book 3), Town in a Lobster Stew (Book 2), and Town in a Blueberry Jam (Book 1). Large print editions of the books and an audiobook of Town in a Blueberry Jam are also available. For more information on the series, visit www.hollidaysblueberryacres.com.

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