A Renaissance man of the mystery world

When I got a copy of Robert Greer’s new book, RESURRECTING LANGSTON BLUE (brought out by his new publisher, North Atlantic Press), it was hard not to marvel at his accomplishments: novelist, editor of a literary magazine, and oh yeah, cancer researcher and professor of pathology and medicine. The Columbus Dispatch marvels just as equally in this profile of the author:

In the five-plus decades since he left Columbus as a child, Robert Greer has mastered much more than most other people do in a lifetime.

He became a doctor, a cancer researcher, a teacher, a cattle rancher and an award-winning mystery writer — one who has just published his seventh novel, Resurrecting Langston Blue.

‘‘I never found anything that I couldn’t do," the Renaissance man said with a confidence born of accomplishment.

At 61, though, Greer acknowledges that he hasn’t mastered — and never will — the grief that enveloped him after Phyllis, his wife of 32 years and the love of his life, died of a heart attack in 2002.

‘‘This is the one thing I’ve faced that I don’t have an answer for," he said solemnly. ‘‘It was the worst nightmare of my life."

The death of Greer’s wife, not surprisingly, affected his writing output. Normally a book takes ten months to complete; LANGSTON BLUE, not so:

A novel usually takes Greer 10 months to finish, but he was stuck after his wife died. (All his books, including the latest, are dedicated to her.)

Finally, he went to Hawaii, locked himself in his hotel room and wrote every day for a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Resurrecting Langston Blue was completed in six months.

I have to admit, as someone with a science background who writes, that Greer can combine both sides is pretty damn cool.