The Mayor of Vermont
Archer Mayor has been writing the Joe Gunther mystery novels for about 25 years, and because of their very Vermont-centricness, he gets interesting reactions to the books wherever he goes in the state — like the doctor’s office:
Standing in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, two men glanced at
the front page of Tuesday’s Reformer, and read the main headline: “Body
found on Elliot Street.”
Unaware of the man standing nearby, one of them said to the other, “Where’s Joe Gunther when you need him?”
“I turned around and said ‘Give me a break,’” said Archer Mayor, the
local author who brought the fictional detective to life 25 years ago,
when he cast him as the crime-solving hero of a mystery series set in
Sixteen novels later, Gunther seems to have become as much a part of
the state’s culture as Mayor has become an engaged resource in the
“Joe Gunther and reality have begun to overlap in people’s
imagination,” Mayor said, a concept that more or less can be attributed
to his use of local geography and characters in his books.
As a part-time police officer in Bellows Falls, a deputy medical
examiner for the state of Vermont and a volunteer EMT and firefighter
in Newfane, where he lives, Mayor’s inside look at law enforcement
makes him privy to many of the procedures followed by local officials,
and ultimately, by Joe Gunther, who works for the fictional Vermont
Bureau of Investigation.
But if he should stop writing Gunther, what would he do next?
For the time being, Mayor said Joe Gunther is paying his bills and
keeping him happy, but if he were ever to stray from his mystery
novels, he said he would try his pen at historical fiction.
Born five years after World War II ended, Mayor grew up in France with
“a very powerful memory all around me.” He remembers bullet holes still
fresh in the walls, and finding a grenade in his school yard in
Combining his interest in World War II as a child, his degree in
history, and his experience as a writer, Mayor said that in the future,
he’s tempted to create a novel that, by its very nature, seems like it
would give Joe Gunther a run for his money.