Work samples

  • The Haint

    I chose "The Haint" as the first story in St. Bart's Way, my award-winning story collection, because "The Haint" best illustrates the perfidious self-delusion upon which so much of the American dream is built. Before it was published in St. Bart's Way, "The Haint" was published in Left Curve.  The sample submitted here is foreshortened; for the complete text of "The Haint" see my project titled St. Bart's Way.  

  • A Balanced Life

    A Balanced Life is a lyrical memoir that uses the sport of ice skating to explore loss, grief, and resilience. Beginning when I received a pair of second-hand skates when I was eleven years old,  A Balanced Life traces how my love of skating remained a constant throughout my teenage years, and into new motherhood during the turbulent 60s and 70s and continuing through the early years of my widowhood. A Balanced Life was published by All Things That Matter Press in 2018.

  • Henry Dumas

    This sample titled "Henry Dumas: Truths, Poetry and Memory" is an excerpt from a longer essay by the same title that was published in the Chattahoochee Review, Summer, 2005 issue, where it was a finalist for the nonfiction award.  "Henry Dumas: Truths, Poetry and Memory" was inspired by a poem by Rachel Kubie that I read in a newsletter from the Enoch Pratt Free Library. To read the complete work, see "Henry Dumas: Truths, Poetry and Memory" in my project titled Published Essays.

  • Lexington Market

    Baltimore’s Lexington Market, which was published in 2007, is the first book devoted solely to the market, a world-famous food emporium. It traces the market’s history from its founding more than 225 years ago to the present. The text accompanying the photos has been carefully researched and provides an overview of the market’s place in the history of Baltimore and the surrounding farming areas. Copies of the never- before published petitions establishing the market from the early 1800s are included as are many photographs from private collections that have never been seen before. Other photographs are from professional archival collections and represent the highest standards of the photographic arts. In writing the text, I made a deliberate effort to link the market to historical developments unfolding in the wider society. Many captions contain quotes from sources other than the subjects of the photographs and give readers an idea of how the market was regarded in past centuries.

About Patricia

Baltimore City

 

Alcoholism and polio; I had the latter and once knew a young man whose great promise was quashed by the latter.

 Growing up in heavily industrial Bridgeport, Connecticut, during the 1950s, I lived in a Catholic cocoon of friends and classmates like myself, second- generation Americans who were expected to fulfill the aspirational dreams of their parents.   more

A Balanced Life, a memoir published by All Things That Matter Press

                                                                                                                      A Balanced Life
                                                                                                                             Synopsis
             Growing up in a Polish-American household fraught with anxiety and aspirations, I seized upon skating’s promise of gracefulness as a means to transcend my own awkwardness and confusion. I remember the dreary Saturday afternoon when I was eleven years old, and my uncle Leo brought me a pair of skates my cousin Carolyn had outgrown — I felt like Cinderella must have when she slipped her foot into the glass slipper.  The first time I used them my best friend, Sharon Ryan, broke her arm, but I was undeterred: when I skated I thought I was pretty.  And if I was pretty I would be loved.
            The story continues into my teens and college years, when sometimes I skated in the rink of Yale University hoping to attract a Yalie, while seriously neglecting my studies.  Nor did I realize I was on the brink of emotional collapse.
                  The third chapter recounts the early years of my marriage, when I laced up the boots of my second-hand skates three or four times a winter, at a time when  other women were pulling up their own boots and marching out their doors to the beat of women liberation anthems.
            The essence of skating is mastery of edges (each blade has two). But, in another sense, we were all trying to gain the edge over the competition. When I gave myself the gift of skating lessons as a fortieth birthday present, I was trying to juggle marriage, children and a career.  In short, I was trying to maintain my balance while holding my edge, an almost impossible situation, and the focus of the fourth chapter.
            The term “figure skating” comes from the patterns skaters trace on the ice, and, in as much as, skating has predictable patterns, it represents a sort of grammatical athleticism.  About the time my uncle gave me my first skates, I knew I had a propensity for words and found in grammar a satisfying anodyne for my chaotic family life.  In my late thirties I began writing free-lance articles, an experience that released my inner eagle in a way that skating never could.  The fifth chapter deals with my interest in writing and growth as a freelancer.
            The sixth focuses on falling, as well as the price we pay for self-invention and overreaching our limits. The seventh deals  with Olympians — twice I’ve had the privilege of being on the ice with Gold Medalists, and seeing them, and knowing their medals make them unique among us, the question arises: Was the price they paid for gold, worth it?
            Skating’s grace derives from an absence: the absence of metal that has been ground out of the blade, creating two edges, with a hollow — an absence — between them. But what happens when absence, a negative, becomes the most real thing  in your life?  What happens when nothing in life touches you like the void in your heart when someone dies?  These are the questions I explore in Chapter Eight, when my husband dies, and I doubt I can ever get up again, let alone skate       
            The final chapter deals with my returning to skating and my search for him among the stars on snowy nights. And my realization that ice is the midwife of life.   
  • A Balanced Life, Preface
    A Balanced Life was published by All Things That Matter Press  in 2018.  In the Preface I describe how I first conceived of a memoir based on ice skating, a sport for which I have no ability, and how that conception changed over time as devasting losses buffetted me.  In  the Preface I also describe what skating taught me about my own weaknesses and resiliency. 


  • Bal Chapt 1.pdf
    Chapter one of A Balanced Life describes the constant undercurrent of tension that ran through my family and the dreary March afternoon my uncle Leo brought me my first skates.
  • Bal Chap 2.pdf
    Chapter two describes my quest for love as a young girl and the disastrous price society exacted when young girls "got in trouble."
  • Bal chap 3.pdf
    Chapter three describes the early years of my marriage and the impact of the social fomentation of the late sixties and early seventies. 
  • Bal Chap 4.pdf
    Chapter four  details how I gave myself skating lessons for my fortieth birthday.
  • Bal chapt 5.pdf
    In Chapter five I draw an analogy between skating and writing.
  • Bal cha 6.pdf
    Chapter six  draws an analogy between falling on the ice and failing in life.  In short, to fall is to be human.
  • Bal cha 7.pdf
    Chapter Seven recounts the few times I have been on the ice with Olympians and what I observed about what sets them apart. 
  • Bazl cha 8.pdf
    Chapter eight is about grief.
  • Bal Cha 9.pdf
    Chapter nine recounts seeing a comet, in essence a fragment of the snowglobe we all live in.

St. Bart's Way, an award-winning story collection published by Washington Writers Publishing House and set in Baltimore

The  fictional street St. Bart’s Way was founded after the First World War, when streetcar lines were extended to Baltimore’s leafy outer reaches.  From its founding, the denizens of the neighborhood surrounding St. Bart's Way wanted their homes to stand for permanence and, by extention, lives lived to right purpose.  But as the "The Haint," the first story in this collection shows, the houses were built on illegally and unethically obtained land, and the stories rising from that one perfidious act carry a sense of the destabilizing force impacting the characters' middle-class lives.  In one way or another, they all come to question the commitments they have made, the prices they have paid, and the lies they have told to others and to themselves in order to maintain the outward standards expected of  residents of St. Bart's Way.
 
I didn’t begin to write fiction until my mid-fifties and had no guage as to whether or not I had any talent. Not before each of the 13 stories in St Bart’s Way was published in a literary review or journal (to find out where, see my resume) did I realize I had a thematically linked collection. I am very  grateful to the editors of those journals and reviews for their support and encouragement and to Washington Writers’ Publishing House, which awarded  St. Bart's Way its 2015 fiction award and for publishing  these stories as a collection.  That award had a profound impact on how I regarded myself as a writer; it affirmed my sense of my own talent and reinforced my commitment.
  • The Haint
    Before it was published in St. Bart's Way, "The Haint" was published in Left Curve. The inspiration came from a display I saw in the Visionary Art Museum and from a rumor about a house in Dickeyville, where I lived for 22 years. I chose "The Haint" as the first story in my collection because it establishes the original sin underlying the St. Bart's community.
  • The Assembly
    "The Assembly" was originally published in Passages North.  From a technical point of view, it solved the problem of how to tell a story that unfolds in both the past and the present.
  • After the Service
    "After the Service" originally was published in The Distillery. I literally revised the opening 40 times in an attempt to establish the right tone. I remember looking out at the Gywnns Falls, which bordered my property, and suddenly hearing "Funny," and knowing  how that single word expressed the conversational pitch I'd been was searching for. On the other hand, the final phrase, "Brothers in repose." came to me as I was making the bed.
  • The Crunch
    "The Crunch" originally was published in Potpourri in 2002. I rarely use real people for my characters, but I have to admit that Carla was inspired by someone I knew at the Community College of Baltimore, where I worked for several years. Gordy was inspired by a story a friend told me about a young man she knew. Further inspiration came from seeing a young medical student at the University of Maryland looking longingly at a street performer with glitter in her hair.
  • The Firewalker
    "The Firewalker" originally was published in Scribble. The secret underlying this story is typical of those many of the denizens of St. Bart's Way hide within themselves. I regard it ultimately as a love story of a mother for her daughter.
  • Abiding Blue Velvet
    As an outsider, Baltimore's middle-class social mores have always fascinated me. "Abiding Blue Velvet," which originally was published in the Dalhousie Review, typifies the constraints individuals put on themselves in order not to violate those mores. Or to break someone's heart.
  • Other Men's Sons
    The people living in the well-built homes surrounding St. Bart's Way have the expectation that their children will attain the same measure of scholastic and professional success that they have. "Other Men's Sons" explores what happens when those expectations are not met. "Other Men's Sons" originally was published in the Georgetown Review.
  • Bang!
    People choose to live in the community surrounding St. Bart's Way because they assume the neighborhood will shelter them from tensions and traumas affecting people living elsewhere in Baltimore. "Bang!", which explores the aftermath of a shooting at an exclusive prep school, demonstrates just how false that assumption is. "Bang" originally was published in Transcendent Visions and also was included in the anthology Lock & Load, published by The University of New Mexico Press in 2017.
  • Near Sunset
    "Near Sunset," which originally was published in the Timber Greek Review, is a delicate story of parental love and and time's finitude. I like "Near Sunset" because the essential decency of the principal character only ebecomes apparent as the story unfolds.
  • Standards
    "Standards" originally was published in Scribble. An interviewer once asked me which among the stories in St. Bart's Way  was my favorite, and I answered "That is like asking me which was my favorite child." But, if I'm going to be truthful, "Standards" is especially close to my heart, because it transpires in a morally ambiguous landscape, a landscape that is where, as I've come to believe as I've grown older, all adult humans eventually must live it they are to be true to themselves.

Published Essays

In as much as they allow for more associative thinking than fiction does, essays are akin to book reviews.  The essay titled "What the World Needs Now," is a good example.   The situation, my seeing a wood duck in a tree near my home in West Baltimore,  would not lend itself to a short story, but the essay form works well to braid together such disparate elements as human widowhood and avian romance.  The essay form also allows my own voice to shine through, something which must be subsumed in fiction in defference to my fictional characters. The attached essays were written over a period of several years and their subjects range from the death of the brilliant Black poet Henry Dumas to polio. I am grateful to the editors who published them, thereby giving credence to my wide-ranging thoughts.  
      "Henry Dumas: Truths, Poetry and Memory," was a runner-up for nonfiction in a contest sponsored by the Chattahoochee Review in 2005; "Anonymous Told Me So" received an award from the League of American Pen Women, San Francisco Branch in 2011; and "Mort's Pen" received an award from the same organization in 2021.  "Skating to Seventy" was the first place winner for nonfiction sponsored by Winning Writers in 2011. 

  • To Watch and Witness with the Cableman
    "To Watch and Witness with the Cableman" was published in the Dec. 2016 issue of Bluestem, a publication of the University of Kentucky.
  • What the World Needs Now
    "What the World Needs Now" was published in the August, 2020 issue of Spank the Carp.
  • Mort's Pen
    "Mort's Pen" was published in the March, 2021 issue of Ravensperch.
  • Skating to Seventy
    In 2013, "Skating to Seventy," was the first place winner for the creative nonfiction contest devoted to sports writing sponsored by Winning Writers. That award encouraged me to keep writing my memoir, A Balanced Life.
  • Henry Dumas: Truths, Poetry and Memory
    "Henry Dumas: Truths, Poetry and Memory" was a finalist for the 2005 nonfiction award sponsored by the Chattahoochee Review, which published it.
  • Anonymous Told Me So
    "Anonymous Told Me So" was published in Under the Sun, Summer 2011 issue. It also received an award for nonfiction from the League of American Pen Women, San Francisco Branch.
  • Stopped
    "Stopped" was published in the Winter 2008 issue of The Litchfield Review.  It is the first time I ever wrote about having had polio.
  • The Conversation
    "The Conversation" was published by Muse and Stone in 2010.  Parts of it are included in A Balanced Life, my memoir.
  • My Life as a Book
    "My Life as a Book" was published in the Fall 1999 issue of Troika.

Other Published Short Stories

Unlike the stories in my project titled St. Bart’s Way, the stories in this project have not been collected under one cover, although I hope that “In the Ullage” and “When Sister Joan Opens the Door” will form the basis for collection I am developing about the family of Teddy Holbrook, an alcoholic living in Baltimore. Beyond that, these stories are not linked either thematically or sytlistically.  However, I hope they do show the variety of the characters I write about and the breadth of the questions I explore.

Like those in St. Bart’s Road, all the stories in this project have been published or are forthcoming in a literary journal or review. They represent a diversity of settings and characters, ranging from an ex-con rehabbing a house to flip to a woman musing on decades of war.  

As a writer, what is delicious to me about short stories is their intensity: every word, every punctuation mark matters. Moreover, every word, every punctuation mark serves only one purpose: the furtherance of the story. No extraneous details, dialogue, or descriptions are permitted, not if the result is to be a unified, satisfying whole.

Achieving that unity challenges the writer to pare her language and focus her attention on her story’s essence, something that may not become apparent until she’s well along, because the foundation of all literary fiction is a theme, issue, or universal question operating beneath the surface action. Within a few thousand words the writer much create a world that’s as confounding yet as believable as any her readers experience in their day-to-day lives. I hope that the stories included in this project are evidence that capability.     
 
  • In the Ullage
    "In the Ullage" is the first of what I hope will be a collection of stories about Teddy, an alcoholic, and Teddy's family. "In the Ullage"  was published in the Little Patuxent Review, Winter, 2022 issue. It won a fiction award from the 2021 Soul-Making Keats Contest sponsored by the League of American Pen Women, San Francisco Branch and was a finalist for the 2021 Tobias Wolff Award sponsored by the Bellingham Review. 
  • Pitiful
    "Pitiful" was published in vol. 30 Spring & Summer issue of the Alaska Quarterly Review. It was inspired by an incident in my West Baltimore neighborhood.
  • Downward Drifting
    "Downward Drifting" was published in Fiction, Number 54. It subsequently was included in an anthology of Baltimore writers titled City Sages, a CityLit project.
  • This Thing with Sticks
    "This Thing with Sticks" was published Flash Fiction Magazine, Feb. 18, 2022. It won an award from the 2021 Soul-Making Keats Contest sponsored by the League of American Pen Women, San Francisco Branch. It was my first attempt at flash fiction.
  • Three Sarahs
    "Three Sarahs" was published by Woven Tale Press, vol. vii, # 9. It was a finalist for an award from New Millennium Writing in 2019.
  • Sex with a Blind Man
    "Sex With A Blind Man" is forthcoming in a 2023 anthology titled Coming of Age to be published by Ms. Aligned, an organization devoted to women writers who write about men.
  • Maybe That, Too
    "Maybe That, Too," was published by Woven Tale Press, vol. viii, #9.
  • Apple, Key, Cross
    "Apple, Key, Cross" was published in the Winter, 2021 issue of Letters, a publication of the Yale School of Sacred Music. It was inspired by an incident at a jewelry store in Pikesville.
  • When Sister Joan Opens the Door
    "When Sister Joan Opens the Door" is forthcoming in Smokey Blue Literary Arts. It is one of series of stories I hope to have published as a collection about the family of an alcoholic living in Baltimore.
  • The Ages of Juliette
    "The Ages of Juliette" is one of collection of short stories that I am writing about Teddy Holbrook, an alcoholic living in Baltimore, and his family. Juliette is Teddy's first child and eldest daughter. "The Ages of Juliette" is forthcoming in a future issue of the Woven Tale Press.

Book Reviews

I began writing book reviews several years ago when Liz Rees, my first instructor in Johns Hopkins University's writing program, assigned my class the task of writing a review. That assignment resulted in my review of David Brooks’s Bobos in Paradise being published in the Missouri Review. Twenty years later, more than two dozen reviews of mine have been published in journals as diverse as the Cincinnati Review, the Chattahoochee Review, the Baltimore Review, and the Washington Independent Review of Books, where I am a regular contributor. I also have been an elected member of the National Book Critics Circle for many years. 

As I mentioned in my Writing Samples, writing book reviews is different from writing fiction: it taps into a different area of my brain, presents different challenges, and calls for different energy. Whichever book I’m asked to review, I always read  twice: once to follow the plot and characters as any reader would; and then a second time to takes notes about themes, structure, and technique.  

Once I sit down to write, I’ve already determined my review’s basic structure and starred the quotes I want to use.   And I write fairly quickly, a day or two at most. Also, I critique the work dispassionately.  My job as a critic is not to evaluate a book's subject matter, but how well the author has addressed that subject matter, since subject matter can be influenced by society’s caprice, but good writing endures.  Similarly, as I do with my short stories and essays, I strive to make certain that my  reviews employ the tropes any writer has in her or his toolbox, such as alliteration, simile, and varied sentence structure.   
              
  • Review of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
    This review of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime was published in vol. xxvii, Number 2 2004 of the Missouri Review.
  • Review of What Remains
    This review of What Remains by Carole Radziwill was published in the Missouri Review, vol. xxix, Number 4, 2006.  Years after reading it, I  still regard Radziwill's tale of loss as a wonderful example of memoir. 
  • Review of Perma Red
    This review of Perma Red by Debra Magpie Earling was published in the Missouri Review, vol. xxv, Number 3, 2003.
  • Review of Nancy Hale: on the Life & Work of a Lost American Master
    This review of Nancy Hale: on the Life & Work of a Lost American Master, was published in the Chattahoochee Review , vol. xxxiii, Number 1, Spring 2013. Because I had trouble uploading it from the published online version, I've supplied a link. https://chattahoocheereview.gsu.edu/issue/volume-34-1
  • Review of Coming Clean
    This review was published in the Aug. 22, 2013 edition of the Washington Independent Review of Books.
  • Review of After This
    This review  of After This by Alice McDermott was published in the Missouri Review, vol. xxix, Number 4, 2006.
  • Review of City of Angels
    This review was published in The Washington Independent Review of Books, April, 2013.
  • Review of Mid-Air
    This review of Mid-Air was published in the Washington Independent Review of Books, July 7, 2022.
  • Review of Horse
    This review of Horse by Geraldine Brooks was published in the Washington Independent Review of Books, June 22, 2022.
  • Review of Salka Valka
    This review of Salka Valka by Icelandic Nobel Prize winner Haldor Laxness was published in the Washington Independent Review of Books on May 26, 2022.

Op-ed and Opinion Pieces

I began writing op-ed pieces in my late thirties, when I had the good fortune to work with Gwin Owens at the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting.  When Gwin became editor of the editorial page of the Baltimore Evening Sun —yes, I am old enough to remember the Evening Sun — I began submitting pieces to him.  Gwin was a wonderful teacher: he rejected those pieces that were sloppy or off target, and accepted those where I hit the mark. And I’ve always been grateful to him for his judiciousness.  

When the Evening Sun folded, I focused my energy on writing feature articles, which were published in a variety of places.  Not until I turned to writing fiction in my fifties did I resume writing op-ed pieces because op-ed pieces are akin to fiction in as much as they demand vivid scenes and allow for joining together seemingly disparate ideas. Unlike fiction, however, op-ed peices permit the writer’s personality to shine through.  In fact, that is the essence of a good op-ed piece.

The topics included in this project range from the impact of political corruption to the Kentucky Derby. But taken together, they are representative of  my opinions and passions.  
  • Ice Rink Helps Us Keep Our Cool
    "Ice Rink Helps Us Keep Our Cool," was published in the Baltimore Sun, July 22, 2019.
  • Teaching Children to Fear 'The Other'
    "Teaching Children to Fear 'The Other' " was published in the Baltimore Sun, Dec. 3, 2017.
  • Sickened by Healthy Holly
    "Sickened by Healthy Holly" was published in the Baltimore Sun, April 14, 2019.
  • Hope is the Thing with Hooves: Rich Strike's Derby Triumph
    "Hope is the thing with Hooves: Rich Strike's Derby Triumph" was published in the Baltimore Sun, May 12, 2022.
  • Flake Brain
    "When it snows, Baltimoreans all come down with 'Flake Brain'" was published in the Baltimore Sune, Jan. 16, 2019.
  • The Netherworld
    A Glimpse of the Netherworld was published in the Baltimore Sun, on Oct. 31, 2014.
  • Peace in Hamden, Hon
    "Peace in Hamden, Hon" was published by the Baltimore Sun on May 17, 2018.
  • The Book Thing
    "The Book Thing's Miracle" was published by the Baltimore Sun on Mar. 13, 2016.
  • A City Lover Finds Beauty in Nature
    "A city-lover finds beauty in nature" was published in the Baltimore Sun on Dec. 19, 2013.
  • Dazzling Diversity in Dundalk
    "Dazzling Diversity in Dundalk" was published in the Baltimore Sun on April 28, 2021.

Baltimore's Lexington Market


On a rainy evening in May of 2006, I received a five-word email message that literally changed my life.  The email came Arcadia Publishing of South Carolina and it read: “Can you do Lexington Market?”  Arcadia is a publisher of pictorial local histories, and in 2006 they were looking for Baltimore writers who would work according to Arcadia’s tight deadlines and strict requirements. Arcadia’s contracts required authors to obtain 140 photographs, write all text, and lay out their books according to Arcadia’s established formula.

And so began the most intense three months of my life.  Writing Baltimore’s Lexington Market became an all-consuming task that demanded ferreting out sources of photos, cajoling their owners into letting me borrow them, or, in many cases paying to have them reproduced, and then grouping them into chapters to form an interesting narrative.

Writing Baltimore’s Lexington Market was challenging, but also satisfying. Many years later, I still feel privileged to have contributed to preserving the history of such a venerable Baltimore institution, and honored to have highlighted the entrepreneurial spirit of the market’s merchants. And I am grateful to Arcadia for introducing me to the ways of commercial publishing.  

I apologize if the images I selected for this project are not as clear as one would wish.
                                                                                                                                       




  • Schultheis, Patricia Scanned Documents-1.jpg
    Since I wrote this introduction to Baltimore's Lexington Market in 2006, the market has undergone yet another major renovation. I believe the market's continuing ability to reinvent itself testifies to its vitality and the place it holds in the hearts of Baltimoreans. This introduction was scanned directly from the printed page and I apologize for the lack of clarity.
  • Schultheis, Patricia Scanned Documents-3.jpg
    For 240 years Lexington Market has thrived on a slice of land given to the City of Baltimore by John Eager Howard, a hero of the American Revolution. Howard's intent was to lure Baltimore's center of commerce away from the harbor and toward the city's western precincts, where Howard himself owned farms. Before the market was established, local people used the site for bear-baiting.
  • Schultheis, Patricia Scanned Documents-2.jpg
    I included the two pictures above in both Baltimore's Lexington Market and as part of this project to show the stark contrast in circumstances from one generation to another. The drawing above by Frank Blackwell Mayer is the home that John Eager Howard's father, Cornelius, built on Reisterstown Road. It also is where John Eager Howard was born. (This modest home was demolished in 1857.) The second picture is of Belvedere, the palatial home that John Eager Howard built for himself on Calvert Street. When the city fathers decided to extend Calvert Street, Belvedere, too, was demolished.
  • Schultheis, Patricia Scanned Documents-4.jpg
    One of the challenges I faced in writing Baltimore's Lexington Market was Arcadia Publishing's requirement that the book contain 140 images. But the market was a well-established fixture of life in Baltimore long before the invention of photography, so how was I going to document those early years? Fortunately, I was able to scan some critical documents. The top-left image is of a 1805 document from the market's commissioners announcing that they had succeeded in paving Eutaw Street. The two documents on the right date from 1818. They are responses to the commissioners' requests for bids to construct a permanent structure. The handcarts on the lower left were for use by the farmers who drove their horse-drawn wagons from as far as Montgomery County to sell their wares at the market.
  • Schultheis, Patricia Scanned Documents-5.jpg
    These three images came from lantern slides owned by the Ross J. Kelbaugh Collection, which I stumbled upon late into the project. However, I was so entranced by them that I altered to entire layout in order the include them. I felt these images were essential in order to show how all manner of Baltimoreans found something to relish at the market. The nattily dressed gentleman on the left seems as completely engrossed by what he sees as the throng of boys to his right. While the market restricted what merchants could sell to foodstuffs, an exception seems to have been made for the woman selling baskets, who appears in several photographs.
  • Schultheis, Patricia Scanned Documents-6.jpg
    The flowers in these stalls lining Eutaw Street show the high standard of excellence that characterized the merchandise sold at Lexington Market. In the pediment of the shed shown on the right is a large medallion of a bull, an image the market adopted as its symbol.
  • Schultheis, Patricia Scanned Documents-7.jpg
    While shoppers loved the market's hurly-burly atmosphere, having a stall there frequently demanded bone-crushingly hard work. The market was always intended as an outlet for farmers to sell directly to customers, a precursor to today's farm-to-table movement. But getting their merchandise to market demanded a lot from the farmers, some of whom came from as far away as Pennsylvania. As late as the 1930s, some farmers still didn't have trucks, so they got their products to the market by horse-drawn carriages. The top picture shows the last inn in Baltimore to accommodate both horses and their owners. The lower picture is of a building just up the road from Lexington Market on Eutaw Street. Its design is similar to the inn's above, although there is no record of the lower building ever having sheltered farmers and their horses.
  • Schultheis, Patricia Scanned Documents-8.jpg
    In the wee hours of March 25, 1949, disaster struck the market when a fire consumed one of the market's two ancient wooden sheds. The heat was so intense that the glass in the display cases burst and porcelain countertops cracked. Within a few hours 146 years of Baltimore history were erased.
  • Schultheis, Patricia Scanned Documents-9.jpg
    For many years James Carpenter, who had a shoe-shine stall in the market, dressed in formal wear every evening to ring the bell signaling that the market was closed for business. His fellow stall keepers so esteemed Carpenter that when he died, they invited his funeral cortege to pass in solemn procession before the market, an honor only accorded those merchants who best exemplify the market's enterprising spirit.

What Child Is This?

I was inspired to write What Child Is This? by a brief incident I experienced many years ago in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. While I did not include that incident in What Child Is This?, the racial divide I witnessed that morning forms the foundation for this murder mystery about two brothers, one of them white, the other Black.  What Child Is This? was a finalist for the 2021 Novel Slices Award, but it has not yet been published.  I am hoping that a Baker Award will give me added credibility with publishers. 

                                                                                                               Summary of What Child Is This?
 On the night Dr. Peter Farley returns to New Bristol, Pennsylvania, to celebrate his mother’s fiftieth birthday, his teenaged brother Joachim and Joachim’s best friend re-enact a horrific scene from American history and completely ruin the party. The next morning Peter discovers the friend’s body, and, when the police suspect Joachim, determines that he must discover the real killer.     
  • Child Chpt 1.pdf
    Following a model established by P.D. James, What Child Is This? begins with the murder and moves backwards and forwards from there.
  • Child Chpt 2.pdf
    Chapter Two introduces the principal characters and gives background information about the events leading to the murder of Ashley Grymes.
  • Child Chapt 3.pdf
    In Chapter Three Dr. Peter Farley gains insight into the racial toxicity surrounding his brother and also discovers Ashley Grymes's body lying near the house of his former therapist.
  • Child Chapt 4.pdf
    In Chapter Four, Peter returns to his mother's home and finds that his brother Joachim is missing, a circumstance that will cause the police to focus on Joachim as Ashley's killer.
  • Child Chapt 5.pdf
    Chapter Five introduces Geri Jones, a policewoman who hates her job, but whose circumstances keep her trapped in New Bristol.
  • Child Chapt 6.pdf
    In Chapter Six Peter begins to form a deeper bond with Joachim and also realizes that the detective investigating Ashley's murder holds a special animus towards their mother and an even greater animus towards Joachim's father, an outstanding lawyer.
  • Child Chapt 7.pdf
    In Chapter Seven, Peter's bond with Joachim continues to deepen, and he also comes to realize that bucolic New Bristol, Pennsylvania, is not the idyllic hometown he imagined it to be.
  • Child Chapt 8.pdf
    In Chapter Eight, Geri returns her engagement ring to her former father-in-law, Maurice Maas, who is a link between herself and Peter.
  • Child Chapt 9.pdf
    In Chapter Nine, Peter is intent on getting back to his lab work in Baltimore, but his plans are interrupted when Joachim has a crisis at school. In this chapter Peter also meets another suspect in Ashley's murder, but one the police choose to ignore, while they focus on Joachim.

The Bones of Two

SYNOPSIS
THE BONES OF TWO
by
Patricia Schultheis, (410) 448-4211 [email protected]
 
The Bones of Two is a thriller, where every uncovered secret twists the plot tighter, and every plot twist propels the action and thrusts the characters into uncharted territory.  The story takes place in the present, but its roots are in the seventies, an era of collective craziness, when the Weathermen set off bombs on college campuses, the National Guard massacred a student at Kent State, and the Manson family murders were fresh in the nation’s consciousness.

  But all that unrest meant nothing to nine-year-old Douglas Gianni of Steubenville, Ohio. He’d had a great time at summer camp and was looking forward to finishing the plastic lanyards he made for his family when he got home.  Only no one came to pick him up: not his mother; not his father; not his breathtakingly beautiful sister, Melissa.   

Given the social upheaval of the times the police suspected that Melissa had killed her parents and ran away with Joey Kolpecki, the loser whose flashy red Firebird she’d been riding around in all summer. At least that was the assumption that Stan Petrovic, a veteran detective, and his inexperienced partner, Harry Specter, operated under until all their leads went cold.

Now, the excavation for a new gas pipeline has unearthed the bones of two: a man and a woman whose wedding bands identify them as Frank and Kathleen Gianni, Doug’s parents.  A middle school vice-principal in Baltimore County with a wife and two grown children when his parents' remains are unearthed, Doug returns to Steubenville to bury them. But the trip plunges him into emotional turmoil, and he feels his carefully constructed, middle-class life crumbling.  And worse, Doug feels the secret he’s been harboring for decades pushing to the surface. No one, not even his wife, knows that his beloved sister has been in contact with him. Never believing that Melissa had anything to with their parents’ disappearance, Doug becomes desperate to find her before the police do. His search takes him on an unexpected journey. He gains a truer understanding of the wealthy, influential uncle who adopted him, and of the thin veneer his own marriage has been operating under.     

Just as intent to find Melissa as Doug, is aging Harry Specter, whose recent cancer diagnosis has made him regard finding Melissa Gianni as his last worthwhile piece of police work.  But both Doug and Harry may be too late.

 Ever since she left Steubenville as pregnant fifteen-year-old, Melissa’s been living in Bridgeport, Connecticut, under the protection of a mafiosi, the godfather of her long-dead husband.  But the discovery of her murdered parents, which has its own mafia connection, has made Melissa radioactive—if the police find her, what other crimes will they uncover? What no-show construction contracts?  What rigged property records?  What compromised prison guards? Living a shadow life, Melissa finds, has cost her too much. The bones of her parents may have been silent, but they manage to tell her and her brother an unforgettable story.

The Bones of Two was a finalist for the 2020 Novel Slices Award and is represented by Victoria Skurnick of the Levine, Greenberg, Rostan Literary Agency.
 
 
  • Bones Chpt 1.pdf
    Chapter One begins when Doug Sullivan receives a phone call that will catapult him back to the distant past and the disappearance of his parents and sister decades before.
  • Bones chpt 2.pdf
    Chapter Two is told from nine-year-old Doug's point of view on the night no one comes to pick him up from summer camp.
  • Bones Chpt 3.pdf
    Chapter Three introduces Harry Specter, one of the original detectives who tried to solve the mystery of the disappearance of Doug's parents and sister years earlier.
  • Bones Chpt 4.pdf
    In Chapter Four, the reader meets Lisa DeNardo, a devoted grandmother with a dark past that's about to catch up with her.
  • Bones Chpt 5.pdf
    In Chapter Five, Doug risks the comfortable middle-class life he has built for himself in Baltimore, when, against the warning of the police, he sets out for Steubenville where the bones of his parents have been uncovered.
  • Bones Chpt 6.pdf
    In Chapter Six, the reader is again transported to the 1970s, when the police, his uncle Pat, and a social worker take Doug back to his parents' house to see if he recognizes anything out of the ordinary.
  • Bones Chpt 7.pdf
    Chapter Seven returns to Harry Specter's point of view, and the reader learns about Harry's failed marriage, his predilection for other women, and his probable cancer diagnosis.
  • Bones Chpt 8.pdf
    In Chapter Eight Doug and his son Skylar have returned to Steubenville, where Doug visits the once politically powerful uncle who raised him.
  • Bones Chpt 9.pdf
    In Chapter Nine, Lisa's past catches up with her, and she discovers that the one person who has protected her for decades is too sick to continue. The most he can do for her is to hide her away.
  • Bones Chapt 10.pdf
    Chapter Ten finds Doug back in Baltimore surrounded by his family, but their lack of true understanding about how the discovery of his parents' bones has impacted him makes him impatient with them. Even his grandson annoys him until autistic Timmy discovers a clue in a missal Doug's mother sent him when he was away in summer camp.