Authors Robin and Robert Lawton at Seal Cove Auto Museum. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE LAWTONS

Local authors publish mystery novel with familiar setting 

MOUNT DESERT — Authors Robin and Robert Lawton dropped by Seal Cove Auto Museum Saturday to promote their new novel, “Murder with an Ocean View.” 

The meet-and-greet held during Brass Day at the museum gave readers a chance to purchase autographed copies of the Lawton’s latest murder mystery.  

Their book, titled after its plot of murders at a mansion overlooking the water, has a setting based on their experiences living on Mount Desert Island. 

“Robert was a skilled Ph.D. chemist who worked for DuPont while I was a professional project manager,” said Robin. “But one of his dreams when he retired was to become a writer.” 

Throughout Robert’s 40-year career as a chemist, the couple took annual vacations to MDI before purchasing a home in Pretty Marsh to live here year-round. Soon after they made the transition to full-time residents, they noticed a Seal Cove Auto Museum murder mystery writing contest advertisement in the Islander. It was then that the duo decided to start co-writing stories. 

“Our work is written under the pen name of Rob Lawton because we have similar names,” said Robert.  

Over the years, Raney Bench, former executive director of the museum, began to have the writing contest entries be submitted in script form for dinner theater at the museum. The Lawtons entered a script that ended up winning the contest.  

As the two continued to submit entries, they say that more and more people approached them to request plays and a novel. These requests inspired the pair to host murder mystery weekends at bed-and-breakfasts on the coast of Maine, and eventually to write “Murder with an Ocean View.” 

The book is about two couples, separated by 75 years but with one thing in common – a secret that leads them to a coastal mansion. Robert said the book is not meant to scare but to be more of a puzzling, suspenseful mystery with a bit of dark drama, humor and witty banter.  

“Most books are 80 percent narrative and 20 percent dialogue; we’re probably the other way around,” Robert said.  

The first chapter of their new book is featured at the end of their previously published book, “A Meritage of Murders,” which is a compilation of several short murder mysteries. 

The Lawtons are currently working on “Murder in Black and White,” a prequel to their latest book, which they anticipate will hit the shelves in the spring. 

Ninah Rein

Ninah Rein

Writer at Mount Desert Islander
Ninah Rein, an MDI native, covers news and features in the Bar Harbor area. She is glad to be back in Maine after earning a bachelor's degree in San Diego from the University of California.
Ninah Rein

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