Globe West people

A Newton author debuts her first mystery novel

Angela Gerst will discuss her mystery novel at Wellesley Books at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Angela Gerst will discuss her mystery novel at Wellesley Books at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
By Cindy Cantrell
November 13, 2011

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Newton author Angela Gerst recently celebrated the release of her debut mystery novel.

Published in September by Poisoned Pen Press, “A Crack in Everything’’ is the culmination of uncommon persistence. A lifelong lover of mysteries, beginning with the Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes stories she devoured as a little girl, Gerst said, she wrote a 135,000-word first draft - or the length of perhaps three novels.

“Every character had a back story,’’ she recalled, “even the dog.’’

Over the course of six years, she shortened the book to its current length of 80,000 words. She credits the support of her local book group with inspiring her to never give up hope of having the work published.

Much of the novel’s action takes place at real and fictional locations in Newton, Waltham, Weston, and Boston. The book’s star is Susan Callisto, a young lawyer turned campaign consultant.

Gerst also has a law degree, a background in reporting on local government, and experience organizing and running campaigns for alderman and mayor in her hometown. Gerst says that Callisto is a better campaign consultant than she ever was.

“Especially when the stakes include murder,’’ she added.

Gerst will discuss her book Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Wellesley Books, 82 Central St. in Wellesley. For more information, visit

TALK ON JEWISH BOOKS: In recognition of Jewish Book Month, four authors will participate in a panel discussion in Wellesley covering their experiences writing and publishing Jewish-themed children’s books.

“Not Just for Sunday School: Jewish Books for Kids’’ will be presented at 7 p.m. Saturday at Wellesley Free Library, 530 Washington St. It will feature Wellesley resident Liz Suneby, author of “The Mitzvah Project Book’’ and a Children’s Choice Award winner; Sherborn resident Susan Lynn Meyer, an English professor at Wellesley College who wrote “Black Radishes,’’ winner of a Sydney Taylor Book Award silver medal last year; Holliston resident Jane Kohuth, who wrote the picture book “Estie the Mensch’’ and “Ducks Go Vroom’’ for early readers; and Sarah Aronson, a Jewish educator from Hanover, N.H., who wrote “Beyond Lucky.’’

They will address questions such as “Is a book with Jews in it a Jewish book?’’; “Are Jewish books for everyone?’’; “How do Jewish books engage kids in Jewish values?’’; “How can Jewish-themed books be used in the classroom?’’ and “What is the market for publishing Jewish books?’’

The event is aimed at parents, educators, and those interested in publishing Jewish-themed books. The program will include a question and answer period, and the authors will sign copies of their books.

INSIDE LOOK: On Saturday, the Groton Community School will hold its seventh annual home tour, the largest annual fund-raiser for the school, which serves children from age 2 through kindergarten.

Groton resident Amy Kelly, president of the Groton Community School’s board of directors, said the tour will start at the school, 110 Boston Road, where participants may pick up a program and map providing directions to the five private homes beginning at 9 a.m. The homes are open for self-guided tours in any order between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., she said.

Kelly said this year’s stops are an 1839 Greek Revival home with a detached barn, an 1882 Victorian, a 1920s Arts and Crafts bungalow, an expanded 1940s Cape designed by architect Royal Barry Wills, and a contemporary that has undergone extensive interior and exterior renovations. Artists and vendors will offer items for sale at the school and the homes.

The tour was organized by the school’s staff and 14-member volunteer board, including event cochairwomen Jen Kane and Jessica Williams, both of Groton. Inclement weather would postpone the event, which is for adults only, until next Sunday.

“The home tour is a nice way to spend the day with family and friends while supporting a school that’s right here in town,’’ Kelly said.

Advance tickets cost $25, or $35 with a boxed lunch included. Day-of-tour tickets cost $30 without a lunch option. Tickets are available at the school and through its website,, as well as at the Blackbird Café, 491 Main St. in Groton; Kimball Farm, 400 Littleton Road in Westford; Lavender Florist, 137 Main St. in Groton; and Rose of Sharon, 101 Pleasant St. in Dunstable.

AGING IN PLACE: Three area residents will participate in “Aging and the Home Environment,’’ a discussion at 7 p.m. Nov. 21 at the Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., covering ways in which older residents can continue to live safely in their homes.

The panelists are sociologist and gerontologist Frank Caro of Brookline, a fellow at the University of Massachusetts Boston Gerontology Institute and cochairman of the Brookline Community Aging Network; architect Deborah Pierce of Belmont, founding principal at Pierce Lamb Architects in Newton and a specialist in designing accessible residences; and occupational therapist Denise Fitzgerald of Hanover, rehabilitation manager at St. Joseph’s Manor in Brockton.

Topics will include the rehabilitation process, changes in the home that improve quality of life as well as real estate values, and community programs that support aging in one’s home.

The program is cosponsored by Newton at Home, a nonprofit organization launched this year, and the city’s Department of Senior Services. For more information, call the library at 617-796-1360.

Cindy Cantrell can be reached at

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