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SHERMAN – Ms. Andrea O’Connor, an over four decade resident of Sherman, has added novelist to her many accomplishments with the recent publication of Woodson Falls: 16 Lakeview Terrace. A tight mystery, it will keep readers guessing right to the end.

The legal thriller follows attorney Gaby Quinn who practices in a small New England town. When an unusual probate case comes her way, adventure ensues. O’Connor says the book “is very, very loosely based on one of my earliest legal cases.” O’Connor says that she has always loved mysteries and appreciated nice, solid reads–which was a goal in writing the book.

O’Connor wrote the novel with her late husband, John, who she describes as “an excellent editor with a brilliant knack for plotting and characterization.” She and John both spent years in service to Sherman, including stints at the top of town leadership. Serving as First Selectman for 8 years, with more years on the Board of Selectmen, O’Connor and her husband had a natural ability to translate the politics of small town life and to dramatize the sometimes “dark underbelly.”

Their move to Sherman in 1978 from New York City was a respite to the O’Connors. “I love the quiet,” O’Connor says, appreciating that the town “is always a warm and welcoming place.” With a career that spanned nursing and then educating nurses at the collegiate level, O’Connor explained that she kept gravitating to medical ethics and the intersection, or lack thereof, with the law. In her late 40s, she began to study the law and opened her practice as an attorney in her 50s.

The novel is the first in a series, in fact book two is with the publishers now. “The second book developed so quickly,” O’Connor said, describing the writing process as extraordinarily joyful, “where it was a chapter a month with the first book, it was a chapter a day with the second.”

If you have a mystery fan on your holiday gift list, search out Woodson Falls: 16 Lakeview Terrace wherever books are sold.

By Sarah Opdahl