In Remembrance Of A Reader Named Mary…

A dying woman was intrigued by an ad for my San Juan Islands Mystery series but worried she might not have enough time left to read them all.

That’s how I was first introduced to a reader named Mary.

I was struck by her unflinching honesty regarding the terminal cancer that was soon to take her and reminded of my own mother’s “it is what it is” attitude toward that horrific disease.  When I reached out to Mary and asked if she might like a free signed copy of the first book, The Writer, her reply was swift and full of gratitude.

Inside the cover I wrote what I hoped was an encouraging message and made certain the signed copy of the book was on its way to her. Days later I followed up to confirm she had received it. Mary told me yes and that she was very anxious to start reading it and then she thanked me yet again for my kindness and generosity.

A woman was dying of cancer and yet she made certain to thank me? “My goodness,” I thought. “What courage she has. What humanity. What grace.”

A month went by and I suddenly found myself wondering how Mary was doing. My plan was to find out if she had enjoyed The Writer and if so send her the rest of the series free of charge.








I messaged her.

She didn’t reply.

A search of her name and address led me to Mary’s recent obituary. She had passed away on March 1st at the age of 70. Mary loved her grandchildren, enjoyed gardening, and was an active member of her community church. Though sad to learn she was gone, I was pleased that she had enjoyed a life well-lived.

I hope my own small gesture was enough to let her know how much her kindness and encouragement meant to me and that The Writer gave her a few days of much-deserved escape within its pages.

God speed, Mary.



D.W. Ulsterman is the bestselling author of the San Juan Islands Mystery series and The Irish Cowboy.

He lives with his wife of 26 years in the Pacific Northwest and is the proud father of two grown children, Devan and Sienna.

He’s also best friends with Dublin the Dobe.

When he’s not busy writing you’ll find him navigating the waters of his beloved San Juan Islands.

All of his novels are available HERE

DW Ulsterman -

San Juan Islands Mystery