Aside from emails our next event was a lunch in late summer with the lovely ladies at Quercus, Nicci and Lucy, who handed us a proof of a little known book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo...
A few months later we were back together again for the official launch of the book in January 2008:
(taken by Ali Karim)
Other events followed including Crime Fest and Harrogate:
(part of the 2009 Crime Fest quiz winning team: Martin Edwards & Maxine)
Maxine and I would regularly meet up in London at the Wellcome Centre and most recently Waterstones Piccadilly where we would spend the whole day wandering from floor to floor including the much-maligned and now absent Costa and chatting about books and family. We'd have a huge book exchange and later in the crime section would offer customers advice on which Jo Nesbo to buy.
We continued to do this, though less frequently, during Maxine's lengthy illness. She had been poorly for a long time but you wouldn't know it from her blog and online persona. I used to call her superwoman and she was.
If you've read any of the tributes pouring in you will know that she was a encouragement to her fellow bloggers and was always well up on the new technology - she dragged me into using google reader and twitter - and was supremely well organised with her own blog. She fought blogger to regularly comment on this blog.
And of course Maxine's reviews are peerless and yet she would always be a bit uncertain about them in the note that would accompany them. She was a fast reader and even when ill could read and review a book I'd given her before I'd get back to Birmingham! I can't imagine how many books have been bought as a result of her well-written reviews and that is legacy worth leaving.
Another one of Maxine's innovations and which has brought me and many others huge pleasure is Crime and Mystery Fiction room she set up in Friendfeed. When Friendfeed disappeared for a couple of days Maxine went straight onto Google+ to create a substitute.
Maxine was an expert on Scandinavian crime fiction there were very few titles available in English that she hadn't read and was a fan of the work by Don Bartlett, Neil Smith and Marlaine Delargy who translated some of her favourite authors. Though I think her favourite author was still Michael Connelly.
Maxine was a great friend, a kind and generous person - she would post books all over the world - hugely supportive, great at her job at Nature magazine and loved her family very much. All fans of crime fiction will miss her input and I will miss her hugely as a friend.
(Sadly, I only have one more review from her to run that of The Chessmen by Peter May which I'll post in January.)
Maxine Clarke who died 17 December 2012.