In 1991 – “Little Creatures Everywhere”

Feb 11, 2023 | 0 comments

If you lived on the Peninsula in 1991, you may remember a rather poorly written murder mystery centered on the Moby Dick Hotel, thinly disguised as the “Grey Whale.”  Also thinly disguised were a number of well-known Peninsula northenders who “starred” in this highly controversial book.  I probably wouldn’t remember who they were all these years later except that I have Gordon Schoewe’s “annotated copy.”

On the first page he wrote this list:  Helen & Gavin Nelson – Dot & Wayne; Ralph – Dick Shelton [sic]; Tilly Vine – Larry Warnberg;  Fran – Marge Welling; Althea – Anita Stone; Grace- Carol Wiegardt; Martin – Wiegardt Kid; Doc’s Tavern.  As I recall, those weren’t the only characters that most of us recognized and, as you might imagine, the book was the talk of the Peninsula — at least for a while.

The Moby Dick – 1940s

The New York author, Mary Bringle, was a friend of Fritzi and Ed Cohen who had recently purchased the Moby Dick Hotel.  How it happened that the Cohens encouraged (or even allowed) the book to be published is perhaps the greatest mystery of all.  As Publisher’s Weekly introduced their review: “The theme of newcomers-vs.-oldtimers is rehashed in this low-key, heavy-handed mystery.”    I’m not even sure I read the entire 183 pages, but here I am, willing to give it another go.

My interest has been rekindled because in the thirty-plus ensuing years, Fritzi made a lasting impression on many of us.  Her recent death brought to mind so many of her outspoken opinions and controversial actions. Looking back over her life here, I can’t help being reminded that she, like so many “characters” who have lived here need to be remembered.  She may, indeed, appear in my next book — which will not be a mystery and I hope will not be heavy-handed!


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