CONTACT: Robert M. Roseth
In the Pacific Northwest (and elsewhere), “Ivy is a Weed”
Author Robert Roseth spins a satire in the guise of a mystery
Author Robert Roseth has been assembling a mystery story in his mind for maybe a decade, but it always came wrapped in a joke.
“There was this plot line that had been running through my head for as long as I could remember,” he said, “but it was never your standard mystery. It always came out sounding funny.”
The result is “Ivy is a Weed,” a mystery/satire, published June 1.
When Roseth retired from his 35+ year career in higher education, he set to work, testing whether he had enough material for a novel. “I hadn’t written anything longer than three pages in more than 30 years. I had no idea if I could go the distance.”
Roseth worked at the University of Washington in Seattle since 1977, the bulk of that time as director of the campus news office, which promoted research by the university’s faculty and also dealt with the occasional bad news that would emanate from campus.
“I always considered having a sense of humor a key survival tool,” he said. “People take themselves too seriously. We were not involved in matters of life and death., And lot of things that happened were just plain funny. I think my colleagues would say that a conversation with me often left them with a smile if not a laugh.”
Roseth’s novel is set on a fictitious university campus in the Pacific Northwest. In this part of the country, ivy is pernicious, invasive, all-consuming, but still seen by some as elegant. The “halls of ivy” carry some of the same attributes, Roseth said.
The story begins with the director of the university’s public relations office receiving a call from the campus police in the middle of the night. A body has been found on campus at the foot of the university’s administration building, below an open window. The director, dissatisfied with the police investigation , begins his own., interviewing people who knew the victim and could shed light on his demise.
But this is not your standard mystery. It is a laugh-out-loud portrait of our sacred halls of learning and the people that inhabit them.
“I love universities,” Roseth commented, “I just find them very funny places. That’s what I’ve tried to convey in ‘Ivy is a Weed.’”
Print and e-versions of “Ivy is a Weed” can be found online as well as at selected book stores.