Latest Stoner mystery looks at Portland firefighter

Susan Stoner, retired former attorney at Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757, has published the seventh in a series of historical detective fiction novels set in the Portland of the early 20th century. Slow Burn is set in 1903 and features as a character a true-to-life fire fighter — David Campbell — who was killed in the line of duty in 1911.

Campbell was an extraordinarily popular fire chief. An estimated 150,000 mourners attended his downtown Portland funeral procession, and in 1927, small triangular park with a stone memorial depicting him in bas-relief was dedicated in his honor at Southwest 18th Avenue and Burnside. To this day, firefighters gather at the park on his birthday, June 26, and toll a bell for Portland fire fighters killed on the job.

Slow Burn also looks at the schism within Portland’s tiny Black community between followers of Booker T. Washington and followers of W.E.B. DuBois.

Stoner’s series follows fictional trade union operative Sage Adair. In Slow Burn, Adair investigates a series of arsons, and helps fire fighters organize a union.

Stoner served 24 years as staff attorney for the transit union, and retired in 2015.


BOOK READING: Stoner will present her latest book, Slow Burn, at 7 p.m. Aug. 30 at Powell’s Books Hawthorne, 3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd.

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