This morning I heard the very sad news that Maxine Clarke, who blogged as Petrona, has passed away.
Maxine was a prolific crime fiction reviewer, and one of the very, very best, setting a gold-standard in crime blogging. Her posts were knowledgeable, perceptive and thoughtful, and, more often than not, made you want to rush out and buy a book. Her blog, Petrona, is one of the ‘core’ crime blogs I always recommend to others. It’s descriptive subtitle is pure Maxine: ‘Mainly about reading with an accent on intelligent crime fiction from around the world’.
As well as holding Maxine in extremely high regard as a blogger, I valued and admired the contribution she made through her encouragement and support of others. I am struck, when reading tributes and comments on Twitter, by how many rookie bloggers Maxine welcomed into the crime-blogging community and quietly nurtured: I am one of those who will always be grateful for the kindness and encouragement that she showed me in my early blogging days. No review ever went by without a comment from Maxine (often within minutes of it being posted!), and those comments were generous, thoughtful ones that helped you to reflect further on the book in question. In short, Maxine was a great teacher, the kind that you always wanted to do your best for and who made you glow when you received her praise.
I never met Maxine in person, but will miss her friendship enormously. My thoughts are with her family and friends at this very sad time.