Reporter-turned-novelist shares his latest

May 02, 2014
Paul Betit

Rockland — Former Portland Press Herald sportswriter Paul Betit will present an author’s talk Thursday, May 15, at 6 p.m. at Rockland Public Library, 80 Union St. Betit will share back-stories and discuss his writing regimen and the creative process.

Betit, who lives in Brunswick, is the author of the mystery-suspense novel series featuring U.S. Army CID investigator John Murphy. Volumes include “Phu Bai,” “Kagnew Station” and the recently-published “The Man In The Canal.” In the newest crime novel, Murphy goes undercover in Sweden during the summer of 1971 to find a murderer believed to be hiding among the group of American military deserters who took refuge in the Scandinavian country during the Vietnam War.

“I’ve been working on this book for quite some time,” said Betit, who wrapped up a 38-year career as a newspaperman last November. “It was quite a challenge, especially since I didn’t take a step in Sweden until I had written nearly half of the book.”

Betit was quite familiar with the locales of the series’ first two books. While serving as an intelligence analyst with the Army during the 1960s, he spent 16 months in Vietnam, the setting for Phu Bai, and nearly two years in Ethiopia, the backdrop for Kagnew Station.

“In those books, I was able to include some of my experiences in the Army to create realistic narratives,” he said. “Writing ‘The Man In The Canal’ required much more research.”

As a sportswriter covering the Portland Pirates hockey team for 10 seasons for the Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram, Betit picked the brains of every Swedish hockey player he met, asking them about their homeland, language and culture.

“I scoped out locales for scenes and, through my conversations with the dozens of people I met during my stay in Sweden, I got a good idea of what the country was like during the time period I was writing about,” Betit said.

In “The Man In The Canal,” Betit introduces Magnus Lund, a Swedish police inspector trying to learn the identity and find the killer of a dead man found floating in the historic Gota Canal. For much of the book, Murphy and Lund work independently, completely unaware of each other.

Signed copies of all three of Betit’s books will be available at discounted prices. For more information about Betit and his books, visit

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or

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