Best-selling author to speak at Windsor Library
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer | April 23,2013
Author James Redfearn of Boston will speak at 7 p.m., Wednesday at the Windsor Public Library.
WINDSOR — James Redfearn, of Boston, knows all about investigations.
As a former Massachusetts State Trooper and attorney, he is familiar with how much time they take and how much careful attention they require.
He knows the facts must be checked, double-checked and then some more. That’s why it took him seven years to complete his first best-selling novel, “The Rising at Roxbury Crossing” and he will be speaking about it at 7 p.m., Wednesday at the Windsor Public Library on State Street.
“The Rising at Roxbury Crossing” is a fictional account about conflict and change in the city of Boston in the early 20th century. Redfearn spent years researching Boston after World War I and learned how it was a turbulent period in the city’s history.
“I grew up in Boston all my life. I was aware of (the Boston police strike), but I didn’t know a lot about it,” Redfearn said. “When I read the material, it was like reading a Shakespearian tragedy. You’re reading about these folks and realize that things aren’t going to turn out well for them.”
“The Rising at Roxbury Crossing” is set in 1919 during the Irish Rebellion and the Boston Police Strike. Willie Dwyer, the main character, is an Irish immigrant living in Boston who is haunted by his own involvement in the Irish Rebellion.
Dwyer becomes a Boston Police officer and when the police strike for fair pay and tolerable working conditions, the city erupts into chaos and confusion. As events unfold in Boston, Dwyer is hunted down by an old nemesis from the Irish rebellion who discloses a harrowing secret about him.
Themes of the book include immigration, justice in the workplace and cultural freedom. Redfearn was inspired to write about Boston’s turbulent times after a discussion with his father-in-law, William E. Mulvey, whose father, William J. Mulvey, was a Boston police officer.
“His father died when he was 3 years old. ... but he wasn’t sure how he died. I met with the Boston Police Department archivist, gave her a piece of paper with his father’s name on it and she came out with an (index) card and started reading it to me. She said, ‘Oh, William J. Mulvey. He was a striker, you know that?’” Redfearn said.
Redfearn was a state trooper in the 1970s and recalled turbulent times during the Boston busing crisis and police labor struggles. Although he could identify his experiences with those during the Boston Police Strike, Redfearn was also inspired to write “The Rising at Roxbury Crossing” from a human interest perspective.
Redfearn believes there are no black and white answers that explain the strike. He said there only are “shades of grey” and they reveal a more complex picture about what took place in the at that time in the city of Boston.
“The police strike was a controversial event. People thought that the police should never have gone on strike. But if you look at it from their point of view as workers, they were working under horrible conditions, terrible pay, long hours and so much going on in society at the time. The one organization people looked to was the police, but they had their own issues happening as well,” Redfearn said.
The reading is free to the public. For more information call the Windsor Public Library at 674-5808 or visit www.therisingatroxburycrossing.com.