Broken Turtle Blog

Broken Turtle Blog

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Bottom of the Fox

A True Story of Love, Devotion & Cold-Blooded Murder
by Shaun D. Mullen
Fishy Business Press

In The Bottom of the Fox, local author and blogger Shaun Mullen (Kiko's House) has captured the ambivalent ambiance of the storied Poconos bioregion that just shoulders the piedmont where we Delawareans reside. What we learn from Mullen is that behind the tony resorts and meandering roads that grace those gentle green mountains is a world of in-bred isolation, territoriality, and violence. In the late seventies, Eddie Joubert wandered in. He was an entrepreneurial hippy and former Teamster who sought to bring the freewheeling spirit of the sixties to the Poconos by running a bar called The Bottom of the Fox and helping to organize The Delaware Water Gap Festival of the Arts. On November 28, 1981, while retrieving some beer from the Fox basement, he was brutally murdered with an axe.

Mullen does a great job tracing both the geologic and the social evolution of the Poconos as one of America’s earliest resorts. We learn about the various confrontations among the settlers who drove out the Indians, the politicians who sought to sell out the region’s beauty, and the subsequent waves of immigrants, including a bunch of hippy squatters who tried to take over some condemned properties.

Mullen also captures the spirit of a drop out culture that did not cop out. While Eddie Joubert had his vices, he was a warm-hearted soul who bonded with everyone from the local minister to the homeless veteran, and he boosted the economic and cultural well being of the society of his adopted home. Apparently, according to Mullen, as Joubert ranged easily among all the odd human fauna of the Gap, he came to know too much. The real powers in that community had too much to lose if Edie’s murder was investigated scrupulously, so the cops just chalked it up to some hippy getting himself killed in a drug deal involving outsiders.

Mullen has a strong suspicion about who killed Eddie, and I must confess I am not totally convinced about his conclusions. But solving the specifics of the crime is not the main point. It’s about young folks who were re-inventing the American Dream in the sixties and seventies. It’s about the underside of a smug establishment that marginalizes its visionaries as low-class bohemians. It’s a story we in Delaware know well.

Buy a copy from his site at

One dollar from the sale of each book goes to the Delaware Water Gap Festival of the Arts.

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