Lewes writer Kathleen Meehan Do is celebrating the publication of her father’s book, “Confessions of a Hayseed DA,” with a book signing at Browseabout Books from 4 to 6 p.m., Wednesday, June 22. Do discovered the manuscript for the book, written by her father Robert R. Meehan, sitting in the bottom of an old brown paper bag, where it had apparently sat undisturbed for four decades. After finding the manuscript in 2019 – 15 years after her father’s death in 2004 – Do decided to give a final gift to her father by attempting to shepherd the book through to publication.
Robert Meehan served as district attorney of Rockland County, N.Y., in the 1960s and ’70s. He wrote the manuscript about his experiences as DA in 1977, when Do was a teenager. While publishers at the time loved the compelling and occasionally harrowing stories he told, they felt the manuscript needed the work of a professional writer. As it happens, Do grew up to be a professional writer, authoring speeches and other communications materials for elected officials and college presidents, including New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.
Do decided to work on the book as a pandemic project. She spent two years in her Lewes home digitizing and editing the book, conducting research into the cases and events her father described and interviewing some of the key players who are still alive. She sent the revised manuscript to New York publisher SUNY Press/Excelsior Editions in February 2021, and four days later, they sent her a contract. The book was officially published May 1, 2022.
In this dynamic page-turner, Robert Meehan takes readers along on his journey from naïve do-gooder to seasoned prosecutor, investigating and solving heinous crimes, while interjecting his love of television and movie characters, as well as homespun stories of family and friends, providing readers with a glimpse into the very human experience of being a public figure in a small community.
Meehan shares stories that range from murder investigations to a horrific train-school bus crash, to an attempt on his life that upended his family’s world. As a true confessional, Meehan shares both victories and defeats, and honestly recounts mistakes he made and lessons he learned along the way.
In her review of the book, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Amanda Bennett writes: “To read ‘Confessions of a Hayseed DA’ is to be reminded of what the law is really all about: It’s about people. Robert Meehan was district attorney of Rockland County, N.Y., for nine years ending in 1974. His posthumous memoir – it was discovered and edited by one of his daughters after his death – is part ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,’ part ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ and all rich with real life. Unlike the hard-boiled crime movies he grew up loving, Meehan’s time as DA is filled with the kind of tight community connections that remind us that both victims and criminals have families, friends and histories.”
Former U.S. Congressman and Navy Vice Admiral Joe Sestak writes: “’Confessions of a Hayseed DA’ is a captivating portrayal of the sorrow, tragedy, joy, goodness, sadness and even humor of those who must answer for themselves before the law. The confessional of Robert Meehan is a testament to a man’s steadfast principle of fairness in adjudicating the law with too rare compassion and understanding.”
The book signing at Browseabout Books is open to the public. The store is located at 133 Rehoboth Ave. in Rehoboth Beach. For more information, contact Kathleen Meehan Do at email@example.com or 484-653-7426.