Author and Winsted resident Dan Saltman.
Author and Winsted resident Dan Saltman.
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WINSTED — What does one do following an exciting career as a math and computer teacher? For Dan Saltman, it was to become a murder mystery novelist.
Saltman, a Winsted resident, wrote his murder mystery novel “Dirty Murders” after he retired from his work as a teacher.
In an interview with the Winsted Phoenix, Saltman said that he was able to find the time to sit down and pursue his lifelong passion for writing when he retired.
Saltman is originally from Holyoke, Mass., and has lived in Trumbull and Hudson, New York.
“Winsted was an ideal location to meet up with friends,” Saltman said in an interview with the Winsted Phoenix. “We would hang out at Burr Pond and have Italian food in town. I enjoyed the small-town feel here and bought a home in downtown Winsted when I retired.”
Saltman said that he enjoys the lakes, trails, country fairs, and “out of the way” farm shops this part of the Northwest Corner has to offer. “The Winsted YMCA and the Warner Theater are two big perks,” he added. There is no doubt that a sense of adventure inspired Saltman to take on some interesting hobbies in his lifetime such as flying airplanes, playing rugby, and even hitchhiking.
“I still play some chess, ride my motorcycle, write and travel,” he said. “My last trip, just before the pandemic hit, was to Greece and Egypt.”
The same sense of adventure brought Satlman around the world during his teaching career.
“I never had to worry about finding work!” he said. “That gave me the flexibility to take advantage of different opportunities.”
Some of these opportunities included working at an maximum-security adolescent prison, and as an Associate Professor at the College of Aeronautics in Flushing, New York. After seven years in New York, Saltman left to take a job with the University of Maryland, teaching on military bases in Asia.
“I spent a year living in Japan and a year living in Korea,” he said. “This was a wonderful opportunity for me to immerse myself in the cultures of both countries.”
Saltman later made his way to San Francisco where he worked in the Unified School District for 11 years. He eventually landed a job in which he said he excelled.
This included Swords to Plowshares, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco that provide housing and structure for homeless veterans.
“The veterans went through the 12 step program for addiction recovery, did volunteer work, and committed to group counseling,” he said. “To graduate, they needed to be computer literate. Many of them did not like studying and went directly into the military after graduating high school. By the time they showed up for computer class the veterans were clean and sober and coming to grips with the fact that they couldn’t burn the candle at both ends anymore. My task was to make class fun and, with the help of the computer, I did that.”
Saltman put together an Introduction to Computers course that is still available on the website, Teachers Pay Teachers.
He said he always had a passion for writing growing up, but “I always had trouble with spelling and grammar,” which where his career as a math teacher came in handy.
“With the aid of the computer and with practice, the mechanics of writing became easier,” he said. He worked on “Dirty Murders” for five years.
“After retirement, everything fell into place for me to write Dirty Murders,” Saltman said. “I had the time and passion to write a book. People close to me knew about writing murder mysteries and carefully guided me along. My career in math taught me to do research, to use my imagination, and to persevere.”
Set in the early 1970s, Dirty Murders bring readers into the lives of characters such as Dorothy Hunt, wife of a convicted White House conspirator, and Mae Brussell, radio commentator from California.
“It’s about a woman who made an error in judgment and about a man falsely accused of murder,” he said. “It brings to light a rash of untimely deaths that happened right around the Watergate scandal.”
Dirty Murders is available on amazon.com.
“I wanted to write a book that was a fun, easy read while at the same time enlightening the reader about something,” he said. “With the 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in just a little more than a year away, I feel Dirty Murders is very relevant.”
For more information about “Dirty Murders” go to this Amazon link.

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Winsted resident Erica Taylor wrote for several years for The Winsted Journal and studied Journalism at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.