Why I Wrote “The Mandolin Case”

        One time someone asked what my specialty was. (I’m a Board Certified F.P.)  I said, “staying out of trouble.” I’ve done so for almost three decades and I’m too old to wade into any problems now. When you read “The Mandolin Case” you will understand what I mean. You’ll have a ringside seat to a heavy-weight medical/legal fight, so bring newspaper. When the blood begins to splatter hold it up so you can be protected. You can be sure I kept a safe distance. I was close enough to show you the story, but far enough removed to not get hit when the punches were thrown. For most readers it will be an insider’s view of a world the public is seldom privy to.

        I had to write it. I wanted to show from the inside what it’s like to be a country doctor. I wanted to show how I believe people ought to evaluate situations when things go wrong for patients. I wanted to show why loyalty counts.

       My music has always been important to me. I believe bluegrass music is the last relatively undiscovered great American art form. I wanted to show people of its beauty, and our sense of community. I took a broad swipe at stereotypes that linger about our music, and have to admit I enjoyed that. I wanted to show how art, and in my case, bluegrass music, can bring peace and clarity to complicated human confrontations. As my new New England friends so astutely observed, “music has the power to heal.” 

        I wanted to leave behind a road map for my people. I am not perfect, but along the way I learned some ways to deal with bad situations and I wanted to pass those lessons on. I suppose the number one reason that drove me was the image of my children someday being elderly and in the nursing home. They’ll read a passage to a grandchild on their knee, and the child will say, “Was great-granddaddy really like that?”

        And my child would say, “Oh, I’m not sure. I think he mighta made that part up. But now this passage over here, I know that’s real, ’cause I was there that night.”

        I don’t care if it sells three thousand or three million, (okay I admit I hope to make 3,001) but if that scene happens after I’m long gone, that would be more than enough reward.

        I hope it will be a both a tribute to the music I love and a springboard for much discussion on issues I find important. 

        The website went semi-live this morning. (They have to activate it with google, but it’s almost ready.) You can get a preview at the link below. They started printing the book today. It might take a few days on the publisher’s and Amazon’s end before the order link is operational, but y’all stick with me. The link is www.themandolincase.com.  

        All the best,

 Dr. B

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12 Comments on “Why I Wrote “The Mandolin Case””

  1. Carmen Claypool Says:

    I was waiting for this post, and now I’m headed to the website. Your book will enrich this summer for me..and for a lot more folks, too…and for a long time. Congratulations, you’ve accomplished much in this literary endeavor, and I suspect it is just a start.

    • drtombibey Says:


      Thanks so much. I know this; me and my Marfar are having a grand time. I believe “The Mandolin Case” will lead us to fine bluegrass people all over the country.

      Dr. B

  2. newt221 Says:

    YIPPEE!! Are you excited? Of course you are! I am so proud of you. You are my hero when it comes to things I want to do on my own “bucket list”. You stuck it out and look…your dream is coming true! If I was there I would give you a huge hug Dr. B.

    • drtombibey Says:


      I am excited. I stuck to being a good guy. I might not set the world on fire but at least my story is one case where a good guy didn’t finish last.

      Dr. B

  3. Rekx Says:

    Dr. B – congrats!!! I know it has been a long road for you. I can’t wait to read it!!!!

  4. junebugger Says:

    I’m going to favorite the link!!!

    This is an outstanding post–to give us the behind-the-scene as to why you wrote your book. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  5. Sharon Says:

    Whoooohoooo! Congratulations, Dr B. I will purchase it as soon as it becomes available downunder. My whole family will read it because we’re all lushes for a good book. Thanks for sharing your journey of The Mandolin Case with all of us. I’m proud to be counted as one of your comrades.

    • drtombibey Says:


      “The Mandolin Case” should be some serious international fun.

      I saw the Greencards in New England this weekend. Kym, the mandolin player, was especially interested, as was Carol, the lead singer.

      They are making Australia proud on their tour over here.

      Dr. B

  6. Levonne Says:

    Dr. B,
    I forwarded this post on to a couple of friends. I think they would really want to know about your book because of their interest in music and medicine. I’m looking forward to being able to read your book. You are doing such a good job getting us, your audience, primed for the release of your book. Good job!

    • drtombibey Says:


      Thank you so much. I am an old Doc with a story that had to be told. They say art often comes out of suffering. I was lucky and never suffered that much, but I was close to people who did and had empathy for them. I did my best to show what I saw.

      Someone picked up a typo on the website, but they’re gonna correct that today or in the AM.

      Dr. B

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