Join us on Monday, June 19 at 6pm at Mechanics' Hall for a special event featuring Gretchen Cherington, author of The Butcher, The Embezzler, and The Fall Guy. Gretchen will be in conversation with Bob Keyes, author of The Isolation Artist—Scandal, Deception, and the Last Days of Robert Indiana.

Three powerful men converge on the banks of the Red Cedar River in the early 1900s in southern Minnesota—George Albert Hormel, founder of what will become the multi-billion dollar food conglomerate Hormel Foods; Alpha LaRue Eberhart, the author’s paternal grandfather and Hormel’s Executive Vice President and Corporate Secretary; and Ransome Josiah Thomson, Hormel’s comptroller. Over ten years, Thomson will embezzle $1.2 million from the company’s coffers, nearly bringing the company to its knees. The Butcher, The Embezzler, and The Fall Guy opens in 1922 as George Hormel calls Eberhart into his office and demands his resignation. Hailed as the true leader of the company he’d helped Hormel build—is Eberhart complicit in the embezzlement? In scale both intimate and grand, Cherington deftly weaves the histories of Hormel, Eberhart, and Thomson within the sweeping landscape of our country’s early industries, along with keen observations about business leaders gleaned from her thirty-five-year career advising top company executives. The Butcher, The Embezzler, and The Fall Guy equally chronicles Cherington’s journey from blind faith in family lore to a nuanced consideration of the three men’s great strengths and flaws—and a multilayered, thoughtful exploration of the ways we all must contend with the mythology of powerful men, our reverence for heroes, and the legacy of a complicated past.

Gretchen Cherington's essays have been published in Crack The Spine, Bloodroot Literary Magazine, and Yankee Magazine, among others, and her essay “Maine Roustabout” was nominated for a 2012 Pushcart Prize. Cherington is a leader in her community, having   served on twenty non-profit and corporate boards. Passionate about the outdoors, she most enjoys spending time with family and friends in wild places around the world. 



Bob Keyes has been a journalist for four decades. He is an award-winning, nationally recognized arts writer and storyteller with specialties in American visual arts and the contemporary culture of New England. Keyes has written about arts and culture for the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram since 2002. He lives with his family in Maine.



This event is free, but you can RSVP here!

Event date: 
Monday, June 19, 2023 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
Mechanics' Hall
519 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101
The Butcher, the Embezzler, and the Fall Guy: A Family Memoir of Scandal and Greed in the Meat Industry By Gretchen Cherington Cover Image
ISBN: 9781647420833
Availability: Not in stock, usually ships to store in 3-5 business days
Published: She Writes Press - June 6th, 2023

Poetic License: A Memoir By Gretchen Cherington Cover Image
ISBN: 9781631527111
Availability: Not in stock, usually ships to store in 3-5 business days
Published: She Writes Press - August 4th, 2020

The Isolation Artist: Scandal, Deception, and the Last Days of Robert Indiana By Bob Keyes Cover Image
ISBN: 9781567926897
Availability: On Our Shelves Now: Please call ahead to be sure inventory is not being held for other customers.
Published: David R. Godine Publisher - September 7th, 2021