Information on the Author–Viewers’ Comments

Author Joseph Cutshall-King lives in Washington County, NY, with his wife.

The Burning of The Piping Rock is Cutshall-King’s first novel. He was  author of two different local history columns published weekly over nineteen years in The Post-Star, the daily newspaper of Glens Falls, NY and wrote and produced Legacy, a radio program broadcast weekly on WWSC AM and WCKM FM.

He is also the author of several books of local history: Hospital By the Falls, the History of Glens Falls Hospital 1897-1987;  the Con Amore—the Italian History of Fort Edward, NY;  and Cornerstone of the Future a history of the First Presbyterian Church of Glens Falls, NY. He also co-edited Sherlock Holmes, Victorian Sleuth to Modern Hero with Sally Sugarman and Charles R. Putney.

Cutshall-King’s writing draws on his varied work experiences, ranging from a Wall Street brokerage firm, the restaurant field, and salvage operations. For several decades he worked in the museum field as director of the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls, NY, and the Park-McCullough House in North Bennington, VT. Most recently, he was a college administrator. In 2012, he retired after a successful career as Vice President for Institutional Advancement at SUNY Adirondack.

Born in Saratoga Springs, NY, Cutshall-King grew up in Saratoga, Fort Edward and Ticonderoga, NY. A graduate of Fordham College and The Sage Colleges,

Affiliations include: Crime Writers Mystery Group; Historical-MysteryWriters Group; the Baker Street Breakfast Club, Biblioscribe

7 responses to “Information on the Author–Viewers’ Comments

  1. Is any of the the story particularly George A King’s involvement based on facts?


    • Hi Rosemary, I am Joe’s wife, Sara. I can answer your question….Joe usually is not able to answer right away because of his job. So the answer to your question is YES…anymore he would have to fll you in…thanks for asking! Sara


  2. Hi Rosemary.

    My apologies for not getting back to you sooner. The arson of the Piping Rock as presented in my novel is fictional, so that would make my father’s involvement in it fictional as well. However, there is much actual, true history in the book. Dad was an employee of James Leary, the head of the Republican machine in Saratoga in the 1940s and `50s and the person who coordinated “services” for mob–police-fixing, money laundering, etc. Leary, an attorney, also defended the mob in court.

    Dad did run MacFinn’s Drugstore and was very much involved with all the mob activities that Leary was: especially the gambling casinos. At Leary’s request, dad kept two sets of books for the pharmacy, which was used to help launder gaming money, among other illicit activities. Dad also sold cellophane and scotchtape to an arsonist whom he referred to only as Harry the Torch, whom, Dad said, had burned the Piping Rock Casino to the ground in 1954. The casino was owned by the mob, fronting for distinguished citizens who wanted to hide their ties to it.

    Dad’s involvement with the Leary machine and everything that went on in Saratoga Springs between 1946, when we came to Saratoga, and 1952, when we left, nearly cost our family our lives. And that is solid truth. Leary was a dangerous man and my father got involved in a dangerous game. A lot of what I have my father relate in the novel is absolutely true. Perhaps someday I’ll do a book about the book.

    Thanks for great question.



  3. Thank you for answering Joe, hopefully you will be able to sign our copy of the The book when you are up north.

    Yours truly,

    Rosemary Moore


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  5. Dale E. Smith

    I just finished your book. It was amazing! I worked with your dad at the Burleigh Pharmacy in Ticonderoga (76-77). I was trying to find your dad’s PT boat number when I came across your book. He was a great man and always gave me good advice. He told me many war stories and actually told me about the other use for cellophane wrapping paper. It was so easy to picture him standing there as I read your story.
    I tried to find his name connected with PT 27 but only came up with a skipper by the name of George A. Matteson. George was a hero and I only wish I had stayed in touch with him.

    Thanks for the story,


    • Hi Dale!

      Great to hear from you and thank you for your kind words! I went through Dad’s service jacket, two thirds of which consist of original copies and the remainder certified copies from the National Personnel Records Center. Looking back over his records, I see that Dad was Commander of PT 364, but not PT 27. Therefore, it has to have been my misunderstanding that he was commander of the other PT Boat, although I am very sure he was First Officer, which had led to my misunderstanding. My apologies.

      You write that “George was a hero.” He was that. He was in the Philippine Invasion in October 1944 and subsequently was assigned to taking American POWs out of Japanese prison camps. The one he usually spoke of was at Amboina. He was decorated for his service in the South Pacific and the Philippine Invasion.

      You said you worked at the Burleigh Pharmacy from 1976 to 1977? What did you do while there?

      Again, thanks finding my website. Please stay in touch!



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