Novelist with local ties pens 1st book

MARQUETTE – A new novel penned by Marquette Senior High School and Northern Michigan University graduate Maryka Biaggio focuses on another Upper Peninsula woman, albeit one who became famous nearly a century ago.

On a 2009 trip through the Upper Peninsula, Biaggio stopped in Menominee, where she saw a pamphlet on Mary Dugas, the woman who would later become the central character of her first novel, “Parlor Games.”

“The Pinkerton (Agency) had her down on their files as the most dangerous woman in the world,” Biaggio said. “I was sold on her right then and there.”

For the next two years, Biaggio spent her time researching Dugas’ life, and she found plenty to keep her occupied, including a 10-part series on Dugas that appeared in the Chicago Daily Tribune in the late 1940s.

“That was the primary source of my research,” Biaggio said. “I also found other newspaper reports about her many exploits and adventures.”

The book takes place in 1917 Menominee, with Dugas on trial for extortion. Using the courtroom as her setting, Biaggio paints a picture of what life was like for one of Menominee’s most notorious citizens.

Biaggio will be at Snowbound Books in Marquette from 2 to 4 p.m. today, where “Parlor Games” will be for sale, and Biaggio will be available to sign copies.

For additional information on the book or author, visit

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.