mystery writing

1-17-2017: Craft of Mystery Writing

Next Saturday, Jan. 21, 2 p.m., I’ll be a panelist on “The Craft of Mystery Writing” at the Perry Hall Branch, Baltimore County Public Library, 9685 Honeygo Blvd, Perry Hall, MD.

This event was planned a couple of months ago, but it is on the day of the Women’s March on Washington. I will be at the march in spirit and send a check to Planned Parenthood.

Back to the panel discussion, we authors will share our experiences on the craft of writing a mystery and how it has changed throughout the years. Other panelists are Michelle Markey Butler, Austin Camacho, Kate Dolan, Dick Ellwood, and Millie Mack.

My friends all know that one of my favorite things to do is sit around the table with others at any meal and discuss whatever comes up. Not partial to politics, though, especially now, but just about anything else. I’ve always bemoaned the fact that I couldn’t join Samuel Johnson, James, Boswell, Oliver Goldsmith, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and other highlights of the 18th century in their carousing at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in London. I also missed out on Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Alexander Woollcott, Robert E. Sherwood, and others of “The Vicious Circle’ at the Algonquin Round Table, but probably I wouldn’t have survived that.

So I enjoyed reading The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards about “the mystery of the golden-agewriters who invented the modern detective story.” This is a history of the Detection Club of distinguished authors of detective stories from 1930 through 1949. It opens with a description by New Zealand mystery writer Ngaio Marsh, a guest at one of the club meetings in 1937. As she says, it began with a sumptuous banquet. Then the Continue reading “1-17-2017: Craft of Mystery Writing”


The Poetry-Loving, Quiche-Eating Motorcyclist

Don’t you just love shooting down stereotypes? I like to write about characters who use stereotypes to outwit antagonists. My 90-year-old detective Nancy Dickenson in the 90s Club mysteries appears like any sweet, little old lady, and she uses that image. The idea for her character came from meeting a grandmotherly type woman who was actually a private detective. One of her gambits was to go door to door, leash in hand, in a neighborhood where she thought a suspect was hiding. She’d ask if they’d seen her runaway dog. Sometimes they’d invite her in for a cup of coffee and then she’d get the gossip about the neighborhood.

So I went to the latest meeting of my Sisters in Crime chapter to hear police Lt. John Weinstein talk about campus shooters and other campus policing challenges. Sisters in Crime is an association of mystery writers and fans. Continue reading “The Poetry-Loving, Quiche-Eating Motorcyclist”

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