mystery bookshelf







My Brushes with Mystery

My first literary heroine
I always wanted to be Trixie Belden. The thinking girl's Nancy Drew.

Manor house, horses, servants, forged references, missing diamonds. And so on. Moll Dicks Inc. (Though I believe that term was replaced in later editions, along with the word "dungarees".)

And then I wanted to write about Trixie. Well, who wouldn't? Evil-doers brought down by the feisty (though math-challenged) heroine, who could always rely on her friends and the staff at the manor house (especially the dishy groom, Regan) to help out when the going got tough.

My early works
My first mystery (a Grade 4 assignment) involved piercing screams, a murdered maid, an unexplained change in a will and -- you guessed it -- forged references. The putative heroine -- an heiress and the next intended victim -- was the daughter of Lord and Lady Whosits; the sleuth was the niece of the murdered woman, sort of a maid-in-training and probably smarter than everyone above stairs put together.

For years I wandered far from the world of mysteries and murder, writing in various genres and non-genres. But I should have known all along that in my heart I yearned for a life of crime. Because really, what could be more comforting than a body or two in the library, a fistful of red herrings and a feisty amateur sleuth with an intellectual bent and an unusual hobby.

What I have in common with Kinsey Millhone ...
The gutsy PI and I share an essential element in our lives. We were both born on May 5, 1950. However, Kinsey still gets to live in the 1980s and remain in her thirties, while I... don't.

On the other hand, she doesn't get to read anything written after the 1980s or have a cell phone or access to the Internet. Or Pinterest. Or grandchildren.

How I became a victim in The Dirty Secrets Club by Edgar-winning crime writer Meg Gardiner

Libraries will get you through times without money
better than banks will get you through times without books