For me it’s always been detectives. Growing up I was dazzled by Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, Phillip Marlowe, “The Shadow,” and Miss Marple. Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammet, Simenon, Mickey Spillane, and Earle Stanley Gardner toughened me up and made me less sentimental. Later, unimpressed by Mr. Bond and tastes more refined, I preferred the bitter misanthrope Morse, the depressed Swede Wallander, and the fussy dandy Hercule Poirot.
Then women entered the scene, smarter and more resourceful than the exasperated men around them. Miss Marple has been joined by a whole sisterhood of detectives including Sarah Paretsky’s blunt V.I. Warshovsky, Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect surrounded by sexists on all sides, working class Barbara Havers clashing with the handsome Lord Lynley, and the awkward tough gothic punk, Lisbeth Salander. I particularly like stories with a strong sense of place — Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti who knows every canal in Venice, and V.I. Warshowski’s muscular Chicago.
Lecturing to students and audiences over the years, I’ve explored the violent people and cruel terrain of detective fiction and films. I suppose Hitchcock’s films could be seen as a series, but there have been many wonderful one-offs like Chinatown and Three Days of the Condor. It was probably inevitable that I would invent a detective some day and write a series of stories about her.
Veterans Day is a suspenseful, humorous Washington thriller for mystery fans featuring a razor sharp detective Mary Jane Morris and saturated with interesting D.C places and history. With the aid of an eclectic group of allies, including her boyfriend doctor, the head of a shelter for homeless Vets, a reporter for the City Paper, and… [Read More]
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