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The model for Arthur Conan Doyle’s villain

If you’re like me, you wonder about particularly memorable characters in a novel you’re reading . . . could any one of these be based on a real person? Remember Professor James Moriarty from the Sherlock Holmes books, Moriarty a brilliant but truly evil man, a man who not only wants to outwit and defeat [...]

How one writer set up his sequel

J.R. Rain has written a lot of short stories, novels, and film and television scripts, too. Some sold, optioned, or published, most not. Now everything goes up on Amazon and Barnes & Noble as self-published books. Rain is an indie author and doing well enough that he can pay the rent and keep kibble in [...]

Arthur Conan Doyle, detective

Arthur Conan Doyle created the greatest of the all-time great detective, Sherlock Holmes. And a fair number of mystery writers have taken a turn at writing their own Sherlock Holmes stories. However, it’s Roberta Rogow who made Conan Doyle a detective . . . in five books. Rogow, a children’s librarian, folk singer, and writer [...]

Beatrix Potter, detective

The creator of Peter Rabbit as a detective? Why not? Mystery writer Susan Wittig Albert created a Beatrix Potter mysteries series she calls The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. Eight books in all: The Tale of Hill Top Farm (2004), The Tale of Holly How (2005), The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood (2006), The Tale [...]

Mark Twain, detective

Sci-fi/mystery writer Peter Heck made Mark Twain a detective in a half-dozen crime novels a decade and more ago. Here they are, all put out by Berkeley Prime Crime, a top publisher of mysteries in this country: Death On the Mississippi, A Connecticut Yankee in Criminal Court, The Prince and the Prosecutor, The Guilty Abroad, [...]

Edgar Allan Poe, detective

It seems only natural that the inventor of the detective story – Graham Magazine published Poe’s short story, Murders in the Rue Morgue, in 1841 – should become a detective in a mystery series written by a modern American writer. Harold Schecter, a self-avowed expert on all things crime – he wrote True Crime: An [...]

Mysteries feature real literary authors

Jane Austen and her novels are popular again, and again, and again as a result of movies and television shows based on her books . . . so, if you are a writer of mysteries, why not capitalize on that? Why not write a crime novel in which Jane Austen is your sleuth? You’ll have [...]

Fellow writer departs this world

Writer Ruby Walton died this past weekend. You didn’t know her, unless you lived in my hometown at some time. And I didn’t even know Ruby. I only knew of her, but she was a good friend of both my mother and my wife. Back in the 1970s, Ruby was a reporter and editor for [...]

Who is Duncan Hines?

Humor is a car. It can date to specific period. What was hilarious 50 years ago might be only mildly funny today or, more likely have contemporary audiences wondering where the joke is. In Robert Traver’s 1958 courtroom drama, Anatomy of a Murder, Traver has his lead character, a defense lawyer named Paul Biegler, quipping [...]

Robert Traver plays on a stereotype

The secretary Robert Traver created for his defense lawyer in Anatomy of a Murder, Traver’s bestselling 1958 crime novel, follows the stereotype of the secretaries in private eye fiction of the previous decade. Maida Rutledge is a chipper, ditzy soul, much like Effie Perrine, Sam Spade’s secretary as played by Lurene Tuttle in the late [...]