Interpretation of Murder
to be published by
Black Opal Books
I’m thrilled to announce that Black Opal Books is publishing my first novel, Interpretation of Murder. This novel re-introduces American Sign Language interpreter Jane Ciardi, the protagonist of my Derringer-winning short story titled—coincidentally—“Interpretation of Murder,” which appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine in December, 2010.
In the novel, Jane accepts a part-time job from a Cleveland private detective. Jane’s assignment is to keep tabs on a Deaf African-American teenager whose odd behavior alarms her wealthy father. Jane also needs to discover the truth behind two murders—including the murder of the first interpreter the detective hired. To get closer to the teenager, Jane joins a fitness center owned by a family that brings new meaning to the word “dysfunctional.” Jane can’t help feeling attracted to the family’s youngest son, a cheerfully amoral charmer who seems equally drawn to her. But he’s keeping secrets, and so are others at the fitness center. The more Jane learns about the center, the more she suspects some people go there to get more than a workout. The more she learns, the more she becomes the target of attacks that force her to use her martial arts skills to defend herself. Somehow, Jane realizes, the fitness center is connected to the two murders and to the Deaf teenager’s odd behavior. Jane’s struggle to unravel all the secrets tests her resourcefulness, her loyalties, and her courage.
At this point, it looks as though the novel might be published toward the end of 2014. When I know more, I’ll announce it here. I’m delighted to be publishing with Black Opal Books, a Mystery Writers of America approved press with a strong mystery line. I’m also delighted that my first novel has a link with AHMM, the magazine that gave me my start as a mystery writer. I couldn’t be happier.
See you at
I hope you’re planning to attend Malice Domestic—always my favorite mystery conference of the year. This spring, hundreds of mystery readers and writers will gather in Bethesda, Maryland, on May 2—4 to celebrate the delights of the traditional mystery. I’m happy to say I’ll be on two panels this year:
- At 9:00 on Saturday, May 3, I’ll be the moderator for Make It Snappy: Our Agatha Best Short Story Nominees. I look forward to discussing the short story genre I love so much with panelists Barb Goffman, Gigi Pandian, Barbara Ross, and Art Taylor.
- At 3:00 on Saturday afternoon, I’ll be a panelist on Three Heads Are Better than One: Sleuths Who Work Together. The other panelists are Sally Goldenbaum, Liz Stauffer, and Wendy Tyson; the moderator is my dear friend Paula Benson. This panel will give me a chance to talk about my nine Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine stories featuring the often contentious but always triumphant team of private detective Iphigenia Woodhouse; her eccentric mother, Professor Minerva Woodhouse; and Harriet Russo, their eager if sometimes inept apprentice.
If you’re coming to Malice this year, I hope you’ll manage to work these panels into your schedule. And I definitely hope we’ll get a chance to say hello!
Two New Hitchcock
My first mystery story was “True Detective,” which introduced the team of sweet but dim Lieutenant Walt Johnson and his modestly brilliant sergeant, Gordon Bolt, who sees himself as nothing but a humble assistant but is in fact the one who always figures everything out. Ten other Walt and Bolt stories followed, all in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine—“True Confession,” “True Romance,” “True Adventure,” “True Crime,” “True Love,” “True Story,” “True Suspects,” “True Colors,” “True Blue,” and “True Test.” This fall, the series will come to an end with “True Enough.” Much as I love these characters, I felt that after a dozen stories, it was time to give poor Walt a rest from his constant anxieties and feelings of guilt, and to let Sergeant Bolt finally attain his heart’s desire. And it wasn’t getting any easier to keep coming up with “true” titles! More details will follow as the publication date nears.
AHMM has also accepted another story, “A Joy Forever.” This one isn’t part of one of my series. It’s a portrait of a patient, meticulous murderer with a familiar motive but an unusual method. Writers shouldn’t have favorites, any more than parents should, but I’ll admit to a special fondness for this story. There are just three characters—Mike, Gwen, and Chris. Mike is, admittedly, a pretty standard figure, but I think both Gwen and Chris have some depth. And I like the way the story is crafted, the way its various elements come together at the end. I hope you’ll like it, too. When I find out when the story will appear, I’ll let you know.
“Thea’s First Husband”
Makes the List
I’m delighted to announce that “Thea’s First Husband” is included in the list of “Other Distinguished Mystery Stories of 2012″ in The Best American Mystery Stories 2013. It’s an honor to see one of my stories on this list, and it’s a pleasure to see stories by several friends and fellow Hitchcock authors listed as well.
“Thea’s First Husband,” published in June 2012 in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, was also nominated for both Agatha and Macavity awards. It’s a story about an insecure husband who decides to test his young wife’s loyalty. His biggest mistake is hiring a private detective to watch her—a private detective who turns out to have an agenda of his own. If you’d like to read the story, please click here:
Who shot the gun-control advocate?
an e-novella from Untreed Reads
When rising politician Karen Dodd pushes through the toughest gun-control bill in Ohio’s history, she thinks it’s her ticket to the governor’s office. But soon after she announces her candidacy, on the day she’s slated to receive an award from a gun-control organization, Karen Dodd is found dead in her comfortable suburban home, one bullet through her heart.
Suspects abound—her philandering husband, a hard-drinking former beauty queen, a smooth-talking gun lobbyist and his deceptively meek assistant, an ambitious television reporter who sees the murder as the story that could transform her career. Police lieutenant Dan Ledger puts his own life in danger as he struggles to uncover the secrets of suspects who at first seem harmlessly eccentric—but who can quickly turn deadly serious. Ledger’s used to piecing together meager bits of evidence, and he’s usually adept at analyzing the fears and desires that drive people to kill. This time, though, the motive takes him by surprise.
ONE SHOT is a traditional whodunit with a contemporary twist. Packed with suspense and humor, it raises questions about issues ranging from gun control to reality television.
http://www.untreedreads.com/ Great reads for every device
LITTLE DUMBER BOY
a short story from Untreed Reads
Will's aunt wants him to spend some time with his estranged son at Christmas. All Will wants is to knock off his girlfriend's husband and collect a share of the life insurance policy. Unfortunately, when you fail to take all the angles into account, the perfect crime can really ruin your holiday.
http://www.untreedreads.com/ Great reads for every device
Also available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online vendors.
TO HELL IN A FAST CAR
In February, Dark Quest Books published To Hell in a Fast Car, edited by John L. French. All the stories in the anthology share the same basic theme: Sometimes, people headed for disaster are unable or unwilling to turn back, even though they may know things can’t end well. In my story, “No Good Deed,” lonely, introverted social worker Janice thinks that by opening her home to a charming but wildly undisciplined teenager, she can turn the girl’s life around. But when the teenager starts tempting her to do things she’s never done before, Janice finds that her own life is the one being turned around, in increasingly costly and dangerous ways.