There ought to be a (new) law!

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This is a very sad day. The appalling news from Connecticut has stunned the nation, and we’re all talking (again!) about guns in America. The only decent question is: Why are we still talking about it?

I write stories about crime and criminals. I’ve invented creeps and losers and lunatics who commit all sorts of mayhem in my mysteries. But that’s where they belong–in mystery stories. How do we keep them there, and out of the real world? I don’t have an answer for that, but I know one solution that would slow them down considerably. Continue reading

My interview on Gothicked.com


My first interview in 10 years is on Lisa Greer’s wonderful Gothicked¬†blog. Lisa is an author of Gothic and romantic suspense novels (her website is here), and she also runs this terrific blog for everyone who’s interested in the Gothic style of mystery. Since most of my books fall into that general category, she invited me over for a Q&A session. You can read it here.

Riding out the storm


DATELINE: Greenwich Village, New York, Thursday, November 1, 2012

It is now three days since Hurricane Sandy, and three days since the lights went out. I am wriiting this post by candlelight, which isn’t as horrible as it may seem. It’s actually rather pleasant. Any writer who’s never written this way is missing a marvelous opportunity to imagine she or he is Jane Austen or Charles Dickens, and what writer wouldn’t want to be one of them?

The storm has come and gone, and we are only now beginning to learn the extent of the damage. Continue reading

The twilight of American publishing?


This morning, while holed up in my NYC home waiting for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, I was saddened to learn of the imminent merger of two of America’s largest publishing concerns, Random House and Penguin. As if the storm weren’t enough to worry me, the headlines about the alliance managed to depress me even more than the dangerous weather. Whither publishing in America? That’s a very good question. Continue reading

Old wine, new bottles


There’s a recent trend in crime and mystery fiction, mainly in those books we label “suspense.” This is my particular niche–stories of everyday people, as opposed to professionals, who are caught up in criminal plots. It’s getting harder and harder for writers to isolate and endanger their protagonists, and I blame this entirely on electronics.¬†With the harsh realities of the Instant Information Age everywhere around us, many crime writers have resorted to setting their stories in the past. Continue reading

The face in the misty light: Why I love “Laura”


Laura 1944 posterI just watched Laura again, for maybe the hundredth time. It’s one of my favorite films, and my DVD of it gets a workout at least once a year. Pauline Kael, the best film critic ever, called it “everybody’s favorite chic murder mystery.” Watching it this time, I tried to figure out why that is. What is it about this particular film that makes it so popular, and so memorable? Continue reading