blood in the water cover






Podcasts of The Helpful Stranger and Secrets.

A professional podcast of The Star of the Silver Screen is available on the Ellery Queen Website.

Blood in the water is a collection of published and unpublished short stories available fromWildside Books.

I used to tease my students that the public works overtime for mystery writers, and it is true that many of these little stories were inspired by something in the press, or, more rarely, on television. However, in every case the incident was selected because it struck some personal chord, and one of the chief pleasures of the short form is that one can so easily indulge one’s interests. Gardening, archeology, movies, painting– all can go into the creative hopper.

Places are important, too. The countryside that I love appears in stories like "The Blind Woman" and "The Archeologist’s Revenge", while the well manicured suburb where we lived for many years provided an irresistible backdrop for mayhem in "The Summer of the Strangler". But the changing urban area along Park Road  in Hartford proved useful for "Secrets", and a time in Florida provided the backgrounds for both "The Ghost Writer" and "The View from Above".

But most important is always one’s own experience. The young teacher in "The Helpful Stranger" is saddled with difficult students as I was early in my career, while the protagonists of "Ideas in My Head" know the trials and tribulations of the less than glamorous writing life, and like the Archeologist, I’ve learned some things about academic politics.

Just how these disparate ideas come together is something of a mystery even for the writer. As the exasperated screen writer in "Ideas in My Head" says, you can feel an idea coming. " …you have this feeling that one is in the vicinity, that you just have to watch and wait and you’ll find yourself sitting down at the computer typing…"

Though observation, research and  writing, writing, writing are essential, ultimately one waits on the Muse whose whisper suggested all these little stories.The majority appeared in either Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine or Ellergy Queen Mystery Magazine. A number have appeared in anthologies like "The Best American Mystery Stories", "World's Finest Mystery and Detective Stories," "The Cutting Edge, The Best and Brightest Mystery Writers of the '90's," "Women of Mystery III" and "Fifty Years of Crime and Suspense".