It seems fitting that in mystery novels, where things and people are seldom what they seem, you would also find a number of authors who write under pseudonyms, aliases, pen names, etc. Just like some of their characters, mystery authors use assumed names to conceal their identities for a variety of reasons.
Writing under an assumed name is not a new trend. Historically, many women would write under men's names to hide their gender in a male-dominated profession. One of the most well-known examples is English novelist Mary Anne Evans, who used the pen name George Eliot. Sometimes women authors would use initials instead of first names (P.D. James), or gender-neutral names.
Ghosts, Psychics, and Witches, Oh My!
With October fast approaching and the stores already having set up their Halloween displays, it seems like a good time to share with you the growing list of paranormal mystery series available at WPPL. From angels to vampires there are a variety of subject headings under which these series appear in our catalog. Here is a list of the mystery authors, their characters, and the paranormal subjects involved, to get you in the mood for some spooky reads.
Mystery Readers Survey
Sisters in Crime, an organization I have mentioned before, recently released a study they commissioned to learn more about mystery readers and book buying. Entitled The Mystery Book Consumer in the Digital Age, it examines the purchasing habits of over 1000 mystery readers in 2009/2010.
After an absence of a number of years, some very popular mystery characters are making their return to the scene of the crime. There are many and varied reasons for an author to stop writing a series. Sometimes, they feel the series has run its course. Often they are focusing on developing a new series, or they may be writing stand-alone fiction. In one case, Ian Rankin was forced to end his Inspector Rebus series because the fictional character had reached the actual mandatory age of retirement in Scotland. Sue Grafton is often asked what will happen to Kinsey Milhone when she reaches the end of the alphabet series.
Sisters in Crime, Inc. is an organization established to support women mystery writers. Founded in 1987, the membership is made up of women (and men) who are devoted to the mystery genre and includes authors, readers, fans, booksellers, and librarians. Their mission statement:
"The mission of Sisters in Crime is to promote the professional development and advancement of women crime writers to achieve equality in the industry."
For a list of all the mystery author members, state chapter locations, and to learn more about the history, mission and activities of this organization, visit their website at:
A Taste for Murder
With the huge popularity of all things related to food - cooking shows on TV, celebrity chefs, cookbooks, and grilling, to name a few - it's not surprising that one of the most popular cozy mystery subgenres is the culinary mystery.
You can find just about anything food-related in the wide range of culinary mysteries. There are mysteries about tea, coffee, and wine. Others feature caterers and owners of restaurants, bakeries, candy shops, herb shops, coffee and tea shops, and ice cream stores. Some characters are innkeepers and bed and breakfast owners. There are food columnists, restaurant reviewers, and chefs on cooking shows. Some characters are just amateur sleuths with an interest in cooking.