Thursday, August 28, 2014

LAST HOPE ALASKA, by Linda Trout

Today Linda Trout tells us about her latest Romantic Suspense Novel--LAST HOPE ALASKA.

You're are going to love this!
Linda Trout

Thank you, Jackie for having me on Murderous Musings. I feel right at home among mystery writers since I also have an infinity for killing off people. On paper at least. When some of my friends and former co-workers read my first book, Grave Secrets, they couldn’t believe I’d written it.

Where did that come from, they’d ask. You’re so sweet and nice so how did you think of such a dark character?


I think everyone who writes mysteries knows there’s a bit of a dark side to all of us. It’s a matter of tapping into it, then transferring that to paper.

I love putting my hero and heroine through their paces; throwing them into dangerous places, then proceed to make it worse.

In Last Hope Alaska, my latest release from The Wild Rose Press, I’ve done exactly that. I keep throwing everything but the kitchen sink at them. Oh, wait. I think I even threw the metaphorical sink at them in the end. J  But being the romantic that I am, they had to have their Happy Ever After, even if they are a bit banged up. I suppose that’s why I write romance as opposed to straight mystery, that HEA.

In LAST HOPE ALASKA, Emily Redfern's ex-fiancé learned to kill on the back streets of New York. Now, she is his target. Broke, exhausted, and a step ahead of the man she once loved, she clings to one last hope: the wilds of Alaska. The quiet safety of her hide-a-way becomes addictive as she grows to care for the man who offers her refuge.

Released from prison after a wrongful conviction, native Alaskan Sam Tarkington is determined to regain his business, repair his reputation, and rebuild his life. But when he meets a desperate and vulnerable woman, guarding secrets of her own, she tugs at his heart. She's a distraction he can't afford. Sam must choose Emily or achieving his dreams.

Like Emily's life, the peacefulness of the wilderness is an illusion as danger lurks in the distance. Does Sam hold the key to her survival or will her past cost them everything?

Thank you again for having me, Jackie. I’ve enjoyed visiting.

My books are available everywhere eBooks are sold and the print version is also available. I’d love to hear from your readers and can be reached on my website: or Like me on Facebook at


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

More thoughts from below the equator – an interview with Dorothy Johnston (part two)

by Bill Kirton
Last time, Dorothy gave us her insights into the labyrinthine nature of suspense/mystery and the cultural/historical influences that bear on writers of the genre in Australia. In this second part, I’m asking her about the specifics of her own writing.

For no obvious reason, after reading The White Tower, I found myself wondering about your attitude to the paranormal. Perhaps it’s the way you linked real and virtual worlds in the book. What are your thoughts about ‘alternative realities’?

In a way this is a prophetic question because the book I’m working on now is about the murder of a Henry Handel Richardson scholar who believed he could make contact with her spirit. One of the suspects is a psychic medium. In my daily life, I have no time for ‘alternative realities’, but when I sit down to write, I find that I enjoy exploring them. 

I was struck by your use of apparently insignificant detail in the narrative. For me, it enhanced the reality of your fiction. I assume that’s a deliberate choice. Am I right?

I’m not sure what you mean by ‘apparently insignificant detail’. Some details are there to mislead, or to make more plausible what turns out to be a false path. There’s a lot of detail devoted to making Canberra a solid, material place, in the tradition of mystery and crime writers for whom their settings are, in themselves, important characters. 

By details, I meant things like when Sandra is staring out of a window at ‘a square of grass’ and you write ‘A magpie hopped across it, dragging a tangled piece of string’. It’s maybe part of making the setting live, like Stendhal with his ‘petits faits vrais’. Anyway, here’s a boring question – ignore it if you like. Sandra Mahoney comes across as a fairly complex character and some of the complexities arise from the fact that, as well as an investigator, she also has a well chronicled home life, especially in sequences when she reflects on nursing her baby. Has she borrowed some of your own experiences in these areas?

Despite appearances and stereotypes, motherhood is not such a bad training for criminal investigation. I gave Sandra, partly as a reaction against the cerebral pull of cyber-detection, a weight of domestic life that, as you suggest, is not without its complications. The fact that I’ve made her a mother whose parental responsibilities aren’t brushed aside, or handed over to a nanny, or simply dropped from the narrative as the plot thickens means, for some critics, that she can’t at the same time be a credible investigator. She is the antithesis of the loner stereotype beloved by the genre.

I once wrote an essay titled ‘Female Sleuths and Family Matters – can genre and literary fiction coalesce?’ in which I attempted to argue the case that one doesn’t need to forego an in-depth exploration of family life in order to write a detective story. At the time I published the essay, I believed the combination was possible; now I’m not so sure. But I don’t regret the experiment because it taught me a lot.

Sandra’s children both are and are not mine.

She’s a great, rounded character. But then, so are the others you introduce in your narrative. You make some of them share impulses and motives and yet they’re all distinct individuals. Have you got a particular approach to creating them?

No particular approach. My children were a ‘given’, whom I then proceeded to take liberties with. Ivan is based on a Polish boyfriend from my early twenties, but I doubt he’d recognize himself in the character. Characters just come to me, much as I expect they do to you.

Yes, it sounds a familiar process. There’s also the fact that much of what we know of them comes as much from the conversations they have as from Sandra’s assessments of them. You seem to like dialogues. When you write them, do you have a specific purpose (i.e. that you want someone to reveal something inadvertently – about themselves or someone else, or supply some other clue or snippet of information necessary to the plot)? Or is it the power of the characters that drives them?

I don’t think I’m very good at dialogue. I re-write it heaps of times. I’m more comfortable with descriptive narrative, and with implication – what remains unsaid. I’m well aware that convincing dialogue is necessary for good mystery novels, so I keep working at it.

Well, take it from me, your hard work gets good results. But, turning to the comfort you feel with your narrative, does it ever take turns which surprise you?

Of course. I don’t write plans, so I don’t have pre-conceived ideas about where a narrative is heading. So I’m not ‘surprised’ in the sense of expectations being overturned. But my characters frequently surprise me.

That’s definitely a feeling we share. Now, I’m hoping your answers will have piqued the curiosity of readers so, if someone unfamiliar with your works decided to try one, which one would you recommend and why?

I’d recommend One for the Master or The House at Number 10 because I think these two novels contain my best writing. Also several short stories: ‘Two Wrecks’, ‘The Boatman of Lake Burley Griffin’ and ‘An Artist’s Story’.

On the subject of what you call your ‘best writing’, it seems that a critic found one of your books ‘too literary’. I find that a truly bizarre comment but would be interested to know your own reaction to it? Did you know what parts of the text made him/her say such a thing? Was your aim to ‘be literary’? Or was he/she expressing the annoying assumption that genre fiction is and/or ought to be qualitatively inferior?

One reviewer of The Trojan Dog wrote that I came to the genre with a pedigree. He meant literary pedigree, and that it did not fit me at all well for my new incarnation. I felt like writing back and saying that he’d made me feel like a poodle being told it couldn’t join the mongrels’ club. And that I’d always thought of myself as a mongrel. Genre classifications – and ‘literary’ is now considered to be one of these, though it is a qualitative assessment, not a genre – might be useful to marketing people and I accept that they can be useful to readers too. In my view, though, they are highly problematic.

… and that was where we stopped. I must confess, though, that I found Dorothy’s answers so thought-provoking that I’d liked to have asked her even more. So far, I’ve only read one of her Sandra Mahoney quartet but I’ll be reading the rest.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

When Ideas Won't Come

by June Shaw

What do you do if you're an author, and ideas won't come?

For about the two thousandth time, I am about to find out.

Normally when I don't know what words to type on the page it's because I'm at a place in the plot of a novel where something important and unexpected needs to happen. When that occurs, I often sit back, look at what I'd written thus far, and consider what twist might pull the reader along so that he or she won't close the book.

That's not what's happening now. Right now I'm setting my fingers on my laptop keys and creating one word after another, but I need to admit -- I'm not sure where I'm going with this.

I'll blame it on others. Twice within the past week I needed to create blogs for other people (of course I could have done them sooner, but -- I digress.) Possibly I could start thinking of something clever to write in our group blog here like so many of the other authors do. I could set lots of attractive pictures in my posts (if I could figure out how to do that.)

I write a quarterly column for our area's Chamber of Commerce. The same thing happens there. Ideas come at the last minute. I'm not sure who I'll write about until the editor shoots me a reminder that my column is due in a few days.

I don't put off writing on a work-in-progress almost every day. My routine is set: rise whenever I wake up, read my Daily Word and say quick prayers, grab my coffee and get to the computer. Of course my fiction might increase faster if the Internet wasn't connected.

So what do you keep writing about? And how do you do it on time? I'd love to know how others keep up with all of the things they're trying to write.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Multi-Author Signings

by Carola

Are multi-author signings worth the time and trouble? It depends what you expect of them.

For me, it's not really a matter of selling lots of books and making lots of lolly. I'm making my name and my books known to people who otherwise might never see them. Maybe they'll buy one book, and maybe they'll go on to buy more elsewhere. Maybe they'll pick up a bookmark or a card to give to a friend who likes "that kind of stuff." So future sales are one aim.

If the signing is sponsored by a bookstore, you're making sure they know of your existence and hoping they will carry your books in future. If they already do, you're reminding them how charming and cooperative you are. With luck, they'll be not just stocking but recommending your books to their customers in future.

Even if there's no bookstore involved and you sell hardly any books, you're meeting fellow authors, exchanging ideas and tips, making new friends--not always easy to do when you spend most of your waking hours with the imaginary people in your head, trying to turn them into words on a screen!

Sometimes a multi-author signing--or any signing, come to that--is at least partly an excuse for a couple of days away from that screen, even if you never escape the people in your head. Last weekend, a 50-author event at a bookstore on the Oregon coast gave me an excuse to drive over, spend the night, and take a couple of lovely walks on the beach with the dog. Good enough reason to accept the invitation, though I did sell some books, too!

Chasing sandpipers
Yes, Mum, I've been rolling in the sand
Gonna shake that sand right outa my hair
Encounter with a hippo
Encounter with a ?jellyfish?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Killer Nashville--Double the Killer Fun

by Jackie King

Looking forward to a trip is half of the fun. Looking back at delightful memories is another half of the fun. That leaves 100 percent of fun to enjoy at the time of the experience. (I’ve been told that my math leaves something to be desired. But I seldom listen.) So you can say that I plan to have double the fun at KN. This will be my first time to this conference. I’ve been to Bouchercon twice, once in Dallas and once in St. Louis. Both times were fabulous, and I’m eager to experience KN. Mystery Cons ROCK!
Book One

Book Two

Packing is always a nightmare for me. I think it’s because I’m wishy-washy. Undecided. I’m one of those women who want to take everything I own with me, and at the same time I’m sensible enough to know that’s ridiculous. So right now, a few days away from the trip, I’m trying to make a list of what to take.

Happy Smile--Me Thinking of Killer Nashville

Nothing looks right. First of all, I need to lose about 20 pounds so that the clothes I like best would fit again. Since I don’t think that’s going to happen overnight, my backup plan is to pack what fits and remember not to look in mirrors.

I’m traveling with the most delightful writer, T.D. Hart. She writes thrillers and I write cozies, and that’s pretty much where our differences stop. (Unless you’re talking about our ages, our weight, and our energy levels. Mine is high, high, and low. T.D.’s is the opposite. She’s a living doll.)

T.D. Hart
T D Hart, Glamorous Gal Who Writes Thrillers

We’re driving from Tulsa, OK, and our plan is to go a day early. We will talk plotting on the way. She’s a much better plotter than I am, so I’m hoping to learn how to pace and plot my stories better.

But back to packing: Do you think T.D. would consider it outrageous if I told her I’m taking a steamer trunk and two suitcases?

Probably not. I doubt if she even knows what a steamer trunk is.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Thoughts from below the equator – an interview with Dorothy Johnston (part one)

by Bill Kirton
Dorothy Johnston is an award-winning Australian author. She’s written novels, short stories and a quartet of mysteries featuring Sandra Mahoney. It’s through these mysteries that I came to know her. They’re set in Canberra and, as well as being beautifully written examples of the genre, convey the subtle differences between life in the northern and southern hemispheres.  The questions she asked when she interviewed me  were so perceptive that I wanted to turn the tables and try to get some of her own inside story. Her replies were so rich and interesting that I didn’t want to lose anything of what she said so I’m posting them in two parts. Here’s part one.

From the point of view of a traditional fan of crimes/mysteries, it seems that the whole area of computer crime, identity theft, alibi establishing, the location of suspects/victims at specific times (through mobile phones or computer log-ins) has added a new dimension to the genre. Is that the way you see it? Does your own expertise in the field open up possibilities different from the conventional ones?

I’m no technical expert, but neither is my protagonist, Sandra Mahoney. Her partner, Ivan, knows a lot more about the IT world than she does, at least at the beginning. In the first book in my quartet, The Trojan Dog, Sandra falls into investigating an electronic crime, much as I fell into writing about them. She’s an everywoman, learning as she goes.

The mystery quartet – after The Trojan Dog comes The White Tower, then Eden, then The Fourth Season – is my way of writing about Canberra, where I lived for thirty years before moving back to Victoria, close to where I was born. Canberra, the most stratified and Gothic of Australian cities, had ambitions to become the IT capital of the country, an ambition which seems quaint now; but in the early 1990s, when I began my quartet, a lot of people were taking it seriously. The slipperiness, often the invisibility, of electronic crime still seems to fit well with the national capital – the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing – or pretending not to know – the government as the country's biggest spender, and therefore a most attractive target for thieves.

On another level, writing about electronic crime appealed to me imaginatively. Some years ago, I discovered a description by Umberto Eco of three types of labyrinth, and this description has stayed with me.

First, Eco says, there is the classic labyrinth of Theseus. Theseus enters the labyrinth, arrives at its centre thanks to Ariadne's thread, slays the minotaur, then leaves. He does not get lost. Terror is born of the fact that you know there is a minotaur, but you do not know what the minotaur will do. Then there is the mannerist maze. As Ariadne's thread is unravelled and followed, the Theseus figure discovers, not a centre, but a kind of tree with many dead ends, many branches leading nowhere. There is an exit, but finding it is a complicated task. Finally there is the net, which is so constructed that every path can be connected to every other one. This labyrinth has no centre and no one entry or exit.

Cyberspace, where crimes using computers are committed, is clearly this third kind of labyrinth. The computer criminal, hacker, virus king etc can be tracked, but the mode of tracking, of following the thread, soon corresponds to becoming lost in the maze, which indeed itself can become the minotaur.

I find this space enormously appealing. Yet what also appeals to me is the traditional structure of a crime investigation, a fictional one, that is, the progression from a beginning to an end where the criminal is identified and caught. I like the tension that's created by putting one inside the other.

That’s a terrific analysis of how the genre works. I’ll no doubt be stealing it in the future. Let’s be more basic now, though. I knew, of course, that the seasons in the southern and northern hemispheres are reversed but I was somehow more aware of it when I read The White Tower. Is that the sort of experience you have when reading books written by ‘northern’ authors?

The quartet was always going to be ‘four seasons’ – one novel for each. The seasons are distinct in Canberra, for someone who was born and grew up on the coast. (The White Tower is Spring.) I like turning things upside down for northern hemisphere readers. In the same way, I like looking at snowbound French villages on television when the temperature outside my window is forty degrees.

You’ll find images of Aberdeen in January have a similar effect, only without the prettiness. Does the genre differ in Australia from crimes or mysteries written here up north? If so, can you tell me a bit about the nature of those differences?

I thought you might ask about this, and I really don’t have an answer. It’s a truism to say that Australia was a convict settlement, that Europeans’ sense of themselves in this country began with ritualised crime and punishment, compared with, for example, religious conviction in North America. It’s a truism that, in my view, has far-reaching consequences, but I don’t have the space to go into them here. Bill – you said you could write an essay in answer to each of my questions, and you’ve presented me with the same dilemma! Briefly, there’s a strong – and brutal – line of inheritance from convict days, and at the same time contemporary fiction that goes in multiple directions – from cosy to hard-boiled and everything in between. One general comment made by critics from time to time is that we favour private operators rather than police procedurals. Interestingly enough, one of my favourite writers, Barry Maitland, who writes police procedurals, has chosen to set his series in London rather than anywhere in Australia.

…and that’s the point at which we’ll pause to reflect on some stimulating thoughts about both the mystery genre and the cultural influences that I, for one, had never really considered. The fact that we share a language tends to lead us to suppose that the sharing extends to values. It probably does, but the historical element Dorothy introduces adds a fascinating new dimension.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Guest Author Paul D. Marks On Writing

I would like to welcome Shamus Award Winner Paul D. Marks as my guest blogger.  This week Paul offers Murderous Musings readers his insight in writing.  I encourage you to pass his insight onto others and also check out his website,  Thank you, Paul!


By Paul D. Marks

I recently saw a writer post something on Facebook about an editor wanting a writer to remove certain historical references from his manuscript because the editor thought some readers might not recognize them. Dismayed, the writer then asked his Facebook friends whether he should keep or remove those references. This author’s question got me thinking about my own writing, and whether or not I should “write down” to my readers.

Certainly, all writers want to convey certain thoughts, emotions and ideas to their readers. To do that, we often use literary or historical allusions, scientific and cultural references.  But in doing so, we believe our reader base will possess a similar degree of shared knowledge so that when we mention references to Freud, Shakespeare, Billie Holiday or Queen Victoria, (who lent her name to an entire era) or simple phrases such as “the straw that broke the camel’s back”, they will not only comprehend what we are saying, but relate to it.  We also assume that if they are unfamiliar and curious, they will look it up.

Unfortunately, our cultural ties-that-bind are either breaking down, or they are not being passed down to younger generations. Granted, every elder has said this regarding successive generations, but the problem seems to have worsened in recent decades.  The media, social media, internet, video games, educational system, parents and a breakdown in nuclear families have all played a role in this demise.

Sadly, today’s younger generations seem less informed about history, literature, pop culture (other than their own), high culture and in general, most things that preceded them.  As a result, every subsequent generation has been left further behind. When I was a kid I might not have known the difference between Catherine the Great or Katharine Hepburn, W.E.B. Du Bois or Jorge Luis Borges, or Benny Goodman and Beethoven, but they eventually came into my consciousness because I was curious and did some research.  Today, many people know little of our major figures, even from recent past. Ask a young adult about our history in warfare and few will have a clue. Mention George Washington, FDR, Lincoln or Cesar Chavez and see their reaction. Sadly, most people rarely let history seep into their consciousness.

As a writer pitching ideas to Hollywood executives, I used to begin as if my audience and I had a common knowledge base. When I quickly learned that wasn’t the case, I dumbed my presentation down so as not to include anything that might make any of them feel insecure or ignorant.  Although most had heard of Casablanca, few had seen it, so if I mentioned it was like “a modern day Casablanca,” their blank stares forced me to first describe the Casablanca plot, which I then explained my reference.

Mind you, these were intelligent people, many of whom came from Ivy League schools. Even so, few knew anything about World War II, the Cold War, Viet Nam, or that “black comedies” are not films named for featuring African American characters, but rather for its style. I also learned that many were unfamiliar with basic phrases or expressions.  Regardless, I soon realized that whenever I had to explain a reference, I had lost them.

Of course, ignorance applies to anyone who is not informed.  This includes Hollywood executives, psychologists, professionals I’ve encountered while doing research, and people I have met in everyday life.  Remember that ignorance is not a statement of intelligence, but rather a lack of knowledge.  Several years ago a group of journalism students demonstrated their knowledge of their world and current events in a questionnaire. The results were shocking because they proved to know little.  If anyone should be curious about history and current events, it should be journalism students.  

How many young people know that many great literary works contain biblical references?  Hemingway used them in The Old Man and the Sea, and The Sun Also Rises. Moby Dick, a book considered by many to be the greatest American novel, is filled with them.  T.S. Eliot used them in The Wasteland.  Bob Dylan used biblical allusions in many songs that even now go over most people’s heads. Even the recent TV show Lost did this.  Those sharing that common knowledge base will easily pick them out.  But in spite of having the Internet and hyperlinks to instantly provide answers, few will choose to expand their horizons. Without understanding the references in a story, the viewer/reader will lose much of the story.  As a result, while I prefer using cultural references in my writing, I now think twice about including them.  Of course, in doing so I am also guilty of not only dumbing down my work, but society, in general.

No doubt my decision to “write down” has actually stemmed from working on film and radio scripts where I was instructed to dumb things down. On one radio show, a fellow writer and I were called on the carpet and given a condescending lecture by the producer for using “big words”.  Words like condescending.  No doubt this was the result of him feeling embarrassed because he didn’t understand their meaning.  But he wasn’t alone.  Jay Leno’s Jaywalking segments demonstrated how little the average person knew. Many of those Leno interviewed couldn’t identify President Bush and Obama from a photo.  Others believed it was Joe Biden who crossed the Delaware. Leno has admitted he didn’t have to search for “dumb” people.  Normally, they went with the first few people they came across because there was no need in searching any further. Again, this is not to say these people are stupid.  More likely their ignorance is due to apathy and/or narcissistic values.

Personal computers, cell phones, social media and Twitter have changed the way people globally interact.  Furthermore, because many families are spread out, grandparents may not live nearby, so their knowledge is not passed down. Nowadays, shorter attention spans means longer articles are being disregarded.  Reality shows have greater audiences than shows on the History channel.  Even the Discovery Channel have been forced into shows like Escaped: Real Prison Breaks or the Learning Channel’s 19 Kids and Counting to retain its viewers. And the Biography Channel has resorted to stories about movie and TV stars of little significance rather than people of historical significance.  This disturbing trend seems to prove that today’s audience prefers vapid celebrities and superficial reality shows to those shows having historical significance.  Unfortunately, what people fail to understand is that without understanding our past, we lack the knowledge and ability to influence our future.

Personally, I do not like dumbing my writing down. I believe authors should challenge their readers to learn more by forcing them to look things up and expand their vocabularies and worlds. Writers need to challenge their readers to dust off an encyclopedia, history book, and surf the web beyond paparazzi photos and cute animal videos. (Hey, I like them too, but . . .)  I love using examples from history and literature, etc., in my writing, and hate seeing them get lost in the quicksand of lethargy. There is far more to life than celebrities and housewives’ gossip or what’s just happened in the span of someone’s conscious memory. There is also more to life than selfies, in both the literal and figurative sense.  The bottom line – write like you mean it.


There are a couple of famous stories about well-known works being rejected after they had been huge successes.  One example is writer Chuck Ross who hand-typed the script for Casablanca, arguably one of the three best and most famous American movies of all time, and considered by many to be the best.  For grins, he changed the title and submitted it to several producers. Not surprisingly, most didn’t recognize it and rejected it outright.  When some thought the people best to play the roles were unfortunately dead, he knew they got it.  This example shows you how even Hollywood is unaware of its own past. Check out this link to find out more:

Ross further tested his “oblivious theory” by using a novel written by Jerzy Kosiński, who won the National Book Award for Steps. Ross typed it up as a manuscript and submitted it to Kosiński’s own publisher, who then rejected it without ever recognizing it, proving even the supposedly “literate” publishing industry is not immune to ignorance.  The moral of the story is, don’t feel bad if you get rejected because the reviewers don’t necessarily recognize good material. Check out Ross’s experience with this link:  

Thanks for having me, Mark!

Find me at:


Paul D. Marks’ novel WHITE HEAT is a 2013 SHAMUS AWARD WINNER. Publishers Weekly calls WHITE HEAT a “taut crime yarn.” And Midwest Book Review says “WHITE HEAT is a riveting read of mystery, much recommended.” Paul is also the author of over thirty published short stories in a variety of genres, including several award winners—and L.A. LATE @ NIGHT, a collection of five of his mystery and noir tales. His story HOWLING AT THE MOON will be in an upcoming edition of Ellery Queen. And he has the distinction, dubious though it might be, of being the last person to have shot a film on the fabled MGM backlot before it bit the dust to make way for condos. According to Steven Bingen, one of the authors of the recent, well-received book MGM: Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot: “That 40 page chronological list I mentioned of films shot at the studio ends with his [Paul D. Marks’] name on it.”

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


by Carola

The first two Daisy Dalrymple mysteries have now come out in Hungarian. They have used the UK covers, but the titles are in Hungarian, of course.

 This is Death at Wentwater Court. I'm told it translates roughly as Daisy and the Frozen Don Juan. Which is all very well, but makes it liable to be confused with Fall of a Philanderer--though that takes place in summer...

 This is The Winter Garden Mystery. The translation is more or less Daisy and the Garden of Mystery. Fair enough.

 The German translations of Daisy had titles on a pattern similar to the Hungarian--they were all Miss Daisy und...  Most were perfectly acceptable but one actually gave away one of what you might call the inner mysteries, not whodunnit but to whom it was done. Maddening.

Some of the Polish titles were pretty strange. Gone West came out as the Mystery of the Empty Notebook. No empty notebook in that story.

Die Laughing is something like Torture Me with Laughter. It sounds as if the victim was tickled to death, which he wasn't.

I've been told the the translations of the actual text are pretty bad, but I guess they sold well in spite of it. Perhaps Polish readers are used to reading bad translations of foreign books and make allowances.

The only translations of my books that I've been able to read for myself were a few Regencies that came out in French. They were readable but had serious trouble when it came to the language of the period. I guess I shouldn't have written puns in Regency English.

The one above all that I would really like to be able to read is the Hebrew translation of Mayhem and Miranda. I can't believe they changed my innocuous story sufficiently to justify this cover: