If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our June author interviews: Fish Out of Water Authors--6/7, Susan Van Kirk--6/14, Renee Patrick--6/21, and Joanne Guidoccio--6/28.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in June: 6/3--Geoffrey Mehl, 6/10--Joan Leotta. WWK Saturday bloggers write on 6/17--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 6/24--Kait Carson.

“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.”

In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on October, 18, 2017. Look for the interview by E. B. Davis here on that date!

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.


Monday, June 26, 2017

That Old Black Dog of Fear

by Linda Rodriguez

People are afraid of many things. The saddest is the fear of black cats and dogs. Because of this fear, more black cats and dogs are euthanized by kill shelters than other colors. People are afraid to adopt them because they’re black, and these shelters, which usually have to euthanize because they’re public shelters and have to keep taking in all surrendered/lost pets brought to them, must kill them when they’ve been there too long and space gets short. Because of this problem, many of these shelters periodically offer “sales” on black cats and dogs—half-off adoption fees, very low adoption fees, even sometimes no adoption fees.

The prejudice against black cats and dogs goes back a long way to old superstitions about them being the devil’s animals and being bad luck. I could trace these legends back to their beginnings in the battle between religions where the animals were simply used as props and propaganda weapons by the warring sides, but I’m not going to burden this blog with that today. It’s a shame that companion animals have to be dragged into our human quarrels in this way.

The only thing sadder than a rejected black pet is an older cat or dog who’s also black. No one wants these. You combine the prejudice against older animals with the prejudice against black animals and come up with a stone wall these cats and dogs can’t get over, no matter how sweet, cute, bright, well-behaved, and gentle they are. If you talk to anyone in the rescue business or look on any of their websites, you’ll quickly find that this is a sad, basic truth in the world of those who care for and try to find permanent homes for older, black pets.

My dog, Dyson
The silliest part of it, to me, is that the pet doesn’t even have to be all black, certainly not if it’s a dog. Check out your local humane shelter’s “black dog sale,” and you’ll find that dogs that are only part black are included in the sale because they’re included in people’s prejudices against black animals. My own rescue dog is a Plott hound with the typical brindle brown coat, but because he has a black saddle on his back, he was deemed a black dog and unadoptable.

Rescue and shelter animals have enough prejudice against them. Every year, approximately 3-4 million cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters. These are animals people gave up and threw out, or the offspring of such animals. It’s getting worse because many families have lost homes and been forced to move to apartments that refuse animals, causing them to surrender family pets if they can’t find friends to take them. Yet still, people pay big bucks to buy dogs and cats from breeders—and oddly enough, many of those wanted, purchased purebred dogs and cats (but more often dogs) find their ways into shelters around the country. I’ve been taking in shelter dogs all my adult life, and I’ve noticed a big change there. It used to be rare to find a purebred animal at a shelter. Now, they’ve all got some, and often quite a number of them.

I can’t stress enough how important I feel it is to give homes to shelter/rescue cats and dogs, if you can and if you are looking for a pet. They make grateful, loyal, and affectionate pets, and you’re quite literally saving a life when you do. And while you’re looking for a good pet at your local shelter, please, please don’t bypass the older, black animals in your search. Older, black cats and dogs are at the highest risk of being euthanized because no one wants them. Take one home and bask in its love and affection. You’ll be glad you did as the years in company with your faithful pet slip past.

Linda Rodriguez's Plotting the Character-Driven Novel, based on her popular workshop, and The World Is One Place: Native American Poets Visit the Middle East, an anthology she co-edited, are her newest books. Every Family Doubt, her fourth mystery novel featuring Cherokee campus police chief, Skeet Bannion, will appear in autumn, 2017. Her three earlier Skeet novels—Every Hidden Fear, Every Broken Trust, and Every Last Secret—and her books of poetry—Skin Hunger and Heart's Migration—have received critical recognition and awards, such as St. Martin's Press/Malice Domestic Best First Novel, International Latino Book Award, Latina Book Club Best Book of 2014, Midwest Voices & Visions, Elvira Cordero Cisneros Award, Thorpe Menn Award, and Ragdale and Macondo fellowships. Her short story, “The Good Neighbor,” published in the anthology, Kansas City Noir, has been optioned for film.

Rodriguez is past chair of the AWP Indigenous Writer’s Caucus, past president of Border Crimes chapter of Sisters in Crime, founding board member of Latino Writers Collective and The Writers Place, and a member of International Thriller Writers, Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers, and Kansas City Cherokee Community. Visit her at http://lindarodriguezwrites.blogspot.com

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Starting from Scratch

by Julie Tollefson

The revisions I’m making to my current manuscript have taken the story in unexpected directions, developments that have created holes in the storyline—huge, gaping canyons in logic and flow that leave me breathless.

The way forward is clear. I simply need to write several new scenes that bridge the gap from Ugly Draft to Not-So-Ugly Draft. I know the characters. I know what needs to happen to make the story make sense. Yet here I sit, fingers poised, and the words will not come. Faced with the blank screen, I freeze.

I’ve been in this exact same position a number of times in the past month. Once I finally start writing, the fear and the doubt fall away. But in that space between thinking about writing and writing, I can lose minutes, hours, in staring at the empty screen. Or worse, I’ll decide to pop over to check Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, just for a minute (uh-huh) while I marshal my thoughts.

It’s the polar opposite of the way I feel when I’m so far inside my story the real world feels alien. Then, when the words flow effortlessly, I resent people, real people, who dare to intrude in my fictional world and drag me back to reality.

I’ve heard other authors say that every new project feels like the first time. Daunting, with a healthy side of “I don’t know how to do this.” That’s a comfort when I feel truly stuck. Maybe this down time is my subconscious brain working out the best plot.

Or maybe I’m just a hopeless procrastinator.

Regardless, I’ve picked up a few strategies that help turn the word tap back on. The obvious—re-read previous scenes to get my head back in the story—works most of the time.

The rest of the time?

Occasionally, my brain says, “Here are some ideas, but they’re stupid, predictable, clichéd, and not very elegant.” Then, I give myself a stern talking to, a reminder that the first words on the screen can be weak or trite because I will revise them later.

And when the doubts seriously set in, I stoke my ego by re-reading previous work (“It’s not dreck! Cool!”) or feedback from others (“rich, lyrical descriptions”) to regain that “I’ve done it before, I can do it again” determination.

In the end, what it boils down to, after all is said and done, the only way forward Aww, heck, just do it already.

What are your go-to strategies when you’re stuck on a problem?

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Killer Inside of Me by Jim Thompson: A Review by Warren Bull

The Killer Inside of Me by Jim Thompson: A Review by Warren Bull

Stanley Kubrick described The Killer Inside of Me as, “Probably the most chilling and believable first-person story of a criminally warped mind I have ever seen.”

I agree. First published in the United States in 1952, there are now 57 editions of the novel including several in languages other than English and at least two movies based on the novel.

The use of first person intensifies the experience of reading. Thompson manages to make the narrator both human and deeply disturbed. Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford is a well-respected resident of a small Texas town. The worst that can be said about him is that he’s a little slow and boring. However, underneath that appearance, what the deputy calls the “sickness” waits for the chance to flare again and dominate his personality. In the past his family was able to conceal the problem, to keep it under wraps and monitor him closely. When the sickness emerges again years later, there is no one to around to watch him; no one who even knows about the problem.

The writing is graphic in terms of being intense and engrossing. It is not needlessly gory.  It reminds me of the Alfred Hitchcock movie Psycho. The violence is largely implied. In the shower  scene the knife is never seen touching the victim. 

This is a classic novel of suspense. I recommend it highly.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

All Quiet on the Western Front

Last week my Third Thursday Book Club met at my house to discuss the book All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. It is a classic written by a German who served in World War I and wrote it in 1928. The book has beautifully written prose that was almost lyrical at times, but so depressing in the details of what happened to the young men sent to war. Although the characters were fictional, one gets the feelings that the main character written in first person was based on what Erich Remarque himself went through. He was wounded in the war.

All but one of the six of us had read the book, and even though it was sad in so many ways, we were glad we read it, and saw how lessons weren’t learned from the horrors of WWI and continue still to this day where most of those who go to fight aren’t the sons of the wealthy, but the poorer young men who are rather clueless on what to expect. Yes, there were some young men of wealthy people who went to war like John Kerry and John F. Kennedy, but most of the wealthier young men managed to get out of being drafted. As it said on the cover of the book, “On the threshold of life, they faced an abyss of death.”

In the book, the main character, Paul Baumer says “I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow . . .”

What got all of us is when he went home on leave after watching so many die or be seriously wounded in a gruesome way, and being so hungry much of the time because food when it did reach them wasn’t all that good. Everyone except his mother wanted to know what was going on, and the men especially thought they knew just what should be done. And because there wasn’t much food for those left behind in the small German towns (farmer’s horses had been confiscated for the war) the people in the towns seemed to think that the soldiers were all being fed generously when nothing was further from the truth, unless it was the officers. He didn’t feel like he belonged in his small town anymore. No one had any idea what he and the others had gone through and would still be going through when he went back to the war. He didn’t feel right about telling them the truth for fear they’d think he was against the German government and be considered an enemy.

Eventually Paul realizes that the enemies are no different than they are. They are young men fighting a war of hate perpetrated by higher ups in the governments for their own purpose.

On the back cover, The New York Times Book Review said “The world has a great writer in Erich Maria Remarque. He is a craftsman of unquestionably first frank, a man who can bend language to his will. Whether he writes of men or of inanimate nature, his touch is sensitive, firm and sure.”

In his bio at the back of the book I learned he was born in 1898 and lived to 1970. He was in combat in World War I, and was wounded five times, the last time was severely. After the war he taught briefly, became a stonecutter in the cemetery of Osnabruck, the town where he had been born, and served as an assistant editor of Sportsbild. He worked as a librarian, businessman, journalist and editor. Remarque came to the United States in 1939 after he’d moved to Switzerland, and remained until after World War II, but returned to Switzerland afterwards.

Wanting to know more about him, I went to Wikipedia, In addition to the book we read, he wrote many other books and essays about the war. All Quiet on the Western Front was made into an Oscar-winning film. This book and his other works made him an enemy of the Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Geobbels, who banned and publicly burned Remarque’s works.  Apparently they didn’t question his German background or Catholic faith, but hated his writings. They claimed he had not seen active service in World War I and revoked his German citizenship. He was born Erich Paul Remark, but changed his middle name to Maria in honor of his mother. Changing his last name Remark to the French spelling of Remarque was another thing that angered the Nazis.

His first marriage was to the actress Ilse Jutta Zambona. Their marriage wasn’t a good one. They divorced in 1930, but in 1933 they fled together to Switzerland. In 1938 they remarried, to prevent her from being forced to return to Germany. They immigrated to the United States where they both became naturalized citizens in 1947. They divorced again in May 1957.

During the 1930s, he had relationships with Austrian actress Hedy Lamar, Mexican actress Dolores del Rio, Marlene Dietrich, and Greta Garbo. (You can learn more about this at Wikipedia.) In 1958 he married actress Paulette Goddard and they remained married until his death from a heart collapse from an aneurysm in 1970. In his lifetime he sold millions of copies of his books and became quite wealthy, but I think the book that still remains a classic is the one we read.

In 1943 they arrested his younger sister, Elfriede Scholz, who had stayed behind in Germany with her husband and two children. After a trial, she was found guilty of “undermining morale” for stating that she considered the war lost. Court President Roland Freisler declared, “Your brother is unfortunatelybeyond our reach – you, however, will not escape us.” She was beheaded on December 16th, 1943. Remarque was not aware of this until after the war, and would dedicate his 1952 novel Spark of Life to his late sister.
One of the things that left us bothered is that the world hasn’t changed all that much. There are still wars being fought and so many people uprooted from their homes and lives being lost, and people not trusting those of different nationalities.  Maybe if this book was required reading in high school or college, things might change for the better. However, it was well read in Germany and didn’t stop World War II, did it, but maybe it was because it was burned before more people had a chance to read it.

Have you read All Quiet on the Western Front?

If not, do you think you would like to read it?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

An Interview With Renee Patrick

(Rosemarie and Vince Keenan)

by Grace Topping

When I met Rosemarie and Vince Keenan (writing as Renee Patrick) at the Malice Domestic conference and heard them talk about their series featuring the Golden Age of Hollywood, mystery, fashion, and Edith Head, I was intrigued. After reading the first book in the series, Design for Dying, I knew they had a hit on their hands. Fans at Malice Domestic agreed, nominating Design for Dying for an Agatha for Best First Novel. Word is spreading about this terrific book, and it was recently nominated for an Anthony. The second book in the series, Dangerous to Know, released in April, is also being well received. If you love old movies, beautiful fashion, and intriguing mysteries, this series is for you. It was a pleasure interviewing Rosemarie and Vince and learning more about them and their work. 

Welcome, Rosemarie and Vince, to Writers Who Kill.

Why did you select Edith Head for your series?

Rosemarie and Vince Keenan
Costume design struck us as an interesting way to explore the behind-the-scenes history of Golden Age Hollywood. After all, there are no secrets in a dressing room. Edith is the most-well known designer of the era, collaborating with many legendary figures in front of and behind the camera. Plus her personal story fascinates us, working her way up from sketch girl to head of Paramount’s wardrobe department.

Lillian Frost (a fictional character) is your point-of-view character, with Edith Head featured in the story. First, why didn’t you use Edith Head as the POV character, and second, will she play a larger role in future books in this series?

We wanted to be faithful to Edith’s fabled around-the-clock work ethic. The nature of her job meant she’d be an armchair detective along the lines of Nero Wolfe. A Nero needs an Archie, so Lillian was born. Lillian is free to explore every strata of show business while Edith is at the studio--but Edith will always have a hand in solving the mystery.

In addition to Edith Head, you’ve included famous people such as Bob Hope, Barbara Stanwyck, and Martha Raye in Design for Dying. What is the most challenging thing you face using actual people in your books?

It’s actually two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, voice; when these characters appear on the page we want them to be recognizable to their fans. Conversely, we’re also concerned about the reaction of readers who are less familiar with these real-life stars. We strive to make them engaging even to those who don’t know their names.

Design for Dying was nominated for the 2017 Agatha for Best First Novel and recently for an Anthony. How exciting was that? Has receiving recognition early in your mystery-writing career put more pressure on you?

Recognition for the book was completely unexpected, so it was an enormous thrill. And we can now vouch for the truth of that old show biz saying: it truly is an honor to be nominated! It’s not pressure at all. We prefer to think of it as encouragement to continue to do our best work.

From the quality of your writing, it’s obvious you are experienced writers. The terrific analogies and metaphors you used could be textbook examples. (I found myself underlining passages.) Is this series your first work of fiction, or have you published other books?

Thank you! This is indeed the first work of fiction that we’ve published, although Rosemarie has written a few work emails that come close and Vince’s résumé is a tissue of lies. For several years he’s been the managing editor of Noir City, the magazine of the Film Noir Foundation, which has kept him steeped in both writing and Hollywood history.

One of the strongest things about your book is your voice. You’ve also captured the sounds of the Golden Age of Hollywood perfectly. What do you think helped you manage that?

Years of watching old movies. It’s one of the things that brought us together. Turner Classic Movies is the background to our evenings. We turn it on and collect old slang expressions and turns of phrase that we’re itching to put back in circulation.

What motivated you to write as a team?

Necessity. Rosemarie had the initial idea and a broad knowledge of the period, but no writing experience and a demanding day job. Vince loved the idea and thought we could each bring something unique to the equation.

What is the most challenging part of writing together as husband and wife?

Remembering to turn it off occasionally. You tend to live in a book as you’re writing it, and that impulse can be a genuine problem when your partner in work is also your partner at home. There’s a risk you might talk about nothing else. You have to establish boundaries and stick to them, often with the help of a cocktail or two.

Do you bring different skills to the team?

Yes. Rosemarie’s had a lifelong interest in fashion and costume design. Vince’s background in screenwriting and video games gave him experience with plotting and structure.

Please tell us about your process. Do you have different levels of participation?

We divvy up the research then plot the book together. One of us then writes the first draft while the other edits and makes notes. We reverse roles for the polish, so that each of us feels we’ve gotten our fingerprints on the material. Then we do a last pass side by side, which we think of as the Renee Patrick version.

If you disagree, who’s the tiebreaker? 

Renee. It’s gotten to the point where one of us can say, “We know what you want and what I want, but what does Renee want?” And we both somehow know the answer.

What surprised you the most about the process?

How quickly we realized what Renee’s voice was. We couldn’t have described it to each other when we started, but we soon discovered we were both envisioning the same kind of book with the same kind of humor.

Based on your experience writing together, what advice would you give writers who plan to write with a partner?

Don’t live with them. It just makes life easier. And if you have to live with them, give yourselves breaks. If not from each other, then from the work. Finally, make sure you have the same sense of humor. Our only disagreements were about jokes.

I loved the clothing style hints you subtly wove in Design for Dying. Will we be seeing more in future books?

Edith Head
Absolutely. Edith was a pioneer in providing style advice on television and radio, and we’d like to incorporate some of her tips because they’re as useful today as they were back then. Some fashions never go out of fashion.

What’s next for Lillian Frost and Edith Head?

We’ve always seen the books as a fictional female-centric history of Hollywood, so we look at what was happening in the film industry at the time and construct stories around that. We’re planning a book that touches on the origins of Citizen Kane but from the perspective of Marion Davies, who’s still so underrated as an actress.

Thank you, Rosemarie and Vince.

Learn more about Renee Patrick and this series at http://reneepatrickbooks.com and on Facebook.

Design for Dying
Los Angeles, 1937. Lillian Frost has traded dreams of stardom for security as a department store salesgirl . . . until she discovers she's a suspect in the murder of her former roommate, Ruby Carroll. Party girl Ruby died wearing a gown she stole from the wardrobe department at Paramount Pictures, domain of Edith Head.
Edith has yet to win the first of her eight Academy Awards; right now she's barely hanging on to her job, and a scandal is the last thing she needs. To clear Lillian's name and save Edith's career, the two women join forces. 
Unraveling the mystery pits them against a Hungarian princess on the lam, a hotshot director on the make, and a private investigator who's not on the level. All they have going for them are dogged determination, assists from the likes of Bob Hope and Barbara Stanwyck, and a killer sense of style. In show business, that just might be enough…

Dangerous to Know

Los Angeles, 1938. Former aspiring actress Lillian Frost is adjusting to a new life of boldfaced names as social secretary to a movie-mad millionaire. Costume designer Edith Head is running Paramount Pictures’ wardrobe department, but only until a suitable replacement comes along. The two friends again become partners thanks to an international scandal, a real-life incident in which the war clouds gathering over Europe cast a shadow on Hollywood.
Lillian attended the Manhattan dinner party at which well-heeled guests insulted Adolf Hitler within earshot of a maid with Nazi sympathies. Now, secrets the maid vengefully spilled have all New York society running for cover – and two Paramount stars, Jack Benny and George Burns, facing smuggling charges.
Edith also seeks Lillian’s help on a related matter. The émigré pianist in Marlene Dietrich’s budding nightclub act has vanished. Lillian reluctantly agrees to look for him. When Lillian finds him dead, Dietrich blames agents of the Reich. As Lillian and Edith unravel intrigue extending from Paramount’s Bronson Gate to FDR’s Oval Office, only one thing is certain: they’ll do it in style.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bringing a Character to Televised Life

Paula Gail Benson

Dana Cameron
Let me begin by saying I am an unabashed, wildly enthusiastic fan of Dana Cameron and her Emma Fielding archeological mystery series. My fandom is of long duration, going back to when the first Emma Fielding novel, Site Unseen, was initially published.

For the purposes of full disclosure, I met Dana Cameron at Malice Domestic when we were standing in line to get Elizabeth Peters’ signature. Dana asked me to take her photo with Peters. When I returned home, I read Dana’s novels, devouring each as it was released and being tremendously sad after the last was published. Although, I’m glad to say Emma has appeared in short story form since the end of the series.

Dana and I stayed in contact, meeting each year at Malice. I recommended her novels to my book club and moderated a panel she appeared on at the South Carolina Book Festival. The year she served as Malice’s Toastmaster, I attended the banquet for the first time and sat at her table with Frankie Bailey, Toni Kelner, and Charlaine Harris, an experience I’ll never forget.

I love Dana’s Fangborn stories and her dark colonial noir with Anna Hoyt, but Emma Fielding remains a favorite. And, it’s not just because Dana used my name for a young karate student character in Ashes and Bones, although I did give copies of that book to everyone I knew for Christmas the year it was published.

This year, Dana has experienced the delight of having her Emma Fielding novels reach new audiences through a movie on the Hallmark Channel, an organization known for consistently producing quality mystery programing.

On social media and Dana’s website, I followed the project’s swift development. In a matter of months, filming began, and Dana had the opportunity to visit the set and meet the actors and production staff, which included such film-making veterans as Douglas Barr (familiar to viewers for playing Howie Munson on The Fall Guy) as the director and Kellie Martin (an actress who has appeared on numerous TV programs, including Life Goes On and ER) as producer.

Dana Cameron on set with Doug Barr (from Dana Cameron's website)
I don’t have cable, but a good friend does. We eagerly planned a viewing party and set up with popcorn and phones ready to tweet as the credits rolled.

How thrilling to see Dana’s name, listed not only for having written the novel, but as an executive producer! The tweeting got a little intense.

Now, let’s face the $64,000 question: how did the teleplay compare to the novel? I think it’s reasonable to say they were offspring of the same mother and each deserving of its own love.

Certainly, there were differences. Courtney Thorne-Smith (known for her roles on Melrose Place, Ally McBeal, and According to Jim), who played Emma, was older than the character in the books and a blonde instead of a redhead, but she conveyed with conviction Emma’s tenacity in getting to the bottom of an issue, her fierce love of archeology, and her eagerness to teach her students.

Dana with Courtney Thorne-Smith (from Dana Cameron's website)

In the dramatization, Emma got a love interest in the detective investigating the case. I have to say I missed Emma’s husband Brian, who appears in the novels. He’s often in the background, but always provided support and a reliable sounding board.

The movie did maintain Emma’s archeological mentor, her grandfather in the books and father on screen. As in the books, he is deceased before the start of the story, but remains an important motivator as does his research about a colony in Maine speculated to be older than Jamestown. It was a little disconcerting to know from the publicity that the movie was shot on the Canadian west coast, but it did offer some truly beautiful scenery. And, the Maine flag was raised at the building serving as the local police station.

Perhaps the thing I missed most from the novels – yet understood why it was eliminated in the movie – was the “grittiness” of the excavation scenes. I still remember vividly Dana’s description of Emma returning to her lodging from the dig, disrobing, and jumping into the shower to rid herself of the dirt and sweat from the day’s work.

In the movie, all the actors wore stylish jeans, leather jackets, and knelt on pads when working in a pit. The grueling nature of the work was completely missing, but the joy of discovery was clearly conveyed. Perhaps the nicest technique in the movie was showing how Emma visualized the complete artifact after coming across a shard remnant.

Hopefully, the other five books in the series will be made into Hallmark movies. It would be great for renewed interest in Emma to lead to more Dana Cameron archeological novels.

Which of your favorite mysteries have been made into movies, and what did you think about the cinematic result?

Dana Cameron sipping tea at the Empress Hotel (from Dana Cameron's website)