Last Thursday, thanks to Gloria Alden, those of us who attended this year’s Malice Domestic put together our happy remembrances along with regrets at having too little time to spend together.
One of the great privileges at Malice is to be able to participate on a panel. This year, I was fortunate enough to be assigned as moderator for “Oh, to Be in Britain!” My authors names all had the letter “M” as an initial: Molly MacRae, G. M. Malliet, Leslie Meier, and Melinda Mullet. We figured I got to be moderator since my name had no “M.”
Being a moderator allows you to learn about a wonderful group of writers. I had interviewed G.M. (“Gin”) previously and was familiar with Leslie’s books, but Molly and Melinda were new to me. I began studying to see the similarities that brought us all together.
As I looked through the Malice schedule, I noticed it contained another panel featuring authors who wrote about Great Britain, called “Murder Most English.” Its participants were Stephanie Barron/Francine Mathews, Frances Brody, Susanna Calkins, and Charles Todd (both Charles and Caroline) with Verena Rose as moderator and it would take place the hour before my panel.
My challenge became how to showcase the “M” panel, particularly for those who attended the previous session about British writers. Then, I realized, the writers in the first panel wrote from a historical perspective, while the authors I would moderate featured contemporary settings and characters. In fact, the more I considered it, I concluded that the “M” panel truly represented Agatha Christie’s legacy because they wrote the type of novels that she had written.
Single Malt Murder, the debut novel in Melinda Mullet’s Whiskey Business mysteries, was inspired after many tours of whiskey facilities Melinda took with her whiskey collecting husband. Her protagonist, an English photographer living in London, inherits a Scottish whiskey distillery. Melinda, a child of British parents, is a lawyer and children’s literacy advocate. At her signing, she treated guests to delicious truffles heavily laced with the beverage.
The “M” panelists were a true delight. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and learning about them, and I highly recommend their books as wonderful reading.
They were encouraging to any in our audience who might be unpublished authors. Gin Malliet mentioned how helpful her association with the online Guppy Chapter of Sisters on Crime had been in teaching her about the writing business. I completely agree with her endorsement.
What modern writers of British mysteries do you enjoy? Any names that begin with “M”?