Dorothy Parker Mysteries

The Murder Club Book Cover

It Seems to Me. . . was the byline of Heywood Broun’scolumn in The World

The great thing about writing mysteries is that when you are screwed by a thieving editor/publisher and his/her pathetic, lackluster writer/lover/nephew/whatever, you can knock-off the buggers in your next book without fear of reappraisal.  Feels awfully good, too.  It is really cathartic the way a little bit of poison, a bullet, or a well-placed dagger can relieve an author of the slings and arrows of deliberate injustices waged upon her by the very act of literally “relieving” those who have trespassed against her of their lives.

“Ha-ha!” methinks.  “That’ll teach ‘em!”

I wonder if Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie and Conan Doyle were inspired by personal effrontery?  Did an event spark the idea for a murder mystery?  Oprah always suggested keeping a journal to express your feelings.  I write story books—the names are changed to protect the innocent, yada-yada. . . .  I don’t like journals and diaries.  They always seem to land in the wrong hands and when that happens, all kinds of bad things are sure to follow.

Of course, I am a rather gentle woman, who would never dream of striking out at anyone with poison, bullet or dagger.  I have never kicked a dog, and I usually transport spiders to an outdoor location.  Most homicidal maniacs love their pets, I know, so maybe these aren’t such good examples of compassion.  All right, I do swat flies.  But I hate bloody forensic scenes on TV and film, so I just couldn’t swing an axe, you understand.   I may, at times, feel inclined to strike out verbally against my offenders, but am more likely to speak out in a campaign of defense of those less fortunate than I am than to ever give voice to my own grievances.  Still, I don’t dwell for very long on personal thoughts of retaliation (it depletes creativity); I therefore give no power or advantage to those who have harmed me.  Instead, I have the marvelous outlet of creating a murder mystery in which I can have my little revenge without risking the death penalty.  Throughout my Dorothy Parker Mystery Series I have laid to rest multiple priests, numerous theatrical people, several Commie spies, a handful of psychics, and a couple of floozies and fat cats.  What fun!

And such it is with The Murder Club, my newly released Dorothy Parker Mystery novel, the sixth in the series in which the potential victims are among a group of six authors, each in search of a murder plot for the mysteries they are writing. The question Parker and Benchley try to answer is who wanted them dead?  And here they are:

 Anthony Young—Young’s first mystery, featuring as the novel’s amateur detective a frumpy, dried-up, effeminate history professor who solves crimes by applying historical references to catch murderers, was a great success. The fifth mystery of his Professor Montague Fairchild series, A Time to Reap, is enjoying its third printing. Meeting Tony for the first time one gets the impression that he stepped right out of one of his own novels, for he, too, is a frumpy, effeminate history professor.

Daniel Cousins—With his wild, wavy black hair and heavy facial features, there is a handsome ruggedness about him.  But there is also an air of melancholy expressed through his big, sad, brown eyes.  Daniel authored one quiet little novel, six years ago.  It’s been said that he has shouted plagiarism at one time or another.

Stephen Shaw—He writes thrillers now, in a new form that deals with political and social unrest.  Before taking on this new genre, he had worn the mantle of Muckraker.  A rabble-rouser, Shaw, rather than beating down prejudice and corruption as Upton Sinclair has tried to do through his brilliant exposés, has managed merely to incite bigotry. His books are carelessly researched, and more than once he has been sued for defamation. Beefy, brawny, and pock-faced, Shaw is a wily, ginger-haired devil with a big mouth stamped with a smirk that brings to mind a scheming Iago.

Mark Wendt—A onetime Broadway chorus hoofer, Wendt has authored a string of Wild West novels that are very popular among the quasi-literate.  Last year he wrote his first mystery featuring his rum-running sleuth, Mr. Tomato.

Ernest “Ersatz” Stringer—He authored the bestselling fiction novel, Blaze, back in 1922. Stringer aspires to write the Great American Novel someday, if only he can overcome his seven-year writer’s block.

Trevor Hunter—What strikes one on first meeting Hunter are his eyebrows.  Positioned far below a high dome, they are striking and black and silky.  Tall, imposing, this Oxford-educated disciple of Conan Doyle is an intellectual with many diverse interests. He is the author of psychologically driven real-life crime novels.

Did I have fun writing this?  You bet I did.

Until next time,