Wednesday, June 21, 2017

June Meeting Features Author Larry Sweazy

Speed City Sisters in Crime Saturday will hold it's June meeting this Saturday, June 24, at the Barnes and Noble bookstore at River Crossing Boulevard in Indy's north side. Here's the schedule:

9 a.m. -- Play writing workshop
10 a.m. -- Critique group
11:30 a.m. -- Business meeting
12:30 p.m. -- Speaker

As always, Guests are encouraged and welcome.

This month our speaker is local author -- and chapter member -- Larry Sweazy. An accomplished writer, Larry will be sharing about his writing, getting published and his job as a professional indexer. 

Larry has won the WWA (Western Writers of America) Spur award for Best Short Fiction in 2005 and for Best Paperback Original in 2013.  He also won the 2011 and 2012 Will Rogers Medallion Award for Western Fiction for books the Josiah Wolfe series. He was nominated for a Derringer award in 2007 (for the short story "See Also Murder"), and was a finalist in the Best Books of Indiana literary competition in 2010.  

Larry was awarded the Best Books in Indiana in 2011 for The Scorpion Trail. In 2013, Larry received the inaugural Elmer Kelton Fiction Book of the Year for The Coyote Trackerpresented by the AWA (Academy of Western Artists). 

He has written 13 novels — Where I Can See YouSee Also Deception: A Marjorie Trumaine MysteryA Thousand Falling CrowsEscape from HangtownSee Also Murder: A Marjorie Trumaine MysteryVengeance at SundownThe Gila WarsThe Coyote TrackerThe Devil's BonesThe Cougar's PreyThe Badger's RevengeThe Scorpion Trail, and The Rattlesnake Season

 In addition, Larry has served on the faculty for the Midwest Writers Workshop and as a faculty member for the Indiana Writers Center, and conducts writing workshops at libraries and other locations throughout the Midwest. And in his spare time, he has written indexes for 875 non-fiction books in many different subjects. He and his wife, Rose, live in Noblesville.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

2017 Anthony Nominees Announced

If you're looking for a great book, you could do worse than pick something off the 2017 Anthony Nominees.  Named for famed critic and writer Anthony Boucher, the winners will be announced at the 2017 Bouchercon, a gathering of mystery writers and fans.  This year's event is October 12-15 in Toronto. Registration is open to the public.


Best Novel
  • You Will Know Me – Megan Abbott [Little, Brown]
  • Where It Hurts – Reed Farrel Coleman [G.P. Putnam’s Sons]
  • Red Right Hand – Chris Holm [Mulholland]
  • Wilde Lake – Laura Lippman [William Morrow]
  • A Great Reckoning – Louise Penny [Minotaur]
Best First Novel
  • Dodgers – Bill Beverly [Crown]
  • IQ – Joe Ide [Mulholland]
  • Decanting a Murder – Nadine Nettmann [Midnight Ink]
  • Design for Dying – Renee Patrick [Forge]
  • The Drifter – Nicholas Petrie [G.P. Putnam’s Sons]
 Best Paperback Original
  • Shot in Detroit – Patricia Abbott [Polis]
  • Leadfoot – Eric Beetner [280 Steps]
  • Salem’s Cipher – Jess Lourey [Midnight Ink]
  • Rain Dogs – Adrian McKinty [Seventh Street]
  • How to Kill Friends and Implicate People – Jay Stringer [Thomas & Mercer]
  • Heart of Stone – James W. Ziskin [Seventh Street] 
Best Short Story
  • “Oxford Girl” – Megan Abbott, Mississippi Noir [Akashic]
  • “Autumn at the Automat” – Lawrence Block, In Sunlight or in Shadow [Pegasus]
  • “Gary’s Got A Boner” – Johnny Shaw, Waiting to Be Forgotten [Gutter]
  • “Parallel Play” – Art Taylor, Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning [Wildside]
  • “Queen of the Dogs” – Holly West, 44 Caliber Funk: Tales of Crime, Soul and Payback [Moonstone] 
Best Critical Nonfiction Work
  • Alfred Hitchcock: A Brief Life – Peter Ackroyd [Nan A. Talese]
  • Letters from a Serial Killer – Kristi Belcamino & Stephanie Kahalekulu [CreateSpace]
  • Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life – Ruth Franklin [Liveright]
  • Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker – David J. Skal [Liveright]
  • The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer – Kate Summerscale [Bloomsbury/Penguin] 
Best Children’s/YA Novel
  • Snowed – Maria Alexander [Raw Dog Screaming]
  • The Girl I Used to Be – April Henry [Henry Holt]
  • Tag, You’re Dead – J.C. Lane [Poisoned Pen]
  • My Sister Rosa – Justine Larbalestier [Soho Teen]
  • The Fixes – Owen Matthews [HarperTeen] 
Best Anthology
  • Unloaded: Crime Writers Writing Without Guns – Eric Beetner, ed. [Down & Out]
  • In Sunlight or in Shadow – Lawrence Block, ed. [Pegasus]
  • Cannibals: Stories from the Edge of the Pine Barrens – Jen Conley [Down & Out]
  • Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon Anthology 2016 – Greg Herren, ed. [Down & Out]
  • Waiting To Be Forgotten: Stories of Crime and Heartbreak, Inspired by the Replacements – Jay Stringer, ed. [Gutter] 
Best Novella (8,000-40,000 words)
  • Cleaning Up Finn – Sarah M. Chen [CreateSpace]
  • No Happy Endings – Angel Luis Col√≥n [Down & Out]
  • Crosswise – S.W. Lauden [Down & Out]
  • Beware the Shill – John Shepphird [Down & Out]
  • The Last Blue Glass – B.K. Stevens, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, April 2016 [Dell]

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Meet Your Favorite Speed City Chapter Authors at the Tipton Library's Authorama May 13

Several Speed City Sisters in Crime will be at the Tipton Public Library's Authorama this Saturday, May 13.  The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Tipton Public Library, 127 E Madison St in Tipton.

An author panel beginning at 1:30 p.m.

This is a great opportunity to meet authors, discuss their writing, and pick up a signed copy of The Fine Art of Murder or the chapter's other short story mystery anthologies.  

Several Chapter members will also be present with their own books.

For those unfamiliar, Tipton is located about an hour north of Indianapolis on Ind. 28, just south of Kokomo. It is the county seat of Tipton County.

Book Review: Perfidia by James Ellroy

Book Review:  Perfidia by James Ellroy
Reviewed by Stephen Terrell

Recently on this blog, author and playwright Crystal Rhoades reviewed Face of the Enemy by Jo Anne Dobson and Beverly Graves Myers. The novel was set in New York City in the days following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Perfidia by James Ellroy is set in Los Angeles during the same time frame.  But that is where the similarities end. It is as from Face of the Enemy in style and tone as New York is from L.A. -- maybe further.
Ellroy is most known for the L.A. Quartet, a series of novels of violence and corruption set in post-WW II Los Angeles. Those novels – “The Black Dahlia,” “The Big Nowhere,” “L.A. Confidential” and “White Jazz” -- became the basis for the movie blockbuster L.A. Confidential, one of the best police movies ever made.  In Perfidia, we meet many of the characters that populate the L.A. Quartet novels.
Ellroy’s style is unique. He writes in staccato sentences, with many phrases repeated throughout the story to capture the inner thoughts and demons of the characters – and these characters have demons a-plenty.  Those offended by vulgarity, profanity and racial epithets should probably steer clear. Even considering the time frame that Ellroy captures, the wave of references to Chinks, Japs, Wetbacks, and a variety of vile names for blacks,  homosexuals and Jews liberally pepper each page.
The novel opens the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor when corrupt Detective Dudley Smith and Japanese crime technologist Hideo Ashida, the only  Japanese employee of the LAPD, investigate what appears to be the ritual suicide of the four members of the Watanabe family. But Ashida finds evidence that the family was murdered.
The next day, Pearl Harbor is attacked and Los Angeles devolves into a fearsome place for the Japanese community (including Ashida). Japanese citizens are brutally rounded up and jailed by the L.A. Police.  But for some, it is a time of opportunity.
As with the other Ellroy novels, the reader is dragged into a world of violence, corruption, theft, beatings, shootings, greed, drugs and sex. The Watanabe murders lead to uncovering plots to exploit the war and coming Japanese internment for enormous financial gain, “fifth column” subversives and nazis, planted evidence and coerced confessions.
Ellroy also mixes in real life characters to give the novel a sense of authenticity. And he doesn’t treat them with kid gloves. Bette Davis is portrayed as a self-centered hard-edged, promiscuous woman who sleeps with Dudley Smith, among others. Jack Webb of Dragnet fame is portrayed as a cop-wannabe hanging around like a puppy waiting to be thrown a bone. Carey Grant and Barbara Stanwyck are dismissed as "homos." Real-life iconic L.A. Police Chief William Parker is portrayed as a drunk and religious zealot.
This novel isn’t for the faint of heart. For my taste, the constant dark view of a world without any redeeming grace wears on me. The last third of the book seems to drag, and the more I read, the more I felt I needed to wash my hands every time I put it down.

Nonetheless, Perfidia offers a raw glimpse as a very different time in America, a time that I hope we never relive. Maybe we need to read it to be reminded of the evil that lurks when we lose our moral compass.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


The 2017 Agatha Mystery Awards were recently named.  If you're looking for something to add to your reading list, here are the winners.

Best Contemporary Novel
A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)

Best Historical Novel
The Reek of Red Herrings by Catriona McPherson (Minotaur Books)

Best First Novel
The Semester of Our Discontent by Cynthia Kuhn (Henery Press)

Best Nonfiction
Mastering Suspense, Structure, and Plot: How to Write Gripping Stories that Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats by Jane K. Cleland (Writer's Digest Books)

Best Short Story
"Parallel Play" by Art Taylor in Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning (Wildside Press)

Best Children/Young Adult
The Secret of the Puzzle Box: The Code Busters Club by Penny Warner (Darby Creek)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Book Review: Face of the Enemy

Face of the Enemy

Reviewed by Crystal V. Rhodes

I like the old black and white, fast talking film noir mystery movies of the 1930s and 40s that I’ve occasionally run across on TV.  I like the sense of urgency, and the sense of style they convey, but rarely have I found a book that captured the feeling of that film genre, that is until I read Face of the Enemy, by Jo Anne Dobson and Beverly Graves Myers.

Set in December 1941, shortly after Japan bombed Pear Harbor, Face of the Enemy sheds light on America’s racial paranoia during that period of time, especially its bigotry toward people of Japanese descent.  Even more interesting is the fact that this novel doesn’t take place on the West Coast where there were mass government incarcerations of people of Japanese ancestry. Instead, Face of the Enemy takes place on the East Coast, in the glitzy art world of New York City.

When the murdered body of an art dealer is discovered in his gallery, the authorities suspect artists, Masako Fumi, an avant-garde Japanese immigrant, married to a university professor, who is American and who is gravely ill.  Although there are other suspects and even a lead detective who is skeptical about her guilt, the FBI is anxious to turn the talented artist’s case into a political coup, especially since she’s the estranged daughter of a high official in the Japanese government.  It seems that Masako’s only hope for redemption is her husband’s nurse, an unassuming Southern bell named Louise Hunter, who fervently believes in the woman’s innocence and vows to help her.

The twists and turns in Face of the Enemy are a mystery lover’s delight.  The characters are vivid and the dialogue is snappy.  As for the story line, it contains historic references about an era about which I knew little.  Face of the Enemy wasn’t merely entertaining, but educational as well.   

C.V. Rhodes is a member of the Speed City Sisters in Crime chapter and co-author, with L. Barnett Evans, of the Grandmothers, Incorporated cozy mystery series.  Visit their website at www.grandmothersinc.com

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Join Author Ross Carley for Book Launch of New Wolf Ruger Mystery: Formula Murder

The book launch party for Speed City Chapter member Ross Carley's latest novel, Formula Murder, will be Saturday, April 29 at Porter Books and Bread, on the grounds of Fort Benjamin Harrison at 5719 Lawton Loop E Dr, Indianapolis, IN 46216.  Ross will be signing books from 10 until 2.

Formula Murder is the second Wolf Ruger mystery by Ross Carley. Private Investigator Wolf Ruger, returning Iraq vet with PTSD, tackles high-stakes high-tech crime and elusive murderers in the fast-paced world of Formula racing, undeterred by beautiful women and organized crime. 

Ross Carley is a cybersecurity and electronic warfare consultant, with experience as a military intelligence officer, an engineering professor, and CTO for a defense contractor. He authored several nonfiction technical books before writing his first Wolf Ruger mystery, Dead Drive. He is a member of Sisters in Crime and lives in Indianapolis.
If you can't make the book signing, Formula Murder is available on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. 

You can visit www.RossCarleyBooks.com  and www.Facebook.com/RossCarleyBooks for more information.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Here's a Cool Way to Organize Your Writing

By S. Ashley Couts

            I don’t know about you but I sometimes get overwhelmed by all of those words. It is easy to get lost in the plot. Mary might be Mary one place but Margaret in another. It can be hard to keep a handle on all that. When I am planning a story or a book I need to see a hard copy and yet I can still get lost in all of those pages. I’ve attended a number of workshops and seminars on writing and learned that this is a common problem.
        Recently I read an exciting article about a writer who has solved this problem. Michael Jecks, an English writer in his article “A Book in Three Stages” in Writers’ Forum gives step-by-step instructions including photos.  His article was so convincing that I ran right out to buy supplies in order to employ his method.
       Jecks method involves using two English notebook Atoma4 and 5 for plotting out his books. I realize as I write this now that somewhere out there my British friends are having a chuckle because apparently the Atoma notebook is as common as a legal pad across the pond. However, to the unschooled you might be asking, what is so special about the Atoma and how can it help my writing? 
          Jecks a historical crime writer (Blood of the Innocents) explained in his article a bit of the history of the A5 and A4 Atoma which was invented in Belgium in 1948. The initial design being easy and portable with fat removable side rings and a flat surface. The article included a three- page instructive illustration. The Atotma notebooks Jenks referred to in his article have five large holes.
        In my search, I found something similar at Office Depot (TUL Custom Note Taking System)—a flat notebook in those requisite two sizes albeit with more plastic side holes. Their system comes in a variety of colors, styles and you can purchase a special hole punch, colored stick-on page markers etc. The prices range from around ten to fifty dollars.  
         These notebooks are useful to writers because of their flexibility. Pages are easily removed with a slight flip of the finger. If you get a bright idea and decide all at once that Harry should be the protagonist and not Herbert, simply exchange those pages –no sweat. You can even mark the change by inserting a yellow or red tab or slip in a short page that includes a note. Easy-peasy.
       Jecks plots his character in the small Atoma-- Office Depot sells two sizes if you want to follow his example. He uses a specific structure in his writing. Stage one is planning the novel. Stage two is using the second notebook to insert the detail and characters. In Stage three he uses a white board to pull it all together. 
     “This is the part that gets sticky for me . . . making sure I haven’t left out anything out. It (the board) sits on the wall dominating my study.”  The white board is his master he says. His website is : www.michaeljecks.co.uk

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Speed City Author addressing Society of Midland Authors in Chicago, April 11

Speed City Sisters in Crime member Stephen Terrell will address the century old Society of Midland Authors in Chicago Tuesday, April 11.  Terrell is an Indianapolis lawyer and author of two legal thrillers. He will discuss the law and writing, as well as self-publishing.

The meeting will be held at Celler Dwellers, on the 22nd floor at 200 S. Michigan Avenue, overlooking Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. The reception begins at 6 p.m. with the presentation at 6:45 p.m. It is open to the public.

The Society of Midland Authors was founded in 1915. Among its charter members were Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley, Edna Ferber and lawyer Clarence Darrow. Noted members have included Ring Lardner, Edgar Lee Masters, Gene Stratton Porter, Daniel Boorstin, Jane Addams and Carl Sandburg.

Terrell is the author of Stars Fall, a 5-star rated legal thriller, and his newly released legal thriller, The First Rule. Both are available in trade paperback and ebook on Amazon.

Terrell has also self-published two personal books, a short story collection titled Visiting Hours and Other Stories from the Heart, and There and Back: Journal of a Last Motorcycle Ride. While both are available to the public, they were published primarily for friends and family.  He has also assisted other authors in self-publishing their own works.

Terrell also has two stories -- Expose Yourself to Art and Street Art -- in The Fine Art of Murder, the Speed City Sisters in Crime most recent short story collection.  The Fine Art of Murder is available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and Walmart.com.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Home and Drama: Reflections by Award-Winning Author Lori Rader-Day

By Lori Rader-Day

Home Is Where the Drama Is
My third novel, The Day I Died, is getting published soon and maybe it will surprise no one that it’s set in Indiana. Well, half of it is. Here’s how the book begins:

On the day I died, I took the new oars down to the lake. They were heavy, but I was saving myself the second trip. The blades rode flat along the ground, flattening two tracks through the wet grass.
It was morning. The air was cool, but down on the dock, the slats were already hot. I noted a lone fishing boat out on the water. Inside, two men hunched silently over their tackle, their faces turned out across the lake. Beyond them, mist rose off the water, nearly hiding the far shore.
This moment. This is what I return to.
Later, I will note the long crack in the new oar, just before my head goes under, just before the flume of blood rises off my skin under the water like smoke. I will come back to this moment and think, if I had just gone back up the steps to the house immediately. If I had just stayed up at the house in the first place.
If I had just.

That’s a prologue of sorts. You can read the first full chapter HERE, where you’ll see that the protagonist has survived whatever-this-is to find a home in a small town in Indiana with her son.
I love to write about home. “Home,” though, is a complicated word. Is it where I grew up? Or is where I’ve lived for the last sixteen years? That’s exactly the kind of thing the protagonist of The Day I Died, Anna Winger, thinks about, with one big difference: she can’t go back to hers. Or at least she thinks she won’t. And then there’s the current situation brewing inside her apartment with her son.
 Home makes good stories, because home is where the drama is.
My first novel was set in the surrounds of Chicago; the second back home in Indiana. This one is split between the place Anna lives now and the place she yearns for. I can already tell you that my next next book is set in Michigan; the protagonist is a transplant to Chicago, like me, merely visiting. I had to borrow the Michigan setting, but I was able to bring a Chicagoan’s hard glare to everything she encounters there. That makes the story easier for me to get inside of, the better for me but also the better for my reader.
But with that next work-in-progress drafted, now I have a moment to think: What’s next? The Sisters and Misters of the Speed City Chapter probably feel the same as I do: Ideas are easy. I had three ideas while I was brushing my teeth this morning. But which idea has legs enough to run for four hundred pages? How do I want to spend the next year of my writing life?
It’s really no wonder I so often write about home. Home is where I’d rather be, no matter where I am.
How do you decide the setting of your stories?

Lori Rader-Day, author of The Day I Died, The Black Hour, and Little Pretty Things, is the recipient of the 2016 Mary Higgins Clark Award and the 2015 Anthony Award for Best First Novel. Lori’s short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Time Out Chicago, Good Housekeeping, and others. She lives in Chicago, where she teaches mystery writing at StoryStudio Chicago and is the president of the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter and the co-chair of Murder and Mayhem in Chicago.
Lori is also a member of the Speed City Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Friday, March 17, 2017

REVIEW: An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P.D. James is a Most Suitable Mystery

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (Cordelia Gray, #1) 
by P.D. James 

Reviewed by Stephen Terrell

This is one of the most enjoyable English murder mystery novels that I have read. Written in the early 1970s, Cordelia Gray seems a predecessor and maybe inspiration for Kinsey Milhone, the heroine of Sue Grafton's alphabet books and Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, heroine of the "1 for the Money" series. 

The book opens with a young and a bit naive Cordelia pushing into her bosses office to find him dead, a victim of his own hand. He has left her a detective agency deeply in debt, a failing car, and an absence of clients. So when a wealthy scientist at Cambridge summons her to look into the apparent suicide of his son, she jumps on the opportunity. But her investigation soon leads her to conclude that the death was not a suicide at all.

The book is well paced -- something often missing in British novels. The plot is well constructed and the characters are fascinating. If you're looking for a cozy mystery to curl up with next to a fire, or something to enjoy at the beach, you won't go wrong with An Unsuitable Job for a Woman.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Celebrating 30 Years of Sisters In Crime with Award-Winning Author Rhys Bowen

Speed City hosts  internationally renowned author Rhys Bowen and celebrates 30 years of Sisters in Crime

By MB Dabney
The Speed City chapter of Sisters in Crime has always loved murder, mystery and mayhem. That love is the heart and soul of what we do.
Best-selling author and Agatha Award Winner Rhys Bowen
Speed City is the only Indiana chapter of the national Sisters in Crime organization. Since the fall of 2007, the chapter has completed five short story mystery anthologies, with the newest, The Fine Art of Murder, hitting book shelves last October.
While the Speed City chapter is only 15 years old, Sisters in Crime this year marks its 30th anniversary of advocating for female mystery and crime writers, and for diversity in the crime writing industry. And to celebrate, the Speed City is hosting a day of fun on February 25, with internationally renowned bestselling British author Rhys Bowen.
A winner of both the Anthony and the Agatha mystery awards, Rhys is the author of Molly Murphy mystery series and the Royal Spyness series, among other novels and short stories.
Rhys will speak to the chapter at our regularly scheduled monthly meeting at 11:30 a.m., at the Barnes and Noble bookstore on River Crossing Boulevard on the north side of Indianapolis. Following that, the chapter and the College Park Book Club are hosting a British tea for Bowen at the College Park community center on Fordham Road from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Then from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., there is a book fair again at the Barnes and Noble store, with Rhys greeting fans and signing books.
Local authors with stories in the chapter’s five mystery anthologies will also be on hand at Barnes and Nobel to sign copies of our books.
In addition to the The Fine Art of Murder, the chapter’s collection includes Racing Can Be Murder (2007), Bedlam at the Brickyard (2010), Hoosier Hoops and Hijinks (2013), and Decades of Dirt (2015).
The Speed City Chapter is

proud to have Rhys Bowen in Indianapolis to help celebrate Sisters in Crime, which has been serving as the voice for excellence and diversity in crime writing for 30 years.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Bestselling Author Rhys Bowen to Visit Indy Celebrating 30 Years of Sisters in Crime

New York Times bestselling author and Agatha Award winner Rhys Bowen will visit Indianapolis on Saturday, February 25 meeting with fans at two appearances. Her visit is sponsored by Sisters In Crime national organization and hosted local Speed City Chapter, all as part of Sisters in Crime's 30th Anniversary Celebration.

HOW TO MEET RHYS BOWEN:  Saturday, Feb. 25. Fans can meet Rhys at two events. Both events are open to the public and there is no charge.

Rhys will speak and meet with fans from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. at a Sisters in Crime 30th Birthday Tea. The event will be held at the College Park Neighborhood Clubhouse, 3050 Colby Ln, Indianapolis, IN 46268.

This will be followed by a book signing from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore, 8675 River Crossing Blvd, Indianapolis, IN 46240, next to the Keystone at the Crossing Fashion Mall. Copies of her books will be available for purchase.

Bestselling author Rhys Bowen
Rhys  is the New York Times Bestselling Author of the Royal Spyness Series, Molly MurphyMysteries, and Constable Evans. She has won the Agatha Best Novel Award and has been nominated for the Edgar Best Novel. Rhys’s titles have received rave reviews around the globe.

Rhys currently writes two mystery series, the atmospheric Molly Murphy novels, about a feisty Irish immigrant in 1900s New York City, and the funny and sexy Royal Spyness mysteries, about a penniless minor royal in 1930s Britain. Her books have made bestseller lists, garnered many awards, nominations, and starred reviews. She was born in England and married into a family with historic royal connections. She now divides her time between California and Arizona.

Rhys was born in Bath, England, of a family that was half Welsh, half English. She was educated at London University and then began her career with the BBC, where she became a drama studio manager. She had made up stories all her life. While working on a boring play she decided to write a play of her own. With the bravado of a 22-year-old, she marched into the office of the head of BBC drama and handed him the script. Two days later he summoned her and told her that they were going to produce the play. Rhys has never looked back.

The British climate forced Rhys to escape to Australia, where she worked for Australian Broadcasting before meeting her future husband, a fellow Brit who was on his way to California. So Rhys packed up again and found herself in San Francisco, where she settled and has lived ever since, raising four children.

Finding nothing like the BBC in San Francisco, Rhys turned to writing children’s books under her married name, Janet Quin-Harkin. Her first picture book was an immediate success and won several awards. More picture books followed, then her agent asked her to write a book for young adults. This was a turning point in Rhys’s career. Her first young adult novel was an instant hit. By her third she was selling half a million copies. Many more popular YA novels followed until Rhys decided she had said all she wanted to say about teenage love and angst, and she turned to her real love—mysteries.

The sort of books she loves to read are those with a great sense of time and place. So she considered where to set a series of her own and chose the mountains of North Wales, where she had spent many happy childhood vacations, and used her grandfather’s name as her nom de plume. Constable Evan Evans was the hero of these novels that took place in a tiny fictitious village in Snowdonia. The series was well received from the start. The second book, Evan Help Us, was nominated for a Barry Award. Evan’s Gate achieved the ultimate success when it was nominated for the Edgar best novel—the highest prize in mysterydom.

But it was a chance visit to Ellis Island that made Rhys start thinking in a new direction. The spunky and not always wise Molly Murphy came into her head, fleeing from Ireland and finding herself implicated in a murder on Ellis Island in the first book, Murphy’s Law. This book won the Agatha Best Novel award, plus three others. Every subsequent book in the series has received awards, nominations and glowing reviews. Book 11, Hush Now, Don’t You Cry, was a New York Times bestseller. Book 16, Time of Fog and Fire, was published in March 2016, and Book 17, The Ghost of Christmas Past, will be a Christmas book in 2017.

Never one to rest on her laurels, Rhys reacted to the gloom and doom of real life by creating a second heroine—this one aimed to amuse. She is Lady Georgiana, 34th in line to the British throne but utterly penniless and struggling to make her own way in the cruel world of the Great Depression. Her Royal Spyness was a bestseller, nominated for many awards, and instantly endeared readers to her heroine. The following books have all received award nominations. The 2011 book, Naughty in Nice, started off with a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was then nominated for an Agatha, Bruce Alexander and RT Reviews award. The audio version was also nominated for an Audie. In April 2012 it won the Agatha Award for best historical mystery. Queen of Hearts (2014) won the Agatha Award. Malice at the Palace (2015) was nominated for the Agatha and won the Left Coast Crime historical award.

In 2016 Rhys was honored with a career achievement award by the RT Convention.

As well as novels, Rhys has written many short stories, including an Anthony winner. She is an ex-chapter president of Mystery Writers of America. When not writing she loves to travel, sing, hike, paint, play her Celtic harp, and spoil her grandchildren.

*Bio from RhysBowen.com website