Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

Assault and PepperThis week, I’m joining the wonderful, stupendous, utterly delicious blog Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, alternating Tuesdays with Cleo Coyle, whose Coffeehouse Mysteries I have drunk down thirstily for years. If you love cozy mystery like I do, you’ll know the other authors who blog there — or if you don’t, you want to! Krista Davis, Avery Aames aka Daryl Wood Gerber, Lucy Burdette, Sheila Connolly, Peg Cochran, and Victoria Abbott (Mon-Sat; guests on Sunday). I hope you’ll join me there — you can sign up on the website (link above) to get yummy illustrated recipes, often with a link to a mystery novel, in your e-mail inbox or RSS feed.

IMGP2026 IMGP2029And here’s an enticement: Broccoli Potato Frittata, inspired by my character Pepper Reece’s daily walk through the produce stalls of Seattle’s Pike Place Market, inspired by my own many strolls through the aisles and arcades.

In Seattle? I’d love to see you!

Untitled-4Looking forward to seeing you in Seattle this week!

Thursday, July 25, 2013   Seattle  Writes!   Seattle  Public Library, Central Library, 7:00 to 8:30. “Taking the Mystery Out of Getting Published.” This inaugural event will  feature six mystery writers — Leslie, Judy Dailey, Bernadette Pajer,  Charles Martin, Mike Lawson, and Waverly Curtis — talking about their new mysteries and the path to publication.

Friday,  July 26, 2013  Pacific  Northwest Writers Association Conference, Seattle Airport Hilton,  2:00  to 3:30 .  “Get  a Clue: How First-Time Crime Writers Become Traditionally Published  Authors.”  Panel  presentation with Leslie, Judy Dailey, Bernadette Pajer, Charles Martin, and           Waverly  Curtis.

Saturday,  July 27, 2013   Seattle  Mystery Bookshop, 117  Cherry Street,  12:00  noon Book talk & signing. (Shop staff asks that if you know you want a book, please call or email  them to reserve a copy so they can have enough stock on hand. (206) 587-5737


Justice in a cold case

Some of my favorite mysteries and other novels feature “cold cases” – those unsolved cases that haunt detectives and the families of the victims. Two that come to mind are Stephen White’s Cold Case (2000) and Laura Lippman’s The Most Dangerous Thing (2011).

This story from the Seattle Times about an ex-cop from Seattle convicted of a long-ago murder in Illinois has all the elements of a good cold-case crime novel – except that it’s all too real, and the families affected will never forget.

Short version: In 1957, in a small town in Illinois, 7 year old Maria Ridulph vanished, her body found five months later after a national search. Those things didn’t happen then — at least, we didn’t think they did. Police investigated intensely–and even questioned a 17 year old neighbor boy, whose mother gave him an alibi. In 1994, on her death bed, the mother confessed to her daughter that she had lied to protect her son. (The two were half-siblings.) In 2008, the daughter finally told police, who opened the cold case, and in 2011, arrested the man in Seattle. He had changed his name and moved west shortly after the murder, working as police officer south of Seattle. At the time of his arrest, he was married, retired, and working as a security guard. He denied any involvement in the crime.

Not an easy case to prosecute, but helped enormously by testimony of an eye-witness–8 at the time of the crime–identifying the defendant’s teenage photo as the boy she’d seen the victim with shortly before the disappearance. The jury convicted him in September 2012. His sister cried and apologized that it took so long. In December, he was sentenced to life in prison. At 73, it won’t be a long sentence. (Illinois abolished the death penalty in March 2011, after a long history of abuses.)

Illinois papers say it’s probably the the oldest solved cold case in American history.

Cold cases are truly chilling. How can your characters do them justice?