Staying alive depends on knowing whom to trust and when to run.



P as James Bond1


If you’re reading this, you trust words. I once trusted words. As a reader/teacher/scholar, I put my faith in them. As a mystery writer, I trust that words will misdirect, deceive, and hide desperate deeds and motives.

About Should Grace Fail

A Twin Cities Mystery

Detective Erik Jansson recognizes the murder victim found in a dumpster:

“This was more than the tired cliché that no good deed goes unpunished. This was the ultimate punishment for good deeds. Here lay a man killed because he did what people like Erik did—took risks to save others. Then a voice, voices, Foster, the woman, were making light of the situation to stave off despair, saying that the detectives waltzed in and took the credit when the techs did all the work. Foster and the tech said that this time Erik was welcome to it. He could bear all the credit (blame, more likely). Too many hot-button issues: a dead peace officer (you’re never fully an “ex” to the force); victimized teens and women; addiction; police corruption; protests. No investigator in his right mind would gladly take on such a case."


Heroes, Alfred Hitchcock, Pandemics, Cary Grant, and Formulas

  That crop duster. The cornfield. Watch it. Isolated at home during the Covid-19 pandemic and a dreary rainy spell, I watched in Technicolor glory Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 film North by Northwest. Its lumens were intensified by the star power of Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, and James Mason. Cinematic thrills when my day was…

Back to School with the Craft of Writing: Lessons from Charles Baxter, Elizabeth George, Ben Percy, and Richard Russo

I can write. I can write a statement like “Where’s the coffee?” and realize that it is not a statement but a question fraught with suspense. Then I can write “We’ve run out” and realize that a crisis will ensue. Conjuring up a fat novel out of thin air, however, is not a basic Reading-Riting-Rithmatic…