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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.

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Welcome to the fictional world of Twin Cities Mysteries, with Detectives Erik Jansson and Deb Metzger. A place where even the privacy of those in charge comes into question.

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Detective Erik Jansson discovers the body in a Twin Cities wetland:

This [wetland] couldn’t be the site of death. The man, the rotting semblance of one, was brought here, dragged and hidden. He wasn’t outfitted for bike adventures or birding excursions. The bloodied necktie retained its knotted symmetry, and the muck-saturated suit suggested formality and fussiness. The skull was damaged, the face already food for worms. When the team lifted the body, the footed shoe became unfooted. Erik picked up the shoe and two items fell out. One was a custom orthotic. The hairs on his neck stiffened. The other was a laminated photo of a girl, an adolescent curled in the fetal position.


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…