Given her track record in publishing women's crime fiction, Windrath, senior commissioning editor and rights manager at the Women's Press in England, is well qualified to pull together this collection of essays (all but one of them original) about writing mysteries. The essays, written by such well-known mystery writers as Val McDermid, Marcia Muller, Abigail Padgett, and Barbara Paul, focus on different aspects of the writing process, e.g., research, character development, plot pacing, and creating atmosphere. Starting with Penny Summer's humorously autobiographical "Beginning at the Beginning" and concluding with Paul's thoughtful "Putting an End to the Mystery," each piece entertains as well as illuminates the motivations, frustrations, challenges, and pleasures afforded by this genre. Though the concluding "Contributors Notes" offer some biographical information about the 13 writers, a bibliography for each would have been useful as well. Although the volume is slim, the writing is excellent and should find a wide audience among aspiring writers and mystery and crime aficionados.DDenise S. Sticha, Seton Hill Coll., Greensburg, PA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
How writers write is an infinitely fascinating topic, though many writers aren't able to shed much light on it. That isn't the case here, perhaps because the collection has a tight focus--female mystery writers discussing their craft. The authors--some British, some American--provide insight into their own writing as well as valuable advice for aspiring mystery novelists. The 13 women, including Gillian Linscott, Abigail Padgett, and Marcia Muller (see The Booklist Interview on p.1596), encompass a variety of styles and approaches, and their comments on technique and on the genre itself are enlightening as well as entertaining. Of particular interest are Sheila Duffy on shaping a villain; Val McDermid on character creation and development; and Anne Wilson on a sense of place. A good source for both biographical and how-to information. Ilene Cooper
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