What is Mutual Admiration from the Asylum Department? Good question. Jaki and Lynne met in a writers critique group and discovered a mutual taste for homicidal humor. We're happy to share our MAADness in the form of newsletters to anyone who sends their snail mail address to murraymade@aol.com.

ISSUE #4 - FALL 1997







By Lynne Murray and Jaqueline Girdner

Many authors have talked about the booksigning FROM Hell, but during this Halloween season your intrepid MAADwomen actually attended a booksigning IN Hell. It wasn't on purpose, we took a wrong turn on the escalator. Murray still maintains that Girdner's wide picture hat obscured the view of the sign that read "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here."

The temperature was deceptively balmy considering that Beelzebub's Book Basement was conveniently located halfway between Dante's Inferno and the Buddhist Eight Cold Hells. When we were ushered in by friendly imps, we noticed that a table had been set up for books with lava lamps -- oops, real lava! Although none of our books were there, there was a spider-web decorated display of Still UnDead After All These Years. The Autobiography of Count Dracula -- oops, those webs held real spiders. The Count himself popped up from behind the table. He lunged forward as if a little too hungry for company. Our company.

The two of us backed up and ran into an imp in a "No Exit -- No Personal Checks" t-shirt. "Can I get you anything?"

Girdner timidly requested the restroom and was met with gales of laughter. "Ha, ha, ha! Restrooms in Hell? Are you kidding?"

Murray asked, "Well, how about some ice water?"

"Hee, hee, hee! Ice water in Hell. That's another good one! You mystery writers are a riot."

There were no chairs, so Count Dracula beckoned us over to sit next to him on his coffin. We decided to stand, however, on the other side of the table.

"Have you been here long?" Girdner asked the Count, as we both nervously eyed the particularly large spider sitting in a web spanning the gap between two of the books on display.

"Well, my publicity director dropped me off here, and she said she'd be back soon to pick me up. I don't mean to complain, but it has been two hundred years now, and I haven't seen her since then. I've seen several editors come and go though. I'm beginning to think they're not really promoting my book the way they should. If I hadn't brought my lunch, I don't know what would have become of me." At that point he reached out and grabbed the particularly large spider.

We retreated to the plate glass window that looked out over the lower depths of the Mall From Hell. It seemed a good time to look for a way out. There was a Fire Door -- but it led into an actual Fire.

Suddenly, we spied a huge crowd of Hell's bookbuying public, pressing against a closed plate glass door and waving money at the imps who laughed but refused to let them in. Arrgh! That was when we really knew where we were. Still, Count Dracula perked up a bit at the thought of either the customers or the fresh blood.

The standoff might have lasted for Eternity if there hadn't been a stir at the back of the crowd. Girdner's Famous Spouse, Greg Booi, had finally arrived from Hell's Parking Lot (which was very far away, as you might imagine) bringing a box of extra books from the trunk of the car. The crowd, starved for entertainment for aeons, turned and began to fight tooth and nail to be first to buy the precious books.

"Get those mystery writers out of here, they're lowering the tone of the place with their crass commercialism!" a voice proclaimed over the public address system.

The next thing we knew, we were running. The crowd only pursued us as far as the iron gates and then we were back in the mundane world where such events at a book signing could never happen. (We hope.)


Death Hits the Fan this April in Jaqueline Girdner's next Kate Jasper adventure, when a booksigning turns into a deadly affair. Girdner's author S. X. Greenfree doesn't survive the marathon reading.

Available now -- Kate Jasper Mysteries by Jaqueline Girdner from Berkley Prime Crime

Available from Berkeley in hardcover: A Cry for Self-Help. At a seminar to plan their own wedding ritual, Kate and Wayne witness a local guru taking the plunge -- over a cliff to the rocks below.

Also available in paperback from Berkley: Adjusted to Death (Introducing Kate Jasper, the sexy Wayne, Marvelous Marin); The Last Resort (Kate and Wayne ride to the rescue of Kate's falsely accused ex-husband); Murder Most Mellow (a corpse in the hot-tub); Fat-Free and Fatal (death by Salad Shooter); Tea-Totally Dead (the family reunion from hell); A Stiff Critique (Why are writers so sensitive?); Most Likely To Die (should auld acquaintance be electrocuted?).


Praise for Larger Than Death:

Big is beautiful in this debut. "I've never weighed less than 200 pounds in my adult life," declares amateur sleuth Josephine Fuller, "not counting the chip on my shoulder." Troubleshooter for a philanthropist, Fuller uses a Seattle trip to visit her friend Nina West, who makes lovely large-size dresses and instills self-confidence in her heavy customers. Fuller finds Nina murdered, with "Kill the Whales!" on the bathroom mirror. A slasher dubbed Captain Ahab has dispatched several full-figured women in similar fashion... Fuller is a character of substance, not just size. -Publisher's Weekly, 7/7/97

Josephine will keep you reading this book. I certainly kept coming back to it to finish it the day after I started it as I really wanted to know where this character was going. Pick this book up. Josephine is new, she's interesting, and she'll become an old friend before you know it. -Jeff Hitchin; posted on the Internet on Dorothy-L and Rec.arts.mystery, 8/13/97

This is a terrific start to a series I hope will be around for a long time. And I want Nina's clothes!!! -Kathleen Swanholt, in Mysterious Women, Summer 1997

Murray brings a refreshing approach to storytelling, developing realistic characters with believable relationships. -Booklist, 9/15/97


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