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 #2 - SPRING 1997







Due in March 1997: 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 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?)

Questions on Jaqueline Girdner's Kate Jasper series:

1. Discuss your feelings about Kate's relationship with Wayne.

  • Would you like to kill Kate so that you could get Wayne for yourself?
  • Do you wonder why Wayne puts up with Kate's stumbling over dead bodies and nosing into other people's business?
  • Don't you think that you would be a better woman for that poor man?

2. On the subject of bodies, how many bodies has Kate stumbled over in the last 8 books? (Don't ask the author -- you think she keeps track?)

Why exactly does Kate keep stumbling over these bodies?

  • Is she just clumsy?
  • Does she have really bad karma?
  • For all her vegan posing, is she really a vampire attracted by the scent of fresh blood?

3. Is Kate's friend Barbara really psychic? Close your eyes and think hard about this.


Yes, it's actually happening, folks! Larger Than Death, due from Orloff Press in September 1997, will introduce unapologetic sleuth of size, Josephine Fuller.

While we're waiting for September, it's Spring -- do you know where your cat is?

Care and Feeding of Mystery Writers -- A Guide for Cats

Amateur sleuths and mystery writers are very popular as pets among felines of our acquaintance. Witness: Jaki and her Famous Spouse Greg Booi are owned by Emmy-Mew, while my four felines (Green Eyes, Rin-tin-tin, Wildcat and Sly) control my life in more or less equal parts in one of those unconventional arrangements you read about so much in European novels. Feline and mystery writer lifestyles are so compatible because once past kittenhood, cats lead highly independent lives, which allows the mystery writer time to exercise the writing obsession, uh, profession.

A word on obedience: Humans can be trained. A cat can communicate with its human using simple body language commands such as: "Clean the litter box or I'll use this manuscript box." A direct command or threat works best, such as, "If you ever want to see that wicker chair in one piece again, you'll feed me NOW."

Cats and size acceptance (you knew I'd bring it up, didn't you?):

Cats can spend a great deal of time stalking. This makes them a useful object of study for the would-be fictional murderer. Because cats are predators, the writers who feed them become prey substitutes. Thus the writer is able to experience being stalked without fear or danger. This only works if the human is roughly ten times bigger than the cat, so that the cat's reaction on seeing the human at dinnertime is, "Mommy! Feed me!" If little Fluffy were the size of a Bengal tiger it wouldn't be so cute to be awakened by her sitting on your chest, licking your face and staring at you with the question, "Breakfast?" in those beautiful green eyes.


From Publishers Weekly, March 3, 1997

Welcome to Marin County, Calif., where the characters in this quirky mystery want only to reclaim their inner cores, merge emotionally, eat vegetarian (organically grown, of course) or murder one another. Kate Jasper's eighth appearance (after Most Likely to Die) finds her and her fiance, restaurant owner Wayne Caruso, on the trail of a killer who pushed renowned self-help guru Sam Skyler off a cliff. Sam, wealthy and charismatic founder of the Skyler Institute for Essential Manifestation, had a troubled past -- he had nearly been convicted of murdering his wife by pushing her off a balcony. His present followers are fanatically devoted and hound Kate and Wayne mercilessly when they begin to pry. Much of the sleuthing is secondary to a galaxy of colorful characters all involved in New Age activities: searching for "the manifestation of their essence"; becoming cosmically charged; or just seeking good karma. Yvonne stages wedding ritual seminars; Diana is a tantric yoga goddess; Emma writes a children's book series whose heroine is Connie the Condom. Kate's relentless questioning reveals that Sam had been at odds with Martina, his institute's director, over a lucrative buyout offer. She also discovers a bewildering variety of other motives. Kate's gag-gift business, Jest Gifts, seems a perfect metaphor for this offbeat, tongue-in-cheek and endlessly appealing mystery, which will leave readers energized and blissed.


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