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Mystery Set in Ohio Captures America’s Entry into WW2

by M. Ruth Myers

Maximum Moxie, shiny new addition to the mystery series featuring the 1940s detective with great legs, Maggie Sullivan, has just landed in digital bookstores.  This fifth book in the series opens when the private eye takes on a new case days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, and provides an unusual portrait of a mainland city left dazed but resolute.

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The Story:

Days before the Pearl Harbor attack plunges the U.S. into World War II, private eye Maggie Sullivan is hired to find a missing engineer in Dayton, Ohio. Has Gil Tremain been kidnaped, or has he turned traitor — to his employer and maybe his country?

As Maggie pieces together his last movements, she finds there are secrets the man’s ex-wife and his employers don’t want uncovered. Maggie herself is attacked and an innocent witness is murdered. The ruthlessness of her opponent — or opponents — becomes even clearer when there’s an attempt to abduct Tremain’s young daughter. Still more chilling, Maggie’s investigation suddenly attracts the attention of a local crime kingpin.

The attack on Pearl Harbor presses every cop in the city into service protecting manufacturing and research facilities. Stunned by the knowledge their nation will soon be at war, even fearful the mainland itself will be bombed, people cling to family and friends. Schedules and routines shatter. Amid the disruption, alone and aware she can’t count on help from the police, Maggie races to save a man who has now become a liability to his captors.

Maximum Moxie, fifth book in the author’s popular Maggie Sullivan mysteries series, gives readers fast-paced twists and turns along with a rare and vividly painted closeup view of a watershed event in 20th century American history.

What Do a Victorian Lady and a 1940s Gal Gumshoe Have in Common? — Part 2

When M. Louisa Locke and I discovered we’d be promoting books in our respective historical mystery series at the same time, we had an idea: Wouldn’t it be fun to ask our two women detectives — one a proper lady in Victorian San Francisco, the other a gritty young private eye in 1940s Dayton, Ohio — the same set of questions about their work and how they manage it as women?

Myers Locke twitter ad

Maggie Sullivan mystery #1 shows woman private eyeOn the surface, at least, they seemed very different. Maggie Sullivan, my sleuth, lives in an all-women rooming house, gets her meals at the dime store lunch counter, and would rather take her chances with thugs than with domesticity.  Mrs. Annie Fuller, sleuth of Locke’s popular Victorian San Francisco mystery series, is a young widow who owns and runs a nicely appointed boarding house where she manages a domestic staff.

Being a proper lady, Annie would never indulge in any sort of Unseasy-MLalcoholic beverage.  Maggie is cordially disposed toward most of them, but favors gin and tonic or a glass of dark stout.  Annie’s closest friends are people at her boarding house, both “upstairs” and “down”.  Maggie’s are a photographer and his wife, a businesswoman with a bad reputation and a former hit man.

Yet resilience and a refusal to judge based on social class are only two of the things these two women have in common.  As some of their answers suggest, they’re often on the same wavelength.

Read Part 1 of our interview with them on M. Louisa Locke’s blog.

Here’s Part 2:

5: In a tight spot, how do you hold your own against a man who’s bigger, heavier, stronger?

MAGGIE: My first line of defense is awareness of my surroundings – people on the street, whether I’ve seen a car behind me before — and using my wits. Sometimes just confronting someone is enough to make them back off. I don’t like scars on my face any more than the next girl, so if I get backed into a corner I throw a mean punch. Making a man drop his trousers around his ankles takes a lot of the tough out and keeps him from moving unexpectedly.  Of course that generally requires persuasion from my .38 Smith & Wesson.  When necessary I use it for more than persuasion.

ANNIE: One of the things I have learned the hard way is not to go alone into potentially dangerous situations. For a woman, there is safety in numbers…even if the other people are other women. It is amazing what two or three determined women can do against a single man. You just have to be clever about these things, think ahead. However, since my father taught me to shoot when I was a girl growing up on our ranch outside of Los Angeles, I have been tempted to buy a small derringer.

6. What’s the biggest misconception men have about women in your era?

ANNIE: That we are too unintelligent to take care of ourselves. I hate to be so blunt. But as someone who had to sit by and watch my first husband squander away my fortune rather than take my advice, forcing me into five wretched years of financial dependence on my in-laws, I am a bit bitter. Then the whole reason I became Madam Sibyl, the clairvoyant, is that men would rather believe that my business advice comes from my ability to read the lines on their palms than from my excellent training and the solid research I do. Very frustrating. Thank goodness, a few men in my life, like the lawyer Nate Dawson, have been willing to recognize that I am their equal intellectually and that I can take care of myself.

MAGGIE: That we’re less competent than they are just because of our gender. That we’re smart enough to put on lipstick, but not to do as well at any job we choose as a man. Hand-in-hand with that is the notion that when we do work, it’s just to mark time until we meet the right fellow, because what we really want, even if we’re too silly to know it, is to settle down and have a family.

7. Of the people in your life, whom do you trust most?

MAGGIE: Seamus Hanlon, a cop who’s nearing retirement age. He was one of my Dad’s closest friends, and has been a part of my life as far back as I remember. I’ve never asked him to do me a favor, or to risk life and limb for me, but I know he would. At some point in the series, he’s going to, in fact. What I cherish him most for is that he never judges me or tells me what to do. He’s just there. A rock. Always.

ANNIE: It may be difficult for many people of my social class to understand, but the people in my life I trust the most are domestic servants. Beatrice O’Rourke, my cook and housekeeper, and Kathleen Hennessey, my personal maid, have always been there for me, helping me run the boarding house, even helping me solve crimes. And then there is the Chinese manservant, Mr. Wong, who I met on my first case. I swear I have never met a man of such kindness and integrity. Unlike many of the men and women of my class who seem to spend all their time pretending to be something they are not, these hard working but often despised individuals don’t waste time with artifice…and I would (and have had to) trust them with my life.

8. What gadget would you like to see invented to help you as a detective?

ANNIE: Only two years ago, a new-fangled invention called the telephone was introduced in San Francisco. This gadget magically permits you to speak to someone over some distance. They are expensive to install, so only a few wealthy families have them, and as far as I can tell they mostly use them to order meat from the butcher or call a doctor in an emergency. But I can tell you it would certainly make my job easier if these telephones were available everywhere. No depending on some errand boy to run across town to deliver a message, or waiting a day for a letter to arrive, or trying to say all you need in a few words for a telegraph message.

MAGGIE: I wish someone would come up with a telephone that worked in my car. When I’m out of my office and need to ask a vital question or warn a client, it would save so much time if I didn’t have to find a pay phone and dig out change. They’re already starting to put radios in cars. How hard could a phone be?

No Game for a Dame, first book in the Maggie Sullivan mystery series by M. Ruth Myers, is free for Kindle, Nook, Apple and Kobo through Jan. 26.  Uneasy Spirits, second book in the Victorian San Francisco mystery series by M. Louisa Locke, is free for Kindle through Jan. 22.

One Busy Woman P.I.

This week is a busy one for 1940s private eye Maggie Sullivan.  First, read her answers in Part I of an interview today on M. Louisa Locke’s blog where we jointly interview our two characters.  Part II will appear here tomorrow (Jan. 21).

One carries a parasol One carries a .38Two women sleuthsTwo novelsFREE1-20-22 (1)

 

Then learn more about Maggie Sullivan and the series in this video interview author Debbi Mack did with me on CrimeCafe.  Click the video button in the CrimeCafe graphic of the skyline & moon immediately BELOW Debbi’s introductory comments.

New Mystery Short Story Set in 1940

“A Concrete Garter Belt”, a new Maggie Sullivan short story, has joined the four novels and one other short story currently in the mystery series.   It was previously published in the Private Eye Writers of America anthology Fifty Shades of Grey Fedora, but is now available as a stand-alone.

Garter-Zon

The private eye’s search for a missing girl takes her into a secretarial service, a common resource used by countless small businesses before the advent of answering machines, Spellcheck and Office 365.  It also provides a window into an era when being pawed by the boss was the price young women often paid for keeping their job.

Maggie doesn’t take well to pawing.  And she carries a Smith & Wesson.

 

Private Eye Writers & Shamus Awards Dinner

The Shamus Awards dinner, hosted by Private Eye Writers of America, is my favorite part of the annual Bouchercon world mystery convention. All those authors of P.I. fiction, from the big names to a sprinkling of newbies, crowded into one room. They’re not quite as seedy as their print creations, but they do have a certain swagger that sets them apart.

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This year’s bash was at Big Ed’s City Market in Raleigh, NC. No shots were fired.

Grant-Karen

Henry and I enjoyed the chance to become acquainted with Canadian thriller writer Grant McKenzie and his wife Karen, both former journalists. Grant’s novel Beauty with a Bomb, part of the Dixie Flynn series which he writes under the name M.C. Grant, was a finalist in the Best Paperback Original category. I had trouble putting it down, and am now a firm fan of this series featuring a kick-ass young investigative journalist for a news website.

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It was my pleasure to present the Shamus Award for Best Indie P.I. Novel of 2014 to Trace Conger for his novel The Shadow Broker. He’s shown here receiving the award, and in the audience with his wife Beth.

Trace-wife

Here are this year’s finalists and winners in the various categories. *=winner

BEST HARDCOVER P.I. NOVEL
The Hollow Girl by Reed Farrel Coleman
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Toyko Kill by Barry Lancet
*  Hounded by David Rosenfelt
Peter Pan Must Die by John Verdon

BEST FIRST P.I. NOVEL
*  Invisible City by Julia Dahl
Bad Country by C.B. McKenzie
Last of the Independents by Sam Wiebe
Wink of an Eye by Lynn Chandler Willis
City of Brick and Shadow by Tim Wirkus

BEST ORIGINAL PAPERBACK P.I. NOVEL
The Detective and the Pipe Girl by Michael Craven
Beauty With A Bomb by M.C.Grant
Critical Damage by Robert K. Lewis
Street Justice by Kris Nelscott
*  Moonlight Weeps by Vincent Zandri

BEST P.I. SHORT STORY
*  “Clear Recent History” by Gon Ben Ari in Tel Aviv Noir
“The Ehrengraf Fandango ” by Lawrence Block in Defender of the Innocent
“Fear Is The Best Keeper of Secrets ” by Vali Khalili in Tehran Noir
“Mei Kwei, I Love You” by Suchen Christine Lim in Singapore Noir
“Busting Red Heads” by Richard Helms in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

BEST INDIE P.I. NOVEL
*  The Shadow Broker by Trace Conger
Nobody’s Child by Libby Fischer Hellmann
Played To Death by BV Lawson
The Kids Are All Right by Steve Liskow
Get Busy Dying by Ben Rehder

A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Parnell Hall.

M. Ruth Myers writes the Maggie Sullivan mystery series.

Launch Party for New Mystery

Come on over to my Facebook page for a chance to win BOOKS, CHOCOLATES, and CD’s of traditional Irish music.  We’re celebrating the launch of Shamus in a Skirt, fourth book in the Maggie Sullivan series.  It’s now available from most ebook retailers.

Besides periodic prize drawings, there also are assorted videos of Irish music by folks I know — just tunes, no songs.

Maggie Sullivan mystery Number 4

Maggie Sullivan mystery Number 4

The festivities continue until midnight EST tonight (9/26).

Maggie Sullivan mystery #4 coming soon

Coming in September

Maggie Sullivan mystery Number 4

Maggie Sullivan mystery Number 4

 

Private Eye Novel on Goodreads Giveaway

From now through Aug. 10, you can win one of four signed copies of TOUGH COOKIE on this Goodreads giveaway.

Don’t mistake this for a culinary cozy.  Maggie Sullivan, the 1930s gal P.I. hired to unravel a high-stakes swindle, will use her Smith & Wesson or break a thug’s fingers to get the information she needs.

If you haven’t met Maggie yet, get acquainted before the fourth book in the series comes out at summer’s end.

Maggie Sullivan mysteries #2

 

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/148199-tough-cookie

M. Ruth Myers writes the Maggie Sullivan mystery series set in Dayton, OH, 1938-47.

Win an Audiobook Featuring 1938 Woman P.I.

Game-ACXThe audiobook version of No Game for a Dame, which introduced 1930s private eye Maggie Sullivan to mystery fans, is now available at:

To kick things off, I’m offering three free downloads of the audiobook — two in the US, one in the UK — with the hope recipients will post a review of it on Audible.  It’s first come, first served, so if you’re interested, please leave a comment saying so and indicating whether you’re in the US or UK. Include a way to contact you, as I’ll need to email the download coupon code.

The fourth book in the series is due out late summer.

Cheers!

M. Ruth Myers writes the Maggie Sullivan mystery series featuring a female PI in the 1930s-40s.

Private Eye Writers Announce Finalists for 2015 Shamus Awards

Private Eye Writers of America have announced finalists for the 2015 Shamus Awards.  Winners will be announced at the PWA Banquet on Oct. 9 during Bouchercon in Raleigh, North Carolina.

All entries were published in 2014.  Finalists in each category are listed alphabetically by author.

BEST HARDCOVER P.I. NOVEL

The Hollow Girl by Reed Farrel Coleman
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Toyko Kill by Barry Lancet
Hounded by David Rosenfelt
Peter Pan Must Die by John Verdon
BEST FIRST P.I. NOVEL
Invisible City by Julia Dahl
Bad Country by C.B. McKenzie
Last of the Independents by Sam Wiebe
Wink of an Eye by Lynn Chandler Willis
City of Brick and Shadow by Tim Wirkus
BEST ORIGINAL PAPERBACK P.I. NOVEL
The Detective and the Pipe Girl by Michael Craven
Beauty With A Bomb by M.C.Grant
Critical Damage by Robert K. Lewis
Street Justice by Kris Nelscott
Moonlight Weeps by Vincent Zandri
BEST P.I. SHORT STORY
“Clear Recent History” by Gon Ben Ari in Tel Aviv Noir
“The Ehrengraf Fandango ” by Lawrence Block in Defender of the Innocent
“Fear Is The Best Keeper of Secrets ” by Vali Khalili in Tehran Noir
“Mei Kwei, I Love You” by Suchen Christine Lim in Singapore Noir
“Busting Red Heads” by Richard Helms in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine
BEST INDIE P.I. NOVEL
The Shadow Broker by Trace Conger
Nobody’s Child by Libby Fischer Hellmann
Played To Death by BV Lawson
The Kids Are All Right by Steve Liskow
Get Busy Dying by Ben Rehder
Awards Chair was Gay Toltl Kinman.  Judges were Dorothy Rellas, Colleen Collins, Andrew S. McAleer, S.J. Rozan, Clive Rosengren, M. Ruth Myers. Fred Zackel, Brad Parks, Douglas Corleone, Tim Wohlforth, Jack Fredrickson, BethTerrell, Charle Ardai, Amanda Kyle Williams and Baron Birtcher.

The Thrilling Detective website gives background on the awards and lists of winners from past years.

M. Ruth Myers writes the Maggie Sullivan mystery series featuring a female PI in the 1930s-40s.

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