Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Write Me Deadly

Let's play a little game, shall we? The Material Witnesses have compiled a few photos of some of our favorite authors. Your mission, should you accept it, is to tell us in comments which ones you can identify. Maybe you'll recognize the photo and maybe our little clues will do the trick. Even if you can't ID an author, how about guessing which sub-genre he or she writes? Does that rough-looking character pen hardboiled tales? Or are appearances deceiving, and he's actually a cozy writer?

1. She may speak with a southwestern twang, but her police procedurals are set "across the pond."

2. The author in the center needed only one draft to write his mysteries set in Manhattan.

3. Usually his books are earthy, but one novella is set on the Moon.

4. One of this author's protagonists looks just like him––moustache, cat and all. Not to mention tall, handsome and well-dressed, though our author keeps his character dressed in denim suits long after their past due date. Our peripatetic author sets his mysteries in a European country known for its flowers, and in Maine.

5. One of the most prolific mystery writers ever, this author was also the founder of the prestigious Crime Writers Association.

6. Perhaps she's plotting one of her books with supernatural elements or another set in a different age.

7. With the publication of the eighth book in her popular series already announced for August, I suppose she felt she deserved a little "me" time.

8. This dude writes about open spaces and unusual people, including the Basque people who populate his area. We don't think he can be taken for his main character, but what do you think?

9. Born in Pennsylvania before 1900, this American Queen of Mystery courageously went public about her radical mastectomy in the 1940s.

10. Many of her books involve themes of guilt and paranoia.

11. This icon of the Golden Age was also a serious academic writer.

12. This writer was in her mid-teens when she wrote her first book to entertain her sick brother. It was mysterious, but not a murder. She wrote several  Golden Age mysteries in the 1930s and 1940s, and her books are still being published 90 years after the first came out in 1920.

13. This Golden Age author and her detective were both born in the Scottish Highlands.

14. His bleak view of the world gave us some killer novels.

15. Do you detect the resemblance to his famous son?

16. This writer's plan was to create a hero who was a civilized, attractive man with whom it would be pleasant to talk, but much less pleasant to fall out. The protagonist is a Detective Inspector of the CID with a Scottish first name.

17. This author writes two series about intrepid women who live in the land down under.

18. His books have attention-grabbing titles, and his re-source-full protagonist lives to see his stories in print.

19. This author's first writing was not crime fiction. His policeman solves crimes in a changing society, the birthplace of his creator.

20. No need to guess these two authors' names. Just guess what kind of books they write.


  1. 9 -- M.R. Rinehart. I wouldn't have known without the picture of The Bat.

    11 -- Sayers. I adore her Peter Wimsey. Has anyone listened to The Attenbury Emeralds?


  2. Hi Nikki. You're correct. I was hoping to fool people with that particular Sayers photo. It's the most mannish-looking picture of her I've ever seen. I didn't listen to The Attenbury Emeralds, but I did read it. I liked it a lot, even if it was a lot of explication. I hope Jill Paton Walsh is planning to do another.

  3. I hope you'll answer my question if I answer yours. I recognize Burl Ives, Skitch Henderson and creator of Nero Wolfe Rex Stout in Picture 2. Who are the other bearded gentlemen?

  4. The men with the facial hair in No. 2, clockwise from top left, are Cmdr. Edward Whitehead, Rex Stout, Skitch Henderson, Burl Ives, and Mitch Miller. I think this is an odd photograph in that all of the men are looking in different directions.

  5. Is it Louise Penny in # 7? I'm not sure but the q on the book behind her reminds me of Quebec, where her stories take place.

  6. Is #17 Kerry Greenwood, author of the Phryne Fisher mysteries?

  7. 1. Deborah Crombie
    2. Rex Stout
    3. Reginald Hill
    4. Janwillem Van Wettering
    5. John Creasey
    6. Elizabeth Peters (pen name)
    7. Louise Penny
    8. Craig Johnson
    9. Mary Roberts Reinhart
    10. Patricia Highsmith
    11. Dorothy L. Sayers
    12. P.D. James?
    13. Josephine Tey
    14. Raymond Chandler
    15. I give up.
    16. ditto!
    17. Kerry Greenwood
    18. Lawrence Block
    19. Qiu Xiaolong
    20. thrillers?

  8. Am I seeing things or did that cat shred Jim THompson's sleeve in no. 14? At least,I assume it's Thompson, writer of The Killler Inside me. Man had a right to be Bleak. Kev

  9. Bonnie I just saw your list. I agree, thrillers for 20. Real grisly ones.Look at the smile lines on tht woman's face and the man on the porch sees Evvil . Kev

  10. Peggy,

    You are correct #17 is Kerry Greenwood who is the creator of Corinna Chapman as well as Phryne Fisher.

    Bonnie ,

    You are amazing. Most of your guesses are correct, that is unto # 12. This lady's first book was published the year P. D. James was born. Kev is correct about Jim Thompson
    As for #15 I personally think the father is a tad more handsome than his son.
    With regard to #18 I believe you must try again, but I will have to check with the other Material Witnesses about that. On # 19 you are on the button again.

    # 20 is very tricky

  11. Dear Maltese Condor:

    Ha! Number 12 is Georgette Heyer (whom I love more in her other authorly capacity, though antisemitism in Grand Sophy rather off-putting since written not, as I at first assumed, in the Dark Ages but in the 60's!).

  12. We have knowledgeable readers!

    No. 18 isn't Lawrence Block. An ocean separates Block and No. 18.

    The wording for No. 20 is a little misleading, in that those two authors don't write the same type of book. I'll agree that "thriller" could apply to the man on the porch, Donald Ray Pollock, who was born in Knockemstiff, Ohio (now a ghost town, but don't you love that name?), and worked for 32 years in a paper mill before writing KNOCKEMSTIFF, a collection of short stories, and THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME, which I'd call southern gothic noir.

    That leaves the woman in No. 20, who doesn't write thrillers.

  13. Well, I know now who Lady 20 is, but I won't post because I cheated (hint: do not leave author name as name of jpg). NOT a thriller writer, though, more sort of small town cozy.

  14. Yes Bonnie,
    # 12 is Georgette Heyer! Now although they are not considered part of her Murder Mystery realm,THE TALISMAN RING is about the solving of the murder of a local squire and one of her very early books THE OLD SHADES IS about the mysterious identity of a young waif and there is quite a bit of action and adventure in it.

    Now put your mind to #16. I am sure you have read some of this authors books.

  15. You don't need to tell me about These Old Shades or the Talisman Ring, LOL! Heyers have been my comfort reads since I was a teenager, and I am pretty sure I have 95% on Kindle after that $2 sale last fall.

    I guessed Lawrence Block just from the photo, because I remembered he was a handsome bald man. I know your clue must mean something but it's eluding me..."resource-full protagonist lives to see his stories in print." So the protag is maybe a journalist? He's sure got great eyebrows, anyhow!

  16. 16. Ngaio Marsh. The exact same picture is on the Wikipedia page.

  17. Bonnie, you're making me laugh. I realized that leaving the name as part of the jpg was opening up the quiz to cheating, but I figured if somebody went to those lengths, it was okay since this is a blog about crime fiction, and we're not offering a prize to the winner.

    You're getting warm on the answer to No. 18.

  18. Ya think? I still have no idea. Anyhow, I need to turn my attention to writing my chapter of the Fanfic blog-a-thon going on as we speak. If you're interested and love Eve & Roarke, head on over to AJ's site. :-)