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Friends of the Carlyle Campbell Library: Fall 2014 Dinner

Margaret Maron

Here is a list of Maron's novels, more or less in publication order.

Watch Margaret Maron and Nancy Pickard talk

We had a wonderful time at the October 28 dinner. Margaret Maron and Nancy Pickard entertained us with conversation about the art and craft of mystery writing and the politics of publishing and promoting mystery novels.

Click here for more information about our featured authors.

Mystery Mavens

Tuesday, October 28, at 6:30 pm in Belk Dining Hall

Mystery writers Margaret Maron and Nancy Pickard talked with each other and to us about the craft of mystery writing and their experiences as writers.

Nancy Pickard

Maron is well known as the author of many novels featuring Judge Deborah Knott and set near Raleigh. She last spoke to the Friends in 2004. It was great to hear from her again.

Pickard’s mysteries have been described as lighthearted and memorable. We had an entertaining evening.

Learn More

Margaret Maron is an accomplished and prolific mystery author. A North Carolina native and married to former Meredith Art professor Joe Maron, she last spoke to the Friends of the Library with Joe in 2004. Her latest novel, Designated Daughters, was released in August and is the nineteenth book in the series featuring Judge Deborah Knott and set just outside of Raleigh in fictional Colleton County. I believe Maron has won almost every award for Mystery writing there is and has also been honored with the North Carolina Award for Literature and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Her work "is characterized by its realistic take on the life of working women" in the words of one critic. Another points out that she "spices her puzzle stories and novels of detection with distinctive social settings and a compelling cast of characters." The setting of her mysteries, especially the Deborah Knott series, is detailed with many ongoing characters and stories developing across the novels in conjunction with the central story of each book.

Learn more about Maron at her website: http://www.margaretmaron.com/

Nancy Pickard may be a less familiar name since she is not North Carolina based. A prolificand honored mystery writer with both series novels and stand alone novels, her work is characterized by its humor. Jenny Cain is the "lovely and chirpy" detective in a ten book series set in coastal Massachusetts. Pickard was selected to complete Virginia Rich's The Twenty-seven Ingredient Chili Con Carne Murders, the fourth book in a culinary mystery series featuring Eugenia Potter.  She continued that series for two additional books, The Blue Corn Murders and The Secret Ingrediant Murders. A third short series features true-crime writer Marie Lightfoot. Her most recent mysteries have stepped away from the series approach. The Virgin of Small Plains and The Scent of Rain and Lightening are described as "absorbing" and "engrossing." 

Learn more about Pickard at her website: http://www.nancypickard.com/. Make sure you visit her biography page!

Mystery Writing Organizations

Both Maron and Pickard are active in writers groups that support mystery writers. 

Mystery Writers of America has as its mission statement "MWA is the premier organization for mystery and crime writers, professionals allied to the crime writing field, aspiring crime writers, and folks who just love to read crime fiction." They select the Edgar award winners each year, recoginizing the best in mystery writing. Maron has served as president and Pickard has served on the national board.  See more about the organization at their website, including a list of the latest Edgar nominees.

Sisters in Crime's mission statement says, "Promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers." Both Maron and Pickard have served as president. From the website:

Nancy was the first elected president. "I had to work up my nerve to call Margaret Maron to ask her to be my vice president—she said yes, and boy, was I ever the luckiest president ever! Besides being a wonderful writer, Margaret is the world's best organizer, correspondent, and paper-keeper; she deserves all the credit for keeping the organizational part of SinC alive and functioning that year. That was the beginning of one of my most treasured friendships. Thanks for saying yes, Margaret! I was delighted to hand her the gavel at the end of my year. I have felt proud, ever since, to be able to add to my resume, 'Founding member and former president, Sisters In Crime.'"

Other groups they've been involved with include the American Crime Writers League, Malice Domestic, Carolina Crime Writers and Border Crimes.

Nancy Pickard

Here is a list of Pickard's novels, more or less in publication order.