What do mystery authors Sara Paretsky, Margaret Maron, Nancy Pickard, and Dorothy Salisbury Davis have in common? They saw that women authors often missed out on publishing contracts, promotional dollars, and review opportunities in a publishing world weighted in favor of male authors. They decided to even the playing field and, in 1987, founded Sisters in Crime, an association of mystery authors and fans with the clear mission to help women who write, review, buy, or sell crime fiction or as its official
mission statement says, “to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional of women crime writers.”
I joined the organization several years ago and can attest to the benefits of membership. SinC arranged a visit to the Maryland Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore where I learned the difference between a medical examiner and a coroner and watched an autopsy under way.
I enjoyed a weekend of murder and mayhem this month at Malice Domestic, an annual convention of cozy mystery authors and fans in Bethesda, Maryland. I met some of my favorite authors and learned a whole lot about common poisonous plants and the Washington, D.C. Crime Lab.
What is a cozy? Even authors and fans try their hand at definitions. Generally, it is a crime novel without the blood and gore with an amateur detective who is somehow involved with the victim and/or suspect. Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple series is a prime example. Current authors include Margaret Maron, Joan Hess,