Congratulations to our very own 2015 Derringer Finalists!

March 1 is here at last! With it comes the anxiously awaited Derringer Awards short-list announcement.

We are delighted to learn that two of our very own Mesdames, founder M.H. Callway and author Vicki Delany, are honoured as finalists for these prestigious Short Mystery Fiction Society Awards!

Kudos to Mme M.H. Callway, for her original and highly-unique tale “The Ultimate Mystery”, which was featured in the 2014 anthology World Enough And Crime (Carrick Publishing).

Hats off also to our talented and diverse Mme Vicki Delany for her international mystery Juba Good, honoured in the category for Best Novelette!
Derringer Vicki Juba Good

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Snow Outside, Warmth Inside: Madame Rosemary Aubert at Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore

Rosemary A Signing

by Mme Joan O’Callaghan. Photos by Donna Carrick.

The snow piled up outside, but Madame Rosemary Aubert’s many fans and readers braved the elements to come to Sleuth Bookstore on Millwood Avenue in Toronto, to celebrate the release of her new Ellis Portal novel, Don’t Forget You Love Me.

On hand to share in the celebration were Alex and Donna Carrick of Carrick Publishing, which published Don’t Forget You Love Me. Visitors were treated to real English tea, party sandwiches, fruit, cheese and crackers, and cookies made to look like policemen! Sir Percival, the store’s resident poodle , sporting a new haircut, was also on hand to greet visitors in hopes of scoring a piece of cheese.

Visitors were able to chat with Rosemary, buy the books and get them signed and browse in the wonderful ambience of the mystery bookstore.

We’re thrilled that Rosemary has added another Ellis Portal mystery to the series. Dare we hope for more??
Rosemary A Signing 3

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Join the Mesdames at Signs Restaurant on March 25!

Mesdames Signs

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Carrot Cake and Cozies: Mme Vicki Delany’s new book

Last Tuesday, February 10th, Mme Vicki Delany launched her new cozy mystery series in her hometown of Picton, Ontario. The temperatures were frigid outside, but Mme M. H. Callway and friend and author, Gail Hamilton, joined the warm crowd at the Picton Public Library to celebrate with her.

Mme Vicki took a departure from her Molly Smith police procedurals and her darker, stand-alone novels to pen By Book or By Crook, the first book in the series set in a lighthouse library on the Outer Banks, North Carolina. The book’s hero librarian, Lucy, has fled her stuffy Boston blue-blood family to find adventure and she certainly does when the odious chairman of her library board is murdered. She sets out to clear her friend’s name and to recover the priceless first edition of a Jane Austen novel, while juggling the attentions of the town’s handsome mayor and the hot detective on the case. And of course she is ably assisted by her clever cat, Charles Dickens!

While we munched down Vicki’s delicious carrot cake, she outlined for us how these cozies are written in a way similar to Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys mysteries. Penguin Obsidian supplied the basic plot, setting and characters, but Vicki as the author had considerable freedom in writing the book. She could even change the identity of the murderer if it made more sense to the plot.

The books are under Vicki’s pen name of Eva Gates. While Penguin Obsidian retains the copyright, Vicki receives royalties as the author.

By Book or by Crook is receiving very positive reviews and is one of Marian’s Picks in the Sleuth of Baker Street newsletter. Mme Mad and Gail cannot wait to read the second book in the Lighthouse Library Series, Booked for Trouble, which comes out this September!

For more reviews and info about the series, check out the webpage: . By Book or by Crook is the first of the four – yes, four! – books Vicki will publish this year. It is her seventeenth novel! She heads south again to continue promoting the Eva Gates series later this month. For a complete listing of Vicki’s travels, visit her website:

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Mesdames on the Move!

TheMumberleyInheritance-WebPoster190xThis February, Mmes Joan O’Callaghan and M. H. Callway will be representing the Mesdames and their books at West End Studio Theatre’s production of The Mumberley Inheritance. Do join us for a fun evening out at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts!

Here is the blurb from West End Studio:

“The traditional melodrama themes are re-worked in a fast paced entertainment romp through the trials and tribulations of Mumberley Manor.  England in 1900 – Brother Jack is in Canada trying to find the secret of the Mumberley fortune – father’s gambling debts are in the hands of villainous Marmaduke Mayhem – so what can poor daughter Daphne do but marry Mayhem, leaving Rodney Stoutheart and his stiff upper lip at the vestry door?  Rodney disguises himself as Jack – returned from Canada – at the same moment as Jack actually returns.  Thus the villain’s attempts to dispose of Jack invariably lead to unfortunate experiences for Rodney.  All ends well once the villain has played his death scene (with encores). 

PS  – Great show to bring children to – there is audience participation booing, hissing and cheering!!”

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MME Vicki Delany launches cozy series as Eva Gates

On February 3rd, Mme Vicki Delany launched the first book in her new cozy series, By Book or By Crook. Set in the Outer Banks of Northern Carolina, in a charming lighthouse library on Bodie Island, our heroine Lucy must recover the priceless first edition of a Jane Austen novel. And solve the murder of the chairman of the library board with the help of her clever cat, Charles Dickens.

Mme Vicki has taken a turn to light side with this her seventeenth novel, writing under the pen name of Eva Gates to distinguish the new series from her police procedurals, Klondike adventure series and gothic thrillers. This is the first of the four – yes, four! – books she will publish this year.

By Book or by Crook, published by Penguin Obsidian, is already getting very positive reviews. It is one of Marian’s Picks in the Sleuth of Baker Street newsletter and Krista Davis, bestselling author of the Domestic Diva Mysteries, praised it in the New York Times, calling Lucy “a delightful and engaging sleuth surrounded by a cast of intriguing characters in an original and unique setting.”

For more reviews and info about the series, do check out the webpage:

Today Mme Vicki set off on a whirlwind tour of the U.S.A. to promote the series. She will be back in Canada for a reading on Tuesday, February 10th, 7 pm at the Picton Public Library. (Snow date Feb 12th!) For a complete listing of Vicki’s travels, check her website:

Booked for Trouble, the second book in the Lighthouse Library Series, will be released this coming September.

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Why Every Writer Needs a Cat ~ guest post by Mary Kennedy

When I tell people I’m a mystery writer, they picture my life as glamorous and exciting, filled with an endless round of power lunches and research trips to exotic locales. What they forget is that ninety percent of my time is spent hunched in front of the computer, wrestling my characters and plots into submission. A writer’s life can be a surprisingly solitary one.

And that’s where my cats come in. I have eight rescued cats and they bring enormous joy to my life. They spend much of the day with me (when they’re not snoozing or just chilling on the glassed-in sun porch) and their quiet presence is comforting.

You’re never alone when you have a houseful of cats; there’s always someone who needs a pat on the head, a belly rub or a quick snuggle. My cats have very different personalities and I enjoy them all.

Oliver is an aristocratic cat and I could picture him at Downton Abbey, chatting with Lord Grantham in another life. Always dignified, Oliver is keenly intelligent with a somewhat demanding meow. Oliver is a cat who knows what he wants in life (food, attention) and he doesn’t hesitate to let his wishes be known. After all, we mere mortals are here to serve him!

Henry is “my little sociopath.” Henry was a neighborhood cat. People fed him, but never adopted him. When I rescued him, I could see why. I called him “Gladiator Cat,” because he would run into the house for dinner, terrorize my cats and then go racing out the door. It took a great deal of time to tame him. How did I do it? I set the buzzer for twenty minutes every day and devoted that time to Henry. I took him on the porch and brushed him, pet him, played with him and made him feel special. All the while, the other cats were watching through the glass door, wondering why “the evil cat” was getting so much attention. It paid off. Henry’s behavior has improved dramatically.

Eliza and Clyde are resilient cats. Clyde, a beat-up Tom cat, refused to come inside, but brought his pregnant girl friend, a cute little tuxedo cat, for dinner one night. It was bitterly cold and he stood by and guarded her while she ate. I managed to lure her onto the sun porch and she gave birth to five kittens two days later!! Meanwhile, Clyde continued to be on the prowl, but I eventually trapped him and now he is a happy house cat.
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Fur-Face, an adorable calico, is one of their kittens—she’s playful and intelligent, first in line at dinner time.

Calpurnia is Eliza’s daughter from a previous litter. She’s a lovely cat with a shy personality. Since she was four months old when I managed to rescue her, she’s semi-feral and I am the only one who can pet her.

I found Oscar outside a neighbor’s house in the pouring rain. The neighbors were away and Oscar was too terrified to let me pick him up. I went back to feed him three days in a row and finally managed to catch him in a beach towel. He loves attention, adores cuddling and seems grateful for his home.
Shadow was curled up in the rain, weak and emaciated, under a bush in the garden. He was starving, missing half his fur and wolfed down two cans of cat food. He looks quite handsome with his lion cut for summer and has such a sweet personality.

All my cats have taught me so much; how to be resilient and get through hard times, how to enjoy simple pleasures like a warm breeze on a sunny day and how to offer unconditional love. And best of all, I never have to spend a lonely hour at the computer, I now have plenty of friendly cats to offer me companionship.

I included two fictional cats, Barney and Scout, in Nightmares Can Be Murder. I thought about giving them magic powers or making them psychic, and then I decided to make them “loveable housecats,” just like my pets.

Mary Kennedy is a licensed psychologist in private practice and the author of The Dream Club Mysteries and the Talk Radio Mysteries. She lives on the East Coast with her husband and eight neurotic cats. Both husband and cats have resisted all her attempts to psychoanalyze them, but she remains optimistic. You can learn more at or where she blogs every Saturday.

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Launch: New Ellis Portal Novel by Rosemary Aubert

Written by M.H. Callway

Mesdames RosemaryA1Mme Rosemary Aubert celebrated the launch of her new Ellis Portal novel, Don’t Forget You Love Me, the sixth book in the Arthur award-winning series on Friday, January 16th at the Arts and Letters Club, Toronto.

Carrick Publishing released Don’t Forget You Love Me just before Christmas. It is already receiving warm reviews: it is one of J.D’s Picks and one of Marian’s Picks in Sleuth of Baker Street’s January newsletter.

Friends and fans crowded the Great Hall to hear Rosemary read from her new novel. At her invitation, three fellow poets (George Fells, Emily Mandy and David Stones) shared their work. Readers may not know that Mme Rosemary started writing as a poet – and that she continues to publish and perform poetry to this day.

Mesdames Safe HarborRosemary also generously shared the floor with three Mesdames of Mayhem who were honored and delighted to be part of the evening. Mme M. H. Callway read from her debut novel, Windigo Fire (Seraphim Editions), Rosemary McCracken from Safe Harbour (Imajin Press) and Joan O’Callaghan, her award-winning flash fiction, “Torch Song for Two Voices” (Polar Expressions).

Asked what inspired her to continue the Ellis Portal series, Rosemary described how she originally planned to tell Portal’s journey – from judge to homeless vagrant living rough in the Don Valley to judge again – in five books. Central to Portal’s story are five rings that belong to the major characters: each of the five books focuses on one of these rings.

The recent clashes between police and the public, often with tragic results, compelled Rosemary to write Don’t Forget You Love Me. As part of her research, she studied the documentation available on the events surrounding the Economic Summit to illuminate this difficult and complex issue.

Don’t Forget You Love Me is available on Amazon.
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The Mesdames of Mayhem: First book launch of 2015!

We are delighted to announce the very first of the new books to be launched by a Mme of Mayhem in 2015!

Mme Rosemary Aubert presents her eagerly awaited new book in the Ellis Portal mystery series, Don’t Forget You Love Me, (Carrick Publishing, December, 2014).

The launch will be held on Friday, January 16th at 7:00pm at the Arts and Letters Club, Great Hall, 14 Elm Street, Toronto.

The event promises to be lively with several readings by fellow authors and poets. The highlight of the evening will be Rosemary’s reading from her new Ellis Portal mystery.

Admission is free. Copies of Don’t Forget You Love Me will be available for purchase with an opportunity to meet and chat with Rosemary, one of Canada’s leading crime fiction authors.

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The Mesdames’ Sparkling Year!

MesdamesBlog1 ChampaignFarewell 2014, but what a terrific year it’s been: New books, dazzling awards and critical acclaim, oh, my! And the New Year promises the Mesdames more new books and success, which I’ll highlight in my upcoming blog.

But first, let’s brag a little…

The Mesdames had a very busy twelve months with dozens of readings, panels and book launches throughout the GTA. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our hard-working marketing whiz, Mme Joan O’Callaghan, and to Mme Cathy Astolfo for chasing down and bagging these gigs for us. And many, many thanks to all the Mesdames who made these events a success.

We re-learned an important fact: a librarian is an author’s best friend! As are our hard-pressed indie booksellers. Hearts and flowers go to Pickwick Books and especially to Marian Misters and J. D. Singh of Sleuth of Baker Street.

The Mesdames formed a wonderful partnership with community theatre. Cross-promotion at three mystery plays in Oakville and Toronto led us to meet new readers and launched further events to promote our books. Many thanks to Mmes Joan O’Callaghan and Elaine Freedman for creating these opportunities for us and to the many hard-working Mesdames, among them Mmes Cathy Dunphy, Rosemary McCracken and Lynne Murphy, who braved winter weather to “man” our tables.

And now, on to the glory…

MesdamesBlog2 AE.jpgMesdamesBlog4 Short MysteryMesdamesBlog3 Bony PeteAwards
In 2014, several Mesdames were winners or finalists for leading awards in crime fiction.

Mme Melodie Campbell, our Queen of Comedy, took home an Arthur and a Derringer for Best Novella for her terrific book, The Goddaughter’s Revenge. We all long for Nico, The Lone Re-arranger, to burglarize our homes!

MesdamesBlog5 ThatGoldenSummerFrontCoverMme Joan O’Callaghan, long a successful non-fiction writer, penned two award-winning short stories this year. “Runaway” took Third Prize in the Bony Pete contest at this year’s Bloody Words Conference and “Torch Song for Two Voices” beat out literally hundreds of flash fiction entries to win first prize in Polar Expressions Publishing’s short story contest. It is featured in their anthology That Golden Summer.

Mme Vicki Delany’s 2013 novel, Gold Web: A Klondike Mystery was shortlisted for the Bony Blythe Light Mystery Award.

We were also thrilled that, Thirteen, the Mesdames’ first anthology, received three prestigious nominations. Mme Rosemary McCracken’s Pat Tierney story, “The Sweetheart Scamster”, was a finalist for the 2014 Derringer Award. And Mme Donna Carrick’s chilling story, “Watermelon Weekend”, and Mme Sylvia Warsh’s sinister tale, “The Emerald Skull”, were both short-listed for an Arthur.

New Books

Five Mesdames published new books in 2014.

Mme M. H. Callway’s debut novel, Windigo Fire, was published by Seraphim Editions in September to very positive reviews. Windigo Fire is on Huffington Post Canada’s fall list of Books for Book Clubs and it is one of the “New Talent – Ten to Taste” chosen by the British website, Crime Fiction Lover. Margaret Cannon of the Globe and Mail praised it for its well-done atmosphere and chilling premise and said “M.H. Callway is a writer to watch”. And Don Graves, in his 50 Words Review called Windigo Fire “visually powerful, action packed, blunt and driving with writing polished beyond that of a debut novel.”

Mme Melodie Campbell’s latest book in the hilarious Goddaughter series, The Artful Goddaughter, was published this fall by Orca Press. Canadian Mystery Reviews called it “A blast and a laugh”. And showing her mastery of the (sexy!) sword and sorcery genre, our Queen of Comedy launched Rowena and the Viking Warlord, the third in the Rowena series published by Imajin Press. Vine Review praised it as “Outlander meets Sex and the City”.

Carrick Publishing’s latest anthology, World Enough and Crime, was published in October, 2014 and features works by 22 established and emerging crime fiction authors. Eight Mesdames are delighted to have their stories in the collection: Mme Donna Carrick uncovers an eerie family secret in “Dr. Shediac” while Mme Rosemary Aubert uses a most unusual murder weapon in “The Prime Suspect”.

Mme M. H. Callway spins a mystical tale in “The Ultimate Mystery” while Mme Mel Campbell, launches the reader into future policing in “ Cover Girl”. Mme Rosemary McCracken’s hero, Pat Tierney, uncovers more financial sins in “Antonia” and Mme Lynne Murphy’s senior citizens continue to break the law in “Potluck”. Readers can now enjoy Mme Joan O’Callaghan’s prize-winning story “Runaway” as well as Mme Jane Petersen Burfield’s charming Christmas tale, “Belief”.

The Mesdames are especially happy that Ed Piwowarczyk, the editor of our new anthology, Thirteen O’Clock, makes his debut in this anthology. “The Angels Wait” is a dark tale of justice and retribution.

Don Graves had high praise for World Enough and Crime in his 50 Word Review: Excellent storytelling that keeps you reading.

Mme Vicki Delany had a relatively quiet year with “only” two books published! Under Cold Stone is the seventh book in her critically acclaimed Constable Molly Smith Series from Poisoned Pen Press. Juba Good is the first in the Sgt Ray Robertson series of Rapid Reads novellas for Orca Press. This year, Mme Vicki was the Canadian Guest of Honour at the Bloody Words Conference in Toronto. And in her spare time, she’s President of the Crime Writers of Canada!

Our newest member, Mme Lisa De Nikolits published her latest mystery, The Witchdoctor’s Bones, with Inanna Press. Doug O’Neill of Canadian Living Magazine writes: “You’re drawn in…. Embark on a journey that seethes with peril.” And T.O. Poet praised Mme Lisa’s deft handling of a large cast of characters with complex motives, saying: “If romance, suspense and serial killers under the African sun are your cup of tea this book is for you.”

In December, Mme Rosemary Aubert released her latest Ellis Portal mystery: Don’t Forget You Love Me. The book is available in paperback and e-book editions. All are welcome to join Rosemary at the Arts & Letters Club, Toronto, on January 16/14 for the launch party!

More Publishing News

Mme D. J. McIntosh was hard at work throughout 2014 researching and completing the third book in her best-selling John Madison archeological thriller series. The only secret she’s let slip so far is that the story centers on the legend of the Garden of Eden. We can’t wait for Penguin to announce its 2015 release date!

This fall, the Canadian Sisters in Crime brought out their follow-up anthology, The Whole She-Bang 2. We were thrilled that in the Globe and Mail’s review of the collection, Margaret Cannon singled out for praise: Mme Cathy Astolfo’s touching story, “The End of the World” and Mme Mel Campbell’s smart and funny police procedural, “Women’s Work.”

Farewell to Bloody Words

Our wrap-up of 2014 ends on a bittersweet note: Mmes Caro Soles and Cheryl Freedman announced that Bloody Words 2014 would be the last one. After thirteen terrific national conferences, they’ve certainly earned a rest but both are hard at work. Mme Caro has a new project, nEvermore, a tribute anthology to Edgar Allan Poe, to be published fall 2015 and Mme Cheryl is busy writing and editing.

Happily, though, the Bony Blithe prize will continue under a new name: The Bloody Words Light Mystery Award, which will delight authors and fans everywhere.

Mme Mad

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