Happy New Year Readers!

In 2018, the Mesdames of Mayhem came into their own. We had a truly fabulous year: a major new venture, awards and critical recognition and many book and story publications.

We’re looking forward to another terrific year in 2019 with the launch of our fourth anthology, In the Key of Thirteen. Hope to meet many more of you at our upcoming events and workshops!

Here’s our year end review for 2018. Mesdames on the Move for January will be up shortly.

13 Claws a Critical Hit!

Our third anthology, 13 Claws, featured 17 crime stories starring (mostly) evil animals: cats, dogs, snakes, a fish, a dragon – even animal crackers.

First, Jack Batten, crime fiction reviewer for the Toronto Star, gave us a glowing write-up.

Then 13 Claws received FOUR Arthur Ellis nominations. Authors Catherine Astolfo, Jane Burfield, M. H. Callway and Sylvia Warsh were thrilled to have their stories nominated.

But more good news was to come. In May, Catherine Astolfo’s chilling tale, “The Outlier”, WON the Arthur Ellis Best Short Story Award!

Later in November, two of our stories, “The Outlier” by Catherine Astolfo and “The Ranchero’s Daughter” by Sylvia Warsh, were long-listed in Otto Penzler’s Best American Mystery Stories 2018, edited by Louise Penny



Donna and Alex Carrick

A HUGE thank-you to Carrick Publishing,  publisher of the Mesdames of Mayhem anthologies: Thirteen, 13 O’clock and 13 Claws!

All three books are available on Amazon, at our favorite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street and on the shelves of the Toronto Public Library.



Our 4th Anthology Announced!

Our 4th anthology, In the Key of Thirteen mingles music with murder. Publication and launch at Sleuth of Baker Street planned for this fall.  

Once again, we are running a contest for authors previously unpublished in the mystery genre.  Check out the submission rules on this website.  Deadline for submissions is March 1, 2019. 


First Anniversary for Dead to Writes Podcast !

Dead to WritesIn January, 2018, Donna Carrick launched a new venture: her weekly podcast, Dead to Writes. Each week, Donna interviews a mystery writer and reads a work of their short fiction.

On New Year’s Eve, Dead to Writes celebrated its first anniversary: 52 weeks of great author interviews and readings.

Listeners can look forward to more excellent weekly podcasts in 2019. Listen on iTunes podcasts or on Google Play Music.


A Peak Publication Year!


Rosemary Aubert

Rosemary Aubert

Strong Certain and AloneRosemary Aubert returned to her literary roots  and published Strong, Certain and Alone, a collection of poems inspired by the works of Isaac Newton.




M. H. Callway

Mystery Weekly April 2018


M. H. Callway’s story, “The Cry”, appeared in the April issue of Mystery Weekly, a new Canadian publication showcasing short crime fiction. Together with Melodie Campbell, she was invited to contribute to The Dame Was Troublea collection of noir crime fiction about women by women authors.  Her story’s title is  “The Seeker”.

Melodie Campbell

Mystery Weekly June 2018B-Team





Melodie Campbell, our Queen of Comedy, launched her new series, The B Team: The Case of the Angry First Wife, which received a shout-out in prestigious Ellery Queen Magazine.  And she signed a contract for the seventh book in the Goddaughter series, The Goddaughter Does Vegas. (Both books with Orca Book Publishers.) In addition to her chilling tale, :”Hook, Line and Sinker” in The Dame Was Trouble, her cross-genre story, “A Ship Called Pandora” was published in the June edition of Mystery Weekly.


Lisa De Nikolits

Rotten Peaches


Lisa De Nikolits’ eighth psychological thriller, Rotten Peaches received very positive reviews and a by-line from Karen Dionne, best-selling author of The Marsh King’s Daughter. And Lisa’s seventh thriller,  No Fury Like That ,  has been translated into Italian with a launch date in Italy summer 2019. (Both books published by Inanna Publications.)


Rosemary McCracken

Black Water 2nd EditionRaven LakeMystery Weekly July 2018






Rosemary McCracken’s Pat Tierney trilogy was re-released in 2019 with a beautiful new cover for the first book in the series, Safe Harbour.  Her story, “Bear Country” appeared in the July issue of Mystery Weekly and her noir story, “Dining Out” will appear in the 2019 Malice Domestic Anthology, Mystery Most Edible.


Rosalind Place

Roz Place

The County WaveRosalind Place’s story, “The Garden Door”, was published in County Wave, an anthology of works by 21 Prince Edward County writers. (Cressy Lakeside Books)




Caro Soles

Caro Soles

People Like UsCaro Soles’s thriller, People Like Us, was published by Crossroad Press and received warm reviews. She signed a contract with Inanna Publications for her latest novel which is scheduled to be released in 2020.



Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia Warsh

Mystery Most GeographicalSylvia Warsh’s story, “The Cabin in the Woods” appeared in Malice Domestic’s 2018 anthology, Murder Most Geographical. Her story, “A Clean Slate”, was a winner in the Open Book contest held by the Ontario Book Publishers Organization. Sylvia’s story portrayed immigrants’ experiences in North York. And her noir tale, “The Veiled Heart”, will appear in the next issue of Down and Out Magazine.


WORD ON THE STREET by Lynne Murphy

Lynne Murphy

Word on the Street (WOTS) is one of Toronto’s biggest literary festivals and on Sunday, Sept. 23d, the Mesdames of Mayhem were there.

For the fourth year in a row, we staffed a booth at Harbourfront. We sold copies of our anthologies: Thirteen, 13 o’clock, and 13 Claws, helped support literacy and made new friends. The weather was perfect and Toronto book lovers turned out in throngs.

We had an exceptionally attractive booth, posters courtesy of  Lisa de Nikolits, our resident artist. Catherine Dunphy and I were responsible for the setup and Sylvia Warsh for the teardown. Marilyn Kay took photos of our booth and others.

Lynne and Cathy D

Lynne and Sylvia







Lisa, Rosemary and Sylvia could also be found signing books at the Sisters in Crime booth and Crime Writers of Canada. Lisa also signed books at Inanna Publishers.


Rosemary McCracken and Cathy D








Rosemary and Ed Piwowarczyk, our token monsieur, introduced our anthologies to book blogger Amie Lambert-Gaudet (amiesbookreviews.wordpress.com) who plans to include the Mesdames in a future blog. Stay tuned.

Now we look forward to next year when we plan to introduce our newest anthology, In the Key of 13 to the public. We hope to see all our fans there.

Noir at the Bar

Ed Piwowarczyk

Ed Piwowarczyk

Noir at the Bar  has become a Toronto tradition. In 2018, Rob Brunet and Hope Thompson organized two great evenings at the Wallace Gastropub.  Ed Piwowarczyk was one of the featured authors in April where he read from his 13 Claws story, “Snake Bit”.

Bony Blithe Minicon 

Cheryl Freedman

Cheryl Freedman is one of the founders of the Bony Blithe award for light mystery fiction. She reports that the 2018 Bony Blithe Minicom was once again well-attended and great fun for all.

Building on its success, she and Caro Soles have expanded it and renamed it, The Bloody Words Minicon.  The new one-day conference is scheduled for May 24, 2019.   Stay tuned for details!


More Conferences!


In May,  M. H. Callway, Marilyn Kay, Rosemary McCracken,  Ed Piwowarczyk and Madona Skaff  attended Limestone Genre Expo in Kingston, Ontario. They  participated on author panels, gave workshops and met readers. Many thanks to Liz Strange and her team for organizing.


In September, Catherine Astolfo and Caro Soles were guest authors at the  Picton women crime writers weekend, Women Killing It . Fingers crossed it continues to be an annual event!


More Readings and Events!

In 2018, the Mesdames gave numerous readings, participated in panel discussions and held workshops at libraries, colleges, clubs and book stores. Several events were together with Toronto Sisters in Crime and Crime Writers of Canada.

An author’s best friend is a librarian. A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to the wonderful support of the Beaches, Mt. Pleasant, Pape and Palmerston Branches of the Toronto Public Library.

Cathy Dunphy

Cathy Dunphy

Two events stand out. Our fearless leader, Cathy Dunphy, arranged an evening on international crime writing with the Burlington University Women’s Club and our guest appearance at the Writers and Editors Network.  Both very successful!



Kevin Thornton

Kevin Thornton

Marilyn Kay

Marilyn Kay

We are now 19 members strong! In 2018, we became a national organization when our second Monsieur, Kevin Thornton, joined the Mesdames. Kevin lives and writes in Alberta.

And finally a big THANK YOU, to our editor, photog and web guru, Marilyn Kay, for all her hard work and help!



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