February is a busy month for the Mesdames with the year’s first new book launch, lots of readings and events – and of course,  the Ontario Public Library Association’s annual superconference.



Melodie Campbell

Mme Melodie Campbell, our Queen of Comedy, launches her first new book of 2018, The B Team, this month.

They do wrong for all the right reasons…and sometimes it even works.’

Perhaps you’ve heard of The A-Team? Vietnam vets turned vigilantes? They had a television show a while back.

The B-Team’s not them.

But if you’ve been the victim of a scam, give them a call. They deal in justice, not the law.

Celebrate the launch of The B-Team with Melodie on Sunday, February 18th, 1:30 pm at our favorite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street.  Mel will be joined by fellow cozy authors, Alison Bruce and Ginger Bolton  AKA Janet Bolin!



On Friday, February 2nd, Mmes M. H. Callway, Melodie Campbell, Lisa De Nikolits and Caro Soles join forces at the Ontario Library Association’s annual super-conference. It’s become a tradition for the Crime Writers of Canada to pitch their new Canadian crime publications at a conference lunchtime event. A challenge to tell all about your new books in a strictly timed two minutes!


M. H. Callway

Lisa De Nikolits

Caro Soles

Caro Soles

Mme M.H. Callway will introduce 13 Claws, our third anthology, featuring crimes stories with mostly evil animals.  Toronto Public Library has already ordered our book so this is a great opportunity to tell librarians throughout the province about our work.

Mme Lisa De Nikolits will present her critically acclaimed literary thriller, No Fury Like That and  Mme Caro Soles will introduce her Golden Age thriller, A Friend of Mr. Nijinsky.   Mme Melodie will tell the crowd about her new book,  The B-Team. 









A big thank you to Mme Rosalind Place for placing 13 Claws at Picton Public Library.





Marilyn Kay

Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken

On Thursday, February 15th, Toronto Sisters in Crime hosts an authors’ reading night at  7:00 p.m. in Room 200 at the Toronto Public Library, Northern District Branch, 40 Orchard View Blvd.

Ten Sisters in Crime will read from their new or upcoming work, including Mmes M. H. Callway, Lisa De Nikolits, Marilyn Kay and Rosemary McCracken. The meeting is free to members of SinC and non-members are welcome for a $5 admission fee.

Mme Lisa De Nikolits is doing a blog tour with Partners in Crime for all of February and would love fellow crime writers and fans to drop by to say hi and to repost or anything at all :))) Here’s the link:


Melodie Campbell

Mme Melodie Campbell joins four other leading crime fiction writers on Thursday, February 22nd, 7 pm at the Queen Elizabeth Community Centre Theatre in Oakville.

The Women of Crime Panel features, in addition to Melodie, Janet BolinJoy Fielding, Barbara Fradkin and Maureen Jennings, five bestselling authors representing the many genres of crime fiction (mystery, cozy, suspense, historical, capers). The authors will discuss the industry and read from their latest books.  Cost: $15 



Be sure to check out the Dead to Writes podcast featuring a different Deadly Friend and crime short story every week.

Interested in becoming a Deadly Friend and appearing on the podcast? Email Mme Donna Carrick at The email subject line should say Schedule Me for an interview.


Mme Madona Skaff asks: Do you keep getting in trouble because of your insatiable need to make up stories? Use your talents for good instead of evil and write those stories down. Then enter them in Audrey Jessup 2018 Award short story contest. 

Open to everyone living in the National Capital Region as well as all members of Capital Crime Writers.


And a final reminder to members of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. The February 3rd deadline for submissions to the 2018 Derringers is coming up fast. You must be a member of SMFS to enter or ask a SMFS member to enter your story on their behalf. Check out the rules here.








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Mystery Mondays: Lisa de Nikolits on Chasing Her Muse


It’s always a pleasure to host Lisa de Nikolits on Mystery Mondays. Not only is she a Canadian author, her enthusiasm and happiness always comes through. She’s got a great story to share with you today.

Over to Lisa…

When the Muse Beckons, Chase Her!

by Lisa de Nikolits

My husband and I ended a rather harrowing 2017 with a lovely trip to Australia to visit my family. We finished the trip with four days in Auckland and it was all wonderful. The weather was great, it was marvellous to see my family – and I wrote thirty five thousand words of a new book!

I hadn’t planned on writing a thing. In fact, I had a few books with me; Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochon (who I had met at Bouchercon, we were fellow speed-daters), The Glass House by Louise Penny, Random by Craig Robertson (who I also met…

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Sleepless nights on the crime beat

Moving Target

Just as exploring the minds and motivations of dark characters may be disturbing for crime fiction writers, journalists covering cases of violent crime may find listening to court testimony unsettling.

Jeremy Grimaldi

The 10 months he spent covering the Jennifer Pan murder trial for and other news outlets, and the subsequent year writing A Daughter’s Deadly Deception: The Jennifer Pan Story (Dundurn Press) were intense and stressful times for Jeremy Grimaldi. “I stopped sleeping well, I stopped doing yoga. It was tough being in this young woman’s world,” Grimaldi told Sisters in Crime Toronto this week.

“But I had to write about it. It was such a crazy, powerful story, and there was no one else to write it.”

In 2015, Pan was convicted of first-degree murder for hiring hit men to kill her parents four years earlier. The attack was intended to look like a home invasion gone…

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SAFE HARBOR #4 at Imajin Books

Great news from Mme Rosemary McCracken!

Moving Target

SAFE HARBOR, the first mystery in the Pat Tierney series, ranked #4 on Imajin Books’ bestseller list in December 2017. And I came in as Imajin’s #4 bestselling author.

Not too bad at all!

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Dead to Writes – the Podcast!

0-Donna Carrick - Dead to Writes PHOTO 10 ICON CORRECTEDHi, everyone! Mme Donna Carrick here, of Carrick Publishing.

Just popping in to the Mesdames’ Website to invite you to subscribe to our brand new Podcast: Dead to Writes!

You can download our audio for free on iTunes podcasts or at Google Play. At a later date, we’ll also be loading back-episodes into YouTube, at our Carrick Publishing channel. (I’ll be sure to share the link when the YouTube stream goes live.)

Tonight, January 1, our brand new Season 1, Episode 2 titled “Snake Oil” will go live, with a fantastic interview featuring Deadly Friend and Mesdames’ founder M.H. Callway!

Our January 1 Episode 1, “Sugar ‘N’ Spice”, featured Deadly Friend Joan O’Callaghan.

Each episode throughout 2018 will include:

  • An interview with one of my favourite authors, who shall heretofore be known as Deadly Friends
  • A short story for our #ReadersOnTheRun segment, read aloud by yours truly
  • Tips for writers as offered by our featured author and/or myself
  • Terrific contest prizes! Qualify by listening to the podcast and answering questions correctly at our Dead to Writes Facebook page!
  • Fabulous original story scoring “Killer in Utopia” and theme music “Eyes of Gold” by Ted Carrick

So please, come on down and join the fun!

Subscribe to the podcast at iTunes.

Or, listen on Google Play Music!

Follow us on Twitter for all the latest PodNews:


Attention Authors!

We’re now firming up our 2018 1st Quarter schedule! If you’d like to call yourself one of our Deadly Friends, email me at CarrickPublishing @ rogers . com .

In the email Subject line, say Schedule Me for an interview.

I’d LOVE the chance to chat with you live on Dead to Writes, the Podcast!


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The Mesdames are looking forward to a busy year in 2018 with new book launches, conferences, readings and events.

Our most exciting news first: Mme Donna Carrick announces an wonderful new venture for Carrick Publishing: podcasting!

Dead to Writes is devoted to crime fiction, especially Canadian crime fiction authors. There will be author interviews, readings – whatever podcast audiences will love.

M. H. Callway

Dead to Writes has been in the prologue / testing phase and is now officially launched. Mme M. H. Callway is delighted to be among the first authors interviewed.  Details of where to hear the podcast, to sign up to subscribe and to apply to be considered for an author interview are on the Dead to Writes website here.

Donna will share more about her podcast venture – and adventures – in her upcoming blog this month.


Congratulations and Recognitions!

Mega congratulations go to Mme Sylvia Warsh for the acceptance of her chilling short story, “The Cabin in the Woods” for  Malice Domestic Anthology 13: Murder Most Geographical.  The anthology will be published in time for Malice Domestic 2018.

And kudos, too for the reprint of her Christmas crime story, “The Sun Sets in Key West” in Kings River Life Magazine. Sylvia’s  story first appeared in Blood on the Holly (Baskerville Press), edited by Mme Caro Soles.

A New Year’s treat for readers: read Sylvia’s Christmas mystery  here.

The New Year brings changes and Mme Catherine Dunphy takes on the fearless  leadership of our collective, giving Mme Mad, our founder, a much-earned break to focus on her writing and first grandchild.

Mme Mad has been in the leadership role for nearly five years since 2013!


A HUGE THANK YOU  to Mme Lynne Murphy who has been our newsletter editor, blog wizard and webmistress for the past three years. How quickly time goes, especially when things run so smoothly and well!

We are working on updating our website. Look for our new Book Page, updated bios and pics, info on our new members, links and features in the near future.




News and Events!

On Thursday 25th January, Mme Lisa De Nikolits will be at the Urban Folk Art Salon held at the Mount Pleasant Library, 599 Mt. Pleasant Road.

The Urban Folk Art Salon is a regular feature presenting poets, singers and songwriters, hosted by Gannon Hamilton.

And on Friday, January 26th, Lisa and her work will be featured on Mandy Eve Barnett’s blog. Connect here.


Calling Aspiring Novelists!

January is an excellent time to join that creative writing class you’ve always promised yourself. The Mesdames actively share their knowledge with and encourage new writers.

Melodie CampbellMme Melodie Campbell returns to Sheridan College, Continuing Education to teach Crafting a Novel 1, a 14 week course every Wednesday night beginning Jan 17th. To register go to the Sheridan College website.


Mme Rosemary McCracken also returns to George Brown College to head up Novel Writing 2,  How to Develop Your Novel, starting Tuesday, January 9th until March 27th. The pre-requisite course is Novel Writing 1, How to Start Writing Your Novel.  To register, consult the George Brown website, here. 


Reminder to Short Crime Fiction Authors!

Submissions to the 2018 Derringer Awards are now open.  The deadline has been extended to  to allow a full 30-day submission period.

No fee to submit but authors must be members of the Short Mystery Fiction Society before December 31, 2017.  Be sure to read the submission rules carefully as the Derringer organizers are very strict. Here is the link. Good luck!



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Happy New Year Readers!

2017 was another busy year for the Mesdames filled with new book launches, authors conferences, events and readings.

Our Third Anthology!

THE EVENT of 2017 was the publication and smash launch of our third anthology, 13 Claws, 17 crime stories starring (mostly) evil animals: cats, dogs, snakes, a fish, a dragon – even animal crackers.

For the first time, we held a contest for stories by authors previously unpublished in the crime fiction genre. The entries were of such high quality that a contest for new writers will be part of every Mesdames of Mayhem anthology from now on.

13 Claws received a great review from Jack Batten, the crime fiction critic for the Toronto Star, who said:

There’s enough suspense and intellectual fascination built into the plots of the majority of stories to satisfy even the most ferociously cynophobic reader.

Mmes Catherine Dunphy and M. H. Callway were delighted to receive Jack’s shout-outs for their stories.

Marian Misters, our beloved bookseller!


Rosemary Aubert and author Joe Lewis







Our launch took place on Saturday, October 28th at our favorite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street. Fans, friends and family crowded the store for readings and food. We especially appreciated the support of our fellow Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime and the Scarborough Scribblers.

Donna and Alex Carrick

A HUGE thank-you to Carrick Publishing,  publisher of all three Mesdames anthologies: Thirteen, 13 O’clock and 13 Claws! All books are available on Amazon and at Sleuth of Baker Street.

Readers will also find all three books in the Toronto Public Library. An author’s best friend is a librarian!








Melodie Campbell

Mme Melodie Campbell, our Queen of Comedy, released two hilarious books in 2017, both with Orca Book Publishers.

In Worst Date Ever, newly widowed Jennie kisses an awful lot of frogs when she tries dating again.


And in The Bootlegger’s Goddaugher, the residents of the Holy Cannoli Retirement Home are at it again. This time, they threaten to ruin Gina’s Christmas wedding via a stolen transport truck full of booze.

A big congrats to Melodie for the nomination of The Bootlegger’s Goddaughter for the 2018 Golden Oak Award. The prize has been created by librarians and literacy specialists to recognize books for new adult readers.


Lisa De Nikolits

Mme Lisa De Nikolits’ seventh literary thriller, No Fury Like That (Inanna Publications) re-invents purgatory as a therapy clinic. Can Lisa’s hero, Julia Redner, rethink and grow her way out of a coma and win a second chance at life?  The book has received excellent reviews and was described as “the characters from The Devil Wears Prada trapped in Sartre’s play, No Exit.”


Rosemary McCracken

Mme Rosemary McCracken and new Mme Marilyn Kay, joined the company of several prestigious, best-selling crime writers in the 2017 Bouchercon anthology, Passport to Murder (Down and Out Books). It features crime stories with a travel theme and is now available on Amazon.



Caro SolesMme Caro Soles spent 10 years researching 1916’s American social history for her latest crime novel, A Friend of Mr. Nijinsky (Crossroad Press). In the story, a restless, rich young man gets drawn into the famous dancer’s paranoid world…and of course, murder! Veteran crime fiction author, Barbara Fradkin, called it  “an enchanting story of betrayal and murder set in a swirl of debutante soirees.”


Mme Lynne Murphy, M. Ed Piwowarczyk and Mme Lisa De Nikolits all had their stories chosen to be part of Sisters in Crime Toronto’s latest anthology, The Whole She-Bang 3, now also available on Amazon and in the Toronto Public Library.


Bouchercon 2017

The grand event of the year was Bouchercon 2017, October 12 to 15th, when the world mystery conference took place in Toronto. This was a chance for Canadian crime writers to shine – and shine we did!

Mmes Jane Burfield,  M. H. Callway, Mel Campbell, Lisa De Nikolits, Marilyn Kay, Rosemary McCracken, Lynne Murphy, Madona Skaff, Caro Soles and Sylvia Warsh  moderated and/or participated on panels, helped out at the CWC and SinC booths and/or participated in several events like Author Speed Dating and the CWC Pub Quiz.  Mmes  Jane Burfield, Melodie Campbell and Catherine Dunphy worked on the organizing committee.

Sylvia Maultash Warsh

Jane Petersen Burfield

Catherine Dunphy






This Bouchercon Mmes M. H. Callway and Rosemary McCracken organized the luncheon for the Short Mystery Fiction Society. It was a great chance for Canadian short crime fiction authors to meet their American cyber friends in “reality space”. A big thanks to Shopsy’s and Quinn’s Steak House for a fabulous meal and for getting everyone back in good time for the panels.

M. H. Callway

A Noir at the Bar event in the run-up to the conference is now a tradition. Tanis Mallow and Rob Brunet organized a fabulous Noir at the Bar at the Rivoli Café. Mme M. H. Callway was honoured to be reading with literary greats, Hilary Davidson and Zoe Sharp. NoB Founder Peter Rozovsky also attended – and though he lives in Philadelphia, he’s originally Canadian!


Word on the Street

Lynne and Mad


Rosemary at CWC

Sylvia, Mad and the Vikings!

















The Mesdames were back at Word on the Street for the second time this September. We beat the 40 degree temperatures because our booth was located in the little shade available. We sold lots of books, including pre-launch copies of 13 Claws, volunteered at Sisters in Crime and CWC and had fun with the Vikings from the Royal Ontario Museum!

Bony Blithe Minicon

Cheryl Freedman

Mme Cheryl Freedman is a founder of the Bony Blithe award for light mystery fiction.  This year, in addition to the award banquet, the celebration of “mysteries that make you smile” had a full day of panel discussions, contests, mingling with the Bony Blithe finalists and general good fun. Several Mesdames attended and participated on panels.

Happy to report that the Minicon will be held again in 2018!


More Conferences!

In March, Mmes Jane Burfield and M. H. Callway attended Left Coast Crime in Honolulu. A terrific conference, especially for authors.  Jane’s panel discussed the art of short crime fiction while Mad was privileged to be on the panel about outdoor thrillers with Guest of Honour, Dana Stabenow.  Friend  and fab author, Cathy Ace hosted a Meet the Canucks event: a great hit with Canadian authors and American fans alike!


In June, Mmes M. H. Callway, Rosemary McCracken and Caro Soles together with new Mme Madona Skaff attended Limestone Genre Expo in Kingston, Ontario. They all participated on  interesting panels over the weekend and look forward to re-attending next year.


In September, Mme Melodie Campbell was a guest author at the inaugural Picton conference, Women Killing It. Judging by the local press accounts, it was a hit with readers and fans, especially “tea and murder at the  vicarage”.  Here’s hoping it returns in 2018.


Readings and Events!

This year the Mesdames gave numerous readings at libraries and book stores. We are especially grateful to the ongoing support of the Mt. Pleasant Branch of the Toronto Public Library and for the opportunity to appear at the Annette, Beaches, Coxwell and Whitby Branches amongst many others.

Hank Phillippi Ryan









Two events stand out.  Sisters in Crime Toronto celebrated their 25th anniversary and SinC USA arranged for Emmy-winner and best-selling author, Hank Ryan to visit Toronto in June.  Hank gave a rousing speech that inspired everyone to keep writing and made several friends at the wine and dessert party afterwards. Mme M. H. Callway was honoured to take care of Hank during her stay and to introduce her at the meeting!

In November, Mmes Catherine Dunphy and Lisa De Nikolits joined veteran crime writer, Peter Robinson and filmmaker, Mike Downie, the brother of the late Gord Downie, in a benefit for St. Aidan’s Church in the Beaches.


The Mesdames of Mayhem continue to grow and evolve. We are now 16 members strong! This year, we welcomed four new Mesdames: Marilyn Kay, Mary Patterson, Rosalind Place and Madona Skaff. 

Marilyn Kay

Rosalind Place

Madona Skaff

Mary Patterson




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The year is winding down but the Mesdames are still making news.  Our very successful launch for our new anthology, 13 Claws,  was  the highlight of 2017 for us but exciting events are still happening.


Maureen Jennings, creator of the Murdoch series, writes: A great mix of shuddery dark and tongue-in-cheek funny. What devious minds all these nice women have.  Murdog liked the stories as well.

Jack Batten, Toronto Star’s crime fiction reviewer, gave  13 Claws a terrific review with shout-outs to the stories by Catherine Dunphy and M. H. Callway. Jack wrote:

But just because the contributors to the collection write out of an affection for animals doesn’t mean readers need similar feelings to appreciate the stories. There’s enough suspense and intellectual fascination built into the plots of the majority of stories to satisfy even the most ferociously  cynophobic reader.

Read Jack’s full review here.


Vanessa Westermann, reviewer for Sleuth of Baker Street’s newsletter, writes:

I had the honour of receiving an early copy of 13 Claws, the third crime anthology by the MESDAMES OF MAYHEM and can only recommend it. This time, the stories are based upon the writers’ love of animals. There’s something here for everyone. The stories, ranging from cozy mysteries to thrillers, feature cats, dogs, dragons and snakes – some of which are quite mischievous.


Books make terrific holiday gifts, especially the latest books by the Mesdames of Mayhem!

Top of the list, 13 Claws (Carrick Publishing), our third anthology, which features 17 twisted tails, er, tales by 15 authors. The stories range from comedy to noir. Our book includes the stories by the winner and runners up of the contest held for writers new to crime fiction.


Lisa De Nikolits’ latest literary thriller, No Fury Like That (Inanna Publications) has received outstanding reviews. Is the hero, Julia Redner, really dead? Or can she rethink her way to a second chance? Purgatory is an endless therapy clinic, but the food is great! John Oughton, author of Death by Triangulation calls it  “the characters from The Devil Wears Prada trapped in Sartre’s play, No Exit.”


Christmas cheer from Our Queen of Comedy, Melodie Campbell: Two hilarious new books, both from Orca Book Publishers. In Worst Date Ever, newly widowed Jennie gathers her courage to date again, but boy does she get to kiss some frogs! And in The Bootlegger’s Goddaugher, Gina’s wonderfully planned Christmas wedding gets hijacked by a stolen transport truck full of booze, thanks to the residents of the Holy Cannoli Retirement Home.

Beat the winter weather by taking a Passport to Murder (Down and Out Books) the 2017  Bouchercon anthology, featuring crime stories with a travel theme.  Joining the company of best-selling authors are Rosemary McCracken, author of the popular Pat Tierney series and newcomer and 13 Claws finalist, Marilyn Kay.


Caro Soles has a terrific new historical novel, A Friend of Mr. Nijinsky (Crossroad Press). A rich young American gets drawn into the famous dancer’s paranoid world…and murder!  Author Barbara Fradkin describes it as “an enchanting story of betrayal and murder set in a swirl of debutante soirees.”


A Trifecta of Terrific Reads!  For fans of short crime fiction, the collected works of three award-winning Mesdames: Rosemary Aubert’s Midnight Boat to Palermo, Donna Carrick’s, North of the Yellowhead and M. H. Callway’s, Glow Grass and Other Tales. All three books published by Carrick Publishing.

And last but not least, the latest Toronto Sisters in Crime anthology, The Whole She-Bang 3, contains 22 stories, including wonderfully entertaining tales by Mmes Lisa De Nikolits and Lynne Murphy and our Monsieur, Ed Piwowarczyk.




On Saturday, Dec 2nd, Mme Madona Skaff joins 12 crime fiction authors in Ottawa to celebrate CWC’s 35th anniversary. (Making  13 authors, the Mesdames lucky number!) Three  themed events are being held at leading local bookstores. Meet Madona at “Plenty of Crime at Christmas”, Chapters South Keys, 1 pm.

On Thursday, Dec 7th, 6:30 pm the Mesdames will be out in force to celebrate with  friends and fellow authors at the annual CWC / Sisters in Crime Holiday Party. This year the party will be held at 60 Collier St, Toronto.  Tickets are available online here.



Mme Roz Place’s short story, “The Garden Door”, has been accepted for an anthology of Prince Edward County authors to be published spring 2018 by Cressy Lakeside Books.

Roz was inspired to write the story after seeing a photograph looking down a hall of an inner door opening onto a half-opened door that gave onto a garden. Which became the first line: “A door opens on a door opens on a garden.”

Lisa de Nikolits

Mme Lisa De Nikolits’ new novel, No Fury Like That, received a shout-out from the publishers of the Literary Press Group who have named it one of this year’s Books Worth Celebrating! See the complete list in the Fall issue of Geist magazine.

And be sure to follow Lisa’s exploration of Canadian Noir on Open Book Toronto, that featured contributions from Mmes M. H. Callway and Rosemary McCracken.


Melodie Campbell

Mme Melodie Campbell’s latest book in the hilarious Goddaughter series, The Bootlegger’s Goddaughter, has been nominated for the 2018 Golden Oak Award. The award was created by librarians and literacy specialists to recognize books for new adult readers.



We’re delighted to welcome our newest member, Mme Mary Patterson, whose story, “Night Vision”, was the winner of the 13 Claws contest for new crime fiction writers.

Mary is a retired potter and garden columnist for community newspapers. She is completing her first mystery novel featuring poisonous mushrooms in Toronto’s High Park. Her secret? Despite creating loveable cat PI, Malachi, she’s actually a dog fan!


Mme Cheryl Freedman reminds us that the deadline for submissions to Bony Blithe is December 15th. For submission rules, please check the website.



And the deadline for submissions to the Arthur Ellis Awards is also on December 15th. For submission guidelines, please check the CWC website.



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The launch of 13 Claws on Saturday, October 28th was a huge success. And here are the promised pics and write-up of our event!

Sleuth of Baker Street was the place to be on Saturday, Oct. 28th when the Mesdames of Mayhem, their families, friends and fans gathered to celebrate the launch of our third anthology, 13 Claws.  And the birthday of our webmistress, Lynne Murphy!

Friends and Fans!


Our thanks to store owners, Marian Misters and J. D. Singh, for hosting the party. We didn’t take a head count but the bookstore was full to overflowing at times. Traditionally our book launches are held close to Hallowe’en and the décor and costumes were in tune with the season and the animal theme of the book.

Marian Misters, our beloved bookseller!

Décor was courtesy of Sylvia Warsh. The costumes ranged from the bewitching Jane Burfield and Melodie Campbell, assorted cats, and Lisa de Nikolits, channeling her inner wild child in a spectacular hat. M.H. Callway aimed for snake charmer!

Lynne Murphy

Jane Burfield and Marilyn Kay









Melodie Campbell, Our Queen of Comedy

Lisa De Nikolits









Sylvia Warsh and Alex Carrick

The Mesdames took the opportunity to thank our founder, Madeleine Harris Callway, our editor and publisher, Donna Carrick, and our copy editor, Ed Piwowarczyk, for their hard work in making the book a success.

M.H. Callway and Cathy Astolfo

Ed Piwowarczyk and Cathy Dunphy







Mega thanks to our publishers, Donna and Alex Carrick!

Rosemary Aubert and our friend and fan, author Joe Lewis

Rosemary McCracken and Lynne Murphy signing loads of books!

All the Mesdames were able to attend and we were happy to welcome three new authors, Mary Patterson, Rosalind Place and Marilyn Kay. Mary was the winner of our contest for unpublished mystery writers and Rosalind and Marilyn were the runners up.

LtoR: Mary Patterson, Roz Place and Marilyn Kay

With Catherine Dunphy as M.C., each of the Mesdames read a short excerpt that best represented their story. It’s surprising how tantalizing a few paragraphs can be. Cats, nice and nasty, were the favoured animals, from Rosemary Aubert, Rosemary McCracken, Lynne Murphy and our three new authors, but Catherine Astolfo was the only writer to feature a pig. M. H. Callway, Lisa De Nikolits and Ed P favored snakes and a fish while Jane Burfield and Cathy Dunphy wrote about dragons and animal crackers, respectively. Our faithful companions, dogs, were the heroes in the stories by Mel Campbell, Donna Carrick and Sylvia Warsh.

Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken’s latest blog highlights the paragraphs each of us read. Do check out her report for more pictures and details of our launch, too! Follow this link.

The Mesdames had good news just before the launch when the Toronto Star mystery critic, Jack Batten, gave 13 Claws a warm review with shout-outs to the stories by Cathy Dunphy, Cathy Astolfo and M. H. Callway. Read Jack’s full review here.


The best news comes from Marian Misters, who reports that Sleuth has sold out its original order and needs more copies. A terrific start for 13 Claws!

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13 Claws launched with great success at Sleuth of Baker Street on Sat, Oct 28th.  A big thank you to our friends and fans who came out to celebrate with us. A full report and lots of pics next week. Our launch coincides traditionally with Halloween and also with the birthday of our newsletter editor and webmistress, Lynne Murphy!


Happy Birthday, Lynne!


Welcome to  our new Mesdames, Madona Skaff, Marilyn Kay and Roz Place.

Madona Skaff

With a degree in cell biology, Madona Skaff somehow ended up working in mining research. Her scientific background has always inspired her science fiction stories and frequently sneaks into her mysteries.

Her story, “Night Out” was published in the Ladies Killing Circle anthology, Menopause is Murder and four of her crime stories are featured in the Toronto Sisters in Crime anthologies, The Whole She-Bang and The Whole She-Bang 2. Her story, “First Impressions” was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Short Story award in 2015.

Her debut novel, Journey of a Thousand Steps (Renaissance Press), was published in 2015. She is working on the sequel.

Marilyn Kay

Marilyn Kay’s story, “That Damn Cat”, was a finalist in the Mesdames’ contest for new crime fiction authors and is one of our stories the 13 Claws anthology. Her second debut story, “Journey into the Dark”, was part of the 2017 Bouchercon anthology,  Passport to Murder.

Marilyn started writing as a contributor to the Dictionary of the Middle Ages, before turning to business journalism, social media coaching and government communications! She is an executive member of Sisters in Crime – Toronto.

Rosalind Place

Rosalind Place was born in England and emigrated to Canada when she was five years old. An interpreter by profession, she is a published writer of short stories and has just completed her first novel. “Dana’s Cat”, which is written entirely in dialogue, was her first foray into the mystery genre and was one of the finalists in the contest for 13 Claws.




Big congratulations to Mme Sylvia Maultash Warsh whose story, “The Cabin in the Woods”, will appear in the 2018 Malice Domestic Anthology, Murder Most Geographical. Sylvia’s work has won and been nominated for several prestigious awards, including MWA’s Edgar Award and the Arthur Ellis.




Lisa De Nikolits

Fans of Noir take note: Mme Lisa De Nikolits is Writer in Residence for Open Book for November.  Lisa’s post begin November 2nd  with Domestic Noir featuring a lovely quote from Rosemary McCracken. Here is the link.

The series will be running for 16 posts and will be featuring Crime writers of Canada,  The Mesdames and Sisters in Crime. There is a nice piece on Short Story Noir featuring M. H. Callway coming up.


M. H. Callway

Rosemary McCrackenOn Saturday, November 4th, 9:30 am to 2:30 pm, M. H. Callway and Rosemary McCracken will be representing the Mesdames at the Flamborough Heritage Society’s 27th Annual Bookfair. You can visit them at the Fellowship Hall, St. James United Church, 306 Parkside Drive, Waterdown.


Melodie Campbell

On the same day, Saturday, Nov 4th, Melodie Campbell will be giving a workshop on crime fiction writing at the Oakville Public Library, Central Branch from 1 to 4 pm, 120 Navy Street, Oakville.




Lisa de Nikolits

On November 11th, as part of the Crime Writers of Canada 35th Anniversary celebrations, Lisa De Nikolits heads up a team of eight authors, including M. H. Callway for an afternoon of readings, snacks, wine and music at our favorite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street, 907 Millwood Rd.  With special guest, singer / satirist, Kari Maaren.



Rosemary Aubert

Caro Soles

Caro Soles

On Thursday, November 16th, 6:00 to 7:30 pm, Mmes Rosemary Aubert, M. H. Callway, Lisa De Nikolits, Rosemary McCracken and Caro Soles, will be at Mt. Pleasant Library, 599 Mt. Pleasant Rd, to share their new work, including stories from 13 Claws.


Rosemary McCracken

Mme Rosemary McCracken is giving a workshop on novel writing on Saturday, November 18, 1-4 p.m at Annette Street Library, 145 Annette Street, Toronto. Workshop is suitable for all levels. Participants need to register by submitting the first page of their novel-in-progress at the library. The second half of the workshop will be devoted to critiquing first pages, as they can be crucial in getting a novel published.



And on Thursday, November 23rd, as part of CWC’s ongoing celebrations, Whitby Library will be hosting An Evening of Crime, with historical crime fiction writer, Mel Bradshaw and three Mesdames: Jane Burfield, M. H. Callway and Rosemary McCracken. Readings and discussions at 7 pm, Central Branch, 405 Dundas St. West, Whitby.



Deadline for submission to Bony Blithe is December 15th. For submission rules, please check the website. More details later this month.

And the deadline for submissions to the Arthur Ellis Awards is also on December 15th. For submission guidelines, please check the CWC website.






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