WOW! 2016 What a Year!


The Mesdames sponsored and attended numerous book launches, readings and public events in 2016.  Our highlight of the year was Sept 25th at Word on the Street, Toronto’s classic book fair in support of writers, readers and literacy. We had our booth for the first time, WB 12 in Writer’s Block. These photos show what a great time we had meeting readers and selling our books!


M. H. Callway and Catherine Astolfo


Rosemary McCracken and Catherine Dunphy


Lynne Murphy, Sylvia Warsh, Catherine Astolfo

Altogether the Mesdames had ELEVEN new books published and nearly half a dozen short stories in the anthologies, Black Coffee, Pac ‘N Heat and the latest Sisters in Crime, The Whole Shebang 3. (For details on our latest books and stories, read our Christmas blog, Happy Holidays from the Mesdames.)

New books meant lots of book launches.

A big highlight was the April 28th launch of our Queen of Comedy, Melodie Campbell’s latest mob crime comedy, The Goddaughter Caper.  We had great fun dressing appropriately for the occasion as you can see in these photos below. Over 50 people attended and $400 was raised for the Hamilton Literacy Council.


Especially touching was the thank you speech given by the winner of the costume contest, top photo, centre, next to Melodie.  She singled out the Gina Gallo series for giving her the gift of reading.

catA big hug and our even bigger thanks go to Sleuth of Baker Street, our favorite bookstore, for their longstanding support of Canadian crime writers and books by the Mesdames of Mayhem.  On June 25th, when many might have spent the Saturday afternoon at the cottage or the beach, a crowd of well-wishers packed the store to celebrate Rosemary McCracken’s latest Pat Tierney mystery, Raven Lake.

On November 6th, Rosemary Aubert, M. H. Callway and Donna Carrick filled the store to capacity for their fabulous Trifecta launch  of their short story collections, The Midnight Boat to Palermo, Glow Grass and Other Tales and North on the Yellowhead.1-triple-release-nov_6-16-web

The three authors are delighted to report that they each sold out their supply of books that same day – and had to order more for their readers!

On November 27th, Lisa De Nikolits, Lynne Murphy and Ed Piwowarczyk were among the authors who attracted another sold-out crowd to Sleuth for the launch of the  Toronto Sisters in Crime’s latest anthology, The Whole Shebang 3.




The Mesdames gave dozens upon dozens of readings as part of our group, through the Crime Writers of Canada and as individuals.  We’re especially proud of Rosemary Aubert, who was the featured speaker at the January 30th annual Blue Carbuncle Awards dinner of the Bootmakers, the Toronto Sherlock Holmes Club.

We’re equally proud of Melodie Campbell, who on June 17th was the Guest of Honour and Keynote Speaker at the Ontario Literacy Conference, Mohawk College, Hamilton. Promoting literacy is Melodie’s passion: be sure to read her Christmas blog about the hardships faced by people who have difficulty reading and writing.

Lisa De Nikolits toured the Maritimes and Newfoundland to promote her new book, The Nearly Girl, where she was a guest at the Saint John FogLit Festival and had a wonderful stay at the author’s retreat at the National Water Centre. Read more about her adventures in touring here.

We owe a huge debt of thanks to our hard-working librarians in Toronto and the GTA for their support of Canadian crime writers and the Mesdames of Mayhem.

Ghodsi Danesh, of the Mt. Pleasant Branch, hosted the Mesdames twice this year on March 8th and on October 18th. And we look forward to our follow-up event next April!

Another big highlight was the reading organized by librarian Maria Samurin of the Albert Campbell Branch as part of the series, Authors Nights.


M. H. Callway


Jane Burfield, Lisa De Nikolits, Rosemary Aubert








Rosemary McCracken


Ed Piwowarczyk and Sylvia Warsh





Seven of us read to a packed auditorium of enthusiastic readers and writers, many of whom belong to the Scarborough Scribblers. It was a privilege to be able to share our collective knowledge and experience with such a supportive audience.

The Mesdames were also invited to be part of the Burlington Heritage Fair on February 6th, celebrating the Suffragettes in Canadian History.  M. H. Callway, Melodie Campbell, Rosemary McCracken and Joan O’Callaghan were honoured to represent the Mesdames.


Several of us received positive, formal recognition of our work in 2016. Lisa De Nikolits’ 2015 book, Between the Cracks She Fell, won the  IPPY Bronze Medal for Contemporary Fiction.


M. H. Callway’s suspense novella, Glow Grass, was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novella.

D. J. McIntosh’s fabulous conclusion to her Mesopotamian trilogy, The Angel of Eden, was nominated for the prestigious International Thriller Writers award for Best  Paperback Original Novel.

Caro Soles and her co-editor, Nancy Kilpatrick, received a nomination for the Bram Stoker Award for Best Anthology for their Poe-tribute story collection, nEvermore.

Cheryl Freedman continues her wonderful work to promote and sustain light mysteries through the annual  Bony Blithe Awards – the mysteries that make us smile. Submissions closed on Dec 15th and we look forward to learning the shortlist early next year!

And finally a BIG THANK YOU to all our readers who made 2016 another wonderful year.


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thgxg59qkpThis year, 2016, was another terrific year for the Mesdames with several new books and short stories published! We love our readers – we wouldn’t be here without you. There’s no greater reward than hearing: “I loved your characters – I couldn’t put your book down.”

9tjnbotbsbSo, dear readers, this holiday season, do give books! The gift of reading is a gift like no other: it’s a dream, a passion, an escape and a gateway to new and wonderful worlds.

catWe’d like to give a special thanks to our favorite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street! A big hug to Marian, J. D. and of course, Sir Percy, for their support of the Mesdames and Canadian crime fiction. You will find most of our books there and Marian will be happy to order for you if the title is out of stock.  Other places to find our books: Chapters / Indigo, Amazon and of course, the Toronto Public Library!



Cathy Astolfo

Cathy Astolfo

Operation Babylift 51-mLHZtRDL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_is Arthur Ellis winner, Cathy Astolfo’s latest book in the Kira Callaghan series. (Imajin Quickies).

When Florence gives up her spot at ReVisions Retirement Residence and is found dead, retired journalist Kira Callaghan and the Flower Pots have no choice but to investigate! And the solution goes back to a forgotten incident during the Vietnam War.



Rosemary Aubert





The Midnight Boat to Palermo (Carrick Publishing) features short crime fiction by Arthur Ellis winner, Rosemary Aubert. These beautifully crafted stories range from comedy to noir. The gripping title story is a must-read and an AE winner.




51idvcyka8l__aa160_Glow Grass and Other Tales (Carrick Publishing) includes two novellas as well as 7 short crime stories by Arthur Ellis finalist, M. H. Callway. They  range from comedy to noir suspense; many are winners or finalists of awards, like the Derringer and the Bony Pete.  Includes this year’s AE novella runner-up, Glow Grass.


Melodie Campbell

Melodie Campbell

caperThe Goddaughter Caper (Orca Rapid Reads) is the latest Gina Gallo mystery by our Queen of Comedy and Arthur Ellis winner, Melodie Campbell.

A body shows up at Gina’s uncle’s restaurant and then in the trunk of Gina’s car. Wouldn’t you know it, her elderly relatives at the Holy Cannoli Retirement Home are involved – up to their scrawny necks! Gina and her cousin, Nico, The Lone Re-arranger, have to put things right.


Donna Carrick

Donna Carrick

14424815_10155212645404018_9205120793088655572_oNorth on the Yellowhead (Carrick Publishing) features short crime fiction by author, publisher and Arthur Ellis finalist, Donna Carrick. Her dark and thought-provoking stories in this new collection include the Arthur Ellis nominee, “Watermelon Weekend”.



Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa de Nikolits


The Nearly Girl (Inanna Press) is the latest book by Ippy winner and tour de force, Lisa De Nikolits, who also designed the cover!

This dark comedy pokes fun at modern-day psychotherapists, group therapy, dysfunctional families, quirky friends and relatives –  and how our set-upon heroine emerges  from it all.

Earlier this year, Lisa together with friends Marilyn Riesz and Gilean Watts, published the cookbook, Bake Your Way to Happiness which pairs delicious recipes with life strategies to nourish your body and spirit.


Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken



Raven Lake (Imajin) is the latest book by Arthur Ellis finalist, Rosemary McCracken and the third book in her popular Pat Tierney series. Pat, an ethical financial advisor, uncovers more than one nasty scam while trying to take the summer off in cottage country.

Earlier this year, Rosemary showed her dark side, when her story “Crazy” was reprinted in the noir anthology, Black Coffee.


D. J. McIntosh

D. J. McIntosh

Dorothy McIntosh - The Angel of Eden COVER

Dorothy McIntosh’s third book in her Mesopotamian trilogy, The Angel of Eden, was nominated for the 2016 ITW award for Best Paperback Original novel.

Be sure to read this thrilling adventure and the other books in the John Madison series: The Witch of Babylon and The Book of Stolen Tales.



Lynne Murphy

Lynne Murphy

Ed Piwowarczyk

Ed Piwowarczyk


Lynne Murphy, Lisa De Nikolits and Ed Piwowarczyk all have stories in the latest anthology by Toronto Sisters in Crime, The Whole She-bang 3, launched just in time for the holidays! The book features outstanding stories by 16 Sisters (and two Brothers) in Crime.


Joan O'Callaghan

Joan O’Callaghan

maverick publisher61bgeFAE0XL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX324_SY324_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA346_SH20_OU15_

Early this year, Joan O’Callaghan published her late husband, J. Patrick O’Callaghan’s memoirs: Maverick Publisher, J. Patrick O’Callaghan, A Life in Newspapers (Carrick Publishing). Editing was done by our Monsieur, Ed Piwowarczyk. An award-winning teacher, Joan has also updated her teaching guide, Amazing Days (Carrick Publishing) now available as an e-book.

Jane Petersen Burfield

Jane Petersen Burfield

Caro Soles

Caro Soles


Caro Soles and Nancy Kilpatrick are the editors of nEvermore, a critically acclaimed Poe tribute anthology, featuring the works of established authors such as Margaret Atwood, Michael Jecks and Barbara Fradkin. nEvermore was a finalist for this year’s Bram Stoker award and Robert Lopresti’s story, based on the “Murders in the Rue Morgue” will appear in Otto Penzler’s Best American Mystery Stories. Jane Burfield’s  gothic tale has been singled out for very positive reviews.

And last but not least, sample our writings in our two anthologies, Thirteen and 13 O’clock!





Annual Holiday Party!

The Mesdames will be celebrating with fellow crime writers at the Crime Writers of Canada and Toronto Sisters in Crime Holiday Party to be held at Pauper’s Pub, Toronto on Monday, December 5th at 6 pm. For information on tickets, visit the SinC website:

13 Claws Contest!

130926-scary-catCalling all writers new to the crime fiction genre! You are invited to submit up to two stories for inclusion in our upcoming anthology, 13 Claws. For submission rules, follow this link:




Bony Blithe Award – A Reminder from Cheryl Freedman!

Cheryl Freedman

Cheryl Freedman

Forget the ubiquitous countdown to Xmas! The deadline for submissions to the 2017 Bloody Words Light Mystery Award (aka the Bony Blithe Award) is much earlier and is fast approaching. We must have your submission(s) in hand by December 15, 2016.

 If you’re (a) an author with a light mystery published in 2016, and (b) a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you can submit your book. The award consists of a lovely colourful plaque…and a cheque for $1000!

Your novel must be at least 60,000 words long and published between January 1 and December 31, 2016. No YA or noir please. Your book can be traditionally published, indie-published, or self-published. We welcome submissions from both authors and publishers.

Light mysteries include cozies, capers, satires, and humorous books; in short, anything from laugh-out-loud books to gentle humour to good old-fashioned stories with minimal overt violence or gore. We’re not looking for books with gravitas that make us think; we’re looking for fun-read books that make us smile.

For more detailed info on how to submit your book, visit or contact us at



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The Mesdames of Mayhem are delighted to announce a crime fiction short story contest for Canadian writers previously unpublished in the genre. The winning story will be included in our third anthology, 13 Claws, to be published in 2017.

Many of the Mesdames teach creative writing. We also give many talks about the how-to’s of writing crime fiction. We love meeting readers – and often our readers are writers, too. Our contest is our way of encouraging new writers.

Judging of the submitted stories will be done blind by a committee. All personal identifiers must be removed from the header, footer and body of the story submission.

The detailed rules of submission are below. They will also be on a page on this website. Do check back regularly for updates.

Please contact for all questions related to this contest.

Rules of Submission:

  1. The story must be about a crime, either solving it or trying to prevent it from happening.
  2. An animal must be central to the story. Any animal is allowed: for example, a cat, dog, rabbit, bear, snake, even a dragon or other mythical beast. The writer’s imagination is the only limit. The animal must be a main character or pivotal to the plot. In other words, if the animal was taken out, there would be no story.
  3. Writers must not have had a work of prose crime fiction published (i.e. short story, novella or novel) in either print or electronic form. Writers whose stories appear on their own personal blog(s) and writers who have had poetry or non-fiction newspaper or magazine articles or non-fiction books about crime are allowed to submit a story for this contest.
  4. Writers must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident in Canada.
  5. The story length should be between 2000 and 5000 words.
  6. A maximum of two submissions per writer
  7. Formatting requirements:
    1. No personal identifiers anywhere in the header, footer or body of the story
    2. Include the story title and page number in the document header
    3. Story file in .rtf format, double-spaced, Times New Roman (12 point) or similar, 1” margins and please, no unusual formatting.
  8. Each submission must include a title page with the story title, name of the author and the word count of the story.
  9. Deadline for submission: March 15, 2017. All submissions must be electronic and sent to
  10. The contest judges reserve the right to name more than one winner. They also have the right to not declare a winner if none of the entries meet a standard suitable for publication in the anthology.
  11. The winning author(s) must be prepared to sign a contract with Carrick Publishing.
  12. Royalties will be shared equally between all contributors to the anthology after the publisher’s expenses are recovered and a portion of the proceeds are donated to the Toronto Humane Society.
  13. GOOD LUCK! After all, thirteen is the Mesdames’ lucky number.
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Mesdames Salute Sisters in Crime


By Editor: Lynne Murphy


In October of 1992 Bouchercon was held in Toronto for the first time. On the opening evening there was a dinner, hosted by Sisters in Crime International, and Sara Paretsky was the main speaker. Sara had helped found SinC a few years before, after women crime writers realized they were not getting the same amount of recognition as men.

The mandate of Sisters in Crime is to promote the professional development and advancement of women crime writers to achieve equality in the industry.

Sara was so inspiring that a group of women met later during the conference and decided to form a branch of SinC in Toronto.

Sylvia Maultash Warsh

Sylvia Maultash Warsh

I had met  Mme.Sylvia Warsh at a Humber College writing workshop in the summer (Howard Engel was our prof). We met up again at Bouchercon and she and I were at  that first meeting as was Mme. Catherine Dunphy.





Sylvia and I and several other women decided to form a writing group at that meeting.  It is still going strong, 24 years later, with  the members drawn from SinC including  Mme. M. H. Callway,  who is  the  founder of the Mesdames.  M. H. CallwayAll the other members of our  writing group have stories in Thirteen and 13 O’clock.  You could say that the Mesdames of Mayhem have their roots in SinC.

We have contributed to the organization over the  years. Mme.Dunphy and I have both been presidents. Mesdames Joan O’Callaghan, Rosemary McCracken, Cheryl Freedman, and M. Ed Piwowarczyk have all served on the executive.

In turn, Sisters in Crime has contributed to the crime writing community. When Mme. Caro Soles was organizing the first Bloody Words conference, her committee was largely composed of SinC members. Many Toronto writers, both women and men,  benefit from the support they receive from their Sisters,  who buy books, attend launches and provide much appreciated word of mouth publicity.


Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa de Nikolits

This year the Toronto Chapter  is publishing its third Whole She-Bang anthology. Mme. Lisa de Nikolits, M. Ed P. and I all  have stories included. Two book launches will be held, the first on Thursday, November 17th at the SinC regular monthly meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the Northern District Branch TPL, 40 Orchard View Blvd. The second will be at our favourite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street, 907 Millwood Rd., Toronto, on Sunday, November 27th, at 2:00 p.m. Please join us for one of these events, or, better still, both.




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A stellar threesome!  Mesdames Donna Carrick, M. H. Callway and Rosemary Aubert have each collected their most successful short stories and novellas into anthologies, published by Carrick Publishing.  The books will be launched on Sunday, November 6th at our favourite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street, 907 Millwood Road, East York from 2 to 3:30 pm. Light refreshments will be served!

Friends and fans will be delighted to be able to read Mme. Aubert’s Arthur Ellis award winning story, The Midnight Boat to Palermo, once again, in her eponymous anthology. Mme. Carrick’s  story, Watermelon Weekend, and Mme. Callway’s novella, Glow Grass, were Arthur Ellis nominees in 2014 and 2015.

Sisters in Crime Launch New Anthology! 

One book, two launches! On November 17th The Whole She Bang 3 will be launched at the monthly meeting of Sisters in Crime, Orchard Park Library, 40 Orchard View Blvd., Toronto, at 7:00 p.m. Three members of the Mesdames, Mme Lisa de Nikolits,  Mme Lynne Murphy and M. Ed Piwowarczyk have stories included in the anthology.


Lynne Murphy

Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa de Nikolits


Ed Piwowarczyk

Then on Sunday, November 27th, a second launch will be held at Sleuth of Baker Street, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. There will be refreshments. Our thanks to Sleuth’s owner, Marian Misters, for hosting the launch.

Book Readings and Events!

November is a very busy month for the Mesdames!

mesdames-jane-burfield2-icon Square

Jane Burfield

Cathy Astolfo

Cathy Astolfo

On Saturday, November 5th, 2 pm, Mmes Catherine Astolfo, Jane Burfield, M. H. Callway, Lisa De Nikolits and Rosemary McCracken will be discussing crime fiction and meeting readers at Leaside Branch, TPL, 165 McCrae Drive, Toronto.


51nexm-TziL__SX332_BO1,204,203,200_The busiest of us all in November is  Mme. Lisa  Her newest book, The Nearly Girl, published by Inanna Books,  was launched last month to excellent reviews.

On Tuesday, November 15th,  Lisa and Mme. Rosemary McCracken will be part of an author’s panel at the Annette St. Library, 145 Annette St. Toronto, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Other authors taking part are John Oughton, Heather Babcock and Terri Favro.

M. H. Callway

M. H. Callway

On the same day, Tuesday, November 15th, 2:00 pm, Mme M. H. Callway will be joining other members of Crime Writers of Canada for an author’s panel at Bendale Branch, TPL, 1515 Danforth Road, Scarborough.


Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken

Thursday, November 17th, Mme. Rosemary McCracken will conduct a Writing Mysteries Workshop, hosted by Scarborough Arts, at the Kennedy/Eglinton Library, 2830 Eglinton E., Toronto, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Rosemary is the author of three books in the Pat Tierney series, including the latest, Raven Lake, so she knows what she is talking about.



Thursday, November 24th, Lisa will be at the Urban Folk Art Salon, 599 Mount Pleasant Rd., Toronto, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for an evening featuring poets, singers and songwriters.

On Tuesday, November 29th, 2:00 pm, M. H. Callway again joins members of Crime Writers of Canada for an authors visit to Eatonville Branch, TPL, 430 Burnhamthorpe Rd., Etobicoke.


SHAKE DEM BONES, FOLKS! The deadline for submissions to the 2017 Bloody Words Light Mystery Award (aka the Bony Blithe Award) is creeping up on us. We must have your submission in hand by December 15, 2016.

If you’re (a) an author with a light mystery published in 2016, and (b) a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you can submit your book. The award consists of a lovely colourful plaque…and a cheque for $1000!

Your novel must be at least 60,000 words long and published between January 1 and December 31, 2016. No YA or noir please. We welcome submissions from both authors and publishers.

Light mysteries include cozies, capers, satires, and humorous books; in short, anything from laugh-out-loud books to gentle humour to good old-fashioned stories with minimal overt violence or gore. We’re not looking for books with gravitas that make us think; we’re looking for fun-read books that make us smile.

For more detailed info on how to submit your book, visit

or contact us at







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Bouchercon 2016 took place in New Orleans, Louisiana. For those who don’t know, it’s the biggest, brassiest crime fiction conference in North America. And what better place to party than in New Orleans with neon-lit bars, music, great food, voodoo shops and haunted mansions! 



I’ve only attended two Bouchercons so far, both in Toronto. Once I was in charge of a  priceless collection of eccentric tea pots used for our highly successful British tea – featuring a full-dress Mountie and a drag queen Queen Elizabeth. (I’ll leave that story for Surreal Trapdoor.) Both events tiny compared to New Orleans with an estimated 800+ authors and 2000+ attendees.

Bouchercon isn’t set up like other crime fiction conferences. Rather it’s a series of events: opening ceremony, publisher receptions, showcase talks by Big Names, etc. Author panels are more chatty than informative. In other words, it’s a fan fest for readers and an opportunity for authors to network, network, network!  As a Canadian it was easy to feel lost in an ocean of American authors and fans, so it was great to see and party with fellow Canucks: Rob Brunet, Cathy Ace, Laurie Reed, John McFetridge, Ian Hamilton, Grace Koshida and  Linwood Barclay. Most of us arrived on the same flight and five of us shared a stretch limo to get to the Marriott conference hotel. Talk about arriving in style!


Not bad, huh?

Bouchercon was well-organized, the volunteers more than helpful. My registration was misfiled and all was sorted out cheerfully in seconds. One innovation to be recommended: the Book Bazaar.  Bagging books for attendees is time-consuming and no one is happy with the random selection they end up with. So New Orleans had a great solution: hand each registrant a bag and send them into the Book Bazaar where they can self-serve 6 books from the vast array piled on tables.  Of course, that way I ended up bringing home more books when I swore I wouldn’t add to our shelves!

Fellow Canadians, Janet Costello and Helen Nelson were promoting Bouchercon 2017 which takes place in Toronto. Several of my American author friends have promised to attend. Can’t promise them a drag queen Queen Elizabeth, but we will be sure to have lots of Canadian surprises Oct0ber 12 to 15, 2017 at the Sheraton Centre Hotel.

Highlights of the spectacular 2016 conference:

Noir at the Bar – Two reading events for noir authors, one at Bouchercon in the afternoon and the other in the evening at the appropriately named Voodoo Lounge. Strong work by many authors including Craig Faustus Buck, Meg Gardiner, Johnny Shaw and the incomparable Krista Faust that set the bar very high indeed. Rob Brunet read his chilling flash story soon to be published in Ellery Queen Magazine.


The incomparable Krista Faust


Ayo Onatade & Noir at the Bar founder, Peter Rozovsky







We had the privilege of sitting with two amazing people: Ayo Otonabe on holiday from London, England where she works at the British Supreme Court and Peter Rozovsky, founder of Noir at the Bar. Ayo writes regularly for Crimespree and Shotsmag.  And Peter is the original founder of Noir at the Bar. He lives in Philadelphia with a dark secret: like David Morell, he’s actually Canadian!


Lunch with the Short Mystery Fiction Society –


O’Neil de Noux


Napoleon’s restaurant






I’ve been a member of SMFS for many years and though I know SMFS-er’s in cyberspace, we have yet to meet in person.  The SMFS lunch at Napoleon’s restaurant in the French Quarter was the perfect way to connect.  My law and order experience continued: our lunch was organized by working police detective and award-winning author, O’Neil de Noux.  And I shared a table and fantastic conversation with railway police officer, Jim Doherty and his wife and retired poker-playing judge, Debra H. Goldstein.

Interview with Hank Phillippi Ryan – Sisters in Crime mothership runs a speakers bureau. Every year a few lucky chapters are visited by a leading member. Next year in 2017 our Toronto Chapter will host best-selling author and investigative journalist, Hank Phillippi Ryan.


Hank Phillippi Ryan

It was a true privilege to interview this amazing woman on behalf of Toronto Sisters in Crime!

Hank was one of the first women to break the gender barrier in TV broadcasting. She has won 33 EMMYs and dozens of other awards for her investigative journalism.  In her spare time, she has written 9 best-selling mystery novels and won  5 Agathas, two Macavitys, two Anthonys among many other awards. A past president of national Sisters in Crime, she’s also a founding teacher at Mystery Writers of American University.

Watch for the full text of our interview in the 2017 SinC newsletter and on this website.


SoHo Crime Reception, Crime Goes Global –  Food is a highlight of New Orleans and Bouchercon did not fail to deliver.  A generously stocked hospitality suite as well as creole cuisine served in the hotel lobby ensured that no writer went hungry.  We stuffed ourselves on jambalaya, shrimp and grits, po’boy sandwiches, beignets…well, you get the idea.

Soho Crime hosted a fun event featuring a “Yankee Swap” lottery. If you had a winning ticket, you could steal a better prize from an earlier winner. Ed had his eye on a collection of New Orleans music while I gazed fondly at the stuffed green alligator, but no dice that evening. We did, however, connect with Soho author, Lisa Brackmann, a friend of a friend of Ed’s.  A former motion picture executive, Lisa is the author of a series set in China, featuring Iraq war vet, Ellie McEnroe. Can’t wait to read Rock Paper Tiger!

Mardi Gras Parade –

A major highlight was the Second Line parade leading up to the interview between Lee Child and David Morrell at the Orpheum Theatre.  These parades, featuring floats, stilt walkers and brass bands, are traditional for funerals and Mardi Gras.  We were all handed colourful paper parasols that proved handy in the light rain. Rain is different in NOLA: it doesn’t cool things off – it steams! Despite the rain, we had great fun marching down Canal Street with blogger and reviewer, Seana Graham.

Dinner at Arnaud’s – Bouchercon is all about reconnecting with author friends. It was wonderful to visit with authors Sarah Chen, Dale and Mysti Berry, Ray Daniel, Hilary Davidson and Jeff Markowitz.


Ellen Kirschmann


Mar Preston & Nancy Cole Silverman






Fellow authors Ellen Kirschmann, Mar Preston and Nancy Cole Silverman invited us to a culinary adventure: dinner at Arnaud’s restaurant where the waiters are better dressed than we could hope to be – even at our daughter’s wedding!  The food was wonderful: duck, crab cakes, local fish and of course, signature champagne cocktails.

Ellen is a psychologist who works with the families of police officers. Her non-fiction books have sold over 100,000 copies. She has recently turned to crime fiction with her book, The Right Wrong Thing, winning critical praise from Publishers Weekly. Nancy is the author of the Carol Childs’ mystery series. Mar has penned 5 police procedurals between working to help animals in her California mountain town. 


Ed in style!

It’s interesting to observe that the French style in New Orleans is fin de siècle / Art Nouveau. The waiters wear black tie and long white aprons that were fading out in Paris 40 years ago.  Ed and I felt tres declasse. In fact, we were only allowed to eat there because Ellen generously loaned Ed her jacket!

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The Mesdames of Mayhem are delighted to announce their third anthology, 13 Claws, to be published by Carrick Publishing in September, 2017 in time for Bouchercon Toronto!


Eyes and teeth ready for 13 Claws!

All the stories in 13 Claws will be about animals: cats, dogs, bears, snakes  – and that’s just for starters!  The only limit will be the twisted imaginations of the Mesdames. And to balance our dark side, we are donating a percentage of our anthology’s sales to the Toronto Humane Society.

More Big News: We Mesdames love to encourage new Canadian writers; indeed many of us teach creative writing. So for 13 Claws, we will have a contest! One story in the anthology will be by a previously unpublished author. Submission rules will be announced later this fall on this website and our FB page.

A bit of history…

In 2013, Carrick Publishing released the Mesdames’ first anthology as an introduction to our group and our writing. 13 Mesdames contributed stories so the title naturally became Thirteen!

Thirteen was a huge success.  Rosemary McCracken’s story, “The Sweetheart Scamster” was a Derringer finalist. And two stories were nominated for the Arthur Ellis Best Short Story award: Donna Carrick’s “Watermelon Weekend” and Sylvia Warsh’s, “The Emerald Skull”.

Thirteen has indeed proved to be our lucky number!



In 2015, Carrick Publishing published our second anthology, 13 O’clock.  This time, all the stories were about time. Stories took place in the distant past or in the future. A ticking clock threatened disaster. Or in many tales, a diabolical past caused havoc in the lives of characters. For the first time, we included a story by our Monsieur, Ed Piwowarczyk.

13 O’clock proved to be another big success with good reviews by veteran crime fiction reviewer, Don Graves and by Vanessa Wasserman for the Sleuth of Baker Street newsletter. The icing on the cake: another Arthur Ellis Award nomination, this time for M. H. Callway’s novella, Glow Grass!

And best of all both Thirteen and 13 O’clock are now available in the Toronto Public Library!




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Mesdames on the Move October

The Mesdames of Mayhem at Word on the Street

Sunday, September 25th was a glorious fall day in Toronto and at Harbourfront the city’s book lovers were out to meet their favourite authors and celebrate literacy at Word on the Street. Mesdames of Mayhem had our own booth for the first time, WB12 in Writers’ Block. Eight of us spent the day there, talking to the crowds and, yes, selling books! Most of the Mesdames are members of the Toronto chapter of Sisters in Crime –their booth was right next to ours– and Crime Writers of Canada and we also signed books at those booths. The photos tell the story of what a good time we had.


Lynne Murphy, Sylvia Warsh, Catherine Astolfo


“Mesdames-ing” the booth Rosemary McCracken, Lynne Murphy, Cathy Dunphy, Sylvia Warsh


M. H. Callway, Rosemary McCracken









M. H. Callway, Catherine Astolfo


BIG NEWS COMING LATER IN OCTOBER FROM THE MESDAMES. Visit our website next week for the reveal!

October is Mme Lisa de Nikolits’s month!

51nexm-TziL__SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Mme. Lisa de Nikolits’ new novel, The Nearly Girlpublished by Inanna, was one of the best sellers at Word on the Street on Sunday.

The book will be launched Thursday, October 13th at 6:00 p.m. at the Women’s Arts Association, 63 Prince Arthur Ave., Toronto. There will be readings, wine and cheese, and, according to Lisa, badges. Who could resist that?

The novel has already gained good reviews in Beach Metro News and Canadian Living magazine.  Mme. Lisa will be touring the Maritimes in early October–for dates and places check out our September Mesdames on the Move.


Carrick Publishing is bringing out three crime books by Mesdames Rosemary Aubert, Donna Carrick and M. H. Callway this fall, print and cyber launch dates to be announced later in October on this website!




D. J. McIntosh

D. J. McIntosh

By popular demand, the Mesdames of Mayhem have been invited back to the Mt. Pleasant Branch, TPL as part of the International Authors Festival, Tuesday, October 18th, 7 pm at 599 Mt. Pleasant Rd, Toronto.  The Mesdames reading will be: M. H. Callway, Lisa De Nikolits, Rosemary McCracken and D.J. McIntosh.



Rosemary Aubert

Rosemary Aubert

Mme Rosemary Aubert has two events this month. On Sat, October 8th, 9 am to 12 noon, visit her at the Writers’ Community of Durham Region, Durham College, Centre for Food Building, Thickston Rd and 401, Whitby ON.

On Tuesday, October 25th, 2 pm, she will be reading at the Eatonville Branch, TPL, 43o Burnhamthorpe Rd, Scarborough, ON.


M. H. Callway

M. H. Callway

Mme M. H. Callway will be giving her workshop on How to Get Published at the Eatonville Branch, TPL on Wed, October 5th at 6:30 pm.  Address: 430 Burnhamthorpe Rd, Scarborough, ON.



Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa de Nikolits

On Friday, October 21st, at 7:00 p.m. Mme Lisa de Nikolits will be reading from her new book, The Nearly Girl, at Knox Presbyterian Church, 59 Riddell St., Woodstock, ON. The evening is part of the International Festival of Authors.




Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken

 Mme. Rosemary McCracken’s  newest Pat Tierney mystery, Raven Lake, was a popular selection at our WOTS booth!

Rosemary will be in Minden, Ont. on Sat. October 15th to conduct a workshop on Structuring Your Novel. The workshop is sponsored by Haliburton Highlands Writers and Editors Network and will be held from 10:30 to 3:00 in the Minden Cultural Centre in Minden, Ont.



Joan O'Callaghan

Joan O’Callaghan

61bgefae0xl__bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-v3-bigtopright0-55_sx324_sy324_pikin4bottomright122_aa346_sh20_ou15_Mme Joan O’Callaghan has updated her book, Amazing Days This gives teachers factoids and classroom activities for different days of the calendar year. Already available in e-book format courtesy of Carrick Publishing, it’s coming out this fall in Print Edition. Watch for this terrific resource, in October.



Bony Blithe Award

Mme. Cheryl Freedman reminds us that the Bony Blithe competition for light hearted mysteries is now accepting entries. Check out the Bony Blithe website for contest rules here.


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The fabulous MESDAMES OF MAYHEM have their own booth, W12, in Writers Block at Harbourfront! WORD ON THE STREET takes place this Sunday, September 25th from 11 am to 6 pm. We love meeting readers. …


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Toronto-Logo-PNG-optThe fabulous MESDAMES OF MAYHEM have their own booth, W12, in Writers Block at Harbourfront! WORD ON THE STREET takes place this Sunday, September 25th from 11 am to 6 pm.


We love meeting readers. Do join us for a chat about crime fiction and a chance to buy our books!

13 O'Clock Launch Website1

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