More News for Mesdames of Mayhem

Panel on Historical Crime Writing








On Thursday, November 21st at 7:00 p.m. in Toronto’s Northern District Library, Mmes Sylvia Warsh and Caro Soles join other historical crime fiction authors Nate Hendley, (moderator), Lorna Poplak and Ann Shortell for a panel on writing historical crime fiction at the November Toronto Sisters in Crime meeting. Guests are welcome for $5.

Noir at the Bar

Caro SolesMme Caro Soles joins Ryan Aldred, CJ Birch, Giles Blunt, Bianca Marais and Doug Schmidt for readings from their books at Noir at the Bar, starting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 28th at The Wallace Gastropub, 1954 Yonge St. (Davisville). Book a table courtesy of A Different Drummer Books.



And Some KUDOS for the Mesdames

We’ve received some wonderful reactions to our Mesdames of Mayhem CBC Short Documentary. Here are two we’d like to share:

The Mesdames of Mayhem

A Tribute by Rosalie Callway

They may call it a ‘murder of crows’ but
when the Mesdames get together it is sheer carnage.
It would be a felony to say
they make light of foul play,
but with every vitriolic volume they make a killing a page.

Their lascivious ink is laced with poison,
shot through with blood.
Insubordinate readers are soon slayed
in an assault of salacious storytelling,
until the pernicious protagonist is suddenly nipped in the bud.

I would butcher any attempt to come close to their slaughter.
Each suffocating saga is spliced together
with such homicidal incision,
maybe they might take me in as a Deviant Daughter?!

Rosalie Callway is a crime fiction lover and super-fan of the Mesdames!


And Shirley McDaniel, an artist living and working in Australia writes:

“the fabulous and fascinating mesdames of mayhem.. their very evident empathy and camaraderie documented..their mayhem stories probing.. encompassing and thereby enabling a certain degree of expelling menacing memories..thus creating an order..a control…creating stories probing pain… memory surfing.. exploring loss..excruciating scrutiny…recycled ..meshed and woven into an art form..”

 Visit Shirley and view her work at (





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Happy November CatHello, Dear Readers,

It’s hard to believe it’s November. Aren’t the fall colours wonderful?

After the whirlwind of October, we Mesdames are still catching our breaths from the excitement of a new CBC short documentary on our  Mesdames’ collective and the success of our launch of In the Key of 13 last weekend.

November promises to be a bit less busy, but we’ve still got some book and event highlights to share with you.


Many thanks to author and publisher (Superior Shores Press) Judy Penz Sheluk for her kind words about our CBC short documentary and our latest anthology In the Key of 13 in her newsletter:

“Cat Mills, an award-winning filmmaker, recently made a 15 minute documentary about the Mesdames of Mayhem. While I’m not a member of the Mesdames, I count several of the members among my friends, and I am beyond happy to share this news with you.”

“PS: I’ve read all of the “13” anthologies by the Mesdames of Mayhem and highly recommend them. I can’t wait to get my signed copy at the Ontario Library Association Superconference in Jan. 2020.”

Your name is on a copy, Judy.

Why CBC’s Cat Mills Decided to Make a Film about the Mesdames?

If you are wondering what prompted CBC to make the Mesdames of Mayhem short documentary, look no further than this interview with documentary director Cat Mills in CBC Books: “This CBC documentary explores why four women love writing crime fiction

International Thriller Writers Feature Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa de NikolitsThe Occult Persuasion

International Thriller Writers features an interview with Mme Lisa de Nikolits about her recently published book The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution in the November 2019 issue of The Big Thrill magazine.

Madeleine Harris CallwayRead all about the Mesdames in Mme M. H. Callway’s post on Joanne Guidoccio’s blog.

In the Key of 13


On Monday, November 4th, Mmes M. H. Callway and Rosemary McCracken will attend a meeting of finance journalists to hear fellow Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) member, Bill Prentice, discuss self-publishing and present, In the Key of 13 to the journalists. This is a private event.

Madeleine Harris CallwayRosemary McCracken

On Tuesday, November 12th, 7 to 8:30 pm, Mmes Jane Burfield, M. H. Callway, Lisa de Nikolits, Cathy Dunphy, Rosemary McCracken and Caro Soles have an event at the Queen and Salter Branch, TPL, 765 Queen St. East. The panel discussion is “Canadian Mystery Writers You Should Know About”.

Mmes Jane Burfield, M. H. Callway, Lisa de Nikolits, Cathy Dunphy, Rosemary McCracken, Caro Soles

L to R: Mmes Jane Burfield, M. H. Callway, Lisa de Nikolits, Cathy Dunphy, Rosemary McCracken, Caro Soles

Madona Skaff


On Sunday, November 17th, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, Mme Madona Skaff will be signing copies of her novel, Journey of A Thousand Steps at Indigo Barrhaven,125 Riocan Ave, Nepean, Ontario. Go to YouTube for a look at the Journey of a Thousand Steps Book Trailer.

Mme Madona Skaf’s sequel to Journey of a Thousand Steps, entitled Death by Association, is due out in the spring of 2020. This time Naya, our intrepid sleuth, tries to solve a triple murder.


Lisa de Nikolits

On Friday, November 8th, Mme Lisa de Nikolitis will be reading from her new book, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution at “Unforgettable Women in Fiction”, 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Queen Books, 914 Queen St. East, Toronto.

On Thursday, November 28th, Mme Lisa de Nikolits will be interviewed on Crime Beat Confidential on



Bloody Words Mini-Con and Bony Blithe Award

Crime pays…possibly! But first, you need to have a light mystery (no gravitas, please – only entertainment) published in 2019.
The clock is ticking to the December 16 deadline for submissions to the 2020 Bony Blithe Light MysteryAward with its prize of $1000 plus a charming plaque. For the submission rules, visit the Bony Blithe
submission rules page at
And for both authors and readers: Registration for the 2020 Bloody Words Mini-Con/Bony Blithe Award Gala on Friday, May 22, 2020, is now open. We’re back at the High Park Club in Toronto.
We have panels on a wide range of topics, a book dealer, lunch, the BB award dinner, and lots of opportunities to schmooze with old and new criminous friends. You can register at: http:/
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BREAKING NEWS! The Mesdames of Mayhem CBC Short Doc

CBC Films The Mesdames of Mayhem 

Our heartfelt thanks to Cat Mills and the CBC Short Docs Team, especially producer Felicity Justabro, for this absolutely wonderful short film about The Mesdames of Mayhem.

The CBC released this film on Friday, October 25, 2019, right before our In the Key of 13 Book launch on Saturday, October 26th. We’re still walking on air.

Have a look at the documentary and let us know what you think.

This short documentary is also available on the CBC Gem App:

Watch the Mesdames of Mayhem Short Doc Trailer

The Genesis of the Mesdames of Mayhem Documentary

For those wondering how CBC got the idea for the documentary, read about its genesis on the CBC Books site in “This CBC documentary explores why four women love writing crime fiction”.

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A gala launch for In the Key of 13!

Moving Target

Yesterday, the Mesdames of Mayhem’s fourth crime fiction collection, In the Key of 13, was launched with great fanfare at Toronto’s Sleuth of Baker Street book store. Fourteen of the 19 authors were on hand to give short readings from their stories. Here they are!

Caro Soles, “Moonlight Sonata”: I have never lived in such an elegant place as this. It’s like being in another world here, with the gold-braided doorman and echoing black-marble vestibule. Up we go, Mother and I, in the golden cage to the fourth floor where more marble awaits.

Caro Soles, reading from "Moonlight Sonata."
Caro Soles, reading from “Moonlight Sonata.”

From my story, “Farewell to the King,” in which four young Montreal Elvis fans travel to Memphis for the King’s funeral: Then we were in front of the famous metal gates. Police officers were holding people back. I glimpsed the white mansion fronted by four pillars and two stone…

View original post 1,172 more words

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Happy OctoberHappy Thanksgiving and Halloween, Dear Readers!

October is one of the busiest times of the year for authors – and readers. As the days and nights get colder, what could be better than to cozy up to our latest anthology? Join us for our launch of In the Key of 13: 19 stories of music and murder.

In the Key of 13 Book Launch

In the Key of 13Get ready to rock’n’roll, croon, hymn sing or sink into the lush sounds of classical music: the perfect background to murder and mayhem.

The Mesdames of Mayhem’s fourth anthology, In the Key of 13 book launch is just around the corner.

So mark your calendars for a wonderful afternoon on Saturday, October 26th from 2 to 4 p.m. at Sleuth of Baker Street, 907 Millwood Rd. Come chat with the Mesdames and enjoy the fun!

Admission is free. Treats are included.



Nothing Without UsOn Saturday, October 19th, Mme Madona Skaff will be at the first book launch of Nothing Without Us (Renaissance Press).

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff

The launch takes place at 3 p.m. at The 3 Brewers pub, 240 Sparks Street, Ottawa, ON.

Madona’s story “Backbone” is part of this anthology composed of 22 own-voice, multi-genre stories where the protagonists are disabled, deaf, neuro-diverse, and/or they manage mental illness.

Nothing Without Us is available for order on Amazon and from the Renaissance Press online bookstore!

Cover of Crime ClubOn Saturday, October 19, 2-3:30 p.m., come to Different Drummer Bookstore in Burlington for a criminally good time at the launch of Crime Club, Mme Melodie Campbell‘s 15th book, a treat for young adults.

Melodie Campbell

Free refreshments, contests, and fun! Sharing the stage will be Lynn McPherson’s new mystery, The Girls Dressed for Murder.

Children welcome! Different Drummer Bookstore, 513 Locust St., Burlington ON

Sixteen-year-old Penny has moved with her huge dog Ollie to a small town pub owned by her great-aunt. It’s a relief to start over in a place where no one knows her father is in prison. When Ollie digs up a human bone in the back yard of the pub, police are called. Who can the dead person be? Penny and her new friends decide to investigate. And before long they discover one thing: if you’ve killed before, you can kill again.


Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff


Huge congratulations to Mme Madona Skaff’! Her sequel to her Naya Assad mystery, Journey of a Thousand Steps, was sold to Renaissance Press. It will  be released Spring 2020.




Melodie Campbell


Further congratulations to  Mme Melodie Campbell! Her young adult mystery, Crime Club, received a great review from Kirkus Reviews and in August, was the most gifted book on Amazon!




On Wednesday, October 2nd, Mmes Cathy Dunphy, Lisa De Nikolits, Marilyn Kay and Rosemary McCracken will be visiting the Bracebridge University Women’s Club. This is a private event.

Cathy Dunphy, Lisa de Nikolits, Marilyn Kay, Rosmary McCracken

Cathy Dunphy

Cathy Dunphy


Mme Cathy Dunphy will be appearing on Sharon Crawford’s  Crime Beat Confidential, her interview show on ThatChannel, Wednesday, October 9th.


M.H. Callway, Lisa de Nikolits, Rosemary McCracken, Lynne MurphyThursday, October 10th, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., Mmes M. H. Callway, Lisa De Nikolits, Rosemary McCracken and Lynne Murphy will be at Toronto Public Library, Mt. Pleasant Branch, 599 Mt. Pleasant Rd. They will present In the Key of 13 and discuss how to create an anthology.


Lisa de Nikolits


On Friday, October 18th from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m., Mme Lisa De Nikolits will be giving a workshop on “Self-Editing and How to Become a Better Writer “at Toronto Public Library, Beaches Branch, 2161 Queen St. East.





M. H. Calway

M. H. Callway

Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken









On Saturday, October 19th, Mmes M. H. Callway and Rosemary McCracken will be at the Flamborough Heritage Society Book Fair, St. James Church, 306 Parkside Dr., Waterdown, Flamborough ON, L0R 2H0, 9:30 to 2:30 pm.

On Tuesday, October 22nd, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m., Mme Rosemary McCracken will be giving a “First Page Critiquing Workshop (Novels)”  at Toronto Public Library, Beaches Branch, 2161 Queen St. East.


Bloody Words Mini-Con and Bony Blithe Award






Autumn is here and it’s time for all you light mystery authors to think about submitting your 2019 books to the 2020 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award. The prize for the best light mystery of the year is a cheque for $1,000 and a jolly award plaque. Visit for the Bony Blithe submission rules. And for authors and readers alike, mark your calendars for the 2020 Bloody Words mini-con and Bony Blithe award galaFriday, May 22, 2020, in Toronto. Visit or our Facebook page /bonyblithe for more information.






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Welcome back, Readers!

We hope you had a great summer holiday.

September begins with a bang for the Mesdames, with a new book by Mme Melodie Campbell, and lots more book news and events.

September also has one of the year’s most important writing events, Toronto’s annual Word on the Street. The Mesdames will be back hosting their own table and will be helping out at tables sponsored by Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime. Do pay us a visit!


Melodie Campbell

Mel Campbell

Cover of Crime Club“If you killed before, you can kill again.” Crime Club (Orca Books Soundings) Mme Melodie Campbell’s latest novel, Crime Club,  launches on Sunday, September 1, 2019, and is available on Amazon and at Chapters/Indigo.

Follow 16-year-old Penny and her new group of friends as they investigate the mystery of a 20-year-old human bone and skeleton buried in her aunt’s backyard.

Official launch and media event at Eastgate Mall, Hamilton, on October 4th. More details to come…


Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa De Nikolits

The Occult PersuasionMme Lisa De Nikolits launches her new novel, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution, on Thursday, September 26th, 6:00 to 8:30 pm at Queen Books, 914 Queen Street East.

In Lisa’s seriocomic thriller, a post-retirement couple embarks on an unintentionally life-changing around-the-world adventure. Now available on pre-order at Chapters/Indigo and on Amazon.




Rosemary McCrackenOn Thursday, September 19th, Mme Rosemary McCracken talks to Sisters in Crime Toronto  (SinC Toronto) about “traditional” cozy mysteries. And how the Queen of Cozies Agatha Christie’s novels follow the 21 elements of cozy mysteries.

The SinC Toronto meeting begins at 7:00 pm begins at 7:00 p.m. in Room 200 at the Toronto Public Library, Northern District Branch, 40 Orchard View Blvd (just a block north of Eglinton subway station on Yonge, or half a block west of Yonge). Guests are welcome. Cost is $5.

Besides being at our Mesdames booth for Word on the Street, Rosemary will be at the Crime Writers of Canada booth from 2:30 to 4 pm together with fellow authors,      M. H. Callway and Madona Skaff (11:30 to 1 pm) and Sylvia Warsh (1:00 to 2:30  pm).

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff

M. H. Callway

Sylvia Warsh






On Saturday, September 28th, Mme Rosemary McCracken joins Crime Writers of Canada authors Anita Arvast, Diane Bator, Nanci Pattenden, Maggie Petru and Judy Penz Sheluk at 1:30 p.m. at the Orangeville Public Library in Orangeville, Ontario. They’ll be talking about crime writing and its various sub-genres.


Word on the Street Toronto




The Mesdames of Mayhem are back in 2019 hosting their own table at this annual event for book lovers. This year we will be inside Harbourfront Centre sharing space in the Marilyn Brewer Community Centre with other writer associations.

Marilyn Kay

Marilyn Kay

Lynne Murphy

Lynne Murphy

Rosemary Aubert

Rosemary Aubert

Jane Petersen Burfield

Jane Burfield

Ed Piwowarczyk

Ed Piwowarczyk






Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff

Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia Warsh

Come visit us at booth WB3 in the Writers’ Block from 10 am to 5 pm:

10 am to 12 noon: Jane Burfield and M. H. Callway
10 am to 11 am: Lisa De Nikolits
12 noon
to 2 pm: Rosemary McCracken and Ed Piwowarczyk
to 3 pm: Rosemary Aubert and Madona Skaff
to 4 pm: Sylvia Warsh and Marilyn Kay
4 to 5 pm: Lynne Murphy
and Marilyn Kay

WotS Map 2019

And don’t forget…

In the Key of 13Our 4th anthology In the Key of 13, featuring tales of music and murder by some of Canada’s leading crime fiction authors, launches on SaturdayOctober 26th from 2 to 4 pm at Sleuth of Baker Street, Millwood Road, Toronto.



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BREAKING NEWS: Our Cover for Our New Anthology

Ta Dah! Our Cover for In the Key of 13!

We’re so excited to reveal our cover for the Mesdames of Mayhem’s fourth anthology, In the Key of 13,  to be published in the fall by Carrick Publishing. 

In the Key of 13 CoverMany thanks to the very talented Sara Carrick for our dramatic and elegant cover, which captures our theme of music and murder.

Don’t forget! Our official launch of the In the Key of 13 anthology takes place in Toronto on Saturday, October 26, 2 to 4 pm at Sleuth of Baker Street, 907 Millwood Rd. Watch for more details as we near publication.

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Happy Summer, Readers!

cat sipping summer cocktailThe Mesdames are taking it easy in July and August, gearing up for a super-busy fall with Word on the Street, the Women Killing It mystery festival in Picton, new book launches and many reading events.

No worries: Our newsletter editor will be giving you exciting updates throughout the sultry weeks of July and August. So join our kitty on the beach, don your shades, grab a cool one and read on!

Our Book Launch Date

Mark your calendars! We have a date and place for the launch of In the Key of Thirteen, the Mesdames fourth anthology featuring tales of music and murder by some of Canada’s leading authors. The launch takes place on Saturday, October 26th from 2 to 4 pm at Sleuth of Baker Street, Millwood Road, Toronto.

Watch for our cover reveal later in the summer!


Lisa de Nikolits and Rosemary McCracken


Mmes Lisa de Nikolits and Rosemary McCracken have stories in the newly released anthology, The Best Laid Plans. (Superior Shores Press).



Thrillerfest Panel


Mme Lisa de Nikolits is attending Thrillerfest XIV in New York City from July 9th to 13th. She will be member of Cathleen Antrim’s panel on Highsmith, Hammett or Agatha Christie on Friday, July 12th from 10:20-11:10 am.




M. H. CallwayFrom August 9th to 11th, Mme M. H. Callway will attend When Worlds Collide 2019, a multi-genre conference in Calgary, AB. Stay tuned for more details!

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BREAKING NEWS: Two stories by Mme Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia WarshBig congrats to Mme Sylvia Warsh who received great publication news to add to Mesdames on the Move for June.

After her story, “The Ranchero’s Daughter”, appeared on Otto Penzler’s 2018 long list of best mystery short stories,  Vautrin, a new Kansas, USA publication, contacted her. They asked her to write a story for their inaugural issue.

Sylvia penned “The Comeback”, a chilling noir tale with themes of archeology – and of course, murder.  Vautrin’s first issue, has just been released. To order copies and to learn more about this exciting new publication, visit their website.


And Sylvia has more good news: Darkhouse Books is publishing a new noir anthology, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.  They will reprint Sylvia’s story, “The German Credit”, one of her very earliest publications, in their upcoming book.  (Publication date to be announced soon.)

In 2016, Darkhouse published, Black Coffee, an anthology of noir stories of crime and desperation, which included a story by Mme Rosemary McCracken.

For a full listing of Darkhouse publication, visit their website here.


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June is another super-busy month for the Mesdames with lots of events. We look forward to taking a break over the summer holidays to catch up on reading – and writing!



Melodie Campbell

Big hugs and congrats to Mme Melodie Campbell, our Queen of Comedy for her terrific job as MC at this year’s Arthur Ellis Award Gala. Proof that those tough years doing stand-up comedy as a woman do pay off! Joking aside, we Canadian crime writers really are a nice crowd.

Michael Martin, President of CWC, announced two changes for the 2020 Arthur Ellis Awards. The Best Novel Award will now be sponsored by Kobo   and the Best First Novel Award by Maureen Jennings, distinguished Canadian crime fiction author and creator of the world famous Murdoch series.


Announcing the winner of the contest for emerging writers for our new anthology, In the Key of Thirteen.

The winning story is “A Contrapuntal Killing” by Blair Keetch.

Ever since he was young, Blair Keetch has been an avid fan of mysteries – everything from Christie to Connelly. His checkered work history includes roles as an airline project manager, overseer at a pet event centre and promoter of Ontario tourism. He is currently working on his first mystery novel, Flight Risk.


Cheryl Freedman

Caro SolesThe Bloody Words Minicon, chaired by Mme Caro Soles, took place with great fun on Friday, May 24th. This year’s winner of the Bony Blithe prize is Mike Martin for his mystery, Darkest Before the Dawn.

The Bony Blithe award, for mysteries that make you smile, was created by Mmes Cheryl Freedman and Caro Soles. Caro’s retirement from the Board was recognized through a presentation by panelists and attendees.



Limestone Genre Expo

Limestone Genre Expo takes place on Saturday, June 1st at the Kingston Frontenac Library, 130 Johnson Street, Kingston from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Panels, workshops and the vendor room run throughout the day.

Caro Soles

Caro Soles

M. H. Callway

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff






Mmes M. H. Callway, Madona Skaff and Caro Soles will be attending. Caro moderates a panel on “How to Get Through the Mushy Middle” while Madeleine leads a discussion on “Self-Publishing or Not”. Both Caro and Madeleine will be on a panel discussing the trials and tribulations of writing cross genre.

In the evening, the Crime Writers of Canada are hosting a pub night at 7:00 pm at  the Kingston Brew Pub, 34 Clarence Street.

Caro Soles

Caro Soles

M. H. Callway

On Tuesday, June 4th, 2:oo pm, Caro will hold her writing workshop, “The Plot Thickens!” at the Beaches Library, 2161 Queen Street East, Toronto.

And on Tuesday, June 11th, 2:00 pm, M. H. Callway will be back at the Beaches Library to give her popular workshop, “How to Get Published.”


Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCrackent

On Wednesday, June 5th, 6:30 to 8:00 pm, Mme Rosemary McCracken join fellow CWC members Nate Hendley, Lorna Poplak, Desmond P. Ryan and John Worsley Simpson to talk about Toronto the Bad. All of the authors have written books set in Toronto. The panel will be at Armour Heights Library, 2140 Avenue Rd, Toronto.

And on Tuesday, June 18th, 6:00 pm, M. H. Callway will visit Rosemary’s Novel Writing II class at George Brown College to discuss the challenges of today’s book publishing scene.

Lisa de Nikolits with her book Rotten Peaches

On Thursday, June 13th, 7 pm, Mme Lisa De Nikolits will be reading at Toronto’s Noir at the Bar which takes place at the Wallace Gastro Pub, 1954 Yonge Street.







Marilyn Kay

Marilyn Kay

Cathy Dunphy

Cathy Dunphy

Lynne Murphy

Lynne Murphy

Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa de Nikolits






On Tuesday, June 18th, 6:30pm, Mmes Catherine Dunphy, Lisa De Nikolits, Marilyn Kay and Lynne Murphy join forces at the Runnymede Library, 2178 Bloor St., Toronto to discuss Canadian women in crime fiction, their writing and the book publishing industry.



On Saturday, June 29th, 11 am to 2 pm, Mme Madona Skaff joins fellow CWC author, Jim Napier, at a book signing at Chapters Indigo,  47 Rideau Street, Ottawa.

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