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... Books for mystery lovers
Crum Creek Press/The Mystery Company
Books for mystery lovers
Crum Creek Press / The Mystery Company is an independent publishing company owned and operated by Jim Huang. Since 2000, our titles have won two Agatha Awards, three Anthony Awards, one Benjamin Franklin Award and two Macavity Awards. Our books have also been nominated for the Dilys and the Shamus Awards, and one more Agatha and Macavity.
We are delighted to welcome P.M. Carlson's Maggie Ryan series to The Mystery Company. The first three novels are available now, with five more coming soon.
We asked Pat to comment on the reissue of these novels, first published in the late 1980s and set in the 1960s:
In the sixties and seventies in upstate New York, I was young and busy. I worked backstage on many college plays, married, earned a bachelor’s degree, read mysteries, traveled to Spain and Scandinavia, had two babies, earned a master’s degree, spent a year in Paris, read mysteries, traveled to Egypt and eastern Europe, saw lots of plays, earned a Ph.D., raised my boys, served on city committees, restored a Victorian house, read more mysteries, taught college-level statistics and psychology — and in my spare time, tried to follow the swirl of changes taking place around my family and my divided, angry country. War protests, civil rights marches, feminism, gay rights, environmentalism. Woodstock, the Beatles. Political murders, including my classmate Michael Schwerner, registering blacks to vote in Mississippi. Also President Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Bobby Kennedy.
In 1979, we moved to Indiana. The boys were more independent, my other duties reduced to restoring an Indiana Victorian house and co-authoring a textbook about behavioral statistics, and I decided to start at last on the mystery I’d secretly hoped to write someday. The detective, I thought, should be a mom like me, because it didn’t seem fair that mothers didn’t get to be heroes. More often they were obstacles in the hero’s way, saying “Don’t get hurt, honey.” But most moms, I knew, were too busy for such things. What kind of woman would become a mom who solved murders?
To find out, I started the Maggie Ryan mysteries when she was young — and she dragged me right back to the sixties. I can see why I needed to revisit those chaotic shifting years. I had to dig into questions of morality and identity that I’d glanced at only superficially as my busy life zipped along. For me, the eight Maggie Ryan mysteries were more than entertainments, more than psychological studies of how we flawed, resilient human beings cope with injustice, crime and death — though I hope they were those things too. The books were a chance for me to revisit a shifting America that I’d lived through but hadn’t processed. It was as though, when I finally had time to take a deep breath and look back at those years, I’d asked, “What the hell just happened?”
And Maggie, ever curious, had answered, “Let’s investigate!”
Now, twenty years after the books were first published, forty years after the stories took place, the country is again divided and angry. Both the Tea Party people and the Occupy Wall Street people are unhappy with the way things are working out. And most of the questions of the sixties and seventies are still with us, in slightly different form. The military draft is gone, but our troops still return from war with emotional as well as physical scars. Gays have rights on paper, but are still terrorized and discriminated against. Children are still abused. women are still raped. And it’s still hard to get a deep understanding of the issues as they fly by.
Revisiting the Maggie stories reminds me of what has happened, what’s yet to do, and that we flawed, resilient humans are still trying to cope.
— P.M. Carlson