Category Archives: Angela Savage

His Family Business Thrives*

One of the staples of a lot of economies is the family-owned business. Some of them are large, many are smaller. Either way, they are part of the backbone of a lot of communities.

Family businesses can be very interesting contexts for a crime novel, too. They can be sources of conflict, they can add character development, and they can give interesting insight into a community. Here are just a few examples to show you what I mean.

Agatha Christie’s After the Funeral (AKA Funerals Are Fatal) begins directly after the funeral of wealthy family patriarch Richard Abernethie. In this case, the family built its fortune in the making of corn plasters and other, similar remedies. The business was very successful, and Abernethie has quite a lot of money to leave. His will distributes his money evenly amongst his nephew, two nieces, brother, sister-in-law, and younger sister. On the one hand, it seems on the surface like an equitable distribution. On the other, it also suggests that he didn’t have enough faith in any one member of his family to leave everything to that person. At the funeral gathering, Abernethie’s younger sister, Cora Lansquenet, blurts out that her brother was murdered. At first, everyone hushes her up, and even she tells the others to pay no attention. But privately, everyone begins to wonder if Cora was right. And, when she herself is murdered the next day, everyone is convinced that she was. Family attorney Mr. Entwhistle asks Hercule Poirot to look into the matter, and he agrees. He finds out that more than one person could have wanted to kill both people.

Ellery Queen’s The French Powder Mystery features family-owned French’s Department Store. The store does well, and store owner Cyrus French and his family are well off. Then, one tragic day, French’s wife, Winifred, is found dead in one of the store’s display windows. Inspector Richard Queen is called in to investigate, and of course, his son, Ellery, takes part. The Queens soon discover an interesting thing about family businesses: sometimes it’s hard to separate ‘family’ from business. Was Winifred killed by a family member? A business associate? It’s not an easy case to solve.

Riley Adams’ (AKA Elizabeth Spann Craig)’s Memphis Barbecue series features Lulu Taylor. She is the current owner of Aunt Pat’s Barbecue, one of Memphis’ popular eateries. It’s a family-owned business in which she takes great pride. She inherited the restaurant, and is planning that her son, Ben, will take over as owner when she is ready to step aside. As it is, he does plenty of work in the restaurant, and even Lulu’s two granddaughters help out at times. Part of what makes Aunt Pat’s special is that it isn’t an impersonal chain restaurant.

We also see several family-owned businesses in Lilian Jackson Braun’s Cat Who… series featuring James ‘Qwill’ Qwilleran. He is a journalist who’s moved to the small town of Pickax, Moose County – ‘400 miles north of nowhere.’ Most of the local businesses are owned by families, rather than by large companies. For example, the local department store is owned by the Lanspeak family, the local newspaper is owned by the Goodwinter family, and so on. Some of those families have been in the area for generations, too. It’s that sort of place. And that plays its roles in the mysteries that Qwill encounters.

Apostolos Doxiadis’ Three Little Pigs tells the story of the Franco family, who emigrate from Italy to New York at the turn of the 20th Century. Benvenuto ‘Ben’ Franco brings his wife and children to the US in hopes of a successful ‘American Dream’ sort of life. He gets a job in a shoe repair shop, works hard, and in a few years, has been able to open his own shoe repair and sales shop. The business does well, and he is hoping to pass it along to his three sons. He changes the family name to Frank, and everyone prospers at first. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last. Ben gets into a bar fight one night, and kills a man named Luigi Lupo. It turns out that his father is notorious gangster Tonio Lupo, and that Lupo has every intention of getting revenge. He visits Ben in prison and curses his family, promising that all three of his sons will die at the age of forty-two, the same age Luigi was at his death. The story goes on to follow the lives of Alessandro ‘Al,’ Niccola ‘Nick,’ and Leonardo ‘Leo’ Frank, and it’s interesting to see how the family business shapes them. Al Frank takes over the business and oversees real success for it. Nick Frank wants to be an actor, and he has a little talent. For a while, he does well enough in Hollywood, which suits him, because he doesn’t want to be in the family business. Leo takes several wrong turns and has his own issues. But after a number of years, he also chooses the family business. As the book goes on, we see what happens to each son, and how the curse plays out in their lives.

And then there’s Rajiv Patel, whom we meet in Angela Savage’s The Half-Child. Originally from India, he wanted a chance to see more of the world. His family wanted him to stay nearby, find a local woman to marry, and settle down. But that wasn’t in his plans. As a way of keeping the peace, and still doing what he wanted to do, Patel went to Bangkok’s Little India, where his uncle’s family keeps a bookshop. The agreement was that he would live with the family and help in the bookshop. And that’s where he meets PI Jayne Keeney, who loves to read. The two get to talking, find that they like each other, and begin to date. And Patel gets involved in the case Keeney’s working on, which involves the mysterious death of a young volunteer at an orphanage/children’s home. Later, they become business partners as well as partners in life.

Family businesses have been with us for a very long time. Perhaps you even have a business in your own family. They add much to the economy, and a lot to crime fiction, too.


*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s Levon.


Filed under Agatha Christie, Angela Savage, Apostolos Doxiadis, Ellery Queen, Elzabeth Spann Craig, Lilian Jackson Braun, Riley Adams

She Said She’s Gonna Join the Peace Corps*

As this is posted, it’s 57 years since the establishment of the Peace Corps. As you’ll know, Peace Corps volunteers do grassroots-level work (teaching, medical assistance, agriculture, and more) in remote areas and areas of extreme poverty. You may know someone who’s been in the Peace Corps. Perhaps you were a volunteer, yourself.

The Peace Corps is by no means the only international volunteer group. Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), the International Red Cross, and lots of other groups also work all over the world. These groups do essential work to improve life, help in times of war and disaster, and more. There are several such groups in real life, and it’s no surprise to find them in crime fiction, too.

For instance, Michael Palmer’s Second Opinion introduces Dr. Thea Sperelakis. In the novel, she’s working with Médecins Sans Frontières. But she returns to her native Boston when her father, Petros Sperelakis, is gravely injured in a hit-and-run incident. He is the distinguished founder of the Sperelakis Center for Diagnostic Medicine, housed in Boston’s Beaumont Hospital, so an interest in medicine runs in the family. At first, the incident is put down to a terrible accident that someone won’t admit. But Thea’s brother, Dmitri, doesn’t think that’s true. Their father, who can communicate after a fashion, lets them know that there may be serious medical fraud going on at the Beaumont. Whoever is behind the fraud is willing to do whatever it takes to cover it up. Thea gets a job at the Beaumont, and goes undercover, in a way, to try to get to the truth about the fraud before the person who attacked her father strikes again.

Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis’ Nina Borg is a Copenhagen-based nurse who works with the International Red Cross. She’s been on the scene of more than one disaster and is passionate about helping those in desperate need. In fact, that’s been a major source of conflict between her and her family, who want her to stay out of danger, and who want more of her time. When she is in Copenhagen, she does her best to help immigrants who are in dire situations. That often gets her into a great deal of danger, but Nina can’t imagine not helping those who most need it.

In Angela Savage’s The Half Child, Bangkok-based PI Jayne Keeney gets a new client. Maryanne Delbeck died of a fall (or push, or jump) from the roof of the building she was living in in Pattaya. The police report indicates that it was probably a suicide, but Maryanne’s father, Jim Delbeck, doesn’t believe that. He hires Keeney to find out what really happened. Keeney discovers that the victim belonged to an Australian NGO called Young Christian Volunteers. When she died, she was volunteering at a Pattaya children’s home/orphanage called New Life Children’s Centre. With that information in hand, Keeney goes to New Life in the guise of volunteering, so that she can find out if there might be a connection between the death and the children’s home. In the novel, there’s very interesting information on how groups like Young Christian Volunteers work.

Ausma Zehanat Khan’s The Unquiet Dead is the first of her novels to feature Esa Khattak of the Community Policing Section (CPS) of the Canadian federal government. This group concerns itself with hate crimes and anti-bigotry, so it’s a surprise to Khattak when he’s called in to investigate the death of Christopher Drayton. The victim died of a fall from Scarborough (Ontario) Bluffs, and it’s hard to tell whether it was or was not murder. But even if it was, there seems on the surface to be no reason for the CPS to involve itself. Then, Khattak learns that Drayton was very likely was Dražen Krstić, a notorious war criminal known as the butcher of Srebrenica. If that’s the case, then this could present a major problem for the government. Why would a war criminal be allowed to live in Canada? One issue Khattak faces is that, as a student, he was a volunteer in Bosnia during that war. He helped in different capacities and saw his share of the horrors that went on there. He is also a Muslim. Because of all of this, he can’t be completely objective. So, he brings his assistant, Sergeant Rachel Getty, in on the case. Together, the two look into the matter. They find that there are actually several possibilities when it comes to suspects and motives…

Sometimes, governments rely on volunteers within their own borders. For instance, in Kwei Quartey’s Wife of the Gods, the body of a medical student, Gladys Mensah, is found in a wood not far from the Ghanian town of Ketanu. The victim was a volunteer for Ghana Health Services AIDS Outreach, so the Minister of Health takes a particular interest in the case. Wanting to send Ghana’s best to do the investigation, the Minister taps Accra’s CID. And the best in that department is Detective Inspector (DI) Darko Dawson. He’ll miss his wife and son while he’s away, but this trip will give him a chance to reconnect with his aunt and other relatives. So, Dawson willingly takes on the case. He’s not entirely welcome in Ketanu, since the local police chief takes his presence as meddling. But he gets to work and, in the end, finds out who killed Gladys.

International and other volunteering has a long history. And it really can make a positive difference. It’s also an interesting context for a crime novel. Which ones have stayed with you?


*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Andrew Stein’s Peace Corps.


Filed under Agnete Friis, Angela Savage, Ausma Zehanat Khan, Kwei Quartey, Lene Kaaberbøl, Michael Palmer

We’ve Got Tonight, Who Needs Tomorrow?*

Is it possible to have a truly ‘no strings attached’ sort of relationship? Plenty of people say ‘yes;’ and plenty of those have had them. Many other people disagree. To those people, there’s always some connection, even if it was just a one-night stand.

Crime fiction doesn’t seem to offer a definitive answer on this question, and that makes sense. There are a lot of factors involved, if you think about it. People’s personalities vary greatly. So do contexts. And it’s interesting to see how those ‘no strings attached’ relationships (or are they?) figure into character development, plot points, and more.

Some crime-fictional relationships really do seem to involve no obligations. One of them is the relationship between John ‘Duke’ Anderson and Ingrid Macht, whom we meet in Lawrence Sanders’ The Anderson Tapes. As the novel begins, Anderson’s recently been released from prison, and is on the ‘straight and narrow.’ Then, he gets the chance to visit a posh Manhattan apartment building and gets the idea of robbing all of the apartments. It’s a major undertaking, and Anderson can’t do it alone. So, he recruits a number of associates to help at different points. What he doesn’t know is that many of the conversations he has have been recorded in one way or another. The FBI and various police agencies have an interest in several of the people Anderson deals with, so they’ve been secretly keeping tabs. The question becomes: will Anderson and his team get away with their robbery before they’re caught? Throughout the novel, Anderson has a number of conversations with Macht. They like each other, and sometimes sleep together, but neither feels an obligation to the other. And neither has any illusions that they have an actual relationship.

In Don Winslow’s The Dawn Patrol, we are introduced to San Diego PI Boone Daniels. In this novel, he investigates a warehouse fire (was it or was it not arson?), a missing stripper, a murder, and an ugly truth behind it all. While Daniels is an investigator, he is also, first and foremost, a surfer. Almost every morning, he and his friends (they call themselves the Dawn Patrol) go surfing together. One of those friends is a lifeguard who has the nickname Dave the Love God. He is legendary among women, both local and tourists. In fact, when tourists return to their homes, they often recommend Dave to their friends. Dave the Love God treats his dates well and is completely upfront with them. There are no lies, promises, or expectations. Everyone knows it’s just for fun, and it works well for Dave and for his companions.

In Angela Savage’s Behind the Night Bazaar, we meet Bangkok-based PI Jayne Keeney. Originally from Australia, she now makes her home in Thailand. She gets involved in a murder investigation when her good friend, Didier de Montpasse, is accused of murdering his partner, and then is killed himself. At this point in her life, Keeney isn’t really looking for a relationship. She likes her independence. But that doesn’t mean she wants to be a hermit. For Keeney, it works best – at least at the outset of this series – to have relationships with no expectations. Later, she chooses a partner, and it’s interesting to see how she makes the transition from preferring no strings to feeling a real bond.

Of course, not all ‘no strings attached’ relationships work out. In Agatha Christie’s The Hollow, for instance, Dr. John Christow and his wife, Gerda, are invited for a weekend to the country home of Sir Henry and Lady Lucy Angkatell. What Christow doesn’t know at first is that one of the nearby cottages has been taken by an old flame, Veronica Cray. On the Saturday night, she bursts in at the Angkatell home and asks to borrow some matches. She then sees Christow and insists on having him accompany her home. For Christow, it’s a one-night stand – no obligations or expectations. But that’s not how Veronica Cray sees it. She wants to rekindle their romance and is infuriated when Christow refuses her. The next afternoon, Christow is shot, and Cray becomes one of the ‘people of interest’ in the case.

And then there’s Karin Alvtegen’s Betrayal. When Eva Wirenström-Berg discovers that her husband, Henrik, has been unfaithful, she is devastated. She’d always imagined the proverbial ‘white picket fence’ life for them and their son, Axel. When she finds out who the other woman is, Eva makes her own plans, and they turn out to have tragic consequences. One night, she stops into a pub where she meets Jonas Hansson, who has his own issues to face. The two begin talking and end up in bed. For Eva, it’s a no-strings-attached relationship, in part intended to cope with Henrik’s betrayal. But that’s not how Jonas sees it. Before long, things begin to spin out of control for both of them and end up very badly indeed.

And that’s the thing about those one-night or no-strings sorts of relationships. Sometimes they work out for both people. That’s especially true if both people agree that there will be no expectations. But things aren’t always that easy or clear. And then, it can all get very ugly.


*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Bob Seger’s We’ve Got Tonight.


Filed under Agatha Christie, Angela Savage, Don Winslow, Karin Alvtegen, Lawrence Sanders

Getting to Know What to Say*

Not long ago, I read a very interesting post from Marina Sofia, who blogs at Finding Time to Write. She made some very strong arguments for learning at least one other language, even if one doesn’t become thoroughly fluent in that language. I won’t go over the points that she made; she did a better job than I ever could. Read the post yourself and you’ll see.

It all did get me to thinking, though, of the way this all plays out in crime fiction. There are plenty of fictional characters who negotiate more than one cultural world because they speak more than one language. That’s a major advantage for a character, as it allows better communication, a wider network, and a lot more.

For instance, Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot is, by birth and background, Belgian. His first language is Belgian French, and that’s his culture. He went to England as a refugee because of World War I, and has learned to adapt to a very different language and culture. He’s kept his own culture in many ways, but he knows that he’ll be able relate better to the English people he meets if he uses their language. So, he’s learned fluent English (he’s actually more fluent than he sometimes lets on). With that language has also come some important cultural knowledge (e.g. shaking hands as a greeting, rather than embracing). Poirot is still culturally Belgian, but he’s also able to negotiate the English culture.

Tony Hillerman’s Jim Chee is a member of the Navajo Nation. He is also a member of the Navajo Tribal Police (now called the Navajo Nation Police). By birth and home culture, he is Navajo, and follows his people’s traditions. He speaks Navajo, and keeps many of the Navajo cultural ways. But he’s also fluent in English, and understands American cultural ways, too. This allows him to interact effectively, whether it’s with members of his own cultural group or not. He’s also useful when people from off the Reservation have business there. In more than one of Hillerman’s novels, Chee accompanies a white police or FBI official on an investigation; many of them don’t know any Navajo, or any Navajo cultural ways. Without that knowledge, or Chee’s assistance, they won’t get the information they need to solve cases. It sometimes makes for tension in a story, but it also shows how important and valuable another language, and another ‘window on the world,’ can be.

In Alexander McCall Smith’s Tears of the Giraffe, we are introduced to Andrea Curtin. She and her husband lived for several years in Botswana, and she learned some of the local language, as well as the local cultural ways. Their son, Michael, loved the place so much that, when Andrea and her husband returned to their native US, Michael decided to stay in Botswana. He joined an eco-community, and prepared to live there permanently. Then, tragically, he died. The official police report is that he likely strayed too far from the group’s camp, and was killed by a wild animal. But his mother wants closure. So, she visits Mma Precious Reamotswe to ask for her help. Mma Ramotswe has a lot of sympathy for her new client, and agrees to investigate Michael Curtin’s death. Part of what influences her is that Andrea understands the Botswana culture:

‘The woman took her hand, correctly, Mma Ramotswe noticed, in the proper Botswana way, placing her left hand on her right forearm as a mark of respect. Most white people shook hands very rudely, snatching just one hand and leaving the other hand free to perform all sorts of mischief. This woman had at least learned something about how to behave.’

Andrea’s cultural awareness puts Mma Ramotswe at her ease, and makes their communication that much more productive.

Anya Lipska’s Detective Constable (DC) Natalie Kershaw is a skilled police officer. But she’s not really fluent in other languages or cultures, although she’s respectful of them. So, in Where the Devil Can’t Go, for instance, she’s at a disadvantage when a murder investigation takes her into London’s Polish community. As a part of that investigation, she meets Janusz Kiszka, an émigré from Poland, and an unofficial ‘fixer’ in the Polish community. He’s actually more trusted than the police are. Kiszka is thoroughly Polish by culture. But he speaks relatively fluent English, and he understands the English culture better than Kershaw understands the Polish culture. Together, they make a solid team as they look into cases.

And then there’s Angela Savage’s Bangkok-based PI Jayne Keeney. By birth and culture, she’s Australian (originally from Melbourne). After some ‘globe-trotting,’ she’s settled in Thailand, where she’s learned the language and the culture. She speaks fluent Thai, and understands many of the nuances of Thai culture. This allows her to interact with Thai people in much more productive ways than would be possible if she were ignorant of the language and culture. It also gets her out of trouble more than once. She doesn’t know every single detail of the culture, and she makes mistakes, as we all do. There are also times when, even though she understands an aspect of the culture, she doesn’t agree with it, or see a situation in the same way. But it helps her to know the language and have a sense of the culture.

There are plenty of other fictional sleuths who’ve found that understanding other cultures and languages is useful (right, fans of Arthur Upfield’s Napoleon ‘Bony’ Bonaparte?). Being able to negotiate more than one language and culture gives the sleuth quite a lot of flexibility. And that can be extremely useful.

And that’s true, really, for all of us. Of course, it’s critical to understand history, the sciences, and something about mathematics. They shape our world and explain it. But culture and language shape our thinking about that world, and about each other. Speaking at least some of another language lets us understand others’ ways of thinking. It gives us another perspective for looking at the world. And that can do much to teach us, and help us learn from others.

Thanks, Marina Sofia, for the inspiration! Now, folks, do give yourselves a treat and visit Finding Time to Write. Fine reviews, evocative poetry, and lovely ‘photos await you!

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Ernest Lehman and Oscar Hammerstein II’s Getting to Know You.


Filed under Agatha Christie, Alexander McCall Smith, Angela Savage, Anya Lipska, Arthur Upfield, Tony Hillerman

The City Council is Very Alarmed*

A national government can only do so much, especially in a country with a large, or a scattered, population. So, many of the day-to-day decision making is done by smaller groups like city or town councils. There are also housing communities and club governing boards that have their own councils to run things within those communities. And they can wield quite a lot of control over what people do.

Those small groups determine where you may park your car, what sort of trees you can plant on your property, how and when your trash can be put out for collection, and much more. And governing boards determine who can join a group, what members are allowed and not allowed to do, and more. Such groups have a lot of influence in real life, so it’s not surprising that they show up in crime fiction, too.

For instance, it’s the town council of Paradise, Massachusetts, that hires Jesse Stone as chief of police in Robert B Parker’s Night Passage. The council, led by selectman Hastings ‘Hasty’ Hathaway, wants to hire a police chief who can be manipulated easily, and Stone seems to be the right choice. He left the LAPD in disgrace because of drinking (which is still a major problem for him), and the town council thinks he’ll be a useful ‘puppet.’ But things turn out quite differently. Stone isn’t as gullible or as weak-willed as it may seem, and it’s not long before he begins to show more initiative than anyone on the council really wants. He begins to unearth some ugly things the town is hiding, which is problematic enough. Then, there’s a murder that’s connected to those secrets. Little by little, Stone finds out the truth, and the town council learns that he is no patsy.

M.J. McGrath’s White Heat takes place mostly on Ellesmere Island, where Edie Kiglatuk is

‘…the best damned hunting guide in the High Arctic.’ 

Tragedy mars one of her expeditions, though. Kiglatuk takes Felix Wagner and Andy Taylor on a hunting trip, and finds that neither of them is a particularly good shot. They’re not very pleasant people, either. Still, they’ve paid plenty of money for the trip, and it’s her job to ensure their safety and provide them with a good experience. Tragically, Wagner is shot. Taylor claims he’s not responsible, and the evidence supports him. So, at first, the death looks like a tragic accident. But that in itself is a major problem for Kiglatuk. Wagner was killed on her watch, and the council of Elders may rescind her guide license because of it. There are some council members who don’t like the idea of a woman hunting guide as it is, and who would gladly use this as an excuse to remove her. And one of them, Simeonie Inukpuk, resents her privately because of her breakup with his brother, Sammy. The council decides not to revoke Kiglatuk’s license, but that plot thread shows just how much authority the members have.

Elizabeth Spann Craig’s Pretty is as Pretty Dies takes place in the fictional small town of Bradley, North Carolina. In the novel, retired English teacher Myrtle Clover finds the body of real estate developer Parke Stoddard in a local church. She may be in her eighties, but Myrtle is not ready to be ‘put out to pasture.’ So, she decides to investigate. And she soon learns that there are plenty of suspects. One of them is City Councilman Benton Chambers. It turns out that he is not at all the ‘family man’ and ‘man of the people’ that he wants his constituents to believe he is. The victim knew that, and was blackmailing Chambers. So, one very good possible motive for this murder is political.

A local council features in Angela Savage’s short story, The Teardrop Tattoos. In it, we are introduced to a woman (the narrator of the story) who’s recently been released from prison, where she was serving time for murder. She’s given housing not far from a local child care facility, and settles in there with her only compassion, a Pit Bull called Sully. All goes well enough until one of the parents associated with the child care facility lodges a complaint about the dog. Before long, the narrator gets a letter from the council, informing her that she’ll have to get rid of Sully, because he’s a restricted breed. This is devastating, and the woman decides to take her own sort of revenge.

And then there’s Claudia Piñeiro’s Thursday Night Widows. That novel takes place in the late 1990s, mostly at the Cascade Heights Country Club, an ultra-exclusive gated community about thirty miles from Buenos Aires. Usually known as The Heights, it’s the sort of place where only the very, very rich can afford to live. And even they are carefully ‘vetted’ before they’re allowed to move in. The community isn’t really subject to local laws. Instead, it’s governed by a Commission, composed of certain residents. It’s believed that disputes and other such matters are best handled ‘in house,’ rather than involving other authorities. Members of the Commission decide who will move in, who must leave, and so on. They make decisions, too, about what the houses will be like, which activities and events are acceptable, and more. All is well in this luxurious, protected community until the economic problems of 1990s Argentina find their way in. Little by little, that safe, secure stronghold weakens for some of the residents, and it all ultimately leads to tragedy.  

In Nelson Brunanski’s Crooked Lake, it’s the Board of Directors of the Crooked Lake Regional Park and Golf Course who turn out to be important. They’re the ones who determine what happens in the park, who’s allowed to work there, and what improvements, changes and events will happen in the park. When Nick Taylor, Head Greenskeeper, is fired, he blames Board member Harvey Kristoff, who’s never liked him and who would like nothing better than to see him gone. So, when Kristoff’s bludgeoned body is discovered on the golf course, Taylor becomes a very likely suspect. He says he’s innocent, though, and asks his friend, John ‘Bart’ Bartowski to help him. Bart isn’t sure what he can do. He’s not a police officer (he actually owns a fishing lodge), and he’s not an attorney. But he is a longtime resident of Crooked Lake, and he knows everyone. So, he agrees to find out what he can. And it turns out that plenty of other people might have wanted Kristoff dead.

There are lots of other examples of novels where local councils, governing boards, and so on. They wield a lot more authority than it might seem on the surface, and people elected to such groups are much more powerful than you might think.


*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Bruce Hornsby’s Talk of the Town.


Filed under Angela Savage, Claudia Piñeiro, Elizabeth Spann Craig, M.J. McGrath, Nelson Brunanski, Robert B. Parker