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Local novelist Catriona McPherson wins mystery book honor

Catriona McPherson, who lives just outside Winters, was honored recently for her mystery novel, "Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains." Enterprise file photo

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From page A3 | November 04, 2012 |

Novelist Catriona McPherson — who specializes in mysteries featuring amateur sleuth Dandy Gilver, set in Scotland circa the 1920s — picked up an award at last month’s Bouchercon, an annual convention for mystery writers and fans, held this year in Cleveland.

McPherson, who lives outside Winters, received the Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award for her recently published book “Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains. “It’s one of the four McCavity Awards, which are voted on by the members of Mystery Readers International,” McPherson told The Enterprise.

McPherson had not been expecting the honor. It was her first time to be nominated for the award, and when she saw the list of other nominees, including several well-established writers, “I figured I wouldn’t need to write an acceptance speech,” she said, because she figured one of the others would win. “So when they called my name, I had nothing prepared to say!

“I managed to remember to thank two people — my U.S. editor, Marcia Markland of Minotaur, and Janet Rudolph, of Mystery Readers International. But I also should have thanked the people who voted for me! That’s how untogether I was,” McPherson said.

The award itself is “a big chunk of see-through crystaline material, with a cat on it. On the way home, I paused at the X-ray machine at the airport while they examined it,” she said.

It was McPherson’s first time to visit Cleveland; the Bouchercon was held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“Downtown Cleveland is very pretty,” she observed, adding, “I had been to Ohio before — I spent a winter in Wooster, Ohio, the sort of thing you do if you’re married to someone who teaches agriculture.” (Her husband Neil McRoberts is a plant pathologist on the UC Davis faculty.)

While at the convention, McPherson said, “I was on the ‘Fifty Shades of Cozy’ Panel” — the name being a reference to both the fast-selling erotic novel  “Fifty Shades of Grey” and the “cozy mystery” subgenre of which McPherson’s Dandy Gilver series is a part. “The other panelists included someone who writes a Southern consignment shop mystery series, someone who writes quilting mysteries, someone who writes the White House gardener mystery series (set in Washington, D.C). We were all talking about whether the ‘cozy mystery’ can adapt in an era when sexy fiction sells.

“But mostly, what I did was talk to fans, sign books and talk to other writers,” McPherson said. “I was out and about looking at shiny things, instead of typing in a room by myself.”

She has some new books coming up.

“I’ve recently sold a separate book — not part of the Dandy Gilver series — which is a modern standalone British suspense thriller, titled ‘As She Left It,’ ” McPherson said. As compared with the quaintly Scottish and historical Dandy Gilver books, this one is “dreary-grubby British,” she added. It will be coming out on Midnight Ink Press.

She’s also completed another Dandy Gilver book, “Dandy Gilver and the Bothersome Number of Corpses,” which is already out in the United Kingdom, and will be published in the U.S. in June. “It’s the first book in the series that I wrote here in California,” she added.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or 530-747-8055.

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