Sunday, August 7, 2011

Kathryn Miller Haines

Kathryn Miller Haines is an actor, mystery writer, and award-winning playwright. She grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and received her BA in English and Theatre from Trinity University in San Antonio and her MFA in English from the University of Pittsburgh. She's a member of the Mary Roberts Rinehart Chapter of Sisters in Crime and has been a board member of the New York chapter of Mystery Writers of America. In addition to writing the Rosie Winter mystery series for HarperCollins, she's also writing a young adult mystery series for Roaring Brook Press, a division of MacMillan, which recently released the first volume, The Girl Is Murder.

About three weeks ago I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
Right now I’m reading The Sherlockian by Graham Moore. I actually intended to read another book, but it wasn’t available, but I’d just read something about Moore’s book and thought it would make a good substitute (History and mystery? Sign me up!) The book alternates between the late 19th/early 20th century and present day. The story in the past deals with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle during the period when he decides to kill off his most famous creation. The present day tale is about a group of elite Holmes’s scholars (the Baker Street Irregulars) hosting their annual meeting, where a missing Doyle diary written during the period after he killed off Holmes has finally been found. Naturally, the Irregular who found the diary is murdered and the diary goes missing, leaving the newest Irregular, Harold, to exercise his deductive reasoning to track it down.

So far I’m really enjoying it. Doyle is drawn as both comic and empathetic and Harold is a winningly awkward protagonist. And for once while reading a book that alternates between past and present, I don’t find myself preferring one time period over the other.

I just finished Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson, since I loved all of her other Jackson Brodie books and am constantly amazed by the literary magic she pulls off by bringing together so many seemingly disparate plots at the last minute. I also adore the crackling sense of humor that radiates from her pages. There was much to love in this one (including the fact that it was full of children and a dog, none of whom were killed) but I must confess that it didn’t hold together quite as well to me as her prior books. I was left with too many questions at the end of this one and felt like one of the characters wasn’t as integrated as well into the story when her role was finally revealed. That doesn’t mean I won’t rush out and read Atkinson’s next one though.

I also just finished/am reading Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann (my 19 month old’s current book du jour). While the writing is sparse, it does teach you the valuable lesson that the secret to a happy marriage is as follows: if your partner returns late from work with, unbeknownst to him, a large number of animals in tow, do not wake him. Rather, return the animals to the zoo and let him continue to sleep.
Visit Kathryn Miller Haines's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue