One the most difficult conversations I had during Bouchercon Baltimore last month was with US novelist Louise Ure. We took some time out to talk about our friend, antique dealer and writer of the Molly Doyle mysteries, Elaine Flinn. We spoke at how much we missed her not being with us at
You see Louise Ure’s debut novel “Forcing Amaryllis” was first introduced to me by Elaine Flinn during the inaugural ITW Thrillerfest held in the summer of 2006 in
So how did I first meet Elaine Flinn?
Louise Ure like myself, with fellow critics Dave Montgomery and Larry Gandle were judges for the inaugural ITW Thriller Awards, hence had spent much time emailing each other during the judging process. Though I knew David and Larry well (having met up with them at Bouchercon in 2003), I had never met Elaine Flinn. After a most difficult journey from London; when I arrived at The Arizona Biltmore Hotel I walked into the bar and the first thing I heard as “Ali’s arrived!” and it was Elaine Flinn who sprang up from her chair and gave me a huge hug. My travel stress just evaporated with that embrace. I enjoyed hanging out with Elaine during that weekend. She was so full of energy, fun and her laugh infectious. Just thinking about her today puts a smile on my face. At Thrillerfest, she even insisted on me joining her table at the ITW awards banquet with Larry Gandle and David Montgomery. She saved a seat for me and placed me next to one of my literary heroes F. Paul Wilson [as she knew that ‘The Keep’ was one of my all-time favourite novels]. She was just so thoughtful.
She championed many writers, helped people - but the greatest memory I have was when in
I asked Elaine if she would sign it for me as I absolutely loved the book. In typical Flinn fashion she said “Oh that’s so sweet, but I thought you only read noir?” I told her that “Deadly Vintage” was just wonderful, and she blushed and beamed replying simply “Thank you Ali, but more importantly thank you for introducing me to Nick Stone, you were right, “Mr. Clarinet” was one of my favourite books.” Again, typically Elaine was always supporting other writers.
My editor at January Magazine, novelist Linda Richards summed up her work robustly.
In 2004, Flinn’s follow-up novel, Tagged for Murder, won the Barry Award. Two more Molly Doyle novels would follow--Deadly Collection in 2005 and Deadly Vintage just last year. And though all of Flinn’s novels were well-received and her Molly Doyle novels earned her a dedicated following, the author was nearly as well known for her vibrant presence in the mystery community.
Flinn was one of the founding members of the Anthony Award-nominated blog, Murderati. It was during her time at Murderati that Flinn developed the Evil-E persona for which she came to be so well-known."
Molly Doyle Mysteries by Elaine Flinn
- Dealing in Murder (2003)
- Tagged for Murder (2004)
- Deadly Collection (2005)
- Deadly Vintage (2007)
Elaine Flinn passed away on Saturday 25th October 2008 from medical complications due to pneumonia and cancer. She will be remembered by many of us who had the pleasure of reading her work, as well as just being in her presence.
Coda from Mike Stotter
I only had the pleasure of meeting Elaine the once at the 2007 Thriller Fest when we gathered for an evening meal. Of course I had known her by reputation and her writing. The meal was one of the highlights of the weekend, very informal, very funny and, needless to say, very alcoholic, which I’m sure you can gather from the photo. I’m sure each of us who attended came away with something memorable from the evening. I found Elaine a very gracious and witty person. It is a shame that or paths will never cross again. RIP Elaine.