21 September 2011

By Way of Introduction

by Robert Lopresti

So here we are in our new digs. I miss Criminal Brief but I admit to a certain delight at a fresh start. It feels like all my crimes have been pardoned, my sins forgiven, my Permanent Record run through the shredder and the statute of limitations run out. In other words, all the mistakes I made at CB have been forgotten and I can make them all over again. I can hardly wait!

It is tempting to do now what James Lincoln Warren asked us not to do in the last weeks of CB: namely, get all weepy and nostalgic about the good old days back there. But a better idea might be to ruin James’ reputation by revealing to the world exactly how incredibly generous, hard-working, and thoughtful he was throughout the whole project. Wouldn’t that serve him right?

But no. Even James deserves a fresh start. And in that regard I am going to assume you may not be familiar with me so I think I should tell you a little bit about the person who hopes to steal a few minutes of your time on 76.9% of your Wednesdays. (Neil Schofield will be filling this slot on the second Wednesday of each month, and I am delighted to have him on board.) But getting back to me, here are some Fun Facts:
  • I am a librarian.
  • I live in the Pacific Northwest.
  • I am the author of forty-plus short stories and a novel.
  • My most recent publication is a non-fiction piece entitled How Overdue Library Books Caused the Civil War.
  • I am the winner of a Derringer Prize and a nominee for an Anthony. So far the Edgar, Oscar and Nobel have narrowly escaped my grasp.
  • I am considered by some to have a bizarre imagination.
  • I was Dashiell Hammett’s inspiration for the character Wilmer in The Maltese Falcon. (Frankly I don’t think Elisha Cook Jr. captured my innate charm.)
  • I have built a 1:20 scale-model of Nero Wolfe’s office, entirely out of popsicle sticks.
  • While I write under my own name now I am perhaps best known for my work under the names Ngaio Marsh and Erle Stanley Gardner.
  • I know who killed Roger Ackroyd, who framed Roger Rabbit, who Teddy Villanova is, who killed Cock Robin, what Mrs. McGillicuddy saw, and where Carmen Sandiego is.
But that’s enough about me. Who the heck are you?


  1. Rob, do I remember correctly that you solved a crime?

  2. Leigh-

    A better description is that I led the group at my university that compiled evidence against the bad guy. More detail here for anyone interested: http://criminalbrief.com/?p=696

  3. Rob, who the heck am I? I'm the not yet fully awake reader waiting for my coffee to be ready. Because of that, I misread that you'd built one hundred and twenty scale models of Nero Wolfe's office. This made me think you must be my brother as only someone as weird as I would do that. We also share that bizarre sense of humor. My ex-dead-husband (Oops, a word placement problem there--I mean dead-ex-husband) claimed he never understood my sense of humor. I'm proud to be on SS with you!

  4. Fran-

    Considering the popularity of zombie books you might be on to something with My Ex-Dead Husband. I want ten percent. Also glad to be sharing SS with ya.

  5. i'm your sistah! You left out one of my favorite parts of you: songwriter. I love your songs. Have fun in your new digs,

  6. It's an honor to be sharing space with you, Rob!

  7. I want to hear more about your songwriter side too, Rob. Me too--I'm currently recording an album (an even less financially rewarding occupation than being a mystery writer and far more expensive than being a poet).

  8. Rob, I've been meaning to talk to you about those 20 opened cases of popsicles in my freezer. Do you know how difficult it is to hold a popsicle in my hand without a stick in the center?

  9. Hey,I returned all those books! First Bull Run breaking out was just a co-incidence! Oh, nice to have you here!

  10. Ok, I will write about songwriting one of these weeks. (one thing you
    Earn in the blogging biz...there is always another Wednesday sneaking up.

    R.T., my advice is to switch to ice cream sandwiches.


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