Writing Lessons from the 1949 Film Adam's Rib, Starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy

In A Lawyer's Primer for Writers: From Crimes to Courtrooms, we cover the in's and out's of trials, lawyers, courtrooms and a whole lot more, including a section dedicated to ten of our favorite legal films, and what they can teach writers.

Below is an excerpt about the classic film Adam's Rib that featured Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn as married lawyers who face off as opposing lawyers in a murder trial.

Book Excerpt

Top Ten Legal Films: Adam's Rib

Adam's Rib (1949): Starring: Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn; directed by George Cukor. A courtroom comedy, with a dose of drama, featuring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy as husband and wife attorneys who are on opposite ends of a criminal prosecution: Hepburn is defending a woman who shot her husband; Tracy is the prosecutor.

Note: It’s highly questionable that a district attorney’s office would allow one of its prosecutors to try a case if his wife was the defense attorney. More likely, the DA’s office would cite a conflict of interest and have another prosecutor try the case. Nevertheless, Hepburn’s and Tracy’s opposing counsel roles provide wonderful story conflict. 

Oh, what are you gonna do, object before I ask the question?
— Tracy confronting Hepburn in the courtroom

Adam’s Rib, interestingly enough, was based on the real-life story of actor Raymond Massey and his wife Adrianne Allen's divorce. They had hired married lawyers William and Dorothy Whitney, who, after the divorce was finalized, divorced each other and married their clients! Keep in mind that William and Dorothy Whitney were divorce attorneys in private practice— unlike the setup in Adam’s Rib where the husband represented the government, and the wife was in private practice. 

To prepare for the role, Katharine Hepburn and the director, George Cukor, spent time in different Los Angeles courtrooms to pick up details to help make the acting and story authentic. 

Judge's bench Jury box, Howard M. Metzenbaum U.S. Courthouse, Cleveland, Ohio by Carol Highsmith USE THIS.jpg

Tip for Writers: In general, court hearings are open, which means the public may attend. This is an excellent way to learn about the court system, and watch lawyers, judges, witnesses and others in the course of a trial. At times, the court might close a court proceeding to the public if the judge wishes to protect someone’s dignity, such as a child’s or a distressed witness’s. 

Historical Perspective on Adam’s Rib

In 1940, 9 years before Adam’s Rib was filmed, the United States Census identified only 4,447 female attorneys in the US, or 2.4 percent of all lawyers in the country.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor and the US entering WWII, many male lawyers enlisted in the military, which created a void in American law schools. The sudden need for students was filled by women. By 1942, women law students were 4.35 percent of all law students; by 1943, the number of women had increased to 21.9 percent. During WWII, some law firms began hiring women lawyers for the first time, such as the New York firm of Cahill Gordon in 1943, and Shearman & Sterling in 1944. 

According to the article “Adam’s Rib as an Historical Document: The Plight of Women Lawyers in the 1940s,” the number of women in law school began decreasing significantly after WWII, and many female lawyers lost their employment positions to returning American solider-lawyers who were given back their former jobs. Also, many returning serviceman obtained funding via the GI Bill for law school, and by 1947 law schools were again churning out a much higher number of male rather than female attorneys.

So by 1949 when Adam’s Rib started playing in movie theaters, female lawyers like Hepburn’s character Amanda Bonner were already vanishing in the US.

Click on image to go to book's Amazon page

Click on image to go to book's Amazon page

Article by Colleen Collins, All Rights Reserved. Do not copy, forward, or otherwise distribute without written permission by the author.

Cookies, Browsers, and Keeping Them Separate

The following article is an excerpt from my recent nonfiction release How Do Private Eyes Do That?

Tips for Keeping the Cookie Monster Out of Your Browser

All rights reserved by Colleen Collins

Not all cookies are bad, be they edible or data dropped into your browser (Image copyrighted by Colleen Collins)

Not all cookies are bad, be they edible or data dropped into your browser (Image copyrighted by Colleen Collins)

What's a Cookie?

Cookies are small amounts of data that websites drop into your browser so they can monitor your internet browsing activity. As they are text, they cannot install anything on your computer. And they are not necessarily evil little creatures as some clue in your browser about preferences you have established for certain sites (such as reading newest comments first or ensuring secure logins).

And then there are the cookies that surreptitiously monitor your internet comings and goings, then feed that data to advertisers and others. If you don’t want your personal internet browsing to be stored in their databases, below are three tips for taking a byte out of those cookies.

Tip #1: Cookie Notices on Websites

Many websites have a symbol, icon or notice that by your visiting the site, you agree to its cookie-gathering policy. Such notices say something like “We use cookies to improve your experience. By your continued use, you accept such use. To change your settings, please see our policy.”

If you don’t want to agree to a site’s cookie-gathering, simply leave the site.

Tip # 2: Do Not Track Options

Do Not Track options block approximately 70% of web-tracking sites (image is in public domain)

Do Not Track options block approximately 70% of web-tracking sites (image is in public domain)

Fortunately, browsers offer Do Not Track options so users can opt-out of advertising services and other analytics on websites. Unfortunately, the Do Not Track option is similar to the Do Not Call registry—selecting the option doesn’t necessary mean that the website is going to respect your request.

Nevertheless, based on a recent report from the Information Commissioner’s Office, Do Not Track options block approximately 70% of third-party web tracking, so view it as a basic protective step. Here is a list of advertisers who claim to honor Do Not Track requests: Do Not Track: Implementations

Below are the steps for how to do this for Chrome & Safari (the Do Not Track option is on by default for Mozilla):

Chrome: Preferences/Settings->Advanced Settings–>(Select appropriate boxes)

Safari: Preferences–>Privacy–>(Select appropriate boxes)

For other browsers, check what security or privacy options are available under Preferences.

Tip #3: Add-Ons/Extensions

A second line of defense are add-ons and extensions that you download to your browser. These are not 100% remedies, but another, tougher layer of cookie-protection on top of Do Not Track settings.

The below services are free, with most offering more additional, comprehensive services for a monthly fee:

• Ghostery

• Disconnect

• AdBlock Plus

• Privacy Badger

Please do not copy/distribute any articles without written permission from Colleen Collins. Do not copy/distribute or otherwise use any mages noted as copyrighted or licensed.


Click on book cover to go to Amazon page.

"A must-have for any writer serious about crafting authentic private eyes. Collins knows her stuff." 
~Lori Wilde, New York Times bestselling author
"If you're looking for the lowdown on private investigations, this is it."
~Bill Crider, author of the Truman Smith mystery series

2015 Aspen Gold Readers Choice Award Winner: THE UNGRATEFUL DEAD

This past weekend, The Ungrateful Dead: Prequel to The Zen Man (A Humorous Colorado Mystery Book #1) won the 2015 Aspen Gold Readers Choice Award in the short story category! This story was truly fun to write, making its win all the sweeter.  

I loved The Zen Man and really had fun catching up with Rick and Laura’s first case in the prequel, The Ungrateful Dead. These novels have everything I love in a mystery: smart dialogue, a flawed hero, a little romance and a great plot. Murder at a coroner’s conference? What could be more fun!
— Nancy Warren USA Today Bestselling Author of The Toni Diamond mysteries




To read an excerpt, click here.

Courthouse Dogs Provide Comfort for Victims

Today my husband was at the Arapahoe Courthouse. He passed by the courtroom where the James Holmes trial is taking place, and in the hallway were two courthouse dogs, a black lab and a Schnauzer. Several children and adults would occasionally hug or pet the dogs, who are specially trained to provide comfort to witnesses and others.

I first learned about courthouse dogs while writing the nonfiction book A Lawyer's Primer for Writers: From Crimes to Courtrooms. I was writing a section on players in the courtrooms when I stumbled upon an article about courthouse dogs (AKA therapy dogs). I had never heard of such dogs being used in the court system before, so I researched their history and learned how the concept began, which dogs are a good "fit" to work with victims of crimes, the work a trainer does with the dog and victim leading up to a trial, and much more. Below is the write-up from the book on courthouse dogs.

Courthouse Dogs: Canine Compassion at Court

(Excerpt from A Lawyer’s Primer for Writers: from Crimes to Courtrooms - All Rights Reserved)

"I center on their healing power within the justice system. There is so much hurt — the victims, families, even members of our office — from exposure to trauma and anxiety…within this environment, the dogs contribute to justice." – King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng

Did you know that as of the writing of this book, there are 60 courthouse dogs (also called facility dogs and advocate dogs) working in 23 jurisdictions throughout the US?

What Is A Courthouse Dog?

These are specially trained dogs that provide emotional support to people who have suffered physical, psychological or emotional trauma as a result of criminal conduct. For example, a courthouse dog might offer comfort to a sexually abused child while he/she undergoes forensic interviews and testifying in court. These dogs will also greet jurors; offer a soothing presence for vulnerable witnesses; provide a sense of normalcy during emotionally charged court hearings; even cuddle and play with troubled teenagers waiting for hearings.

Courthouse dogs truly become a member of the court as they often visit with court support staff, defense counsel, law enforcement officers and judges during the course of a work day.

Criminal justice professions — such as a deputy prosecutor, law enforcement officer, victim advocate, or forensic interviewer — handle courthouse dogs.

Dogs’ Beneficial Effects on People

According to an article in WebMD, people can derive the following benefits from dogs:

  • Reduced blood pressure and/or heart rate.
  • Increased levels of a relaxation hormone.
  • Decreased levels of stress hormones.
  • A sense of belonging.
  • A greater control of one’s life.

Let’s look at the story of a courthouse dog named Rosie.

Rosie, the First Courthouse Dog in New York State

In 2011, Rosie, an 11-year-old Golden Retriever, had her first day on the job as a courthouse dog. Before a court proceeding began, Rosie met Jessica, a 15-year-old girl who would be testifying in court about being raped.

Rosie and Jessica took the stand before the trial began so the jury wouldn’t see Rosie and possibly be influenced by her presence one way or the other. Throughout her testimony, Jessica petted Rosie — at one point, Jessica removed her shoe and buried her toes in Rosie’s fur. When asked by the prosecutor to point out the man who raped her, Jessica froze. Rosie, sensing Jessica’s distress, laid her head in the girl’s lap to comfort her. After a few moments, Jessica was able to point to the man.

Jessica and Rosie had been visiting each other for three months in preparation for Jessica’s trial date. During that time, the girl and dog had become acquainted by playing together, and Rosie had also learned how to tolerate the tight space of a witness box. Her handler would have Rosie sit in front of a barrier that the handler gradually moved closer to the dog until it mimicked being in a box.

The training paid off. With Rosie’s help, Jessica remained calm during her testimony, and the jury found the defendant guilty.

How Rosie Became a Courthouse Dog

Rosie had started out being trained to be a service dog at Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD), but when it took her three months to learn how to turn on a light, she was taken out of the program. What’s interesting is that such “service dog drop-outs” often go into other programs, such as training to be an arson or courthouse dog, for which they might be better suited.

Soon after Rosie’s left the service-dog training program, she began visiting the Green Chimneys school in Brewster, New York, where she showed a talent for soothing children who were stressed.

For the next eight years, Rosie moved onto the speech-and-occupational-therapy rooms at Green Chimneys, where children were encouraged to talk to Rosie via 80 verbal commands the dog knew. Rosie also aided the children during their physical therapy by encouraging them to follow her over obstacles.

And then she went to the Courthouse Dogs Foundation, where she was trained to work with children during court proceedings.

Sadly, Rosie passed away in 2012, but her legacy lives on through her younger sister, Ivy, who is now an in-house therapy dog at a children’s facility.

-End of Excerpt-

All rights reserved by Colleen Collins. Any use of the content (including images owned by Colleen Collins) requires specific, written authority. Other images are licensed by Colleen Collins, who does not have the authority to distribute to others.

A LAWYER'S PRIMER FOR WRITERS: Types of Lawyers - Criminal Law

A LAWYER'S PRIMER FOR WRITERS: FROM CRIMES TO COURTROOMS - Written by a defense lawyer with 30 years experience in the criminal justice system and a bestselling author/P.I. Not only for writers, the book is also for fans of legal film/books, researchers & those curious about the world of legal eagles.

Put together with the user in mind, this intelligently organized handbook for practicing writers will make you sound like a practicing lawyer.
— Warwick Downing, former DA in Colorado and author of The Widow of Dartmoor, a sequel to Hound of the Baskervilles






Book Excerpts

Below are several excerpts from A Lawyer's Primer, the first is an overview of criminal defense attorneys from the chapter "Types of Lawyers." Below that are two additional book excerpt links, one on judges (including some real-life "quirky judge" stories; the other is a review (with an eye on what a writer can learn) from the legal film To Kill a Mockingbird - Enjoy!

"Types of Lawyers: Criminal Law"

Under the US Constitution, everyone accused of a crime has the right to a lawyer’s defense. A criminal defense lawyer (also referred to as criminal lawyer and defense lawyer) might work for a law firm or be in private practice.  A defense lawyer might also work for a public defenders’ office (to clarify, public defenders are always criminal defense lawyers). Generally speaking, they will make several attempts to settle a case outside of court, but if they can’t, they will represent their clients at trial. Defense lawyers typically work multiple cases concurrently, each at a different stage in the criminal justice system process. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers provides more information about defense attorneys.

Criminal defense lawyers often specialize in practice areas, such as white-collar crime and DUIs

Criminal defense lawyers often specialize in practice areas, such as white-collar crime and DUIs

Some defense attorneys specialize in particular areas of crimes, such as driving under the influence (DUI), domestic violence, sex assault and white-collar crime. We’ve included nearly two dozen articles in the latter half of this book, many about crimes. If you’re writing a defense lawyer character, check out these articles for story ideas.

Type of lawyer in this field: Lawyers practicing criminal defense are well-versed in constitutional rights, with some lawyers being as passionate about people’s rights as civil rights lawyers. Because a criminal lawyer often spends a lot of time gathering evidence, from police reports to witness testimonies, a defense lawyer often relies on other resources, from paralegals to private investigators, for assistance. According to a psychological evaluation report by OvationXL, who interviewed a hundred top law firms on their analysis of young lawyers’ traits, 59 percent believed criminal defense lawyers to be good communicators.

Defense lawyers are constantly juggling the demands and timetables of the criminal court system, which can be frustrating and tiring. When the authors of this book co-owned a private investigations agency that dealt primarily with criminal defense attorneys, we had defense lawyer-clients whose emotions ran the gamut from funny to exhausted to bitter. 

A criminal defense attorney could be a rich character study for your story.

Additional Excerpts

Click on one of the below links to read the excerpt:

Players in the Courtroom: Judges

Recommended Legal Films: To Kill a Mockingbird


Source: http://www.amazon.com/Lawyers-Primer-Write...

Book Excerpt: THE UNGRATEFUL DEAD - A romantic-mystery at a coroners' conference

I loved The Zen Man and really had fun catching Rick and Laura’s first case in the prequel, The Ungrateful Dead. These novels have everything I love in a mystery: smart dialogue, a flawed hero, a little romance and a great plot. Murder at a coroner’s conference? What could be more fun!
— Nancy Warren, USA Today Bestselling Author of the Toni Diamond Mysteries

Hello everyone, 

The Ungrateful Dead is a finalist in the 2015 Aspen Gold Reader's Choice Contest! Winners to be announced in early October.

Below is the opening scene from The Ungrateful Dead, a novella that introduces Rick and Laura, a private-eye team who I like to call the "21st-century Nick and Nora" as they attempt to have a romantic weekend at a coroners' conference...that is, until there's a murder. Its sequel, The Zen Man, is a full-length mystery novel that continues the tale of Rick and Laura as they investigate another crime.

Click on the cover to your right to go to its Amazon page.

Excerpt: The Ungrateful Dead

“A Deadhead at a coroner’s conference,” said my date Laura, giving me a look over her martini.  “That’s either too weird or too perfect.” 

We stood in the crowded banquet room at the Independence Lode in Cripple Creek, Colorado.  This hotel and casino was named after a gold mine that was discovered in eighteen-something by a grubstake miner whose find made him the richest man west of the Mississippi.  People still trekked up to Cripple Creek with dreams of striking it rich at the casinos, although mostly they lost money while swilling free booze and trying to get laid.  Not the ambiance I’d have picked for the Colorado Coroners Society’s annual conference, but then ex-junkie, suspended attorneys like me are the last people to pass judgments.  Out loud, anyway.

The lights in the room had been turned down to create a moody atmosphere conducive to mindless chitchat, although it was difficult to imagine anyone in this crowd of coroners, morticians and cadaver groupies doing anything mindlessly.  Especially chitchatting.  Hell, it was difficult to imagine me attending a Dead gig unless the band was playing.  But the CCS, the abbreviated moniker used by the coroner in-crowd, had offered me three nights in a froufrou Victorian B&B, all expenses paid, to speak about what to say, but more important what not to say, in court.  Seemed some rural coroners had gotten loose-lipped and screwed up a DA’s ability to prosecute several key cases this past year, which made me a living-for-the-music Deadhead trying to teach a few courtroom tricks to the dying-is-a-living Deadheads.

“Yeah,” I finally answered.  “It’s too perfect.”

I watched Laura’s lips--their color like dark, sweet cherries--pucker as she took a sip.  Earlier, she’d told me that the lipstick color was called Burgundy Bistro, which had made me wonder if a chef was moonlighting as a copywriter for the make-up company.  But it wouldn’t matter if she slicked on a color called Eggplant Eatery, it was what was underneath those luscious, supple lips that mattered.  Lips I’d gotten to know well these past three months.

She swallowed, lowered her glass.  “Did you ever tell me how that band got the name Grateful Dead?”

Laura’s sincere interest was a far cry from my ex-wife’s, whose hatred of the Dead bordered on the pathological.  After I moved out, she took my original ’67 poster of the Dead at Whisky A-Go-Go in Los Angeles—a collector’s item probably worth several hundred dollars, but priceless to a Deadhead—and stuck it under her Lexus to catch leaking oil.

I like to think of myself as a forgiving kinda guy, but after discovering the plight of that poster I spent an entire week plotting my revenge, which mostly revolved around paying a tattoo-artist buddy to ink a Grateful Dead bear on her sorry ass after one of her too-much-box-wine nights.  But eventually I let it go.  Well, except for referring to her thereafter as Wicked—short for Wicked Wench of the West—but otherwise, I let it go.  Already had enough karma on my plate, plus it would’ve been a waste of good ink. 

I responded to Laura’s question.  “It has something to do with the soul of a dead person being grateful to the charitable person who arranged their burial.  Although more likely, Jerry was stoned outta his gourd and it sounded cool.”  I took a swig of my root beer.  

Laura laughed, making me feel taller and funnier.  

Across the room, a blur of movement snagged my attention.  A woman slouched in the doorway, backlit from the lights in the hallway.  Couldn’t make out her features, but I’d recognize that mop of blond curls anywhere.  The way she dragged her hand through those coils, periodically tugging one as though trying to straighten it, meant she was either pissed-off or nervous.  I’d seen her wear that first emotion a lot.

“Good evening, everyone,” announced a woman’s voice over the speakers.

The chattering and clinking dropped several decibels.

“This is Dr. Susan Kebler.  I invite you to direct your attention to the podium at the front of the room and welcome Mr. Kevin Voight, Executive Director of the Aspen Community Medical Foundation, who will be announcing this year’s recipient of the Forensic DNA Research Grant.”

A smattering of applause.  At the podium there was some fumbling, followed by static thumping noises.

“Is this on?” asked a male voice.

“Turn up the lights,” someone yelled.

Overhead fluorescents popped to life, their stark light leeching the room of its party atmosphere.  At the podium stood a man I presumed was Kevin Voight, pushing forty, dressed in a summer linen suit that set off his seamless tan. 

“He looks familiar,” I murmured to Laura.

“Probably because he looks like Tom Cruise.”

“Really?  Ask me, Tom’s a bit past his sell-by date.”

She flashed me a jealous-are-we? look, which I pretended not to see.  

Truth was, yeah, Kevin had that Tom Cruise thing going for him.  Although after Kevin-Tom started talking, I realized movie-star looks can only take a dude with no personality so far.  Kevin came across like a robot.  Stiff and in dire need of some inflection when he spoke.  On and on he went in that relentless tone, acknowledging anybody and everybody who’d ever set foot on the planet.  Finally, he gave the award to the Colorado Association of Clinical Something-somethings.

Afterward, Laura and I mingled and made small-talk with several coroners I hoped wouldn’t see either of us again for a long, long time.  When she and I were alone I typically did most of the talking, but put us at a social gathering and Laura morphed into an expert schmoozer, a skill I chalked up to her years as an executive at TeleForce, a telecommunications giant based in Denver.  She’d once tried to explain to me exactly what she did, but my brain had liquefied when she started talking about technology infrastructure and scalable architecture.  Laura had the brains of a geek underneath her wild-girl rocker Grace Slick looks, the way Slick looked in her ultra-cool Jefferson Starship days when she had raven hair and wore dramatic eye make-up.  

Although sometimes Laura’s left eye squinted slightly, as though she were scrutinizing something you’d just said.  Minor nerve damage, she’d once explained, the result of a teenage motorcycle accident.

Several root beers and an assortment of canapés later, I heard a buzz in the room.  People were whispering fervently, sharing some piece of news.  And from their closed, tight looks, it was bad news.

An athletic, fiftyish woman with short-cropped gray hair nudged her way past me.  As she paused to sneeze, holding a tissue to her nose, I read her name tag.  Dr. Susan Kebler, Coroner, Teller County.  The county for Cripple Creek, the site of this conference.  Tucking the tissue into her pocket, she crossed the room to a grim-looking cop, who briskly led her away.

I caught snatches of conversations around me.

“…on the premises…”

A snorting laugh.  “Live by the sword, die by the sword.”

“Where’s his wife?”

The cell phone in my shirt pocket vibrated.  I checked the unfamiliar caller ID, figured it might be a new client.

“Levine Investigations,” I answered.


She’d always exaggerated her a’s—a Connecticut thing, she’d said—so whenever she said her name it sounded like a traffic jam of vowels butting up against consonants.

I glanced at the doorway where I’d seen her, but she’d split.

“I think I’m in trouble,” Natalie continued.

Through the phone, I heard background noise.  Sirens.  People yelling.

“Can you come to the construction area behind the casino?” she asked.  “Police just arrived.”

Thoughts T-boned in my mind.  Cops?  Natalie was obviously free to make calls, so how much trouble could she be in?  On the other hand, she was the last person who’d want to call me unless she really needed my help. 

 “Be right there.”  I ended the call and glanced at my watch.  Twenty to ten.

Laura’s brow furrowed.  “What’s up?”

“Not sure.”  I looked around, noticed others were migrating toward the exit, punching numbers into their cells.  “How ‘bout I meet you back at our room?”

I took her by the elbow and guided her toward the exit.  As we passed a tray, she drained the last sip of her martini and set the empty glass on it.

“Think it’s something I can’t handle?”  Laura asked.



I flashed on the cop’s stony expression as he spoke to Dr. Kebler.  “Probably.”

Laura halted, her wide-set blue eyes boring into mine.  “If I was game enough to join you for a romantic weekend at a coroner’s conference,” she whispered huskily, “I’m game enough for whatever’s in store.”

Gruesome had never been so alluring. 

“Laura,” I murmured, trying not to let her I’m-game look override my better sense, “I don’t doubt you’re strong enough to handle many things, but I’m guessing there’s a body.  A dead one.”

She rolled her eyes.  “I worked at a nursing home the summer after high school.  I’ve seen dead bodies before.”

“Yeah, aging ones succumbing to natural causes.”

“Dead is dead.”

“True, but I’m guessing this is more like ugly dead, something a lady like you shouldn’t see.”  I gave her my best tough-guy-with-a-heart smile.  The kind Tom Cruise wished he could give, and one I wished I felt.

Truth was, I didn’t know if I could handle the reality of what lay out there.  Not the sight of a corpse—I’d seen photographs of dozens over the course of my criminal defense career—but the harrowing reminder of what death demands from the living.

The truth.

I’d failed to seek that that in the Willard case.  

Of course, only a stupid defense attorney actually asks a client for the truth, as in did he or she do the dirty deed.  You don’t want to hear your client say he killed the victim because your role is to fight for your client’s rights, win the best deal, hell if you play it right your client walks away as if he’d never committed the most egregious, heinous act possible to another human being.  I still remembered watching Willard damn near skip down those courthouse steps, flashing a cocky grin that chilled me to my marrow…because at that moment I knew I’d helped free a killer…

I barely felt Laura’s arm as she wove it through mine and steered us toward whatever lay ahead. 

For fans of The Zen Man, this novella provides a more comprehensive background story for Rick and Laura, the characters who have already captured your imagination. For newcomers to Colleen Collins’ mysteries, this is a perfect introduction to the full-length novel.
— Christopher Gill, author

Book Giveaways, Crime Chats and Who's Emma Peel?


Book Giveaway: Sleepless in Las Vegas

Goodreads Contest Now Closed

Thank you to the 691 readers who entered the contest!  Twelve winners' copies are being mailed November 27.


My December release, Sleepless in Las Vegas, is the second book in the private-eye-romance series, and is available in print and e-versions.  To order your copy, click here.

I generally don’t read Harlequin books but I’m glad I set aside my bias of romance type novels because Sleepless in Las Vegas is so much more...a lot of intrigue, action, romance and excitement happening here and you’re not going to want to put the book down until you get to the end. To say that I enjoyed it immensely would be an understatement.
— Carlana Charles, book reviewer, ThisLadyWrites.com
Absolutely delightful! As a straight romance, I found this book to be well done and thoroughly enjoyable...What made me love this [book] is that this is it is wrapped up in a great detective story. Want something more than a love story? Read this!
— Leti Del Mar, Words with Leti Del Mar

Chatting About Crime

Today my husband and I were guests of Alice de Sturler on #crimechat. Alice is a former human rights defender, educator and owner of the Defrosting Cold Cases blog. Below is an excerpt from Alice's recap on the chat, with a link to the full article at the end.

Sorry about the mishmash of green and white backgrounds -- had a little trouble cutting and pasting.

Alice de Sturler, owner  Defrosting Cold Cases

Alice de Sturler, owner Defrosting Cold Cases

Recap #CrimeChat Oct 25, 2013


Recap #CrimeChat Oct 25, 2013 with Shaun Kaufman &Colleen Collins a.k.a. the Writing PIs. It is always a pleasure to talk to these two. There are always new stories, new books they are working on, and they have a great sense of humour.

While Shaun was driving home from court, Colleen and I started off with a post I found really informative. It is about the difference between private investigators and bounty hunters. Many confuse the two. Both track people, conduct interviews, and have contact with suspects. However, they are governed by different sets of regulations.

Colleen told us that she got great reactions to her latest book “Secrets of a real life female private eye” including the comments that some younger readers did not know Emma Peel. I can still laugh about the differences in generations. As soon as that changes, I will alert you!

Shaun arrived and we spoke about the difficulties a criminal defense lawyer faces. Shaun described how law school taught him about procedure but absolutely nothing about criminal defense. He owes that to Walter Gerash.

We touched on the “chess coach case” which sadly involved child abuse. I asked them how they handle cases like this. How do you shake those images after cataloging the evidence and DNA test results? How do you move on from that? They both said that the only way to do that is to remain steadfast in the believe that the defense is about defending the system of checks & balances and not the deed.

End of excerpt.  To read the full recap, click here

Who Is Emma Peel? 

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Photo credit: Wikipedia

As Alice mentioned in her above recap, there are those in the younger generation who have no idea who Emma Peel is. No idea?  Sadly, it's true. It's also a reminder that yes, we baby boomers are getting older.

Uma Thurman recreated the role of Emma Peel in the 1998 movie The Avengers, which earned a rousing 1 star from Rotten Tomatoes.   Well, really, could any actress other than Diana Rigg be Mrs. Peel?  Yes, yes, fellow baby boomers, I know there were other actresses who tried.  Honor Blackman, who preceded Diana Rigg in the series and later played Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, and Linda Thorson who came after Diana Rigg.  But let's get real.  Diana Rigg was the Emma Peel.

Here's an article on the 50th anniversary of The Avengers TV series, written by a fellow baby boomer: Classic 1960s Brit TV series "The Avengers" turns 50

Before I sign off today's post, I'll leave the recipe for the Emma Peel Cocktail.


Emma Peel Cocktail

Sweet and tart with a kick, like its namesake, this drink is a mix of fruits and champagne.

The Emma Peel

1 measure cherry brandy
1  measure pineapple juice
Top it off with champagne







To go to book's Amazon page, click on banner  

To go to book's Amazon page, click on banner