RMMWA FEBRUARY MEETING: The ‘Other’ in Mystery Fiction

WHERE: The Historic Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Pl., Denver WHEN: Thursday Night, February 11th. 6:30 p.m. conversation and cash bar; 7:00 p.m. Dinner; and 8:00 p.m. Program

In 2006, a small group of amateurs plotted to set off bombs in downtown Toronto, along with several other targets. The group later became known as the Toronto 18, eleven of whom were convicted, two of whom are serving a life sentence. The Language of Secrets is loosely based on these events but with a decided difference. The investigation is run by Inspector Esa Khattak, a Canadian Muslim, who heads up Toronto’s Community Policing Section. While there are dozens, if not hundreds of novels that feature Muslim villains — terrorists, jihadists and so on — there is a paucity of literature confronting these challenges from a Muslim character’s perspective. Muslim characters, like Muslims themselves, are frequently otherized in literature: two-dimensional representations that speak to a foreignness we in the West claim not to recognize.

The Language of Secrets allows these characters to speak for themselves, representing a wide variety of viewpoints. While some questions are infinitely knowable through shared human experience, as Khattak’s investigation suggests, others remain impenetrable. My talk will discuss the experience of being otherized, the multiple motivations behind jihadism, and the dangerous rhetoric of collective guilt that conflates an entire faith community with a radical fringe, as seen through the lens of a Muslim detective born and raised in the West.

ausmazkahnAusma Zehanat Khan holds a Ph.D. in international human rights law with a specialization in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. A former adjunct law professor, Ms. Khan was editor in chief of Muslim Girl magazine, the first magazine targeted to young Muslim women. A British-born Canadian, Khan now lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband. The Language of Secrets is her second novel, following The Unquiet Dead.

When: 6:30 p.m. conversation and cash bar; 7:00 p.m. dinner; and 8:00 p.m. program

Cost: If paying via Paypal cost is $20 for members; $23 for non-members. Choose the option you want from the drop-down menu (Member, Non-Member, or Non-Meal), and then click the Add to Cart button. Note: if you want to sign up both a member and guest, you must pay for each with a separate Add to Cart transaction. Payment at door is $25 for everyone! RSVPs are necessary. Please email our Caterer Director, Susan Paturzo to insure your reservation! The reservation deadline is Monday, February 8th.

Menu: Shrimp scampi—shrimp and tomatoes stewed in white wine garlic butter tossed with angel hair pasta, with classic caesar salad.


Check out Members’ Cover Art

Murder by Kindness: The Gift Quilt

A Quilted Mystery

By Barbara Graham

Murder on the Tracks

By Bruce Most

Killing Trail: A Timber Creek Mystery

By Margaret Mizushima

Tom & Lucky and George & Cokey Flo

By C. Joseph Greaves.

Daisies for Innocence

The first Enchanted Garden mystery
By Bailey Cattrell (a/k/a Bailey Cates)

Deep Night

By Kathy Clark

Circling The Runway

By J.L. Abramo.
A Jake Diamond Mystery.

Murder on Sagebrush Lane

By Patricia Smith Wood.
A Harrie McKinsey mystery.

The Skull of Pancho Villa and Other Stories

By Manuel Ramos

Lake of Fire

An Allison Coil Mystery.
By Mark Stevens

Dark Waters

By Chris Goff.

Borderland Noir

An Anthology of Crime Writing.
By Manuel Ramos.


By Joan Johnston

The Secret Life of Anna Blanc

By Jennifer Kincheloe


Check out the all the recent member news.

Bruce Most will be a panelist February 27 at the Left Coast Crime Conference in Phoenix in support of his latest mystery, Murder on the Tracks, set in 1949 Denver. The panel is “Before Technology Made It Simple: 1930-1970s Historicals.”

Twist Phelan is happy to announce the re-release of her critically acclaimed Pinnacle Peak mystery series by Virage Press. Four titles—Family Claims, Spurred Ambition, Heir Apparent, and False Fortune—are available in ebook and paperback. Set in the imaginary town of Pinnacle Peak, Arizona, the series features lawyers and extreme sports enthusiasts Hannah Dain and Joe McGuinness.

Jennifer Kincheloe’s The Secret Life of Anna Blanc is shortlisted for the Best Historical Mystery Award (Bruce Alexander Memorial) to be presented at Left Coast Crime in Phoenix. She’s in good company among Rhys Bowen, Susanna Calkins, Heather Haven, Laurie P. King, and Susan Elia MacNeal. Congratulations, and best of luck!

On Sunday, Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. at the Schlessman Family Branch Library, Mark Stevens will present “Write What You Don’t Know.”  The library is located at 100 Poplar Street in Denver.  Later in the month, Mark will be at Left Coast Crime in Phoenix (Feb. 25 to 28).

Upcoming Meetings

RMMWA meets the 2nd Thursday from September – May,  7:00 pm
at the Denver Press Club

Next meeting: February 11

“The Other in Mystery Fiction”

2-11-2016 Meeting


Check out the full Articles Archive.

Stories from the Front Lines

A saying often heard in medical schools is “just because you hear hoof beats, don’t presume it’s zebras.” In other words, work from the most likely to the least, sort of like Sherlock Holmes.

But what if you’re dealing with a situation that’s never happened before—say, an Ebola outbreak in Texas, or anthrax sent via mail to the U.S. Capitol? A great many cases handled by the U.S. Public Health Service and Centers for Disease Control, from the World Trade Center attack to SARS outbreaks to tsunamis, are such situations. The predictable, familiar response might be the worst thing to do. The CDC teams are dealing with zebras. They have to assess an unfamiliar situation quickly and test solutions carefully, without becoming part of the problem themselves. And while they may not be able to prevent the initial crisis, a large measure of their success comes in what doesn’t happen in the wake of the crisis, and the lessons learned for mitigation and future preparation.

When the calls went out to the CDC concerning the WTC, anthrax, SARS, and Ebola crises in Africa and Texas, Captain Eric Esswein was there.

read more

Jane Cracraft — Secrets of a Private Eye

by Mike McClanahan RMMWA members and guests were treated to an inside look at the business of being a private investigator by former Denver Post reporter and PI Jane Cracraft. When new ownership acquired the Post, Jane’s search for a new situation following led... read more

New Releases

Check out the full New Releases Archive.

Murder by Kindness: The Gift Quilt

Released February 2016

By Barbara Graham

MurderByKindnessFrontThe seventh book in Barbara Graham’s “Quilted Mystery” series from Five Star/Cengage has a new release date of February 17. Murder by Kindness: The Gift Quilt features Tennessee Sheriff Tony Abernathy and his wife, Theo, a quiltmaker.

Daisies for Innocence

Released January 5, 2016

By Bailey Cattrell

Daisies-CoverThe first Enchanted Garden Mystery, Daisies For Innocence by Bailey Cattrell (aka Bailey Cates) will release on January 5, 2016. It features Elliana Allbright, whose life has blossomed in Poppyville, California, since she opened Scents & Nonsense, a perfume and aromatherapy shop. Her skills with aromas and botanical essences — some from her own garden behind the store — seem almost supernatural. Her perfumes can evoke emotions, bring about change, or simply make people happy. But she smells trouble when she learns her assistant, Josie, is dating her ex. Before she can tell the young woman to beware of his charms, she finds Josie dead. Now the prime suspect in Josie’s murder, Ellie must search for the real culprit in Josie’s past — because it’ll take a miracle to nip this problem in the bud… The book will be available in paperback, all ebook formats, and audio.

Upcoming Events

  1. RMMWA hosts The “Other” in Mystery Fiction: A Terror Cell and Muslim Detective

    February 11 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
  2. Dissecting Noir with Z.J. Czupor

    March 10 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
  3. April 14th meeting

    April 14 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
  4. May 12 meeting

    May 13 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Member Appearances

  • Sunday, February 21, 2 p.m.
    Mark Stevens
    “Write What You Don’t Know”
    Schlessman Family Branch Library
    100 Poplar Street
  • February 25-28
    Mark Stevens
    Left Coast Crime
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • February 25-29
    Bruce Most
    Left Coast Crime
    Panel: “Before Technology Made It Simple: 1930-1970s Historicals.”
  • February 25-29
    Jennifer Kincheloe
    Left Coast Crime
    Panel for Best Historical Mystery finalists

Podcast Teasers

Check out some podcast teasers. Members receive access to the full podcast.

4-9-2015 — David Morrell
3-12-2015 — Jane Cracraft PI
2-12-2015 — Sami Jo Lien Publicity 101

(Members, please log into the Members Only section of the website for the full version. Need help with the link, contact the webmaster.)