It's no mystery why he turned to murder
Visiting novelist J.J. Murphy says the The Wiggles made him do it. , By Paula Wolf, Staff Writer email@example.com
JJ. Murphy's authorship of the Algonquin Round Table Mystery series can be traced to two disparate threads:
--His love of legendary wit Dorothy Parker
--His desire to escape the mindlessness of toddler TV, which he watched with his twin daughters.
Murphy had more than he could stand of the children's music group The Wiggles when he decided to do something as far removed as possible, he said in a recent phone interview.
Thus the mysteries were born, with the first, "Murder Your Darlings," published in January 2011.
Murphy's third installment in the series, "A Friendly Game of Murder," came out in late December from the Penguin imprint Obsidian. He'll be discussing it at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday with the Crazy for Cozies Book Group at Aaron's Books, 35 E. Main St., Lititz. The session is open to the public.
A suburban Philadelphia resident who edits Review of Optometry magazine, Murphy said penning mysteries is his avocation -- until it becomes a full-time job.
The books are named after the group of writers -- including Parker and Robert Benchley -- that met regularly for lunch at the Algonquin Hotel in New York.
Parker is known for such pithy sayings as, "Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone." Murphy's own favorite is, "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." (But of course that does not apply to any of his novels.)
Each mystery is set in the Roaring '20s, Murphy said. The action in "A Friendly Game of Murder" takes place in the penthouse suite of Hollywood star Douglas Fairbanks. The dead body of a Broadway starlet is found in his bathtub, leaving Parker, surprise guest Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the members of the Round Table to figure out who the killer is.
Murphy said he really looks forward to visiting Aaron's Books because most of his appearances are book signings, not meetings with book groups such as Crazy for Cozies.
And while Parker once said, "I hate writing, I love having written," Murphy is already planning the fourth book in the series, which also includes "You Might as Well Die."n