Author Jim Musgrave Introduces Patrick O'Malley, The Star Of His Newest Mystery Series

Welcome, dear friends. Please pour a cup of tea or an apperitif as I introduce you to an author with many books to his credit already, yet has a newly launched mystery series set in the late 19th century. The stories in this entrancing series are told by Irish detective and war hero Patrick O'Malley, and are deftly woven into actual events of the time.

We are joined by a dear friend of our salon, author, poet and playwright Collin Kelley.

MP: Jim, I am delighted to have you as a guest here in Madame Perry’s Salon along with my good friend Collin Kelley. Tell us how you created the character of Detective Patrick O’Malley.

JM: I used my subconscious. I didn’t realize until after I’d completed the first mystery, Forevermore, that I had been channeling a character very similar to Lawrence Block’s famous sleuth and recovering alkie, Matt Scudder. I even had a partner for Pat O’Malley who was a hooker madame (sorry for the reference, Madame Perry), the same as Matt Scudder had a high class call girl in modern-day New York. Of course, they are completely different characters in completely different times, but I was quite astonished when I realized there were some basic similarities between them.

CK: What drew you to write about this time period?

Jim Musgrave
Edgar Allan Poe
JM: This Victorian period was probably the most criminal time in the history of New York City. Did you know, for example, that the age of consent in the 1860s was 10? Ten-year-old children were being offered to the highest bidders for sexual favors in the second most profitable business in the city (the garment industry was #1). My third mystery in the series, by the way, will have Becky Charming warring with the infamous Madame, Jane the Grabber (Hester Jane Haskins), over this issue. You see, Becky is a high class Madame (like you, Jennifer!), and she’s a Vassar graduate, so she wants to shut-down this Grabber woman, even if what Haskins is doing is condoned by the corrupt city officials of The Ring (Tammany Hall). O’Malley and his partner want to find a way to get her put out of business forever. I love this era because it’s so corrupt and freewheeling in a lot of ways. It’s a perfect fit for a detective like O’Malley, who’s seen the worst of human nature while fighting in the Civil War. Like today’s veterans who become police officers when they return from Afghanistan (another “civil war”?), O’Malley is little bit PTSD and a little bit hero.
Hester Jane Haskins
aka Jane The Grabber

MP: In Forevermore, the first book in your series featuring Pat O’Malley, he investigates the mysterious death of his friend Edgar Allan Poe. How long did you spend researching the life of Poe and the times he lived in to create this intriguing story?

CK: What other books were your inspirations?

JM: I hate confessing this because I am a teacher, but I used to ditch my high school English class to go read Poe in the library. He wasn’t taught, so he was my first “forbidden fruit.” I found a great web site called “The Edgar Allan Poe Society,” and it provided me with all I ever needed to know about Poe. I simply had to weave it into my plot and my character, O’Malley, and I was off to the storyland races! 

Collin, I guess Block’s style influence me, although I obviously had to adapt the jargon for my time period. I was also influenced by reading a lot of James Patterson (short, impacting chapters!) and Thomas Harris (how intelligent a villain can be!). Also, I was re-reading Robert Bloch’s Psycho the other night. That’s a great lesson in compact storytelling that grips you on the page.

MP: Every interesting protagonist or hero has a quirky flaw to overcome. O’Malley’s challenge is intimacy with the ladies, though oddly enough his most trusted friends are the women of the brothels. Please tell us how you conceived the idea for this aspect of our Irish detective.

JM: I took a graduate English course on the Transcendentalists. Since Becky Charming is a Vassar grad, she is able to teach O’Malley how to use his feminine, intuitive nature to connect with what Emerson called the Over Soul. As soon as he “gets it,” he can get it (on with Becky) and then solve his case! What a hero!
MP:  Indeed! Thank you for graciously visiting my salon, and I look forward to your return with more fascination tales from dear Mr. O'Malley.
Collin Kelley
CK:  Jim, I wish you much success with Forevermore and look forward to the next books in the Pat O'Malley series.

Now for the information you need to shadow Detective Patrick O'Malley and Jim Musgrave, get Forevermore on Amazon,  and follow Jim on Twitter. Care to step back in time to 1860 when you're in a waiting room, riding the subway, or just have some time to kill, shall we say? Our dear author has created an app so your getaway is in your pocket when needed!

Collin Kelley's latest book of poetry, Render, is available on Amazon and bringing in great reviews! He'll be back soon to discuss it with us.

Remember, my dear friends, surrounding ourselves with good books, music, food and wonderful people is a gift of love to all. And as always, your comments or questions are welcomed.


Anonymous said…
These are thing I MUST read. Will go looking for my copies as soon as I can.
Anonymous said…
Dear MP, Thanks for the intro. to an author and novel I would have missed. It sounds like an intriguing story set in a fascinating time. I'm looking forward to reading Forevermore!

Sandy said…
WOW, sounds very interesting.Edgar Allen Poe...tried to visit his gravesite years back when in Baltimore; but the church and the graveyard were closed for renovations...I was really disappointed.
Marie Moody said…
I'm from Monday's Music Moves Me & I'm curious as to why you signed out linky. We're a music video blog hop. Well, I'm your latest follower nice to meet you. HOpe you'd like to play with us next week & throw up a music video or two. Have a great day! Hope you can stop by & do the same. :)
Jennifer Perry said…
Marie - Sometimes I'm a slow learner (menopause brain) but I'm trainable! Thanks for dropping by, clueing me in, and I'll be by next week with a hip music video!
Jessica said…
Sounds scandalous and interesting! I like the admitting of ditching English class to read Edgar Allan Poe. I did learn a little about him when I was in English class but it was only a small amount of reading that we did about him.
Anonymous said…
Excellent exchange, everyone.

Pleased to have read STEEL CITY PIRATES, so I'll have to go back to the the Poe stuff.

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