First, let me say this: it's good to be back at Criminal Minds. Thank you to Gary Corby and everyone else who pinch-hit for me during my absence! And thank you to our readers, those who've been with us since the beginning, and those who just, perhaps, stumbled across us, thinking we're related to the TV show. Welcome--and stick around, you may like us just as much. :)
Along with books by fellow old and new Criminal Minds like Rebecca and Josh and Hillary and Michael and Gary and Meredith and Graham and Sue Ann and Vicki and Reece and Gabi and Shane and Sophie and (well, you get the picture) and my noir library (which contains my most precious writing collectible, the edition of Henry James given to Raymond Chandler and inscribed by John Houseman when Chandler finished The Blue Dahlia--yes, this book was once owned by Chandler and now reposes on one of my bookshelves), and classics and Classics and books about film and film noir and books from childhood and books with memories and books as gifts ... have I mentioned how small our house is? But I digress ...
Y' see, I can't read fiction when I'm on a tight deadline and in the throes of a novel. And I'm on a tight deadline and in the throes of a the next Miranda Corbie book, City of Ghosts. So what I read is research ... research before and during the writing process.
So let's take a look at just a few items on the City of Ghosts bookshelf (which should give you some idea of some of the plot elements) ...
2. Tragic Train: "The City of San Francisco". Long out-of-print book from the '70s about the historic streamliner The City of San Francisco and its mysterious (was it really sabotage?) train wreck in 1939.
3. A Century of Spies: Intelligence in the Twentieth Century. Reasonable overview, though seems a little overeager to accept revisionist theories about the Verona cables and Alger Hiss.
4. Secret Armies: Exposing Hitler's Undeclared War on the Americas. A fascinating expose from 1939 by muckraking journalist John L. Spivak.
5. The Faustian Bargain: The Art World in Nazi Germany. Terrific analysis and information.
There are many other books, of course--books about San Francisco, about the Spanish Civil War, books about forensics and California, pamphlets and maps and menus and matchbooks from the period. And perhaps my most valuable research tool, a 1940 Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Telephone Directory. Miranda would be lost without her copy, and I would be, too.
Thanks for reading! And tell us ... what kinds of bookshelves are in your house? :)