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Mystery and Murder in the Charity Randall

Kathleen George has written six highly praised thrillers set in Pittsburgh.  Next comes A Measure Of Blood from Mysterious Press/Open Road.  George was an Edgar finalist (The Odds, 2009) for best novel. 

George is a mild-mannered theatre professor and director who turned to writing thrilling and dramatic crime fiction. This time two of George’s characters teach at her very own institution, the University of Pittsburgh.  This time, one of those characters teaches theatre and directs Shakespeare—as George has done. 

A Measure Of Blood is about the aftermath of the murder of Maggie Brown, a single mother, about the subsequent attempt of Janet Gabriel and her husband Arthur Morris to adopt and make safe Maggie’s bereft  son, an orphan, Matt Brown.  There is danger—all kinds, physical and emotional.  To keep the child near her, Janet Gabriel casts him as the changeling boy in the play she is directing.  Thus the plot of this thriller echoes in a much darker way A Midsummer Night’s Dream; the murderer wants the boy for himself. 

George says, “It’s so eerie, setting things in my home territory.  I’ve been coming to the Cathedral of Learning for most of my life.  I have characters take the elevator up to the sixteenth floor where my office is.  I know the creaks and bumps of those old elevators.  The office where some scenes are set looks like mine.  And my character Janet Gabriel is (when we first see her) on vacation in France at a place very like where my husband and I stayed on sabbatical.  And then when she comes back to Pittsburgh, she starts right in on auditions for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  She’s using the Charity Randall Theatre in the Stephen Foster Memorial Building to conduct the auditions.  It’s a Gothic building that has a stage with limited wing space and a modified proscenium.  I’ve auditioned actors in that space.  I’ve spent so many evenings and weekends there that I couldn’t possibly count them.  I’ve directed Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing and The Winter’s Tale and King Lear in that space, not to mention many non-Shakespeares.  I’ve sat on the marble topped radiator in the lobby to warm my cold bones when the theatre was freezing everywhere except for those dangerously-hot radiators.“

We get back to the theatre building at the end of the novel for a scene of high emotion.  “I felt like I was directing again--directing, being super-involved, and crying.  It’s an emotional story.”

For more information, interviews, and articles, visit Kathleen George's website.