Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sisters in Crime

Saturday I went to the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime that meets in Fresno. I was one of the founding members of that chapter and try to go as often as possible.

Over the years they've had a wonderful array of speakers, many authors, but also D.A.s, the County Coroner who showed us slides of the most gruesome murders, one of the investigators on the O.J. Simpson murder case who brought along Nicole Simpson's autopsy report, various police officers, detectives, P.I.s, a female Police Chief, narc officers, and so on. I've gleaned lots of information from these talks and used some in my mysteries.

One time we went on a field trip to the airport to see the police helicopter and the sheriff's helicopter. We also heard many exciting tales about crimes they've stopped. Once the helicopter chased a motorcyclists, landed and made the arrest. The officer who was showing us around asked me to write a fiction story centered around him. If I'd lived in Fresno I would've taken him up on it--and unfortunately this was long before emailing was such a common practice.

This last Saturday there were two guest speakers at the meeting, retired police officer Denny Griffin who is now an author and has written mysteries and also the history of law enforcement in Las Vegas which led to him writing about Frank Culotta, an infamous Chicago mobster who also operated in Vegas. (Think Casino, the movie.)

With him was reformed gangster, Henry Hill of GoodFella fame. Ray Liotta played Henry in the film by that name.

I sat next to Henry during the lunch and I can tell you that he's a most charming man and after listening to his speech, he's led a fascinating (albeit scary) life, from gangster to informant to being in the witness protection program. He also served time in several California prisons also in protective custody. Besides writing GoodFella he also wrote a GoodFella CookBook and is writing another about his life.

You can see and hear part of their speeches here:

Certainly made for an interesting day.

a.k.a. F. M. Meredith


Morgan Mandel said...

I belong to our local chapter here in Illinois, plus the national chapter of Sisters in Crime. I don't have much opportunity to go to the meetings, since they're not near my home.

Morgan Mandel

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

It takes me nearly two hours to drive to our Sisters in Crime, depending upon the traffic, so I do pick and choose which meetings I go to--and it helps when someone wants to go along with me, or sometimes be the one to drive.


Mark Troy said...

Every serious mystery lover--reader and/or writer--ought to join Sisters in Crime. If I had more time, I'd organize a local chapter in my town.

Legendary Lights said...

Ditto here. I can't go often due to the drive.

Marilyn, I can't believe you sat next to a gangster, LOL! How exciting, and even a bit scary!


Dana Fredsti said...

I love Sisters in Crime. joining the NorCal chapter is one of the best things I've done for my writing career and my social life!