Carolyn Heilbrun

25 May 2004 at 11:34 Leave a comment

I’ve learned, belatedly, that Carolyn Heilbrun died last October.

Since she is the writer that introduced me to the idea of mysteries as a written form, specifically those of Dorothy L. Sayers, she can in most ways be credited with my decision to write mysteries, not just read them.

Dr. Heilbrun‘s essays on writing were terribly inspiring for me.

An accomplished academic and a mystery writer as well, under the pseudonym Amanda Cross, in her work Writing a Woman’s Life (1988), she pointed the way for my later discovery that genre writing can also be intelligent.

I’m afraid I can’t say much about her mysteries, because I haven’t read them, but I can say that the staff room of my college library thought they were great.

I, too, spent hours “reading through the biography section in alphabetical order” as a child. Well, not always alphabetically, but systematically. Perhaps my mind is not as orderly as hers.

In life, and in death, her philosophy was, “the whole point is choice”. She committed suicide, believing it was better to die while you were still vital. Before you became ‘useless’.

Her final words:
The journey is over. Love to all.


Entry filed under: writing.

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T. Anderson Painter

I am a misanthrope. No one ever believes me, but this seems to prove my point.



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