“How to Kill People for Fun and Profit” (Writing Mysteries)


If you enjoy curling up with a hot cocoa in one hand and a great who-dunnit novel in the other, you will want to attend the next Writers of Kern Meeting.” said the advertisement. The Writers of Kern had invited best-selling cozy mystery author Dean James, better known to his fans as Miranda James, to give a talk entitled “How to Kill People for Fun and Profit” (Writing Mysteries). How could the mystery solving sleuths in City Adventurers resist such an event?


Dean James was first drawn to mysteries by Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys books.

He writes cozy mysteries, with a safe involvement in crimes and, likes writing about ordinary people solving cases rather than police procedurals. So there are no autopsies and no graphic violence. He suggests authors should write about what they know.

Throughout the talk he drew stories from his success as an author, and from his 30 years of experience as general manager of Houston’s renowned mystery specialty bookstore, Murder by the Book. 

You can watch his talk on Youtube

Dean James is currently a medical librarian at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. In addition to his award-winning success as the author of 30 mystery novels (his books have appeared on the New York times and USA Today bestseller lists several times), he has published articles on library science, the history of science and medicine, as well as co-authoring or co-editing six mystery reference titles and one short-story anthology.

He has authored and co-authored several mystery series under various pen names including:

  • The Southern Ladies series as Miranda James
  • The Cat in the Stacks series (featuring librarian Charlie Harris and his famous Maine Coon cat, Diesel) also writing as Miranda James
  • The Simon Kirby-Jones series as Dean James
  • The Wanda Nell Culpepper series as Jimmie Ruth Evans
  • The Emma Diamond series as Honor Hartman

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