A Crime in My Stockings #5: Graham Wynd

LOVE-IS-A-GRIFT-Front-web-190x300I’m dashing in from the midst of Christmas preparations (wot, more shopping? surely not) to post the latest stocking-filler crime suggestion, this time from master of noir Graham Wynd. Graham’s latest book ‘Love is a Grift‘, a collection of noir stories featuring the ultimate femme fatale, is available from Fox Spirit Books.

“When the Krampus leaves me a gift under the Yule tree, I hope it may be the completed-just-before-she-passed historical crime novel by Toni Morrison. It tells the tale of a family of grifters, inspired by the example of the Cercle Harmonique to take up Spiritualism, but employing it in a more profitable direction — that is to say, larcenous. Their plans to fleece people as part of roving carnival circuit in the midwest take an unexpected turn when the youngest of the family, Shalimar, turns out to have a genuine gift. She sees dead people in a country still reeling from the carnage of the Civil War. When some spiritualist suffragettes from New York get involved, that’s when things really go wild. They don’t have a ghost of a chance.

I may have only dreamed this book. So I guess I will console myself with watching the adaptation of Megan Abbott’s DARE ME and tapping my foot waiting for Paul D. Brazill’s MAN OF THE WORLD in April. But I have a big TBR pile to sort me until then.”

Where the heck Wednesday: Graham Wynd

I’m delighted to announce the start of a brand new feature of guest posts on my blog, featuring authors talking about the locations of their books.  Called ‘Where the heck Wednesday’, it will run semi-regularly on Wednesdays (now there’s a surprise) and I’m hoping to include as many locations, near at hand and far flung, as possible.

I was going to start the ball rolling in mid-November, but I’ve had such a good response to the idea from fellow authors that I’m kicking it off early, and my first victim, er, guest, is noir writer Graham Wynd who writes dark, even bleak stories and novels with an added blend of humour and erotica.  Over to you, Graham, and thanks for taking part!

Book Title: Satan’s Sorority

Setting: Connecticut, USA

Author: Graham Wynd

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“I set my novella about the devilish girls of Sigma Tau Nu at a mythical Connecticut college because I thought it fit the story well: Sandra Delites comes from New York City, but she’s clearly been exiled to the wilds of Connecticut as a punishment. I know the place well because I went to grad school at the University of Connecticut. After living in Cambridge I found it a bit…rustic.

There are a lot of cows. I mean a lot.

When people think of Connecticut it’s mostly the ‘gold coast’—the rich suburbs just a train ride away from Manhattan. The north east’s ‘Quiet Corner’ is worlds away from that rich life even in such a small state. It’s mostly farms and former mill towns, both struggling to stay afloat these days. For a city girl, it’s the middle of nowhere, so Sandra feels quite marooned.

The undergraduates I taught were oddly complacent. The chief advantage as far as I could tell about the location was that it was easy to get to Boston or NYC. I was amazed to find that most of my students had never been to either place. They really lived sheltered lives. They felt a bit like the kids from Village of the Damned grown up a bit.

But in the spring, these quiet kids tended to turn a little wild. There was a patch of time that riots broke out on the normally tranquil green fields of the campus, and a few times even cars were set on fire. The fraternities and sororities seemed to provide a good training ground for that on many weekends. I was glad to be living off campus most of the time. I didn’t actually hear of any of the greeks turning satanic, but I wouldn’t have been much surprised (joke). I grew up watching a lot of 60s and 70s movies that were all afraid of Satanists, so it was a fun bit of nostalgia for me.

I did cheat on one thing: Satan’s Sorority is set in 1959. I have Sandra and her sorority sister Trixie steal a book from the library, The Munich Handbook, which has a ritual to summon Lilith. It’s true the Yale Library has the Paul Mellon collection of alchemical books and manuscripts, but they didn’t receive that gift until 1967, and the Beinecke Rare Book Collection didn’t exist until 1963. I have the library doing a little conservation work on the book they’ll eventually have, which seems fair enough.

Admittedly I was probably far more interested in keeping the occult bits reasonably accurate than readers will be. You don’t have to believe that anything the least bit supernatural happens in the story—of course the sisters of Sigma Tau Nu think the devil made them do it, but it could all be in their heads. I guess when you’re spilling a lot of blood, you always have a reason—right?”


A writer of bleakly noirish tales with a bit of grim humour, Graham Wynd can be found in Dundee but would prefer you didn’t come looking. An English professor by day, Wynd grinds out darkly noir prose between trips to the local pub, including SATAN’S SORORITY from Number Thirteen Press and EXTRICATE from Fox Spirit Books, as well as tales in the Anthony Award-winning anthology Murder Under the Oaks and the Anthony Award-nominated Protectors 2: Heroes. See a full list of stories (including free reads) here.

Is Tess a Rogue?

new rogue coverFellow ‘Rogue’ contributor Graham Wynd has begun a series of fun mini interviews with the other authors in the collection and today it’s my turn.

So, to find out what crime I’d like to get away with, whether I really am a criminal mastermind or not, and (hopefully) a bit more about my story ‘Singing From the Same Sheet’, head over to Graham’s blog pronto.

While you’re there, track down the previous interviews by J David Jaggers and Richard Godwin which are well worth the read.

Free Drag Noir story

Heard about Drag Noir and wondering what all the fuss is about?  Then head over to the Fox Spirit website, where Fox author Graham Wynd (‘Extricate’, ‘Throw the Bones’) has donated a free story as an introduction to the anthology.  ‘Smallbany’ gives a great flavour of the collection and some of the character types you’re likely to meet, as a bumbling blagger caught in a trap finds a dinstinctly unusual way out.  The story features ‘salty language’ and ‘sexual shenanigans’, no less, and rather like a bonus album track released on YouTube, it’s a great way to whet your appetite for the main event.

Pop along to Fox Spirit to read ‘Smallbany’ here.

Shelfie of the Week #2

This week it’s the turn of multi-talented, multi-personality writer K A (Kate) Laity, who also writes as C. Margery Kempe and Graham Wynd, amongst others.

According to Kate, the top photo is “my brag shelf in the NY home office” whilst photo number 2 is “a wider shot of the campus office primary shelf (brag shelf at top).”  All I can say is, with books like that why not do a bit of bragging?

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If you’d like to track down Kate’s books and see why they’re worthy of bragging (amazing covers… and the contents aren’t exactly bad either!) then pop along to her website, or that of her alter ego Graham Wynd.

There you’ll be able to browse books like ‘White Rabbit’, described by Netgalley as “like the unholy bastard lovechild of Bertie Wooster and Harry Dresden on speed” (and which I can thoroughly recommend, by the way); or the Chastity Flame series, newly available in rather spiffing paperbacks.

Happy reading, and keep an eye out for another Shelfie next week!