This is the first of the Paul Birch murder mysteries. After reading a slew of mysteries in which the detective was a cook, a mortician, a knitter, a jockey, and various other professions or hobbies involving arts and crafts, it occurred to me that very few people were still writing about actual detectives. At the same time, I wanted to create a detective who was more realistic than Spencer or Marlowe, and I wanted something of the atmosphere of Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man, i.e. a strong female character who wasn't just a man in skirts. Although there are some elements of the cozy in this one, I wanted it to be more about detection than blind luck. I entered an earlier version of this in the Amazon novel contest a few years ago and it made it to the final round, but I reworked it considerably after that.