Thursday, February 5, 2009

Linda L. Richards

ITW contributing editor Cathy Clamp interviewed Linda L. Richards about her new Kitty Pangborn novel, Death Was In The Picture.

The interview opens:

Tell me a little about the story and what Kitty's all about.

Kitty Pangborn is secretary to a drunken Los Angeles gumshoe named Dexter Theroux. She doesn't care about solving cases. It's the Depression, there's not a lot of money to go around: she cares about getting paid. But her drunken boss spends so much time messing up, Kitty finds herself helping him out, just to make sure clients don't drop him and so her paychecks keep coming.

This is Kitty's second outing. Readers first met her in 2008 in Death Was the Other Woman. In Death Was in the Picture, Dex is hired to keep tabs on a movie star. Before his first day on the job, though, the movie star is charged with a murder that takes place at a party that Dex attended. In figuring out what happened, Kitty and Dex realize that they are embroiled in a conspiracy of moralities and that the hands putting everything into motion may be at the very highest reaches of both film making and organized religion.

I'm a HUGE fan of Noir detective stories. Tell me a little more about your influences for creating a hard-boiled story set in California.

The Kitty Pangborn stories are set in Los Angeles, although the most recent book, Death Was in the Picture, is set partly against the world of 1930s filmmaking and Hollywood.

I was greatly influenced by the work of Raymond Chandler - whose stories are mostly set in Los Angeles and environs -- and Dashiel Hammett, whose stories are mostly set in San Francisco. That being the case, it seemed to me that Kitty had to be a Californian. Since I was raised in Los Angeles and have spent only limited amounts of time in San Francisco, it really had to be L.A.
Read the complete Q & A.

Linda L. Richards is the editor and co-founder of January Magazine and a regular contributor to The Rap Sheet.

View the Death Was in the Picture trailer.

The Page 69 Test: Death Was the Other Woman.

--Marshal Zeringue