Maysville Kentucky Blog

The Maysville Kentucky Blog is your guide to the beautiful and historic small town of Maysville Kentucky, snuggled into the rolling hills along the Ohio River. Though this blog has been discontinued, you can get your Maysville Kentucky fix over at Ken Downing's Mason County Kentucky Blog @

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Barbara Paul: Mystery Writer

Sylvia Markey was holding her cat's head in her hands. Just the head.
Sylvia was swaying on her feet; I didn't feel any too steady myself. A whispered Jesus Christ floated from behind me. I snatched Ian Cavanaugh's make-up towel away from him and wrapped up the cat's head, handed the mess to Leo Gunn, the stage manager.

- Barbara Paul, The Fourth Wall

Barbara Paul is a writer of detective stories and science fiction. She was born in Maysville Kentucky, in 1931. In total, she's written no less than sixty-six novels and short stories since her first book, An Exercise for Madmen, was published in 1978.

She was once asked in an interview for her favorite passage from her own work. The opening from The Fourth Wall (quoted above) was her choice. She said she liked it for three things:

First, it establishes the setting (without using the word "theater" - "make-up towel" and "stage manager" take care of that). Second, it introduces four characters, three of them by name. Third, it presents the initiating incident of the plot (the beheading of the cat).

Nice. For more information about Barbara Paul and her work, visit


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