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 BarbaraPaul.com