For those of you who don’t know by now, the mystery community has lost a beautiful, clear and strong light.
Barbara Seranella, author of the acclaimed Munch Mancini series, died yesterday — Jan. 21, 2007 — while awaiting a liver transplant.
Though we were not close friends, I remember her with great fondness.
I met Barbara at Left Coast Crime in Pasadena. After my first-ever mystery panel, she made a point of telling me I’d done well. Later, while we stood in line for dinner, I commented on the supportive quality of the mystery community. Barbara cited statistics about the phenomenal amount of books most mystery fans read annually.
Then she said, "Why wouldn’t I support and promote you? By supporting you, I’m supporting the mystery genre."
That idea made so much sense; I’ve held it close ever since.
The last contact I had with Barbara was toward the end of November — right before she went to Ohio. She sent a group email to those of us who served on an Edgars judging committee together. She requested that we keep the possible surgery quiet.
She didn’t want to be known for her liver disease.
So, let’s not remember her for that.
Let’s celebrate her astounding literary contribution and her magnificent personal character . . .