Not Miss Marple

Please help me welcome Frankie Y. Bailey as today’s Wednesday’s Guest. She is a prolific writer, fiction and nonfiction, writing in her area of expertise, Criminal Justice. I reviewed her most recent fiction release, A Dead Man’s Honor, here on Sunday. It’s a good mystery with some terrific characters.

Since Lizzie is not Miss Marple, she probably wouldn’t want a dainty cup of tea, but perhaps she’d like a glass of sweet tea. She is a southerner after all. Grab a glass for yourself and read on to get to know more about Lizzie.

Iced mint tea

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thanks so much for having me as your guest today, Maryann. It’s a pleasure to be here to share a little bit more about the central character in my book.

My protagonist in the Lizzie Stuart series is a professional amateur. That’s my way of saying that she has a background in criminal justice, but she is not a criminal justice practitioner. She has a PhD in criminal justice. She is a crime historian, who knows about the law and criminal investigations. She is curious and persistent. But she has no law enforcement background and doesn’t like guns.

Like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Lizzie wants to know what happened and whodunit. But the skills she brings to her crime-solving are rooted in her training. She talks to the people involved in the case, but she also spends time in the archives following up on or double-checking what they’ve told her using documents such as court records and old newspapers.

As an African-American woman, Lizzie is aware that if she digs too deeply she may put herself in jeopardy. If she digs too deeply into the past, she will uncover some ugly secrets. But at the same time, the truth matters to her. In A Dead Man’s Honor, the second book in the series – the five books are currently being reissued – she is doing research on a lynching that her grandmother Hester Rose witnessed when she was a girl.

One of the challenges of writing about the past is having a protagonist who can put it into perspective. This character needs to be able to offer context for readers who may know about events such as lynchings but may not have pondered the generational impact.

Before A Dead Man’s Honor is over, Lizzie has discovered a secret about her grandmother that helps her to understand the rift between Hester Rose and her daughter, Lizzie’s mother. That understanding takes Lizzie to the point that she has to make some tough decisions about her life.

She is definitely not Miss Marple.


Frankie Y. Bailey is a professor in the School of Criminal Justice at the University at Albany (SUNY). Her areas of research are crime history, and crime and mass media/popular culture and material culture. She is the author of a number of non-fiction books, including local histories and books about crime fiction.

Her mystery novels feature Southern-born crime historian, Lizzie Stuart, in five books, beginning with Death’s Favorite Child and A Dead Man’s Honor. The books are being reissued by Speaking Volumes. Frankie’s two near-future police procedurals feature Albany police detective, Hannah McCabe in The Red Queen Dies and What the Fly Saw (Minotaur Books).

Frankie has also has written several short stories, including “In Her Fashion” (EQMM, July 2014), “The Singapore Sling Affair” (EQMM, Nov/Dec 2017), and “The Birth of the Bronze Buckaroo” (The Adventures of the Bronze Buckaroo, 2018). She is currently working on a nonfiction book about dress and appearance in American crime and justice, a historical thriller set in 1939, and the plots of the next Stuart and McCabe books. Frankie is a past executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime.




2 thoughts on “Not Miss Marple”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top