Mystery community social maven and author Elaine Flinn passed away this last Saturday, the result of complications due to pneumonia and cancer. Elaine’s light was bright and she will be remembered for her talent in bringing us the Molly Doyle mysteries as well as a delicious, playful bitchiness combined with generosity of spirit that were the delight of all who new her.
A former San Francisco Bay area antiques dealer, Flinn dreamed up a sleuth with whom she had a great deal in common. Carmel, California, antiques dealer Molly Doyle was introduced in Dealing in Murder. Flinn’s 2003 debut novel was nominated for the Agatha, Gumshoe, Barry, and Anthony awards in its publication year.
In 2004, Flinn’s follow-up novel, Tagged for Murder, won the Barry Award. Two more Molly Doyle novels would follow--Deadly Collection in 2005 and Deadly Vintage just last year. And though all of Flinn’s novels were well-received and her Molly Doyle novels earned her a dedicated following, the author was nearly as well known for her vibrant presence in the mystery community.
Flinn was one of the founding members of the Anthony Award-nominated blog, Murderati. It was during her time at Murderati that Flinn developed the Evil-E persona for which she came to be so well-known.
As Evil-E, Flinn interviewed authors, asking them sometimes ridiculous though always interesting questions. During the time that Flinn conducted her “On the Bubble” interviews, she subjected many authors to her delightful silliness, including Ian Rankin, Barry Eisler, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Tess Gerritson, Chris Grabenstein, Alexandra Sokoloff, Pari Noskin-Taichert, yours truly, and others.
Today on the mystery listserv Dorothy-L, author Betty Webb (Desert Cut) offered her lament to the group. “Not only were they clever,” Webb said of Flinn’s books, “but they were sweet, too--and that’s something very hard to pull off.”
Perseverance Press editor Meredith Phillips added that Flinn “was a true original. Elaine really loved and embraced life, with a wonderful, fun-loving spirit.”
L.J. Sellers, author of The Sex Club, said that “Elaine was vivacious, generous, funny, and talented. I will miss her personally, and the mystery community will not be the same without her quick wit and great laugh.”
A memorial will be held in Carmel, California. Details of that service have not yet been announced.
READ MORE: “Farewell to a Friend,” by Louise Ure (Murderati); “Remembering Elaine Flinn,” by Ali Karim (Shotsmag Confidential).