Sunday, July 19, 2015

Mystery Author of the Month: Marja McGraw

The first book I read by Marja McGraw was Old Murders Never Die. I enjoyed it so much that I went on to read the rest of the books in her Sandi Webster Mystery series. Then, I proceeded to read her Bogey Man mysteries. I often refer to those as “feel good mysteries” because, if you’re having a bad day and you read one of them, you’re sure to feel better. If you don’t believe me, give it a try. Now, on to the questions I asked Marja.

Patricia: When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
Marja: Oddly enough, when a friend talked me into trying it. My friend had moved out of state and (this is in the old days, before emails), I wrote letters to her. I told her stories about what was going on in my life and around me. She said she used to wait for my letters because they brought out all of her emotions; laughter, tears, joy and what have you. Eventually I moved to her area and she nagged me to try to write a book. It didn’t take much nagging, and since I love mysteries, that’s the direction I took. She receives a complimentary copy of every book thanks to her powers of persuasion. I’ve always loved writing stories, but this friend was my catalyst to actually trying a book-length story. What would we do without good friends?
Interesting story: My friend’s husband never read anything except the newspaper and hunting magazines. He saw “Old Murders Never Die” sitting on the coffee table and picked it up. He read it from cover to cover, and it was the first book he’d ever read. I’ll take that as a huge compliment.
Patricia: If, for some reason, you couldn’t be a writer, what profession would you choose?
Marja: Without a doubt, archaeology. If I’d had the opportunity, I would have attended college and that’s what I would have studied. In a way, it represents mystery to me; mysteries that are just waiting to be solved. I love history, too, so this would have been a “two birds with one stone” career.
I worked in civil and criminal law enforcement for several years and loved every moment of it, but I’m not sure I’d want to go back to that any time soon. The world has changed a lot since then, and even back in the day things could be dicey sometimes, and I was at the clerical end of things. Okay, sometimes I was called on for non-clerical duties, and honestly, that’s what made it fun.
Patricia: Do you have a bucket list, things you still want to do and/or places you want to visit?
Marja: Things I want to do would certainly include more writing. I’d love to meet some of the people I’ve met through the Internet in person. I’d really like to take a long train ride, to almost anywhere. Honestly? I think I’ve done most of the things that would be on my bucket list. It’s been an interesting life, even without doing a lot of long-distance traveling, and an interesting life can sometimes give a writer a different perspective on mysteries and storylines.
As far as places I’d like to visit, I’d like to return to Australia. The last time I was there I stayed with the relatives of a friend and, thanks to them, I got to see and do a lot of things tourists wouldn’t normally do, including when we visited Tasmania. Scotland would another place on my list.
There are more places I’d like to visit, particularly here in America, but Australia and Scotland hold the top two places on my list.
Thank you for letting me visit today, Pat, and I appreciate the interesting questions you handed me. 
About Marja:
Marja McGraw was born and raised in Southern California. She worked in both civil and criminal law, state transportation, and most recently for a city building department.  She has lived and worked in California, Nevada, Oregon, Alaska and Arizona.
McGraw wrote a weekly column for a small town newspaper in Northern Nevada, and conducted a Writers’ Support Group in Northern Arizona. A past member of Sisters in Crime (SinC), she was also the Editor for the SinC-Internet Newsletter for a year and a half.
She has appeared on KOLO-TV in Reno, Nevada, and KLBC in Laughlin, Nevada, and various radio talk shows.
Marja says that each of her mysteries contains a little humor, a little romance and A Little Murder!
She now lives in Arizona, where life is good.

 The Sandi Webster Series involves a female private investigator who becomes involved in both client situations and personal mysteries. From solving old crimes, as well as current cases, Sandi finds herself in some unusual situations, such as discovering a ghost town with a mysterious past that no one has stepped foot in for over a hundred years.
Sandi’s partner, Pete, adds a little more mystery and a touch of romance to the series. Her mother manages to create humor. Her friends are always on hand to help or hinder resolutions to her cases. This private eye never knows where life is going to take her next.
Sandi Webster Mysteries
#1 - A Well-Kept Family Secret
#2 - Bubba's Ghost
#3 - Prudy's Back!
#4 - The Bogey Man
#5 - Old Murders Never Die
#6 - Death Comes in Threes
#7 - What Are the Odds?

The Bogey Man Series is based on a Humphrey Bogart look-alike who wishes he could live the life Bogey did in his P.I. movies. An amateur sleuth and restaurateur, Chris Cross is married with a young stepson. The stories are told from the point of view of his wife, Pamela, who’s just as interested in solving crimes as her husband.
Their young son, Mikey (nicknamed Ace), would like nothing more than to involve himself in their mysterious lives, and on occasion he does manage to insert himself in their cases, as does Chris’s unusual mother.
Dig a hole to bury a dead bird and dig up a skeleton. Try to help some little old Church Ladies and dig yourself into a hole. Buy a vintage building for your forties-themed restaurant and find a dead body buried in the basement.

The Bogey Man Mysteries

#1 - Bogey Nights

#2 - Bogey's Ace in the Hole
#3 - They Call Me Ace

#4 - Awkward Moments

#5 - How Now Purple Cow

To learn more about Marja and her books, visit her at:
Books Available at: and you can request them at your favorite bookstore.


  1. Pat, Thank you so much for featuring me and my books this month! I appreciate that you give so much time to so many authors. Your generosity speaks volumes.
    Marja McGraw

    1. Your books deserve all the attention they can get, Marja. Even though I'm partial to your Sandi Webster mysteries, I love both of your series. Keep 'em comin'!

  2. I really must try both series. Both sound excellent!

    1. Thank you, Helen! I hope you enjoy them and that they lighten your day.

  3. It's always a joy to read your mystery novels,Marja. I'm looking forward to your next one.

    1. Thank you, Evelyn! I look forward to your next book, too. : )

  4. I've said it before, and saying it again, LOVE your books, Marja. Great Patricia is putting the spot light on you--well deserved! I like both series--though one of my favorites is still Old Murders Never Die.

    1. Thank you, Madeline, and I feel the same about your books. I'm thrilled to have become a friend of so many really great writers.

  5. I'm glad I was able to meet you in person ages ago at a mystery conference!

  6. Me, too, Morgan. And we even sat on a panel together. : )

  7. Marja and Pat,

    A very interesting interview. Marja, it was great learning more about you. Your novels are just the kind of mysteries I enjoy reading. Best wishes.

    1. Thank you, Jacqueline! I'm glad to hear you enjoy the type of book I write.

  8. Great interview. I enjoy both your series and look forward to more.

    1. Thank you, Jean! I look forward to your next book, too.