Welcome to my tour stop for The Patron Murders by Edwin Wilson. The Patron Murders is a mystery and the tour runs March 1-11 with reviews, guest posts, interviews and excerpts. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.
Matt Johanssen, a dedicated stage actor in his early fifties, is currently rehearsing a play soon to open on Broadway. Through the years, Matt has also anonymously assisted the NYPD in solving a number of crimes.Midway through rehearsals, a startling murder takes place thirty blocks away at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where a trustee is discovered on the roof with a javelin thrust through his heart. Later, just prior to opening night, the admired and beloved producer of Matt's play, Dorothy Tremayne, is found dead in the theatre’s darkened basement lounge.Ten days later, during a gala at the American Museum of Natural History, there is another murder far more sensational than the ones before. Working behind the scenes, Matt becomes deeply involved in solving all three cases. Meanwhile, he meets an intriguing, auburn-haired woman writing about the murders, and a romantic liaison develops amid the danger and suspense. Set against the backdrop of the inner workings of New York City’s theatre, art, and cultural scenes, The Patron Murders is part detective story, part social novel, and a witty, incisive critique of the parvenues who attempt to gain acceptance in the old-line arts establishment.
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Author, teacher, critic, Edwin Wilson began his career as Assistant to the Producer for the Broadway play Big Fish, Little Fish directed by John Gielgud, and the film Lord of the Flies directed by Peter Brook. He produced plays off-Broadway and coproduced the Broadway play Agatha Sue, I Love You directed by George Abbott. He also produced the film The Nashville Sound.
Educated at Vanderbilt, Edinburgh, and Yale, he received the first Doctor of Fine Arts degree awarded by Yale. From 1972 to 1994 he was the theatre critic for The Wall Street Journal. For thirty years he taught at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center. During the past four decades he has been the preeminent writer of college theatre textbooks in the U.S. His three books (two coauthored with Alvin Goldfarb) have sold nearly one million copies.
He has served as president of the Theatre Development Fund and the New York Drama Critics Circle, as well as chairman of the Pulitzer Prize Drama Jury.In the early 1990s, he conducted a series of ninety half-hour television interviews with theater artists ranging from George Abbott to Jerry Zaks, which appeared on CUNY-TV in New York and 200 PBS stations around the country.
The Patron Murders is Wilson’s first novel.
What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I have always enjoyed murder mysteries – reading them in my free time. I was especially fond of the English author Simon Brett and his series on Charles Paris, an alcoholic, second-rate actor in Britain who has a knack for solving murders that take place in and around the theatre. Brett also has a grand sense of humor so the books are amusing as well as intriguing.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
It would have to be Matt Johanssen, the successful, middle-aged stage actor who, in the book is in rehearsal for a new play about to open on Broadway. Through the years, Matt, behind the scenes and out of sight, has helped the NYPD solve crimes that they have been unable to find the answer to. In the case of The Patron Murders, there are three homicides and Matt is helpful in finding the guilty party in all three cases.
Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel came first. I had a different title in an earlier draft when there was only one murder. In later versions, other murders were added and the title emerged.
What scene in the book are you the most proud of, and why?
This is difficult to answer; it is like being asked to name your favorite child when you have three or four. The scene where Mikey – a gay, tough guy – accosts Matt in his loft apartment at gunpoint is the most graphic and suspenseful scene. But I also like the scenes during the theatre rehearsal process when new material is added to the script and the actors find it extremely gratifying and satisfying when it enhances their performances.
Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
I wrote this while I was also working on the revision of one of my textbooks published by McGraw-Hill, so the writing was intermittent. I would work intensely for several weeks, and then put it aside for a time. The spacing out of the writing, with time to absorb ideas and return to the work with a fresh eye, was a tremendous advantage.
What do you most like about the cover of the book?
The photograph of the front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, because one of the murders takes place in the museum.
What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2016?
The Abundance by Annie Dillard
What was your favorite book of 2015?
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
What’s up next for you?
To finish work with my co-author of the 7th edition of our theatre history book, Living Theatre to be published by W. W. Norton, and perhaps contemplate a sequel to The Patron Murders.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Only that having the time to work slowly on The Patriot Murders was a true luxury and that writing it was a great adventure.
$15 Amazon gift card (INT)
5 hardcover copies of The Patron Murders (US)
5 ebook copies of The Patron Murders (INT)
Ends March 16
This giveaway is provided by the publisher, hosts are not responsible. Must be 13 or older to enter and have parental permission if under 17. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to win.
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.