Oline Cogdill

Ideas for novels can come from so many sources. Sometimes a newspaper clipping, a phrase in a novel or even a conversation overheard in an airport lounge can spark that imagination.

J.A. Jance, currently on tour for her latest Ali Reynolds’ novel Moving Target, has used conversations with friends, a cruise and an art exhibit about domestic abuse for her inspiration. Second Watch, her last novel about Seattle investigator J.P. Beaumont, was tribute to a high school friend.

James Grippando uses the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill that affected the Gulf Coast a couple of years ago for his latest thrill Black Horizon.

Michael Connelly used a crime that took place on his first day as a reporter for the L.A. Times as a springboard for Black Echo, his first Harry Bosch.

Laura Lippman used a real incident in Baltimore history for latest stand-alone After I’m Gone.

In this enthralling novel, Baltimore gambler Felix Brewer’s disappearance forever affects the lives of the wife, three daughters, and mistress he leaves behind. In Lippman’s fictional version, a murder also happens.

Lippman’s novel has been garnering universally positive reviews, including from me.

After I’m Gone is based on a piece of Baltimore history. During the 1970s, Baltimore kingpin Julius Salsbury jumped bail while on appeal for a gambling conviction. Salsbury, who has never been captured, also left behind a wife, three daughters and a mistress.

Lippman will be the subject of a profile in the next issue of Mystery Scene.

Currently, she is on tour for After I’m Gone. She’ll be in South Florida this week—details here. And she will be one of the guests of honor at SleuthFest this week.