Monday, February 2, 2009

Interview with Mystery Author Steve Haberman is proud to have bestselling mystery author STEVE HABERMAN with us for an interview today. Thank you for joining us.

Tell us a little about your featured mystery, MURDER WITHOUT PITY.

MURDER WITHOUT PITY occurs in contemporary Paris rife with Extreme Right demagogues. Within this setting is dogged state criminal investigator Stanislas Cassel, grandson of a French propagandist for the Germans during their WWII Occupation. Ashamed of his family’s infamy, Monsieur Cassel avoids anything political. Instead, he buries himself solving small crimes, which he calls his Little Miseries. One Little Misery case is the murder of a pensioner.

Enter a beautiful Jewish woman, acutely aware of the Extreme Right’s present day menace because French Nazis killed her parents during the Second World War. Monsieur Cassel retorts she exaggerates their menace. Only when tragedy strikes does he awake to his blindness and understand a truth: a larger evil beyond his Little Miseries, as the Occupation portended, lurks. This newly found wisdom, tragically earned, propels him on to solving who killed that pensioner.

M.A.: Can you share with us (without giving anything away, of course!) a personal favorite moment or line in your book?

S.H.: No special lines. But there are several chapters I especially like…the one where protagonist Cassel discovers a cache of documents vital to solving the case of who murdered the pensioner and a pivotal Paris metro scene. Also the first chapter.

M.A.: Why mysteries? What makes them so compelling for you to write?

S.H.: I really prefer thrillers because I like worldly people (journalists, spies, and hoteliers, for instance) and because of the tension a well written stories can generate, i. e. John Le Carre’s Spy Who Came in From the Cold or Alan Furst’s Second World War novels or what I’m now reading, Fall From Grace by the late Larry Collins. Also like some Eric Ambler because he came up with the idea, I believe, of the innocent, caught up in something beyond his experience.

M.A.: What about other work? Do you write in any genres other than mystery?

S.H.: Don’t write in any other genre. Just stick to the thriller genre. That type will keep me busy till the end of my days.

M.A.: What was your funniest writing-related moment?

S.H.: One fault-finding reviewer commented some dialogue sounds like that spoken by the late Peter Lorrie. Not quite sure how that person arrived at that since I can’t remember when I last saw that late character actor in a film. Sometimes reviewers are spot on; other times their comments reflect more about them than about the subject reviewed.

M.A.: So, what's your current writing project? Is it a mystery, too?

S.H.: You betcha. I’m working on a second thriller about a contemporary topic, terrorism. Part I takes place mostly in San Diego where the protagonist, a relatively inexperienced CIA agent, teams up with a very experienced local FBI agent, to investigate a double murder in London. Part II takes place mostly in London, Paris, Brussels, and beyond, cities I’ve visited in past travels.

Have the final title plus the beginning, middle, and ending sections. Now I’m working over and over the rough spots.

M.A.: Other than, do you have any websites where readers can find out more about you and your work?

S.H.: My own website,, which is dedicated to mysteries set in or around the City of Light.

Thanks again for agreeing to take a Minute for Mystery by joining us here today.