10 Things I Learned From Watching Murder, She Wrote

So I’m thinking about starting a bi-weekly craftivist interview series, which I’m asking about in my newsletter today. (Have you signed up? No? Go sign up now then, using the handy thingie near the top right of this post.) Is there anyone you’d like for me to interview? If so, do let me know!

Originally, I had planned to write Part 3 of Craft and Privilege today, but have run out of time. (If you haven’t checked them out already, here are links to Part 1 and Part 2.) I’m in Philadelphia right now to see Carrie Reichardt, but will return with Part 3 when I get back to Durham later this week. I’m writing this in Cafe OlĂ©, which Carrie suggested. They are playing Nina Simone. I never want to leave, but then again it is really gross outside.

Happily, however, I found this, which I wrote awhile ago and still totally love. Because I love Murder, She Wrote. And Angela Lansbury. Jessica Fletcher, forevs, guys.


1. Never apologize unless you do something wrong. Stand your ground at injustice, instead of apologizing for speaking up, even if people think you’re a pesky older woman. (And if they do think you’re a pesky older woman, dazzle them with your brilliance and wit, which they may never see coming.)

2. Offer to help other people, then let them come to you if they want to. When they come to you, offer tea. Preferably from teapots. Cute dainty saucers are great, but any old mug will do.

3. Treat your students as friends and peers. Teaching is a reciprocal process where everyone has something to learn. BONUS: You never know where you will run into them, making every day a possible reunion.

4. Always bring an over-the-shoulder handbag. If the case calls for it, you can swing it like a weapon. (Same goes for pumps.)

5. By dressing up nicely, it’s easier to sneak into places you’re not invited to. No one will notice that you’re really there to investigate. If you’re caught, tell them you know the mayor/owner/diplomat, because if you’re Jessica Fletcher, you probably do.

6. Make friends in high places. This is easily done once you do #5 enough. Seriously, prepare to be amazed at all the hobnobbing you will do while waiting for subpar appetizers in a line at a party.

7. Never be afraid to tap into your “writer’s intuition.” This is extra wise when you are a crack mystery writer who loves to travel. People will think you know what you are talking about making #1 a thing of the past.

8. Always be kind and polite to everyone no matter what their position. This can charm jerks of all sorts- but even if they aren’t charmed, they’ll remember that you treated everyone nicely. Sometimes this comes in extra handy when trying to execute #5.

9. When asked to go out an outing and they’re not sketchy, go. If they are sketchy, politely decline and move on. For reals, Jessica Fletcher goes on some mad adventures… which are super enviable for those of us watching them on our couch. (Ahem.)

10. Be interested in other people and their personal stories. Always. Not only does it give you ideas for characters in future books, it also makes you friends all over the world. This dovetails nicely with #6 if they invite you to stay and you have like your own villa in Italy or something.

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