What do mystery authors Sara Paretsky, Margaret Maron, Nancy Pickard, and Dorothy Salisbury Davis have in common? They saw that women authors often missed out on publishing contracts, promotional dollars, and review opportunities in a publishing world weighted in favor of male authors. They decided to even the playing field and, in 1987, founded Sisters in Crime, an association of mystery authors and fans with the clear mission to help women who write, review, buy, or sell crime fiction or as its official
mission statement says, “to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional of women crime writers.”
I joined the organization several years ago and can attest to the benefits of membership. SinC arranged a visit to the Maryland Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore where I learned the difference between a medical examiner and a coroner and watched an autopsy under way. The SinC chapter programs have been equally informative with speakers on medical serial killers, poison control centers, and other topics of intense interest to me and other mystery writers.
SinC also arranges speaking and exhibiting opportunities for members and produces other events to further the mystery-writing careers of all of its members.
As Sisters in Crime celebrates its 30th year, local chapters are joining in with birthday celebrations around the country. I attended the Chesapeake Chapter event on August 5 in Bethesda, MD. Guest speakers were chapter members and well-known authors Elaine Raco Chase and Marcia Talley who have served as national presidents, and Sarah Weinman, editor of the anthologies Women Crime Writers and Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives, who spoke on the beginnings of the genre of domestic suspense.
Sisters in Crime now has more than 3600 members in 50 chapters across the country and beyond. In 2016 Mystery Writers of America honored the organization with the Raven Award for “outstanding contribution to the mystery field.” Writing mysteries is still a tough field, but the efforts, contributions, and support of Sisters in Crime has made it a friendlier one.