Please join the UC Berkeley Library and the Northern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America for an evening of murder, mystery, and mayhem in the Morrison Library.

Crime Does Not Pay—Enough!
Mystery Writers of America in Northern California, Yesterday and Today
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
UC Berkeley Morrison Library


Best-selling authors Laurie R. King, Sheldon Siegel, and Kelli Stanley (all current or past Presidents of MWA NorCal) will be joined by Randal Brandt, the Bancroft Library’s Curator of California Detective Fiction, in celebrating the lives and works of several of the founding members, including Anthony Boucher, Lenore Glen Offord, Virginia Rath, Mary Collins, Robert Finnegan, Dana Lyon, Darwin and Hildegarde Teilhet, and others.

About the Mystery Writers of America

In 1945, Mystery Writers of America (MWA) was formed in order to promote the mystery and detective fiction genre and to advocate sufficient pay for mystery authors. Berkeley author and critic Anthony Boucher, who was also involved in progressive politics, was quick to join the cause, becoming one of the fledgling organization’s founding members. But MWA was headquartered in New York. So, in 1947, the first regional branch was established in Northern California. The inaugural meeting of what would become the MWA NorCal Chapter was held in San Francisco, and was documented in the pages of the Oakland Tribune:

Crime Incorporated, with murder and mayhem, slow or sudden death and assorted dirty work at the crossroads, has invaded the Bay Area. Its practitioners have banded together to ‘hold up’ the public, demanding, in two words, more kudos and more kale. Two dozen lively promoters of death met conspiratorially, at the gunpoint of Anthony Boucher…, to form a Western ‘cell’ of Mystery Writers of America, Inc., with the flourishing slogan, ‘Crime does not pay—enough.’ Over dinner and drinks (with or without cyanide) at a San Francisco restaurant, with the butt end of a .44 for gavel, officers were elected and arrangements made for monthly meetings, alternately in San Francisco and the East Bay.

Event Committee

Randal Brandt
Jennifer Osgood
Claude Potts
Stacy Reardon


Mystery Writers of America, NorCal Chapter
MWA NorCal is one of 11 regional chapters of the Mystery Writers of America, the country’s oldest organization of professional mystery writers. MWA NorCal’s goals are to promote the publication and discussion of mystery writings and to promote and maintain high standards in the writing, publishing, and production of mystery stories. MWA NorCal holds meetings throughout the year and across the NorCal region, generally with speakers or demonstrations of interest to crime writers. Most meetings are open to the public, and the Chapter welcomes new writers, aspiring authors, and anyone who simply loves a good mystery.

The Bancroft Library
The Bancroft Library is the primary special collections library at the University of California, Berkeley. As one of the largest and most heavily used libraries of manuscripts, rare books, pictorial collections, and other unique materials in the United States, Bancroft supports major research and instructional activities and plays a key role in the development of the University’s research collections.

Arts & Humanities Division, UC Berkeley Library
The Library’s Arts & Humanities Division supports core research collections and services located in Doe Library/Gardner Main Stacks and four additional library locations in Doe Library — the Art History/Classics Library, Graduate Services, Morrison Library, and South/Southeast Asia Library — as well as the Hargrove Music Library, located across campus. With a staff of 14 librarians, 16 library staff, and over 50 student library employees, these libraries are primary service points and provide research-level print and digital collections to support the research and teaching programs related to visual and performing arts, humanities, and international and area studies in a multicultural, global context.