Interview and Giveaway: J.J. Murphy

Please welcome J.J. Murphy, author of the Algonquin Round Table mysteries.

[J.J. has graciously offered to give a copy of A Friendly Game of Murder to one lucky reader (paperback or digital format–winner’s choice).  Just leave a comment below today to enter the giveaway!  Winner will be selected at random and notified directly via email.]

What’s your idea of a perfect day?
My perfect day is a day when the sun is shining, the birds are singing and, in the library, the detectives are finding clues, digginafriendlygameofmurderg up bodies and catching criminals.

Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
I have only a written signature. I use it to sign IOUs, bank loans and bar tabs.

Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Outside of my dog, my creative inspirations are Dorothy Parker, Arthur Conan Doyle and David Letterman. Inside of my dog, it’s too dark and cramped to be creative.

Do you listen to music when you write?
When I write, the only music I hear is the symphony of my fingers clicking on the keyboard and the gentle screams of my characters as I put them into yet another tight corner.

If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
If books were chocolate, I would never leave the bookstore. I wouldn’t be able to fit through the door!

What made you interested in writing this particular story?
Okay, let’s be serious now… I love historical mysteries. I also love funny, faced-paced stories. I love witty dialogue. And I love Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table. Mix those up in a blender, and you have my particular story.

What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
Dorothy Parker once said (and I repeat this in my books) that she uses humor not as a weapon but as a shield. The first book in the Algonquin Round Table Mysteries, Murder Your Darlings, is really about using humor as a means of self-defense, and to some extent my other books are about that too.

Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Whoops. I kind of gave it away in the previous answer. Dorothy is witty, as I’ve explained. But what leads her to solving a mystery is finding a dead body beneath the Algonquin Round Table. Hilarity, shenanigans and car chases ensue.

Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
I don’t need to do that at all! Dorothy Parker was a famous character in her own right. But if you don’t know who Mrs. Parker was, she had the sharp wit of Oscar Wilde, the heart of Lord Byron, and the va-va-voom body of Scarlett Johansson.

If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
1. Dorothy Parker (to make the jokes).
2. Ernest Hemingway (to mix the drinks).
3. Julia Child (to cook the dinner).
4. Dan Brown (to be the victim).
5. Arthur Conan Doyle (to solve the crime).
6. James Patterson (to pay the bill!).

What’s next for you?
Glad you asked! At the moment, I’m working on a brand new historical mystery thriller (no details to announce yet), and looking forward to getting back to Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table as soon as I can.


When not writing the Algonquin Round Table Mysteries, J.J. Murphy is an award-winning health care writer and very busy parent of twin daughters in suburban Philadelphia.

Twitter: @Rnd_Tbl_Mystry
Email: jjmurphy (at)


10 thoughts on “Interview and Giveaway: J.J. Murphy”

  1. This is wonderful, and I just popped over to Amazon to buy Murder Your Darlings on the strength of this interview alone!

    I find when I write historically I find myself disappearing down the research rabbit hole. Is there any particular way you keep from tumbling down?


  2. Thanks for a wonderful (and hilarious) interview. I have enjoyed all of the Round Table Mysteries and I’m looking forward to #4! Have always wondered: HOW do you channel Dorothy Parker so well? Do you have to re-read her work regularly before writing to “get into voice”?


  3. I love your interview answers!! You are not only a clever writer, but very funny too. I look forward to every new book you write!


  4. Great interview! I thought my favorite was the mash-up question (I love that you did not take a pass since Dorothy Parker was a real person), but you definitely ended on a high note with your dinner party. Kudos, and best of luck with your book(s)!


  5. marysuttonauthor – The main challenge in writing about Dorothy Parker is to capture her rapier-like wit, but without making her seem cruel or mean-spirited.

    Peg Cochran – Thanks for the compliment. I might be able to take Mrs. Parker in a fist fight, but I’m pretty sure she would cut me to ribbons in a conversation.

    Lyn – I don’t mind tumbling down the rabbit hole. Matter of fact, I visit as often as possible.

    Theresa – Nice reference! You know your Parker, or your New Yorker.

    Cynthia – So glad you like the books. How do I channel Dorothy Parker? As the saying goes, I try to “walk a mile in her shoes.” Which is not easy as she had very tiny feet. It always ends in blisters and tears.

    Julia Shonka – Thanks for the kind words. Clearly, you have excellent taste!

    Diane Vallere – My dinner parties usually do not end on a high note. They usually end with washing the dishes, and I would not call that a high note. So the 7th guest writer I’d invite is Martha Stewart, who can wash the dang dishes.


  6. Congrats to Lyn Belzer-Tonnessen, who was the random winner of a copy of A FRIENDLY GAME OF MURDER! But hey, if you’re reading mysteries and this Mysteristas blog, you’re surely a winner in your own right!


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