By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

IAWA’s March Salon at the Cell, dubbed Crime Night by its co-conspirators Seamus Scanlon and Gary Cahill, brought together members of the prestigious Mystery Writers of America with IAWA talent. Speaking of talent, actor and playwright Joe Goodrich hosted with great style. A mystery editor and aficionado, Joe gave an overview of the genre that ranges from “talking cats to serial killers.” No cats appeared but we had plenty of killers, flash fiction, classic detectives and a bit of history, and naturally, a bit of music.

One of the organizers, Seamus Scanlon read three flash pieces:  “A hAon, A Do, A Tri” (“One, Two, Three”) about “a girl called Zelda in Mervue who didn’t like guys like she ougtha…” His  “Three-Nil” depicts an early savage incident in Northern Ireland. Seamus’ best selling work The Long Wet Grass, now a film and play, was originally developed and premiered at the Cell.



Seamus Scanlon, left.  Gary Cahill

His partner-in-crime Gary Cahill read a short story “Responsorial” which was inspired by the themes of Seamus’ The Long Wet Grass. It’s a tough tale of American retribution for a long- ago personal transgression that took place during the Irish Troubles.



Rosina Fernhoff,  Mark Butler

Four IAWA members entertained with selected bits from their favorite crime novels. Rosina Fernhoff and Mark William Butler chose classic detective fiction. Rosina read a taut, humor-filled, first person piece from the noir master James Crumley’s The Last Good Kiss. Playwright Mark William Butler channeled his inner Philip Marlowe as he read from Raymond Chandler’s classic 1949 novel, The Little Sister. Guen Donohue chose a slice of In the Woods by best-selling contemporary Irish author Tana French. Nancy Odatook us to 7th century Ireland with Absolution by Murder, the first book in the Sr. Fidelma series by Peter Tremayne.



Guen Donohue, left.  Nancy Oda

Suzanne Solomon’s flash fiction entry “Last Stop, Greystone Park” featured a vengeful wife hoping to enjoy her insurance money. Enjoy it on Akashic Books “Mondays Are Murder” series:’s work has appeared in the collections New Jersey NoirJewish NoirProtectors 2: Heroes-Stories to Benefit PROTECT, Grand Central Noir and online publications.



S.A. Solomon, left.  Joe Goodrich

Richie Narvaez, award-winning author of Roachkiller and Other Stories, was born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. And Williamsburg has changed a lot since then. Richie’s feelings about those changes are reflected in his upcoming novel: Hipster Death Rattle. The brief but bloody excerpt left us howling, and eager for the book’s publication next year.



Richie Narvaez, left.  Larry Kirwan 

IAWA president Larry Kirwan read a tender piece from his new novel A Raving Autumn. Set in Rockaway and Breezy Point, it tells of a couple who lost a hero son on 9/11. And then he sang “Heroes/Belfast” his interpretation of David Bowie’s classic. When Larry met Bowie,  Bowie said that “Heroes” could be set in Belfast as well as Berlin. Find Larry’s version on iTunes and other digital platforms.


Enjoying the intermission

Sara Covington, of Queens College and the Graduate Center, specializes in early modern British and Irish history. She told a particularly chilling story: that of Col. Daniel Axtell, a prominent figure in Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland. Appointed as governor of Kilkenny, and later accused of treason, Axtell was eventually hanged, drawn and quartered.



Sara Covington, left.   Nina Mansfield

In “Gods and Virgins in the Big Easy,” two college women head to New Orleans with murder in mind. Nina Mansfield’s story was published in Crime Syndicate Magazine. She’s a Connecticut based fiction writer and playwright. You can find her work at

In M.C. Neuda ‘s “Widow’s Might” published online in Yellow Mama, a not quite saintly widow-to-be tends to her husband.  And she read her poem, “Fix Me With A Pin,” in her best teenage voice. M.C. notes that it’s “currently awaiting the judge’s pleasure in Crazyhorse Magazine‘s poetry competition.”



John Kearns, left.  M.C. Neuda

John Kearns was thrilled to have the excellent actors Gina Costigan and John Skocik in a scene from his play, In a Bucket of Blood, set in Hell’s Kitchen. Eddie Carey waits for his old friend and crime boss, Jimmy Nolan, late at night in a bar. He is trying to learn about a shooting that morning at a local construction site. His wife, Deirdre, enters the bar and through one stratagem after another tries to get Eddie to realize that his loyalty to Nolan is misplaced.

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John Skocik, Gina Costigan in In a Bucket of Blood

Gary Cahill closed the show with a “slightly revised rock/mambo version” of Warren Zevon’s love and heroin song “Carmelita.” Pete Smith, actor, singer, songwriter, and retired firefighter, (, accompanied him on acoustic guitar.catseyepix-0239_preview GC PS

Pete Smith on guitar.  Gary Cahill

Special thanks to Gary and Seamus and Joe, and our MWA guests for delivering a fun, fast-paced night!

See you next time, Tuesday, 4/3 at 7 pm at St. Pat’s Pub, 22 W. 46th St.