It’s never to late to write a mystery

Diana O’Hehir was once shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize, wrote several volumes of poetry, and taught writing at Mills College for 32 years. At 83, some might think it’s time to settle into retirement, but as she tells the Marin Independent Journal, it seemed like a great idea to write a mystery novel:

Diana O’Hehir is a nationally recognized poet and retired (after 32 years) creative writing teacher at Mills College.

Wouldn’t you think she could rest on her laurels?

But no: O’Hehir, a resident of Belvedere, has just completed her first murder mystery, "Murder Never Forgets."

And – at age 83 – she has signed a contract with Berkley Prime Crime
publishers in New York, a subsidiary of Penguin, to write two more.

Why murder mysteries?

"I don’t know. I thought I’d try it. I thought it might be fun," she says, her face crinkling in a delighted smile.

She is already two-thirds finished with the second book: different
murder, same heroine, Carla Day, who is "25, at loose ends, no special
talents except that she’s smart."

The profile then gets into her personal life, and how an early love became a later one:

Her marriage to Brendan O’Hehir survived
for 29 years, but "after separating about five times," they were
divorced in 1986. He died a few years later.

Shortly after the divorce, "I Wish This War Were Over" was published, and [first husband] Mel Fiske – whom she had seen only once in 36 years – wrote from his home in Los Angeles to congratulate her on the book.

He asked if she would sign a copy if he sent one to her.


He called to thank her: "I owe you a beer."

"No," she replied, "you owe me a dinner."

Fiske, whose own second marriage had also recently ended, agreed to
drive to the Bay Area to see her. He says now he was reluctant.

"You know how long it takes to drive from L.A. to San Francisco? Maybe
six hours on I-5? It took me two days," Fiske says. "I stopped at every
bar to ask myself ‘What am I getting into?’"

They had dinner, and have been together ever since.

  Talk about it never being too late&#8230;