Talk, book focus on frontier before Lewis and Clark

Before Lewis and Clark undertook their historic journey up the Missouri River, the lands beyond the Mississippi were generally considered wild and unknown. However, one ambitious family knew the Missouri country well, having traveled it regularly as far north as present-day Canada.

In "Before Lewis and Clark: The Story of the Chouteaus, the French Dynasty That Ruled America's Frontier," Overland Park author Shirley Christian tells their story.

Christian will be at the Lawrence Public Library at 7 p.m. Monday to talk about the Chouteaus, their fur trapping and trading empire, their contributions to the founding of St. Louis, and the extensive and influential relationships they formed with many Indian tribes in the area.

The event is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by Signs of Life book store, which will make copies of the book available for purchase

Christian, a Kansas native, has worked as a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, The Miami Herald and the Associated Press, and written for national magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly and The New Republic. She won a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1981 for her coverage of the wars in Central America for The Miami Herald, and has received several other awards for her work.

Divas en route

"The Deadly Divas," a group of mystery authors who travel together, presenting their work and commenting on the writing process, will appear from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at The Raven Bookstore, 6 E. Seventh St.

The event is free and open to the public.

Included in the panel presentation will be writers Letha Albright, S.W. Hubbard, Susan McBride, Denise Swanson and Marcia Talley. All the authors have new mysteries available.

Women of mystery

A quartet of well-known female mystery writers will talk about their new books and the art of mystery writing during an appearance Oct. 3 in Lawrence.

Margaret Maron, Nancy Pickard, Twist Phelan and Eve Sandstrom will be at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1011 Vt., at 3:30 p.m. The Raven Bookstore, co-sponsoring the event with the church, will have copies of the authors' books.

Maron may be best known for her 1993 "Bootlegger's Daughter," which collectively won the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha and Macavity mystery awards, the first time one novel has ever won all four awards. The North Carolinian has since written 18 other books, including "Storm Track."

Pickard, of Leawood, has authored and co-authored 41 books, including the Eugenia Potter food mystery series, with titles such as "The Blue Corn Murders" and "The 27-Ingredient Chili Con Carne Murders." She also writes the Jenny Cain mysteries, such as "Bum Steer," set in the Flint Hills.

Phelan, a former trial lawyer, writes the legal-themed Pinnacle Peak mysteries set in Arizona desert towns.

Oklahoman Sandstrom writes the Down Home and Nell Matthews mysteries, all set in Southwest Oklahoma. From late spring to early fall, she moves to her husband's cabin on the east coast of Lake Michigan, where she becomes JoAnna Carl and writes mysteries of the area's "wealthy summer people," calling this series The Chocoholic Mysteries.

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