It’s profoundly sad to report that Renée Paley-Bain, with whom I’d shared 33 glorious years, passed away on January 8, 2016, at Danbury Hospital. Her wonderful son and daughter, William and Marisa, and I were at Renée’s side throughout her wrenching three-week battle against Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia, a rare blood cancer she’d been living with for the past 18 years. She’d been successfully treated during those years and lived a full and productive life. But this time the disease got ahead of all the treatments the physicians came up with in an attempt to save her, and Waldenstrom’s eventually won.
As many of you know Renée was not only a beloved wife and caring, loving human being, she was also a talented writer who collaborated with me on dozens of novels in the “Murder, She Wrote” series. She’d had a distinguished career in public relations before turning her talent to the novels; she brought to the series a keen intellect and subtle humor that perfectly matched Jessica Fletcher and others in the cast of characters enjoyed by millions of TV viewers and readers of the books. Renée’s children and I derived much comfort during her gallant fight to stay alive from our families, including my daughter Pamela, and the legion of people who treasured, as I did, this gentle, generous and loving woman. I thank all the nurses who provided superb professional care and touching compassion to Renée during her medical ordeal, an exemplary group of people.
Per Renée’s instructions and based upon hundreds of conversations she had with me and her children about end-of-life decisions, an autopsy will be performed. She did not want a wake or funeral. She’ll be cremated, her ashes strewn over a bird feeding sanctuary she loved, and I’ll host a gathering in the future to celebrate her life. We’ve been loyal supporters of Compassion & Choices and its commitment to death-with-dignity for many years. Hopefully the state in which we live, Connecticut, and its legislators will follow the lead of Washington, Oregon, Wyoming and Vermont in allowing physician-assisted aid for certifiably terminal patients to pass peacefully and with dignity in their final days. Renée would want anyone who wishes to donate in her memory to help Compassion & Choices, the United States Humane Society, or ASPCA to carry on their work, which she so ardently supported.
Renée Paley-Bain brought me unmitigated joy during our 33 years together, and I’ll spend what years I have left honoring this talented, exemplary woman. What a joyous 33 years it’s been.
Sleep well my darling!
Veronica Lake was a major Hollywood star, the number one female box office attraction in her prime. We became friends when I wrote her autobiography, VERONICA,. I’m currently working with British film producer and screenwriter, Ian Beaumont on a feature-length film on Veronica’s life. Working title: THE LOST BLONDE.
Our good friend Con Lehane, whose next book is Murder at the 42nd Street Library.
We did a "Murder, She Wrote" panel with the delightful Tom Sawyer, scriptwriter for the series.
Great to see Diane and (William) Kent Krueger again. Kent's Ordinary Grace swept all the awards categories. Well deserved!
Always wonderful seeing the multi-talented Lee Goldberg, writer, TV producer, and now publisher. Check out his Brash Books site
Don with Doris Ann Norris, ex-librarian extraordinaire.
Celebrating seeing each other again (from left) Linda Landrigan, editor of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Renee, Meredith Anthony, Jane Cleland, Larry Light, John Landrigan and Don.
Authors Mike Lawson and Ken Isaacson with Don, Renee, and Penguin's Sandy Harding.
Don and his long-time friend and editor Bob Gleason of TOR/Forge. Don's latest novel in the Margaret Truman Capital Crimes series, UNDIPLOMATIC MURDER, is dedicated to Bob.
Don with the multi-talented Michael Cavacini whose arts and culture blog
reaches millions of readers in many countries.
A writer's best friend, Dru Ann Love, with Don. Dru Ann blogs about mysteries and invites authors to portray their characters. See the bulleted items on the Home page for a link to Don's latest for her.
Renee takes a needed break with fellow authors Stacy Allen and Kay Kendall.
Friend and fellow-author Meredith Anthony, next to Renee on their panel, always has a unique point of view.
We recently had visitors from London, Ian and Zoe Beaumont, and shared a delightful lunch with them and with our agent, Bob Diforio. Ian is a British filmmaker who contacted me regarding VERONICA, Veronica Lake's autobiography, which I wrote with the former film star a number of years ago. Ian and his production company intend to produce a feature film about Veronica's life, particularly the years post-Hollywood, and he has asked me to work with him on the project. Ian is seated to my right, directly in front of Bob Diforio who, no surprise, positioned himself between the two better looking members of the group, and who has a saintly glow thanks to the backlight. Renee is to his right, Zoe to his left. I'm excited about this project, not only because Veronica's life will make for a compelling movie, I'll be involved with Ian and Zoe, who Renee calls our new old best friends. More info as it develops.
Attorney and thriller author Ken Isaacson spoke about fixing plot flaws on his panel, "How Do You Fill Those Black Holes?" Don considers Ken's legal thriller, SILENT COUNSEL, one of the best ever written in that genre.
Former Thrillerfest chairman Shane Gericke moderated a panel of Thriller award nominees. He's a fine writer as well as an all-around splendid guy. Check out his novel TORN APART.
After our talk at Westport Public Library, we visited with the Hartford Examiner's John Valeri. Thanks to the library's Jane Murphy for making the program such a success.
At the Love Is Murder conference
For more photos from Love Is Murder, see our Murder, She Wrote Author page on Facebook (and please "Like" us).
(L to R) Don with fellow featured authors Hank Phillippi Ryan, Julie James and David Morrell on a panel moderated by Raymond Benson.
Local Guest of Honor Julie Hyzy (right) conducted a lunchtime interview with fellow honorees Hank Phillippi Ryan, Don and Julie James.
Our Arizona Travels
Signing at the famed Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale.
In Tampa Researching Prescription for Murder
Tampa Artist of the Year James Vann and Don. The Vanns gave us an insider's view of their adopted city.
They got the memo: Renee and Jeannette Vann showing off their Jimmy Vann earrings. Good friends, the Vanns introduced us to Tampa people and places..
The New England Crime Bake conference featured a costume party at the banquet. Our friend Nikki Bonanni went as Lisbeth Salander, the leading character in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and guess what? She won!
I was the Mystery Guest of Honor at Killer Nashville, where host Clay Stafford interviewed me before a packed house.
Here I'm with Bob Dugoni, the Thriller Guest of Honor at Killer Nashville.
Here we are with friend and fellow writer (and dynamite singer) Paula Lanier, who graciously took photos for us when our camera died. More of Paula's photos are on Killer Nashville's Facebook page.
Our hostess, Nikki Bonanni, arranged for a morning signing at Island Health & Fitness and an afternoon signing at the King Ferry Winery, known for its wonderful Treleaven wines.
With our friend and fan, Shirley Landes, at Malice.
Renée and Don with mystery author Heather Graham, whose success in a variety of genres has landed her on the best-seller list many times.
With the Bay Bridge as a backdrop (from left) mystery-writers and friends Meredith Anthony and Larry Light, co-authors of LadyKiller, and Paula Lanier. Larry is also executive vice president of the Mystery Writers of America.
With Greg and Mary Bruss at Mysteries & More in Nashville.
Greg and Mary included the cover of Nashville Noir on the shop's anniversary cake.
At Left Coast Crime, fellow six-footers Don and Lee Child, whose best-seller Gone Tomorrow is the latest in the popular Jack Reacher series.
Shots from our trips to England to visit friends.
At London's famed Ivy Restaurant with friend and world-famous crime fiction writer P.D. James (next to me), and her wonderful friend and editor, Rosemary Goad (next to Renee). We lost a treasured friend when Phyllis James died this year. We met Phyllis and Rosemary on the QE2 where Phyllis and I lectured during a trans-Atlantic crossing. We shared a table that trip and spent our time together telling tales and laughing as we did every time we met. I had the pleasure of teaching her to shoot craps on that voyage, which she recounts in her memoir A Time to be in Earnest. We miss you, Phyllis.
At the Priory Hotel and Restaurant in Bath, England, with good friends, thriller writer Craig Thomas (standing), and his lovely wife and editor Jill (seated at right) . We recently lost Craig to acute myeloid leukemia, but we wanted to keep this reminder of our wonderful times with him and his dear Jill.
Photo from Purdue
While at Purdue we were treated to a lecture by the brilliant actor James Earl Jones, seen here on the left. To our right is Dr. Joseph Stockdale, my former theater professor when I was a student at Purdue. Forty years ago Joe brought Mr. Jones to Purdue to appear in "Of Mice and Men," and they've remained friends ever since. Joe, one of the nation's leading experts on Tennessee Williams, continues to be a force in American theater, as well as an author. His latest book, "TAKING TENNESSEE TO HART," published by our Hyphenates Books, is a wonderful comic-caper novel that's been garnering rave reviews from readers on amazon.com. Joe and I have also remained close friends, and it was a joy to spend a weekend with him and with the distinguished Mr. Jones.