Penn Hills author included in local mystery anthology

Patrick Varine
| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Penn Hills resident Mary Sutton and her fellow Sisters in Crime are preparing to unleash torrents of illegal activity on the Pittsburgh area.

Luckily for us, the Sisters are a literary group, an international organization of writers, readers, booksellers, authors and more, interested in promoting the work of female mystery writers.

The Mary Roberts Rinehart Chapter of the group, based in Pittsburgh, released “Lucky Charms” on Dec. 2. It is an anthology featuring local Sisters in Crime writers including Sutton, whose short story “Batter Down” tells of a small-town sports team that gets mixed up in murder.

The story is a police procedural, which Sutton said is right in her wheelhouse.

“When I started writing mysteries, I was writing more-traditional stories with amateur detectives, known as ‘cozies,'” she said. “But I struggled with it.”

Sutton said friends liked her writing, but it lacked a certain “zing.” Then someone told her to simply write the story she wanted to read.

“When I looked at my shelves, they were stuffed with procedurals, thrillers and suspense.”

While Sutton — who wrote under the pen name Liz Milliron — does write standalone stories, “Batter Down” is part her Laurel Highlands Mysteries series, which are all set in southwest Pennsylvania. Several characters make recurring appearances in her other stories, including one of her favorite characters, a deputy coroner named Tom Burn who sports a dark sense of humor.

Sutton also volunteered to be a part of the committee responsible for publication, helping to devise a publishing schedule and format the book for both digital and print publication.

In addition to her mystery writing, Sutton has also penned a children's fantasy series, “Hero's Sword.” In fact, she adopted the “Liz Milliron” nom de plume so that fans of her children's work wouldn't accidentally buy their kids a hard-boiled detective story.

Sutton said she was ecstatic to have her submission selected for inclusion in the anthology.

“These are my friends and peers, and to be published with them is extremely exciting,” she said. “I'm honored beyond measure to have my story in with those from such a tremendously talented group.”

A book signing and author meet-and-greet for “Lucky Charms” will take place Dec. 8, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Mystery Lovers Bookshop, located at 514 Allegheny River Blvd. in Oakmont.

“We're very proud of this anthology, and we can't wait to share it with the world,” she said.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or

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