Edna Buchanan is awesome. I was first introduced to her when I was interning at the Press-Telegram, and a veteran editor handed me her book, The Corpse Had a Familiar Face. There’s probably a newer, less- ’80s-looking cover now, but this is the one I read:
Edna was unassuming. She was a cop reporter for the Miami Herald at a time when there were few women on the beat. Reading her book, I imagined her stepping under police tape, wearing pink, and wearing heels. The cops, who were at first stunned by her presence, were eventually swayed by her respect, fairness and talent. She went on to win a Pulitzer for her phenomenal crime reporting during a tumultuous and violent era in Miami.
Amazingly, she never lost her heart. She cared about each and every murder victim in the height of Miami violence. She never grew callous. She cultivated good working relationships with sources, from cops to criminals. She worked her ass off. And she crafted the greatest leads.
Here’s a famous one:
“Gary Robinson died hungry.”
The story was about a guy who got upset that a fast food chain ran out of fried chicken and slugged a cashier. This set off a chain of events that led to him being shot by a security guard.
No, it’s not your normal hard news lead. Edna is more… literary. But damn, she’s good.
Edna’s in her 70s now, and she writes crime novels. I picture her now, older, still bombshell blonde, still with the brightly colored apartment and the fluffy little dogs in Miami.
She’s still awesome to me.