Wow! Number Nine! Lee Child is the ninth Mystery Writer of America Grand Master to be a guest on Joy on Paper. It has been such a JOY for me to talk so many of my favorite mystery authors.
I read my first MWA Grand Master when I was just five years old. My mother and her friends were playing pinochle when I interrupted them to announce that I had finished my mother’s Perry Mason paperback. The ladies laughed, but my mother gave me a wink. She knew that I had been reading from the age of two.
The Grand Master Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Mystery Writers of America. The first recipient was, appropriately, Agatha Christie in 1953. Since then it has been awarded to many of the world’s best selling authors, including Erle Stanley Gardner, who received the award in 1953.
If you are ever watching Perry Mason re-runs you might get a glimpse of the great man himself in the last episode of the series. Gardner took the role of the judge in “The Case of the Final Fade-Out” (1966). It is always amusing to think that Raymond Burr actually tried out for the part of Hamilton Burger! Luckily, Gardner himself saw the audition and insisted that Burr was the incarnation of his idea of Perry Mason.
If you are ever in California, visit the the Temecula Valley Museum where there have over 6,000 of his photographs and a vast collection of Memorabilia.
(He really did have a patient secretary like Della Street!)
These are the MWA Grand Masters who have joined guests: