Morning names: two literary women

Two morning names today (from waking up at two different times, with a name in my head each time): Marijane Meaker (the writer), Kay Scarpetta (the fictional medical examiner).

Meaker. A complex career, under several names. From Wikipedia:

Marijane Meaker (born May 27, 1927) is an American novelist and short story writer in several genres using different pen names. From 1952 to 1969 she wrote twenty mystery and crime novels as Vin Packer, including Spring Fire which is credited with launching the genre of lesbian pulp fiction (although few of Packer’s books address homosexuality or feature gay characters). Using her own observations of lesbians in the 1950s and 1960s, she wrote a series of nonfiction books about lesbians under the pen name Ann Aldrich from 1955 to 1972. In 1972 she switched genres and pen names once more to begin writing for young adults, and became quite successful as M.E. Kerr, producing over 20 novels and winning multiple awards … She was described by The New York Times Book Review as “one of the grand masters of young adult fiction.” As Mary James, she has written four books for younger children.

(Marijane Meaker in 2007)

I know MM from a comic novel published under her own name in 1972 (and reissued in 2002): Shockproof Sydney Skate. The title character is a 17-year-old, a straight guy with a lesbian mother. Sydney sails, unshocked, through a cast of lesbians and gay men, notably in the Cherry Grove section of Fire Island (where he picks his way around gay men having sex in the bushes: “under the boardwalk, down by the sea”).

Scarpetta. From Wikipedia:

Kay Scarpetta is a fictional character and protagonist in a series of crime novels written by Patricia Cornwell (born 1956). She first appears in the 1990 novel Postmortem. The character was inspired by former Virginia Chief Medical Examiner Marcella Fierro, MD (retired). The series is noted for the use of recent forensic technology in Scarpetta’s investigations.

The fictional character biography, which is quite extensive, begins:

Dr. Kay Scarpetta was born in Miami, Florida, in 1954. She is of Italian descent on both sides of her family, with the Scarpettas emigrating from Verona, Italy. She is blonde and a sharp dresser, although always professional. As a young girl, she watched her father die slowly from leukemia and the experience has remained with her ever since, translating into her everyday work life, where she is surrounded by death. She is a perfectionist, an incredibly hard worker completely immersed in her work. Scarpetta loves to cook, particularly Italian food. She makes everything from scratch, including pasta and bread, and has a beautiful, custom-built restaurant kitchen in her home.

None of the Scarpetta books have yet been turned into movies or tv shows, though there has been talk about a movie with Angelina Jolie as Scarpetta.

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