Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

The Last Word

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

The Last Word

Article excerpt

As different as they seem, accounting and mystery writing actually have a lot in common: Both deal with details. Both are structured. Both require intricate and involved thinking. And, on a personal level, both have been an important and fulfilling part of my life.

Writing mysteries was not one of my early life goals. Armed with an MBA as well as an M.A. in philosophy, I taught business subjects in a junior college. Then, in 1977 The George Washington University was searching for an accounting teacher who would earn a stipend and free tuition to work on a doctorate. I jumped at the opportunity to apply. Being able to teach at a higher level appealed to me. I was accepted, and I earned my doctorate in business administration from GWU, with a major in accounting and a minor in finance.

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The more I studied accounting, the more I discovered how much I liked it--so much so that I sat for the CPA exam while I was still in graduate school. After earning my doctorate, I chose to continue teaching accounting, first at Southern Methodist University for three years, then at Rutgers University for 18 years.

I began "serious" writing long before I published my first mystery novel. "Publish or perish" is the unwritten rule for those of us in academia, so throughout my university career I published a number of papers. One of them, co-authored with another professor, caught the eye of Quorum Books. We added another author and published Shaping the Corporate Image: An Analytical Guide for Executive Decision Makers. It was my first book.

Sometimes, when I was doing a serious paper or an op-ed article for the newspapers, I began to dream about writing for fun, which, to me, was to write a novel. I finally decided to see if I could make my dream come true and started my first work of fiction.

Mysteries have always topped my list of leisure reading. As a girl, I read all of the Nancy Drew books, then worked my way through Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. From an interest perspective, it was natural for me to tackle the mystery genre for my fiction work. After a five-year effort, in 1995 I published my first novel. Seeing my name on the book cover-an experience that is hard to describe--motivated me to start on my second mystery. …

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