Barbara D'Amato is a playwright, novelist, and crime researcher. She began writing full-time in 1973, first co-writing plays with her husband, Anthony D'Amato.
After trying different genres, her first published novel in 1980 was a mystery.
She won the Agatha and Anthony Award for a non-fiction work, The Doctor, the Murder, the Mystery: The True Story of the Dr. John Branion Murder Case based on a case her husband worked on in 1984. In 1999, she served as President of the Mystery Writers of America.
Her research on the Dr. John Branion murder case formed the basis for a segment on Unsolved Mysteries, and she appeared on the program. Her musical comedies, The Magic Man and the children's musical The Magic of Young Houdini, written with her husband, played in Chicago and London.
She lives with her family in Chicago.
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An Interview with Barbara D'Amato about Death of a Thousand Cuts
You have said in the past that "getting angry at
something" fuels your books. Is that true in Death of a Thousand Cuts?
One source of energy for me is a sense of trying to right a wrong. Also, I think the villains character is enriched if there is more than just personal hatred or greed going on. In Death of a Thousand Cuts, the murder victims life was motivated by self-aggrandizement. But in a larger way he had the arrogance of professional authority, the view that he was always right because he had training and a degree. That kind of paternalism makes me angry.
What is Death of a Thousand Cuts about?
Hawthorne House, a residential treatment facility for autistic children, is holding a reunion fifteen years after closing its doors. Jeffrey Clifford, a young mildly autistic man, was a patient there for seven years. Clifford, other patients, staff members, and therapists plan to spend the reunion weekend at the old mansion. During the first night, Dr. Jay Schermerhorn, the charismatic and authoritarian director, is murdered.
Why did you want to write this particular book?
I had heard for some years that Bruno Bettelheim told ...
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