Hello, October: Crime Writers in the Cemetery

If you know me—or if you’ve read one of my books—you know I have a thing for cemeteries. One of my favorites is Woodlawn, set on 400 acres in the northern reaches of the Bronx. With rolling green hills and its own little lake, it’s a place of beauty and tranquility. And because it’s been operating since 1863, it’s filled with some spectacular history, art and architecture.

There are some 300,000 people buried in Woodlawn, including a lot of famous folks. Herman Melville, Miles Davis, Joseph Pulitzer, Fiorello LaGuardia, Celia Cruz, Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, F.W. Woolworth, Robert Moses, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton all made Woodlawn their final resting place. Renowned architects such as Carrère and Hastings, who designed the New York Public Library, and McKim, Mead & White, who designed the Morgan Library, created some of Woodlawn’s spectacular mausoleums. Hidden inside these palaces for the dead are stained-glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany and other artists.


This Sunday, October 5th, I’ll be appearing along with authors Linda Fairstein, Lawrence Block, Heather Graham, and Lyndsay Faye in a New York Mystery Writers of America Writers Workshop at Woodlawn event that will be raising funds for the Woodlawn Conservancy. This event also includes a series of presentations that will give visitors special access to some of the cemetery’s hidden treasures and the chance to research backstage operations through guided tours. If you’re in the area, book a ticket now. If not, take a look at a few of the photographs I’ve taken in Woodlawn over the years to find out what makes the place so special.

All images used with permission of the author.


  1. Clare 2e

    I am going to this writers workshop, and they’re even going to be digging us a mock grave (awesome!). The historians and cemetery staff want to be sure writers accurately understand the different methods of entombment and crematory practices, and why, unlike in some screenplays and novels, bodies Do Not just go missing. (Drat for lazy writers–good for the families). Honestly, touring a cemetery in October with crime writers would be enough, but I think this will be specatcularly interesting. Is is too much to hope for fog?

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