Sunday, March 1, 2009

Barbara Franchi

I received a note from Barbara Franchi's husband, Rudy Franchi, this morning with the sad news that Barbara passed away last night. Her daughters, Jill, Susan, Regina, her son-in-law Tony, her grandson Bennett and her husband Rudy were at her bedside. Susan writes that "Barbara, a child of the Bronx, started her life as a teacher of geology and then gained prominence in the world of mystery fiction via her renowned review website (Reviewing the Evidence), and movie poster collecting, through her years of organizing auctions and running a major retail/internet operation. Her true joy was traveling across America with Antiques Roadshow and spending time in London. Barbara's blunt honesty and acerbic wit will be missed. She mentored many young reviewers, dealers and collectors, dispensing street smart advice mixed with self-learned literary perceptions. For those in the Los Angeles area, the family will be sitting Shiva on Sunday, March 8 at Jill's home, 3725 Mountain View Avenue, 90066."

I knew Barbara was ill, but we all hoped that she would pull through. We had all been looking forward to spending time with her at Left Coast Crime. I will miss chatting with Barbara at conventions. Susan had it right when she said Barbara had blunt honesty. When we were together, we talked about books, Reviewing the Evidence, and she always said and wrote what she thought. Susan also wrote that Reviewing the Evidence will continue with Sharon and others.

Barbara Franchi's bio on Reviewing the Evidence
Born on Long Island in 1935 and raised in New York, Barbara gained her degrees through the benificence of the City of New York attending Hunter College and CCNY. She taught high school and college biology, general science, and geology in New York City high schools, CCNY and then Loyola of Montreal. In 1969, Rudy and Barbara started The Nostalgia Factory, which they finally sold in 2005, thereupon retiring to Los Angeles. She is the coauthor (with Rudy) of MILLER'S MOVIE COLLECTIBLES. Rudy is currently writing a mystery novel and she is researching a book to be with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences imprimatur. She has been a generalist on Antiques Roadshow since the first season and often fills in at the collectibles table when things get hectic. Her favorite mysteries tend to be police procedurals and what she calls medium boiled fiction. She also likes the crossover books between mystery and fantasy or science fiction. Her secret passion is for willy-wagglers, thrillers such as those by Clive Cussler and Matthew Reilly. She thanks Sharon Wheeler for taking over the unpaid and unappreciated office of editor of RTE and for making the site a professional looking and important one in the crime fiction field.

Another loss to the mystery community.

Contributions in Barbara’s name can be made to Beit T’Shuvah, 8831 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90034, USA

3/2/09 Ali Karim has a beautiful tribute to Barbara Franchi in The Rap Sheet
including an extract from a piece he wrote for Red Herrings, the magazine of the British Crime Writers’ Association, talking about the origin and intentions of Reviewing the Evidence. I'm also including a photo Ali took of Barbara and the late Elaine Flynn.


Lesa said...

Oh, Janet, That is a loss to the mystery community. I'm so sorry.

I never had the chance to meet Barbara, but I read her postings on DorothyL. And, everytime I saw Rudy on Antiques Roadshow, I'd mention Barbara to my husband.

She is a loss, not only to her family, but to Reviewing the Evidence, DorothyL, and even those of us who never met her.

Lesa Holstine

Unknown said...

Very sorry to hear this news. I followed her on DL, and occasionally I'd get a note from her about one of my books. Hard to believe she's gone.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear the news. I remember Barbara from my first days on the Internet and on DorothyL and still count her as a friend.

J.B. Thompson said...

As a former RTE reviewer, I only had the great pleasure of knowing Barbara through email, but I adored her just the same. What a great loss for not only the mystery community but also for the world in general. My thoughts and prayers are with Rudy and the rest of Barbara's family.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear this news.
That is a loss to the mystery community. I'm so sorry...... :(

Anonymous said...

I've been reviewing for RTE for almost nine years and even though I never met Barbara she became someone I depended on. When my sister was diagnosed with colon cancer it was Barbara who emailed her to keep her spirits up. She sent my sister many cozies because they helped take my sister's mind of the cancer. And she always emailed me suggesting things that could help me help my sister.

Barbara had her own fight with cancer but she never, ever neglected those who needed her.

My sister and I will miss this wonderful, caring woman.

Simon Wood said...

Things have been a little crazy in my life recently and so I just came across this. This is so sad. Barbara was my kind of person. She one of those people who welcomed me as a newbie writer back in '02. She didn't mind making a joke at my expense. She offered me the keys to her flat in England whenever I visited home. She's one of those people I never thought would stop being in my life. I'll miss her. She was a classy lady.