Video: Tess Gerritsen at Sacramento Bee Book Club

Author Tess Gerritsen
Author Tess Gerritsen

New York Times best-selling mystery writer Tess Gerritsen came to town Thursday night for an appearance at the Sacramento Bee Book Club, and captivated a crowed of 400 fans in the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria downtown.

Gerritsen is a physician who left her practice in internal medicine to pursue a career in fiction. She is widely known for her 11-title “Rizzoli & Isles” series, which inspired an ongoing TNT cable-network “cop drama.” Her new title in that franchise is “Die Again” (Ballantine, $27, 330 pages).

Gerritsen took the stage and spoke about her main characters (Boston medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles and homicide detective Jane Rizzoli), where she sources her story ideas (mostly from her travels and from newspaper headlines), and what led her to become a doctor in the first place (“My dad told me I couldn’t make a living in the creative arts, so I went to medical school”).

Before her fans lined up for autographs, they had questions for their favorite author. One referred to Maura Isles’ romantic life, ongoing in several books. She had a relationship with a Catholic priest that ended emotionally and painfully. Would the two reunite in the future?

“That’s the question I’m asked most often,” she told the crowd. “Everyone wants to know why such a brilliant woman made such a bad romantic choice. My answer is, ‘How many really smart women do you know of who have ended up with the wrong men?’”

The audience murmured in recognition.

Still, would the romance resume? “I don’t know” she said. “I’ll have to figure it out in the next book.”

Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.