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Pj Doyle, BSI

There is no shortage of spellbinding anecdotes in the multi-talented Pj Doyle’s (Ettie Shafter, 2010) oral history, including her appearance in the 1970 film Airport, her involvement with the Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota, and her extensive Red Cross volunteerism. 

The conversation covers wide-ranging ground. Pj’s job as ground services personnel for Western Airlines led to an appearance in Airport. In addition to her involvement in founding Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis, she has also published two mysteries in England, authored multiple award-winning volumes of poetry, and served on the board of the National Federation of Poets. 

Pj describes Holmes as “the great equalizer” for devotees of all backgrounds and shares how much she values her work with the Beacon Society.. She shares a host of enthralling stories about her affiliation with the Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota, including some of their incredible programs and many of the Sherlockian luminaries associated with the society, such as Austin McLean, Austin Brafford, and Dr. Bryce L. Crawford, Jr. 

When she first learned about the Sherlock Holmes collection at the University of Minnesota, Pj decided to call the university—a call which just happened to be answered by E.W. (Mac) McDiarmid, University Librarian, one of the founding members of the Norwegian Explorers, and a towering figure in the Sherlockian world, whom Pj describes as her mentor. Pj and Julie McKuras served as the first and second female presidents of the Explorers. 

One remarkable aspect of this oral history is Pj’s compelling description of her longstanding Red Cross volunteerism. This includes deployments all over the United States; teaching international humanitarian law; conducting international tracing for families dispersed by war or natural disasters; and serving as Red Cross liaison to other emergency responders and government agencies.

Click above to play audio (playback help)

Interviewee: Pj Doyle 

Interviewer: Julie McKuras

Date: May 18, 2014

Location: Red Cross facility in Minneapolis, MN

Description: MP3, 47 MB, 111kbps, 58 minutes

Interview Topics

Early life and family

Western Airlines

Mixed Blood Theatre Company


American Red Cross

Minnesota Writers Workshop

Writing mysteries and poetry

Norwegian Explorers

Austin McLean

E.W. McDiarmid

Austin Brafford

Dr. Bryce L. Crawford, Jr.

Allen Mackler

John Bennett Shaw

Baker Street Dozen

The Beacon Society


Explanation of BSI Honours & Other Terms

Related Materials

The 2010 BSI Dinner
Pj Doyle received her Investiture at this BSI Dinner.

Interesting Interview: Pj Doyle (website by Rob Nunn)
Nunn interviewed Pj for this September 2021 Interesting Though Elementary blog post.

The Baker Street Dozen (Amazon)
Pj co-edited this 1989 book with a selection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s favorite Holmes stories. 

For an index to all OHP interviews, see our Oral History Project Summary list.

Interviews recently added online (sorted by when recording was posted online)

Material in the BSI Archive may be used by any qualified scholar, subject to the normal rules and regulations of the library. For links to a detailed finding aid and related information, see our BSI Archive page.

Page composed on 7/1/23 by Tamar Zeffren

This page last updated 7/17/23 by Randall Stock