Monday, November 30, 2015

Chanukah Crime Fiction//Hanukkah Mysteries

Chanukah (no matter how you spell it - Hanukah, Hanukkah) is celebrated for eight days, so you have plenty of time to read all these books! Hanukah starts this year on Sunday, December 6.  Let me know if I've missed any mysteries. This is an updated list.

Mystery Novels
A Crafty Christmas by Molly Cox Bryan
Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle (mostly about Christmas but Hanukah is mentioned)
Beautiful Lie the Dead by Barbara Fradkin
Strength to Stand by Sheyna Galyan
Festival of Deaths by Jane Haddam
Hanukkah Gelt by T. Lee Harris
Out of the Frying Pan into the Choir by Sharon Kahn
Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry by Harry Kemelman
Murder at the Minyan by Shlumat E. Kustanowitz
The Body in the Sleigh by Katherine Hall Page (mostly about Christmas but Hanukah is mentioned)
Dog Have Mercy by Neil Plakcy
Chanukah Guilt by Ilene Schneider
The Tattooed Rabbi by Marvin J. Wolf

Children's Hanukah Mysteries
Rabbi Rocketpower and the Mystery of the Missing Menorahs - A
Hanukkah Humdinger! by Rabbi Susan Abramson and Aaron Dvorkin and Ariel DiOrio

Mystery Short Stories
"Mom Lights a Candle" by James Yaffe, appeared in Mystery: The Best of 2002, ed. by Jon L. Breen.
"Hanukah" by Morris Hershman in Cat Crimes for the Holidays, ed. by Martin Greenberg, Edward Gorman and Larry Segriff
"The Worse Noel" by Barb Goffman in The Gift of Murder.
"Death on the List" by B.K. Stevens (AHMM, January 1999)
For more info on Jewish short story mysteries, check out Steven Steinbock who blogs on Criminal Brief, the Mystery Short Story Web Log Project.
"Navidad" by Elizabeth Zelvin, EQMM, January 2011
"No Candles for Antiochus" by Barry Ergang
Murder is no Mitzvah: Short Stories about Jewish Occasions, edited by Abigail Browning

Mystery Games
Children's software mystery game: Who Stole Hanukkah? offered in five languages: English, Hebrew, Russian, French and Spanish
Other Games for Children: The Case of the Stolen Menorah: An Enlightening Hanukkah Mystery

Cartoon of the Day: Humpty Dumpty Crime

From the great Bizarro:

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Knit Yourself a Deerstalker!

For all my Mystery knitter friends out there, this Deerstalker would make a great holiday gift for a Sherlockian.  Here's a link to the pattern. Also comes in a baby-sized pattern.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Cartoon of the Day: Thanksgiving Inquest

Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Award

The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Award:  

Of interest to this blog: The Ireland AM Crime Book of the Year

After the Fire by Jane Casey


Even the Dead by Benjamin Black
Are You Watching Me? by Sinead Crowley
Freedom's Child by Jax Miller
Only We Know by Karen Perry
The Game Changer by Louise Phillips

Read More here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Family Dinner: The Dreyfus Affair

I was reading one of the many email newsletters I get, and I came across a link to this political cartoon and the accompanying Wikipedia entry. Doesn't it say 'Thanksgiving' to you? I don't know what the topics will be at your table, but the topic here was the Dreyfus Affair. This 'Family Dinner' cartoon by Caran d'Ache, appeared in Le Figaro on February 14, 1898.

A family dinner consists of two superimposed drawings, the first representing a family at the dinner table with the text "- Above all! we will not talk about the Dreyfus Affair!" The second frame represents the same family fighting around the table with the text "... They spoke about it ... "

Thinking about The Dreyfus Affair brought to mind Robert Harris's award winning novel An Officer and a Spy. I highly recommend it. It's very timely on many levels. An Officer and a Spy is set in Paris in 1895 and focuses on the Dreyfus Affair. As you might remember from your history lessons, in 1895, Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish officer, was  convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil's Island, and stripped of his rank. Harris brings history alive with his extraordinary storytelling, plotting, and deft handling of the political and social climate of the time. I loved how he intertwined historical figures such as Emile Zola and Alfred Dreyfus, with his own well-drawn fictional characters. If you don't remember the Dreyfus Affair, or if you just want to read an excellent novel, add this to your TBR. It's not a 'comfortable' read, but it's compelling and so timely.

Do you discuss politics at Thanksgiving? Books? Whatever, hope you have a lively discussion, but one that does not necessarily end in a brawl. 

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Cartoon of the Day: iWatch

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Mysteries: A List

Thanksgiving. I have a lot to give thanks for -- my family, my friends, and the wonderful mystery community. We'll be going to my sister's home for a multi-generational Thanksgiving, made bittersweet this year by the absence of my mother who passed away last February.

My family is as dysfunctional as most, but we don't stoop to murder! That can't be said for the families in the following updated List of Thanksgiving Mysteries. As the saying goes, "Families are like Fudge, Sweet with a few Nuts thrown in."As always, please let me know about any titles I've missed.

And speaking of Chocolate, I've posted recipes on for delicious Thanksgiving desserts.

Thanksgiving Mysteries

Victoria Abbott The Wolfe Widow
Laura Alden, Foul Play at the PTA
Deb Baker Murder Talks Turkey
S.H. Baker The Colonel's Tale
Mignon Ballard, Miss Dimple Disappears
Sandra Balzo Hit and Run
Bob Berger The Risk of Fortune
William Bernhardt, Editor, Natural Suspect
Kate Borden Death of a Turkey
Lilian Jackson Braun The Cat Who Went into the Closet
Lizbie Brown Turkey Tracks
Carole Bugge Who Killed Mona Lisa?
Sammi Carter Goody Goody Gunshots
Joelle Charbonneau Skating Under the Wire
Jennifer Chiaverini A Quilter's Holiday 
Laura Childs Scones & Bones
Christine E. Collier A Holiday Sampler
Sheila Connolly A Killer Crop
Cleo Coyle Murder by Mocha
Isis Crawford A Catered Thanksgiving
Bill Crider w/Willard Scott Murder under Blue Skies
Jessie Crockett Drizzled with Death
Amanda Cross A Trap for Fools
Barbara D'Amato Hard Tack, Hard Christmas
Mary Daheim Alpine Fury, Fowl Prey
Kathi Daley Turkeys, Tuxes and Tabbies; The Trouble with Turkeys
Jeanne Dams Sins Out of School
Claire Daniels Final Intuition
Evelyn David Murder Takes the Cake
Mary Janice Davidson Undead and Unfinished
Krista Davis The Diva Runs Out of Thyme
Michael Dibdin Thanksgiving
Joanne Dobson Raven and the Nightingale
Alice Duncan Thanksgiving Angels
Christine Duncan Safe House
Janet Evanovich Thanksgiving (technically a romance)*
Nancy Fairbanks Turkey Flambe
Christy Fifield Murder Ties the Knot 
Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain Murder She Wrote: A Fatal Feast
Katherine V. Forrest The Beverly Malibu
Shelley Freydont Cold Turkey
Noreen Gilpatrick The Piano Man
Martin H. Greenberg (editor) Cat Crimes for the Holidays
Jane Haddam Feast of Murder
Janice Hamrick Death Rides Again
Lee Harris The Thanksgiving Day Murder
J. Alan Hartman, editor, The Killer Wore Cranberry, The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping; The Killer Wore Cranberry: Room for Thirds; The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fourth Meal of Mayhem
Robin Hathaway The Doctor Makes a Dollhouse Call
Richard Hawke Speak of the Devil
Victoria Houston Dead Hot Shot
Dorothy Howell Fanny Packs and Foul Play
Linda Joffe Hull Black Thursday
Ellen Elizabeth Hunter Murder on the ICW
Melanie Jackson Death in a Turkey Town, Cornucopia
Sue Ann Jaffarian Cornucopia, Secondhand Stiff
J. A. Jance Shoot Don't Shoot
Alex Kava Black Friday
Faye Kellerman Serpent's Tooth
Harry Kemelman That Day the Rabbi Left Town
Clyde Linsley Death of a Mill Girl
Georgette Livingston Telltale Turkey Caper
Nial Magill Thanksgiving Murder in the Mountains
G.M. Malliet Wicked Autumn
Margaret Maron Up Jumps the Devil
Evan Marshall Stabbing Stefanie
Ralph McInerny Celt and Pepper
Leslie Meier Turkey Day Murder
Deborah Morgan The Marriage Casket
Meg Muldoon Roasted in Christmas River 
Joan Lowery Nixon The Thanksgiving Mystery (children's)
Carla Norton The Edge of Normal
Carol O'Connell Shell Game
Nancy J Parra Murder Gone A-Rye
Louise Penny Still Life
Cathy Pickens Southern Fried
Michael Poore Up Jumps the Devil
Ann Ripley Harvest of Murder
J.D. Robb Thankless in Death
Delia Rosen One Foot in the Gravy
M.L. Rowland Zero Degree Murder
Ilene Schneider Chanukah Guilt
Maria E. Schneider Executive Retention
Willard Scott and Bill Crider Murder under Blue Skies
Sarah R. Shaber Snipe Hunt
Sharon Gwyn Short, Hung Out to Die
Paullina Simons, Red Leaves
Alexandra Sokoloff The Harrowing
Rex Stout Too Many Cooks
Denise Swanson Murder of a Barbie and Ken, Murder of a Botoxed Blonde
Marcia Talley Occasion of Revenge
Sharon Burch Toner Maggie's Brujo
Lisa Unger In the Blood
Jennifer Vanderbes Strangers at the Feast
Debbie Viguie I Shall Not Want
Livia J. Washburn The Pumpkin Muffin Murder
Leslie Wheeler Murder at Plimoth Plantation
Angela Zeman The Witch and the Borscht Pearl

Let me know if I've forgotten any titles!

Mystery Writers of America Ellery Queen Award

Just in case you missed it, I am receiving the 2016 Ellery Queen Award from Mystery Writers of America. To say I was totally surprised is an understatement. I am honored, appreciative, and humbled. Over the past 40 years, I've devoted myself to 'enriching the lives of mystery readers'. That's the tagline for Mystery Readers International, and I guess for me, too.

Mystery Readers Journal has been a labor of love, and I thank Kate Derie, my associate editor, and all the 1500 writers, librarians, and readers who have contributed to and supported the Mystery Readers Journal over the past 31 years. I share this award with everyone in the wonderful and supportive mystery community.

Here are the lovely roses my husband brought me to celebrate! Next stop: New York, NY, to receive the award at the Edgars.

Monday, November 23, 2015

MWA Grand Master, Raven, and Ellery Queen Awards

Mystery Writers of America Announced today the 2016 Grand Master, Raven, and Ellery Queen Award Winners

Walter Mosley has been chosen as the 2016 Grand Master by Mystery Writers of America (MWA). MWA's Grand Master Award represents the pinnacle of achievement in mystery writing and was established to acknowledge important contributions to this genre, as well as for a body of work that is both significant and of consistent high quality. Mr. Mosley will receive his award at the 70th Annual Edgar Awards Banquet, which will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on Thursday, April 28, 2016.

The Raven Award recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing. Two Raven Awards will be awarded in 2016: one to Margaret Kinsman and the other to Sisters in Crime.

The Ellery Queen Award was established in 1983 to honor “outstanding writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry". This year the Board chose to honor Janet A. Rudolph (yes, that would be me).. So honored and humbled.

The Edgar Awards, or "Edgars," as they are commonly known, are named after MWA's patron saint Edgar Allan Poe and are presented to authors of distinguished work in various categories. MWA is the premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime-writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those who are devoted to the genre. For more information on Mystery Writers of America, please visit the website:

Sunday, November 22, 2015

DreamWorks Acquires Chris Pavone's The Travelers

From Deadline:

DreamWorks has acquired The Travelers, the latest thriller by NYT best-selling author Chris Pavone. Picture Company partners Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman will produce.

To be published in March, the book is a Hitchcockian thriller with shades of Mr. And Mrs. Smith and North By Northwest. Will Rhodes is a Gotham-based journalist who unknowingly works for a spy agency posing as a luxury travel magazine called Travelers. After meeting a mysterious and beautiful woman on his latest international assignment, Will finds himself drawn into a tangled web of global intrigue, and it becomes clear that the network of deception ensnaring him is part of an immense and deadly conspiracy — and the people closest to him, including his wife, might pose the greatest threat of all. Pavone also wrote bestsellers The Expats and The Accident.

Cartoon of the Day: Cops

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Kenneth Branagh has been announced as the director of a remake of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. The British star will also take on the role of the famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, in 20th Century Fox's feature film.

Branagh joins script writer Michael Green and producers Ridley Scott, Simon Kinberg and Mark Gordon to work on this big screen adaptation of the Christie classic.

Poirot was played by Albert Finney in the 1974 film version, earning him an Oscar nomination. David Suchet played the character in the British TV series, while John Moffatt starred in the 90s radio version on BBC Radio 4.

Agatha Christie's great grandson and Chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd, James Prichard, said, “The extraordinary thing about my great grandmother’s stories is just how timeless they are. 80 years after the publication of the novel, Fox will bring Murder on the Orient Express to new audiences across the world. We are genuinely excited about this partnership and with 33 Poirot stories to be told, we look forward to this being the first of many collaborations.”


At the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Wordharvest and Thomas Dunne Books/ Minotaur Books announced that Kevin Wolf's THE HOMEPLACE has won the 2015 Tony Hillerman Prize for best first mystery.

Kevin Wolf is a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Crested Butte Writers. He hones his work at regular meetings of the Southwest Plaza Critique group. He lives in Littleton, Colorado with his wife of forty years and their two beagles.

The Tony Hillerman Prize is awarded annually to the best debut crime fiction set in the Southwest.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Recipes for Love and Murder: Guest post by South African author Sally Andrew

Today I welcome South African mystery author, Sally Andrew. Sally lives in a mud-brick house on a nature reserve in the Klein Karoo, South Africa, with her partner, artist Bowen Boshier, and other wildlife (including a giant eland and a secretive leopard). She also spends time in the wilderness of southern Africa and the seaside suburb of Muizenberg. She has a Masters in Adult Education (University of Cape Town). For some decades she was a social and environmental activist, then the manager of Bowen’s art business, before she settled down to write full-time. Recipes of Love and Murder (a Tannie Maria Mystery) is her first novel. It is being published in at least twelve languages, across five continents. 

Sally Andrew
Exploring the Relationship with my Protaganist 

I enjoy mystery series with the same protagonist. I get to know and love the character. I often wonder about the link between the author and their main character. So I thought it might be fun to explore the similarities, differences and relationship between myself and the protaganist in my series of Tannie Maria mysteries.

Tannie Maria is a short, plump, half-Afrikaans auntie who is obsessed with food and is a brilliant cook. I am a tall, skinny, English-speaking woman who – until researching this book – has not read a recipe book in her life.

Don’t get me wrong, I can throw together something yummy (and will do so if you come and visit) but I’m not a cook in Tannie Maria’s league, and I got expert help to ensure that the recipes I included in my book were moan-out-loud delicious. I do appreciate the emotional power of food, and the ritual and magic of preparing meals (see video ‘Food as Magic’ below).

The biggest thing Maria and I have in common is that we live in the Klein Karoo, South Africa. She stays just outside the small town of Ladismith, and I live on a nature reserve a little further out. We both love the veld, the gwarrie trees and the birds that surround us. But her expression of her love is more down to earth, and simple than mine. Whereas I might celebrate the long-awaited Karoo rain by throwing off my clothes and going to dance on top of the hill, singing ‘Halleluja', Tannie Maria would say, ‘That’s nice,’ and celebrate with a marmalade-and-bacon sandwich.

Tannie Maria is the agony aunt for the local Gazette’s Love Advice and Recipe Column. People write in with their love problems – she gives them some advice, but the main remedy she offers is a recipe that will fix things.

In her own life, she is lonely, and struggles to find love (after an abusive relationship with her late husband). She meets a tall detective with a chestnut moustache, (my partner of 15 years is tall with some chestnut in his beard) and the journey to open her heart begins.

My own journey to open my heart is a life-long one.

Tannie Maria, like me, has a strong interest in justice (which is what gets her on the trail of the murderer). For many decades, I was a social and environmental activist. However, Maria is driven more by the personal than the political. And she is less judgemental, and more forgiving, than I am.

I think I invented Tannie Maria to keep me grounded, laughing (she is funny) and teach me how to love – and maybe how to cook.

One of the strange things about our relationship is that I know all about her, and she knows nothing about me. I think I’ll keep it that way. If I see her shopping at the Spar, in Ladismith, I may watch from afar, but I won’t go and introduce myself.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Mysteries that take place during Holidays: 25 Lists

I spend a lot of time making lists. O.K., I admit it, I'm a bit OCD...but I like to organize. So I decided to put all my Holiday Crime Fiction Lists in one place on the Mystery Readers International website.

If you want to find a book that takes place during Thanksgiving, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, or Christmas, or 22 other holidays, you'll want to bookmark this page.

Know some titles that should be there but aren't? Let me know, and I'll add them.

Think another holiday should be represented? Drop me a note or comment below, and I'll put a list together.

Hope you enjoy these lists!

Bookstore Sign of the Day

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Legendary Bookshop in Paris

The legendary Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris sheltered customers during last night's terrorist attacks.

Friday, November 13, 2015

1890 Mugshots included Hands

From Mashable:

Almost as soon as photography was invented, police and prison authorities began photographing prisoners and suspects to aid in their identification. The pictures became known as "mugshots," after the slang word for face. 

These photographs were taken in 1880 and 1890 at Wormwood Scrubs Prison in West London. They are unusual in that, through the clever use of a mirror, the full face and profile views appear in the same shot. The prisoners also showed their hands, so that any distinguishing features such as missing fingers or tattoos could be recorded.

Both Men and Women are featured.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cartoon of the Day: Horton Hears a Whodunit

From Rhymes with Orange

Love is Murder: R.I.P.

Sad news from:
October 31, 2015

With genuine regret, we announce that circumstances beyond our control, including diminished attendance, have made LIMCon Chicago 2016 financially unsustainable. And so, with a heavy heart, we must cancel the 2016 conference and future conferences.

We want to thank you for your support of the 16 Love is Murder conferences we produced. Thanks to you and our hundreds of attendees over the past 16 cons, we’ve had a bloody good time!

With sincere appreciation,

Your Love is Murder Board

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day Crime Fiction

Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice Day (also known as Remembrance Day), is November 11. Veterans Day commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, that took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning — the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" 1918.

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day November 11, 1919. The U.S.  Congress passed a concurrent resolution seven years later on June 4, 1926, requesting the President issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. The 11th of November is"a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'." It was later changed to Veteran's Day.

I love to read mysteries that reflect regions and holidays, so I'm reposting about Veterans Day with a few additions. Julia Spencer-Fleming's One Was a Soldier,  Jacqueline Winspear and Charles Todd's mystery series are at the top of my list of Veterans Day Mysteries. There's also the Joe Sandilands series by Barbara Cleverly. And Bulldog Drummond is a WWI veteran in the Sapper/H.C. McNeile books. Add to that Walter Mosley's WWII Vet Easy Rawlins. Don't miss Marcia Talley's All Things Undying in which Hannah Ives helps to locate the grave of a WWII serviceman. James Lee Burke is another great mystery author whose Cajun detective Dave Robicheaux is a Vietnam Veteran.

BV Lawson's 2007 post of Veteran's Day Mysteries is great. No need to duplicate her efforts. Be sure and read her blog, as well as all the comments. Another fine list is In Remembrance Fiction in Times of War (not all mysteries) from the St. Charles Public Library. I also did a Memorial Day post here on Mystery Fanfare that covers some of the same territory Mysteries in Paradise about Remembrance Day is also a great resource.

Wikipedia has an entry about Veterans Day Mysteries. Several hardboiled heroes have been war veterans. Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer and many others from World War II, and John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee from the Korean War. "The frequent exposure to death and hardship often leads to a cynical and callous attitude as well as a character trait known today as post-traumatic stress characterizes many hardboiled protagonists."

And, for the young set, one of the first Veteran-related mysteries: Cherry Ames: Veterans' Nurse by Helen Wells.

Read a Veterans Day mystery today and remember the men and women who have served and are serving now. Thank you.

In Memory of Captain Joseph Rudolph, M.D., WWII

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Cartoon of the Day: Tell the Author

Mystery Readers Journal: Scottish Mysteries

The latest issue of the Mystery Readers Journal: Scottish Mysteries (Volume 31:3) is now available as a PDF. Hardcopies are on the way and will be available in 10 days. Buy this issue as hard copy. Buy this issue as a PDF. If you're a subscriber, you will receive details on downloading this issue. Harcopy subscribers will receive this issue within 10 days. Thanks to all who contributed to this great issue. Special thanks to Kate Derie, associate editor, for all her help.



  • Performing Scottish Crime: Ian Rankin’s Dark Road by Charlotte Beyer
  • The Many Hues of Tartan Noir by Nancie Clare
  • Escape Through Idyllic Scotland by Ann-Marie Lamb
  • Tartan Noir: Scottish Mystery Fiction by Chris Longmuir
  • Beautiful Mysterious Scotland by Patricia Smiley
  • Crime Writing — Scotland’s Other National Export by Lin Anderson
  • Beatrice Who? Some Thoughts on Scotland by Rhys Bowen
  • Rain and Scottish Crime Writing by G.J. Brown
  • The Deadly Flower of Scotland by Lillian Stewart Carl
  • At Home in Edinburgh by C.S. Challinor
  • Casanova and the Scottish Connection by Myra Duffy
  • Finding My Scottish Essence by David Hagerty
  • By Yon Bonnie Braes by Jo A. Hiestand
  • A Brief History of Bodysnatching by Anna Lee Huber
  • My Search To Belong by Coco Ihle
  • Scottish Heads and Scottish Hearts by Paul Johnston
  • Mystery and Murder in the Heart of Scotland by Chris Longmuir
  • Ghosts, Whisky, Fire… and a Single Flower by Bonnie MacBird
  • The Angel’s Share by Diane Gilbert Madsen
  • The Emergence of Muirteach Macphee by Susan McDuffie
  • Writing About Scotland by Peter May
  • Land of My Heart by Catriona McPherson
  • Grunt Goes to Canada by Grant McKenzie
  • What’s in a Name? by T. Frank Muir
  • Childhood Adventures in Scotland by Gigi Pandian
  • A Tale of Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties by Martha Reed
  • Scotland the Grave by Craig Robertson
  • My Heart’s in the Highlands by A.D. Scott
  • An American Guide to Scotland by Alexandra Sokoloff
  • Shetland? But what do you find to do with yourself up there… ? by Marsali Taylor
  • Is This Edinburgh? by Marty Wingate
  • Mystery in Retrospect: Reviews by Sandie Herron, John Patrick Lang, Lesa Holstine, L.J. Roberts, Craig Sisterson
  • Scotland and British Crime Fiction: Some Observations by Philip L. Scowcroft
  • Children’s Hour: Scotland by Gay Toltl Kinman
  • Crime Seen: Detecting Scotsmen by Kate Derie
  • In Short: The Short Scottish Mystery by Marvin Lachman
  • Scotland’s Classic Mysteries by Cathy Pickens
  • From the Editor’s Desk by Janet Rudolph

Monday, November 9, 2015

Mapback Monday: Who's Calling by Helen McCloy

It's been awhile since I've posted for Mapback Monday. Today I'm sharing a Dell Mapback cover and map from 1942. Thanks to Bill Gottfried who inadvertently purchased two copies of Helen McCloy's Who's Calling? at Bouchercon. I'm now the lucky owner of the extra copy! FYI: No severed ears appear in the story. Ah..the problems with covers.

I really like the Helen McCloy books. 
Check out the covers and maps for:
She Walks Alone
The Goblin Market
Through a Glass Darkly

Helen McCloy (June 6, 1904 – December 1, 1994), is the pseudonym of Helen Clarkson. She was an American mystery writer, whose series character Dr. Basil Willing debuted in Dance of Death (1938). Willing believes, that "every criminal leaves psychic fingerprints, and he can't wear gloves to hide them." He appeared in 13 of McCloy's novels and in several of her short stories. McCloy often used the theme of doppelganger, but in the end of the story she showed a psychological or realistic explanation for the seemingly supernatural events.

Read more about Who's Calling on The Passing Tramp.

Cartoon of the Day: Dog Noir

From Rhymes with Orange

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Preston & Child's Crimson Shore: Guest post by Lincoln Child

#1 New York Times bestselling authors Doug Preston and Lincoln Child return with their next highly anticipated Agent Pendergast novel, CRIMSON SHORE (Grand Central Publishing; Hardcover; November 10, 2015). In CRIMSON SHORE, Agent Pendergast and his modern Sherlock Holmes persona, take on a sinister murder mystery in the quaint sea-side town of Exmouth, Massachusetts, and uncover mysterious historical symbols in the nearby salt marshes… the place where, legend has it, the real witches of Salem took refuge after fleeing the 1692 witch hunts.

Lincoln Child: 
On Writing Crimson Shore

When we began discussing the subject matter for CRIMSON SHORE, we knew that we wanted a couple of things. First, we wanted it to be a standalone thriller, rather than part of, say, trilogies like our Diogenes Trilogy and Helen Trilogy (also Pendergast titles). Second, we wanted to situate the novel in a place where Pendergast would be a complete fish out of water. Most Pendergast novels are set in locations that he knows well—New York City, Louisiana—and it’s always fun to see him trying to further his investigations in a spot that he’s not only unfamiliar with, but where he sticks out like a sore thumb. We played this card in our earlier Pendergast novels, STILL LIFE WITH CROWS and WHITE FIRE, to good effect.

And so we decided to set this book in the fictitious seacoast fishing town of Exmouth, Massachusetts, north of Boston and Cape Ann. There were several advantages to this. Both Doug and I know the area well, which is always a boon when trying to create a credible, colorful locale. Also, it allowed us to tip our literary hats to H. P. Lovecraft and his own uber-creepy town of Innsmouth—the setting of one of our favorite stories by our favorite horror writer. Finally, in situating Exmouth not far from Salem, it allowed us to bring in a gothic subplot involving the Witch Trials of the late seventeenth century: a subplot we found so interesting that at times it almost threatened to take over the novel!

All in all, writing CRIMSON SHORE was a really enjoyable experience. We were able to add some iconic Pendergastian moments: one, for example, where he teaches the chef at the inn where he’s staying (Exmouth has some really execrable restaurants) how to cook a dish that the FBI agent can tolerate. We include all the Pendergastian trappings readers have come to expect, such as a ‘memory crossing’ he undertakes to help him solve the mystery at a time when all avenues of investigation seem to be dead ends. And we were also able to give new depth to our main characters in this story, Constance Greene as well as Pendergast himself.

Exmouth proved an ideal ‘fish out of water’ location in which to place Pendergast and situate CRIMSON SHORE. As for whether we succeeded in making it a standalone novel—well, you’ll just have to read it for yourself and see!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Revuzeit: A New Website by Mary Alice Gorman & Richard Goldman

Mystery Lovers Bookshop founders Mary Alice Gorman and Richard Goldman took the occasion of the store 's Halloween 2015 celebration and 25th Birthday to announce their retirement adventure: a new website

This website is a record of what they are reading, seeing, sharing, eating, and they will include much of their opinion too. It is a new career without any deadlines but there will be additions all the time.

Most books featured are new but some might be older pubs.

If you have a book for review, please write to for consideration. They read ebook ARCs, Paper ARCs, Hardcopy books, audio on trips and still refuse manuscripts. All books and audios are donated to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh where Mary Alice is a Trustee.

Check it out!

Cartoon of the Day: Cold War Reenactors

Love this!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards Shortlists

The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards shortlist: Of interest to this blog: Irish Crime Fiction

Even the Dead by Benjamin Black
After the Fire by Jane Casey
Are You Watching Me? by Sinead Crowley
Freedom's Child by Jax Miller
Only We Know by Karen Perry
The Game Changer by Louise Phillips

Read More here.

HT: Erin Mitchell

Steven Saylor Literary Salon: Berkeley, November 11

When in Rome.... 

Literary Salon with Steven Saylor
Wednesday, November 11, 2015, 7 p.m.
Berkeley, CA
Make a comment below with your email for directions and to attend

Join Mystery Readers NorCal for an evening with award winning historical mystery author Steven Saylor. Steven Saylor is the author of the long running Roma Sub Rosa Series featuring Gordianus the Finder, as well as the NYT bestselling novel, Roma, and its follow-up, Empire. He has appeared as an on-air expert on Roman history and life on The History Channel. Gordianus the Finder returns in the fifteenth installment of Steven's Novels of Ancient Rome, Wrath of the Furies: A Novel of the Ancient World.

Read Steven Saylor's essay "When in Rome...Eat as the Romans Ate" in Mystery Readers Journal: Culinary Crime I (Volume 31:1).

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Award Winning Crime Writer Marian Babson solves her own Crime

The Daily Mail reported last week that Mystery writer Ruth Stenstreem, who wrote 45 novels under the name Marian Babson, was able to solve her own crime after she discovered her caregiver stole 27,000 pounds from her bank account.

I first met Marian when she accompanied (took) me to a meeting of the Crime Writers Association in St. Albans (U.K.) in 1987. A long time London resident, Marian, a short animated powerhouse of a woman entertained me on the train and throughout the day. It was always my pleasure to catch up with her at mystery conventions. Murder on Show (Murder at the Cat Show) is an all time favorite.  Here's a link to her novels. I am sorry to hear she's ill, but glad to learn that she's still able to take care of business.

From the Daily Mail:

US-born novelist Ruth Stenstreem, 86, aka Marian Babson, is now suffering from dementia and wheelchair-bound at her flat near Farringdon in central London. She called in police after finding money had vanished - helping detectives identify the culprit as caregiver Vicky Stallon, 27, after telling them she often accompanied her on trips to withdraw cash. 

Read More of the story Here.

What's Worth Sharing with Readers: Guest post by Laurent Guillaume

Laurent Guillaume is a multiple-award-winning French writer and former police officer. In law enforcement, he worked anti-gang, narcotics, financial crimes, and served in Mali as advisor to the local police. His first novel to be translated into English is a hard-boiled PI story set in West Africa: White Leopard, published by Le French Book (translated by Sophie Weiner)

Laurent Guillaume:
What’s worth sharing with readers? 

The power of a novel lies in its ability to create emotion in readers. Whether those emotions are positive or negative isn’t really the issue. I don’t take kid gloves with readers in White Leopard when depicting Solo’s fierce feelings and the violence he uses and is subjected to. The main character’s raw sexuality says much about how far he has drifted. I didn’t want to sweeten things up. This violence is part of the novel, it’s something I experienced for years, and now that it has calmed a little in me, I wanted to recount it. Solo is perfect for that. He is both a factor of chaos—wreaking havoc wherever he goes—and someone who is very sensitive and emotional. He’s a bit my Madame Bovary.

One day, a great writer (Jean-Noël Pancrazi) gave me a wonderful piece of advice. I had asked him if he thought my writing was too wordy and if I should refine my style. He said he didn’t think in those terms. He felt I was holding out, that I wasn’t entirely letting go. “Whether your style is wordy or sparse isn’t really important. It has to be what you really are. So let yourself go. If there are too many adverbs and too many adjectives, it doesn’t matter. If it is too violent and raw, it doesn’t matter.” So I let myself go in White Leopard. It’s violent and harsh, but it captures the emotions and reality of Mali. Jean-Noël was right. There is no room for self-censorship.

Emotion is what kept me going all those years in the police force. Cops face life’s seedier sides all the time, but sometimes you experience moments of rare intensity, with laughter or tears. That is what is worth sharing with readers in novels: humanity.


About the book: WHITE LEOPARD By Laurent Guillaume
Hard-boiled African Noir. Everything is possible and nothing is certain. A man torn between two continents finds himself in a dangerous confrontation between tradition and corruption. Solo is a former cop who ran away from a dark past in France to start his life over again in Bamako, Mali, as a PI. An ordinary case turns out to be not so ordinary. The drug mule gets her throat slit. The French lawyer is too beautiful and too well-informed. The cocaine is too plentiful.

WHITE LEOPARD (Le French Book, November 2015; $16.95) was first published in French. The story was inspired by a real case that occurred while the author was stationed in Mali as advisor to the local police.

For more information about White Leopard visit: date: November 19, 2015

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Penguins & Penguin Books

Here's a fun photo from a 1949 newspaper. This is Sir Allen Lane, founder of Penguin Books, at a garden party replete with penguins.