Don't miss TCM's New Year's Eve Thin Man Marathon. What a great way to celebrate. After the Thin Man takes place at New Year's Eve, so it's a double celebration. Grab a glass of bubbly and settle in for a great evening of top notch entertainment.
Check your local listings. The schedule below if for information only. No links to buying anything. LOL!
New Year's Mysteries! I wish you a safe, healthy and prosperous 2016. May Mystery and Mayhem only happen in crime fiction!
Crime Fiction Set at the New Year As always, let me know if I've missed any titles.
Marian Babson: Line up for Murder
Bain, Donald and Jessica Fletcher. Murder She Wrote: Death of a Blue Blood
T. L. Barnett: Murder for the New Year
George Baxt: The Marlene Dietrich Murder Case
Nero Blanc: A Crossworder's Gift
Jon L. Breen: Touch of the Past
Rita Mae Brown: Full Cry
Alison Cairns: New Year Resolution
Lillian Stewart Carl: The Blue Hackle
Lee Child (ed): Killer Year: Stories to Die for
Anne Cleeves: Raven Black
Anna Ashwood Collins: Deadly Resolutions
Patricia Cornwell: Cause of Death
Mark Costello: Bag Men
Alisa Craig: Murder Goes Mumming
Jeffrey Deaver: The Devil's Teardrop
Colin Dexter: The Secret of Annexe 3
Carter Dickson: Death and the Gilded Man
Carole Nelson Douglas: Cat on a Hyacinth Hunt
Loren D. Estleman: Stress
Janet Evanovich: Plum New Year
J. Jefferson Fargeon: Death in Fancy Dress (aka The Fancy Dress Ball)
Quinn Fawcett: Siren Song
Jerrilyn Farmer: Dim Sum Dead
Frederick Forsyth: The Fourth Protocol
Janet Gleeson: The Grenadillo Box
J.M. Gregson: The Lancashire Leopard
Jane Haddam: Fountain of Death
Karen Harper: The Queene's Christmas
Lee Harris: The New Year's Eve Murder
Ellen Hart: Hallowed Murder, Merchant of Venus
Roy Hart: Seascape with Dead Figures
Lauren Henderson: Pretty Boy
Reginald Hill: Killing The Lawyers
J.A. Jance: Name Withheld
Rufus King: Holiday Homicide
Frances and Richard Lockridge: The Dishonest Murderer
Heather Dune Macadam: The Weeping Buddha
Ed McBain: Lullaby
Johnston McCulley: New Year's Pardon; New Year's Duty
Philip McLauren: Scream Black Murder
Elisabeth McNeill: Hot News
Leslie Meier: New Year's Eve Murder
James Melville: Body Wore Brocade
David William Meredith: The Christmas Card Murders
Miriam Ann Moore: Stayin' Alive
Tamar Myers: A Penny Urned
Leonardo Padura: Havana Blue (starts with a New Year's Eve hangover)
Elizabeth Peters: The Golden One
Edward O. Phillips: Sunday's Child
Ellery Queen: Calamity Town
Craig Rice: The Right Murder
Gillian Roberts: The Mummer’s Curse
Cindy Sample: Dying for a Date
Dorothy L. Sayers: The Nine Tailors (begins on New Year's Eve)
Catherine Shaw: Fatal Inheritance
Joan Smith: Don't Leave Me This Way, Why Aren't They Screaming
Meg Taggart: Murder at the Savoy
Kathleen Taylor: Cold Front
Charles Todd: A Long Shadow
Patricia Wentworth: Clock Strikes Twelve
Valerie Wolzein: 'Tis the Season to be Murdered (aka And a Lethal New Year)
James Ziskin: Stone Cold Dead
Mark Richard Zubro: The Truth Can Get You Killed
After the Thin Man (1936)
Better Luck Tomorrow (2002)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Little Caesar (1931)
Money Train (1995)
New Year's Evil (1980)
Night Train to Paris (1964)
Ocean's 11 (1960)
Strange Days (1995)
One is Nicholas Blake's Thou Shell of Death (1936). Nicholas Blake is the pseudonym of Cecil Day Lewis, late British poet laureate.
Thou Shell of Death concerns Fergus O'Brien, a WWI flying ace. Fergus receives four letters predicting that he will be murdered on Boxing Day. Despite this, or maybe because of this, he plans a party and invites all the suspects (there are several people who might want to do him in) plus private detective Nigel Strangeways. O'Brien does die, and it's up to Nigel Strangeways with the help of Inspector Blount of Scotland Yard to solve the crime. This is Blount's first appearance in the series. Thou Shell of Death is an oldie but goodie, especially if you like houseparty mysteries.
There are three other novels that focus on Boxing Day. A frozen body is found on Boxing Day in Viveca Sten's In Harm's Way. Another mystery is Gilbert Adair's The Act of Roger Murgatroyd that takes place entirely on Boxing Day.This is part of his series of novels about Evadne Mount, and is clearly a play on Agatha Christie novels. In Death at Sandringham House by C.C. Benison, Her Majesty the Queen, along with her housemaid Jane Bee, investigates a Boxing Day murder.
Boxing Day is the day after Christmas, when "servants and tradesmen traditionally would receive gifts from their superiors." Today it's a national holiday in most of the British Commonwealth and former British colonies. As far as why it's called Boxing Day, there are several different theories:
A ‘Christmas Box’ in Britain is a name for a Christmas present.
Day was a day off for servants and when they received a ‘Christmas Box’
from the master. The servants would also go home to give ‘Christmas
Boxes’ to their families.
A box to collect money for the poor was placed in Churches on Christmas day then opened the next day.
Great sailing ships when setting sail would have a sealed box
containing money on board for good luck. If the voyage were a success the
box was given to a priest, opened at Christmas and the contents given
to the poor.
Are there any other Boxing Day Mysteries I've forgotten?
The winter solstice is almost upon us. I'm glad the days will begin to lengthen. I'm big on light. I put together a huge list of Christmas Mysteries (divided into 5 posts), and I'm sure some of those authors/titles reference the Winter Solstice, but I didn't find all that many that actually center on the Winter Solstice. Any titles/authors you can add?
Winter Solstice Mysteries
Ngaio Marsh, Off with His Head
Joan Hess, A Holly Jolly Murder
Jane Langton, The Shortest Day: Murder at the Revels
Henning Mankell, Italian Shoes And, if you want to celebrate your Winter Solstice in chocolate, check out these Yule Log (Buche De Noel) posts.
Sample, Cindy. Dying for a Dance
Sanders, Lawrence. The Fourth Deadly Sin
Santangelo, Elena. Poison to Purge Melancholy, Double Cross
Saums, Mary. When the Last Magnolia Weeps
Sawyer, Corinne Holt. Ho Ho Homicide
Sayers, Dorothy L. The Nine Tailors
Scherf, Margaret. The Gun in Daniel Webster’s Bust
Schumacher, Aileen. Framework for Death
Schweizer, Mark. The Alto Wore Tweeds, The Christmas Cantata
Sedaris, David. Holidays on Ice
Sefton, Maggie. Fleece Navidad
Sellars, M.R. Perfect Trust
Serafin, David. Christmas Rising
Shaber, Sarah. Shell Game (UK title: Burying Ground)
Shannon, Dell. No Holiday For Crime
Shelton, Connie. Sweet Holidays
Sibley, Celestine. Spider in the Sink
Simenon, Georges. Maigret's Christmas
Slater, Susan [anthology] Crooks, Crimes and Christmas
Sleeman, Susan. The Christmas Witness
Smith, Barbara Burnett. Mistletoe From Purple Sage, 'Tis the Season for Murder (with Fred Hunter)
Smith, Frank. Fatal Flaw
Smith, George Harmon. The Christmas Angel
Smith, Joan. Don't Leave Me This Way
Smith, Terrence. The Devil and Webster Daniels
Smoak, Amanda. Generals' Row
Soles, Caro (ed) Blood on the Holly
Sparks, Kerrelyn. Sugarplums and Scandal (anthology)
Sprinkle, Patricia. A Mystery Bred in Buckhead
Stagge, Jonathan. The Yellow Taxi
Stanley, J. B. The Battered Body
Stout, Rex. And Four to Go
Strohmeyer, Sarah. Bubbles All the Way
Swanson, Denise. Murder of a Barbie and Ken
Symons, Julian. The Detling Secret
Talley, Marcia. Occasion of Revenge
Taylor, Elizabeth Atwood. The Cable Car Murder
Taylor, Sarah Stewart. O' Artful Death
Temple, Lou Jane. Death is Semisweet
Tesh, Jane. Mixed Signals
Thames, Nancy. Waiting for Santa
Theorin, Johan. The Darkest Room
Thompson, Carlene. The Way You Look Tonight
Todd, Charles. The Walnut Tree
Tooke, John. On the Twelfth Day of Christmas
Tope, Rebecca. Trouble in the Cotswolds
Tourney, Leonard D. Knaves Templar
Tremayne, Peter. The Haunted Abbot
Trocheck, Kathy. A Midnight Clear, Fatal Fruitcake (written as Mary Kay Andrews)
Underwood, Michael. A Party to Murder
Unsworth, Barry. Morality Play
VanLeeuwen, Jean. The Great Christmas Kidnapping Caper
Victor, Cynthia. What Matters Most
Viets, Elaine. Murder With All the Trimmings
Wainwright, John. The Life and Times of Christmas Calvert...Assassin
Wait, Lea. Shadows on a Maine Christmas.
Walker, Persia. Darkness and the Devil behind Me
Waller, Gail & Jim Gilber. A Kudzu Christmas
Walsh, Thomas. The Resurrection Man
Ward, Donald. Our Little Secret
Washburn Livia. The Christmas Cookie Killer, The Gingerbread Bump-Off
Webb, Peggy. Elvis and the Blue Christmas Corpse
Webber, Heather. Trouble Under the Tree
Weir, Charlene.A Cold Christmas Welk, Mary.Deadly Little Christmas, A Merry Little Murder
Wildwind, Sharon. First Murder in Advent
Williams, David. Murder in Advent
Willig, Lauren. The Mischief of the Mistletoe
Windsor, Patricia. The Christmas Killer
Wilson, Gahan. Murder for Christmas: 26 Tales of Seasonal Malice
Wingfield, R.D. Frost at Christmas
Wishart, David. Last Rites
Wolzien, Valerie. Deck the Halls With Murder, 'Tis the Season to be Murdered, We wish You a Merry Murder
Wright, Eric. The Man Who Changed His Name
Yaffe, James. Mom Meets her Maker
Zelvin, Elizabeth. Death Will Get You Sober
Zoltack, Nicole. Mistletoe, Marriage, & Mayhem.
The most popular film noir festival in the world returns to San
Francisco's majestic Castro Theatre for its 14th edition, January 22-31,
2016. Its timely theme, given the threat traditional arts face from the
technology revolution and its skyrocketing living costs, is “The Art of
Darkness”—a collection of 25 noir-stained films exploring the
pressures, pitfalls, paranoia and pain of being an artist in an
indifferent and often cruel world. This time the tortured protagonists
aren't felons or fall guys, they're writers, painters, dancers,
photographers, and musicians.
Some of the best art-flavored classic noirs will screen, including Nicholas Ray's In a Lonely Place and Fritz Lang's Scarlet Street.
However, along with the traditional choices, we're including some
unexpected selections. "We're expanding the limits of traditional noir
to enhance this year's theme," said NOIR CITY producer, host and
co-programmer Eddie Muller, “There's always been a dark side to the way
The Arts are represented in film, and I thought it would be intriguing
to include some unexpected films, like Love Me or Leave Me and Blow-Up, that have trace elements of noir in the way they explore the more treacherous aspects of creativity.”
Sad News. Author and poet Peter Dickinson died yesterday on his 88th birthday, following a brief illness.
Peter Malcolm de Brissac Dickinson was born in Africa, and raised and
educated in England. From 1952 to 1969 he was on the editorial staff of
Punch, and then earned his living writing fiction for adults
and children. He wrote almost 60 books in his lifetime and has been
published in 53 languages around the world.
Among many other awards, Dickinson has been nine times short-listed
for the prestigious Carnegie medal for children’s literature and was the
first author to win it twice for Tulku in1979 (Open Road Media) and City of Gold in 1980 (Houghton Mifflin).
He was the first author to win the Crime Writers’ Association Golden Dagger for two consecutive novels: Skin Deep in 1968 (Felony & Mayhem) and A Pride of Heroes in 1969 (Arrow Books Ltd).
His books also won awards such as The Boston-Globe Horn Book Award
for non-fiction, The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, and The
Whitbread Children’s Fiction Prize (in 1977 and in 1990).
A collection of Dickinson’s poetry, The Weir, was published in 2009, a project his family helped him with for his 80th birthday. His last book, In the Palace of the Khans, was published by Open Road Media in 2012 and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal.
Dickinson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in
1999. He has also served as chairman of the Society of Authors. He was
awarded an OBE for services to literature in 2009.
Like my character Hayley Snow in the Key West mysteries, I was born and raised in New Jersey. We had sledding parties, and ice skating parties, and a real Christmas tree cut from a neighborhood farm. We served hot chocolate and sugar cookies to Santa, and carrots to Rudolph and company. There was a candlelight service on Christmas Eve and piles of presents and many relatives and a roast turkey on Christmas day.
Hayley and I are getting adjusted to Christmas in our Key West paradise. Though we miss the snow and the snappy cold air and our friends and family most of all, there’s something pretty magical about lights on a palm tree.
I’ll let Hayley describe one of her favorite holiday displays from DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS (Berkley/NAL December 2014):
We stopped to admire the Christmas lights on Southard Street that had won second place in the town-wide competition. A school of blue fish flashed by, lighting up in sequence across two sides of the home. Above the faux water line—a string of blue lights—Frosty the Snowman manned a rowboat, dipping his oars into the sea over and over. And finally at the far right corner of the house, Santa reeled in one of the bright blue fish. Every inch of the property was decked out with lights, ending with a carpet of white bulbs on the sidewalk that led to the street. Snow!
As you can see, the Key West folks are pretty good at decking out their island for the holiday season. We’ll show you just a couple:
Tropical decorations on a conch house seen in Old Town:
One of our favorite holiday events, the lighted boat parade.
And here’s me with Officer Joe at this year’s Hometown Holiday Parade:
And finally when the Christmas part is over, the fun doesn’t stop. Here’s Hayley describing the New Year’s Eve Dachshund parade, and a picture of Tonka and me hamming it up with the real Officer Torrence:
Then I moved on to roughing out a story on the New Year’s Eve day Dachshund Parade, which had to be the strangest parade in Key West. Which is saying a lot, as this is a town replete with strange parades. But two city blocks undulating with dachshunds, aka wiener dogs, dressed in costumes, and other dogs dressed as hot dogs to impersonate dachshunds had to take first place. Last year, a Chihuahua flash mob gathered together through Facebook joined the procession at the last minute.
I really admired Warren Murphy, his books, and the man. A prolific author, a friend to other writers, a teacher of writing, Warren passed away this Fall. Warren Murphy, born in 1933, was an American author, known, among other things, as the co-creator of The
Destroyer series, the basis for the film Remo Williams: The Adventure
Begins. He worked in journalism and politics until launching the Destroyer series with Richard Sapir in 1971. A screenwriter (Lethal Weapon II, The Eiger Sanction) as well as a
novelist, Murphy’s work won a dozen national awards, including
multiple Edgars and Shamuses. Murphy lectured at many colleges and universities, as well as offering writing lessons at his website, warrenmurphy.com. A Korean War veteran, some of Murphy’s hobbies included golf, mathematics, opera, and investing. Today, I welcome his son Devin Murphy, with this tribute to his father.
“Writing one book is an accomplishment,” Warren Murphy once said. “But you can’t stop there. If you’ve finished your first book, congratulations! — now write another. And another. Eventually one won’t stink. Keep writing. One book is an accomplishment. Three books is a hobby. By the time you get to a dozen, then maybe it’ll be a career. Whatever you do, just keep writing.”
Warren Murphy kept writing. One book. A dozen books. Fifty books. By the time he passed away on September 4th, 2015, over two hundred books. Not just The Destroyer series, but also the Trace and Digger and Razoni and Jackson series, and dozens and dozens of standalone titles.
Two hundred books. Sometimes they competed with each other, like when one of the Trace books didn’t win a Shamus award because Ceiling of Hell, another book of Warren’s, won instead. (Damn. Can’t win ’em all).
“How do you come up with so many ideas?” I heard someone ask him once. His response: “Watch. Learn. Pay attention. And then, when you’re writing, don’t forget it.” It’s a variation on the old writers’ maxim — write what you know. “Pay attention. And then, when you’re writing, don’t forget it.”
From my lifetime of memories with him, I can see Warren in each of his books. It’s not just his characters or his plots or his writing style — I can see his interest in golf, his fascination with statistics and probability, his knowledge of opera and politics and vodka and jazz. His favorite movie (Gunga Din) makes an appearance in a Destroyer; his favorite song (Over the Rainbow) appears in one of his books, too.
Sometimes, pieces of conversations appear. “I’ve never really liked tea,” Warren once said. “People pretend to like it, but I think they’re being phonies — tea tastes like urine.” Lo and behold, in Warren’s latest book Bloodline, a character complains about the taste of tea, comparing it to — well, you can guess. “Pay attention. And then, when you’re writing, don’t forget it.”
Two hundred books — all of them, in some small measure, an autobiography. Warren was Trace; Warren was Digger; Warren was Remo; Warren was Chiun.
Two hundred books, each with countless memories, flashes of Warren’s mind and interests and personality. Two hundred books, and Warren is now gone, but he will not be forgotten; his works will live on and he will live within them.
Acorn TV announces its January U.S. Premieres, including the supernatural British thriller Midwinter of the Spirit, which follows an exorcist in training; and the U.S. debut of one of Canada’s top series with the award-winning, character-driven cop drama 19-2 starring Adrian Holmes (Arrow) and Jared Keeso (Elysium, Falling Skies). MIDWINTER OF THE SPIRIT
U.S. Premiere beginning Monday, January 11, 2016
Acorn TV features the U.S. Premiere of the new supernatural thriller Midwinter of the Spirit on consecutive Mondays, beginning Monday, January 11, 2016. Based on the novel by Phil Rickman, the three episode ITV crime drama stars two-time BAFTA-Award winning actress Anna Maxwell Martin (The Bletchley Circle, Death Comes to Pemberley, Bleak House) as a country vicar and exorcist-in-training who aids the police in solving a grisly murder. BAFTA-Award winner David Threlfall (Shameless) co-stars as her mentor.
Country vicar Merrily Watkins (Anna Maxwell Martin) is in training to be an exorcist, or “deliverance minister,” for the Church of England. Although guided by the sardonic, no-nonsense Reverend Huw Owen (David Threlfall), Merrily contends with self-doubt in her tough new role. Her faith deeply shaken by her husband’s recent death, she also struggles to raise her teenage daughter on her own. When Merrily is called in to consult on a grisly murder investigation, the inexperienced exorcist finds herself battling supernatural terrors that threaten to overwhelm her.
Midwinter of the Spirit also stars Kate Dickie (Game of Thrones), Nicholas Pinnock (Fortitude), Leila Mimmack (Mayday), Siobhan Finneran (Downton Abbey), and Ben Bailey Smith (Law & Order: UK).
19-2 U.S. PREMIERE BEGINS MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2016
Acorn TV features the U.S. Premiere of the gripping, Canadian crime drama 19-2, Season 1 beginning Monday, January 18, 2016 with its first two episodes and a new episode every Monday through March 14. In Canada, the series has been a huge ratings and social media hit for Bell Media’s Bravo channel. The intense 10-part character-driven drama stars Adrian Holmes (Arrow, Elysium) and Jared Keeso (Elysium, Falling Skies) as partners in the Montreal Police Department who must put their differences aside as their lives intertwine professionally and personally. An English-language remake of a popular Quebec show, 19-2 has won a Canadian Screen Award for Best Actor for Jared Keeso, and was nominated for numerous other Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Dramatic Series, Best Direction, Best Writing, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.
Officers Nick Barron (Adrian Holmes) and Ben Chartier (Jared Keeso) patrol the urban sprawl of downtown’s 9th Precinct in Cruiser No. 2, working alongside the varied cast of characters that make up the close knit squad of Station 19. With very different temperaments and life experiences, Nick and Ben’s mistrust and antagonism for each other is evident from the outset, but, as season one progresses, moments of mutual respect give way to a wavering chance of a true partnership. As we come to know the team, we see friendship and loyalty, but we also see betrayal as Ben learns of a mole in the squad, whose actions may have fatal consequences.
Season 2 of 19-2 will premiere on Acorn TV later in 2016 and a third season is in production.
Books announced the acquisition of an
exciting new project, co-edited by two of the brightest minds in the
crime fiction field, Jason Starr and Chantelle Aimée Osman.
SERIAL KILLER, a thriller in stories and a contemporary retelling of Ten Little Indians, is about a group of strangers who end up at a Hamptons
house for a summer weekend, only to learn that one of the house guests is
a murderer. Serial Killer will launch in the Fall of 2016. Each story will be written by a different author, and will further the plot from the perspective of one of the house guests. That character could be a victim—or even the killer. Each chapter will come from the unique voice and perspective of its author. One new story will be published every two weeks as an ebook single, and the entire novel will then be published as an omnibus ebook and later in an expanded print edition in Summer 2017. Contributors include Jason Starr, Patricia Abbott, Rob Hart, Mary T. McCarthy, Dave White, Alex Segura. More contributors to be announced.
addition to the digital stories and print edition, SERIAL KILLER will
also be supported by numerous multimedia components, including podcasts,
videos, and live readings.