Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What a Mystery Binge!


I just spent several fabulous days in Long Beach attending the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of these functions, I highly recommend it! The only downside is trying to choose which panels you want to attend. I had the chance to hear many favorite authors talk about their books -- and met some new authors to add to my list of favorites.

Several awards were presented during the convention, including the Anthony Awards. Here are the nominees and the winners of that award.

Best Mystery Novel
  • Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger  [WINNER]
  • Suspect by Robert Crais
  • A Cold and Lonely Place by Sara J. Henry
  • The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan 
  • Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming
Best First Mystery
  • Yesterday's Echo by Matt Coyle  [WINNER]
  • Ghostman by Roger Hobbs
  • Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman
  • Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
  • The Hard Bounce by Todd Robinson
Best Paperback Original
  • As She Left It by Catriona McPherson  [WINNER]
  • The Big Reap by Chris F. Holm
  • Purgatory Key by Darrell James
  • Joyland by Stephen King
  • The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood
Best Short Story
  • "The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository" by John Connolly, Bibliomysteries, The Mysterious Bookshop  [WINNER]
  • "Dead End" by Craig Faustus Buck, Untreed Reads
  •  "Annie and the Grateful Dead" by Denise Dietz, The Sound and the Furry
  •  "Incident on the 405" by Travis Richardson, Malfeasance Occasional: Girl Trouble
  •  "The Care and Feeding of Houseplants" by Art Taylor, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, March-April 2013
Best Critical or Non-Fiction Work
  • The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot To Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower [WINNER] 
  • Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova
  • The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines by Cate Lineberry
  • All the Wild Children by Josh Stallings
  • Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives edited by Sarah Weinman
Best Children's or Young Adult Novel
  • The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau [WINNER]
  • Escape Theory by Margaux Froley 
  • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
  • Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy by Elizabeth Kiem
  • The Code Busters Club: The Mystery of the Pirate's Treasure by Penny Warner
Best Television Episode Teleplay First Aired in 2013
  • The Blacklist, Pilot, by Jon Bokenkamp [WINNER]
  • Breaking Bad, "Felina," by Vince Gilligan
  • The Fall, "Dark Descent," by Allan Cubitt
  • The Following, Pilot, by Kevin Williamson
  • Justified, "Hole in the Wall," by Graham Yost
Best Audio Book
  • The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith, read by Robert Glenister [WINNER]
  • Crescendo by Deborah J Ledford, read by Christina Cox
  • Death and the Lit Chick by G.M. Malliet, read by Davina Porte
  • Hour of the Rat by Lisa Brackmann, read by Tracy Sallows
  • Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell, read by Mauro Hantman












Monday, November 3, 2014

Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery

Are you a fan of Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mysteries? I discovered her a few years ago and subsequently devoured all ten novels. Called the Canadian Agatha Christie, her award-winning books are multi-layered with fascinating characters that grow on you as the series develops.

So I was quite interested to learn that Penny's first book, Still Life, was being filmed for Canadian TV in 2012. I watched the blog posts reporting on the TV ;movie's progress during production, the casting, and the locations being considered for the fictional village of Three Pines. Finally, it was announced las month that the film was arriving on DVD.

I bought it, watched it, and must say that I liked it very much indeed. It's always difficult for some fans to separate the written word from the screen image, and appreciate each medium on its own terms. But I thought Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery was a very entertaining adaptation of the novel. Louise Penny was Executive Producer on the project, and it appears that she had quite a bit of input.

Nathaniel Parker (of the Inspector Lynley Mysteries series) portrays the perceptive and gentle Gamache. Anthony Lemke (White House Down) is Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir, Gamache's right-hand man. Fans of Penny's series know that the idyllic village of Three Pines is as much a character as any of the human inhabitants, and the producers of the film have cast a lovely Canadian village dressed in its colorful autumn best.

For those unfamiliar with Louise Penny's series opener, Still Life, Gamache and his team of investigators are called in to determine whether the death of a beloved school teacher in the quaint little village is a tragic accident or a homicide.


So whether you're a fan or a newbie, do check out Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery on DVD.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Witches, and Vampires, and Ghosts, Oh My!


Here are some of my favorite Halloween mysteries, some old, some new. How many have you enjoyed?


  • Witches Bane by Susan Wittig Albert (Cozy)
  • Antiques Maul by Barbara Allan (Cozy)
  • Aunt Dimity, Vampire Hunter by Nancy Atherton (Supernatural Cozy)
  • A Cast-off Coven by Juliet Blackwell (Cozy)
  • The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts by Lilian J. Braun (Cozy)
  • The Hunt Ball by Rita Mae Brown (Amateur Sleuth)
  • Fiber and Brimstone by Laura Childs (Cozy)
  • Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie (Detective Mystery)
  • A Catered Halloween by Isis Crawford (Culinary Cozy)
  • Crimes by Moonlight (Anthology edited by Charlaine Harris)
  • Ghostly Murders by P.C. Doherty (Historical Mystery)
  • Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich (Humorous Mystery
  • Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke (Culinary Cozy)
  • Stirring the Plot by Daryl Wood Gerber (Culinary Cozy)
  • Skeleton Key by Jane Haddam (Amateur Sleuth)
  • Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris (Final Sookie Stackhouse mystery)
  • Southern Ghost by Carolyn Hart (Cozy/Amateur Sleuth)
  • The Haunting of Hill House by SHirley Jackson (Suspense)
  • Murder in Vein: a Fang-In-Cheek Mystery by Sue Ann Jaffarian
  • Death of a Neighborhood Witch by Laura Levine (Humorous Mystery)
  • Poisoned Tarts by G.A. McKevett (Cozy)
  • Wicked Witch Murder by Leslie Meier (Cozy)
  • Murder for Halloween: Tales of Suspense
  • The Night Country by Stewart O'Nan (Horror/Mystery)
  • The Body in the Moonlight by Kathereine Hall Page (Cozy)
  • The Dracula Dossier by James Reese (Suspense)
  • Night Hunter by Michael Reeves (Horror/Mystery)
  • A Hole in Juan by Gillian Roberts (Cozy)
  • Dracula: the Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker (Horror)
  • Ghost Story by Peter Straub (Horror)



Monday, October 27, 2014

Bouchercon is Coming!

Are you attending Bouchercon 2014? It's a fantastic conference for mystery writers and readers held annually. This year Bouchercon is  in Long Beach, California, so I'll most certainly be there. It's not too late to register. Check out their website and see if your favorite mystery author is attending. It's a great chance to meet and greet authors, especially those international ones. When I was at Bouchercon 2012 in San Francisco, I was able to chat with so many of my favs, including a few from the other side of the pond!

Calling all librarians attending Bouchercon. Be sure to sign up for the FREE Librarian Tea hosted by the Southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Cozy Halloween Tale

Just in time for my favorite holiday -- Halloween! Daryl Wood Gerber recently released the Stirring the Plot, third in her Cookbook Nook series, and I'm really enjoying it as I get in the spooky holiday spirit.

Halloween in Crystal Cove, a charming California coastal community, is always spook-tacular. All the local businesses have haunting window displays, including Jenna Hart's Cookbook Nook. But the big celebration in town is the annual soiree put on by the Winsome Witches who raise funds for literacy.

When the Head Priestess of the Winsome Witches is found dead, and Jenna's Aunt Vera has lost her ability to foresee the future, Jenna begins to feel like her arrival in Crystal Cove has jinxed the place.

This is a really fun series (and I am a sucker for the lovely alliteration!). Daryl Wood Gerber also writes The Cheese Shop mysteries under her nom de plume, Avery Aames. Visit her websites at averyaames.com and darylwoodgerber.com. Her books always include yummy recipes in the back and you can find more on her websites. If you like foody mysteries and enjoy cooking yourself, be sure to check out www.mysteryloverskitchen.com; Daryl is one of mystery writer/bloggers.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Changes in the Air and Something New

Aunt Agatha has been somewhat remiss in posting in recent weeks, and for that I do apologize. It's hard to believe a whole month has passed since the last post! But my alter ego is preparing to retire from the Burbank Public Library after a lifetime (it seems!) of happy service. Consequently, there's been a lot of tying up of loose ends in preparation of the transition (as well as hiding "evidence" and disposing of "bodies"). 

The good news is that after December, Aunt Agatha will have more time to dig up clues to good books.

In the meantime, take a look at the new releases for October:

Last Writes [SS] by Catherine Aird

The Counterfeit Heiress [Lady Emily Ashton] by Tasha Alexander

The Nightingale Before Christmas [Meg Langslow] by Donna Andrews

Sidney Sheldon’s Chasing Tomorrow by Tilly Bagshawe

Death of a Blue Blood [Murder She Wrote] by Donald Bain & Jessica Fletcher

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas [Jane Austen] byStephanie Barron

Close to the Bone [Theresa MacLean] by Lisa Black

The Empire of Night [Christopher Marlowe Cobb] by Robert Olen Butler

Gossamer Ghost [Scrapbooking] by Laura Childs

The Wolf in Winter [Charlie Parker] by John Connolly

Havana Storm [Dirk Pitt] by Clive Cussler & Dirk Cussler

Death in Elysium [Jodie Welsh] by Judith Cutler

Dark Spies [Will Cochrane] by Matthew Dunn

Dick Francis’s Damage by Felix Francis

Stirring the Plot (Cookbook Nook) by Daryl Wood Gerber

The Peripheral by William Gibson

Riders on the Storm [Sam McCain] by Ed Gorman

Run by Andrew Grant

Gray Mountain  by John Grisham

Ghost Wanted [Bailey Ruth Raeburn] by Carolyn Hart

The Old Deep and Dark [Jane Lawless] by Ellen Hart

Older than Goodbye [Judd Wheeler] by Richard Helms

Malice [Kyochiro Kaga] by Keigo Higashino

Bless Her Dead Little Heart (Southern Ladies) by Miranda James

The White Sea [Alex Mavros] by Paul Johnston

Seventh Grave and No Body [Charley Davidson] by Darynda Jones

The Legend of Sleepy Harlow (League of Literary Ladies) by Kylie Logan

First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen by Charlie Lovett

The Handsome Man’s Deluxe CafĂ© [No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency] by Alexander McCall Smith

I See You by Patricia MacDonald

Demon Summer [Max Tudor] by G.M. Malliet

Every Breath [Rachel Watts / YA] by Ellie Marney

Cobra [Benny Griessel] by Deon Meyer

Last Winter We Parted by Fuminori Nakamura

The Madness of July  by James Naughtie

The Final Silence [Jack Lennon] by Stuart Neville

Fear and Loathing [Sam Becket] by Hilary Norman

Leaving Time  by Jodi Picoult

Burned [Vanessa Pierson] by Valerie Plame & Sarah Lovett

Sour Grapes [Shakespeare in the Vineyard] by Carole Price

Assault with a Deadly Lie [Nick Hoffman] by Lev Raphael

Truth Be Told [Jane Ryland & Jake Brogan] by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Swann’s Lake of Despair [Henry Swann] by Charles Salzberg

Deadline [Virgil Flowers] by John Sandford

Louise’s Blunder [Louise Pearlie] by Sarah R. Shaber

The Pierced Heart [Charles Maddox] by Lynn Shepherd

Sons of Sparta [Andreas Kaldis] by Jeffrey Siger

Stages of Grey [Dulcie Schwartz] by Clea Simon

Supping with the Devil [Monika Paniatowski] by Sally Spencer

Thief [Robin Monarch] by Mark T. Sullivan

The Scent of Death [Edward Savill] by Andrew Taylor

Spark  by John Twelve Hawks

Sometimes the Wolf  by Urban Waite

Desert Rage [Lena Jones] by Betty Webb

Paris Match [Stone Barrington] by Stuart Woods

The Best American Mystery Stories of the 19th Century [SS] edited by Otto Penzler

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

September's Crop of Releases


What amazes me about mystery fiction is that death can't keep a good man down. Case in point, the demise of Robert B. Parker and Agatha Christie didn't slow down the exploits of their iconic characters. This month, Jesse Stone returns in Blind Spot by Reed Farrel Coleman and the ever-popular Hercule Poirot has an another adventure in Sophie Hannah's The Monogram Murders. Read on...we have a nice selection of murder and mystery to keep us all busy this month.


The Marco Effect [Department Q] by Jussi Adler-Olsen

The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush [Darling Dahlias] by Susan Wittig Albert

Hit and Run [Main Street] by Sandra Balzo

The Blood of an Englishman [Agatha Raisin] by M.C. Beaton

The Rest Is Silence [Billy Boyle] by James R. Benn

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Defender of the Innocent: The Casebook of Martin Ehrengraf [SS] by Lawrence Block

The Cinderella Killer [Charles Paris] by Simon Brett

Beware Beware [Juniper Song] by Steph Cha

Personal [Jack Reacher] by Lee Child

Night of the White Buffalo [Wind River] by Margaret Coel

Robert B. Parker’s Blind Spot [Jesse Stone continuation] by Reed Farrel Coleman

A Dancer in the Dust  by Thomas H. Cook

Countdown [Milt Kovak] by Susan Rogers Cooper

Day of Vengeance [Dorothy Martin] by Jeanne M. Dams

The Beast in the Red Forest [Inspector Pekkala] by Sam Eastland

The Lost Key [Brit in the FBI] by Catherine Coulter & J.T. Ellison

Perfidia [2nd L.A. Quartet] by James Ellroy


To Dwell in Darkness [Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James] by Deborah Crombie

The Eye of Heaven [Sam and Remi Fargo #6] by Clive Cussler & Russell Blake

Roseblood  by Paul Doherty

The Secret Place [Dublin Murder Squad] by TanaDog Beach  by John Fusco

The Corners of the Globe [James Maxted] by Robert Goddard

Those Who Feel Nothing [Brighton] by Peter Guttridge

Fighting Chance [Gregor Demarkian] by Jane Haddam

The Monogram Murders [The New Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot Mystery] by Sophie Hannah

Darkness, Darkness [Resnick] by John Harvey

Murder in Time [Ellie Quicke] by Veronica Heley

Skink: No Surrender  [YA] by Carl Hiaasen

Death Is a Word [Mrs. Malory] by Hazel Holt

Haunted [Bishop Special Crimes Unit] by Kay Hooper

The Perfect Witness by Iris Johansen

Murder 101 [Peter Decker & Rina Lazarus] by Faye Kellerman

The Golem of Hollywood by Jonathan Kellerman & Jesse Kellerman

Strong Darkness [Caitlin Strong #6] by Jon Land

Life Deluxe [Stockholm Noir by Jens Lapidus

The Drop by Dennis LehDay of Atonemen by David Liss

The Stone Wife [Peter Diamond] by Peter Lovesey

Bright Hopes [St. Rose Quilting Bee] by Annette Mahon

The Lewis Man [Lewis] by Peter May

Proof Positive [Joe Gunther] by Archer Mayor

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

Silent Murders [Roaring Twenties] by Mary Miley

Rose Gold [Easy Rawlins] by Walter Mosley

Burn [Michael Bennett] by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Phantom Limb [Daniel Rinaldi] by Dennis Palumbo

Blood on the Water [William Monk] by Anne Perry

Bones Never Lie [Temperance Brennan] by Kathy Reichs

Festive in Death
[Eve Dallas] by J.D. Robb

Tomorrow’s Vengeance [Hannah Ives] by Marcia Talley

The Coniston Case [Simmy Brown] by Rebecca Tope

No Broken Hearts [Lauren Atwill] by Sheila York