Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Agatha Raisin Comes to British TV

M.C. Beaton's quirkiest snoop is coming to Britain's Sky 1 TV for Christmas. Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death stars Ashley Jensen, who American audiences might recognize as the unfortunate wife in Masterpiece Theatre's The Escape Artist. Her voice has also been heard in numerous animated films such as Arthur Christmas, Gnomeo & Juliet, and How to Train Your Dragon.

It will no doubt be a year or two before Beaton fans on this side of the Atlantic will be able to sample Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, at least on DVD. Hopefully this adaptation of M.C. Beaton's popular series will fare better on the screen that the last attempt with the Hamish MacBeth series in the late 1990s. Although an excellent actor, Glaswegian Robert Carlyle wasn't exactly how I pictured the lanky Highlands copper. In any event, we'll keep our eyes peeled for the release of the DVD in America.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Unwrap These New Mysteries

Are you ready for the holidays? In between cyber-shopping and present wrapping, here's a selection
of new mysteries to distract you from the hustle and bustle of December. There are great choices for a variety of tastes and preferences. I am currently reading the pre-pub of Anthony Horowitz's Moriarty. This is the second novel set in the world of Sherlock Holmes following The House of Silk (2011). More on Moriarty in an upcoming post. Meanwhile, let the reading begin!
  • Paying the Ferryman [Naomi Blake] by Jane Adams
  • Perfect Sins [Gabriel Ash & Hazel Best] by Jo Bannister
  • The Doll’s House [Philip Brennan] by Tania Carver 
  • Scorched Eggs [Cackleberry Club] by Laura Childs
  • Blood Rubies [Josie Prescott Antiques] by Jane K. Cleland
  • Enter Pale Death [Joe Sandilands] by Barbara Cleverly
  • Once upon a Grind [Coffeehouse] by Cleo Coyle
  • The Firebird’s Feather by Marjorie Eccles
  • You Know Who Killed Me [Amos Walker] by Loren D. Estleman
  • Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart [Peculiar Crimes Unit] by Christopher Fowler
  • Die Again [Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles] by Tess Gerritsen
  • Deadly Assets [Badge of Honor] by W.E.B. Griffin &
    William E. Butterworth IV
  • The Big Finish [Thorn] by James W. Hall
  • Crimson Angel [Benjamin January] by Barbara Hambly
  • Rain on the Dead [Sean Dillon] by Jack Higgins
  • The Soul of Discretion [Simon Serrailler] by Susan Hill
  • Moriarty [Sherlock Holmes] by Anthony Horowitz
  • Disclosures [Colin Harpur & Desmond Iles] by Bill James
  • Sweet Damage by Rebecca James
  • Swimming in the Shadows by Diane Janes
  • Saint Odd [Odd Thomas] by Dean Koontz 
  • Woman with a Gun by Phillip Margolin
  • Deeds of Darkness [Home Front Detective] by Edward Marston
  • The Skeleton Road [Karen Pirie] by Val McDermid
  • High Stakes [Jack Doyle] by John McEvoy
  • A Nip of Murder [Moonshine] by Carol Miller
  • Gods of Gold [Tom Harper] by Chris Nickson
  • Kill ’em with Cayenne [Spice Shop] by Gail Oust
  • The Cruiser [Dan Lenson] by David Poyer
  • Suspicion at Seven [Lois Meade] by Ann Purser
  • Fifty Mice  by Daniel Pyne
  • The Wolf and the Lamb [Jerusalem] by Frederick Ramsay
  • Hush  by Karen Robards
  • The Iris Fan [Sano Ichiro by Laura Joh Rowland
  • Asylum City by Liad Shoham
  • The Money Tree Murders [Michael Angel] by Roger Silverwood
  • Family Plot [John Pickett] by Sheri Cobb South
  • Nothing but Lies [Daniel Whelan] by Lyndon Stacey
  • Dead Wrong by Patricia Stoltey
  • Thief [Robin Monarch] by Mark T. Sullivan
  • The Voices  by Frank Tallis
  • No Fortunate Son [Pike Logan] by Brad Taylor
  • Blue Avenue [Daniel Turner] by Michael Wiley 

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 and 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; Daryl is one of mystery writer/bloggers.