Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What is Aunt Agatha Reading?

Stuart Neville's brilliant debut, The Ghosts of Belfast, was the winner of the Los Angeles Times book prize for best crime fiction in 2009. His follow-up novel, Collusion, is another stunning thriller set in Northern Ireland, a country where the effects of past terrors still reverberate. 

According to the publishers:
When Detective Inspector Jack Lennon tries to track down his former lover Marie McKenna and their daughter, his superiors tell him to back off.  But now an assassin stalks Belfast, tying up loose ends for a vengeance-driven old man.  As Lennon unravels a conspiracy that links his daughter to a killer named Fegan, the line between friend and enemy blurs.

This violent tale of revenge and redemption is very well-written.  Neville's characters, all skillfully developed, will grip you from the opening scene.

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Books for the New Year

Here is a selection of new hardcover mysteries scheduled for a January release.  It looks like a little something for everyone's taste.

  • Madelyn Alt -- Home for a Spell: a Bewitching Mystery
  • Quentin Bates -- Frozen Assets: Introducing the Gunnhilder Mystery Series set in Iceland
  • Mary Jane Clark -- To Have and To Kill:  a Wedding Cake Mystery
  • Blaize Clement -- Cat Sitter Among the Pigeons:  a Dixie Hemingway Mystery
  • Robert Crais -- The Sentry:  a Joe Pike novel
  • Wessel Ebersohn -- The October Killings
  • Kim Edwards -- The Lake of Dreams
  • Lee Goldberg -- Mr. Monk on the Road
  • Ellie Griffiths -- The Janus Stone
  • Parnell Hall -- The Kenken Killings
  • Peter Helton -- Falling More Slowly:  Introducing Detective Inspector Liam McLusky
  • Jack Higgins -- The Judas Gate
  • Steve Hockensmith -- World's Greatest Sleuth!  A Holmes on the Range Mystery
  • Erin Kelly -- The Poison Tree
  • Michael Koryta -- The Cypress House
  • John Lescroart -- Damage
  • Brad Meltzer -- The Inner Circle
  • Bradford Morrow -- The Diviners Tale
  • T. Jefferson Parker -- The Border Lords: a Charlie Hood novel
  • Anders Roslund & Borge Hellstrom -- Three Seconds
  • Jed Rubenfeld -- The Death Instinct
  • C.J. Sansom -- The Heartstone:  a Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery
  • Wallace Stroby -- Cold Shot to the Heart
  • Andrew Taylor -- The Anatomy of Ghosts
  • Charles Todd -- A Lonely Death: an Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery
  • Jill Paton Walsh -- The Attenbury Emeralds:  the New Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane Mystery

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Aunt Agatha wishes you a very Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rescuing Harry Bosch from Hollywood Development Hell

Back in March I posted about Michael Connelly's lawsuit against Paramount Pictures over a 1995 option deal for his first two books, Black Ice and Black Echo.  The studio never developed either book, and worst of all, Connelly had given Paramount ownership of the Harry Bosch character, so none of the other books in the series could be filmed.

Hollywood Deadline reports that Connelly and Paramount settled in October before the lawsuit went to trial.  Read the entire article here.

Writers often dream that Hollywood will option their novel.  When that does happen, sometimes it's a dream come true, sometimes it's a nightmare.  Thankfully, Harry Bosch has been released from "development hell," leaving the door open for Connelly to pursue other options.  Perhaps we'll be seeing Bosch in his own television series one day.  Now that would be a dream come true for Bosch fans!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ten Strange-But-True Christmas Crimes

Here's an interesting post from Criminal Justice Degrees Guide Blog.  We all know the holidays are high crime times -- law enforcement continues to warn shoppers to safeguard their purchases and be vigilant during the holidays.  But these stories just go to show that truth is very often stranger than fiction!

Read the entire post here:
1.  Stolen Baby Jesus
2.  Wal-Mart Stampede
3.  Stolen Christmas Trees
4.  Drunken Parade Float Driving
5.  Nativity Scene Vandalism
6.  Frosty Stabbing
7.  Christmas Tree Cannabis
8.  Cannabis Christmas Card
9.  Naughty Santa Claus
10. The Santa Claus Bandit

I'd say there going to be a lot of stockings with lumps of coal this Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Edgar Allan Poe...Detective?

Well, this certainly looks interesting!  The Huffington Post reports that John Cusak is portraying Edgar Allan Poe in The Raven, a psychological thriller expected out next year.  The film is a fictionalized account of Poe's last days of life as he searches for a serial killer whose murders mirror those in his stories.  Directed by James McTeigue from a screenplay by Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare

Monday, December 13, 2010

Aunt Agatha's Holiday Homicide

Here is a selection of my favorite crime for the holidays.  The list is by no means comprehensive, but a fun selection nonetheless. So curl up with a cup of cocoa and enjoy!

Aunt Dimity's Christmas by Nancy Atherton
Ben Franklin and a Case of Christmas Murder by Robert Lee Hall
The Body in the Sleigh by Katherine Hall Page
Candy Cane Murder, novellas by Joanna Fluke, Laura Levine, and Leslie Meier
Cat Crimes for the Holidays, edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Ed Gorman, and Larry Segriff
Cat Deck the Halls: a Joe Grey Mystery by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
A Cat on Jingle Bell Rock by Lydia Adamson
A Catered Christmas: a Mystery with Recipes by Isis Crawford
A Christmas Beginning by Anne Perry
Christmas Cookie Murder by Leslie Meier
The Chrismas Crimes at Puzzel Manor by Simon Brett
The Christmas Garden Affair by Ann Ripley
Classic Christmas Crime edited by Tim Heald
A Cold Christmas by Charlene Weir
The Con Artist of Catalina Island by Jennifer Colt
Corpus Christmas by Margaret Maron
A Crossworder's Gift by Nero Blanc
Dashing Through the Snow by Mary Higgins Clark
The Dons and Mr. Dickens: the Strange Case of the Oxford Christmas Plot by William J. Palmer
Frost at Christmas by R.D, Wingfield
Hard Christmas: a Cat Marsala Mystery by Barbara D"Amato
A Highland Christmas by M.C. Beaton
Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle
Holmes for the Holidays edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Jon L. Lellenberg, and Carol-Lynn Waugh
Inspector Proby's Christmas by John Gano
Kissing Christmas Goodbye: an Agatha Raisin Mystery by M.C. Beaton
A Kudzu Christmas: Twelve Mysterious Tales edited by Jim Gilbert & Gail Waller
The Last Noel by Heather Graham
Mad as the Dickens by Toni L.P. Kelner
Merry, Merry Ghost by Carolyn Hart
The Midnight Before Christmas by William Bernhardt
A Midnight Clear by Kathy Hogan Trocheck
Mistletoe and Murder by Carola Dunn
More Holmes for the Holidays edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Jon L. Lellenberg, and Carol-Lynn Waugh
Murder for Christmas edited by Thomas Godfrey
Murder for Christmas and Three Other Great Mysteries by Agatha Christie
Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke
The Queene's Christmas by Karen Harper
A Rumpole Chrismas by John Mortimer
Santa Clawed by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown
Santa Cruise by Mary Higgins Clark
Shakespeare's Christmas by Charlaine Harris
Six Geese A-Slaying by Donna Andrews
Sweet Revenge by Diane Mott Davidson
The Twelve Deaths of Christmas by Marian Babson
A Wee Christmas Homicide by Kaitlyn Dunnett

Monday, December 6, 2010

What's YOUR "Comfort Book?"

I always keep the mailbox under surveillance whenever the latest issue of Mystery Scene Magazine is due.  I LOVE that magazine! (A totally unsolicited hint to Santas:  a subscription to this terrific magazine is a the perfect gift for all the mystery lovers in your life!).  I devour the magazine like a box of chocolates, one tasty piece at a time.

This is the season when we all crave comfort food -- left-over turkey sandwiches, Christmas cookies, pumpkin pie.  But where do you go when you need to shore up sagging spirits?  Where do you go for your "Comfort Books?"

 In the current Holiday 2010 issue of Mystery Scene there is a delightful article, "Take Comfort Here" by Carolyn Hart (author of the "Death on Demand" and "Bailey Ruth" series of mysteries).  Hart reminds us of the restorative nature of mystery books, especially in troubled times. Unlike everyday life, mysteries identify the hero and villain and goodness (almost) always triumphs in the end.  The magazine goes on to offer some recommendation from writers on their favorite books for hard times.  Dana Stabenow chose Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart as the book she's most drawn to on those cold, winter nights.

I was immediately reminded of my teenage self, lo those many (well, maybe not THAT many) years ago.  I read and re-read Mary Stewart throughout those turbulent times and was taken away to romantic locales, with handsome heroes and resourceful heroines.  Madam, Will You Talk? was Mary Stewart's first novel published in 1955 and this born storyteller went on to publish a string of romantic suspense books -- and I loved every single one.  The Moonspinners was a particular favorite, but then This Rough Magic was, well, magical.  I recently re-read Madam, Will You Talk? and it holds up remarkably well for a book that's 55 years old.  Of course, good storytelling is timeless.  If you have never read Mary Stewart, go ahead and treat yourself.

What other authors do I go to for "comfort" these days?  M.C. Beaton  instantly comes to mind, as well as Carolyn Hart, Rhys Bowen, and Deborah Crombie.  I asked around the library for other comfort reads and the Library Director is partial to Janet Evanovich and J.D. Robb.  Other recommended comfort reads include Tami Hoag, CJ Box, Craig Johnson, and JA Jance.

So, what books do you go to when you're feeling blue?  What's your "Comfort Book?"

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Wild Ride on the Streets of San Francisco

If you ever wondered why the streets of San Francisco are home to so many great crime films, here's the reason.  This fantastic homage to San Franciso's mysterious side was put together by Serena Bramble.  The film, "San Francisco is the Scene of a Perfect Crime," was shown at the opening ceremonies of Bouchercon back in October.  Enjoy!