Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Next Sherlock Holmes Movie

E! Online recently reported that the upcoming sequel to the 2009 Sherlock Holmes film will be named Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.  The film starring Robert Downey, Jr. as Sherlock and Jude Law as Watson is set in 1891, a year after the events in the first film.  Holmes will be on the trail of Professor Moriarity and Noomi Rapace (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy) will appear as a gypsy.

Sherlock Holmes: a Game of Shadows will be in theaters on December 16, 2011.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hollywood Homicide

All eyes will be on Hollywood this Sunday when the film industry celebrates the 83rd annual Academy Awards.  Glam up this weekend and read one of these mysteries set in the glittering town of Hollywood, both past and present.

Alone: a Valentino Mystery by Loren D. Estelman
Babylon Nights: a David Spandau novel by Daniel Depp
Hollywood and Crime: Original Crime Stories Set During the History of Hollywood edited by Robert J. Randisi
Hollywood Buzz by Margit Liesche
Hollywood Tough: a Shane Scully novel by Stephen J. Cannell
Hollywood Moon by Joseph Wambaugh
The Last Embrace by Denise Hamilton
Mildred Pierced by Stuart M. Kaminsky
Murder at the Academy Awards: a Red Carpet Murder Mystery by Joan Rivers (and Jerrilyn Farmer)Stardust by Joseph Kanon
Written in Blood: a Forensic Handwriting Mystery by Sheila R. Lowe

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Agatha Award Nominees

Here are the books nominated for the 2010 Agatha Awards that will be announced at Malice Domestic.  This mystery fan convention salutes the traditional mystery as typified by the works of Agatha Christie.  The 2011 convention will be held in Bethesda, MD from April 29-May 1.  How many have you read?

Best Novel:
  • Stork Raving Mad by Donna Andrews
  • Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
  • The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard
  • Drive Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan
  • Truly, Madly by Heather Webber
Best First Novel
  • The Long Quiche Goodbye by Avery Aames
  • Murder at the PTA by Laura Alden
  • Maid of Murder by Amanda Flower
  • Full Mortality by Sasscer Hill
  • Diamonds for the Dead by Alan Orloff

Best Non-fiction
  • The Poisoner's Handbook:  Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum
  • Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks:  50 Years of Mysteries in the Making by John Curran
  • Sherlock Holmes for Dummies by Stephen Doyle & David A. Crowder
  • Have Faith in Your Kitchen by Katherine Hall Page
  • Charlie Chan:  The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History by Yunte Huang

Best Short Story
  • "Swing Shift" by Dana Cameron, Crimes by Moonlight
  • "Size Matters" by Sheila Connolly, Thin Ice
  • "Volunteer of the Year" by Barb Goffman, Chesapeake Crimes:  They Had it Comin'
  • "So Much in Common" by Mary Jane Maffini, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (Sept./Oct. 2010
  • "The Green Cross" by Liz Zelvin, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (August 2010)

Best Children's/Young Adult:
  • Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer by John Grisham
  • Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus by R.L. LaFevers
  • The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee
  • Virals by Kathy Reichs
  • The Other Side of Dark by Sarah Smith
Congratulations to all!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Doyle and Houdini -- Crimefighters?

Sometimes there just must be something "in the air."  Two separate projects are teaming up real-life friends Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and illusionist Harry Houdini to solve mysteries.  Doyle has been the protagonist in a number of novels, most recently Graham Moore's excellent novel, The Sherlockian. Now Doyle will be making his way to film.

It was recently reported that DreamWorks has acquired Voices from the Dead, and original script from J. Michael Straczynski (Changeling and Thor) that has Doyle and Houdini joining forces with a psychic to solve bizarre murders in 1920s New York. 

Deadline Hollywood posted a story that Syfy has independently been negotiating for Among the Spirits, a drama series featuring crime fighters Doyle and Houdini.  Among the Spirits  is based on a self-published graphic novel by writers Steve Valentine and Paul Chart.  The project is described as a "turn-of-the-century" Fringe.  Read the article in its entirety here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

What Aunt Agatha is Reading

I thoroughly enjoyed Elly Griffiths' debut novel, last year's The Crossing Places.  Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway is a formidable amateur sleuth; a brilliant, no-nonsense woman, though somewhat challenged in the social skills department.  The eerie, windswept saltmarsh of Norfolk was a fitting setting for the mystery, almost a character in itself.  The reviews were impressive and the novel made numerous "best of 2010" lists.

So it was with great anticipation that I awaited Ruth's next installment, The Janus Stone, and I must say I wasn't disappointed.  When construction workers uncover the headless remains of a child buried beneath a doorway, Ruth is called out to investigate.  Is it a Roman ritual killing or a more modern murder?  Once again, Ruth is plunged into a situation where past evil and long-hidden secrets reach out to destroy her.  To further complicate matters, 40-year-old Ruth is pregnant from a single indiscretion with Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson. Now it seems that someone is trying to scare her to death and kill her unborn child.

Griffiths manages to weave the archaeological information throughout the plot effortlessly.  The reader is not given chunks of data to digest, but rather interesting tidbits are planted to point the way to a satisfying conclusion.  Her characters are complex and fascinating, complete with eccentricities and foibles, such as Cathcart, the self-proclaimed Druid. You have to love Cathcart!

This is book that could well keep you up well past your bedtime.  The third book in the series, The House at Seas End, has already been published in the UK, but I guess I'll just have to wait until it reaches these shores.  If you'd like to read more about the Ruth Galloway mysteries, visit Elly Griffith's website here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Barry Award Nominations for 2011

The nominations for the Barry Awards have been announced.  Readers of Deadly Pleasures magazine will vote and the winners will be awarded at  Bouchercon in September (to be held in St. Louis, MO).  Congratulations to all!

BEST NOVEL
  • Nowhere to Run by C.J. Bo
  • Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
  • The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton
  • Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane
  • Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
  • Savages by Don Winslow
BEST FIRST NOVEL
  • Gutshot Straight by Lou Berney
  • Rogue Island by Bruce DeSilva
  • The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron
  • Sherlockian by Graham Moore
  • The Holy Thief by William Ryan
  • Once a Spy by Keith Thomson
BEST BRITISH NOVEL
  • Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson
  • Blood Harvest by S. J. Bolton
  • The Whispers by John Connolly
  • The Woodcutter by Reginald Hill
  • Three Seconds by Roslund & Hellstrom
  • Fourth Day by Zoe Sharp
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
  • The Hanging Tree by Bryan Gruley
  • The Dead Lie Down by Sophie Hannah
  • Eggsecutive Orders by Julie Hyzy
  • Fever at the Bone by Val McDermid
  • The Rhetoric of Death by Judith Rock
  • A Small Death in the Great Glen by A. D. Scott
BEST THRILLER
  • 13 Hours by Deon Meyer
  • American Assassin by Vince Flynn
  • The Bricklayer by Noah Boyd
  • Bolt Action by Charles Charters
  • On Target by Mark Greaney
  • The Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva
BEST SHORT STORY
  • "Requiem for Antlers" by Mitch Alderman (AHMM, Jan.-Feb. 2010)
  • "Family Balues" by Robert Barnard ((EQMM, Feb. 2010)
  • "The Body in the Dunes" by Caroline Benton (EQMM, Jan. 2010)
  • "The List" by Loren D. Estleman (EQMM, May 2010)
  • "The Seven Sorrow" by Terence Faherty (EQMM, Mar-Apr. 2010)
  • "When the Apricots Bloom" by Ellen Larson (AHMM, July-Aug. 2010)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Love, Marriage, and Murder

With Valentine's Day only a week away, it was perfect timing for Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles Chapter to present a lively panel discussion on love and murder at the Burbank Public Library last Saturday. The panelists included Hannah Dennison, Kate Carlisle, Alan Cook, Dianne Emley, and Jerri Sher.

Hannah Dennison is the author of the Vicky Hill series of cozies featuring an aspiring investigative reporter who, unfortunately, is stuck writing obituaries for the Gipping Gazette.  Ms. Dennison introduces an unusual British hobby in each book, so if you're looking for old English charm and plenty of laughs, give the Vicky Hill books a try.  Visit Hannah Dennison's website here.

Kate Carlisle's Bibliophile Mysteries is not only a fun cozy series, but you can also pick up some interesting insights into the rare book restoration business.  Brooklyn Wainwright is a San Francisco bookbinder who is "brilliant, feisty, and funny"-- the perfect combination for a spot of intellectual skulduggery.  Find out more about Kate's books here.

Alan Cook's most recent thriller is "Forget to Remember," a suspenseful tale filled with intrigue and non-stop action.  Amnesia victim Carol Golden is determined to do what it takes to reclaim her life.  Check here for more about Cook's books.

Dianne Emley is the author of the bestselling Nan Vining series of mysteries.  Nan is a homicide police detective in Pasadena, California, a single mom to a teenage daughter, and in a relationship with her partner, Jim Kissick.  Visit Dianne's website for more about her mystery series.

Jerri Sher is the author of The Twig Painter, a medical thriller.  A former CIA agent  is enlisted to track down a mysterious illegal immigrant who may have the cure to AIDS locked in his blood  But a pharmaceutical giant will stop at nothing to get to him first.  Find out more about this intriguing book here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New Mysteries for February

Here's a new batch of books to be on the lookout for this month:
Antiques Knock-off by Barbara Allan
Aunt Dimity and the Family Tree by Nancy Atherton
Death of a Chimney Sweep (Hamish MacBeth #27) by M.C. Beaton
The Secret Soldier by Alex Berenson
A Red Herring Without Mustard (Flavia de Luce #3) by Alan Bradley
Silent Voices by Ann Cleeves
Now You See Her by Joy Fielding
Devil's Food Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke
The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths
Fadeaway Girl by Martha Grimes
Comes a Time for Burning by Steven F. Havil
Gone by Mo Hayder
Fatal Error by J.A. Jance
Hyenas by Joe R. Lansdale
One True Sentence by Craig McDonald
Gideon's Sword by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
The Second Son by Jonathan Rabb
Treachery in Death by J.D. Robb
On Borrowed Time by David Rosenfelt
Though Not Dead by Dana Stabenow
The Curse-Maker by Kelli Stanley
The Nomination by William G. Tapply
The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino
The Highly Effective Detective Crosses the Line by Richard Yancey
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What Aunt Agatha is Reading

Rhys Bowen (left), Deborah Crombie, Louise Penny
One of the benefits of attending mystery conventions is the opportunity to discover great authors I've somehow overlooked.  Canadian novelist Louise Penny is just such an author.  She has written a delightful series featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec, his team of investigators, and the quirky inhabitants of the tiny Canadian village of Three Pines.


Still Life is the first in Penny's award-winning series.  No one locks their door in the charming village of Three Pines.  So it is with shock that the villagers awak on Thanksgiving Sunday to news that a beloved member of the community was found deadin the maple woods.  Surely it was a hunting accident--a stry arrow piercing her heart.  One thing Inspector Gamache has learned during his long and distinguished career -- evil can lurk behind the prettiest of pictures and if he watches and listens closely enough, secrets will be revealed.

The series continues with A Fatal Grace, The Cruelist Month, A Rule Against Murder, The Brutal Telling and Bury Your Dead.  Louise Penny has infused each novel with an engaging sleuth, memorable characters, a picutesque setting, and some of the most lyrical prose you'll encounter in crime fiction.  If you enjoy the TV series, Midsomer Murders, or the books of Deborah Crombie, Agatha Christie and Rhys Bowen, do try Louise Penny.