Monday, June 27, 2011

New Mysteries for July

There's quite a tasty crop of mysteries due out this summer.   Something to suit every taste!  Here is a selection to check out:

  • The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies by Susan Wittig Albert
  • The Real Macaw by Donna Andrews
  • A Game of Lies (Hanna Vogel mystery) by Rebecca Cantrell
  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (Grace and Favor) by Jill Churchill
  • Split Second by Catherine Coulter
  • The Wild Hog Murders (Dan Rhodes) by Bill Crider
  • All the Pretty Hearses (Bed and Breakfast) by Mary Daheim
  • Infernal Angels by Loren D. Estleman
  • Dick Francis's Gamble by Felix Francis
  • The Nightmare Thief by Meg Gardiner
  • The Silent Girl (Rizzoli & Isles) by Tess Gerritsen
  • Eyes Wide Open by Andrew Grant
  • Secret Rage by Charlaine Harris
  • Iron House by John Hart
  • We All Fall Down by Michael Harvey
  • Betrayal of Trust by J.A. Jance
  • Hotwire (Maggie O'Dell) by Alex Kava
  • Pampered to Death (Jaine Austen) by Laura Levine
  • Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Dominion by Eric Van Lustbader
  • English Tea Murder by Leslie Meier
  • The Vault by Boyd Morrison
  • Dreams of the Dead by Perri O'Shaughnessy
  • One Dog Night (Andy Carpenter) by David Rosenfelt
  • Monument to Murder by Margaret Truman
  • Ringer by Brian M. Wiprud

Friday, June 24, 2011

R.I.P. Lt. Columbo

Everyone's favorite TV detective -- the rumpled trenchcoat-wearing Lieutenant Columbo as played by Peter Falk -- died at his Beverly Hills home last night after a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease.  He was 83.

"Oh, and one more thing..."  He'll be greatly missed!  Read more about Peter Falk here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

On Borrowed Time

According to the website Deadline New York, Gold Circle Films has otioned David Rosenfelt's recent thriller, On Borrowed Time.  Rosenfelt, the author of the Andy Carpenter series of dog mysteries, has crafted a Hitchcockian tale sure to curl your toes.  His stand-alone focuses on the horrifying question, what if your memories are lies and your search for the truth could kill you?

Journalist Richard Kilmer proposes to his girlfriend, Jennifer, on a visit to her parents' home.  When the couple is involved in a freakish car accident, Richard finds that Jen has disappeared -- including all trace of her very existence.  Her parents, his friends, and even the police claim she never existed.  Is he delusional, or is it something more sinister?

Monday, June 20, 2011

What Aunt Agatha is Reading

Regency London, July 1812:  How do you set about solving a murder that no one can reveal has been committed?

That's the premise of Where Shadows Dance by C.S. Harris.  Discovering an author mid-series can be a double-edged sword.  Yes, you enjoyed the most recent in the series and now have a whole backlist to dig into.  But it takes a very savvy author to include enough information to get the reader up to speed with the characters without giving away too much in the process.

C.S. Harris has delivered a riveting addition to her Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series with Where Shadows Dance.  The aristocratic soldier-turned-sleuth is equally at home in society's drawing rooms as he is in London's squalid slums.  His experience in army intelligence during the Napoleonic Wars has been an invaluable asset as he hunts down murderers in Regency London. 

In this sixth outing, Sebastian's friend, surgeon and anatomist Paul Gibson, illegally buys a cadaver from one of London's body snatchers.  The deceased is young Alexander Ross, a rising star at the Foreign Office who reportedly died in his sleep of a weak heart.  As a 19th century forensic scientist, Gibson hopes to gain valuable insight into diseases of the human heart, but he's shocked to discover that the cause of death is in fact a stiletto wound at the base of the skull.  He calls on Sebastian to help catch the killer. 

Having been a great fan of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen, I've always been drawn to books set in Regency England.  But don't expect a frilly, light mystery.  C.S. Harris, with an academic background in history and archaeology, combines rich period details with multi-faceted characters.  There's just enough espionage, political turmoil, and social mores to keep the stories exciting. 

I'm having a great read with Where Shadows Dance and look forward to going back to the start of the series to catch up.  If you haven't read C.S. Harris before, my advice is to begin at the beginning with What Angels Fear and read straight through the series.  Although each book can certainly stand alone, it's much more enjoyable to watch the characters and subplots unfold from book to book.

Check out her website for more on the author and her books.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher??

Deadline New reports that Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions are in negotiations with Tom Cruise to portray Jack Reacher in One Shot, based on Lee Child's series of thrillers featuring the former military policeman turned drifter.

Ok, fans of Jack Reacher are visualizing a hulking tough guy standing around 6'5'' and 250 lbs.   But according to the news item, author Lee Child is totally behind the casting.  Realistically, who wouldn't want to have Tom Cruise attached to one's project?  The one thing to remember -- books are movies are two very different mediums, and authors almost never have much input once their books have been optioned for films.

Read the entire article here.  What do you think about Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sad News for Mystery Fans

(Aunt Agatha has been under the weather for the past couple of weeks, but now that I'm back at my desk, I have a lot of catching up to do!)

It was announced last week that Lilian Jackson Braun, the author of "The Cat Who..." mystery series had died at the age of 97.  Braun wrote a total of 29 books in that series which featured midwestern newspaperman Jim Quilleran and his Siamese cats Koko and Yum-Yum.  According to her husband of 33 years, Braun's main regret was that she couldn't finish her last book, The Cat Who Smelled Smoke, due to her failing health.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Grace Interrupted

The second installment in Julie Hyzy's Manor House Mystery series launched today and I promise you'll want pick up this enjoyable read.  Meet Grace Wheaton, first introduced in Grace Under Pressure. She is the curator at Marshfield Manor, millionaire Bennett Marshfield's southern estate, and more than adept at putting out all the little fires that pop up when running such a huge complex.  But the situation facing her that morning really took the cake!

Two wild-eyed women break into a restricted area of the estate to confront one of the Civil War re-enactors camped out on the Marshfield grounds.  Security apprehends them, but now Grace has to deal with the prickly situation.  The women want a piece of Zachary Kincade for an unforgivable insult the man perpetrated on their friend.  Things  go from bad to worse when the man in question shows up and proves to be every bit as big a scumbag as the women said. When the man later turns up murdered, there's a whole battlefield of suspects.

Grace Interrupted has a smart sleuth, a great cast of characters,and  interesting subplots.  The series premise is also a treat for history buffs; imagine working in a treasure house of a mansion!  I really enjoyed the book.  Perfect vacation reading.

Julie Hyzy is also author of the White House Chef mysteries.  Check out her website for more information.