Thursday, December 27, 2012

Notable Books of 2012

Greetings!
As we wind down 2012, it's that time of year when "Best Of..." lists begin to appear.  While I have some favorites, there are just so many great books that I couldn't possibly choose!  So instead, I've put together  some titles that were considered notable during the past year.  How many have you read?  While you're recuperating from holiday feasting and preparing for New Year festivities, take this opportunity to catch up on 2012's best mysteries.

The Ranger by Ace Atkins
Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby by Ace Atkins
Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
Force of Nature: a Joe Pickett novel by C.J. Box
Creole Belle by James Lee Burke
Black Box by Michael Connelly
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Broken Harbor by Tana French
Catch Me by Lisa Gardner
Believing the Lie by Elizabeth George
The Yard by Alex Grecian
Gone by Mo Hayder
Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
1222 by Anne Holt
The Survivor by Greg Hurwitz
The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol
Field Gray by Philip Kerr
Dead Anyway by Chris Knopf
Defending Jacob by William Landay
Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
Raylan by Elmore Leonard
The Cutting Season by Attica Locke
The Gods of Gotham by Faye Lyndsay
A Fatal Winter: a Max Tudor novel by G.M. Malliet
The Blackhouse by Peter May
Phantom by Jo Nesbø
Night Rounds by Helene Tursten

Monday, December 10, 2012

Aunt Agatha's Merry Holiday Homicide

Season’s greetings from Aunt Agatha! Snuggle up with a cup of cocoa and a merry little murder:


  • Andrews, Donna -- Six Geese A-Slaying
  • Beaton, M.C. -- Busy Body
  • Beaton, M.C. -- A Highland Christmas
  • Blanc, Nero -- A Crossworder’s Holiday
  • Bowen, Rhys -- The Twelve Clues of Christmas*
  • Brett, Simon -- The Christmas Crimes at Puzzel Manor
  • Candy Cane Murder
  • Christie, Agatha -- Hercule Poirot’s Christmas
  • Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop: ‘Tis the Season to be Deadly: Stories of Mistletoe and Mayhem
  • Christmas Stalkings: More Tales of Yuletide Murder
  • Clark, Mary Higgins -- Santa Cruise: a Holiday Mystery at Sea
  • A Classic Christmas Crime
  • Colt, Jennifer -- The Con Artist of Catalina Island
  • Coyle, Cleo -- Holiday Grind
  • D’Amato, Barbara -- Hard Christmas
  • Davidson, Diane Mott -- Sweet Revenge
  • Dunn, Carola -- Mistletoe and Murder
  • Dunnett, Kaitlyn -- A Wee Christmas Homicide
  • Fluke, Joanne -- Gingerbread Cookie Murder
  • Greenwood, Kerry -- Forbidden Fruit: a Corinna Chapman Mystery*
  • Harmon, Kenneth -- The Fat Man: a Tale of North Pole Noir
  • Harper, Karen -- The Queene’s Christmas
  • Harris, Charlaine -- Shakespeare’s Christmas
  • Hart, Carolyn -- Merry, Merry Ghost
  • Heyer, Georgette -- Envious Casca*
  • Kelner, Toni L.P. -- Mad as the Dickens
  • Maron, Margaret -- Christmas Mourning
  • Meier, Leslie -- Christmas Cookie Murder
  • More Holmes for the Holidays
  • Murder for Christmas
  • Murphy, Shirley, R. -- Cat Deck the Halls
  • Palmer, William J. -- The Dons and Mr. Dickens: The Strange Case of the Oxford Christmas Plot
  • Perry, Anne -- A Christmas Homecoming 
  • Ripley, Ann -- The Christmas Garden Affair
  • Todd, Charles -- A Bitter Truth
  • Washburn, L.J. -- The Gingerbread Bump-off: a Fresh-baked Mystery
*Thank you to Lisa May for the additions to the list.  Do you have a favorite not mentioned here?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Peter Robinson's DCI Banks Comes to PBS

Peter Robinson, author of the long-running Inspector Banks mystery series, announced on his website that the TV series based on his books will be shown on PBS in January.  First broadcast on ITV in the UK, the series stars Stephen Tompkinson as Alan Banks (Tompkinson was seen over here a while back in one of my personal favorite British imports, Ballykissangel). 

DCI Banks has done so well in Britain, a third season has been commissioned and will start filming next summer, but that's getting ahead of us on this side of the pond.  At least we can look forward to another great mystery series come January.  Enjoy the trailer for DCI Banks:


Saturday, December 1, 2012

December's New Mystery Releases

Here are the last of the 2012 releases... and then it's on to the new year! 

  • Extra Credit [Murder 101 by Maggie Barbieri  (cozy)
  • Farewell to Freedom [Louise Rick & Camilla Lind] by Sara Blaedel (a shocking murder on Copenhagen's idyllic streets)
  • Killer Crust [Pizza Lovers by Chris Cavender  (cozy)
  • Burying the Past [Fran Harman] by Judith Cutler  (British cozy)
  • Whispering Death [Hal Challis] by Garry Disher (set in Australia)
  • Stealth [Ingrid Langley & Patrick Gillard #16] by Margaret Duffy (British)
  • Valley of the Shadow [Cornish] by Carola Dunn  (Cornish cozy)
  • Dying on the Vine [Gideon Oliver] by Aaron Elkins (a cerebral sleuth)
  • Safe House by Chris Ewan (thriller)
  • And Then You Dye [Needlecraft series] by Monica Ferris  (cozy)
  • Shadow Creek by Joy Fielding  (thrilling mystery)
  • The Road to Cardinal Valley [Ruby McGavin] by Earlene Fowler  (suspenseful family saga)
  • Empire and Honor [Honor Bound] by W.E.B. Griffin & William E. Butterworth IV  (thriller)
  • Blood Never Dies [Bill Slider) by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles (British mystery)
  • An Inch of Time [Chris Honeysett] by Peter Helton  (set on a Greek island)
  • Hidden Heritage [Lottie Albright] by Charlotte Hinger
  • The Bone Tree [Penn Cage] by Greg Iles  (thriller)
  • Stalking Season [Sarah Kingsly & Angel Johnson] by Maryann Miller 
  • Come the Fear [Richard Nottingham] by Chris Nickson  (18th century sleuth)
  • Fighting for the Dead [Henry Christie] by Nick Oldham  (British procedural)
  • Two Graves [Aloysius Pendergast] by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child (thriller)
  • Kinsmen  [1993 Nameless novella] by Bill Pronzini
  • Femme [Nameless novella] by Bill Pronzini
  • Found Guilty at Five [Lois Meade] by Ann Purser (amateur sleuth)
  • Shiver by Karen Robards  (thriller
  • Birds of Winter [Harry Brock] by Kinley Roby  (P.I.)
  • Unnatural Wastage [Sukey Reynolds] by Betty Rowlands  (British procedural)
  • The Man Who Turned Both Cheeks [Shad Myers] by Gillian Royes  (Jamaican bartender/detective)
  • Sanctity of Hate [Prioress Eleanor] by Priscilla Royal  (Medieval mystery)
  • True Grey [Dulcie Schwartz] by Clea Simon (paranormal cat cozy)
  • Orders from Berlin [William Trave prequel] by Simon Tolkien  (WWII thriller)
  • The Garden Party [Harry Vicary] by Peter Turnbull  (British police inspector)
  • The Child’s Child by Barbara Vine (psychological suspense)
  • Loved Honor More [Elizabeth Pepperhawk & Avivah Rosen] by Sharon Wildwind 
  • Collateral Damage [Stone Barrington] by Stuart Woods
  • The Doctor of Thessaly [Hermes Diaktoros] by Anne Zouroudi (set against a Mediterranean backdrop)

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Dark Hour

It's always great to discover a new author to read!  Although Robin Burcell has been writing thrillers for a while now, I just had the opportunity to read the pre-pub copy of her latest book, The Dark Hour, fourth entry in her Sydney Fitzgerald series.  If you enjoy a good pulse-pounding adventure, The Dark Hour is a must-read.  It has all the elements I look for in spy thrillers -- shadowy government agencies, webs of conspiracies, agents racing against the clock to foil dastardly plots.

FBI agent and forensic artist Sydney Fitzgerald heads to Amsterdam when a high-profile murder seems to implicate covert agent Zachary Griffin. Her drawing from the witness' description, though, only muddies the water.  It reveals the face of a CIA agent -- a woman believed to be dead --  and the wife of Zachary Griffin. 

Meanwhile back in Washington, DC, the political world is rocked by the assassination of a prominent U.S. Senator.  Both the FBI and the CIA are on the case.  The threads of the investigation seem to lead to a disturbed young man as the assassin, but some things just don't add up. 

Author Robin Burcell is a FBI-trained forensic artist.  She's worked in law enforcement as police officer, detective, and hostage negotiator.  In addition to her Sydney Fitzgerald series, Burcell is author of the Kate Gillespie mysteries.

The Dark Hour will be released on November 27th.  If you haven't read any of Burcell's books before, don't let that stop you from picking up her latest.  You know the characters have a history, but that doesn't detract fro the thrill of the chase.  Fans of Catherine Coulter's FBI series or Kay Hooper's books will certainly enjoy Robin Burcell.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wartime Mysteries for Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day. The holiday has evolved over the years.  Originating in 1919, it was known as Armistice Day and commemorated the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the end of hostilities on the Western Front.  The armistice took effect at the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" in 1918.  By 1938 it had become a legal federal holiday.
War leaves its mark on all who experience it, whether on the battlefield or the homefront. As we celebrate Veterans Day, try some of these mysteries set during the first half of the twentieth century.  A number of the detectives were veterans of war, scarred emotionally by their time fighting for democracy.
  • River of Darkness (John Madden mysteries) by Rennie Airth (post-WWI)
  • The Blood Dimmed Tide (John Madden mysteries) by Rennie Airth (pre-WWII)
  • The Dead of Winter (John Madden mysteries) by Rennie Airth (WWII)
  • Hemingway Cutthroat by Michael Atkinson (pre-WWII)
  • Death's Door (Billy boyle series) by James R. Benn (WWII)
  • City of Broken Glass (Hannah Vogel series) by Rebecca Cantrell (pre-WWII)
  • Zoo Station (John Russell thrillers) by David Downing  (WWII and postwar)
  • Two O'clock Eastern Wartime by John Dunning   (WWII)
  • Broken Music by Marjorie Eccles (post-WWI)
  • Mission to Paris by Alan Furst (pre-WWII)
  • When Winter Returns (Rosie Winter mysteries) by Kathryn Miller Haines (WWII)
  • Flight from Berlin by David John (pre-WWII)
  • Black Out (Inspector Troy series) by John Lawton (WWII and postwar)
  • Mr. Churchill's Secretary (Maggie Hope series) by Susan Elia MacNeal (WWII)
  • The Somme Stations (Jim Stringer Steam Detective) by Andrew Martin (WWI)
  • Jack 1939 by Francine Mathews (pre-WWII)
  • A Presumption of Death (based on Dorothy L. Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey) by Jill Paton Walsh (WWII)
  • This Dame for Hire by Sandra Scoppettone (WWII)
  • Louise's War by Sarah R. Shaber (WWII)
  • A False Mirror (Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge) by Charles Todd (post WWI)
  • An Unmarked Grave (Nurse Bess Crawford) by Charles Todd (WWI)
  • Elegy for Eddie (Maisie Dobbs) by Jacqueline Winspear (post-WWI -- pre-WWII)


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

RT Reviewers' Choice Awards

The nominees for the 2012 RT Reviewers' Choice Awards were just announced.  Listed below are the nominees in the mystery/suspense categories. Winners will be announces next Spring.  I see a number of my favorites listed.  How many have you read?

Amateur Sleuth Nominee:

Popped Off by Jeffrey Allen

The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen

Postcards from the Dead by Laura Childs

Bad Little Falls by Paul Doiron

Gem of a Ghost by Sue Ann Jaffarian

Blood Bath & Beyond by Michelle Rowen

Contemporary Mystery Nominee:

Dead Scared by S. J. Bolton

The Sleeping and the Dead by Jeff Crook

Available Dark by Elizabeth Hand

The House at Sea's End by Elly Griffiths

Cop To Corpse by Peter Lovesey

First Mystery Nominee:

Hush Money by Chuck Greaves

Anatomist's Apprentice by Tessa Harris

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

Viral by James Lilliefors

Deep Zone by James M. Tabor

Historical Mystery Nominee:

A Dark Anatomy by Robin Blake

The Yard by Alex Grecian

When Maidens Mourn by C. S. Harris

A Sunless Sea by Anne Perry

The Incense Game by Laura Joh Rowland

The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd

Suspense / Thriller Nominee:

A Deeper Darkness by J. T. Ellison

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Catch Me by Lisa Gardner

And She Was by Alison Gaylin

The Line Between Here and Gone by Andrea Kane

The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Monday, November 5, 2012

Arctic Fire

There is a fine line between doing what is right and doing what is expedient.  Do the ends truly justify the means?  What happens when the good guys descend to the level of the evil they swore to defeat?  These are some of the quandries Stephen Frey looks at in his latest spy thriller, Arctic Fire.

Troy Jensen is the ultimate adventurer.  He's climbed the highest mountains and sailed solo around the world -- twice.  He's cheated death more times than he can count.  So when his family gets word that Troy was swept off a crab fishing boat and perished in the Bering Sea, they're shocked.

But Troy's brother, Jack,  isn't buying the story.  Some things just don't add up.  So he quits his Wall Street investment job and tells the family he's heading to Alaska to discover what happened to Troy. Jack plunges into the black underworld of covert operatives, a super-secret intelligence group whose leader is a man totally committed to destroying America in order to protect it.  A truly frightening scenario.

Arctic Fire is the perfect heart-pumping read for a rainy afternoon.  The fast-paced action will keep you glued to the pages and make the hours fly by.  For more about Stephen Frey, check out his website.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

New for November

We've got a nice crop of new books being released for November.  A lot of old friends are back in new adventures, like Harry Bosch, Stephanie Plum, Joe Grey, Sharon McCone, and more.  Of course there are also plenty of opportunities to meet new friends! 
  • Silver Cross by B. Kent Anderson
  • Margaret Truman’s Experiment in Murder: A Capital Crimes Novel  by Donald Bain
  • The Forgotten [John Puller] by David Baldacci
  • The Twelve Clues of Christmas [Royal Spyness] by Rhys Bowen
  • The Ice Maiden Cometh Not [Gil Yates] by Alistair Boyle
  • Fox Tracks [Sister Jane Arnold] by Rita Mae Brown
  • Hot Stuff [James Lessor & Skip Moore] by Don Bruns
  • Wrong Hill To Die On [Alafair Tucker] by Donis Casey
  • A Drop of Chinese Blood by James Church
  • The Song of the Nightingale by Alys Clare
  • Target Lancer [Nate Heller] by Max Allan Collins
  • The Black Box [Harry Bosch] by Michael Connelly
  • Dead Weight [E.J. Pugh] by Susan Rogers Cooper
  • Lethal Investments by K.O. Dahl
  • Swift Run [Charlie Swift] by Laura DiSilverio
  • The Thieves of Legend [Michael St. Pierre]by Richard Doetsch
  • After Clare by Marjorie Eccles
  • Notorious Nineteen [Stephanie Plum] by Janet Evanovich
  • A Death in the Small Hours [Charles Lenox] by Charles Finch
  • Murder by Vegetable: The Baby Quilt [Tony & Theo Abernathy] by Barbara Graham
  • Hard Twisted  by C. Joseph Greaves
  • More Than Meets the Eye [Lambert & Hook] by J.M. Gregson
  • Weapon of Choice [Laura Nelson] by Patricia Gussin
  • The Right Hand by Derek Haas
  • Crashed by Timothy Hallinan
  • If Hooks Could Kill [Crochet] by Betty Hechtman
  • A Question of Identity [Simon Serrailler] by Susan Hill
  • Make Believe [Edna Ferber] by Ed Ifkovic
  • Not Dead Yet [Roy Grace] by Peter James
  • Placebo by Steven James
  • Young Philby by Robert Littell
  • Death on the Pont Noir [Lucas Rocco] by Adrian Magson
  • The Buzzard Table [Deborah Knott] by Margaret Maron
  • Smoke Alarm [Martha Gunn] by Priscilla Masters
  • The Marseille Caper [Sam Levitt] by Peter Mayle
  • The Prodigal Son [Carmine Delmonico] by Colleen McCullough
  • Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
  • The Boy in the Snow [Edie Kiglatuk] by M.J. McGrath
  • Hand for a Hand [Andy Gilchrist] by T. Frank Muir
  • Looking for Yesterday [Sharon McCone] by Marcia Muller
  • Angel Among Us [Dead Detective] by Katy Munger
  • Murder in Geneva [Third-Culture Kid] by D-L Nelson
  • Birds of Winter [Harry Brock] by Kinley Roby
  • Cat Bearing Gifts [Joe Grey] by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
  • Merry Christmas, Alex Cross [Alex Cross] by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
  • Mandarin Gate [Shan Tao Yun] by Eliot Pattison
  • It Was a Very Bad Year [Rat Pack] by Robert J. Randisi
  • Death Lies Beneath [Andy Horton] by Pauline Rowson
  • Swann Dives In [Henry Swann] by Charles Salzberg
  • The Labyrinth of Osiris [Yusuf Khalifa] by Paul Sussman

Friday, October 26, 2012

Witches, and Vampires, and Ghosts, Oh My!

Ah, my favorite time of year.  Here's a selected list of spooky reads to get you into the proper Halloween spirit.   Enjoy!
  • Down These Strange Streets edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (a collection of short stories featuring vampires, werewolves, zombies, and other creatures of the night)
  • Witches’ Bane by Susan Wittig Albert (Cozy)
  • Antiques Maul by Barbara Allan (Cozy)
  • Aunt Dimity, Vampire Hunter by Nancy Atherton (Supernatural Cozy)
  • Cast Off Coven by Juliet Blackwell (Supernatural Cozy)
  • A Graveyard for Lunatics by Ray Bradbury (a murder mystery in a Hollywood studio)
  • 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)
  • Witch Hunt by Shirley Damsgaard (Supernatural Cozy)
  • Ghostly Murders by P.C. Doherty (Historical Mystery)
  • Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich (Humorous Mystery)
  • Blackwork by Monica Ferris  (Needlecraft Cozy)
  • Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke (Culinary Cozy)
  • A Few Dying Words by Paula Gosling (Sheriff Matt Gabriel Mystery)
  • Skeleton Key by Jane Haddam (Amateur Sleuth)
  • Those Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly (Supernatural Mystery)
  • Southern Ghost by Carolyn Hart (Cozy/Amateur Sleuth)
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (Suspense)
  • Baited Blood by Sue Ann Jaffarian (Vampire cozy)
  • 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 Katherine Hall Page (Cozy)
  • 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)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

L.A. Noir Coming to TNT

TNT has ordered six episodes of Frank Darabont’s period drama pilot L.A. Noir which is based on the book L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City by John Buntin. The series is a fast-paced crime drama set in Los Angeles during the 1940s and ’50s. It’s a world of glamorous movie stars, powerful studio heads, returning war heroes, a powerful and corrupt police force lead by Police Chief William Parker, and mobster Mickey Cohen's even more dangerous criminal network that was determined to make L.A. its West Coast base.

Written and directed by Frank Darabont (AMC's Zombie blockbuster The Walking Dead), the show stars Jon Bernthal as Joe Teague, an ex-Marine now working as an LAPD cop in an era rampant with police corruption. Jeffrey DeMunn plays Det. Hal Morrison, who heads up the LAPD’s new mob squad, with Jeremy Strong as Det. Mike Hendry, Morrison’s second in command. Neal McDonough is Capt. William Parker, Teague’s boss who is determined to weed out corruption and bring down Mickey Cohen. And Milo Ventimiglia plays Ned Stax, who fought alongside Teague during World War II but who now works as a lawyer with connections to the mob.

"This series is an intense, exciting drama that takes viewers back to a truly fascinating time in the history of Los Angeles,” said TNT’s head of programming Michael Wright.  No release date was given as yet.  However, a film with a similar theme, Gangster Squad, is due for release in January 2013.  That production stars Sean Penn as Mickey Cohen and Nick Nolte as Chief Bill Parker.




Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What DID the Cat See??

If you're a cat-lover and enjoy a good cozy, you're in for a real treat with Carolyn Hart's latest book, What the Cat Saw. The premise is original and utterly charming.  I spent a whole Saturday glued to the book, it was that hard to put down!

Ever since the death of her fiance in Afganistan, Nela Farley has noticed a most disturbing experience each time she looks into a cat's eyes.  She understands their thoughts.  Is she going mad or is it just some strange way of avoiding painful memories?

Carolyn Hart
When Nela's adventureome sister, Chloe, begs her to fill in at her job while she  heads to Tahiti with her boyfriend, Nela hopes the change of scene will do her good.  Chloe has arranged a place for Nela to stay, but when she arrives, she encounters the former tenant's grieving cat.  "...dead . . . dead and gone . . . She loved me . . . board rolled on the second step . . ."  The cat's thoughts fill her mind with dismay.


That night an intruder breaks into the apartment and creates havoc.  After a visit from the police, Nela learns that former tenant Marian Grant's accidental death may not have been an accident after all.  Add to that a series of strange events occuring at the Haklo Foundation.  The police detective is beginning to look at Nela and her sister as possible suspects when a second murder is discovered.  Nela must use all her skills as an investigative reporter, as well as her new-found sixth sense, to get at the truth.

This was a very entertaining mystery you will certainly enjoy.  I don't know if it's destined to become a series, but the possibility is there.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

'Closer' Star Cast in Title Role

The Closer co-star Jon Tenney is back as the male lead of the TNT network’s pilot King And Maxwell. The project, from CBS TV Studios and NCIS producer Shane Brennan, is adapted from characters created by bestselling author David Baldacci.

In the vein of Moonlighting, it follows Sean King (Tenney) and Michelle Maxwell, who aren’t the typical pair of private investigators. Both are former secret service agents, and their unique skill set (not to mention their razor-sharp chemistry) often gives them a leg up on suspects and conventional law enforcement.

Tenney co-starred as FBI agent Fritz Howard for the seven-season hit, The Closer.  He reprised the role on the spin-off, Major Crimes.

Monday, October 8, 2012

October Treats for Mystery Lovers

Here are the new mystery releases for the month:

  • Death in the Floating City [Lady Emily goes to Venice] by Tasha Alexander
  • Domestic Malice [Murder, She Wrote ] by Donald Bain
  • Eleven Pipers Piping [clerical sleuth Father Tom Christmas ] by C.C. Benison
  • Field of Schemes [Lloyd Keaton] by John Billheimer
  • Sacrificial Offerings [Leal & Hart] by Michael A. Black
  • Fox Tracks [foxhunting series] by Rita Mae Brown
  • The Silence [Gary Goodhew #4] by Alison Bruce
  • The Chocolate Moose Motive [Chocaholic series] by JoAnna Carl
  • Skating on the Edge [Rebecca Robbins & her sassy roller derby team] by Joelle Charbonneau
  • Postcards from the Dead [Scrapbooking series] by Laura Childs
  • Gun Church by Reed Farrel Coleman
  • The Bone Bed [Kay Scarpetta] by Patricia Cornwell
  • The Corpse of St James’s [Dorothy Martin] by Jeanne M. Dams
  • Spanish Inquisition [Max Rydal, military procedural] by Elizabeth Darrell
  • The Sanctuary by Ted Dekker
  • The Panther [John Corey] by Nelson DeMille
  • The Old Gray Wolf [Charlie Moon] by James D. Doss
  • A Small Hill To Die On [Penny Brannigan] by Elizabeth J. Duncan
  • Killing the Emperors [Robert Amiss / Baroness Jack Troutback] by Ruth Dudley Edwards
  • The Perils of Sherlock Holmes [Sherlock Holmes series] by Loren D. Estlema
  • The Woman Who Died a Lot [Thursday Next] by Jasper Fforde
  • Dick Francis’s Bloodline by Felix Francis
  • The Unkindest Cut  by Gerald Hammond
  • The Snow White Christmas Cookie  by David Handler
  • What the Cat Saw [original new series with Nela Farley & her strange ability around cats ] by Carolyn Hart
  • Rest for the Wicked [Jane Lawless] by Ellen Hart
  • When Johnny Came Marching Home  by William Heffernan
  • Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino
  • Placebo [scientific thriller] by Steven James
  • Sleep No More [Eve Duncan] by Iris Johansen
  • Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet [Charley Davidson] by Darynda Jones
  • The Dead Man’s Wife [Mike Coletti] by Solomon Jones
  • Invisible Murder [Nina Borg ] by Lene Kaaberbøl & Agnete Friis
  • Live by Night  by Dennis Lehane
  • Blood Sacrifice [John Jordan] by Michael Lister
  • The Cutting Season by Attica Locke
  • A Fatal Winter [Max Tudor] by G.M. Malliet
  • The Blackhouse  by Peter May
  • Paradise City [Joe Gunther] by Archer Mayor
  • The Secret Keeper  by Kate Morton
  • Phantom [Harry Hole] by Jo Nesbø
  • The Geneva Trap [Liz Carlyle] by Stella Rimington
  • Island of Bones [Harriet Westerman & Gabriel Crowther] by Imogen Robertson
  • Mad River [Virgil Flowers] by John Sandford
  • The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds [Isabel Dalhousie] by Alexander McCall Smith
  • The Taste of Wormwood [Eisenmenger & Flemming] by Keith McCarthy
  • NYPD Red  by James Patterson & Marshall Karp
  • A Christmas Garland by Anne Perry
  • Falling Freely As If in a Dream [Stockholm] by Leif GW Persson
  • Power Play by by Patrick Robinson
  • Say You’re Sorry by Michael Robotham
  • Lambs to the Slaughter [Monika Paniatowski] by Sally Spencer
  • Rogue  by Mark T. Sullivan
  • Death on Telegraph Hill [Sarah Woolson ] by Shirley Tallman
  • Mixed Signals [Grace Street] by Jane Tesh
  • Blood Lance [Crispin Guest] by Jeri Westerson
  • Another Sun by Timothy Williams
  • Death in Her Face [Lauren Atwill & Peter Winslow #3] by Sheila York
  • I Remember You  by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
  • Darkness Rising [East Salem] by Lis Wiehl & Pete Nelson


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Award-winning Mysteries

Bouchercon 2012 was held in Cleveland, Ohio October 4-7.  Bouchercon is the world mystery convention that has been taking place annually since 1970. It's a place for fans, authors and professionals to gather and celebrate their love of the mystery genre. During the convention there are panels and discussions and interviews with authors and people from the mystery community covering all parts of the genre. There are signing events for people to meet their favorite authors face-to-face and get books signed. If you've never been to this fun event, watch for a convention near you and make a point of attending.

The convention is named for a famed mystery critic Anthony Boucher as is one of the prestigious awards, the Anthony.  Here is a list of all the winners from the Anthony, Barry and Shamus Awards:


ANTHONY AWARD

Best Mystery Novel


* A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny 
  • The End of Everything by Megan Abbott
  • Hurt Machine by Reed Farrel Coleman
  • The Drop by Michael Connelly
  • One Was a Soldier by Julia Spencer-Fleming
Best First Mystery

* Learning To Swim by Sara J. Henry
  • Nazareth Child by Darrell James
  • All Cry Chaos by Leonard Rosen
  • Who Do, Voodoo? by Rochelle Staab
  • The Informationist by Taylor Stevens 
  • Purgatory Chasm by Steve Ulfelder 
  • Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
Best Paperback Original

* Buffalo West Wing by Julie Hyzy
  • The Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • Choke Hold by Christa Faust
  • The Death of the Mantis by Michael Stanley [review]
  • Fun & Games by Duane Swierczynski [review]
  • Vienna Twilight by Frank Tallis [review]
Best Short Story

* “Disarming” by Dana Cameron, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, June 2011
  • “The Case of Death and Honey” by Neil Gaiman, A Study in Sherlock
  • “Palace by the Lake” by Daryl Wood Gerber, Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology 
  •  “Truth and Consequences” by Barb Goffman, Mystery Times Ten 
  •  “The Itinerary” by Roberta Isleib,  MWA Presents The Rich and The Dead
  • “Happine$$” by Twist Phelan, MWA Presents The Rich and The Dead
Best Critical Nonfiction Work

* The Sookie Stackhouse Companion by Charlaine Harris, ed.
  • Books, Crooks and Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure by Leslie Budewitz
  • Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making: More Stories and Secrets from Her Notebooks by John Curran
  • On Conan Doyle: Or, the Whole Art of Storytelling by Michael Dirda
  • Detecting Women: Gender and the Hollywood Detective Film by Philippa Gates
The Barry Awards were given out on Thursday night. The awards are nominated by and voted on by subscribers to Deadly Pleasures Magazine.


Barry Awards

Best novel – The Keeper of Lost Causes (aka Mercy) by Jussi Adler Olsen

Best first novel – The Informationist by Taylor Stevens

Best British Novel – Dead Man’s Grip by Peter James

Best Paperback Original – Death of the Mantis by Michael Stanley

Best Thriller – The Informants by Thomas Perry

Best Short Story – The Gun Also Rises by Jeff Cohen

The Private Eye Writers Association presented the Shamus Awards Saturday night.

Best Hardcover P.I. Novel: A Bad Night’s Sleep by Michael Wiley 
Best First P.I. Novel: The Shortcut Man by P.G. Sturges
 
Best Paperback Original P.I. Novel:  Fun & Games by Duane Swierczynski
Best P.I. Short Story:  “Who I Am,” by Michael Z. Lewin (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, December 2011)

The Hammer--a commendation celebrating a memorable private-eye character or series, and named after Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer--was presented to Nate Heller the character created by Max Allan Collins.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

More Historical Mysteries

Here is another cross-blog pollination.  Librarian Melissa has been reading historical mysteries and wrote a very thought-provoking post to that effect.  I include it here since it fits so nicely with the last book I blogged about, Jack 1939.  Enjoy Melissa's thoughts on these mysteries -- and if I'm not mistaken, the cover of Airth's last novel, The Dead of Winter, is one of Melissa's original artworks.

From Librarian Melissa:
My colleague, RTKO, and I were discussing the merits of reading fiction vs. nonfiction the other day, and he commented that one of the reasons he didn't like reading genre fiction was because it was formulaic. That set me to thinking about the mysteries that I have liked best, and with a few exceptions I find that the combination of history with mystery is a decided preference, because it introduces other aspects around the formula that keep it fresh for me.

I blogged briefly back in the spring about the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries by C. S. Harris, which are set in Regency England; another favorite of mine is Barbara Hambly's Benjamin January novels starring A Free Man of Color, in pre-emancipation New Orleans. I read the first eight of these and then got distracted, and see from the catalog that I have two more to look forward to!

Now I have discovered Rennie Airth (suggested by circ staffer Morgan), who has located his three mysteries about Scotland Yard's John Madden in post-World War I, pre-World War II, and during the course of the second war. This itself is unusual in a mystery writer, to set his books so far apart in time--10 years elapse between the first book (River of Darkness) and the second; and the third novel is similarly separated by a long gap. Also unusual is that while his protagonist is an Inspector at Scotland Yard in the first book, by the second and third books he has radically changed his life in a number of ways and is now almost peripheral to the action, though still vital to its solution.

Setting books in history allows writers to explore times when conventions and methods that are a given in today's mystery were new, untried, and perhaps even suspicious. In the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries, the autopsy was the coming thing, as yet practiced only by doctors who did so surreptitiously, usually by employing a grave robber. In Alex Grecian's excellent debut novel, The Yard, which I read on Aunt Agatha's recommendation, it is the new science of forensics that saves the day. In Airth's books we get to experience the infancy of psychological profiling, utilized to figure out those murderers whose methods and personalities do not yield to the common wisdom.

Airth, who worked for a number of years as a correspondent for Reuters, gives a particularly atmospheric setting for his last novel, The Dead of Winter, a fog-shrouded and bomb-pummeled London during the Blitz. He is likewise superb at characterization, and has provided the reader with many quirky, interesting characters to surround John Madden, another thing I like in a good story. There's nothing worse, in my mind, than the mystery writer who makes all his or her characters so subordinate or incidental compared to the hero that you really don't care if they live or die or (more prosaically) move away, never to be heard from again. Airth has created a solid cast, which could work to his advantage in the future: Although Airth may not take my advice, I'm hoping that if he decides that Madden has done his job and really does retire him after these three books, he will come up with some later works starring the Madden-mentored Billy Styles, or the doughty Lily Poole, just embarking on her career at the Yard.





Friday, September 28, 2012

A Profile in Courage

There seems to be an interesting subgenre in mysteries where historic figures are cast as the protagonist. For example, the George Baxt celebrity sleuth series, Elliot Roosevelt's mysteries  featuring his mother Eleanor, or, more recently, Joanna Challis' series with a young Daphne du Maurier as sleuth.  So it was with a certain amount of curiosity that I picked up Jack 1939 by Francine Mathews.

The world is poised on the brink of war, the United States has no intelligence service overseas, and Roosevelt is ready to run for his third term in office.  Jack, the 22-year-old second son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Ambassador to Britain, plans to spend his junior year traveling through Europe collecting research for his senior thesis. Before he set sails on the Queen Mary, however, Jack is escorted to a secret meeting with President Roosevelt.

Hoping to recruit Jack as his own personal spy in Europe, the President shares some top secret information about a Nazi plot to buy votes in the 1940 election and oust Roosevelt.  Being the President's eyes and ears are not without risk, as Jack soon discovers.  There are murders and chases, questionable allies and ruthless villains.  And that's before he even lands in Europe!  Jack's charm and intelligence are very much in evidence, but you see a vulnerable side as well in this young man.  He not only deals with  dangerous situations, but with his own ailing constitution.  How does the saying go?  A courageous hero feels fear but acts anyway.

This is a sexy, entertaining spy thriller that I truly enjoyed.  It's not an easy feat to take such a well-known historic figure and place him in such an incredulous position, but author Francine Mathews has done a superb job.  Of course, she has had some considerable experience -- she also writes a series of mysteries under the name of Stephanie Barron featuring the exploits of Jane Austen.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Well Met at Reichenbach Falls

One of the most memorable scenes from the Sherlock Holmes canon is the epic struggle between Holmes and his nemesis, Professor Moriarty.  The tussle ends with both characters plunging to their deaths -- apparently.  Well, such is the fervor of diehard fans, the members of the Sherlock Holmes Society have been making the pilgrimage to Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland every year since 1969 to re-enact the scene.

The Falls not only attract Holmes fans, but tourists from around the world.  A local church has a museum that includes a replica of 221 B Baker Street.  Check out the full article and video on BBC News Magazine  for quite an interesting story.

Thanks to Morgan for the tip.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bloody Scotland's Crime Novel of 2012

The winner of the 2012 Best Crime Novel was announced yesterday at the Bloody Scotland Festival held in Sterling .  The festival rewards excellence in Scottish crime writing. Eligible books are by writers born in Scotland, by writers living in Scotland, or books set in Scotland.

The coveted award was given to Charles Cumming for his book A Foreign Country.


From the publisher:
On the vacation of a lifetime in Egypt, an elderly French couple are brutally murdered. Days later, a meticulously-planned kidnapping takes place on the streets of Paris. Amelia Levene, the first female Chief of MI6, has disappeared without a trace, six weeks before she is due to take over as the most influential spy in Europe. It is the gravest crisis MI6 has faced in more than a decade. Desperate not only to find her, but to keep her disappearance a secret, Britain’s top intelligence agents turn to one of their own: disgraced MI6 officer Thomas Kell. Tossed out of the Service only months before, Kell is given one final chance to redeem himself - find Amelia Levene at any cost. The trail leads Kell to France and Tunisia, where he uncovers a shocking secret and a conspiracy that could have unimaginable repercussions for Britain and its allies. Only Kell stands in the way of personal and political catastrophe.




Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Coppers and Murderers

If you've been as caught up in BBC America's new crime drama, Copper, as I have, you may want to continue the experience.  The show is set in 1864 New York City, mainly in the tenements of the notorious slums in Five Points. 

Here are some mysteries with similar settings:
  • Murphy's Law by Rhys Bowen is the first in the series featuring Irish immigrant Molly Murphy, whose ambition is to be a private investigator in New York City. She uses her charm and sharp with to solve crimes, sometimes to the chagrin of her boyfriend, police captain Daniel Sullivan.
  • The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay, Faye.  Timothy Wilde, a 27-year-old Irish immigrant, joins the newly formed New York Police Department and investigates a series of gruesome murders in Five Points.
  • Lucifer Contract by Maan Meyers is a Civil War thriller based on an actual event.  In 1864, a group of Confederate officers slip into New York City with the intent ot embarrass Abraham Lincoln and create havoc on election day.
  • Murder on Sister's Row by Victoria Thompson is part of the Gaslight Mystery series featuring midwife Sarah Brandt and her friend Detective Sgt. Frank Malloy.  When a philanthropist's involvement in the rescue of a prostitute leads to murder, Sarah and Malloy are determined to bring the murderer to justice.

Monday, September 10, 2012

What We're Reading: Susan Hill Mysteries


A Guest Post by Librarian Melissa --
Once again I had recourse to Aunt Agatha's advice, and recently began on the Simon Serrailler mysteries by Susan Hill. Hill is best known, however, not for her mysteries, but for a book she wrote in 1983, The Woman in Black. It is a ghost story with such impact that it was adapted as a play by Stephen Mallatratt and has been in theaters in London (and elsewhere) since 1988. Most recently, in February of this year, the story became a motion picture starring Daniel Radcliffe, formerly (and always) known as Harry Potter. She has also written a variety of other novels, including a sequel to Daphne Du Maurier's classic, Rebecca, titled Mrs. De Winter.

On her website, Hill says, "I had never thought of writing crime novels because to me those had always meant ‘detective stories’ and although I enjoyed reading them, I knew I would be no good at the problem-solving sort of story with a series of dropped clues and a surprise ending. But the crime novel has become a serious literary genre over the last few decades and I realised that it presented the sort of challenge I wanted. My aim was to look at issues in the world around me and contemporary life–which I have not done in my novels before. I also wanted to know not ‘who dunnit’ but much more importantly, WHY? What motivates a criminal? Why does someone murder and perhaps not only once?"

Hill succeeds admirably with this series set in a small cathedral town in the south of England, but if you are looking for books in which the detective ties up each crime neatly by the end of the book, she is not for you. In fact, Hill defies many of the traditions of the serial mystery writer: She kills off people you think will be major characters who will continue from book to book (and usually they are your favorites); her detective, DCS Simon Serailler (a tall, cool, enigmatic blond), fails to solve a mystery by the end of one book, then picks it up again at the beginning of the next and figures it out halfway through that one; and her focus is wide, including the relatives, friends and love interests of her detective, as well as the personal stories of half a dozen others in each book, sometimes including the significant others of both the victims and the criminals.

It is these character studies that keep you coming back for more--you want to know what happens to these people, about whom Hill makes you care. Although her books are not quite as minutiae-filled as author Tana French's books, I think it is that same attention to place, person and detail that makes them appealing to me.

There are seven books to date, beginning with The Various Haunts of Men and ending with The Betrayal of Trust, and a new book is coming out later in the fall. Can't wait!

[Librarian Melissa can usually be found blogging on the Burbank Public Library blog and her Young Adult blog, YA Think?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

New Mysteries for September

What's new in September?  Check out these titles.  Although Noir master James M. Cain died 35 years ago, his last "lost" novel is being published this month. The book tells the tale of a young, beautiful widow who “takes a job as a waitress in a cocktail lounge, where she meets two new men: a handsome young schemer she falls in love with, and a wealthy older man she marries.”  The novel was assembled by Charles Ardai from several undated versions by Cain.

  • Cause of Death [Rina Martin] by Jane Adams
  • The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose by Susan Wittig Albert
  • Outrage [Erlendur]by Arnaldur Indridason
  • Dead Ends by Sandra Balzo
  • Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
  • Hiss and Hers [Agatha Raisin] by M.C. Beaton
  • Death’s Door [Billy Boyle] by James R. Benn
  • Robert B. Parker’s Fool Me Twice [Jesse Stone] by Michael Brandman
  • Tiger’s Claw [Patrick McLanahan] by Dale Brown
  • Low Pressure by Sandra Brown
  • The Cocktail Waitress by James M. Cain 
  • Queens Ransom  by Tori Carrington
  • Frozen Heat [Nikki Heat] by Richard Castle
  • A Wanted Man [Jack Reacher ] by Lee Child
  • Seconds Away  by Harlan Coben   [YA]
  • Buffalo Bill’s Dead Now by Margaret Coel
  • The Tombs [Sam & Remi Fargo] by Clive Cussler & Thomas Perry
  • More Than Sorrow by Vicki Delany
  • Face of the Enemy by Joanne Dobson & Beverle Graves Myers
  • Mirage  by Clive Cussler & Jack Du Brul
  • Watching the Ghosts [Joe Plantagenet] by Kate Ellis
  • The Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis
  • Lucky Stuff by Sharon Fiffer
  • Serenade to a Cuckoo by Flo Fitzpatrick
  • Robert Ludlum’s The Janus Reprisal by Jamie Freveletti
  • Laws in Conflict  by Cora Harrison
  • Car Wash Blues  by Michael Haskins
  • Murder in Mind by Veronica Heley
  • Red Jacket by Joseph Heywood
  • Tombstone Blues  by Ken Hodgson
  • In the Shadows of Paris [Victor Legris] by Claude Izner
  • Detroit Breakdown by D.E. Johnson
  • The Three Day Affair by Michael Kardos
  • Murder Most Austen by Tracy Kiely
  • Garment of Shadows [Mary Russell] by Laurie R. King
  • Dead Anyway by Chris Knopf
  • Death in Breslau by Marek Krajewski [1st US edition]
  • Father Night by Eric Van Lustbader
  • Blood Lies [Rogue Warrior ] by Richard Marcinko & Jim DeFelice
  • Seven Days [Benny Griessel by Deon Meyer
  • Phantom [Harry Hole] by Jo Nesbø
  • Breed  by Chase Novak
  • Bleeding Through by Sandra Parshall
  • A Fistful of Collars [Chet & Bernie] by Spencer Quinn
  • Delusion in Death  by J.D. Robb
  • The Incense Game [Sano Ichiro] by Laura Joh Rowland
  • The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan
  • Black Fridays by Michael Sears
  • Elvis and the Blue Christmas Corpse [Southern Cousins] by Peggy Webb
  • A Death in Valencia by Jason Webster
  • Gone by Randy Wayne White
  • Severe Clear [Stone Barrington] by Stuart Woods

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How Aunt Agatha Spent Her Summer Vacation

You know what they say about the "best laid plans..." 

After a week spent nursing a knee injury, the best thing about my vacation is that I made a significant dent in my "to read" pile, both hard copy and eBooks. Let me share a few with you.

A word about eBooks in general.  Having spent a majority of my life working in a library, I must admit that I love the sensory experience of physical books--their feel, their smell, the experience of turning the pages as the story within develops.  That being said, I'm not adverse to new technology and so I eagerly jumped aboard the e-reader bandwagon and bought myself a Kindle Fire.  The selection of titles available is so wide-ranging, I became exposed to books I might otherwise have missed.

Such was In the Blood: a Genealogical Crime Mystery by Brit author Steve Robinson.  It was one of Amazon UK's Best Books of 2011. 

Anyone bitten by the family history bug knows you truly have to be a detective when it comes to searching out long-lost relatives (it should be a family "mystery" search, perhaps).  I've done my share of genealogical sleuthing on the Internet, so I was already intrigued by the title. Mild-mannered American genealogist Jefferson Tayte travels to Cornwell for his latest assignment.  His research leads him to the tragic life of a young Cornish girl, a writing box, and a family secret that may lead him to the answers he seeks.  But someone else is on the same trail and will stop at nothing, including murder, to get there first. 

I really enjoyed this book that alternates the contemporary Jefferson Tayte story with the past mystery.  Just when you think you have the solution figured out, Robinson takes a sharp turn in the plot.  It was hard to put this book down.  Fortunately the second book in the series,  To the Grave, was ready to be downloaded!   Britain during World War II is the time span Jefferson Tayte is researching. 

Another book I enjoyed over vacation also takes place during the Second World War.  Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal is a daring debut that introduces Maggie Hope, a brilliant mathematician and codebreaker.  Unfortunately, her gender precludes her from doing more than flex her secretarial skills at No. 10 Downing Street.  But spies, intrigue, murder, and a family secret threaten Maggie's very life.  Only her quick wits will help her uncover the assassination plan against the Prime Minister. 

Maggie's further adventures will be revealed come November when the second in the series, Princess Elizabeth's Spy, is released.  I'm looking forward to that!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Murder Served Up Cold

As many of us bake in summer's triple digit temperatures, I recall the words of Emily Dickinson..."There's no frigate like a book."  So I searched out some mysteries that can carry you away to cooler climes, maybe even frozen ones. Climb aboard and immerse yourself in a chilly mystery.

The Dead of Winter by Rennie Airth -- On a freezing night in 1944 London, a young Polish girl is found brutally murdered during a blackout.  Is it a random act of violence?  Ex-Scotland Yard Inspector John Madden is not so sure.

Winter Study by Nevada Barr -- Ranger Anna Pigeon joins a scientific group to study wolf behavior. She discovers unusual DNA evidence that suggests someone had introduced a giant and dangerous wolf hybrid into the wild.

Into the Storm by Suzanne Brockmann -- During a winter training exercise in the mountains of New Hampshire with Navy SEAL Team Sixteen and the security experts from Troubleshooters Inc., Tracy Shapiro, playing the role of the hostage, disappears. As the weather closes in, it is feared she's become the latest victim of a serial killer.

Negative Image by Vicki Delany -- As the mountain town of Trafalgar, British Columbia, shakes off a long hard winter, famous photographer Rudolph Steiner arrives to do a feature on mountain tourism. He has his own agenda, however, and it involves the wife of Trafalgar Police Sergeant John Winters.

Ice Cold: a Rizzoli & Isles novel by Tess Gerritsen -- When Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli receives the grim news that Maura's charred body has been found in a mountain ravine, she travels to Kingdom Come, Wyoming, where a gruesome discovery lies buried beneath the snow.

Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley -- In the dead of a Michigan winter, pieces of a snowmobile wash up near the crumbling, small town of Starvation Lake; the same snowmobile that went down with Starvation's legendary hockey coach years earlier.  What dark and disturbing secrets had lead to the coach's murder?

What Never Happens by Anne Holt -- In the cold of an Oslo winter, celebrities have been turning up dead in the most macabre of positions. Their killer may be seeking retribution, but for what?

Death Wore White by Jim Kelly -- For DI Peter Shaw and DS George Valentine, the blizzard hid an impossible crime.  Stranded on Norfolk coast road, a man is found stabbed to death at the wheel of his truck.  The killer was neither seen nor left footprints in the snow.

A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny -- Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Sûreté du Quebec, is called to the idyllic (but deadly) village of Three Pines to investigate a bizarre murder.  CC de Poitiers was electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake, in front of the entire village, as she watched the annual curling tournament.

Snow Blind by P.J. Tracy --  January can be a bleak month in Minneapolis. So what better way to bring a little cheer to the good people of the city than by sponsoring an old-fashioned snowman-building contest?  But things turn ugly when the dead bodies of police officers are discovered inside two of the snowmen.

Deep Cover by Peter Turnbull -- When the snow thaws on London's Hampstead Heath, a ghastly discovery brings in Detective Inspector Harry Vicary and his team to investigate. the frozen body of a man is found on top of a shallow grave containing the battered remains of a young woman. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Return of Philip Marlow

It was just announced that Henry Holt & Co. plan the publication of a new Philip Marlowe novel featuring Raymond Chandler's iconic hero-detective.  Man Booker Prize-winning Irish novelist, John Banville, will be penning the book.

This new Philip Marlow novel has been authorized by the estate of Chandler, who died in 1959.  It will have an original plot and a 1940s Bay City setting -- the fictional town that stands-in for Santa Monica, California.  Chandler's trademark noir ambience will also be very much in evidence.  Publication is planned for 2013.

John Banville currently writes a series of crime novels for Holt under the pseudonym of Benjamin Black.  The series features Quirke, a hard-drinking Dublin pathologist.  Vengeance, the fifth in the series, is just being released.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ned Kelly Awards Nominees

The shortlist for the Ned Kelly Awards was announced by the Crime Writers’ Association of Australia.
Best Fiction:

  • The Life by Malcolm Knox
  • Chelsea Mansions by Barry Maitland
  • Pig Boy by J.C. Burke
Best First Fiction:

  • The Courier’s New Bicycle by Kim Westwood
  • The Cartographer by Peter Twohig
  • When We Have Wings by Claire Corbett
Best True Crime:

  • Cold Case Files by Liz Porter
  • Call Me Cruel by Michael Duffy
  • Sins of the Father by Eamonn Duff

Monday, July 30, 2012

New Mysteries for August

  • Dare Me by Megan Abbott
  • The Absent One [Department Q #2] by Jussi Adler-Olsen
  • Rock Bottom [Em Hansen] by Sarah Andrews
  • Vengeance by Benjamin Black
  • Tiger’s Claw [Patrick McLanahan] by Dale Brown
  • Kill You Twice [Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #5] by Chelsea Cain
  • Trinity Game by Sean Chercover
  • Dying Echo [Grim Reaper] by Judy Clemens
  • Not My Blood [Joe Sandilands] by Barbara Cleverly
  • The Crime of Julian Wells by Thomas H. Cook
  • Last Lawyer Standing by Douglas Corleone
  • A Brew to a Kill by Cleo Coyle
  • Murder of a Beauty Shop Queen [Dan Rhode] by Bill Crider
  • The Exceptions by David Cristofano
  • A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming
  • Port Villa Blues by Garry Disher
  • Bad Little Falls by Paul Doiron
  • Cat in a White Tie and Tails [Midnight Louie] by Carole Nelson Douglas
  • Sentinel by Matthew Dunn
  • Bagpipes, Brides, and Homicides [Liss MacCrimmon] by Kaitlyn Dunnett
  • The Double Game by Dan Fesperman
  • Lucky Stuff by Sharon Fiffer
  • The Last Temptation by Gerrie Ferris Finger
  • Serenade to a Cuckoo by Flo Fitzpatrick
  • Sweet Talk by Julie Garwood
  • Simple by Kathleen George
  • Haunted  by Jeanne Glidewell
  • Trouble Brewing  by Dolores Gordon-Smith
  • Dominus Dei  by Thomas Greanias
  • The Spymasters [Men at War] by W.E.B. Griffin & William E. Butterworth IV
  • The Thing Itself [Robert Watts] by Peter Guttridge
  • Haven [Bishop/Special Crimes Unit] by Kay Hooper
  • The Survivor by Gregg Hurwitz
  • Hardcastle’s Frustration by Graham Ison
  • In the Shadows of Paris [Victor Legris] by Claude Izner
  • You Don't Want To Know by Lisa Jackson
  • Odd Apocalypse [Odd Thomas] by Dean Koontz
  • The Prophet by Michael Koryta
  • Shunning Sarah by Julie Kramer
  • Trickster’s Point [Cork O’Connor] by William Kent Krueger
  • Death of A Neighborhood Witch [Jaine Austen] by Laura Levine
  • And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman
  • St. Rose Goes Hawaiian by Annette Mahon
  • No Way To Kill a Lady [Blackbird Sisters] by Nancy Martin
  • The Fourth Crow [Gil Cunningham] by Pat McIntosh
  • The Viper [Fredrik Broman] by Håkan Östlundh
  • The Beautiful Mystery [Armand Gamache] by Louise Penny
  • Scone Island [Ike Schwartz] by Frederick Ramsay
  • Valley of Ashes [Madeline Dare] by Cornelia Read
  • Bones Are Forever [Temperance Brennan] by Kathy Reichs
  • The St. Zita Society by Ruth Rendell
  • Far North [Magnus Jonson] by Michael Ridpath
  • The Resistance [Louis Morgon] by Peter Steiner
  • Black List [Scot Harvath] by Brad Thor
  • Off the Grid [Monkeewrench] by P.J. Tracy
  • The Trust [Grove O’Rourke] by Norb Vonnegut
  • Line of Fire [Alan Gregory] by Stephen White
  • The Kings of Cool [Prequel to Savages] by Don Winslow

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Sad Farewell

As a result of recent economic woes, so many familiar places are disappearing.  The latest victim is Mysteries To Die For, a great mystery bookstore in Thousand Oaks, California, north of Los Angeles.  Aunt Agatha first discovered this treasure in 1994 when Michael Connelly was talking about and signing his third book, The Concrete Blonde.  Connelly continued to visit with each new book, until the crowd of fans began to spill out of the small store into the parking lot.

I've been fortunate to meet so many fantastic authors at Mysteries To Die ForMany a Saturday afternoon I'd take the 30-minute drive up to Thousand Oaks to hear authors from near and far speak about their writing. 

Store owner Alan Chisholm posted this message on the store's website:

Mysteries to Die For is closing after a long and wonderful run of nineteen years.

Thanks to all of you who have graced the store with your attendance and all of those special mail order customers who have supported the store over the years. We are humbled and appreciative of the countless e-mails, phone calls, and letters we have received in response to the news.

The last day of business will be Saturday, July 28.


Good-bye and Good Luck to all of you.


I will be very sad to see the store close.  In this age of electronic media and mail order book buying, there is still nothing quite like the tactile experience of browsing mysteries in a bookstore.  Knowledgeable store owners share their love of the genre with their customers and I know many a time I've been steered to a great book as a result of a conversation with an independent bookseller.  Good-bye...you'll be missed.