Sunday, September 15, 2019

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AGATHA CHRISTIE

Happy Birthday, Agatha Christie!

Over the years, I've read just about every novel and story, play, and reference book on the Grande Dame of Crime Fiction. I've taught classes on Agatha Christie at UCB, Santa Cruz, St. Mary's College, as well as focused on Agatha Christie in my mystery book group. 

Agatha Christie visited the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden and was particularly taken by the Peruvian Lily. Poisonous? Yes. In honor of that long-ago visit, I organized a poison tour at the UC Botanical Garden with a very knowledgeable guide for my book group.

For Agatha Christie's Centennial, I attended the CWA (Crime Writers UK) conference in Torquay which included an Agatha Christie Centennial Celebration Banquet. Everyone was there, and by that, I mean all my favorite British crime writers and several of the actors who portrayed Christie's characters over the years. David Suchet sat at the next table. I saw Joan Hickson in the Ladies Room. During that same trip, I went with CWA to visit Greenway. This was long before it opened to the public. The family was in residence at the time, and either they forgot that a group of mystery writers was stopping by or they didn’t care, as the house was in a bit of disarray after what must have been Sunday lunch. It was a very lovely (and intimate) tour of the house.

When I returned to the States that year, I was on the organizing committee of the U.S. Agatha Christie Centennial. There were reading challenges, library talks, courses, and lectures, and I even wrote an 'Agatha-Christie inspired' interactive mystery event. It was great fun!

And here's a real treat: A Video of a 1955 interview with Agatha Christie from the BBC Archives in which Agatha Christie talks about her lack of formal education and how boredom during childhood led her to write The Mysterious Affair at Styles. She outlines her working methods, Miss Marple, Herculte Poirot, and discusses why it is much easier to write plays than novels. 

Raise a glass today to Agatha Chrisite, the Queen of Crime!
 

Saturday, September 14, 2019

NGAIO MARSH AWARD WINNERS


The Ngaio Marsh Awards celebrate the best of New Zealand crime, mystery, thriller, and suspense writing. “It’s been a really remarkable year for our international judging panels across all three categories,” says awards founder Craig Sisterson. Congratulations to all, and a special congrats to Craig for organizing these awards!

Best Novel:
THIS MORTAL BOY by Fiona Kidman (Penguin)

Best First Novel: 
CALL ME EVIE by JP Pomare (Hachette)

Best Non-Fiction 
THE SHORT LIFE AND MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF JANE FURLONG by Kelly Dennett (Awa)

For more information on any or all of this year’s winners or the Ngaio Marsh Awards in general, please contact founder and judging convenor Craig Sisterson, craigsisterson@hotmail.com