Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More Mystery Award Nominations!

Call for Nominations. Mystery Readers Journal subscribers and members of Mystery Readers International can nominate for the Macavity Award in five categories for works that were published in 2008. Best Mystery, Best First Mystery, Best Mystery Short Story, Best Critical/Biographical/Reference, Best Historical Mystery. Deadline for nominations is April 10. To nominate, send an email with subject line Macavity Nominations. You can nominate in as many categories, as you'd like. Be sure and put your full name in the body of the email. You must have been entered in MRI for '08 or '09 to nominate. Ballot will go out to member/subscribers by May 1.
  • Hat tip to Declan Burke for posting the Irish Book Awards crime fiction shortlist. Sadly John Connolly, Ken Bruen and Declan Hughes are not on the list. However, Alex Barclay (Blood Runs Cold), Arlene Hunt (Undertow), Tana French (The Likeness) and Brian McGilloway (Gallows Lane) made the cut. The Irish issue of Mystery Readers Journal is still available in hardcopy. It was one of our best ever largely due to the support of Declan Burke.
  • The Strand Magazine announced the nominees for its 2008 Critics Award for Best Mystery Novel and Best First Mystery Novel. Intended to recognize excellence in the field of mystery fiction, the Critics Awards are judged by “a select group of book reviewers from the nation’s top daily newspapers.”
In a press release, The Strand explained its award methodology:
“All judges sent to me, as committee chairman, a list of their 10 favorite books. I made a list that included all of these books--and a disparate selection it was--and the five with the most votes were to be the finalists,” said Otto Penzler, the world famous publisher and proprietor of the Mysterious Bookshop. “As it happened, there were three books that made it onto the short list, with five others tied for fourth, so we had a runoff with an extra round of voting to determine the top five nominees. Judges were then asked to list these top five in order of preference, with a first-place vote awarded five points, a second-place vote four points, and so on.”

“I couldn't have been more pleased with this selection of nominees,” said Andrew F. Gulli, the managing editor of
The Strand. “When I read several of these books last year, I had a feeling they would be nominated for the Critics Award.”
The awards will be presented at an invitation-only cocktail party on July 8 in New York City. A lifetime achievement award will be given posthumously to English author John Mortimer.

Best Novel:
When Will There Be Good News?, by Kate Atkinson (Little, Brown)
Master of the Delta, by Thomas H. Cook (Houghton Mifflin)
The Brass Verdict, by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)
Lush Life, by Richard Price (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Hollywood Crows, by Joseph Wambaugh (Little, Brown)

Best First Novel:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson (Knopf)
City of the Sun, by David Levien (Doubleday)
A Cure for Night, by Justin Peacock (Doubleday)
Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith (Grand Central Publishing)
A Carrion Death, by Michael Stanley (Harper)

Thriller Award Nominees

And award nominations keep coming in...

International Thriller Writers announces its nominees for the 2009 Thriller Awards.

Hold Tight by Harlan Coben
The Bodies Left Behind by Jeffrey Deaver
The Broken Window by Jeffrey Deaver
The Dark Tide by Andrew Gross
The Last Patriot by Brad Thor

Calumet City by Charlie Newton
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
Criminal Paradise by Steven Thomas
Sacrifice by S. J. Bolton
The Killer’s Wife by Bill Floyd

Between the Dark and the Daylight (Ellery Queen Magazine) by Tom Piccirilli
Last Island South (Ellery Queen Magazine) by John C. Boland
The Edge of Seventeen (The Darker Mask) by Alexandra Sokoloff
The Point Guard (Killer Year Anthology) by Jason Pinter
Time of the Green (Killer Year Anthology) by Ken Bruen

The 2009 Silver Bullet Award for outstanding charitable contributions recipient is Brad Meltzer.

The 2009 ThrillerMaster, honoring an influential body of work, goes to David Morrell.

Recipients will be recognized and winners announced in New York at ThrillerFest 2009 which will take place at the Grand Hyatt, July 8-11. The banquet, where the awards will be presented, is Saturday July 11. For more information, registration and tickets, visit www.thrillerwriters.org.

Spinetingler Magazine Award Nominees

Nominees for the 2009 Spinetingler Awards given out by Spinetingler Magazine. As Spinetingler editor Sandra Ruttan explains, “Winners in each category will be determined by public vote. Voting will be open until April 25, 2009. Please follow this link to cast your vote in any or all of the categories, to see the covers nominated, and to follow the links to the short stories.” The winners will be announced on April 30. Go here to vote. Unique category appellations include New Voice, Rising Star and Legend. Also nominees in Graphic Novel, Best Editor, Best Reviewer, Best Publisher, Special Services to the Industry, Best Cover, Best Short Story on the Web.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Structure of Books

I needed to share this photo. Yes, this is what it may all come to--books not just as insulation, but as structure. You'll always have something to read, even if it means deconstructing. The true symbol of deconstruction literature with all its multiple meanings, layers and ideas. It will all be there.

Birthday Mysteries

Today's my birthday, and I've blogged a bit about it on my other Blog, DyingforChocolate, so I won't bore you here. Since this is a holiday, at least for me, I did a little research into Birthday mysteries. As always, I'd love to add to this list.

The Birthday Present by Barbara Vine aka Ruth Rendell
And One to Die On by Jane Haddam
The Fortieth Birthday Body by Valerie Wolzien

Seems to me I've read several mysteries with birthdays as jumping off points or deaths, particularly Golden Age mysteries. However, as I age, the more I forget, especially titles.

I also found several children's mysteries:
Cam Jansen & the Birthday Mystery by David A. Adler (author) and Susanna Natti (Illustrator)
Bones and the Birthday Mystery by David A. Adler (author), Barbara Neville (Illustrator)
The Happy Birthday Mystery by Joan Lowery Nixon, Jim Cummins, Illustrated by Jim Cummins

Today I'm in Bodega Bay, site of The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock. No birthdays in the story, but a very good place for a mystery person to be on her birthday.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Donna Leon Tour and Books

Donna Leon has long been one of my favorite mystery authors. In her Commissario Guido Brunetti police procedurals, she captures the city of Venice, interweaving the social scene and internal politics. Her latest crime novel, About Face (Atlantic Monthly Press), tackles the subject of the environment-a very real problem Italy faces today. I just received this mystery, so this isn't a review but an alert to all the Donna Leon fans.

Donna Leon Book Tour:

Monday, April 20, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL. Call: 305-442-4408
Tuesday, April 21, Margaret Mitchell House & Museum, Atlanta, GA. 404-814-4150 (reservations requested.
Wednesday, April 22, Politics & Prose, Washington, DC. 202-364-1919
Thursday, April 23, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 215-686-5322
Friday, April 24, Barnes & Nobel (Broadway at 82nd), New York, NY 212-362-8835
Tuesday, April 28, City Arts & Lectures, San Francisco, CA Tickets Required. 415-392-4400
Wednesday, April 29, St. Louis Country Library, St. Louis, MO. 314-994-3300

As you know, I love to read mysteries set in a location I have visited or will visit. Now, Grove Press has published Brunetti's Venice, Walks with the City's Best-Loved Detective, by Toni Sepeda, with an introduction by Donna Leon. This is being simultaneously published with the latest Brunetti mystery, About Face. Tourists and armchair travelers can follow in the footsteps of Brunetti as he traverses the city he knows and loves. There are over a dozen walks, encompassing all six regions of Venice as well as the lagoon. This is a must have companion book for any fan of Donna Leon's series.

Toni Sepada, the author of Brunetti's Venice, is a Venetian resident and longtime fan of Brunetti. She has been a Professor of Literature and Art history in Northern Italy for 15 years, and has been conducting authorized tours of Brunetti's Venice for years.

For more information about Donna Leon and Toni Tours, go here.

Interested in Italian Mysteries? Don't miss Italian-mysteries.com This is an incredibly comprehensive website.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Surplus Books

Just because you don’t enjoy reading a good book, doesn’t mean there aren’t many other uses for all of those books piled up in the attic. Read this.

A tip of the hat to Bill Crider.

Raymond Chandler Redux

Thanks to the Rap Sheet for all the additional information on Raymond Chandler--in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of his death. First, the Rap Sheet launched a poll a week ago to determine which of Raymond Chandler's seven original Philip Marlowe novels. The results are in. The Long Goodbye (1953) received the greatest number. For all the results, go Here.

There were many other tributes to Chandler yesterday. Sarah Weinman cites Judith Freeman's review of the Chandler's life and career in the L.A. Weekly and Chris Routledge has a recollection of this novelist's early life. J. Kingston Pierce in The Rap Sheet has put together a marvelous collection of trailers from the 20th century adaptions of the Philip Marlowe novels. The final paragraph in this excellent essay has links to more Raymond Chandler READING:
How Chandler Made a Killing at the Movies,” by Hugh Tynan; “Raymond Chandler Wrote Los Angeles,” by Carolyn Kellogg (Los Angeles Times); “Trouble Was His Business--Raymond Chandler,” by Larry Harnish (Los Angeles Times); “Marlowe Back on the Case?,” by J. Kingston Pierce (The Rap Sheet).

Seems like a good time for me to reread all the Chandler novels. He's one of my favorite authors.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Raymond Chandler Quiz

Dave Rosenthal posted a fun quiz about Raymond Chandler on the Baltimore Sun's Read Street Blog. Today marks the 50th anniversary of Raymond Chandler's death. Try this fill-in-the blank quiz on his trademark descriptive phrases. Kind of a take-off on Mad Libs.

April Mystery Writing Workshops San Francisco Bay Area

Upcoming April Mystery Writers' Workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area:

David Corbett will hold a one-day workshop on Demonstrate Character: Make a Scene, Saturday, April 4: 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA (415) 927-0960

Berkeley Mystery Writing Intensive, April 18, One-day workshop Attending Authors: Juliet Blackwell aka Hailey Lind, David Corbett, Sophie Littlefield, Tim Maleeny and Cornelia Read. Berkeley City Club, Berkeley, CA To register: Send a check for $140 payable to Cornelia Read to Berkeley mystery Writing Intensive, 7311 Eureka Ave, El Cerrito, CA 94530. For questions, call 510-525-7059.

Book Passage Mystery Writers Confererence: July 16-19. More to come. Great mystery author instructors

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Left Coast Crime Hawaii

I can't believe I haven't mentioned in my blog that Left Coast Crime was absolutely fabulous. The location, well, it was Hawaii, so what's not to like? Programming was outstanding. Hats Off to Bill and Toby and the entire committee. Great job. Well done. Lee Goldberg was fantastic as Toastmaster. Rhys Bowen and Barry Eisler were terrific Guests of Honor. Pam Dehnke and Vallery were wonderful Fan Guests of Honor, and this year's quilt (Pam and Vallery make the quilts for each LCC) raised over $800 for charity. The Awards ceremony was great--and the awards themselves were beautiful. Lefty Award went to Tim Maleeny for Greasing the Pinata (Poisoned Pen Press) The Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award went to Kelli Stanley for Nox Dormienda, A Long Night For Sleeping (Five Star) and The Hawaii Five-0 went to Neil S. Plakcy for Mahu Fire (Alyson Books). Congratulations to the winners and all the nominees.

Everyone had a great time. There were participants from the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Sweden, Australia, Canada and Japan--and turtles from the Pacific. Definitely an international convention in Paradise. I especially liked that there were so many families.

My panels: I interviewed Lee Goldberg who regaled us all with great stories on writing, TV and Hollywood. I also co-moderated the discussion on Left Coast Crime 101 with Toby Gottfried. Everything and anything you'd need to know about the convention and Hawaii. My last assignment was mystery bookgroups, and I'll be setting up a yahoo group to discuss different types of bookgroups, as well as keep track of what the bookgroups are reading. Some very unique formats for groups. I liked Gillian Roberts 'kindergarten' concept. Every participant in the group (mystery or whatever genre) has to bring a sentence, paragraph or page that they think is pivotal to the book or to their appreciation of the book. That quickly eliminates the "I liked it/I hated it" syndrome. More on this in a later blog.

As always it was great to see old friends and make new ones. That's what conventions are all about, at least for me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bay Area Mystery Author Events

March Madness isn't all about basketball. Seems like the San Francisco Bay Area is being inundated with wonderful mystery authors. Here's a heads-up on some of the signings and talks

Vicki Delany, Debbie Atkinson
March 22, 2 p.m., M is for Mystery,
March 23, 1 p.m. Orinda Books
March 23, 7 p.m Book Passage, Corte Madera

Read Lesa's Book Critiques reviews of Vicki Delany's Valley of the Lost
and Debbie Atkinson's Pleasing the Dead

Margit Liesche, author of Hollywood Buzz
March 22, 3 p.m., Books Inc, Mountain View
March 24, 7 p.m. Book Passage, Corte Madera

Walter Mosely, author of Fortunate Son: A Novel
Mar 31 7:30 p.m. , First Congregational Church, Oakland, CA
April 1, 7 p.m. Belmont Public Library

Kelli Stanley, author of Nox Dormienda
March 24, 7 p.m. Alameda Public Library, Main Library

Michelle Gagnon, author of Bone Yard
March 31, 7 p.m. Alameda Public Library, Main Library

Dana Fredsti, author of Murder for Hire, The Peruvian Pigeon
April 7, 7 p.m. Alameda Public Library

Monday, March 16, 2009

Marion Richmond R.I.P.

I had a call from Robin Richmond Monday to inform me that Marion Richmond, his wife, had died after a long battle with cancer. I knew she had been ill, but it still came as a shock. I hadn't seen Marion in many years, but I followed her book news in various publications, and she was a subscriber and contributor to the Mystery Readers Journal.

I remember the first time I met Marion, some 30+ years ago. We had corresponded via letter--yes, this was before email, and we agreed to meet when I was in London. She took me to the London Book Faire! What a wonderful time. Books everywhere, and Marian knew everyone. It was very exciting to get an insider view of the international book business at that time. Later I attended Bouchercon in London in 1990. Marion and Robin Richmond were the co-chairs. It was great fun, and I got to meet many of the British and international writers. Marion also contributed articles to the Mystery Readers Journal on collecting and special authors. Although these articles are no longer available, and certainly not on computer, I did find an article online that Marion wrote about book collecting: Really Wicked Books. Marion and Robin lived in Wigtown, Scotland's National Book Town. Robin intends to continue Ming Books

telephone 01988403241 mobile 07721007968
Address: Beechwood, Acre Place, Wigtown DG8 9DU
SCOTLAND also in Rahway New Jersey USA
Want lists welcome

St. Patrick's Day Mysteries

St. Patrick's Day figures into several mysteries, but since it's not a huge list, I've added some other Irish mysteries. I'm sure I'm missing several, so any additions are quite welcome.

Nelson Demille: Cathedral
Andrew Greeley: Irish Gold
Jane Haddam: A Great Day for the Deadly
Lyn Hamilton: The Celtic Riddle
Lee Harris: The St. Patrick's Day Murder
Jonathan Harrington: A Great Day for Dying
Wendi Lee: The Good Daughter
Dan Mahoney: Once in, Never Out
Leslie Meier: St. Patrick's Day Murder
Sister Carol Anne O’Marie: Death Takes Up A Collection
Ralph M. McInerny: Lack of the Irish
Janet Elaine Smith: In St. Patrick's Custody
Kathy Hogan Trochek: Irish Eyes
Noreen Wald: Death Never Takes a Holiday

You could also read Ken Bruen, Declan Burke or Declan Hughes on St. Patrick's Day. Raise a glass of Guinness for me. And, if you want something chocolate to go along with your stout, have a look at my DyingforChocolate blog for some killer recipes for Chocolate Guinness Cake.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Barbara Parker

Barbara Parker, 62, died early Saturday morning (March 7) surrounded by her family at the Hospice by the Sea in Boca Raton after a long illness. Read Oline Codgill's story in the Sun Sentinel.

After a career as an attorney, Parker found a new calling as a mystery writer. She wrote 12 mystery novels. No surprise, most of her mysteries were about Miami lawyers. To read more about Barbara Parker's wonderful career in her own words, go here.

If you'd like to leave a message about how her writing affected you, go here.

Her many fans will miss her immensely.

Left Coast Crime 2009: Say Aloha to Murder

Left Coast Crime 2009 is off to a smashing start with Desserts to Die For last night at the Marriott Waikoloa, the convention hotel. Over 350 participants and even more friends and family have come to the big Island for this, the 19th Left Coast Crime. Panels, interviews, 15 minute Talk Stories, and more began in earnest today.

Participants have come from all over the world--from the U.S., Sweden, Australia, Germany, England, Japan, and I'm probably leaving some place out. Lots of informal places to chat at this beautiful property in Paradise. Birds keep flitting through, the turtles are on the beach, and the whales are passing by. What's not to like? And, we've all come here because we love mysteries!

Bill & Toby Gottfried have put together a great convention. The committee has worked hard for over two years, and the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. This is one sweet pudding! Wish you were here. And, if you are, and we haven't met, be sure and say hi! Mahalo.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

More Paris in Springtime

So as soon as I posted about Cara Black's latest Aimee Le Duc mystery, Murder in the Latin Quarter, two more mysteries came across my desk. Well, actually I read about the first one on The Rap Sheet. Haven't read it yet, but it sounds great.

Pictures at an Exhibition by Sara Houghteling is a debut novel. Houghteling tells the stories of a Parisian art gallery owner whose collection of paintings was looted by the Nazis, and of his son’s quest to recover his father's lost masterpieces after the war. That's enough to hook me.

And, I just opened a package from The New Press with a copy of Beyond Suspicion: A Novel by Tanguy Viel, translated from the French by Linda Coverdale, with an introduction by Jonathan Lethem. This one is set in the South of France. "Set in the south of France where the stakes are high and no one is beyond suspicion, this Hitchcockian tale presents siblings and lovers in constantly shifting configurations. The grace and precision of Viel’s language are eloquently captured by prizewinning translator Linda Coverdale’s lyrical prose." It's a novella, and it just went on my TBR stack.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Paris in the Spring Time: Cara Black

There's nothing quite like Paris in the Springtime, but if you can't go, you can imagine yourself there as you read the new Cara Black, Murder in the Latin Quarter. This is the ninth Aimee Leduc investigation in Paris. Cara was at Murderati yesterday, and she'll be hitting the bookstores soon, hopefully near you. Here's her appearance line-up.

Murder in the Latin Quarter (Soho Press): In this novel, Mireille, a Haitian woman, enters the office of private investigator Aimee Leduc Detective proclaiming she is Aimee's half-sister, her father's illegitimate daughter. Aimee has been a virtual orphan since her mother's disappearance and her father's death, so she is thrilled by this new sister. Her partner, Rene, is not as moved, but Aimee embraces Mireille and soon finds herself involved in murky Haitian politics leading to murder. The setting is the Latin Quarter on the Left Bank of the Seine, in the old university district of Paris. Cara Black provides a strong look at late 1999s Paris as this tale includes the Mireille mystery, post-colonial nationalisms, homicide and economic globalization.

Cara Black sets her novels in different arrondissements. Her debut novel was Murder in the Marais and since then Aimee (and Cara) have explored, Murder in the Rue de Paradis, Murder in Montmartre, Murder on the Ile Saint-Louis, Murder in Clichy, Murder in the Bastille, Murder in the Sentier, Murder in Belleville, Murder in the Marais.

So grab a cafe au lait and a croissant and settle down to the next best thing to being in Paris in the Spring.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Barbara Franchi

I received a note from Barbara Franchi's husband, Rudy Franchi, this morning with the sad news that Barbara passed away last night. Her daughters, Jill, Susan, Regina, her son-in-law Tony, her grandson Bennett and her husband Rudy were at her bedside. Susan writes that "Barbara, a child of the Bronx, started her life as a teacher of geology and then gained prominence in the world of mystery fiction via her renowned review website (Reviewing the Evidence), and movie poster collecting, through her years of organizing auctions and running a major retail/internet operation. Her true joy was traveling across America with Antiques Roadshow and spending time in London. Barbara's blunt honesty and acerbic wit will be missed. She mentored many young reviewers, dealers and collectors, dispensing street smart advice mixed with self-learned literary perceptions. For those in the Los Angeles area, the family will be sitting Shiva on Sunday, March 8 at Jill's home, 3725 Mountain View Avenue, 90066."

I knew Barbara was ill, but we all hoped that she would pull through. We had all been looking forward to spending time with her at Left Coast Crime. I will miss chatting with Barbara at conventions. Susan had it right when she said Barbara had blunt honesty. When we were together, we talked about books, Reviewing the Evidence, and she always said and wrote what she thought. Susan also wrote that Reviewing the Evidence will continue with Sharon and others.

Barbara Franchi's bio on Reviewing the Evidence
Born on Long Island in 1935 and raised in New York, Barbara gained her degrees through the benificence of the City of New York attending Hunter College and CCNY. She taught high school and college biology, general science, and geology in New York City high schools, CCNY and then Loyola of Montreal. In 1969, Rudy and Barbara started The Nostalgia Factory, which they finally sold in 2005, thereupon retiring to Los Angeles. She is the coauthor (with Rudy) of MILLER'S MOVIE COLLECTIBLES. Rudy is currently writing a mystery novel and she is researching a book to be with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences imprimatur. She has been a generalist on Antiques Roadshow since the first season and often fills in at the collectibles table when things get hectic. Her favorite mysteries tend to be police procedurals and what she calls medium boiled fiction. She also likes the crossover books between mystery and fantasy or science fiction. Her secret passion is for willy-wagglers, thrillers such as those by Clive Cussler and Matthew Reilly. She thanks Sharon Wheeler for taking over the unpaid and unappreciated office of editor of RTE and for making the site a professional looking and important one in the crime fiction field.

Another loss to the mystery community.

Contributions in Barbara’s name can be made to Beit T’Shuvah, 8831 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90034, USA

3/2/09 Ali Karim has a beautiful tribute to Barbara Franchi in The Rap Sheet
including an extract from a piece he wrote for Red Herrings, the magazine of the British Crime Writers’ Association, talking about the origin and intentions of Reviewing the Evidence. I'm also including a photo Ali took of Barbara and the late Elaine Flynn.