Friday, April 30, 2010

May Mysteries & Morris Dancing

 "What potent blood hath modest May."- Ralph W. Emerson

Last year I posted a list of May Mysteries, and I'm updating that entry here. I  love May Day with its Morris Dancing and the Maypole, all dating back to more pagan Celtic times. And, although May may seem idyllic, it can actually be murderous! I will also have an updated list of Mother's Day mysteries which, of course, take place in May. Let me know if I've forgotten any May mysteries.

30 Days in May by Wayne Hancock
May Day by Jess Lourey
Five Days in May by Christopher Hartpence
May Day in Magadan by Anthony Olcott
A Hot Day in May by Julian Jay Savarin
The May Day Murders by Scott Wittenburg

For over 30 years at dawn on May Day, Berkeley Morris Dancing takes place at Inspiration Point in Tilden Park.  The Berkeley Morris Dancers will be performing later in the day at 12:15 at the University of California Botanical Garden. Here's a link to other May Day Morris dancing around the World.

Morris Dancing Mysteries: 
Death of a Fool by Ngaio Marsh
Dead Men's Morris by Gladys Mitchell

The Death-Cap Dancers by Gladys Mitchell 

Apparently some Morris Dancing took place in Oxford two weeks ago. Read about it in Martin Edwards' Blog.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Edgar Awards 2010

If you can't be at the Edgars, and you really want to know who wins as it happens, you could have followed @sarahw or @murderbooks on Twitter, as I did. It was almost like being there. Well, almost because I definitely missed the banter between Lee Child and Laura Lippman, the acceptance speeches, and all the other singing and dancing--and I'm sure there was some. How come no one set up a webcam or streaming video?

Best Novel: The Last Child by John Hart (Minotaur Books)

Best First Novel by an American Author: In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff (Minotaur Books)

Best Paperback Original: Body Blows by Marc Strange (Castle Street Mysteries)

Best Short Story: "Amapola" by Luis Urrea in Phoenix Noir (Akashic Books)

Best Critical/Biographical: The Lineup: The World's Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Detectives, edited by Otto Penzler (Hachette Book Group-Little, Brown)

Best Juvenile: Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn (HMH Children's Book)

Best Young Adult: Reality Check by Peter Abrahams (HarperTeen)

Best TV Episode Teleplay: "Place of Execution," teleplay by Patrick Harbinson (PBS) based on Val McDermid's novel)

Best Fact Crime: Columbine by Dave Cullen (Twelve)

Ellery Queen Award: Poisoned Pen Press, Barbara Peters & Robert Rosenwald

Raven Award #1: Zef Buffman, International Mystery Writers Festival

Raven Award #2: Mystery Lovers Bookshop (Oakmont, PA)

Robert L. Fish Memorial Award: "A Dreadful Day" by Dan Warthman, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine (Dell Magazines)

The Simon & Schuster-Mary Higgins Clark Award: (Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Wednesday, April 28, 2010): Awakening by S.J. Bolton (Minotaur Books)

Grandmaster: Dorothy Gilman, author of the Mrs. Pollifax mysteries

Thanks to everyone tweeting #edgars10

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Reviewers' Choice Awards: RT Book Reviews

The winners of the annual Reviewers' Choice Awards were announce by RT Book Reviews (Romantic Times). The nominees and winners of these awards, given in many categories, are selected by a staff of over 50 reviewers representing the readers' voice in the women's fiction industry.

The winners in the Mystery, Suspense, and Thriller category are (for books published in 2009):

Amateur Sleuth: Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke (Kensington)
Contemporary Mystery: Kill For Me by Karen Rose (Grand Central)
First Mystery: A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield (St. Martin's Minotaur)
Historical Mystery: What Remains of Heaven by C. S. Harris (NAL)
PI/Police Procedural Novel: A Darker Domain by Val McDermid (Harper)
Suspense/Thriller: The Messenger by Jan Burke (Simon & Schuster)

For Nominees, go HERE and scroll down.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Deadly Ink David Nominations

Deadly Ink announced the following nominations for the 2010 David G. Sasher, Sr. Award-aka The David- for the best mystery published during the prior year (2009).

Mary Jane Clark - DYING FOR MERCY
Harlan Coben - LONG LOST
Hallie Ephron - NEVER TELL A LIE
Parnell Hall - DEAD MAN'S PUZZLE
Elaine Viets - KILLER CUTS

Attendees at the 2010 Deadly Ink Mystery Conference will vote for their favorite, and the winner will be announced at the Saturday Night Awards Banquet

2010 Deadly Ink Mystery Conference
June 25-27, 2010
Parsippany Sheraton, Parshippany, NJ
Guest of Honor: Gillian Roberts

Monday, April 26, 2010

Elizabeth George in Berkeley April 30

Join Mystery Readers International, NorCal for a Literary Salon with Elizabeth George on Friday, April 30 at 2 p.m, Berkeley. Please RSVP for directions. Space is limited.

Elizabeth George's 16th Detective Inspector Lynley novel, This Body of Death, has just been published, and we're  pleased to have Elizabeth George join us in Berkeley where she will discuss writing, the latest novel, and more. It's been about 15 years since George has been to one of our salons, so it's about time.

Eleven of her novels, featuring Inspector Lynley, have been adapted for television by the BBC as The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. Her first published novel was A Great Deliverance in 1988, featuring Thomas Lynley, Lord Asherton, a Scotland Yard inspector of noble birth; Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, Lynley's partner, from a very working-class background; Lady Helen Clyde, Lynley's girlfriend and later wife, of noble birth as well; and Lynley's friends Simon and Deborah St. James.


"Bestseller George's richly rewarding 16th novel to feature Det. Insp. Thomas Lynley (after Careless in Red) offers an intricate plot that will satisfy even jaded fans of psychological suspense. Aggressively career-minded Isabelle Ardery, the new acting superintendent of London's Metropolitan Police, boldly manages to lure Lynley, who's been grieving over his wife's murder, back from Cornwall to look into a murder case. The body of Jemima Hastings, a young woman recently relocated from Hampshire, has turned up in a London cemetery. With suspects in both locales and numerous leads to follow and interviews to conduct, Ardery succeeds in raising the hackles of Det. Sgt. Barbara Havers, Det. Insp. John Stewart, and other members of the investigating team. George tantalizes with glimpses of a horrific earlier murder case; showcases Lynley at his shrewdest, most diplomatic best; and confounds readers with a complex array of evidence, motives, and possible solutions." STARRED REVIEW
-- Publishers Weekly

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Los Angeles Times Book Prizes: 2010

The L.A. Times  Book Prizes were awarded last night at the Los Angeles Times Building. One of my favorite books published in 2009, Stuart Neville's The Ghosts of Belfast (Soho Press) won the award for Mystery/Thriller. This category was judged by Sarah Weinman, Oline Cogdill, and Dick Adler.  Here's their citation:

"Stuart Neville’s stunning debut novel delivers an inspired, gritty view of violence’s aftermath and the toll it takes on each person involved – especially on one haunted, redemption-seeking ex-IRA hitman. Along the way, Neville condenses the fear and hate that has troubled Northern Ireland, still under the thumb of decades of domestic terrorism, for decades." 

Exactly!!!  Can't wait for Neville's next novel.

The Finalists wrote great books, too, but only one could win.
 For the complete list of the 2010 LA Times Book Prizes, go HERE.

And, in case you didn't know, this weekend is the Los Angeles Festival of Books in association with UCLA. Lots of mystery panels and talks... it's a carnival of books, book people, fans, you name it.

Arthur Ellis Awards 2010: Shortlist from Crime Writers of Canada

The Arthur Ellis Award Shortlist was announced Thursday night, April 22, 2010. These are the annual awards for the Best in Canadian crime fiction presented by the Crime Writers of Canada.

Best Crime Novel
Aloha, Candy Hearts by Anthony Bidulka
Arctic Blue Death by R.J. Harlick
Not Suitable for Family Viewing by Vicki Grant.
Haunted by Barbara Haworth-Attard.
Homicide Related by Norah McClintock.
The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade
The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones

Best Unpublished First Crime Novel  (the Unhanged Arthur)
This Cage of Bones by Pam Barnsley
Confined Space by Deryn Collier
The Corpse Flower by Gloria Ferris
A Bait of Pleasure by Blair Hemstock
Putting Them Down by Peter Kirby

Best Short Story
"Backup" by Rick Mofina
"Prisoner in Paradise" by Dennis Richard Murphy
"Nothing is Easy" by James Petrin
"Time Will Tell" by Twist Phelan
"Clowntown Pajamas" by James Powell

Winners will be announced May 27.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earth Day Mysteries: Environmental Crime Fiction

With Earth Day upon us, I thought I should update my Earth Day/Environmental Mysteries List. It's by no means complete. There are many more authors, and certainly more books by many of the authors on the list. As always, I welcome additions. I took a few liberties on the list, too, but I think they all fall under the huge (sadly) umbrella of environmental mysteries.

Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang
Liz Adair's Snakewater Affair
Grace Alexander's Hegemon
Suzanne Arruda's Stalking Ivory
Lindsay Arthur's The Litigators
Sandi Ault's Wild Inferno
Michael Barbour's The Kenai Catastrophe and Blue Water, Blue Island
Nevada Barr's Track of the Cat, Ill Wind and others
Lee Barwood's A Dream of Drowned Hollow?
William Bernhardt's Silent Justice
Donald J Bingle's GreensWord
Michael Black's A Killing Frost
C J Box's Winterkill, Open Season, Below Zero, Savage Run, Out of Range, Trophy Hunt, Free Fire, In Plain Sight
Robin Cook's Fever
Donna Cousins' Landscape
Rex Burns' Endangered Species
Michael Crichton's State of Fear
Janet Dawson's Don't Turn Your Back on the Ocean
Barbara Delinsky's Looking for Peyton Place
David Michael Donovan's Evil Down in the Alley
Rubin Douglas' The Wise Pelican: From the Cradle to the Grave
Aaron J Elkins' The Dark Place
Howard Engle's Dead and Buried
Eric Evans' Endangered
G M Ford's Who in Hell is Wanda Fuca?
Matthew Glass' Ultimatum
Ken Goddard's Double Blind, Prey, Wildfire
Steven Gould and Laura J. Mixon's Greenwar
Robert O Greer's The Devil's Hatband
John Grisham's The Pelican Brief, The Appeal
Jean Hager's Ravenmocker
William Hagard's The Vendettists
James W. Hall's Bones of Coral
Patricia Hall's The Poison Pool
Joseph Hall's Nightwork
Joseph Heywood's Blue Wolf in Green Fire, Ice Hunter, Chasing a Blond Moon
Carl Hiaasen's Skinny Dip
John Hockenberry's A River out of Eden
John Holt's Hunted
Mary Ellen Hughes' A Taste of Death
Dana Andrew Jennings' Lonesome Standard Time
Linda Kistler's Cause for Concern
Janice Law's Infected be the Air
Donna Leon's Death in a Strange Country, About Face
David Liss' The Ethical Assassin
Sam Llewellyn's Deadeye
John D MacDonald's Barrier Island
Larry Maness' Once a Perfect Place
Elizabeth Manz's Wasted Space
John Martel's Partners
Steve Martini's Critical Mass
Skye Kathleen Moody's Blue Poppy
Marcia Muller's Cape Perdido
Dan O'Brien's Brendan Prairie
Michael Palmer's Fatal
Sarah Paretsky's Blood Shot
T. Jefferson's Parker's Pacific Beat
Cathy Pickens' Southern Fried
Carl Posey's Bushmaster Fall
David Poyer's As the Wolf Loves Winter, Winter in the Heart
Rebecca Rothenberg's The Shy Tulip Murders
Patricia Rushford's Red Sky in the Mourning
Kirk Russell's Shell Games 

Frank Schätzing's The Swarm
Barry Siegel's Actual Innocence
Jessica Speart's Bird Brained
Dana Stabenow's A Cold Day for Murder, A Deeper Sleep, A Fine and Bitter Snow, Midnight Come Again, A Taint in the Blood, and many others.
Neal Stephenson's Zodiac: The Eco-Thriller
David Sundstrand's Shadow of the Raven
William Tapply's Cutter's Run
Lee Wallingford's Clear-Cut Murder
Joseph Wambaugh's Finnegan's Week
Sterling Watson's Deadly Sweet
Randy Wayne's White Captiva
Robert Wilson's Blood is Dirt
K.J.A. Wishnia's The Glass Factory

Thanks to the Springfield City Library for several titles on this list. Check their list for annotations.   

What can you do to Save the Earth!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Clever Ways of Displaying Books??!!!

All I can say about this "Lifestyle" article on  "Clever Ways of Displaying Books"  (left photo) is that this is for people who obviously don't read.

My stacks of books around the house (right photo) may not be orderly, but I know where each book is (pretty much), and I intend to read them or have read them.

I would say this is more about How not to Display Books, or as Beth said, OMG! And, Frank Burke wrote, "It's an excellent way to let your visitors know that you are 1) an idiot, 2) illiterate and 3) tasteless all at the same time. Be sure and look at the other "clever ways of displaying books." LOL!

Hat Tip to Beth Fedyn for sending.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Masterpiece Mystery! 2010 Schedule: Foyle's War, Miss Marple & More

The 2010 Mystery! shows on PBS look great. Here's a heads-up! Reviews to follow.
Check your local listing for times, as they may vary from the stated times below. Also: All episodes can be viewed online for a limited time at: (usually around the time of the airing)


Michael Kitchen returns as Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle in three brand new episodes of the acclaimed series. It is June 1945, and VE Day has been celebrated in Britain. The state of  the country, however, is far from jubilant in the aftermath of war. Keen to retire, but bound to his old job by the steep rise in violent crime that swept the country, Foyle is thrust into the dangerous worlds of international conspiracy and  execution, military racism and national betrayal. He must feel his way through this new world as he  faces some of his toughest challenges and gripping plots to date. (All episodes 90 minutes.)

May 2 Foyle’s War, Series VI: “The Russian House”
May 9 Foyle’s War, Series VI: “Killing Time”
May 16 Foyle’s War, Series VI: “The Hide”


Julia McKenzie is back in the role of Agatha Christie’s spinster sleuth, pursuing a series of new crimes and dark occurrences.  Appearances by Hugh Bonneville (Filth, Ms. Austen Regrets) and Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous) round out the stellar cast. (All episodes 90 minutes.)

May 23 Miss Marple, Series V: “The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side”
Jun. 6 Miss Marple, Series IV: “A Pocket Full of Rye” (Encore)

Jun 13 Miss Marple, Series IV: “Murder is Easy” (Encore)

Jun 20 Miss Marple, Series V: “The Secret of Chimneys” 

Jun 27 Miss Marple, Series V: “The Blue Geranium”


David Suchet reprises his role as suave detective Hercule Poirot in three new episodes.  (All episodes 90 minutes.)

Jul 11 Hercule Poirot, Series X: “Murder on the Orient Express”
Jul 18 Hercule Poirot, Series X: “The Third Girl”
Jul 25 Hercule Poirot, Series X: “Appointment with Death”
Aug 1 Hercule Poirot, Series IX: “Cat Among the Pigeons” (Encore)


Kevin Whately returns for a third season as Inspector Lewis in five new episodes. Once again
joined by Laurence Fox (A Room with a View) as Lewis’ young partner DS Hathaway, the
detectives continue solving cases in the seemingly perfect academic haven of Oxford. (All
episodes 90 minutes.)

Aug 8 Inspector Lewis, Series II: “Allegory of Love” (Encore)
Aug 15 Inspector Lewis, Series II: “Quality of Mercy” (Encore)
Aug 22 Inspector Lewis, Series II: “Point of Vanishing” (Encore)
Aug 29 Inspector Lewis, Series III: “Counter Culture Blues”
Additional episodes to be announced.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

African Mysteries: Mystery Readers Journal

The latest issue of Mystery Readers Journal (Volume 26:1) focuses on Mysteries set in Africa. It's really terrific, and I will be adding a few more articles and interviews here on Mystery Fanfare to accompany this issue. Articles, reviews and lots of Author! Author! essays, including ones by Jassy Mackenzie, Mike Nicol, Margie Orford and many others. Have a look at the Table of Contents and sample articles, HERE.

This issue is still at the printer, but it's available as a .pdf download, HERE. If you're a subscriber to Mystery Readers Journal, this African issue, the first in 2010, will be sent out by April 28. If you'd like a hard copy of this issue, you can order online for delivery after April 28.

Subscription to Mystery Readers Journal is $39/$50 overseas airmail or $15 .pdf download.

Thanks again to all the contributors for making this such a great issue! New column on Mystery Movies by Associate Editor Kate Derie.

For other back issues, go HERE. We're adding .pdfs of back issues all the time. Be sure and check back.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cancelled: Erin Hart: Literary Salon in Berkeley, April 23

Sorry. The Literary Salon with Erin Hart has been cancelled due to illness. Wishing Erin a speedy recovery.


Join Mystery Readers NorCal for an evening Literary Salon with Erin Hart, author of Haunted Ground, Lake of Sorrows and False Mermaid, all set in Ireland. Erin contributed to the Irish Mysteries issue of Mystery Readers Journal.

Friday, April 23, 7 p.m. Berkeley. RSVP for directions.

As to why Erin Hart sets her mysteries in Ireland, Erin said, "People often ask why I chose Ireland as a setting, and I have to say that I think Ireland chose me," she says. "It's a place I've been drawn to more than any other ever since I was a child. There's something about Ireland's complex and contradictory nature, all those layers of history one on top of the other—that lends a particular resonance to the kinds of stories I feel compelled to tell."

Be sure and visit Erin Hart's website for more information on Books, events, and Irish music. She even has a handy pronunciation guide of Irish proper names and a short glossary of words--great companion to her books.

Please join us for a night in Ireland!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax Day Mysteries: April 15

I thought there would be a lot of mysteries that focus on Tax Day: April 15, or at least the IRS, but I couldn't remember any specifically. Yes, there are several that deal with Finance, and high finance at that, but what about the average Joe filing his taxes on April 15. Surely it's enough to commit murder.

So I began a search. The first title that popped up was A Little Rebellion: April 15 Surprise by Rodney Sexton published by Writers Club Press (2000) an iUniverse book.. remember them? .. . Not having read it, I thought I'd read the Editorial Review:

After a client’s suicide and an unprecedented IRS attack on his tax practice, Certified Public Accountant Karl Mendel plans what he hopes will be the final solution to an income tax system out of control.

Assisted by close friends and professional associates, Mendel uses a personal tragedy and his belief in American freedom to fuel his war on what he refers to as the American KGB. With flying skills honed as a Marine pilot in the Vietnam War Mendel takes to the air in his planned assault on the U.S. income tax system. Help from Beatrice Gimble, a former IRS programmer and current CPA partner of his best friend, Terry Garcia, leads Karl inside the main computer facility run by the IRS. Unaware that he is being watched by powers beyond the IRS, his “forced” dealings with a Russian “mole” leads Karl and his partners into dangers they had not considered and threatens the woman he loves more than life itself.

About the Author: Rod Sexton is a practicing Certified Public Accountant living near Houston, Texas with his wife. While in Vietnam, Sexton was attached to the First Marine Air Wing. After active duty, he earned his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Taxation degrees. A Little Rebellion is his first work of fiction.

Sure sounds like this fits the bill!  Anyone read it? Any comments?

Then I remembered David Dodge's Death and Taxes--an oldie but goodie (1941). One of the 'forgotten' books, but one that hits home. 

San Francisco tax accountant James “Whit” Whitney is summoned home from a vacation in Santa Cruz to help his partner, George MacLeod, recover a hefty tax refund for a beautiful blonde client named Marian Wolff. When he returns to his office, Whit finds MacLeod dead in the firm’s vault, “with a small hole in the bridge of his nose.” In order to complete the tax return and uncover the murderer, Whit becomes a reluctant detective and nearly gets himself killed in the process. To prevent Whit’s murder, if possible, the SFPD assigns him a bodyguard named Swede Larson. Whit and Swede tangle with ex-bootleggers and Telegraph Hill gangsters in their efforts to unravel the mystery, which climaxes with a shootout in the Mission District and a dramatic car chase across the Bay Bridge. Along the way, Whit resists the advances of Marian Wolff and begins a romance with Kitty MacLeod, George’s widow.

Before becoming a novelist, David Dodge worked as a Certified Public Accountant. No wonder his first fictional hero was also a tax man. A notable aspect of the Whitney novels is the volume of information about taxes and finances that Dodge effortlessly weaves into his plots. To read more about David Dodge, go HERE.

A further search for other mysteries uncovered a few other titles maybe a bit further afield but with an IRS theme. Not sure I want the IRS reading my blog, so I decided to take a pass.

Anyone have a favorite crime fiction novel with a Tax Day theme?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2010 Spotted Owl Award: Alan Bradley's The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

2010 Spotted Owl Award Winner: 
Alan Bradley's The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Alan Bradley has been named by the Friends of Mystery as the winner of 2010 Spotted Owl Award for his debut novel, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. The mystery, set in 1950’s Britain, is the first in a series featuring young Flavia de Luce as the protagonist. It won this year's Dilys Award and nominated for an Agatha Award and a Macavity Award. It previously won the CWA (Crime Writers Association-UK) 2007 Debut Dagger Award for an unpublished manuscript.

The Spotted Owl Award winner is chosen by a volunteer committee of Friends of Mystery members from a list of nominee mysteries, the authors of which must reside in the Pacific Northwest. A total of 72 books were considered for this year's award.

Hat Tip: Mystery Book News

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Sunshine Award

Mystery Fanfare is the proud recipient of a Sunshine Award presented by Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine who originally received this award from The Rap Sheet. Here's the deal: The award's supposed to go to bloggers whose “contagious positivity and creativity inspire others in the blogging universe.”

The rules read as follows:
1. Put the logo on the blog within your post.
2. Pass the award on to 12 bloggers.
3. Link to the nominees within your post.
4. Let the nominees know they have received the award by commenting on their blogs.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received
this award.

Since this went out on Sunday, I imagine many of the Blogs that I chose will have been chosen by others, but that's o.k., too. I'll give it a shot and try not to repeat any from The Rap Sheet or from Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine. Now I wasn't sure if one could go outside the mystery blog world, so I stayed there. Here are 12 good blogs in no particular order. I know I've repeated one from the original list, but I read it every day, and I wanted to include it.

1. Detectives without Borders
2. Eurocrime
3. In Reference to Murder
4. Jungle Red Writers
5. Lesa's Book Critiques  
6. Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind
7. Murderati
8. Mysteries in Paradise
9. Mystery Lovers' Kitchen 
10. Hey, There's a Dead Guy in the Living Room 
11. Big Beat from Badsville
12. Crime Beat

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Kill 'em by Parnell Hall

Parnell Hall made this fabulous video, Kill'em. Thanks, Parnell. Be sure and turn up the volume!

CrimeFest 2010

Oh to be in England... Miles and Adrian have planned another fabulous CrimeFest this May.  CrimeFest is a terrific mystery convention with great programming and some wonderful side trips into the countryside.

May 20-23, 2010, Bristol, UK: Guest Authors: Tonino Benacquista and Colin Dexter; Toastmaster: Gyles Brandreth

Other highlighted authors include M.C. Beaton. For the full list of attending authors go to PARTICIPANTS. Update: Sadly, Ariana Franklin will not be there as previously announced. She has agreed to appear next year, health willing. Laura Wilson has agreed to appear in conversation with Rennie Airth.

CRIMEFEST is a convention for people who like to read an occasional crime novel as well as for die-hard fanatics. Following the hugely successful one-off visit to Bristol in 2006 of the American convention Left Coast Crime, the hosts were encouraged to continue with a similar annual event and created CRIMEFEST.
First organized in June 2008, CRIMEFEST has become one of the most popular dates on the crime fiction calendar. The annual convention draws top crime novelists, readers, editors, publishers and reviewers from around the world and gives delegates the opportunity to celebrate the genre in an informal atmosphere.

2010 Highlights include:
bulletGala Dinner on Saturday, 22nd of May
bulletInterviews with the featured Guest Authors and Toastmaster
bulletAudible Sounds of Crime Awards
bulletLast Laugh Award

In addition, there will be author panels, crime writing workshops, etc. There will be lots of TRIPS AND THINGS TO DO.

CRIMEFEST organizes a crime writing workshop for aspiring writers. The workshop includes a one-on-one assessment of submitted work, panels on various aspects of writing, and an intensive afternoon class. As part of the registration fee students are able to enter the Crime Writers' Association's prestigious Debut Dagger Writing Competition.

MarriottThe convention will be held at the four-star Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel. The convention rates (20 -23 May) are £100 per night, with a £20 discount for single room occupancy. The rates include the hotel buffet breakfast! The CRIMEFEST rates are guaranteed until 23rd of April 2010. From 23rd of April onwards the rates are at the discretion of the convention hotel. The room rates apply ONLY when reservations are made directly with the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel with the CRIMEFEST group code OR by booking online. Delegates will receive the CRIMEFEST group code on receipt of registration payment.

The Programme has been published, and it's very exciting! Of interest to readers of Mystery Fanfare is the  panel: Personality Crisis: Multiple Series & Collaborating Authors moderated by Charles Todd with Judith Cutler, Lyndon Stacey and Michael Stanley.

If you plan to go, consider Guest Blogging while there. Let me know.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Annual Poisoned Pen Conference: June 24-26, 2010

Barbara Peters brings us news of THE ANNUAL POISONED PEN CONFERENCE, June 24-26, 2010:

Thursday and Friday events at The Poisoned Pen from 7:00 pm  
(Possible Georgette Heyer mini-conference Friday June 24 1:00-5:00 pm)
Saturday at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa from 6:30 pm includes programs and at 9:30. Late Night Readings and Pajama Party

The conference is free, no registration required (Heyer fee: $25).

A raffle for all those buying books by attending authors—one entry per book—has a $100 Poisoned Pen Gift Certificate prize.

Participating authors, by invitation only, to date are: Jacqueline Winspear, Rebecca Cantrell, PF Chisholm, Diana Gabaldon, Sophie Hannah, Vicki Hendricks, Juliette Blackwell, Sophie Littlefield, Michael Koryta, Jeanne Matthews, Sharon Kay Penman, Gary Phillips, Stefanie Pintoff, Zoe Sharp, Dana Stabenow, Lauren Willig...and others to be announced.

To reserve a room at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa at the Poisoned Pen Rate: $89/night.
Victoria Strubbe: or 602-954-2569 | F: 602-954-2571 or use the Arizona Biltmore's on-line Registration.  2726435 is Poisoned Pen's online booking code. When you go onto the Arizona Biltmore's website  When checking availability, you will find a spot below to enter your number into field titled "Corporate Account Number."

Friday June 25 1:00-5:00 pm Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa
Fee: $25. Registration required. Email You will not be billed until we can confirm the event. Discussions with various authors, audience participation. It will be a celebration of her Regency novels and her mysteries. We'll vote for her best lines (Regency) so come prepared to lobby for your favorite.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

China Mieville's The City and the City wins BSFA Award

China Mieville's The City and the City was on my 2009 Best list. This morning Ali Karim sent me news that it just won the British Science Fiction Association's Award for best novel --and may be up for several more prizes this year. The City and the City may be a Science Fiction novel, but it's also a well written mystery novel.  The City and the City is the story of a murder investigation in parallel worlds. I thought it was brilliant, and I was surprised at my Bouchercon panel last October when I mentioned it, that so few people in the audience knew the book. Perhaps because so often the two genre worlds--science fiction and mystery--do not attract the same readers.

In The City and the City Tyador Borlu of the Extreme Crime Squad attempts to solve the case of a murdered woman in the city of Beszel that actually exists in the same space as the city of Ul Qoma. It's a classic detective story with classical detecting methods, albeit in an alternative setting.

The Times called The City and the City "an eye-opening genre-buster" comparable to Kafka and Orwell, while Michael Moorcock, writing in the Guardian, said it was written "in the tradition of Philip K Dick".

Read the Guardian story HERE.  And, read the Book!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Murder in the Plot: Gardening Mysteries

Spring! My Garden is looking beautiful. The roses have totally leafed out, lots of buds (no roses yet), but lots of other flowers and flowering trees. Daffs are done, but iris are everywhere. I went to several Garden Shows in the Bay Area, and they inspired me to do more. Weeding was a first priority. Dealing with gophers and snails was next. In any case, this all got me thinking about garden mysteries.

I've moderated bookgroups on Gardening Mysteries and Mystery Readers Journal has had two issues that focused on Gardening Mysteries.  Volume 20:3 in unavailable, but I'll see if I can work on a download for this issue. Do look at the Table of Contents for titles and authors.

Let's face it, gardens are filled with poisons, poisonous plants, and all kinds of tools. Perfect place for a murder!

For the purposes of this post, I put together a list of mysteries that take place in gardens, at garden shows or have to do with plants. This is in no way a complete list. So in no particular order, just some random gardening mysteries and notes. Many of these authors have multiple gardening mystery titles, so be sure and check them out.

Ellis Peter's Brother Cadfael a medieval gardener and herbalist. Ann Ripley's Books features Louise Eldridge, host of a PBS show Gardening with Nature. Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe and his orchids. Wilkie Collins' Sergeant Cuff (Moonstone and his roses). Janis Harrison's Roots of Murder (florist). Barbara Michaels' The Dancing Floor (English country garden tour). Lora Roberts' Murder Crops Up (a community garden). Rebecca Rothenberg's The Dandelion Murders ( Claire Sharples, microbiologist, assigned to an agricultural station)

Other authors: Susan Wittig Albert's China Bayles (lawyer now herbalist), Jean Hager's Blooming Murder (Iris Growers Convention), Emma Lathen (an old favorite).. Green Grow the Dollars (a Garden Catalogue company), John Sherwood's Celia Grant Mysteries (widow owner of a rare-plant nursery in England), Charlotte McLeod's Peter Shandy (professor of agronomy at Balaclava Agricultural College), Mary Freeman's Rachel O' Connor (a landscape gardener), Rosemary Harris' Pushing Up Daisies with Paula Holliday (former media executive now in the garden business), Janis Harrison's Bindweed with Bretta Solomon (a florist),  Mark Mills's The Savage Garden with Adam Strickland (studying landscape architecture).

Other authors: Carola Dunn (Black Ship), Anthony Eglin (The Trail of the Wild Rose and others), Catherine Aird (Amendment of Life), M.C. Beaton (Death of a Witch), Krista Davis (The Diva Paints the Town), Martin Edwards (The Cipher Garden), Kate Ellis (The Bone Garden), Kathy Lynn Emerson (Face down O'er the Border), Richard Forrest (Death in the Secret Garden), Tess Gerritsen (The Bone Garden), Janet Gleeson (The Serpent in the Garden), Denise Hamilton (Savage Garden), Veronica Heley (Murder in the Garden), Naomi Hirahara (Summer of the Big Bachi).

Elizabeth Ironside (Death in the Garden), Kathleen Gregory Klein (the Deadly Garden Tour)
Joyce Lavene (A Corpse for Yew), Keith McCarthy (the Rest is Silence), George Pelecanos (The Night Gardener), Sheila Pim (A Brush with Death) Ian Rankin (The Hanging Garden), Christopher Rice (The Snow Garden), Cynthia Riggs (Death and Honesty), Heather Webber (Digging Up Trouble), Audrey Stallsmith (Rosemary for Remembrance), Gladys Mitchell (The Death-Cap Dancers), Susan Kenney (Garden of Malice), J.R.L. Anderson (Death in the Greenhouse). Nancy Atherton (Aunt Dimity and the Duke), M.C. Beaton (Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener).

J.S. Borthwick (The Garden Plot), Caroline Graham (Killings at Badger's Drift), Karen Harper, (The Thorne Maze), Graham Landrum (Garden Club Mystery), Mary McMullen (A Grave Without Flowers),  John Sherwood (Creeping Jenny), Richard Barth (Ragged Plot), Dorothy Cannell (Down the Garden Path), Jill Churchill (Mulch Ado About Nothing), Peter Abresch (Bloody Bonsai), K.C. Constantine (Man who Liked Slow Tomatoes), Joan Hadley (Night-blooming Cereus), Janice Harrison (Roots of Murder), Elizabeth Lemarchand (Suddenly While Gardening), Sujata Massey (Flower Master), Sheila Pim (Common or Garden Crime), Reginald Hill (Deadheads).

On TV.. I love the Rosemary and Thyme series with Rosemary Boxer, plant pathologist,  and Laura Thyme, farmer's daughter and dedicated gardener. If you watch the credits, you'll see that Peter Lovesey is a consultant, probably on the mystery, but possibly he's a gardener, too.

Check out a related post on Orchids and Orchids in Mysteries. List of orchid mysteries.

Also Stop You're Killing Me has quite a good list.

As I said, this isn't a complete list by any means. What's your favorite Gardening Mystery?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Eating Your Words: Scrabble

Once again my worlds collide, although this time it's not chocolate but cookies. Following up on a food book theme (the International Edible Book Festival) that I blogged about the other day, you've got to visit Savor the Thyme's blog Eating Your Words 2010 Round Up, Part I. All of the entries are great, but I really liked the Scrabble words. Winners will be announced soon, so be sure and check back to Savor The Thyme.

This entry comes from Caroline at When Adobo Met Feijoada. She made Meyer Lemon Sugar "Letter's" for her SCRABBLE COOKIES submission. Be sure and check out the recipe and her blog. The "tiles" (cookies) are the exact size of scrabble pieces, and the letters were written with edible markers. Very cool!

Photo: Savor the Thyme with permission

Update April 9: The winner of Eating your Words 2010 on SavortheThyme: The Meyer Lemon SCRABBLE COOKIES from Caroline of When Adobo Met Feijoada! Caroline is the winner of the amazing and highly coveted aebleskiver pan courtesy of Aunt Else's Aebleskiver! Her winning entry will also be featured on Chef Zimmern's Blog. Congratulations!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Birds: A Peeps Show

The Birds... The photo on the left is an older Peeps Show. The one below was submitted this year to the Washington Post Contest. It's #26. To see all the fabulous Peeps Shows, go to the  Washington Post Slide ShowThe Birds is #26:

The one on the right (sorry for the fuzzy photo) was submitted by Jill Goebel of Alexandria and spotlights an unsuspecting Bunny Hedren in her diorama titled "Alfred Hitchcock Presents 'The Peeps.'"
Goebel writes: "She sits on the bench, tense although she doesn't quite know why. Maybe a cigarette will calm her nerves. Were those wings? Or just the wind?"

In the background is the School House from the Hitchcock movie "The Birds" filmed in Bodega and Bodega Bay. I actually wrote and produced three corporate mystery events (Murder on the Menu) for Ford Motor Company that were held at the School House when it was an event space. It's a fabulous old building.

So here in time for Easter are three of my favorite things: Peeps and The Birds and Bodega Bay!

To read more about my affinity for Peeps and Chocolate Covered Peeps, go to my blog Dying for Chocolate.

Friday, April 2, 2010

John Forsythe: R.I.P.

Actor John Forsythe, who enjoyed a long career on stage, film and television, died yesterday after a battle with cancer, his family said in a statement today. "He was 92 years old and, thankfully, he died as he lived his life ... with dignity and grace, after a year-long struggle with cancer," the statement said.

Forsythe passed away on April 1 in Santa Ynez, California, northwest of Los Angeles, near Santa Barbara, after having suffered a bout of pneumonia.

The actor's career spanned more than five decades as he started work in New York on Broadway in plays such as the Pulitzer Prize winning "Teahouse of the August Moon" and on live television shows like "Studio One."

Forsythe moved to Los Angeles and began working in TV where his association with Hollywood producer Aaron Spelling led to his role as Blake Carrington in "Dynasty," for which he won two Golden Globe best actor awards.

He was the voice of "Charlie" in the original 1970s TV series "Charlie's Angels" and in two feature films, "Charlie's Angels" and "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle."

Derringer Short Story Award Nominees

2010 SMFS Derringer Award Finalists
Short Mystery Fiction Society

BEST FLASH STORY (Up to 1,000 Words)
"And Here's To You, Mrs. Edwardson," by Hamilton Waymire, Published in the webzine Big Pulp, November 23, 2009
"Awake" by David Dean, Published in EQMM, July 2009
"Gutterball" by Stephen D. Rogers, Published in Woman's World Magazine, Sep 7, 2009
"The Right Track" by R.T. Lawton, Published in Woman's World Magazine, 10/26/09
"Unplanned" by Libby Cudmore, Published in Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers, August 2009

BEST SHORT STORY (1,001 - 4,000 Words)
"Identity Theft" by Robert Weibezahl, Published in Beat to a Pulp, March 2009
"The Biography of Stoop the Thief" by Steven Torres, Published in Uncage Me!, July 2009
"The Hard Sell" by Jay Stringer, Published in Beat to a Pulp, 2009
"The Right to Remain Silent" by Debbi Mack, Published in Back Alley Webzine, August 2009
"Twas the Night" by Anita Page, Published in The Gift of Murder, 2009

BEST LONG STORY (4,001 - 8,000 Words)
"A Stab in the Heart" by Twist Phelan, Published in EQMM, February
"Famous Last Words" by Doug Allyn, Published in EQMM, November
"Regarding Certain Occurrences in a Cottage at the Garden of Allah" by Robert S. Levinson, Published in AHMM, November
"Snow on Bloedkoppie" by Berhard Jaumann (translated from the German by Mary Tannert), Published in EQMM, August
"The Shipbreaker" by Mike Wiecek, Published in EQMM, March/April

BEST NOVELETTE (8,001 - 17,500 Words)
"Adjuncts Anonymous" by B.K. Stevens, Published in AHMM, June
"Julius Katz" by Dave Zeltserman, Published in EQMM, September/October
"The Last Drop" by R.W. Kerrigan, Published in EQMM, February
"The Pirate's Debt" by Toni L.P. Kelner, Published in EQMM, August
"Uncle Brick and Jimmy Kills" by Allan Leverone, Published in Mysterical-E

The SMFS membership at large will read the finalist stories and vote between April 1-30, 2010. Winners announced May 1, 2010.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spingtingler Magazine Award Nominees

Following are the Spinetingler Magazine Award Nominees. To vote, go HERE.

The nominees for the New Voice category are:
A Bad Day For Sorry by Sophie Littlefield
Balzac of the Badlands by Steve Finbow
Dope Thief by Dennis Tafoya
The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville
I-5 by Summer Brenner

In Their Blood by Sharon Potts
The Lost Sister by Russel D. McLean
Mixed Blood by Roger Smith
Ravens by George Dawes Green
The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

The nominees for the Rising Star category are:
50 Grand by Adrian McKinty
Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
The Devil’s Staircase by Helen Fitzgerald
Finch by Jeff VanderMeer
Last Days by Brian Evenson
Safer by Sean Doolittle

The nominees for the Legend category are:
The Complaints by Ian Rankin
The Midnight Room by Ed Gorman
The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston
The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly
Shadow Season by Tom Piccirill
Tower by Reed Farrel Coleman & Ken Bruen

The nominees for the Best Short Story on the Web category are:
M-N-S (n) murder-necrophilia-suicide by Anonymous 9 from Plots with Guns
Flesh Rule by Frank Bill from Plots with Guns
Blurred Lines by Michael Moreci from A Twist of Noir
Survival Instincts by Sandra Seamans from Pulp Pusher
At Least I felt Something by Sophie Littlefield from The Drowning Machine
My Father’s Son by Alan Griffiths from A Twist of Noir
The Present by Mark Joseph Kiewlak from A Twist Of Noir
Mortification by Sophie Littlefield from Beat to a Pulp
Insatiable by Hillary Davidson from Beat to a Pulp
A Wild and Crazy Night by John Kenyon from Beat to a Pulp
The Tut by Paul D Brazill from Beat to a Pulp

The nominees for the Best Mystery or Crime Comic/Graphic Novel category are:
Back to Brooklyn by Garth Ennis, Jimmy Palmiotti & Mihailo Vukelic from Image; Britten and Brulightly by Hannah Berry from Metropolitan Books; Chew by John Layman & Rob Guillory from Image; Leo Pulp by Claudo Nizzi &Massimo Bonfatti from IDW; Low Moon by Jason from Fantagraphics Books; Noir by Various authors by Dark Horse; Parker: The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke from IDW; Scalped by Jason Aaron & R. M. Guéra from Vertigo; West Coast Blues by Jacques Tardi & Jean-Patrick Manchette from Fantagraphic Books; You Have Killed Me by Jamie Ric & Joelle Jones from Oni Press

The nominees for the Best Mystery/Crime Fiction Press, Publisher or Imprint category are:
Bitter Lemon Press; Busted Flush Press; New Pulp Press; Serpent’s Tail; Soho; Switchblade

The nominees for the Special Services to the Industry & Community category are:
The Big Adios; Bookgasm; Crimeculture; Friday’s Forgotten Books; My Little Corner

The nominees for the Best Reviewer category are:
Jen Forbus; Lesa Holstine; The Nerd of Noir; Peter Rozovsky; Cory Wilde