Friday, March 30, 2012

Birthday Mysteries

Today's my Birthday, and I'm celebrating with 500 of my closest friends at Left Coast Crime! There will be chocolate and crime. My kind of day! If you can't be with us to celebrate my birthday, read one of these Birthday Themed Mysteries. Happy Birthday to Me!

Birthday Crime Fiction

Happy Birthday, Turk! by Jakob Arjouni and Anselm Hollo
A Birthday to Die For by Frank Atchley 
The Birthday Murderer by Jay Bennett
Birthday Can Be Murder by Joyce Cato
A Catered Birthday Party by Isis Crawford
The Birthday Gift by Ursula Reilly Curtiss
Murder Can Botch Up Your Birthday by Selma Eichler
The Nanny by Dan Greenburg
The Happy Birthday Murder by Lee Harris
Birthday Party by Marne Davis Kellogg 
The Birthday Girl by Stephen Leather
The Birthday Murder by Lange Lewis
Birthday Party Murder by Leslie Meier 
Birthday, Deathday by Hugh Pentecost
Birthday Dance by Peter Robinson
The Birthday Bash by Elizabeth Sorrells
Don't Scream by Wendy Corsi Staub
The Birthday Present by Barbara Vine
The Mortician's Birthday Party by Peter Whalley
The Fortieth Birthday Body by Valerie Wolzien
The Birthday by Margaret Yorke

"The Birthday Dinner" by Donna Andrews in Death Dines In, edited by Claudia Bishop & Dean James

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Bony Blithe Award

Bloody Words, the Canadian crime-fiction convention, has announced its nominees for a new annual award, the Light Mystery Award. This prize “celebrates traditional, feel-good mysteries ... The award--aka the Bony Blithe--is for a ‘book that makes us smile,’ which includes everything from laugh-out-loud, to gentle humour, to good old-fashioned stories with little violence or gore.”

Dire Threads, by Janet Bolin (Berkley Prime Crime)
A Red Herring without Mustard, by Alan Bradley (Doubleday Canada)
Cheat the Hangman, by Gloria Ferris (Imajin Books)
The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder, by Mary Jane Maffini (Berkley Prime Crime)
Champagne for Buzzards, by Phyllis Smallman (McArthur & Company)

The Bony Blithe will be given at Bloody Words XII Banquet at the Hilton Hotel in Toronto, Ontario, on June 2.

Hat Tip: The Rap Sheet

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Criminal Element Guest Post: Laura Kramarsky

If you want up to-date-news, reviews and information about mysteries, you'll want to check out Criminal Element. It's one of my favorites, so I asked Laura Curtis aka Laura Kramarsky, Community Manager (great title) at Criminal Element to write a guest post.

Laura Kramarsky aka on Twitter: @laurakcurtis: 
On Crime Fandom and Managing a Crime Fan Blog

I’ve been reading mysteries of one kind or another most of my life. Everything from Nancy Martin’s Blackbirds Sisters Mysteries to John Sandford’s brutal Prey series can be found on my TBR, everything from Castle to Criminal Minds on my DVR, but until I started working as the Community Manager at Criminal Element, I never really considered myself a “crime fiction fan.” I never even stopped to think about what that meant.

I also never realized just how vast the world of crime fiction actually is. Being Community Manager for a site like Criminal Element is a bit like running a city desk at a newspaper. We have about 80 bloggers at the moment who write on…well, just about anything crime-related, so long as it’s from a fan’s point of view. (And we’re always looking for more and yes, we pay, though only a tiny amount.) Sometimes, I have to assign topics—either they’re things we’d like to see that we haven’t, or some bloggers say they feel blocked and need help coming up with a topic—but most of the time people write about whatever it is they love.

I get to read everything and schedule when it goes in. I also edit and produce a lot of it (we just ask bloggers to write the text—we add the pictures, etc, in-house unless they want to send some themselves). I cannot tell you how many times I’ve run over to one of my floor-mates’ cubes going “look at this fab article so-and-so sent.”

The most amazing thing to me is how much I’ve learned about the world of crime and crime fiction from our bloggers. Recently, for example, one of our bloggers wrote about the similarities between the movie Drive and the classic western Shane. Although I’ve seen both of those movies, such a yoking would never have occurred to me. But once he explained the connection I couldn’t imagine how I had missed it.

We have a large number of Sherlock fans who write for us and who visit us, and though I’ve read some of the original work and some of the pastiches, I’m constantly impressed with what the true fans find that I would never have discovered. (Pretty much anything Lyndsay Faye writes for us makes me sit with my mouth hanging open in awe as I read it.) And then there are the things I know absolutely nothing about, like crime comics, that I get to read, bug-eyed, and…er…marvel at.

Plus, I get to read awesome books. CE is sponsored by Macmillan, but the site is publisher-agnostic and we get books from everywhere to farm out to our bloggers to write about and to give away for contests. I’ve found some stuff I had no idea even existed. For example, we’re hosting an “Undead April” theme month and Angry Robot Books has given us a four-pack of amazing books to give away in a sweepstakes, one of which (Hard Spell by Justin Gustainis) I went and bought the minute I saw the cover copy:

“Like the rest of America, Scranton's got an uneasy 'live and let unlive' relationship with the supernatural. But when a vamp puts the bite on an unwilling victim, or some witch casts the wrong kind of spell, that's when they call me.
“My name’s Markowski. I carry a badge.
“Also, a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets…”

Now, really, where else could I read about a book like that in the same spot as I found out that Jessica Fletcher solved 286 murders, or that Enid Blyton wrote 753 books?

And what other job would allow me to pass all that kind of information on to others? To promote authors and spread the word about crime stories in every possible permutation? (And I do mean every…check out the categories in the pull down menu on the front page!) As a writer, I get to hang out with writers, which is interesting in that we can discuss things that most people just stare blankly and make excuses to get away when I start in on. But as a fan…well…talking to other fans is a whole ’nother kettle of fish. With fans, I can squeal over the Sherlock and Watson crocheted dolls on Etsy, or giggle over the iPhone app that encourages you to run by filling the space between songs on your playlist with admonishments that zombies are coming. I can ooh and aah over the new Longmire trailer, or celebrate the birthday of Edgar Allan Poe.

Yes, I love my job. And I love being a crime fan.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cartoon of the Day: Amazon

Pizarro by Dan Piraro is a great comic, and I thought I'd post today's comic in case you missed it...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Inspector George Gently Returns for Four New Episodes

BBC MEDIA CENTRE reports that Inspector George Gently starring Martin Shaw will return for four new feature length films created by Peter Flannery.  The character is based on one created by crime novelist Alan Hunter, who featured the Detective Inspector in a long-running series of mysteries published from 1955 through 1999.

"This classic series set in Northumberland is a vivid and colourful insight into a time of major social change as the swinging 60s hits the North-East. With the wit and sharp banter between our passionate growling detective hero (Shaw) and his mouthy sidekick Bacchus (Lee Ingleby) Inspector George Gently lovingly recreates the warmth of the period and the Geordie world that they inhabit.

Writer Peter Flannery says: "Gently and Bacchus return to my home turf of Durham and Northumberland with plenty more murders and cases to solve. It's 1968 and there are huge changes taking place in society, and hopefully our series continues to give a real portrait of the age."

Read the full article HERE

Hat Tip: Omnimystery News

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hilary Davidson & Brad Parks: April 3

Join Mystery Readers NorCal for a Literary Salon in Berkeley (CA) on Tuesday, April 3, with Award Winning Crime Fiction authors Hilary Davidson & Brad Parks. 7 p.m. Comment below for Directions and RSVP. Be sure and leave your email.

Hilary Davidson's debut novel, The Damage Done, won the 2011 Anthony Award for Best First Novel, and the Crimespree Award for Best First Novel. (The book was also a finalist for the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery, and the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Crime Novel).  The Next One to Fall takes place three months after the events of The Damage Done, as travel writer Lily Moore and her companion visit Peru, arriving at Machu Picchu just as a tourist falls and dies. Lily becomes increasingly convinced that the death was no accident.

Brad Parks' debut, Faces of the Gone, won the Nero Award for Best American Mystery and the Shamus Award for Best First Mystery. Brad Parks' new mystery is The Girl Next Door: Reading his own paper’s obituaries, Carter Ross comes across a woman who died in a hit-and-run while delivering copies of that very paper, the Eagle-Examiner. Struck by the opportunity to write a heroic piece about an everyday woman killed too young, he heads to her wake to gather tributes and anecdotes. It’s the last place Carter expects to find controversy — was the accident an accident at all?

Gene DeWeese: R.I.P.

Gene DeWeese, a prolific and popular author in many genres, died at home on March 19. Born in 1934 as Thomas Eugene DeWeese, DeWeese also published under the pseudonyms Jean DeWeese and the collaborative names Thomas Stratton and Victoria Thomas. He had been suffering Lewy body dementia.

Active in fandom, he broke into writing with Man from U.N.C.L.E. novelizations co-written with Buck Coulson. He wrote Star Trek, Lost in Space and Ravenloft novels as well as many original works, including The Adventures of a Two-Minute Werewolf and Charles Fort Never Mentioned Wombats, the latter with Coulson. The Adventures of a Two-Minute Werewolf was made into a 1985 TV movie of the same name. His last story was “The World of Null-T,” published in 2010.

He is survived by his wife Bev DeWeese, whom he married in 1955.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Mystery Book Group: Award Nominees

Our Mystery Book Group has been meeting every Tuesday night in Berkeley (CA) for more years than you can imagine. We usually do a session in the Spring on Crime Fiction nominees. The nominees come from the Edgars, the Barrys and other awards. We've already read and discussed some of the nominees, so I chose a variety from different categories, different awards, and different types of mystery.


April 10   1222 by Anne Holt

April 17   Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran

April 24   The Hurt Machine by Reed Farrel Coleman

May 1      Learning to Swim by Sara Henry

May 8      Dead Man’s Grip by Peter James

May 15    Two for Sorrow by Nicola Upson

May 22    All Cry Chaos by Leonard Rosen

May 29    The Informant by Thomas Perry

June 5      Field Gray Philip Kerr

Literary Salons:

April 3: Hilary Davidson & Brad Parks 7 p.m.

June 12: Bryan Gruley 7 p.m.

June 19: Katherine Hall Page 2 p.m.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Feds Intercept Pot bound for Publishing House

This article appeared on TheSmokingGun. Great plot for a mystery!

Two shipments of marijuana destined for the New York City offices of St. Martin's Press were intercepted this month by federal agents after postal workers detected a “suspicious odor” emanating from the Express Mail parcels, according to court records.

The packages, containing a total of more than 11 pounds of pot, were bound for St. Martin’s Press, headquatered in the landmark Flatiron Building on lower Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
After a drug detection dog alerted to the presence of a controlled substance inside the packages, agents last week secured search warrants to open the boxes. Inside, the marijuana was found under layers of plastic wrap, according to inventory records. The sender had packed the Express Mail parcels with paper towels, Styrofoam chunks, and dryer sheets (which are often used by traffickers in an effort to mask pot odor).

Both packages were addressed to “Karen Wright,” which appears to be a fictitious name. A company phone operator said that nobody by that name works at the company, which is one of the country’s largest publishers (and a division of the Macmillan conglomerate). St. Martin’s roster of authors includes Robert Ludlum, Augusten Burroughs, and Frederick Forsyth.

Apart from seizing the marijuana--which, depending on its quality, could have had a street value approaching $70,000--federal agents do not appear to be seeking to determine whom at St. Martin’s was expecting to receive the pot. While not attempted, a “controlled delivery” of the parcels could have identified “Karen Wright,” who was clearly intending to traffick the marijuana (and not smoke all five kilos).

Hat Tip: Sarah Weinman

Casablanca 70th Anniversary

In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the classic movie Casablanca, Warner Bros has scheduled a one-night showing tonight, March 21st, in nearly 500 movie theatres across the country, presented by NCM’s Fathom Events.

This screening is titled Turner Classic Movies Presents Casablanca 70th Anniversary Event and precedes the March 27th release of the restored Casablanca on a three-disc Blu-ray and DVD package from Warner Home Video.

Dubbed the "Turner Classic Movies Presents Casablanca 70th Anniversary Event," the showing will begin with an introduction from TCM host Robert Osborne. Osborne will discuss why "Casablanca" is still a popular film, as well as present some behind-the-scenes stories about the filming of the movie.
This is the third restoration of the film.

The film debuted November 26, 1942, but didn’t open officially until January 1943. It won three Oscars, including best picture, at the 16th Academy Awards in 1944.

Play it again, Sam!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lambda Award Nominations

Finalists for the Lambda Literary Awards were announced today by the Lambda Literary Foundation (LLF) in Los Angeles. The awards, now in their twenty-fourth year, celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing for books published in 2011.

Winners will be announced at a Monday evening, June 4th ceremony in New York at the CUNY Graduate Center (365 Fifth Avenue) with an after-party at Slate (54 West 21st Street). For the Entire List, go HERE. Congratulations to all!

Lesbian Mystery
Dying to Live, by Kim Baldwin & Xenia Alexiou, Bold Strokes Books
Hostage Moon, by AJ Quinn, Bold Strokes Books
Rainey Nights: A Rainey Bell Thriller, by R.E. Bradshaw, R.E. Bradshaw Books
Retirement Plan, by Martha Miller, Bold Strokes Books
Trick of the Dark, by Val McDermid, Bywater Books

Gay Mystery
The Affair of the Porcelain Dog, by Jess Faraday, Bold Strokes Books
Blue’s Bayou, by David Lennon, Blue Spike Publishing
Boystown: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries, by Marshall Thornton, Torquere Press
Malabarista, by Garry Ryan, NeWest Press
Red White Black and Blue, by Richard Stevenson, MLR Press

Ted Bell: An Author At Cambridge

Ted Bell is the author of the Alex Hawke and Nick McIver series. Phantom, the latest Alex Hawke espionage thriller, launches today. The following article was written for the publicity of Phantom and is reproduced with permission from HarperCollins.

Ted Bell: An Author at Cambridge

How in the world does an American spy thriller writer end up as a Visiting Scholar and Writer-In-Residence at Cambridge, currently ranked as the #1 University in the world? A mystical place, over eight hundred years old, full of secret gardens, majestic and inspired architecture, tracing the centuries. The names still echo down the years: Desiderius Erasmus, John Milton, Charles Darwin, Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Oliver Cromwell, JM Keynes, CS Lewis, Sylvia Plath, Germaine Greer, Jane Goodall, and countless more.

It happened like this. An old friend, Dr. Stefan Halper, who happens to be a Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, showed up one rainy night at one of my book signings in New York City. He brought along a friend of his, now Master of Pembroke College at Cambridge, who also happened to be the recently retired Chief of MI6, the UK equivalent of the CIA. In other words, the man James Bond refers to as “M”.

After the signing at Barnes & Noble, we all went to dinner. The conversation was all politics, current world events, Middle East flashpoints, powder-keg intelligence matters, etc. At one point we started discussing my Alex Hawke series of bestselling spy thrillers published by HarperCollins. I regaled them with anecdotes about how, thinking ahead, I come up with fictional plots that ultimately seem to become fact. A process commonly known as “thinking outside the box”.

My espionage novels are not about what’s happening. They are about what might happen, or what, in my view, is likely to happen based on my research and sources.

For instance. I was appearing on CNN one day discussing the plot of my then new novel Tsar. It concerned the revanchist aspirations of the new Russian leadership under Putin, who wanted to revert to the old Soviet borders. Russia has an old saying that the best way to protect your borders is to expand them. Understanding that, I figured an invasion was bound to happen. Having spent a day with our American ambassador in tiny Estonia, only a bridge away from Russia, I figured they’d be first on the list. Moscow, in a hack attack, had already shut down the tiny country’s internet, and I saw that as a trial run.

I was wrong.

While I was on CNN that day, the news came across the wire that Russia had indeed crossed the border and invaded an old client state, but it was Georgia, not Estonia. The interviewing host announced the Russian invasion, then turned to me with a smile and said, “Ted, you didn’t by any chance send an advance copy of your new book to the Kremlin, did you?”

I had written the unfolding scenario into my novel at least twelve months before the events actually occurred.

At one point during dinner that evening in New York, one of my two professorial friends said, “Wouldn’t it be fun to have Ted at Cambridge? The imaginative way of thinking in these books could bring something new to the party.” Two years and two books later I received an invitation to become the Writer-In- Residence at Cambridge’s Sydney-Sussex College. And, also, a Visiting Scholar at POLIS. POLIS is the highly acclaimed Department at Cambridge which deals with political science and international relations, with focused courses on intelligence matters, economics and regional studies, including the United States and China.

Many of the PhD candidates at POLIS go on to hold key positions in academia; the Masters candidates often find themselves serving prime ministers and presidents around the world—or their diplomatic and intelligence services, including the MI-5, MI-6, and similar American, German and French Intelligence services.

So we are constantly discussing and being briefed on the very latest political news and military intel coming over the wire from around the globe. This puts me in the incredibly unique position of getting plot ideas and information I simply could attain no other way.

Of course, I am bound by something called the Chatham House Rule, devised in 1927 to encourage open discussion without fear of being quoted in public. This means I cannot divulge anything I hear in these briefings, nor who was presenting or in attendance. But, for a serious spy fiction novelist, this environment is the mother of all mother lodes. After all, it’s my job to take reality and disguise it as fiction.

An example. We were being briefed on Colonel Ghaddafi less than 24 hours after his assassination. The presenter paused in the middle of his talk and began to pass around large solid gold platters decorated with images of Libya studded with emeralds. These objects had been obtained from one of the late Colonel’s palaces and forwarded to someone at Cambridge on the very day of Ghadddafi’s demise!

I can and will reveal that China is very much front and center in our current discussions and seminars. Recent actions by that government, such as unilateral attempts to claim the South China Sea as Chinese territory are being closely followed. Is this a diversion created to quell current internal dissent with a show of strength? Or a storm signal from a much more assertive and aggressive China?

I will address these and other China questions in my forthcoming espionage novel, Dragon. And, yes, the book will be partially set here at Cambridge University, this otherworldly, mystical place with an 800 year old history of spooks and spies, a place I’ve come to know and love as the thriller writer’s heaven.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Shaghai's All Night Bookstore

Saw this on ShelfAwareness today, and I had to share. What could be better than all-night bookstore. Definitely a great place to hang out. The bookstore, at least in Shanghai, is not dead.

"Private brick-and-mortar bookstores are exploring feasible business innovations in order to survive harsh competition from their online counterparts," China Daily reported, noting that some booksellers said "they needed to change the function of bookstores, from places that sell books to places that are cultural experiences."

"We will create the bookstore as a cultural shopping mall, available around the clock," said Dong Chenxu of a new "all-night bookstore" strategy for the Fuzhou Road branch of Shanghai Popular Bookmall. "We don't expect sales volume during the night to match daytime levels. We just want to build a warm midnight reading environment for those who love reading." A new position, book selector, has been created "to help readers design their own individual reading programs," China Daily wrote.

Scholars and authors will be invited to the store in the evening to give cultural lectures to readers, according to Dong. And they will organize meetings of their book club's members to exchange impressions after reading certain popular books.
Dong said they came up with the idea for the all-night bookstore because they wanted to satisfy readers who needed books at night but found that every bookstore on the "cultural street" was closed after 9 pm.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

CrimeFest News

Fabulous News from CRIMEFEST, the international crime fiction convention: May 24-27, 2012, Bristol, UK

This year the Crime Writers' Association (CWA) has awarded its Diamond Dagger to Frederick Forsyth. This prestigious award is presented for sustained excellence in and a significant contribution to crime fiction. Forsythe is the author of landmark thrillers such as The Day of the Jackal, The Odessa File, The Dogs of War and The Fourth Protocol. Since the award presentation has always been an exclusive event, CRIMEFEST traditionally invites the recipient for an interview as a more public celebration of the award. Frederick Forsyth has accepted and his interview will be on Friday, 25 May.

The itinerary is now up on the CRIMEFEST website. For details of panels, interviews and receptions, visit the PROGRAM page.

This year's CRIMEFEST pre-Gala Dinner reception is hosted courtesy of Million for a Morgue. What is Million for a Morgue? Dundee University have enlisted a sleuth of crime writers in a unique campaign to raise one million pounds for a new morgue for their Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID). Everyone who donates to the Million For A Morgue campaign gets the chance to vote for their favorite author(s) to determine who will have their name on the new building. Participating authors are: Mark Billingham, Lee Child, Harlan Coben, Jeffery Deaver, Tess Gerritsen, Peter James, Jeff Lindsay, Val McDermid, Stuart MacBride and Kathy Reichs. The campaign's official launch party will be CRIMEFEST's Saturday evening pre-Gala Dinner reception - with the attendance of Lee, Jeffery, Peter and Professor Sue Black, a leading forensic anthropologist in the UK, and the director of the award winning CAHID. All CRIMEFEST delegates are welcome (regardless of whether you are going to the Gala Dinner), so bring your wallet! You can vote at the Million for a Morgue website if you can't wait until then. (The site will also be running competitions throughout the year for a pair of tickets to this and next year's CRIMEFEST.)

To highlight two of this year's participating authors we have two give-aways this month. Three copies of P.D. James' Death Comes to Pemberley are up for grabs (thanks to Faber & Faber). To enter send an email with 'pemberley' in the subject line, and your name, postal and email address in the body of the message to The deadline is March 31, 2012.

Also attending CRIMEFEST is James Sallis, a crime writer's crime writer with a dedicated cult following. Until the recent hit film adaptation of his crime novel Drive, Sallis was probably best known for the Lew Griffin series and his highly acclaimed biography of Chester Himes. Courtesy of Icon Pictures, there is a copy of the Drive DVD (region 2 - Europe only) to give away. To enter send an email with 'sallis' in the subject line, and your name, postal and email address in the body of the message to The deadline is March 31, 2012.

CRIMEFEST will have a registration booth at Left Coast Crime in Sacramento (29 March - 1 April). So, if you are there, come on by, have some Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry and some British chocolate (yes, the real stuff!) and sign up for CRIMEFEST ! It's not to late to register for Left Coast Crime and join the sleuth of delegates headed by this year's Special Guest Authors John Lescroart, Harley Jane Kozak, Howard Rollins and Jacqueline Winspear.

Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Crime Fiction

Erin - go- bragh! St. Patrick's Day figures in several mysteries.  Here's an updated St. Patrick's Day Crime Fiction list. Irish Noir is very  popular right now, so you can always add titles to your TBR pile from the many Irish crime writers available, although they may not take place specifically during St. Patrick's Day. As always, I welcome comments and additions to this list.

S. Furlong-Bollinger: Paddy Whacked
Isis Crawford: A Catered St. Patrick's Day
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
Amanda Lee: The Long Stitch Good Night
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
JJ Toner: St. Patrick's Day Special
Kathy Hogan Trochek: Irish Eyes
Noreen Wald: Death Never Takes a Holiday

Another great book to consider for the holiday is Dublin Noir, a fantastic collection of short stories edited by Ken Bruen and published by Akashic Books in the US and by Brandon in Ireland and the UK.

Be sure and check out Val McDermid's take on the Popularity of Irish Crime Fiction.

Mystery Readers Journal had an issue devoted to Irish Crime Fiction. Check out the table of contents. Articles by your favorite Irish crime writers.. and others. Available as a .pdf download and hardcopy.

And, if you want something chocolate to go along with your stout, have a look at my DyingforChocolate blog for some killer recipes including:

Guinness Chocolate Silk Pie
Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes
Chocolate Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Ice Cream
Bailey's Irish Cream Truffles (made with Kerry Gold Pure Irish Butter)
Bailey's Chocolate Trifle
You Make Me Want to Stout Cupcakes (Scharffen Berger)
Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

10 Best Fictional Bookstores in Pop Culture

Flavorwire, one of my favorite blogs, had a great post the other day on the 10 Best Fictional Bookstores in Pop Culture. Love the choices. Would you add any others?

The bookstores on the list are from all over pop culture. The list is limited to bookstores that are truly fictions, so  the Travel Book Shop from Notting Hill or 84 Charing Cross Road (now defunct) are not on the list.

Photo: Argosy Book Shop from Vertigo
Based on the real-life San Francisco book shop The Argonaut, the Argosy is everything one could want in a fictional bookstore — rich, dark wood, glass cases, tchotchkes, cluttered shelves, and a proprietor who knows the scoop on the McKittrick Hotel and what happened to Carlotta.

See all the Bookstores HERE.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

2012 Spotted Owl Award

Congratulations to Bill Cameron, winner of the 2012 Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award, for County Line!

The Spotted Owl is chosen by a volunteer committee of Friends of Mystery members. The author must have primary residence in the states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho or the Province of British Columbia.

Mystery Bytes: Crime Fiction TV News

Deadline reports that Entertainment One and Piller/Segan/Shepherd, partners on the Syfy series Haven, are re-teaming for another drama series project based on a well known literary properly. The two companies have acquired the TV rights to best-selling author Karin Slaughter’s Grant County series of 6 books featuring the popular character Sara Linton. The project will go into development immediately, with Slaughter co-writing the pilot script with Piller/Segan/Shepherd principal Scott Shepherd.

Set in the fictional Grant County in Georgia, the novels follows Sara Linton, town pediatrician and coroner, and her ex-husband, town police chief Jeffrey Tolliver. The Grant County series include Blindsighted, Kisscut, A Faint Cold Fear, Indelible, Faithless and Beyond Reach.

Hat Tip: ShelfAwareness

Monday, March 12, 2012

Girl Scout Crime Investigation Badges

The Crime Museum in Washington, D.C. is now offering badge programs for the Girl Scouts' new 2012 badge requirements! This is perfect timing since today marks the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scouts. Founded by Juliette Gordon Low, the first troop was rounded up on March 12, 1912, a time when few women held jobs and only six states allowed them to vote. "Girl Scouting from its inception was forward-looking. Although it was rooted in domesticity, it always opened further paths to women."

The first Girl Scout handbook, published in 1913, encouraged girls to shoot rifles and gave instructions for tying up intruders. My kind of group! Outdoor activity also included gardening, and learning the difference between poisonous and non-poisonous mushrooms was in the first handbook. Good to know.

So, it's no surprise that badges should be given out for crime investigation. According to the Crime Museum website: These comprehensive programs go above and beyond the basics and teach Girl Scouts the ins and outs of investigation! All the programs include admission to the Museum, so Girl Scouts will not only earn a badge, but they will also learn and explore American History from a different perspective. I might have stayed in the Girl Scouts if this badge was offered then. How fabulous!

Here are the programs:

Badge Programs for Juniors: Badge: Detective
Learn the necessary skills and discover a new passion by becoming an official Crime Museum Detective.
Program Length: 1 Hour
Maximum Capacity: 40 Per Hour
Minimum Attendees: 10 Scouts
Cost: $20.00 Per Person

Badge Program for Cadettes: Badge: Special Agent
Learn the secrets from the worlds of forensic science and criminal psychology.
Program Length: 1 Hour
Maximum Capacity: 40 Per Hour
Minimum Attendees: 10 Scouts
Cost: $20.00 Per Person - 10 scout minimum

Badge Programs for Seniors: Badge: Truth Seeker
Is it fact or fiction - Find out the truth and question everything.
Program Length: 1 Hour
Maximum Capacity: 40 Per Hour
Minimum Attendees: 10 Scouts
Cost: $20.00 Per Person - 10 scout minimum

For more information contact Susan Frese at 202-621-5553 or by email at

And, in case you want to know more about Girl Scout Cookies, Thin Mints, Thin Mint Truffles and more Girl Scout History, go to my other Blog:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Man's-and Woman's-Best Friend: Guest Post by Janet LaPierre

Today I welcome back mystery author Janet LaPierre. This post originally appeared on Get It Write, The Perseverance Press Authors' Blog.

Janet LaPierre: Man's - and Woman's - Best Friend

In my family we’ve always had dogs. It began with Lady, a fabulous (to my father) German Shepherd, before I was born. Then came a short-lived male pit bull, followed by a sweet but not very bright female of that same species. Next was Tish, a female Gordon setter-fox terrier cross who was with us for many years.

And then I established what has become a family habit: I found a beautiful lost English setter, couldn’t keep her in my college dorm, and took her home to my parents. She was a success there, and was joined by, let’s see, a German shepherd puppy, followed by a Puli (named Icon for Iconoclast) who one day on a walk found a lost mostly-Basenji and brought her home. She stayed, and was named Bambi.

Meanwhile I finished college and taught school. Apart from one failed effort to keep a Gordon setter in my rented California apartment, I had to do without my necessary dog-companion until I was married, with two small children—who after all, surely needed a dog. So we found a wonderful standard poodle/Labrador retriever female, Griselda, who was followed in the natural course of things by a female registered standard poodle, and another.

And then one day my older daughter, now a college graduate, came to say that she’d decided to move to New York City and, in keeping with the family pattern, would need to leave Emmitt Smith, her nine-months-old male yellow Labrador, with us. Some six or seven years later, having decided that Labs were our destiny, we brought home a yellow female puppy, Dulcie, whom Emmitt adored and helped raise.

By now I’d been writing mystery novels for some time, and had included dogs in most of my novels. The main character in Children’s Games, Meg Halloran, has a Komondor, an enormous Hungarian sheep-dog; Grendel is serious protection for Meg her and her daughter, Katy. In Grandmother’s House, piano teacher Charlotte Birdsong and her son, Petey, have a good-tempered Labrador-poodle cross named George. In Keepers, private investigator Patience Mackellar has a small rescued terrier named Ralph; and in Family Business, a half-Akita, Zak, becomes the companion of Sylvie, the eight-year-old girl Patience, and her daughter, Verity, have rescued.

Each of these dogs has personality and character, and I think they all behave in recognizable dog fashion. But my most believable dog appears in Run A Crooked Mile, where the main character, Rosemary Mendes, finds herself living with a dog she didn’t ask for and doesn’t particularly want. Tank is a very forceful yellow Labrador and he plays an important and purposeful role in the story’s events. He really comes alive on the page, possibly because he’s largely based on a real dog, Emmitt. He does not, however, make decisions, or control events. Or perhaps he does, to some extent. But he does not talk. That possibility never occurred to me.

However, I have recently come across, with great pleasure, two writers whose fictional dogs do almost talk: the dogs are narrators of the novels. In Garth Stein’s remarkable, touching The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel, Enzo is a Labrador-something (he likes to think terrier) cross who lives with, and loves and understands Denny, a struggling race-car driver who supports his wife, Eve, and their child, Zoe, by working behind the counter in a fancy auto shop while angling for a seat in a race-car. With Denny and Eve at work, and Zoe in day-care, Enzo stays alone at home with the television Denny has left on for him, and enjoys watching movies.

Enzo believes that when he dies, he will turn into a human. He believes that man’s closest relative is not the chimpanzee, but the dog, and that if left on their own to evolve, dogs would develop thumbs and smaller tongues and be superior to men. Enzo loves Denny, and Eve, and Zoe, whom he vows to always protect. And he loves the idea of racing in the rain, and what he learns about it: “Your car goes where your eyes go.” He feels his life is complete when Denny takes him for a ride, on a race-track trial run, in the rain.

Enzo goes where Danny goes. He sees what Denny sees and to a large extent feels what Denny feels. And the reader goes where Enzo goes, and learns of happenings and feelings and results through Enzo’s observations. This should be an impossible way to tell a complicated, often sad story, but it works. I should add that there is a special adaptation of this book for young people, entitled Racing in the Rain: My Life As A Dog. I recently gave it to my granddaughter, but haven’t talked with her about it yet;I wanted to read the real thing myself first.

The second writer of dog-narrated stories I came upon recently is Spencer Quinn, whose first book in his series is Dog On It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery. Bernie Little is a West Point graduate, a former soldier, a former cop; now he makes a living, more or less, by running the Little Detective Agency, doing mostly divorce work. He himself is divorced, with a cash-flow problem as well as a son, Charlie, whom he sees on alternate weekends.

Bernie’s partner, and the narrator of this story, is Chet. Chet is a dog weighing over a hundred pounds and in very good shape who almost, he mentions, graduated from K-9 training. He is very much a dog, taking pleasure in extensive full-body stretches and long runs after whatever might be out there. He accompanies Bernie on investigations, riding in the back of an ancient Porsche; Chet always say “we,” or “me and Bernie” in describing their work. One of the “best perks in our line of work,” says Chet, is a car chase. “ . . . and I started salivating the way I always did when we were about to snap up the perp.”

The mystery story here involves a missing and possibly kidnapped teen-aged girl Bernie is hired to find, a father who is seriously in debt to dubious real estate developers with Russian connections, a near-death experience for Chet, and later a desert chase in search of the girl and the villains. It’s all rather wild-eyed and now and then stretches belief, but Bernie’s a good guy and a fairly believable character. Chet, however, is wonderful: smart and tough but all dog, given to distractions like a javalina chase, or an unattended hamburger, or the scent of a female dog up the hill–but when Bernie says “Go!” Chet does.

And there’s this. ‘‘Bernie laughed. I loved Bernie’s laugh.There’s this crazy run I do in the yard, zooming back and forth, that always works.”

So far Quinn has four Bernie and Chet mysteries in print: the one discussed above, Thereby Hangs a Tail, To Fetch a Thief, and The Dog Who Knew Too Much. I’m fairly sure there will be more to come. There is, of course, a web page for Quinn. And for Chet, there’s I actually read two more of the series, and did enjoy them; but it’s clear that the dog who won my heart and interest has done the same with other readers.

I should add that Spencer Quinn is in his other life Peter Abrahams, author of well-received mysteries and Young Adult for which he won an Edgar in 2010.

Maybe tonight, as I sit and watch the news with my one-year-old, fifty-plus pound Labrador puppy in my lap (briefly, anyway), I’ll think about putting her in a book. She clearly always knows what I’m about to do, and understands as much as she cares to of what I say. She isn’t big enough to pull down a bad guy, but she could outsmart him

A note: For anyone interested in dogs, I recommend “Beware of the Dog” in the February 27 edition of The New Yorker. Fascinating stuff.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Moebius: R.I.P.

French comic-book artist and designer Jean Giraud, known as Moebius, died last night at the age of 74 after a long illness. Jean Henri Gaston Giraud was one of France's leading cartoonists who also found fame in Japan and the United States.

Born at Nogent-sur-Marne east of Paris on May 8, 1938, he began after art school training as an illustrator for advertisers and the fashion industry before turning to comic strips. He created the Lieutenant Blueberry western character and adopted the pseudonym Moebius for illustrations of science fiction books and magazines. As well as being published in top French magazines, he worked with Japanese manga artists and co-produced an adventure of US comic-book superhero The Silver Surfer with Stan Lee for Marvel Comics.

Giraud also contributed to a number of blockbuster movies. In 2010 France's Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art staged a major retrospective of his work.

10 Incredibly Nice Robbers

Mystery Readers and Writers take note: had a list this week of 10 Incredibly Nice Robbers that you will find interesting and a bit amazing.

Here's the first one, and my favorite. The thief who returned stolen laptop contents on USB stick

A thief stole a university professor's laptop, and then returned the contents on a USB memory stick. The professor, who teaches at Umeå University in northern Sweden, was devastated when his laptop, containing ten years of work, was stolen.

The professor had left his bag containing the laptop hidden behind a door in his apartment stairwell while he went into the building's laundry room. When he emerged a short time later, the bag had gone. It was returned shortly after, without the laptop. However, a week after the theft, the professor received a USB stick containing all the documents - which would have taken several hours to download again.

Read the rest of the list of 10 Incredibly Nice Robbers HERE.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cara Black Guest Post: Murder at the Lanterne Rouge

Today I welcome Cara Black, Author of the Aimee Leduc Investigations mystery series. Cara Black will be in Berkeley on March 14 for a Literary Salon with Mystery Readers Norcal.


Last night a friend asked me where the ideas came from for my new book, Murder at the Lanterne Rouge the 12th Aimée Leduc investigation. I had to think hard for a moment. Then it came back to me - the germ of the story, that golden nugget I found in Paris and quite by accident. Four years ago at the Cafe du Depart by the fountain at Saint Michel I had coffee with a secretive man who works for the Renseignements Generaux, the RG. The RG is a domestic intelligence branch of the Interior Ministry - the folks who wire tap phones, run surveillance on people under investigation and keep thick files on most everyone important. This man, actually a nice guy who was introduced by a friend, had agreed to meet for coffee and answer some of my questions about another book I was researching. We spoke for awhile, ordered more espresso, there was a lull in the conversation and then he turned to me and said 'You know, no one dies in Chinatown.' Where did that come from I wondered. 'What?' I asked. He repeated the same phrase, 'No one ever dies in Chinatown.' Intrigued I wrote that down in my notebook thinking this would make a great book title, I decided to push him. 'What do you mean?' He leaned back in the rattan cafe chair and grinned, 'You're the writer, figure it out.'

Turns out, he's in charge of the intelligence gathering on the four Chinatowns in Paris. His little phrase kept niggling me and after I finished that book, one night I took the wrong exit out of the Metro at the edge of the Marais to visit friends for dinner. For a moment I got lost and found myself on rue au Maire the center of the smallest and oldest Chinatown in Paris. People spoke Chinese and there was a hair salon and pho noodle shop next to the oldest building in Paris, a 14th century timbered affair. His phrase came back to me 'No one dies in Chinatown' and all of sudden I started thinking well if no one died here then...'What if's' flooded my mind. Three years later in my book I had an answer.

Cartoon of the Day: Blogs

From my favorite cartoonist: Rhymes with Orange by Hilary Price:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Happy Birthday, Topper!

I have three blogs: one for Mystery one for Chocolate and one for TeamBuilding. However, I don't have a general blog where I can post whatever comes to mind. Of course, I do that occasionally anyway on one or the other of my blogs. I do like to post photos and news about my animals, so today I'm posting on Mystery Fanfare for all you dog lovers out there. There is a mystery tie-in, sort of. Mystery Readers Journal had a recent issue focusing on Animal Mysteries (Volume 27:3) So, if you want to find out more about authors who write 'animal' mysteries, be sure and check out the Table of Contents or order a copy (available in hardcopy or as a PDF download).

Today is Topper's 5th Birthday. Happy Birthday, Boy! We adopted Topper when he was 8 months, and he's such a happy boy! He loves just about everything, including loud noises. So glad he's in my life. Here's the perfect Birthday Cake for his birthday. Our friends Elaine and Patrick recently made this cake for their dog Conrad's birthday.I have not tasted it. It's for dogs. Recipe is from The Honest Kitchen website (dehydrated, human-grade natural dog food and natural cat foods)

Be sure to scroll down for more photos of Topper. As you'll see, Topper and I share many of the same interests: Gardening, Books and the Beach. One passion we don't share is Chocolate. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs.

Pupalicious Birthday Cake

4 cups Force
2 table spoons Ice Pups
1 cup chicken stock
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup plain yogurt

 ½ cups smashed up Smooches, Nuzzles or Pecks

For The Icing:
1 cup Plain Yogurt
2 strips Bacon

What To Do
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pre-grease a 10 inch cake pan (you can use butter or vegi oil). You can also line the pan with a strip of wax paper to encourage easy release. Combine in a bowl, the Force and the Ice pups and sift together. In a separate bowl combine the eggs and the yogurt. Whisk at high speed for 3 minutes. Gradually add in honey. Reduce the speed to low and add in the dry mixture cup by cup.
Then add in any extras you’d like and mix in.
Bake in oven for 25-35 minutes, until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Cook up 2 pieces of bacon and chop them into small pieces. Carefully invert cake onto a serving dish. Ice with plain yogurt and sprinkle with bacon bits.
Serve up!!!

Strand Magazine Critics Awards Nominees

The Strand Magazine has announced its nominees for the 2011 Strand Magazine Critics Awards. Recognizing excellence in the field of mystery fiction, the Critics Awards were judged by a select group of book critics and journalists, from news venues such as USA Today, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, and several other daily papers.

Best First Novel:
The Hypnotist Lars Kepler (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Sister by Rosamund Lupton (Crown)
Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson (Harper)
The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis (Soho)
The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly (Pamela Dorman Books)

Best Novel
The Affair by Lee Child (Delacorte Press)
The Drop by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown and Company)
Buried Secrets by Joseph Finder (St Martin’s Press)
Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (Knopf)
The Cut by George Pelecanos (Reagan Arthur Books)

Lifetime Achievement awards
Joseph Wambaugh
John Sandford

"This year’s awards are set for a tight finish, many of the judges were nearly unanimous in what they thought were their top ten books," said Andrew F. Gulli, the managing editor of The Strand. "The second round of voting should be very interesting."The awards will be presented at an invitation-only cocktail party, hosted by The Strand on July 11, 2012, in New York City.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Book of Lost Fragrances: Guest Post by M.J. Rose

Perfume? Intrigue? Murder? Today M.J. Rose stops by on her Blog Tour to talk to Mystery Fanfare readers about researching The Book of Lost Fragrances.

M.J. Rose, is the international bestselling author of 11 novels: Lip Service, In Fidelity, Flesh Tones, Sheet Music, Lying in Bed, The Halo Effect, The Delilah Complex, The Venus Fix,The Reincarnationist, The Memorist and The Hypnotist. She is also the co-author with Angela Adair Hoy of How to Publish and Promote Online, and with Doug Clegg of Buzz Your Book. She is a founding member and board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: She runs two popular blogs; Buzz, Balls & Hype and Backstory. 
THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES, her latest novel, fuses history, passion, and suspense, moving from Cleopatra's Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet's battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. Jac's quest for the ancient perfume someone is willing to kill for becomes the key to understanding her own troubled past.


Researching The Book of Lost Fragrances was a labor of love. One of the most wonderful parts was working with a famous blogger, Dimi of The Sorcery of Scent. He helped me find out about fragrances that have been lost to us and what they smelled like.

I thought it would interesting for us to tell you about one of them.

Guerlain first focused on verveine (verbena) varieties to use in perfumes in the mid-late 1800's. Eau de Verveine was released first in the 1870's and made brief reappearances in the 1950s and the 1980s before being retired from Guerlain's perfume portfolio. Eau de Verveine is the scent of high summer… sharp, uplifting notes of citrus-green lemon verbena flood the mouth with saliva with their crisp, energising aroma. Below is a prickle of something darker - perhaps carnation or clove - which adds incredible depth. There is a dry, tea-like quality that emerges as the scent dries on the skin. This impossibly rare scent evokes feelings of long days at the summer's end with the chirrup of cicadas ringing in the ears.

The most coveted and rare perfume from the Guerlain portfolio, Djedi was launched in 1926, right on the heels of Howard Carter's discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. Presented in a flacon resembling a golden sarcophagus with its lid being raised, Djedi is an exploration into decomposition and decay. Gloomy and desolate, Djedi has a dry, arid quality like the shifting desert sands… a "closed over the ages" feel furnished by dry vetiver, oakmoss, musk, and leather. This olfactory requiem pays hommage to fallen ancient Egyptian dynasties that have been lost to the sands of time.

COQUE D'OR is an exceptionally beautiful leather chypre created in 1937 by Jacques Guerlain. Soft florals tumble over a buttery leather accord which evoke thoughts of paper-thin hand-made gloves of extraordinary quality. Built over a classic Guerlain chypre base of sandalwood, amber and oakmoss… this perfume is pre-WWII finery at its best. A scent to be worn with cashmere, pearls and soft furs, but sadly one that has been out of production for the last 60 years.

Sign up for M.J. Rose's newsletter and get information about new releases, free book downloads, contests, excerpts and more.

Party Doll by Steve Brewer: Guest Post

Today I welcome crime writer Steve Brewer with a post on Bubba Mabry's 9th outing in Party Doll. 

** GIVEAWAY: Win a FREE DOWNLOAD of Party Doll. **
Make a comment about Bubba, Party Doll, or any of Steve Brewer's other books. There will be 5 winners chosen randomly. Be sure and post your email. Deadline for comments: March 10. 
Steve Brewer is the author of more than 20 books, including the recent crime novels CALABAMA, FIREPOWER and CUTTHROAT. His first novel, LONELY STREET, was made into an independent Hollywood comedy starring Robert Patrick, Jay Mohr and Joe Mantegna. BOOST currently is under film/TV option. Brewer's short fiction has appeared in the anthologies DAMN NEAR DEAD, THE LAST NOEL and CRIMES BY MOONLIGHT, and he's published articles in magazines such as Mystery Scene, Crimespree and Mystery Readers Journal.

I've written more than two dozen books now, but none were more fun for the author than my latest Bubba Mabry adventure, PARTY DOLL.

This story was a no-pressure labor of love. No deadlines. No editor breathing down my neck. I started writing it as a short story, but it grew to a 37,000-word novella and that was okay, because I knew all along I'd self-publish it as an e-book.

Over the past year or so, I've republished my entire backlist as e-books, and I thought a new Bubba story might drive traffic to the bumbling Albuquerque private eye's eight other outings.

Bubba and I have been together a long time. He starred in my first published novel, LONELY STREET, which came out in 1994, and I've come back to him again and again, in between the standalone crime novels that I also write. Getting into Bubba's voice is like slipping into a comfortable old shirt. Familiar and warm and easy.

(By the way, LONELY STREET was made into a Hollywood comedy that went straight to DVD a couple of years ago. It's available through Netflix and such.)

In PARTY DOLL, Bubba is hired to locate a missing stripper who goes by the stage name Joy Forever. As so often happens, the investigation leads to something much bigger. This time, it's a major corruption case that's also being investigated by his wife, newspaper reporter Felicia Quattlebaum. The two of them get to the bottom of it all, but not before Bubba suffers a few beatdowns and other indignities.

I've started work on a new crime novel, also set in Albuquerque, and it's a standalone that doesn't include Bubba. But I'll come back to him eventually, I'm sure. Bubba's never very far away.

For more about Steve and Bubba, see

Monday, March 5, 2012

Library Book returned after 100 years

From the Irish Times:

A 500-year-old medical textbook has finally found its way back to Dublin’s Marsh’s Library having been lost for more than a century.

It was bought along with an antique mirror for €90 from a Dublin junk shop by an unnamed barrister and returned to the library last Friday. Dr Jason McElligott of the library described the find as “gold dust”.

Originally published in 1538 in Basle, Switzerland, the book is the third volume in a series of five on the medical works of physician, philosopher and surgeon Galen.

Dr McElligott told The Irish Times that the book had been part of the library’s collection since its foundation in 1701.

The volumes were previously owned by the 17th-century English physician and scholar Theodore Gulston, who set about improving on Galen’s works by updating them and making the text clearer for students.

The book in question is heavily marked with annotations and even has slips of paper held in place with a needle containing Gulston’s notes on the text.

“In terms of scholarship and learning it is absolutely priceless,” Dr McElligott said.

“What we have is a very important medic in the history of medicine working through his thoughts as he’s working through the work of Galen.

“Throughout the book there are notes to himself . . . he put a slip of paper and pins it in with a needle – the 17th century equivalent of a thumbtack – so for historians and academics this is like gold dust.”

Dr McElligott said Archbishop Narcissus Marsh bought or was donated the book some time before coming to Dublin in 1679 and it formed part of the library’s original collection.

Although Marsh’s was the first public library in Ireland, books have never been lent out and Dr McElligott said a “significant” medical text like this would have been kept locked away even when it disappeared more than 100 years ago.

When the book was returned on Friday – wrapped in a copy of The Irish Times – Dr McElligott said he knew “within a few seconds it was the missing copy”.

The barrister who returned the book said it had reached the junk shop following a clearance of a house in Dublin 4.

Dr McElligott said the library was very grateful to have the book back and it was complete luck that somebody with a knowledge of books thought “hang on, that doesn’t belong in a junk shop”.

He described the unnamed barrister as a “complete gentleman and a scholar” before adding: “What was particularly impressive is he declined all offers of a reward – all he wanted to do was do the right thing.”
Hat Tip: @librarianchat

Cara Black/Jacqueline Winspear Literary Salon, Berkeley

Join Mystery Readers NorCal for an afternoon Literary Salon with two great Women of Mystery: Cara Black and Jacqueline Winspear. Wednesday, March 14, Berkeley, CA. 3 p.m.

Cara Black is the author of the Aimee Leduc Investigations series set in Paris. Each novel is set in a different arrondisement. Cara Black is a San Francisco Library Laureate, Macavity Winner and Anthony Nominee. Her latest novel is Murder at the Lanterne Rouge.

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the Maisie Dobbs series set in the late 1920s and early 1930s, with the roots of each story set in the Great War, 1914-1918. She is a regular contributor to journals covering international education. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a regular visitor to the United Kingdom and Europe. Her latest novel is Elegy for Eddie.

To RSVP and for Directions: Make a comment with your email address

Cartoon of the Day: Books

From My favorite Daily Strip: Rhymes with Orange by Hilary Price:

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Top 10 Films Based on Real-Life Crimes

From Criminal Justice Degrees Guide comes this post on the Top 10 Films Based on Real-Life Crimes. Which films would you add to the list?

Zodiac (2007)

Zodiac is a mystery-thriller that chronicles the ongoing hunt for the infamous Zodiac serial killer, who murdered at least seven people in the San Francisco bay area during the late ’60s and ’70s. Jake Gyllenhaal plays San Francisco Chronicle political cartoonist-turned-crime author, Robert Graysmith, who tried to decode the killer’s encrypted letters that were sent to the police and newspaper. Despite years of investigation, the Zodiac murders still remain unsolved.

Public Enemies (2009)

Public Enemies chronicles the story of notorious bank robber John Dillinger and his gang of outlaws as they escape from prison and outrun the FBI. Johnny Depp gave a critically acclaimed performance as Dillinger, and Christian Bale plays Melvin Purvis, the real-life FBI agent who led the manhunt that eventually ended the outlaws’ crime spree.

Summer of Sam (1999)

Spike Lee’s crime drama Summer of Sam is based on the real-life Son of Sam serial murders that took place in New York City during the summer of 1977. The film follows one tight-knit Italian-American neighborhood that has grown fearful for their lives and begins to suspect one another of being the killer.

Goodfellas (1990)

The hit film, Goodfellas, is based on the real-life story of Mafioso Henry Hill and his rise from a small-time gangster to a convicted criminal, whose testimony helped bring down some of New York’s most notorious mobsters. Hill, played by Ray Liotta, enters the Witness Protection Program to protect himself and his family’s life, and later becomes an FBI informant.

American Gangster (2007)

American Gangster tells the true story of Harlem drug kingpin, Frank Lucas, who was famous for smuggling heroin into the U.S. by way of American soldiers’ coffins from the Vietnam War. Denzel Washington plays the innovative drug dealer who is investigated and arrested by detective Richie Roberts, played by Russell Crowe.

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Dog Day Afternoon is based on the real robbery of a Brooklyn bank in 1972. The film was inspired by the events recorded in P.F. Kluge’s article "The Boys in the Bank." Al Pacino plays the first-time bank robber, Sonny Wortzik, who hopes to steal enough money to help his lover undergo a sex change operation, but what was supposed to be a quick transaction turns into a day-long siege that ends in tragedy.

Donnie Brasco (1997)

Crime drama Donnie Brasco tells the story of undercover FBI agent Joe Pistone and his work to uncover the crimes of a large New York mafia family. Pistone, played by Johnny Depp, assumes the new name of Donnie Brasco, a street burglar, and joins the Bonnano family. Brasco’s undercover work helped bring down 120 mobsters who received life sentences.

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can is an award-winning comedy-drama about real-life conman Frank Abagnale Jr., played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and his journey to becoming one of the most innovative and skilled criminals in U.S. history. At only 19 years old, Abagnale made millions by posing as a Pan Am pilot, a doctor, and a parish prosecutor.

Monster (2003)

Monster is a crime drama based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a real prostitute-turned-serial killer who was executed for murdering six men in Florida. Wuornos’ first victim was killed in self-defense, but she continues to rob and murder her clients to support her and her lover, Selby Wall, played by Christina Ricci. Actress Charlize Theron won an Academy Award for her critically acclaimed portrayal of Wuornos in the film.

Blow (2001)

Blow tells the real-life story of American cocaine smuggler George Jung, played by Johnny Depp, and his journey to becoming one of the world’s most prolific drug dealers. But his success and wealth come back to haunt him when he’s betrayed by his wife, Mirtha, who plants a stash of cocaine in his car which lands him a 60-year prison sentence.

I would add Bird Man of Alcatraz. Might not be exactly a real-life crime, but it's a real life criminal... What movies would you add?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Coasters for Mystery Readers

I never use a book for a coaster, but I do want to protect surfaces most of the time. Here are a few cool coasters for readers, especially crime fiction readers. So put that glass of wine or scotch down safely on one of these.

Dexter Blood Splattered Coasters

Lets your visitors know splatters are unacceptable. Set of 6 clear glass coasters with rubberized feet.
Store them in a Dexter treasure box

Splat Stan-Silicone Drink Coaster

Stan was happy and completely oblivious to the dangerous conditions. There were heavy drinks being hoisted and lowered all around him, yet he always felt perfectly safe. Then Stan got splatted by a giant pint.

And, my personal favorite: Scrabble Drink Coasters

These cool coasters, created with scrabble letters, can be customized to create words of your own choice--or choose from 4 beverage related tile coasters.

Hat Tip: