Thursday, November 29, 2012

Andrew McAleer: From Combat Zone to Courtroom


After a year-long tour in Afghanistan, Mystery Readers Journal contributor and Boston College Professor Andrew McAleer is returning to his job at Boston College this spring to teach crime fiction. McAleer, a sergeant with in the U.S. Army, served with the 126th Military History Detachment (MHD) as a Combat Historian in Regional Command East in Afghanistan, extending from the Bamyan Province in the west to the Pakistan border in the east. MHDs consist of three soldiers – one field-grade officer and two noncommissioned officers. In total there are twenty-seven MHDs in the U.S. Army. When fully staffed, there are fewer than 100 Combat Historians available to preserve the Army’s history. McAleer was one of three Army historians in the Afghanistan theater.

“Military History Detachments are unique,” McAleer states. “Combat Historians collect and archive historical documents, photographs, artifacts, and conduct interviews with front-line soldiers in order to preserve their sacrifices and contributions.” As a result McAleer’s missions often brought him to remote combat outposts.

McAleer is back at his full-time job as a prosecutor for the Massachusetts Department of Correction and back publishing. “I really missed mystery writing while deployed,” McAleer said, “but this deployment reminded me how indebted we are to literary societies like Mystery Readers Journal. It's an honor to appear in Legal Mysteries II along greats like Margaret McLean and Jeffrey Marks. A fantastic volume.”

Prior to deployment, McAleer’s fourth novel and suspense thriller Fatal Deeds featuring P.I. Gus Churchill, hit the shelves with great success. McAleer brought his experience as a prosecutor to capture the P.I. world within Boston’s 617 area code. His knack for creating quirky characters and snappy dialogue has received praise from literary luminaries like Doris Kearns Goodwin, Robert B. Parker, and Robin Moore.

McAleer is also the best-selling author of numerous books including the 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelist, co-author of the number 1 best-seller, Mystery Writing in a Nutshell and a contributor to A Miscellany of Murder. His essay “The Law of Characterization” appears in Mystery Readers Journal’s “Legal Mysteries Journal II.” (Fall 2012)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Thanks to J. Kingston Pierce at The Rap Sheet, I heard about the winners of the following two awards that were given out last week. Thanks also to the original sources for reporting them.

Broken Harbour by Tana French, won the 2012 Irish Book Award in the Crime Novel category. Runners Up: Slaughter’s Hound Declan Burke; Vengeance by Benjamin Black; The Istanbul Puzzle by Laurence O’Bryan; Too Close for Comfort by Niamh O’Connor; and Red Ribbons by Louise Phillips.

Åsa Larsson’s Till offer åt Molok won the Swedish Crime Academy’s 2012 award for Best Swedish Crime NovelPeter Robinson’s Before the Poison won the Academy’s Best Foreign Crime Novel prize.


And from Craig Johnson comes news that Hell is Empty has been nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Here's the longlist of books nominated for the 2013 Award. 154 books were nominated by libraries in 120 cities, in 44 countries, in 19 languages. 5 judges are reading the books and deciding, but it's a great list, so feel free to read along with them! Other mysteries on the list include Jussi Adler-Olsen's The Keeper of Lost Causes, When the Killing's Done by T. C. Boyle, The Potter's Field by Andrea Camilleri, The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco, Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James, The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler,  The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva, Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson, and many others. Smashing Longlist!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Retro Ad: For Digestion's Sake Smoke Camels

I posted this Retro Thanksgiving Advertisement for Camel Cigarettes last year on my other blog,, and although it does not have a chocolate recipe, it mentions chocolate layer cake. However I had to post it here on Mystery Fanfare because it shows how far we've come--and where we've been.

"Thanksgiving Dinner.. and then the peaceful feeling that comes from good digestion and smoking Camels. ... For Digestion's Sake--Smoke Camels."

One of the "authorities" in this ad is a Food Editor. Hope you don't have a Camel after Thanksgiving Dinner today!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bryant & May: Christopher Fowler

From Christopher Fowler:

Bryant & May are getting a further two novels. My American friends are still waiting for the arrival of 'Bryant & May and the Invisible Code' in September, but it will definitely be followed by further adventures, and before that the graphic novel arrives in January. In a week's time I should know whether they are al so set to continue in their beautiful UK editions, too.

First will be 'Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart', in which the decrepit detectives investigate Resurrectionists in a London graveyard, and Henry VIII and some mummified cats feature in the hunt for a killer. Mr Merry, the PCU's new nemesis, turns up, and Arthur gets caught with a shovel in his hands at midnight.

This will be followed by 'Bryant & May and the Burning Man', in which Bryant, incapacitated at home, must help the unit solve the case of a man burned alive in an old cinema. When he starts searching through his past investigations to find a clue he knows he's seen, we get the inside story on some of the PCU's earlier unseen cases as the detectives find themselves caught up in a deadly Guy Fawkes Night.

They're going to be great - I feel like starting right now (but will wait until the contract arrives!)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Crime Fiction: A List

Thanksgiving. I have a lot to give thanks for -- my family, my friends, and the wonderful mystery community. Once again we'll be going to my sister's home for a multi-generational Thanksgiving --ages 2 to 92! My family is as dysfunctional as most in the U.S., but we didn't stoop to murder! That can't be said for the families in the following updated list of Thanksgiving Mysteries. As the saying goes, "Families are like Fudge, sweet with a few Nuts thrown in." As always, please let me know about any titles I've missed.

And, if you're cooking the turkey or baking the pies, be sure to check out Mystery Lovers' Kitchen for Thanksgiving recipes and cooking techniques from Mystery Writing Cooks Avery Aames, Julie Hyzy, Jenn McKinlay, Riley Adams, Cleo Coyle, & Krista Davis. 

My own Chocolate blog, has some recipes this year and last for stunning Thanksgiving dishes including Chocolate Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate Turkey Rub, White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes and Pumpkin and Chocolate Recipe Round-Up and More this week! Be sure to check out

Thanksgiving Mysteries

Laura Adlen, Foul Play at the PTA
S.H. Baker The Colonel's Tale
Mignon Ballard, Miss dimple Disappears
Bob Berger The Risk of Fortune
William Bernhardt, Editor, Natural Suspect
Kate Borden Death of a Turkey
Lilian Jackson Braun The Cat Who Talked Turkey, The Cat Who Went into the Closet
Carole Bugge Who Killed Mona Lisa?
Sammi Carter Goody Goody Gunshots
Christine E. Collier A Holiday Sampler
Sheila Connolly A Killer Crop
Isis Crawford A Catered Thanksgiving
Bill Crider w/Willard Scott Murder under Blue Skies
Amanda Cross Trap for Fools
Barbara D'Amato Hard Tack
Mary Daheim Alpine Fury, Fowl Prey
Jeanne Dams Sins Out of School
Claire Daniels Final Intuition
Evelyn David Murder Takes the Cake
Krista Davis The Diva Runs Out of Thyme
Michael Dibdin Thanksgiving
Joanne Dobson Raven and the Nightingale
Christine Duncan Safe House
Janet Evanovich Thanksgiving (technically a romance)*
Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain A Fatal Feast
Katherine V. Forrest The Beverly Malibu
Noreen Gilpatrick The Piano Man
Martin H. Greenberg (editor) Cat Crimes for the Holidays
Jane Haddam Feast of Murder
Lee Harris The Thanksgiving Day Murder
J. Alan Hartman, editor, The Killer Wore Cranberry
Robin Hathaway The Doctor Makes a Dollhouse Call
Richard Hawke Speak of the Devil
Victoria Houston Dead Hot Shot
Ellen Elizabeth Hunter Murder on the ICW
Melanie Jackson Death in a Turkey Town
J. A. Jance Shoot Don't Shoot
Faye Kellerman Serpent's Tooth
Harry Kemelman That Day the Rabbi Left Town
Clyde Linsley Death of a Mill Girl
Georgette Livingston Telltale Turkey Caper
Nial Magill Thanksgiving Murder in the Mountains
G.M. Malliet Wicked Autumn
Margaret Maron Up Jumps the Devil
Evan Marshall Stabbing Stefanie
Ralph McInerny Celt and Pepper
Leslie Meier Turkey Day Murder
Deborah Morgan The Marriage Casket
Louise Penny Still Life
Cathy Pickens Southern Fried
Ann Ripley Harvest of Murder
Willard Scott w/Bill Crider Murder under Blue Skies
Sarah R. Shaber Snipe Hunt
Sharon Gwyn Short, Hung Out to Die
Paullina Simons, Red Leaves
Denise Swanson Murder of a Barbie and Ken, Murder of a Botoxed Blonde
Marcia Talley Occasion of Revenge
Jennifer Vanderbes Strangers at the Feast
Debbie Viguie I Shall Not Want
Livia J. Washburn The Pumpkin Muffin Murder
Leslie Wheeler Murder at Plimoth Plantation
Angela Zeman The Witch and the Borscht Pearl

Let me know if I've forgotten any titles!

Margaret Yorke: R.I.P.

Just heard from Kate Charles crime writer Margaret Yorke passed away on Saturday. Haven't seen the obitutary yet. I was lucky enough to me her a few times, and I found her hospitable and entertaining. She will be missed.
From Wikipedia: Born in Compton, Surrey in 1924, she spent her childhood in Dublin, moving to England in 1937. During World War II she worked as a hospital librarian, then at eighteen she joined the WRNS as a driver.  She published her first novel Summer Flight in 1957, and in Dead in the Morning invented an Oxford Don sleuth, Patrick Grant, who shared her love of Shakespeare. Her most recent novels were A Case to Answer (2000) and Cause for Concern (2001).  Yorke was chairman of the Crime Writers Association in 1979-80. She was awarded the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger in 1999, and the 1982 Martin Beck Award from the Swedish Academy of Detection for The Scent of Fear.

Patrick Grant novels
  • Dead in the Morning (1970)
  • Silent Witness (1972)
  • Grave Matters (1973)
  • Mortal Remains (1974)
  • Cast for Death (1976)

Other novels

  • Summer Flight (1957)
  • Pray, Love, Remember (1958)
  • Christopher (1959)
  • The China Doll (1961)
  • Once a Stranger (1962)
  • The Birthday (1963)
  • Full Circle (1965)
  • The Limbo Ladies (1969)
  • No Medals for the Major (1974)
  • The Small Hours of the Morning (1975)
  • The Cost of Silence (1977)
  • The Point of Murder (American title The Come-On) (1978)
  • Death on Account (1979)
  • The Scent of Fear (1980)
  • The Hand of Death (1981)
  • Devil's Work (1982)
  • Find Me a Villain (1983)
  • The Smooth Face of Evil (1984)
  • Intimate Kill (1985)
  • Safely to the Grave (1986)
  • Apricot Bed (1986)
  • Evidence to Destroy (1987)
  • No Fury (1987)
  • Speak for the Dead (1988)
  • Deceiving Mirror (1988)
  • Crime in Question (1989)
  • Admit to Murder (1990)
  • A Small Deceit (1991)
  • Criminal Damage (1992)
  • Dangerous to Know (1993)
  • Almost the Truth (1994)
  • Serious Intent (1995)
  • A Question of Belief (1996)
  • Act of Violence (1997)
  • False Pretenses (1998)
  • The Price of Guilt (1999)
  • A Case to Answer (2000)
  • Cause for Concern (2001)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mystery Bytes: Jane Whitefield

The CW network has put in development Jane Whitefield, based on the Vanishing Act book series by Thomas Perry that includes Vanishing Act, Dance For The Dead, Shadow Woman, The Face Changers, Blood Money, Runner and Poison Flower. reported the project, which will be written by Natalie Chaidez, "centers on a quirky young woman in search of her biological parents and her own identity who runs a private investigation/'eraser' company in Portland."

Natalie Chaidez has a long TV resume that includes IN PLAIN SIGHT, V, HEROES, JUDGING AMY and, most recently, NECESSARY ROUGHNESS. While NR has not impressed me, IN PLAIN SIGHT and JUDGING AMY both delivered strong female leads.


Cast of Characters: Guest post by Carole Nelson Douglas

Carole Nelson Douglas: Cast of Characters

“Write the story you’ve always wanted to write.”

That was the instruction to 28 veteran authors from anthology editor Lou Aronica, a New York Times bestselling co-author, novelist, and former Publisher of Avon Books and Berkley Books.

I’ve written about 35 shorter pieces of fiction, most linked to my Midnight Louie and Irene Adler mystery/suspense series, or my Delilah Street noir urban fantasy series.

So I decided to step outside the box into the darker side of mystery with a stand-alone suspense story with a surprise ending, “Don’t Breathe.” (A free PDF download of the story is on

CAST OF CHARACTERS is a mammoth short fiction anthology that may be flying under the radar for mystery readers. Its stories range from suspense to romance to fantasy to poignant character pieces by twenty-eight veteran authors, many of them such New York Times bestselling authors as Heather Graham, Angie Fox, Katie MacAlister and Jo Beverly.

Lou Aronica, now publisher of The Story Plant and Fiction Studio Books, is also president of Novelists, Inc., a noted organization comprised of multi-book novelists, says: “In CAST OF CHARACTERS, you’ll meet a collection of unforgettable personalities. The devoted wife who discovers her husband’s devastating secret. The Black Death survivor who reinvents herself. The woman who hears ghosts. The small-town beauty queen with a world-class mean streak. The inventor who fears his invention. The stalker who understands too late who he is stalking. These are only a few of the figures who will leap from the page.”

These are all creative and compelling stories, and I certainly enjoyed writing “out of the box” story that was more “Jack-in-the-box.”

Carole Nelson Douglas, author of more than fifty fantasy and science fiction, mystery, mainstream, and romance novels, was an award-winning reporter and editor for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. After writing some bestselling high fantasy novels and SF thrillers, she imported fantasy notions into her Midnight Louie mystery series, which features a hard-boiled Las Vegas PI who's a feline "Sam Spade with hairballs." Her Irene Adler historical series made Carole the first author to use a woman from the Sherlock Holmes stories as a protagonist in the 1991 New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Good Night, Mr. Holmes. She's won or been short-listed for more than fifty writing awards in nonfiction, sf/fantasy, mystery, and romance genres, including several from the Romance Writers of America and Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine, and the Cat Writers' Association. In 2008, RT BOOKreviews magazine named Carole a "pioneer of the publishing industry. Carole and husband Sam Douglas, a former art museum exhibitions director and kaleidoscope designer, are kept as pets by five stray cats and a dog in Fort Worth, Texas. Carole Nelson Douglas was inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame  in October. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

GUN EGG FRYER has the Gun Egg Fryer by Barbuzzo on sale today. A must have for the mystery reader or criminal. We're talking Killer Eggs!

 On sale at Fab or $16.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Partners in Crime: Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen

Another installment today in our Partners in Crime series. Today I welcome Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen who write the Winemaker Detective Series.

Prize-winning author Jean-Pierre Alaux–a magazine, radio and television journalist and true Epicurean–teamed up with writer and musician Noël Balen to write the Winemaker Detective Series, which now has 20 books and is a hit on television in France. The series follows master winemaker Benjamin Cooker and his sidekick Virgile Lanssien in their adventures solving mysteries in vineyards throughout France and beyond. Together they explore the underworld of a global luxury industry, where there’s money, deceit, death, crime, inheritance, jealousy—all the ingredients needed to distill a fine detective series. The first of the series, Treachery in Bordeaux ( just came out in English from Le French Book. Here the authors discuss writing this series together. 

Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen:

It all began while we were sharing a meal, with a bottle of Château Gaudou 1996, a red wine from Cahors with smooth tannins and a balanced nose. During the dinner, our conversation heated up as we discussed fiction adapted for television. Quickly, we came to the realization that there were no series that mixed elements of France’s cultural heritage with a mystery plot, that there were no recurring characters that brought together terroir—local history and tradition and flavor—and a whodunit. What we needed was a fictional hero involved in the wine industry, one of the most renowned areas where the French excel. We needed a character that could be mobile, that could go from one region to another, could touch on all the various aspects of winemaking, from grape growing to bottling, and that it could be none other than a winemaker, an oenologist, an expert who in and of himself symbolizes both the knowledge and the way of life.

Two days later, in an afternoon of sitting in front a fire, with Armagnac and Havana cigars, we outlined the series, noting down the full, extremely detailed pedigree of our hero, the Franco-British Benjamin Cooker (the name was chosen due to the historical bonds and winemaking traditions that link Great Britain to France), with a precise table of his family and colleagues. Then we came up with a list of wines and wine regions that we dreamed about. Without worrying about future readers, we imagined the wines and the landscapes that made us want to push this adventure further. It turned out that readers had the same desires and expectations as we did.

Once we finished this initial work, we wrote ten summaries that covered several wines and a variety of plot lines. At that stage, the hard part was making a consistent and credible central character who was both a winemaking consultant and writer of a guide.

Then came the issue of writing it the two of us together. How were we going to work on it together and give our readers smooth-reading novels? Especially since one writes days, the other nights, one uses a Mac, the other a PC. We built complicity over time based on each of our personalities. We work together to outline the basic idea of each book, generally over a good meal with generous servings of wine. Our ideas come together and the story takes form. There is no miracle for working together. Each book brings together our complementary knowledge to serve the new plot. The main character Benjamin Cooker has necessarily part of both of us in him, what we are or what we would have liked to be. That’s the nature of fiction writing.

At first, we split up the on-site research based on our own affinities. For example, Jean-Pierre took Champagne, while Noël was more interested in Burgundy wines. Everything happens very naturally once we both agree on the plot lines. As we explore the regions, several aspects of the stories are modified based on the reality in each place (details concerning habitat, technical issues linked to specific wines, topography, historical anecdotes, and the like) and, above all, based on encounters we made. Real people from the various winemaking regions are often integrated with fictional characters.

Each one of us writes a first draft. Then we discuss our points of view on the manuscript, compare our reading and our opinions. We enrich each other and our stories with our individual knowledge about wine. Finally, the writing is harmonized based on a style guide we established to respect the specific feel of the series, which we want to be classic. I should also mention the attentive and very demanding read that our editor Claude Durand gives each manuscript.

We have established a pace that allows us to produce two novels a year. We are always happy to meet with our Winemaker Detective characters time and time again. The production schedule may seem intense (we are currently writing books twenty-one and twenty-two), but we now have to supply enough literary material for the screenwriters to adapt to the very successful, large-audience television series.

Every time we open a bottle, we raise a glass to Benjamin Cooker and his accomplices, who are now among our friends. Without this complicity, we would never have been able to write so many books together.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Love this poster!

Val McDermid: CFA Master Class-The Center for Fiction

Love this video of author Val McDermid talking with Jonathan Santlofer about growing up in Fife on the East Coast of Scotland, how she became a writer, and about the writing process. CFA Master Class, The Center for Fiction, October 12, 2012.


Love these large metal book spines installed outside the entrance to Alice Springs Public Library.

Sorry, don't know the the derivation of the photo. Saw it on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Crimezone Thriller Award Nominations 2012

O.K. I wanted to post this, so I'm not translating from the Dutch. If I get time, I will :-) These awards were mentioned in late September. Check out CrimeZone.

Kanshebbers Crimezone Thriller Award 2012

Arnaldur Indridason • Verdwijnpunt (Uitgeverij Q)
Camilla Lackberg • Engeleneiland (Anthos)
David Baldacci • De provocatie (A.W. Bruna)
Deon Meyer • 13 uur (A.W. Bruna)
Gillian Flynn • Donker hart (Boekerij)
Håkan Nesser • De man zonder hond (De Geus)
Jo Nesbø • De schim (Cargo)
John Hart • Het ijzeren huis (Luitingh-Sijthoff)
Jussi Adler-Olsen • Het Washingtondecreet (Prometheus)
Karin Slaughter • Genadeloos (Cargo)
Lars Kepler • Getuige (Cargo)
Lee Child • De affaire (Luitingh-Sijthoff)
Linwood Barclay • Kijk niet weg (Boekerij)
Lisa Gardner • Korte metten (The House of Books)
Nele Neuhaus • Sneeuwwitje moet sterven (Uitgeverij Q)
Nicci French • Dinsdag is voorbij (Anthos)
R.J. Ellory • De helden van New York (De Fontein)
Tess Gerritsen • Het stille meisje (The House of Books)

Alex van Galen • Ideale ouders (A.W. Bruna)
Charles den Tex • De vriend (De Geus)
Corine Hartman • Stormvloed (Karakter)
Ellen G • Schaduwspel (Manteau)
Ingrid Oonincx • Botsing (The House of Books)
Judith Visser • Time-out (Boekerij)
Lieneke Dijkzeul • Wat overblijft (Anthos)
Linda Jansma • Tweestrijd (Crime Compagnie)
Loes den Hollander • Troostkind (Karakter)
Luc Deflo • Losers (Manteau)
Marelle Boersma • Vals alarm (Crime Compagnie)
Michael Berg • Nacht in Parijs (The House of Books)
Piet Baete • Vrijdag de 14de (Manteau)

Alice LaPlante • Hersenspinsels (Orlando)
Elizabeth Haynes • Waarheen je ook vlucht (Cargo)
Emily St. John Mandel • Aria voor een verleden (Boekerij)
Eriksson & Sundquist • Het kraaienmeisje (Cargo)
Jeroen Guliker • Verborgen vrucht (Credo)
Lars Rambe • Sporen op het ijs (De Fontein)
Louise Millar • Kom je spelen? (De Kern)
Mark Allen Smith • Manipulatie (Unieboek)
Thomas Enger • Schijndood (Uitgeverij Q)

Cartoon of the Day: GPS

From Bizarro, one of my favorite comics!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Giant Typewriter 1940

From one of my favorite websites, Retronaut, comes these archival photos of the Giant Typewriter at the World's Fair 1940.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day: Remembering Those Who Served

Veterans Day: Remembering those who served.

My father Joseph Rudolph served during WWII as a physician on the front lines in Italy. He received the purple heart and other medals and commendations. I'll always remember his war stories. My mother said he talked about the war all night the first night he was back and didn't talk about it again for 40 years. But when he did choose to share the stories, there was an outpouring of both horrific and poignant memories.

My father was an avid mystery reader, so here's the link to Veterans Day Mysteries and Crime Fiction.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

David Goodis Award: Lawrence Block

Lawrence Block was presented with the David Goodis Award at NoirCon. Congratulations, Larry!

Lawrence Block is one of the most widely recognized names in the mystery genre. He has been named a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America and is a four-time winner of the prestigious Edgar® and Shamus Awards, as well as a recipient of prizes in France, Germany, and Japan. He received the Diamond Dagger from the British Crime Writers’ Association-- only the third American to be given this award. He is a prolific author, having written more than fifty books and numerous short stories, and is a devoted New Yorker and an enthusiastic global traveler.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice Day (also known as Remembrance Day), is November 11. Veterans Day commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, that took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning — the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" 1918.

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day November 11, 1919. The U.S.  Congress passed a concurrent resolution seven years later on June 4, 1926, requesting the President issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. The 11th of November is"a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'." It was later changed to Veteran's Day.

I love to read mysteries that reflect regions and holidays, so I'm reposting about Veterans Day with a few additions. Julia Spencer-Fleming's One Was a Soldier,  Jacqueline Winspear and Charles Todd's mystery series are at the top of my list of Veteran's Day Mysteries.  BV Lawson's 2007 post of Veteran's Day Mysteries is great. No need to duplicate her efforts. Be sure and read her blog, as well as all the comments. Another fine list is In Remembrance Fiction in Times of War (not all mysteries) from the St. Charles Public Library. I also did a Memorial Day post here on Mystery Fanfare that covers some of the same territory Mysteries in Paradise about Remembrance Day is also a great resource.

Wikipedia has an entry about Veteran's Day Mysteries. Several hardboiled heroes have been war veterans. H. C. McNeile (Sapper)'s Bulldog Drummond from World War I, Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer and many others from World War II, and John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee from the Korean War.  "The frequent exposure to death and hardship often leads to a cynical and callous attitude as well as a character trait known today as post-traumatic stress characterizes many hardboiled protagonists."

Read a Veteran's Day mystery today and remember the men and women who fought (and are fighting) for world peace.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Legal Mysteries II: Mystery Readers Journal

Mystery Readers Journal: Legal Mysteries II (Volume 28:3) is just out. This terrific issue is a companion to the previous issue, Legal Mysteries I (Volume 28:2). Both are available as hardcopy or PDF, or as part of a subscription to Mystery Readers Journal.



  • Setting Literary Precedents by Jeffrey Marks
  • So, You've Been Sued? by Harley L. Sachs
  • "The Batignolle Murder"—The Best Detective Story Ever Written? by Nina Cooper
  • Learning the Ropes in Court by Rosemary Aubert
  • Law Practice: The Dream and the Reality by Donald J. Bingle
  • I Didn't Know I Was Writing a Thriller by Jay Brandon
  • Law and Fiction—Getting the Facts Straight by Leslie Budewitz
  • Legal Writing: Fiction Versus Footnotes by Alafair Burke
  • Author, Attorney, Advocate by Teresa Burrell
  • Gazing Into the Abyss by Pamela Callow
  • When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Martinis—With a Twist! by Diane Capri
  • Courtroom Mysteries—Justice the Way It Ought To Be by Lauren Carr
  • The Law in Law and Order by J. Madison Davis
  • Heroes Need Not Apply by Douglas Corleone
  • Three Pillars of Legal Thriller/Mystery Writing by John Dobbyn
  • Weeds, Books, and Scott Turow by Robert Dugoni
  • Tilting the Scales by Joel Goldman
  • The Fine Print by W.S. Gager
  • Every Case Is a Story by Paul Goldstein
  • Sharing the Life of an Everyday Lawyer by Tony Dunbar
  • Divorce Can Be Deadly by Susan Goldstein
  • Suspense, Transgression and Murder by Sylvie Granotier
  • Thunderstruck by Chuck Greaves
  • The Case of the Innocent Woman by Parnell Hall
  • The First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Lawyers by Judith K. Ivie
  • Lawless by Linda O. Johnston
  • Law and the Puritan by M.E. Kemp
  • How Jo Peters Became an Assistant District Attorney by Gay Toltl Kinman
  • My Life In Crime by Robert Knightly
  • The Joys of Grave Digging by Michael A. Kahn
  • Naked Confessions by Margaret Maron
  • The Osgoode Trilogy by Mary E. Martin
  • Ring in the New... and Ring in the Old by Lia Matera
  • The Law of Characterization by Andrew McAleer
  • Courtroom Theater by Margaret McLean
  • Attorney of Record by D.R. Meredith
  • Part of the Solution by Penny Mickelbury
  • Retro Is the New New Thing by Julie Smith
  • Why People Still Love Courtroom Drama by Sheldon Siegel
  • The Long Winding Road to the Times by Larry D. Thompson
  • A Taos Festival by Mari Ulmer
  • Digging Up Dead Lawyers by E.J. Wagner
  • Turning Immigration Law into Mystery Drama by Jonathan Worlde
  • In Short: It's Legal by Marvin Lachman
  • Tragedy at Law: The Greatest British Legal Mystery by Philip L. Scowcroft
  • Crime Scene: TV Series On Trial by Kate Derie
  • From the Editor's Desk by Janet Rudolph

Monday, November 5, 2012

Partners in Crime: Cynthia St. Pierre

Today I welcome Cynthia St. Pierre. Cynthia co-wrote A Purse to Die For (Imajin Books) with Melodie Campbell. Love this addition to the Partners in Crime series here on Mystery Fanfare.

Cynthia St-Pierre wrote promotional, packaging and communications materials; penned articles for business periodicals; and a chapter of How to Successfully Do Business in Canada. Currently a member of Crime Writers of Canada, she has one award for fiction and has been a writing contest judge. Cynthia has received a York Regional Police Citizens Awareness Program certificate, presented and signed by Julian Fantino, former Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police. 

Melodie Campbell has over 200 publications, including 30 short stories and 100 humor columns. Her first novel, Rowena Through the Wall went No. 2 on fantasy, futuristic in August 2011. A Purse to Die for is her second novel. Her third novel, The Godddaughter is published by Orca books. Melodie was a finalist for the 2012 Derringer Award and Arthur Ellis Awards  and is the General Manager of Crime Writers of Canada.

How I Met My Partner in Crime 

It started out innocently. At Bloody Words, Canada’s national mystery conference, Toronto, 2006.

I had just come out of a 15 min. interview with an agent so I was feeling a little shaky from the adrenalin. The lobby of the conference floor of the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel was practically empty. Most attendees, fondly dubbed The Usual Suspects, were behind the closed doors of the various conference rooms learning about predators and violent crime from a forensic psychiatrist, or attending other sessions with titles like “Whistling Past the Graveyard”.

But in the shadows of an escalator stood one woman. She looked just about as antsy as me. I walked over and introduced myself. “Hi. My name’s Cynthia.” I wondered if she’d just come out of an interview or was just going in.

Melodie had an appointment in about 10 min. Agents aren’t scary. Really.

I wished my new friend good luck. We chatted a little more—all about calming our nerves—then arranged to meet at the Saturday night banquet.

As it turns out, after dessert was served that night, Melodie was awarded 3rd prize in the Bony Pete Short Story Contest for "School for Burglars". A feat which required not luck but skill. Everyone at the table, including me, was thrilled for her. We eagerly exchanged e-mails. We had to read that winning story!

 “School for Burglars” is a fabulous tale of course. Over the years, Melodie and I exchanged more stories. We offered each other writer support and input. Then we met again at Bloody Words 2008. The year my story “A Terror in Judgement” won 2nd prize. Melodie was sweet when I cried.

Melodie and I were on to something here. Not only do we enjoy each other’s company, each other’s writing, we have similar styles. Why not write a mystery novel together, I wondered? Novel writing is an arduous task, I kid you not. Not so arduous à deux.

A Purse to Die For was born!

So how do two writers succeed in writing a book together?

Melodie has said, “It’s really so simple: we set out to have some fun writing.” She adds, “We set out to surprise each other. I’d write a scene and then Cindy would take over and write the next scene. I wouldn’t necessarily know where she was going with it, so it was always a delight to get the next chapter.”

I say it was like reading and writing at the same time. It couldn’t have been more exciting!

Many authors claim they wouldn’t be able to write a mystery with another writer. Real murder might ensue. I admit I wasn’t a fan of group projects in school. Back then, it always seemed hard to reach a meeting of the minds, let alone divide the task evenly between an arbitrary group of students. But as I’ve described, Melodie and I became friends before attempting a collaboration. Plus we’re much older and wiser now. Ahem.

One day for fun, you’ll have to ask Mel her version of this story of how we became writing partners. No two witnesses have the exact same account of a crime.

A PURSE TO DIE FOR is available online from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Why not drop by chock-full-of-recipes, written in the voice of character Becki Green? Follow Cynthia on And find out more about Melodie and Cynthia and their joint writing projects on

Like Chocolate? Check out Cynthia's post on for Chocolate Hazelnut French Toast 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Knife Holder

I love the FAB website and their daily website with all their unique items. Here's the Ex Knife in Chrome by Raffaele Ianello. This unique knife holder includes a chef's knife, bread knife, carver, utility knife and paring knife. Perfect for the Chef or Mystery Fan or Writer!

Friday, November 2, 2012

HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Presidential Crime Fiction

I usually post this list for Presidents Day in February, but with the upcoming Presidential election, I thought you might want to read a few of these over the weekend. This is an updated list that features the U.S. President in mysteries, thrillers and crime fiction. This is not a definitive list, and I welcome any additions. I've divided the list into categories.

Political Election and Thrillers
Rubicon by Lawrence Alexander
Saving Faith by David Baldacci
Political Suicide and Touched by the Dead by Robert Barnard
Capitol Conspiracy by William Bernhardt
Collateral Damage by Michael Bowen
Three Shirt Deal by Stephen J. Cannell
Impaired Judgement by David Compton
Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon
Term Limits by Vince Flynn
The Scandal Plan by Bill Folman
The Power Broker by Stephen W. Frey
Spook Country by William Gibson
Fast Track, Sleeping Dogs by Ed Gorman
The Fourth Perimeter by Tim Green
The People's Choice by Jeff Greenfield
The Pelican Brief by John Grisham
The President's Daughter and The White House Connection by Jack Higgins
The Enemy Within  by Noel Hynd
First Daughter by Eric Lustbader
Executive Privilege by Philip Margolin
The Race, Protect and Defend, Balance of Power by Richard North Patterson
Politics Noir: Gary Phillips, Editor
Missing Member by Jo-Ann Power
Dark Horse by Ralph Reed
Dead Heat, The Last Jihad by Joel C. Rosenberg
Dead Watch by John Sandford
State of the Union by Brad Thor
Capital Crimes by Stuart Woods

Assassination Attempts
American Quartet by Warren AdlerSherlock Holmes in Dallas by Edmund Aubrey
Primary Target by Max Allan Collins
Campaign Train (Murder Rides the Campaign Train) by The Gordons
Glass Tiger by Joe Gores
The President's Assassin by Brian Haig
Murder at Monticello by Jane Langton
The Surrogate Assassin by Christopher Leppek
Gideon's March by J.J. Marric
The Kidnapping of the President by Charles Templeton
Pursuit by James Stewart Thayer
Primary Target by Marilyn Wallace
Watchdogs by John Weisman

We are Holding the President Hostage by Warren Adler
The Camel Club by David Baldacci
Line of Succession by Brian Garfield
Madam President by Anne Holt
Oath of Office by Steven J. Kirsch
The Kidnapping of the President by Charles Templeton

Presidential Disappearances
Missing! by Michael Avallone
The President's Plan is Missing by Robert J. Serling
The President Vanishes by Rex Stout

Fixing the Election
The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon
The 13th Directorate by Barry Chubin
Atropos by William DeAndrea
The Red President by Martin Gross
The Ceiling of Hell by Warren Murphy
The Trojan Hearse by Richard S. Prather
 President Fu Manch by Sax Rohmer
The Big Fix by Roger L. Simon

Presidential Crisis
Seven Days in May by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II
Vanished by Fletcher Knebel

The President as Detective
Speak Softly by Lawrence Alexander
Lincoln for the Defense by Warren Bull
Mr President, Private Eye, edited by Martin Greenberg & Francis M. Nevins
Bully by Mark Schorr 

The JFK Plot
Too many to list, but...
Mongoose, RIP by William F. Buckley
Executive Action by Mark Lane, Donald Freed and Stephen Jaffe
The Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry

Presidential Families
Deadly Aims by Ron L. Gerard
The President's Daughter by Jack Higgins
The Devil's Bed by William Kent Krueger
The First Lady Murders, edited by Nancy Pickard
Murder and the First Lady (and other novels) By Elliot Roosevelt
Murder in the White House (and other novels) by Margaret Truman
They've Shot the President's Daughter by Edward Stewart

Enslaved by Ron Burns
The Plan by Stephen J. Cannell
Killing Time by Caleb Carr
The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln by Stephen L. Carter
The President's Vampire, Blood Bath by Christopher Farnsworth
The President's Henchman, The Next President by Joseph Flynn
Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold
Julie Hyzy's White House Chef series
The First Patient by Michael Palmer
Treason at Hanford by Scott Parker
Keeping House by Tucker and Richard Phillips
The President's Daugher by Mariah Stewart
Put a Lid on It by Donald Westlake
President Lincoln's Spy by Steven Wilson

An Anthology
Mr President, Private Eye, edited by Martin H. Greenberg. Different historical presidents in the role of sleuth

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Mystery Readers Journal  had an issue a few years ago on Crime for the Holidays. What holiday could be more fitting to Mystery Fiction than El Dia de los Muertos: Day of the Dead?

Day of the Dead Crime Fiction

The Day of the Dead by John Creed
Days of the Dead by Barbara Hambly
Sugar Skull by Denise Hamilton
Dios De Los Muertos by Kent Harrington
The Wrong Goodbye by Chris Holm
Day of the Dead by J.A. Jance
Weave Her Thread with Bones by Claudia Long
The Day of the Dead by Bart Spicer

Any titles I missed?