Friday, May 31, 2013

CWA (British Crime Writers) Dagger Nominees

The British Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) shortlists of nominees for six different Dagger Awards.

The CWA International Dagger:
• Alex, by Pierre Lemaitre, translated by Frank Wynne (Quercus)
• The Missing File, by D.A. Mishani, translated by Steven Cohen (Quercus)
• Two Soldiers, by Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström, translated by Kari Dickson (Quercus)
• Ghost Riders of Ordebec, by Fred Vargas, translated by Siân Reynolds (Harvill Secker)
• Death in Sardinia, by Marco Vichi, translated by Stephen Sartarelli (Hodder & Stoughton)
• The Collini Case, by Ferdinand von Schirach, translated by Anthea Bell (Michael Joseph)

The CWA Non-Fiction Dagger:
• Midnight in Peking, by Paul French (Penguin Viking)
• The Boy in the River, by Richard Hoskins (Pan Macmillan)
• Against a Tide of Evil, by Mukesh Kapila, with Damien Lewis (Mainstream)
• A Fine Day for a Hanging, by Carol Ann Lee (Mainstream)
• Injustice, by Clive Stafford Smith (Random House)
• Murder at Wrotham Hill, by Diana Souhami (Quercus)

The CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger:
• The Heretics, by Rory Clements (John Murray)
• Pilgrim Soul, by Gordon Ferris (Corvus)
• The Paris Winter, by Imogen Robertson (Headline)
• Dead Men and Broken Hearts, by Craig Russell (Quercus)
• The Twelfth Department, by William Ryan (Mantle)
• The Scent of Death, by Andrew Taylor (HarperCollins)

The CWA Short Story Dagger:
• “Method Murder,” by Simon Brett (from The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime, Volume 10, edited by Maxim Jakubowski; Constable)
• “Stairway C,” by Piero Colaprico (from Outsiders, edited by Ben Faccini; MacLehose Press)
• “Come Away with Me,” by Stella Duffy (from The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime, Volume 10)
• “The Case of Death and Honey,” by Neil Gaiman (from The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime, Volume 10)
• “Ferengi,” by Carlo Lucarelli (from Outsiders)
• “Lost and Found,” by Zoë Sharp (from Vengeance, edited by Lee Child; Corvus)

The CWA Dagger in the Library:
• Belinda Bauer
• Alison Bruce
• Gordon Ferris
• Christopher Fowler
• Elly Griffiths
• Michael Ridpath

The CWA Debut Dagger:
• Aine Oomhnaill (Ireland), The Assassin’s Keeper
• Finn Clarke (UK), Call Time
• Sue Dawes (UK), TAG
• Alex Sweeney (UK), Working in Unison
• Marie Hannan-Mandel (USA), Lesson Plan for Murder
• Ron Puckering (UK), Honour or Justice
• David Evans (UK), Torment
• Jayne Barnard (Canada), When the Bow Breaks
• D.B. Carew (Canada), Fighting Darkness: The Killer Trail
• Mike Craven (UK), Born in a Burial Gown
• Emma Melville (UK), The Journeyman
• Joanna Dodd (UK), A Cure for All Evils

The winners will be announced during on July 15 in London. Also included on July 15 will be the presentation, to Lee Child, of this year’s Diamond Dagger and the announcement of CWA’s Gold, Steel, and John Creasey Daggers Nominees.

HT: The Rap Sheet

School Library Posters

O.K. I've posted many different School Library Posters over the years, but this is one of the weirder ones. What do you think?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rev. Andrew Greeley: R.I.P.

Father Andrew Greeley, prolific novelist, journalist, sociologist, and outspoken Roman Catholic priest, for over five decades, died in his sleep Wednesday night at the age of 85.

According to his niece, Father Greeley had been in poor health and under 24-hour care since suffering severe head injuries in 2008 when his clothing caught on the door of a taxi as it pulled away, and he was thrown to the pavement.

Greeley wrote more than 120 books, many published by university presses, and numerous articles about Catholic theology in both sociological journals and general-interest magazines (including the Mystery Readers Journal). He also wrote op-ed pieces and syndicated columns in both religious and secular publications, but for mystery readers, he'll be remembered for his Blackie Ryan series. All in all he wrote over 50 novels, with 17 of them in the Blackie Ryan series.

According to the NYT, "His greatest readership certainly stemmed from his scores of novels, many of them rife with Vatican intrigue, straying priests and explicit sex. At least 10 of them appeared on The New York Times’s best-seller list, including his first, The Cardinal Sins (1981), a story of two Irish-American boys from Chicago’s West Side who enter the priesthood together, one of whom contrives to become the cardinal of Chicago, takes a mistress and fathers a child." Father Greeley wrote,  “Sometimes I suspect that my obituary in The New York Times will read, ‘Andrew Greeley, Priest; Wrote Steamy Novels.’ ” 

Arthur Ellis Awards

The Crime Writers of Canada announced the winners of the Arthur Ellis Awards tonight in Toronto. Congrats to all!

Best First Novel:
• The Haunting of Maddy Clare, by Simone St. James (NAL)

Best Novel:
• Until the Night, by Giles Blunt (Random House Canada)

Best Novella:
• Contingency Plan, by Lou Allin (Orca Rapid Reads)

Best Short Story:
• “Spring-blade Knife,” by Yasuko Thanh (from Floating Like the Dead, McClelland & Stewart)

Best Non-fiction:
• The Devil’s Cinema: The Untold Story behind Mark Twitchell’s Kill Room, by Steve Lillebuen

Best Juvenile/Young Adult:
• Becoming Holmes, by Shane Peacock (Tundra)

Best Crime Book in French:
• La Nuit des albinos: Sur les traces de Max O’Brien, by Mario Bolduc (Libre Expression)

Best Unpublished First Crime Novel (“The Unhanged Arthur”):
• Sins Revisited, by Coleen Steele

Hat Tip: Deryn Collier who tweeted the winners!

A Different Library

I was at V. Sattui Winery in Napa Valley last night for an event planners evening. Very fun--great food, venues, and, of course, wine. Loved this Library!

Jack Vance: R.I.P.

Locus Online:

SF Grand Master Jack Vance, 96, died May 26, 2013 in Oakland CA. Vance was one of the most influential SF authors of the postwar period, and his visionary imagination and sophisticated, often playful use of language inspired countless SF writers, including Avram Davidson, Harlan Ellison, Matthew Hughes, George R.R. Martin, Michael Moorcock, and Gene Wolfe. His landmark Dying Earth sequence, set in the far future, began with collection The Dying Earth (1950) and continued with novel The Eyes of the Overworld (1966), Cugel’s Saga (1983), Rhialto the Marvelous (1984), and several related stories. Vance redefined the nature of planetary romance with his Big Planet (1952), and continued exploring that universe in sequel Showboat World (1975).

John Holbrook Vance was born August 28, 1916 in San Francisco CA. He worked as a bellhop, in a cannery, and on a gold dredge before attending the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied engineering, physics, and journalism, though he never graduated. A lifelong musician and music lover, Vance’s first published works were jazz reviews for The Daily Californian.

Vance worked as an electrician at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, leaving the area a month before the December 1941 attack that brought the US into WWII. His poor eyesight made it impossible for him to serve in the military, but he memorized an eye chart and joined the Merchant Marine. He wrote his first published story, “The World-Thinker” (1945), while at sea. Before becoming a full-time writer in the 1970s, he worked as a seaman, surveyor, and carpenter, among other occupations. He married Norma Genevieve Ingold in 1946; she died in 2008. Vance traveled the world extensively, living and writing in Tahiti, South Africa, Italy, and Kashmir, among other locales.

He published short fiction prolifically in the pulps in the late ’40s and early ’50s, contributing regularly to Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories. Notable short works include “Telek” (1952), “The Moon Moth” (1961), and Hugo- and Nebula-award winning novella “The Last Castle” (1966).

Most of Vance’s novels take place in series. In addition to the Dying Earth, major works include the Demon Princes sequence, the Planet of Adventure series, the Durdane trilogy, the Alastor Cluster sequence, the Lyonesse fantasy series, the Cadwal Chronicles, and the Ports of Call series. He also published numerous standalone SF/F novels and mysteries. His autobiography, This Is Me, Jack Vance! (2009), won a Hugo for Best Related Book.

Vance won the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement in 1984; the SFWA Grand Master Award in 1997; and he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2001.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Eddie Muller, the Czar of Noir, returns to TCM

Eddie Muller returns to Turner Classic Movies this June with a series of Noir Films. "The Czar of Noir" will be hosting TCM's "Friday Night Spotlight," presenting 16 movies over four nights, all highlighting the work of seminal or significant noir writers.

Muller, who was TCM host Robert Osborne's guest this past January for "A Night in Noir City," was asked by the network to solo-host a monthly installment of its new "Spotlight" feature, in which a guest host both programs and presents thematically linked films. The segments were recorded in March at TCM headquarters in Atlanta—and it should be no surprise that Muller tilled his usual noir terrain, aiming his spotlight at writers Dashiell Hammett, David Goodis, James M. Cain, Jonathan Latimer, Raymond Chandler and Cornell Woolrich.

The shows air June 7th (Hammett), 14th (Goodis), 21st (Latimer and Cain) and 28th (Woolrich and Chandler).  For TCM schedule, go HERE.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Vintage Library Poster: Travel

Love these vintage travel posters.. There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away...

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013: Joseph Rudolph, M.D.

Memorial Day is a day to remember those who served our country. My father, Joseph Rudolph, was a Captain in the U.S. Army during WWII. He served the front as a physician and received the purple heart. Such stories he told, but not until almost 40 years after the war.

Miss you, Dad.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day Mysteries/Memorial Day Crime Fiction

If you're celebrating Memorial Day this weekend, you'll want to read one or all these special Crime Novels set during the holiday.  Memorial Day in the U.S. is part of a three day holiday weekend. Many think of this weekend as the beginning of Summer, a time for Barbecues (Barbecue Mysteries), the Beach, the Cabin, and S'mores, but the true meaning of Memorial Day aka Decoration Day is a day of remembrance of those who fell to protect us, of those who didn't come home. Many people go to cemeteries and memorials on the last Monday in May. There is a tradition to fly the flag at half mast and wear poppies, although since that's a WWI observance, not sure if it still happens.

So here's the list. Let me know if I've forgotten any titles. You may also want to check out my Veterans Day Mystery List.

Memorial Day Mysteries

Memorial Day by Vince Flynn
The Decoration Memorial Day War by David H. Brown
Absolute Certainty by Rose Connors
Memorial Day by Harry Shannon
Shadows at the Fair by Lea Wait
The Memorial Day Mystery short stories on the web.

For the young set: The Mystery of the Memorial Day Fire by Kathryn Kenny, a Trixie Belden mystery.

Have a good holiday. Be safe and Remember.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Barbecue Mysteries

Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. I'll be posting a Memorial Day Crime Fiction list, but in the meantime, I thought I'd update my Barbecue Mysteries list. Let me know any titles I've missed, and I'll add them.

So many ways one can murder someone at a barbecue, from the sauce to the skewers to the grill. Here's a short list of Barbecue Mysteries. Let me know if I've forgotten any!

Barbecue Mysteries

Delicious and Suspicious, Hickory Smoked Homicide, Finger Lickin' Dead by Riley Adams  (The Barbeque Mysteries)
Several of the recent Dan Rhodes books by Bill Crider
Murder at the Blue Ridge Barbecue Festival by Gene Davis
Finger Lickin' Fifteens by Janet Evanovich
The Politics of Barbecue by Blake Fontenay
The Big Barbecue by Dorothy B. Hughes
The Sheriff and..  (series) by D. R. Meredith
Say Your Sorry by Michael Robotham
The King is Dead by Sarah Shankman
Stiffs and Swine by J.B. Stanley
Revenge of the Barbecue Queens by Lou Jane Temple
Barbecue by A. E.H. Veenman

Short Stories: "Gored" by Bill Crider in Murder Most Delicious
Young Readers: The Barbecue Thief by Starike

Want a little chocolate on the barbie this weekend? 
Check out recipes on my other blog:
S'mores on the Grill  
Banana Boats
Chocolate Barbecue Sauces
Spicy Chocolate Rub
Cocoa Spiced Salmon Rub 
Scharffen Berger Cacoa Nib Rub for Trip Tip

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Happy Birthday, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!

On this day in 1859, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He created one of the most famous detectives in the world, Sherlock Holmes. Happy Birthday, Sir Arthur!

Read a biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle here.

And, for your viewing pleasure... a few images of Sherlock Holmes.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Looking for Snow Leopards: Lisa Brackmann

The latest issue of Mystery Readers Journal focuses on Environmental Mysteries (Volume 29:1). You'll want to check out the entire issue, but here's a great essay by Crime Writer Lisa Brackmann that appears in this issue.

Lisa Brackmann is the author of the critically acclaimed suspense novels, ROCK PAPER TIGER and GETAWAY, and the upcoming HOUR OF THE RAT (Soho). She is a California native and has lived and traveled extensively in China. 


Lately I’ve been a little obsessed with snow leopards. I’m not sure why. They’re beautiful and shy and endangered, living in a shrinking habitat threatened by human encroachment, by global warming. I’ll probably never see one in the wild, but I like knowing that they’re there, lurking in some remote Himalayan mountain wilderness.

To some extent my obsession with snow leopards is a lot like my environmentalism in general. I’m not really a big nature gal. I prefer wandering in cities to hiking up remote mountaintops. But I like knowing that unspoiled wilderness is out there.

I’ve been concerned about environmental issues since I was a kid. I think it was the oil spill off Santa Barbara that did it – that iconic LIFE MAGAZINE cover of the oil-soaked sea bird. Plus, that TV commercial, with the Indian weeping one single tear over trash-strewn wilderness. Even if he was actually Italian.

On a more rational level, seeing how in my own lifetime environmental regulations have greatly improved the air in my home state of California made me a believer. Also, my summer job of many years, working at the San Diego Zoo. The Zoo is a non-profit organization with a mission to preserve endangered species and protect the habitats necessary for those species to survive and thrive. You can’t help but absorb some of that, even if your job is flipping burgers or ringing up T-shirts and postcards.

And growing up by the ocean. Even if I’m not a nature gal, smelling the brine, digging my toes into the sand, watching the waves, the water that goes on forever, that is so overwhelmingly vast. We’re a part of nature. We need to be reminded of that.

I’ve belonged to so many environmental organizations that I lose count. I spend a lot of time every day signing online petitions. Reposting and retweeting them. Does this do any real good? I don’t know. But someone sends me an email to save wolves, or redwoods, or polar bears, or prairie chickens, or snow leopards, I sign it. Stop Keystone XL, I sign it. Save the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, signed. Tweeted. Reposted.

I drive a high-mileage car, when I actually drive it. Mostly, I walk. Where I’m living now, if it’s too far to walk, I take public transportation. That’s a luxury that a writer working from home has that others don’t, I realize.

These are all small things. I don’t know what the big thing I could do that would help might be. Except for one, and maybe it’s not that big either.

I write novels. Quirky suspense, with some humor. I include issues that I care about. Things that make me angry. Things that I think that are important.

For my third book, HOUR OF THE RAT, I decided that I wanted to deal with environmental issues.

HOUR OF THE RAT is a sequel to ROCK PAPER TIGER. Like RPT, HOUR OF THE RAT takes place in contemporary China and features the somewhat battered, at times self-medicating, PTSD suffering, perennially snarky heroine, Ellie McEnroe.

It’s no great stretch to work in environmental concerns in a book set in today’s China—just look at the horrific smog that blanketed northern China this past January, pollution that was so severe that it exceeded “hazardous” on the Air Quality Scale, going into levels of badness for which there are no labels on the monitors—just “Beyond Index.” China’s cities are some of the most polluted in the world. There are “cancer villages” throughout the country, drinking water contaminated with heavy metals, crops tainted with pesticides and adulterants, massive desertification, dead and dying rivers.

In many ways, China’s turbo-charged modernization has been an amazing success story. But for China’s environment, it’s largely been a disaster. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which was the attitude of the first Chairman of the People’s Republic, Mao Zedong. Mao believed that China’s people were a blank slate that he could write upon, and that the natural environment could be remade as well. It was all a matter of applying sufficient will. The slogan “Man must conquer nature” ruled the day.

Mass movements like the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution greatly contributed to China’s ecological devastation, but one also could argue that the severe damage to China’s economy they inflicted slowed down the rush to “industrialize at any cost.” By the 90s, however, the brakes were off. Not only because of a desire on the part of the central government to lift China’s one billion citizens out of poverty and to create a modern, powerful state, but because a small number of people were able to get very, very rich in the process.

On paper, China has powerful and even progressive environmental regulations (and some admirable goals for renewable energy and green development, and a growing, serious commitment to greatly reduce the use of coal). On the ground, SEPA, China’s EPA, lacks the enforcement budget to go after polluters in any comprehensive way, and all across China, factories pollute with impunity. Local officials take kickbacks for permitting projects that don’t pass environmental reviews, and meanwhile, back in Beijing, the central government worries that throttling back unbridled growth will increase unemployment, and therefore, social unrest.

But unbreathable air and poisoned rivers also create unrest. Many of the approximately 180,000 “mass incidents” (e.g., protests) in China last year were provoked by pollution or other environmental concerns. From poor farmers protesting factories that destroy their crops to wealthy urban dwellers who would like to be able to breathe safely in their own cities, these issues cut across class, profession and location.

Also, across borders.

By setting a novel in China that deals with environmental issues, my intention is not to let the Western world off the hook. A major plot strand of HOUR OF THE RAT has to do with the outsourcing of “First World” pollution and the consequence of a U.S. “agricultural industrial complex” that has more in common with manufacturing than it does with farming. (I’ll leave the details for the book)

I realize that this all sounds pretty heavy. But when I was writing HOUR OF THE RAT, I referred to it as “a light-hearted romp through the environmental apocalypse,” and I like to think that’s true. It’s a suspense novel with a good dose of humor, and the last thing I want to do is to be didactic.

Also, in spite of China’s environmental crisis, the country still has some of most stunning landscapes on the planet, and I wanted to share a few of those with you: the surreal beauty of Yangshuo, the wildness of Guizhou, Dali’s combination of charming traditional architecture and gorgeous mountain scenery. Ellie may not be the most reliable tour-guide (she goes to a couple of places I’d recommend you avoid), but trust me, it’s hard to beat floating down the Yuelong River on a bamboo raft.

And snow leopards. I know they are there, hiding in China’s mountains. Even if I never see them.

Monday, May 20, 2013

PBS Masterpiece Mystery! Summer Line-Up

Great News. PBS Summer Masterpiece Mystery! Line-Up. 9 p.m. Sundays. Check your local listings:

Inspector Lewis is back in Series VI, starting June 16, with four episodes.
On July 7, Endeavor, Series I begins ( DC Endeavor Morse -he early Morse years!) with four episodes.
On August 18, The Lady Vanishes
August 25, Silk, Part I.

Great Line-up... and then Foyle's War back in September.

More info to come

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Crime Museums: International Museum Day

I'm all about holidays, and since today is International Museum Day, I thought I'd make a list of Crime-related Museums. I posted a list in 2011, so this is update! This is not a definitive list by any means. Feel free to add your favorites or comment on Museums you've visited.

Crime Museum: Washington D.C.
This museum includes a crime lab, the filming studios for America's Most Wanted,  a simulated shooting range, a high-speed police-chase, and hundreds of interactive exhibits and artifacts pertaining to America's favorite subject.

The Mob Museum, Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement — aka The Mob Museum — is an interactive museum dedicated to the history of organized crime and law enforcement. Focuses on organized crime's impact on Las Vegas history and its unique imprint on America and the world.

The Black Museum, London, England: The Black Museum of Scotland Yard is a collection of criminal memorabilia kept at the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police in London, England. Started in 1874, although unofficially, by 1875, it had become an official museum of the force, with a police inspector and a police constable assigned to duty there.

American Police Hall of Fame & Museum: Titusville, FL. The American Police Hall of Fame and Museum was founded in 1960. It is the nation's first national police museum and memorial dedicated to law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

New York City Police Museum

National Law Enforcement Museum. Washington, D.C.

Other Police Museums:
Cleveland Police Museum
Phoenix Police Museum
Houston Police Museum
Portland Police Museum
New Jersey State Police Museum & Learning Center
Security Forces Museum (San Antonio, TX)
Los Angeles Police Historical Society Museum & Community Education Center
Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum
International Police Museum of Southern California
Norfolk Police & Fire Rescue Museum
Police Heritage Museum, York, PA
Silver State National Peace Officers Museum, NV
National Police Museum. Delhi, India.
National Police Museum, Finland.
New Zealand Police Museum.


International Spy Museum, Washington, D.C. The only public museum in the United States solely dedicated to espionage and the only one in the world to provide a global perspective on a profession that has shaped history and continues to have a significant impact on world events. The Museum features the largest collection of international espionage artifacts ever placed on public display. Current special exhibit: Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains.

Bletchley Park: Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, England. Home of the Codebreakers, Enigma Machines, history and more. Surely you've seen Bletchley Circle? Visited the Churchill War Rooms? Check out the website, too, and there's also a virtual tour on the Internet.

Spy Museum. Vakoilumuseo. Tampere, Finland.

Special Exhibit: May 4-October 6, 2013: Spy, The Secret World of Espionage, Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA. Featuring over 200 historical artifacts and the stories they have to tell—including a collapsible motorbike, a two-man submersible, and a CIA robotic catfish—combined with firsthand spy experiences like personal disguises, voice alteration and navigating through a field of laser beams—find out what it's truly like to be a spy!

James Bond Museum: Momence, IL

The James Bond Exhibit at the Dezer Collection. Miami, FL

Any favorite crime museum I've forgotten? Make a comment? Any Museum Mysteries you'll be reading today?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I love the award winning Michael Stanley Kubu series set in Botswana.. well, I love both Stan Trollip and Michael Sears, partners in crime who craft this series together as Michael Stanley.  They've both been at my home in Berkeley for Literary Salons, and I've joined up with them at various mystery conventions. Stan splits his time between Minnesota and Knysna, South Africa, and Michael lives in Johannasburg, South Africa, and they've both spent plenty of time in the country of Botswana.

Retired South African professors, they have worked in academia and business. Sears is a mathematician, specializing in geological remote sensing. Trollip is an educator, interested in how computers can improve teaching and learning, and a pilot. They have been on numerous flying safaris to Botswana and Zimbabwe, where it was always exciting to buzz dirt airstrips to shoo the elephants off. Their many adventures include tracking lions, fighting bush fires, being charged by an elephant, and losing their navigation maps over the Kalahari when their aircraft door popped open. These trips have fed their love both for the bush, as well as for Botswana.


Michael Stanley: A Taste of Africa

Our protagonist, Assistant Superintendent David “Kubu” Bengu, is a large man by any standards, and he loves to eat. It is not by accident that his nickname “Kubu” means hippopotamus in the local language of Botswana. He may appear large, slow, and placid, but like his namesake is dangerous when roused.

About six months ago, we received an email from Vincent Moureau, a Kubu fan in Brussels, Belgium. Not only did he suggest that we put together a small cookbook of Kubu’s favorite foods, but he also proposed the very catchy title of KUkBUk. What a great pun! We were intrigued.

The cuisine of southern Africa has had a variety of influences. The staple diet of the black population revolves around corn meal, which is made into a dry porridge called pap. Dry pap is held in the fingers and used to eat a meat stew or a tomato-onion sauce. It is now part of a braaivleis (barbeque).

The Dutch brought slaves from Malaya and other eastern countries to the Cape in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries. Their delicate curries are now part of the national cuisine.

The British brought typical English cooking to South Africa – roasts, steak and kidney pies, fish on Fridays, and over-cooked vegetables. Fortunately (from a culinary perspective), they also brought tens of thousands of laborers from India to work on the sugar cane plantations on South Africa’s east coast. So delicious hot curries are also on most menus.

Although food plays a big role in Kubu’s life, there are only two cooking scenes in our first four books. In THE SECOND DEATH OF GOODLUCK TINUBU (A DEADLY TRADE outside North America), the eccentric camp cook, Moremi, makes a very traditional South African dish of Malay heritage called bobotie, while being watched by his tame go-away bird. At the end of DEATH OF THE MANTIS, Kubu has to make good on a pledge he gave to his wife, Joy, to help a little more on the domestic scene. So he cooks his first meal ever – a completely non-traditional meal of sweet and sour pork. Despite several near disasters, he manages to produce the meal – at least a reasonable facsimile of it – a mere two hours late. Fortunately Joy is touched by Kubu’s efforts, and the meal is deemed a success.

So what does Kubu like to eat? Kubu is very cosmopolitan in his food choices (although he dislikes tripe, which is a traditional Botswana dish), and he’s willing to try any type of cuisine once. He would claim that the quality of the food is of prime importance to him. Joy would probably interject that quality is important only if there is sufficient quantity.

So you get the picture. Meals need to be big! Kubu’s preference is to have a multi-course meal, with starters, main course, and dessert, liberally lubricated with the best wine he can afford which, on an Assistant Superintendent’s salary, is usually ordinary table wine.

A favorite appetizer is chicken livers peri-peri. It is a rich, usually generous dish of cooked chicken livers marinated in a peri-peri sauce. As far as we know, peri-peri originated in Mozambique and is a spicy concoction of lime juice, vinegar, garlic, paprika, and dried chilies. It can be quite hot, which Kubu likes. The chicken livers are spread on buttered brown bread. When all the livers are gone, the remaining sauce is perfect for mopping up. Ideally Kubu would like a dry Riesling as an accompaniment.

For the main course, Kubu enjoys above all a huge steak, preferably a rump steak cooked medium rare, smothered in monkey-gland sauce (Don’t gag! It’s not from monkeys!) and surrounded by French fries.

Apparently monkey gland sauce got its name at the Savoy Hotel in London and was named in honor of a Russian-born French scientist, Dr. Abrahamovitch Serge Voronoff. Voronoff became famous for his treatment to reverse the ageing process in humans – by grafting monkey testicle tissue onto human testicles. Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had a professor in one of his Sherlock Holmes stories inject himself with monkey-gland extract.

One of the staff at the Savoy Hotel introduced the sauce at the Old Carlton Hotel in Johannesburg. It became a hit and has remained popular in South Africa ever since.

If available, Kubu would choose a heavy South African Cabernet Sauvignon to quaff with the steak.

To round out the meal, Kubu would probably choose something simple like vanilla ice cream (3 scoops) smothered with hot chocolate, but a malva pudding or a melktert (milk tart) would also be acceptable. These last two are traditional farm desserts in South Africa.

Finally he’d enjoy a cup of coffee with hot milk, followed – for the purely medicinal purpose of settling the stomach, of course – by a decent South African brandy.

We have received several emails from readers, worried that if we let Detective Kubu continue to eat the way he has been, he is likely to suffer a heart attack. Joy is also concerned about Kubu’s weight and has made him promise to have a salad for lunch. Kubu, of course, dutifully complies but, since Joy didn’t say only a salad, he augments the meager contents of the lunch box she gives him with something more substantial – such as a steak.

The KUkBUk idea was such a good one that we have put together an e-book with recipes for many of Kubu’s favorite African dishes, including monkey gland sauce and his preferred non-alcoholic drink, the steelworks, made from kola tonic, lime juice, ginger beer, and Angostura bitters. 

We also commissioned the very talented Danish artist, Tao Wedfall Lydiksen, to create four cartoons of Kubu enjoying his food and wine. We’d be delighted if you try out a few of the recipes. Let us know if you like them at

Bob appetit and cheers!

To order A Taste of Africa by Michael Stanley, go Here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Borderlands Books, San Francisco

Borderlands Books (San Francisco's premiere science fiction, fantasy and horror specialty bookstore) announces its new mystery section.  Borderlands does not believe in doing anything by half measures, and the mystery section is no exception. The store has been completely rearranged and many additional shelves have been added to accommodate a serious foray into this new genre.

Alan Beatts, the owner, commented that, "Mysteries are a perfect match to our existing specialties and to our customers.  Many readers and authors of science fiction, fantasy and horror are enthusiastic about mysteries and crime fiction.  I'm really looking forward to introducing our existing customers to some of my favorite authors as well as meeting all the new customers who'll be coming in."

The new mystery section has a comprehensive selection of in-print hardcover, trade paperback and mass market books.  From classics to brand new titles, from cozies to crime fiction, Borderlands has it all. Borderlands' knowledgeable staff of booksellers is eager to begin recommending their favorite mysteries -- both to Borderlands current customers, and to the many under-served mystery fans throughout the Bay Area.  For the first time since the closure of the San Mateo's renowned M is for Mystery in 2011, the San Francisco peninsula has a store dedicated to mysteries.

About the company:  Borderlands Books is one of the world's largest science fiction, fantasy and horror specialty bookstores.  Since 1997 Alan Beatts and his staff have built an outstanding reputation throughout the US and overseas for their encyclopedic knowledge, outstanding customer service, and participation in numerous events including SF in SF, San Francisco's LitQuake festival, the World Fantasy Convention (which honored Mr. Beatts and the company's General Manager, Jude Feldman, with a nomination for the World Fantasy Award in 2008) and many others.  In 2009 Borderlands Books opened a 1500 square-foot cafe next door which has been a hit with existing customers as well as providing an unequaled venue for author appearances and special events.

Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia St., San Francisco  CA 94110
415 824-8203

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Reed Farrel Coleman: A Thank You

Today I welcome back one of my favorite writers and one of the nicest guys I've ever meet, Reed Farrel Coleman.

Reed Farrel Coleman is the former executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America. He has published fourteen novels: two stand-alones and three series, including seven books in the Moe Prager series. Tower was co-authored with award-winning Irish writer Ken Bruen, and Gun Church was released as an exclusive audio download from
Reed is a three-time recipient of the Shamus Award for Best Detective Novel of the Year and is a two-time Edgar® Award nominee. He has also received the Macavity, Barry, and Anthony Awards. Reed was co-editor of the poetry journals Poetry Bone and The Lineup and the editor of the short story anthology Hard Boiled Brooklyn. His short fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in The Long Island Quarterly, Wall Street Noir, Brooklyn Noir 3, The Darker Mask, These Guns For Hire, Crimespree Magazine, and several other publications.

Reed Farrel Coleman: A Thank You

The other night at the Edgar banquet, I sat and listened to Dennis Lehane’s acceptance speech when he won the Edgar® Award for Best Novel. The unscripted speech was very moving in an unexpected way. There was Dennis, standing at the podium, dumbfounded, gathering himself, turning the statuette to face him, and introducing himself to Poe. Great moment. During his brief remarks, Dennis thanked his publisher, his agent, his family, and all the people you would expect him to thank. Nothing out of the ordinary there, but then he added one last thank you and that’s what got to me. Dennis thanked the city of Boston. Yes, he acknowledged the recent tragedy. Yet, that wasn’t the point, not exactly. He was thanking Boston for helping to shape the person, good and bad, he is, and, by extention, the writer he is. I understood his sentiment completely because it is precisely how I feel about Brooklyn.

The other day, when I was contacted by a childhood friend whom I hadn’t heard from in forty-years, it dawned on me that I have lived away from Brooklyn (though not that far away) longer than I lived in Brooklyn. The thing is, I have never been able to escape Brooklyn. I have never wanted to. Brooklyn gave me everything I ever needed and, I suppose, a lot of stuff I could have done without. Or maybe not. As a writer and as a middle aged man, It’s impossible to separate what you need from what you don’t. One part of Brooklyn in particular, Coney Island, is so integral to me as a person and as a writer that I sometimes feel like a bird who, as a hatchling, imprinted on the parachute jump instead of his parents.

In no book have I felt this connection to my hometown like I did while writing Onion Street. As Onion Street is a prequel set in 1967 and Moe is just another aimless college student, I had to get into Moe’s head and the setting in a profoundly different way than I had before. Moe is thirty or so in Walking the Perfect Square, the first novel in the series. He’d been on the job as a NYPD cop for ten years. Basically he’d been there, done that, no matter where there was or what that had been. So the eyes through which he saw New York and his old Brooklyn neighborhood were more than a bit world weary and jaundiced. But the eyes of the twenty year old Moe were still untainted. In getting into the young Moe’s head, seeing the world through his inexperienced eyes had the effect of bringing me back in time. It got me back in touch with how I had once felt about Brooklyn, not as a grown man but as a kid. How it was a world of dangerous wonder to me.

I hope the readers get that when they read Onion Street. And if I’m ever lucky enough to win an Edgar, I think I’ll get up behind that podium and steal part of Dennis Lehane’s acceptance speech. Because, frankly, I don’t know where I’d be as a writer or as a person without Brooklyn.

Monday, May 13, 2013


Join Mystery Readers NorCal for an evening with Thriller Writers Jenny Milchman & Richard North Patterson, Monday, May 20, 7 p.m.,  Berkeley, CA 

Please RSVP (make a comment w/your email below) for directions.

Jenny Milchman, a suspense writer from New Jersey, is on a 7-month booktour. Certainly one of the longest and most grueling, ever! Her debut novel, COVER OF SNOW, released in January 2013. Her short story "The Closet" was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in November 2012. Another short story, "The Very Old Man," has been an Amazon bestseller, and the short work Black Sun on Tupper Lake will appear in the anthology ADIRONDACK MYSTERIES II.

Jenny is the Chair of the International Thriller Writers Debut Authors Program, and the founder of Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, which was celebrated in all 50 states and four foreign countries in 2011.

Jenny hosts the Made It Moments forum on her blog, which has featured more than 200 international bestsellers, Edgar winners, and independent authors, co-hosts the literary series Writing Matters, which attracts guests coast-to-coast and has received national media attention, and teaches writing and publishing for New York Writers Workshop and Arts By The People.

Richard North Patterson is the award winning novelist of over 20 novels. His latest is Fall from Grace. Richard North Patterson was born in 1947 in Berkeley, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland and graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1968. In 1971 he graduated Case Western Reserve Law School and went on to serve as an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Ohio. He was a partner in several of the country’s leading law firms and also served as the liaison for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to the Watergate Special Prosecutor.

He started writing at the age of 29 when he had completed law school. He began his first book, The Lasko Tangent, as part of a creative writing course at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It won the Edgar Allan Poe Award in the category "Best First Mystery Novel (American)" in 1980.

In 1993, he retired from the practice of law to devote himself to writing. He is currently chairman of the National Governing Board for Common Cause, and has served on boards of several advocacy groups dealing with gun violence, political reform, and reproductive rights.

He lives in San Francisco, Martha's Vineyard with his partner and Cabo San Lucas with his wife Dr Nancy Clair.

In addition to winning the Edgar Allan Poe Award, he is also the recipient of the 1995 International Grand Prix de Littérature Policière (the most prestigious award for crime and detective fiction in France).


The Spinetingler Awards are presented by Spinetingler Magazine. Readers vote for nominees online.   

Best Novel -- New Voice: Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn (Crown)

Best Novel -- Rising Star/Legend: The Cold Cold Ground, by Adrian McKinty (Seventh Street) 

Best Novella/Short Novel: A Woman and a Knife, by Matthew C. Funk (from Uncle B’s Drive-in Fiction, edited by Elisha Murphy; CreateSpace) 

Best Anthology/Short Story Collection: Roachkiller & Other Stories, by R. Narvaez (Beyond the Page) 

Best Short Story on the Web: “The Tractor Thief’s Jacket,” by Gita M. Smith (MudJob, September 2012) 

Best Cover: 18 Days, by Allen Miles (Byker e-book)

Friday, May 10, 2013


Mother's Day: So many infamous Mothers in Mysteries, but this is just a sampling with emphasis on the Mother's Day Holiday. If I listed all the mysteries and crime fiction with famous and infamous mothers, the list would be way too long. Be sure and scroll down to the Psycho Trailer!


Angel at Troublesome Creek by Mignon F. Ballard
How to Murder Your Mother-in-Law, Mum's the Word by Dorothy Cannell
Mother's Day Murder by Wensley Clarkson
A Darkly Hidden Truth by Donna Fletcher Crow
Motherhood is Murder (Shorts) by Mary Daheim, Carolyn Hart, Shirley Rousseau Murphy and Jane Isenberg
Murder Can Upset Your Mother by Selma Eichler
Bon Bon Voyage by Nancy Fairbanks
Murder for Mother: Short Story collection, edited by Martin S. Greenberg
Murder Superior by Jane Haddam
The Mother’s Day Murder by Lee Harris
Mother’s Day by Patricia MacDonald
Mother's Day by Dennis McDougal
Mother’s Day Murder by Leslie Meier
Mother's Day Out by Karen MacInerney (not on Mother's Day exactly)
Mom, Apple Pie & Murder: A collection of New Mysteries for Mother’s Day, edited by Nancy Pickard
Mother’s Day by Joshua Quittner and Michelle Slatalla
A Mother's Day Murder by Genevieve Scholl

And, over at KingsRiverLife, there are several original Mother's Day mystery short stories.

Happy Mother's Day!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Please Check Your Machetes at the Door: Tamar Myers

Today I welcome back Mystery Author Tamar Myers. Her latest novel, THE GIRL WHO MARRIED AN EAGLE (William Morrow), is a dark, compelling fourth installment in her Belgian-Congo mystery series. Based on true events that happened in Tamar’s life, this mystery revolves around the frightening reality of child brides in what used to be the Belgian-Congo.

GIVE-AWAY: Comment (by May 15) about this post below (with your email) to win a copy of The Girl Who Married an Eagle. U.S. only. One person will be selected-random draw.


When I was seven years old, a head-hunter waving a machete chased me through the African jungle. I got away. When I was fifteen my parents came into my bedroom one evening and announced that our home might be attacked that night. In that event they would be hacked to death by machetes, but if I managed to survive by hiding in the crawl space, then perhaps I could follow the river all the way to Angola. That last event happened in 1964. Obviously I survived, but that is another story—one waiting for a savvy editor to pounce on. Machetes, unfortunately, have never gone out of fashion in Africa. Never. They are omnipresent, from Mali to South Africa, and from Nigeria to Kenya.

Perhaps it will not surprise you to learn that I have been a light sleeper my entire life, fearful that I might wakeup to the sight of a machete suspended above my head. I have undergone various therapies on account of this, some more successful than others. Nonetheless, during the year in which I wrote The Girl Who Married an Eagle, I suffered what is commonly referred to as a “nervous breakdown.” This book is by far the most autobiographical of my African novels, and the events in it described closely parallel what happened to my family, as well as in surrounding area. The reason that writing it took such a toll on me, I believe, is that in order to gain access to the memory banks where this information is stored. I would begin each day by immersing myself into my past and reliving large chunks of my childhood. Some of this was indeed therapeutic. A lot of it was downright disturbing. All of it was exhausting.

You see, when I write about Africa, it is as if I go “home” again. I can smell soil—both wet and dry. I can smell the fecund odour of forest and that of the rotting mangoes underfoot on the mission trees. I hear the weaver birds overhead in the palms, the call of francolins at dusk, the yip of jackals, the cough of the leopard, and the laugh of hyenas. Human sounds are the most evocative: the smell of wood cooking fires, the laughter of women, babies crying, and drums throbbing through the night. Kill the white man, kill the white man, kill the white man they pulse.

At the end of each writing day, I “climb” back out of Africa and into 21st Century America. This evening, after walking my basenji dog (a barkless African breed), I will settle into my Lazy Boy recliner with a hug mug of herbal tea and watch two episodes of HB0’s Game of Thrones. Tonight, if I am very lucky, I won’t have any nightmares. But if I do, they won’t involve spears and maces, and knights on horseback; they will be all about machetes. Just hopefully not tonight. Please check your machetes at the door.


Each year, the National Book Foundation awards a number of prizes of up to $2,500 each to individuals and institutions—or partnerships between the two—that have developed innovative means of creating and sustaining a lifelong love of reading.

From the National Book Website: 
2013 Innovations in Reading Prize Winners!

City National Bank for Reading Is the Way Up

Los Angeles, CA
City National Bank believes that a good education and the ability to learn throughout one’s career are vital to success in today’s world―and it all starts with reading.
Reading Is the Way Up® was started in 2002 to address the plight of school libraries and the lack of current and compelling books available to students. To date, the program has placed over 170,000 books into the hands of students. City National has done this through strategic partnerships with Barnes and Noble and Reading Is Fundamental, with the goal of promoting book ownership.
In 2005, a literacy grant component was added to the program. Since then, more than $600,000 in grants has been awarded to elementary, middle, and high school teachers in the five states where City National has offices. In 2011, school author visits were added to the program, and each student in attendance gets a signed copy of the author's book. In addition, City National colleagues are encouraged to participate in the program and are given paid time off to do so.
The Reading Is the Way Up® program has reached over 100,000 children and continues to look for creative ways to expand without losing the program’s focus.
Little Free Library

Little Free Library

Hudson, WI

In 2010, when Todd Bol and Rick Brooks first shared ideas about what was to become the Little Free Library movement, the idea was simple—a box of books that looked like a one-room school house with a sign that said “Free Books.” Posted in his front yard by the St. Croix River in Hudson, Wisconsin, the first model was a memorial to Bol’s mother, a teacher who loved to read. But the curiosity and delight of neighbors suggested there was something more to it. The phrase “Take a Book, Return a Book” explained it pretty well, the name Little Free Library stuck, and the mission became clear—to promote a sense of community, reading for children, literacy for adults, and libraries around the world. Sense of community trumped everything. Books became the currency of friendship, and constructing the free neighborhood book exchanges themselves emerged as a new American folk craft.
By late 2011, nearly 400 Little Free Libraries had been installed in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and several other states. Within two more years, the total had swelled to between 6,000 and 8,000 in forty-two countries, from Ghana, Uganda, and Nigeria to Japan, Australia, Brazil, and a dozen European nations. Millions of people have opened the doors of Little Free Libraries to find good books donated by their neighbors and contributed their favorites for others to read.

The Uni Project

The Uni Project

New York, NY

The Uni is a portable reading room for New York City. Conceived of and run by Leslie and Sam Davol, the purpose of the Uni is to provide a new kind of amenity for city residents, while fostering a stronger, more prominent culture of reading and learning at street level.
The Uni consists of lightweight cubes that stack to create an attractive place to gather. Cubes also serve as shelves, providing access to high-quality books and hands-on learning activities for the public to browse and read. Benches provide seating, and experienced volunteers act as hosts. What happens next is simple: people gather around, pull books off shelves, sit down, and read. But the effect is profound: people are transformed into readers on a kind of stage. Neighborhoods are transformed into places where the value of reading and learning is recognized, promoted, and shared.
The Uni was launched with a crowd-funding campaign and put into service on September 11, 2011. In 2012, operating as a nonprofit, Leslie and Sam deployed the Uni ten times in seven different New York City neighborhoods, at times partnering with the Queens and Brooklyn public libraries. They also shipped a second Uni to Almaty, Kazakhstan, for deployment there by the U.S. Consulate, funded by the U.S. State Department.
In 2013, with the support of foundations and a growing list of contributors, the project will more than double the number of NYC deployments, continuing to prioritize emerging public spaces and underserved communities. Leslie and Sam’s goal is to establish a regular circuit for the Uni and involve a growing number of educational partners—teachers, libraries, and museums—who want to reach beyond their walls. The project will also launch a new cart design, created by Uni architects Höweler + Yoon, which will be offered to neighborhoods and cities beyond the reach of the Uni in New York.

Uprise Books Project

The Uprise Books Project

Vancouver, WA

The Uprise Books Project was founded in 2011 with a very simple mission: to encourage underprivileged teens to read by providing them with new banned and challenged books.
Why banned and challenged books? There are a couple of big hurdles when it comes to getting teens to read. Simply getting kids access to books is the first step; kids in poorer neighborhoods tend to have fewer books in the home, they tend to live further from public libraries, and they often attend poorly funded schools.
But just giving teens books isn’t enough. Between family obligations (many are parents themselves), below-standard reading skills, and an environment that discourages anything close to intellectual activities, many disadvantaged teens need a better reason to read than simply being told "it's good for you."
The folks at Uprise believe that the "forbidden fruit" angle of banned and challenged literature could provide that motivation. Anyone who’s ever been a teenager knows that one of the best ways to pique their curiosity about something is to tell them they aren’t allowed to know about it, so why not use that trait for good? The same kid who couldn’t care less that the Modern Library calls The Great Gatsby one of the best novels of the twentieth century might jump at a book challenged for its “language and sexual references.” And judging by the feedback Uprise has received after giving books to a few hundred teens, they think they just might be onto something.



Seattle, WA

Worldreader is a US and European nonprofit created in 2010 by David Risher (former executive) and Colin McElwee (former ESADE Business School’s marketing director) whose mission is to make digital books (via e-readers and mobile phones) available to children and their families in the developing world, so millions of people can improve their lives. Worldreader combines new technologies, the mobile phone networks, and declining costs to provide immediate access to hundreds of thousands of local textbooks, storybooks, and international literature.
Via its e-reader programs, Worldreader has delivered over 480,000 e-books, impacting nearly 10,000 children and families in six sub-Saharan African countries. Those children now read more, read better, and are improving their communities. In addition, through Worldreader Mobile―a book application―more than half a million people globally are reading a wide variety of books, including educational material, health tips, love stories, prize-winning short stories, children’s books, and classics, all on a device they already own―their mobile phone. Many of the books in Worldreader's programs are from African publishers and authors. When students begin to read, they are more engaged when the stories in their books are familiar to them. Worldreader partners with African publishers to make their books available to children in the e-reader programs, and to everyone through Worldreader Mobile. At the same time, the literature of the world is of immense interest to children and adults everywhere. Worldreader's international publishing partners make their books available at no cost, exposing children and families everywhere to some of the best-known literature in the world.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Agatha Christie's Egypt: High Tea and Agatha's Egypt of the 1920s and 30s

This press release just crossed my desk. Sounds like my cup of tea! Check your calendar. If you're in the Bay Area on May 26, you just might want to attend.

Fundraiser for The Northern California Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt
May 26th, 2013, 2 to 5 PM, Imagine Affairs Art Lounge, 408 14th Street, Oakland, CA

Step into the past with THE Lady of Mystery, Agatha Christie. This event will explore the Egypt of the 1920s and 1930s as well as travel back in time to the 12th Dynasty and the Court of Akhenaten as seen through the eyes of Agatha Christie. Christie was active in archaeology with her husband Max Mallowan in Syria and Mesopotamia and friends with such eminent Egyptologists as James Henry Breasted, Howard Carter, Stephen Glanville, and I.E.S. Edwards. After a brief look at her career and Egyptian novels and play, the event will feature one of her lesser tales of curses and murder at an Egyptian dig at Giza. This will be followed by a Cataract Hotel style High Tea (see menu below). 

Cost:  $35.00 per person, $20.00 for students. Includes a donation to the Chapter's lecture series and student outreach programs. This event must be advance sales to ensure adequate refreshments for the tea. This event is subject cancellation if inadequate numbers for the tea; full refund will be made if cancelled. Deadline to reserve for this event is Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Send checks made out to ARCE-NC or pay with Paypal link on website'sdonation page. Indicate the number in your party and an email address to which a confir-mation will be sent. Checks should be mailed to ARCE-NC, 439 Buena Vista Avenue, Redwood City, CA 94061

Tea Menu 
(Each table will have home-churned honey butter and lemon curd

Tea Sandwiches 
Cucumber with cream cheese on whole wheat pain de mie 
Chicken breast with sage butter and romaine lettuce on pain de mie 
Egg salad on whole wheat pain de mie 
Shrimp salad with celery and dill mayonnaise on pain de mie 

Savoy scones with dried currants and finished with vanilla sugar 
Scones with dates and bacon finished with turbinado sugar 

Olive oil cake with crème chantilly and strawberries 
Madeleine cake with fresh berries in syrup 

French Macaron selection: Earl grey ganache, Raspberry, Hazelnut with browned butter 

Fresh berry tartlets with pastry cream 

Fig Newtons 

Pomegranate Turkish Delight with walnuts

Anthony Award Nominees

Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, announced the Anthony Award Nominees for 2013. The winners will be chosen by the full time members of the 44th Bouchercon September 19-22, in Albany, New York. Congratulations to all!

 Dare Me - Megan Abbott [Reagan Arthur]
 The Trinity Game - Sean Chercover [Thomas & Mercer]
 Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn [Crown]
 The Beautiful Mystery - Louise Penny [Minotaur]
 The Other Woman - Hank Phillippi Ryan [Forge]

 Don't Ever Get Old - Daniel Friedman [Thomas Dunne]
 The Professionals - Owen Laukkanen [Putnam]
 The Expats - Chris Pavone [Crown]
 The 500 - Matthew Quirk [Reagan Arthur]
 Black Fridays - Michael Sears [Putnam]

 Whiplash River - Lou Berney [William Morrow]
 Murder for Choir - Joelle Charbonneau [Berkley Prime Crime]
 And She Was - Alison Gaylin [Harper]
 Blessed are the Dead - Malla Nunn [Emily Bestler]
 Big Maria - Johnny Shaw [Thomas & Mercer]

 "Mischief in Mesopotamia" - Dana Cameron, EQMM, Nov 2012
 "Kept in the Dark" - Shelia Connolly, Best New England Crime Stories:
Blood Moon [Level Best]
 "The Lord is My Shamus" - Barb Goffman, Chesapeake Crimes: This Job is
Murder, p.97 [Wildside]
 "Peaches" - Todd Robinson, Grift, Spring 2012, p.80
 "The Unremarkable Heart" - Karin Slaughter, Mystery Writers of America
Presents: Vengeance, p.177 [Mulholland]

Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers on the World's
Greatest Mystery Novels - John Connolly and Declan Burke, eds. [Hodder & Stoughton/Emily Bestler]
 Blood Relations: The Selected Letters of Ellery Queen, 1947-1950 - Joseph Goodrich, ed. [Perfect Crime]
 More Forensics and Fiction: Crime Writers Morbidly Curious Questions Expertly Answered - D.P. Lyle, M.D. [Medallion]
 The Grand Tour: Around the World with the Queen of Mystery Agatha Christie - Mathew Prichard, ed. [Harper]
 In Pursuit of Spenser: Mystery Writers on Robert B. Parker and the Creation of an American Hero - Otto Penzler, ed. [Smart Pop]


The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award Longlist was announced. This award is open to British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback over the previous 12 months. The shortlist of six finalists will be announced on July 1. Readers will vote from the shortlist. Votes can be cast online here.

Online votes will be counted alongside votes of the expert judging panel, the members of which include Val McDermid, David Swillman, the fiction head of co-sponsor WHSmith, and Simon Theakston, executive director of title sponsor T&R Theakston. The winner will receive a cash prize of £3,000 and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakstons Old Peculier.

The 2013 longlist:

  • The Guilty One, by Lisa Ballantyne (Piatkus)
  • Finders Keepers, by Belinda Bauer (Transworld)
  • Rush of Blood, by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown)
  • Dead Scared, by S.J. Bolton (Corgi)
  • The Affair, by Lee Child (Transworld)
  • A Foreign Country, by Charles Cumming (HarperCollins)
  • Safe House, by Chris Ewan (Faber and Faber)
  • Not Dead Yet, by Peter James (Macmillan)
  • Siege, by Simon Kernick (Bantam Press)
  • Prague Fatale, by Philip Kerr (Quercus)
  • The Rage, by Gene Kerrigan (Vintage)
  • Birthdays for the Dead, by Stuart MacBride (Harper)
  • The Dark Winter, by David Mark (Quercus)
  • The Lewis Man, by Peter May (Quercus)
  • Gods and Beasts, by Denise Mina (Orion)
  • Stolen Souls, by Stuart Neville (Vintage)
  • Sacrilege, by S.J. Parris (Harper)
  • A Dark Redemption, by Stav Sherez (Faber and Faber)
  • Hat Tip: The Rap Sheet

    Tuesday, May 7, 2013


    This is really great! What is your library doing?

    IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations) 11th Annual International Marketing Awards:

    First place:

    University of Tartu Library, represented by Olga Einasto who represented the project “Talking Textbooks” (Rääkivad Õpikud), which focused on meeting the needs of students who are blind or visually impaired and have difficulty studying and preparing for exams. The library employed student volunteers to read books and save them in audio files, digitize learning material and lecture notes to be used with special software to transform text into speech and read exam questions out loud during exam sessions. The library also provided a new at home library service. Library users, for whom visiting the library is difficult due to their physical or sensory disabilities, can borrow and return books with the aid of voluntary helpers. The library marketed the new services directly to potential users by partnering with the university’s Office for Academic Affairs and engaged in public seminars to obtain feedback and assessment. The first-place winner receives airfare, lodging, and registration for the2013 IFLA General Conference and Assembly to be held this year in Singapore, and a cash award of $1,000 (US) to further the marketing efforts of the library.

    Second place:

    Saskatoon Public Library, Saskatoon, Canada, represented by Kathryn Thompson The library launched a six-month re-branding campaign, “Collections-Connections” and solicited broad input from existing and potential library patrons as well as potential donors and library stakeholders. The tag line of the new logo – Collections. Connections. – reflects the foundation of the library (its collection) and portrays the connections the library strives to make with the community.

    Third place:

    Khakas Republican Children's Library, Russia for the project “Reading is a useful habit”, represented by Olga V. Lomova. The project engaged student reporters, who prepared videos announcing the library news. The project aimed at positioning the children's library as a cultural-leisure object, which develops useful habit — reading passion for the children and teenagers from the age of 7 to the age of 15.

    Saturday, May 4, 2013

    Agatha Award Winners 2013

    Agatha Award Winners were announced at Malice Domestic tonight. Congratulations to all.

    Best Novel:
    The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

    Best First Novel:
    Lowcountry Boil by Susan M. Boyer

    Best Non-fiction:
    Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers on the World's Greatest Mystery Novels by John Connolly/Declan Burke

    Best Short Story:
    "Mischief in Mesopotamia" by Dana Cameron (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)

    Best Children's/Young Adult Novel:
    The Code Busters Club, Case #2: The Haunted Lighthouse by Penny Warner

    Best Historical Novel:
    Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for Murder by Catriona McPherson

    Cinco de Mayo & Mexican Crime Fiction

    Celebrate Cinco de Mayo! Read a mystery!

    The holiday of Cinco De Mayo, The 5th Of May, commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862. It's primarily a regional holiday celebrated in the Mexican state capital city of Puebla and throughout the state of Puebla, with some recognition in other parts of the Mexico, and also in U.S. cities with a significant Mexican population. It's not, as many people believe, Mexico's Independence Day, which is actually September 16.

    I've blogged about Cinco de Mayo Mysteries before, but I think it's good to run this post again-- with a few additions for those who missed it...or won't take the extra step to click. :-)

    This list is supplemented with Mexican mystery writers and books set in Mexico. Let me know any titles or authors you think should be included.

    Add to your Cinco de Mayo reading pleasure with a Mexican Chocolate Celebration. Check out my other Blog, Dying for Chocolate, for recipes and suggestions of great Chocolate for Cinco de Mayo. Entrees, drinks and desserts and more desserts.  I've also posted several recipes for different versions of Mole Poblano and Mexican Chocolate Truffles (including Tequila Truffles).

    Cinco de Mayo Mysteries:
    The Cinco de Mayo Murder by Lee Harris
    A Corpse for Cuamantla by Harol Marshall
    Cinco de Mayo by Michael Martineck (science fiction/but cross-over)  
    The Bane of Cinco de Mayo by Nathan S. Mitchell
    The Cinco de Mayo Reckoning by Terry Money

    And a few Mexican crime writers who set their mysteries in Mexico but not Cinco de Mayo. They have not all been translated into English.

    Mexican Crime Writers:
    Paco Ignacio Taibo II The Uncomfortable Dead (and numerous other novels)
    Eduardo Monteverde
    Juan Hernandez Luna
    Martin Solares
    Elmer Mendoza
    Rolo Diez
    Juan Hernandez Luna

    Hardboiled fiction on the Mexican-American frontier: 
    Gabriel Trujillo Munoz-known for his science fiction and literary criticism, also writes detective fiction: Mesquite Road, Tijuana City Blues
    Carlos Fuentes: Cabeza de la Hidra (The Hydra Head)
    Joaquin Guerrero-Casaola: The Law of the Garrotte
    Rolando Hinojosa: Partners in Crime, Ask a Policeman

    Want to find out more?

    Read G.J. Demko's Landscapes of Crime.
    Read Lucha Corpi's: La Bloga on Chicana Crime Fiction: Where to?
    Read an essay by Jennifer Insley "Border criminals, border crime: hard-boiled fiction on the American Frontier in Confluencia: Revista Hispanica de Cultura y Literatura

    YA Literature? You Don't Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens, edited by Sarah Cortez (Arte Publico Press)

    Interested in Crime for the Holidays? Check out Mystery Readers Journal, Volume 25:1.

    And a fun fact: Five most popular Tequilas in the U.S.
    1. Jose Cuervo
    2. Patron
    3. Sauza
    4. Herradura
    5. Cabo Wabo