Thursday, December 30, 2010

Library Wall Bed

Library Wall Bed

Bookcases hide the bed and are mounted on high quality, heavy duty overhead tracks and rollers. The bookcases  roll to the side to reveal the bed. With the Library Bed, the sliding cases also function as bookcases.

These bookcases can handle 125 pounds each. Not sure that would hold enough of my own books, but certainly will hold several plus the iPad. Other features include built-in nightstands, a sloping headboard and lighting.

The main drawback to this set-up is that you need the two side cabinets (so that the bookcases have somewhere to roll when opened) and as a result, you need a fairly large clean wall space. This bed and cabinet do not require floor mounting.

Price: Now here's the rub: $10,000 - $12, 265  (mattress included!)

Hat Tip: Ron Charles

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year's Mysteries: A List

Time again for another holiday list: New Year Mysteries! 2011 is almost upon us, and I wish you a safe, healthy and  prosperous New Year. May mystery and mayhem only happen in crime fiction.

Here's a list of Crime Fiction Set at the New Year. As always, let me know if I've missed any titles.

Marian Babson: Line up for Murder
T. L. Barnett: Murder for the New Year
George Baxt: The Marlene Dietrich Murder Case
Nero Blanc: A Crossworder's Gift
Jon L. Breen: Touch of the Past
Rita Mae Brown: Full Cry
Alison Cairns: New Year Resolution
Lillian Stewart Carl: The Blue Hackle
Lee Child, ed: Killer Year: Stories to Die for
Anne Cleeves: Raven Black
Anna Ashwood Collins: Deadly Resolutions
Patricia Cornwell: Cause of Death
Mark Costello: Bag Men
Alisa Craig: Murder Goes Mumming
Jeffrey Deaver: The Devil's Teardrop
Colin Dexter: The Secret of Annexe 3
Carter Dickson: Death and the Gilded Man
Carole Nelson Douglas: Cat on a Hyacinth Hunt
Loren D. Estleman: Stress
Janet Evanovich: Plum New Year
J. Jefferson Fargeon: Death in Fancy Dress (aka The Fancy Dress Ball)
Quinn Fawcett: Siren Song
Jerrilyn Farmer: Dim Sum Dead
Frederick Forsyth: The Fourth Protocol
Janet Gleeson: The Grenadillo Box
J.M. Gregson: The Lancashire Leopard
Jane Haddam: Fountain of Death
Karen Harper: The Queene's Christmas
Lee Harris: The New Year's Eve Murder
Ellen Hart: Hallowed Murder, Merchant of Venus
Roy Hart: Seascape with Dead Figures
Lauren Henderson: Pretty Boy
Reginald Hill: Killing The Lawyers
J.A. Jance: Name Withheld
Rufus King: Holiday Homicide
Frances and Richard Lockridge: The Dishonest Murderer
Heather Dune Macadam: The Weeping Buddha
Ed McBain: Lullaby
Philip McLauren: Scream Black Murder
Elisabeth McNeill: Hot News
Leslie Meier: New Year's Eve Murder
James Melville: Body Wore Brocade
David William Meredith: The Christmas Card Murders
Miriam Ann Moore: Stayin' Alive
Tamar Myers: A Penny Urned
Leonardo Padura: Havana Blue (starts with a New Year's Eve hangover)
Elizabeth Peters: The Golden One
Edward O. Phillips: Sunday's Child
Ellery Queen: Calamity Town
Gillian Roberts: The Mummer’s Curse
Dorothy L. Sayers: The Nine Tailors (begins on New Year's Eve)
Joan Smith: Don't Leave Me This Way, Why Aren't They Screaming
Meg Taggart: Murder at the Savoy
Kathleen Taylor: Cold Front
Charles Todd: A Long Shadow
Patricia Wentworth: Clock Strikes Twelve
Valerie Wolzein: 'Tis the Season to be Murdered (aka And a Lethal New Year)
Mark Richard Zubro: The Truth Can Get You Killed

Check out my Chocolate Blog: Dying for Chocolate later this week for Chocolate Party Hats (ice cream cones) or last year's Champagne Truffles to make. Rather buy some? Here's a link to a Variety of Champagne Truffles.

Photo: Duke Magazine. Human numbers!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Charles Todd: New Year's Eve Guest Blog

With New Year's Eve fast approaching, Charles Todd (Caroline and Charles Todd) guest blog about A Long Shadow! Thanks, Caroline and Charles, for stopping by! Happy New Year! 

Charles and Caroline Todd are the best selling authors of the post-WWI historical Inspector Ian Rutledge series and the WWI series featuring Bess Crawford. The latest Inspector Ian Rutledge, A LONELY DEATH, comes out Jan. 4, 2011.

Charles Todd (Caroline and Charles Todd):

When we wrote the New Year’s Eve scene in A LONG SHADOW, we were thinking about the fact that the turn of a year is in a way a very emotional time. Auld Lang Syne is written in a minor key because at the stroke of midnight as people sing it, they aren’t looking forward to the upcoming year, they’re looking back, after the first flush of excitement and champagne as the ball drops.

In Inspector Ian Rutledge’s case, this was the end of a troubled year, and it’s brought home to him at a dinner party he’s attending on December 31st, 1919. The guest of honor, a young woman named Meredith Channing, invited to conduct a séance later for the amusement of all the guests, appears to know too much about his past for him to be quite comfortable in her presence. And when a call from the Yard interrupts his evening, he leaps at the chance to leave early, before the séance where he might well make a fool of himself if somehow Hamish is brought into it. He knows how unlikely that is, but the emotional burden of the past is too strong for reason. He makes his excuses and walks out—only to stumble, almost literally, into a worse reminder of the past, a machinegun shell casing left on the house steps. He recognizes the sound as it tumbles into the gutter, and he looks for it. When he finds it, he realizes that the design of poppies and skulls is intended to bring back the Great War in a threatening and terrifying way. What he doesn’t know is that someone is trying to break him by putting his life and his sanity in jeopardy.

Even as he goes about his duties as a policeman, this invisible stalker follows him, seeming to know even before he does where he will be, and how to test his courage and his mettle.

New Year’s Eve seemed to fit this theme as Rutledge moves into the dark, bleak depths of winter, facing the powerful forces of the case he must solve, and always, at his back, feeling the presence of his enemy, unseen, unknown, and seemingly unstoppable. Somehow the bright warmth of high summer or the wildflowers of spring or even the golden sunlight of autumn would have lessened, not enhanced, this story as it unfolds.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christie for Christmas: The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL! And, since we know longer have a Christie for Christmas from the Queen of Crime, I thought I'd share these covers of Agatha Christie's The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding! Recipe sans poison below!

Too late for this year, you can start now for next! :-)

Adapted from Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management (1865), a compendium of the quintessential dishes of Victorian England.

340 gr (12 oz) raisins
230 gr (8 oz) currants
230 gr (8 oz) mixed peel
170 gr (6 oz) bread crumbs
170 gr (6 oz) suet
4 eggs
1/2 wineglassful of brandy

1. Stone and cut the raisins in halves, but do not chop them
2. Wash, pick, and dry the currants, and mince the suet finely
3. Cut the candied peel into thin slices, and grate down the bread into fine crumbs
4. When all these dry ingredients are prepared, mix them well together
5. Moisten the mixture with the eggs, which should be well beaten, and the brandy
6. Stir well, that everything may be very thoroughly blended, and press the pudding into a buttered mould
7. Tie it down tightly with a floured cloth
8. Boil for 5 or 6 hours. It may be boiled in a cloth without a mould, and will require the same time allowed for cooking.
9. When the pudding is taken out of the pot, hang it up immediately by a hook, and put a plate or saucer underneath to catch the water that will drain from it. Leave it to dry out until Christmas Day.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Visit from St. Nick by Kelli Stanley

A Visit from St. Nick by Kelli Stanley
(with apologies to Clement Moore)

'Twas the night before Christmas, and alone in the room
The writer sat facing a deadline of doom.
Note cards were hung by the PC with care
In hopes for a sentence or even a pair.

The household was nestled, all snug in their beds
but the writer paced onward with crime in her head
And try as she might, no keys could she tap
To write her way out of a vicious plot trap.

When out on the roof there arose such a sound--
Like old fashioned type keys that pound-pound-pound-pound!
Away to the window she flew like a tweet,
Remembering how typewriters used to sound sweet.

The moon on the pavement was noir, black and white
While rain dripped down windows, no snowmen in sight
And just as she turned, her hopes again dashed,
Came a strong whiff of bourbon and another loud crash.

A wizened old elf, on the roof top he sat
Drinking Old Taylor whiskey and wearing a hat.
His fingers curled over a giant machine,
While he typed on the keys and cursed loud in between:

"Now Chandler, now Hammett!
Now McDonald, now Cain!
On Parker, on Woolrich,
On Mickey Spillane!"

"To the end of the page!
To the end of the book!
Forget about writing for Kindles and Nooks!"

His fingers flew over the keys like a train,
And the paper caught fire despite all the rain.
A curse and a shout and he looked up to see
The writer's face--frightened--and he chortled with glee.

Then, in a heartbeat, she heard from on high
The banging and pounding of keys from the sky!
Like thunder they sounded, the claps and the drums
And down the poor chimney came the wizened old bum.

He was dressed in a trench coat from head to his feet,
With a stogie clamped firmly between yellowed teeth.
His voice--how like Bogart's! His nose--like Durante!
And he gave out a wink and said, "Call me Santy."

Not as chubby as Greenstreet or pop-eyed like Lorre,
His fingers were gnarled and his gray hair was hoary,
But his fedora gleamed gold and his eyes twinkled too,
And the manuscript under his arm looked brand new.

All in all, he looked a noir-jolly old elf,
and the writer smiled at him in spite of herself.
A wink of his eye at the cookies and cream,
he pulled out a bottle--this time old Jim Beam.

He drank down the whiskey and went straight to his work,
Sitting down in the chair with his stogie and smirk.
His fingers flew faster than coursers that night,
Filled with noir magic and pulp writers' might.

Then laying a hand on the swell of his girth,
He burped up the whiskey, and cackled with mirth.
And placing a finger on broken-veined nose,
He doffed off his hat and up the chimney he rose.

He sprang on the typewriter, old bottle in hand
And rose from the roof in a manner quite grand.
But she heard him shout out, as he soared almost gone,

"Keep writing your books! Crime fiction lives on!"

Kelli Stanley

Thanks, Kelli! Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mystery Readers Journal: Bonus Issue with Subscription

Mystery Readers Journal is entering its 27th year. Yikes! How the time has flown. Subscribe now and receive a BONUS ISSUE: final issue for 2010: Volume 26:4 Hobbies and Special interests (out in January). That's 5 issues for the price of 4!

MRJ is a thematic quarterly review of the mystery genre. Each issue includes article reviews and author essays on a specific theme. Available in hardcopy or .pdf download.

2011 THEMES: Mystery Readers Journal: Volume 27. London Mysteries I & II, Animal Mysteries, Shrinks (and other mental health professionals).

Author! Author! essays are written by crime fiction authors who set their mysteries in the location of the issue or have a connection with the theme.  It's like being in the Bar or Cafe with your favorite writers. Also great for 'meeting' new authors.

Back issues are available as hardcopy, as well as downloads: Academic Mysteries 101, Academic Mysteries 202, Bibliomysteries, Scandinavian Mysteries, Irish Mysteries, African Mysteries, San Francisco Mysteries I, Los Angeles Mysteries I. Check HERE for other available issues.

Mystery Readers International is the largest mystery fan/reader organization in the world, is open to all readers, fans, critics, editors, publishers, and writers. Started by Janet A. Rudolph in Berkeley, California, it now has members in all 50 of the United States and 18 foreign countries. Members vote each year to nominate and select the winners of the Macavity Award. Mystery Readers Journal is a benefit of membership.

Have a look at the latest issue of Mystery Readers Journal: Island Mysteries

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gifts for Good Children: Transferware Children's Mugs & Plates

For Loving a Book
These "Gifts for Good Children" are transfer-printed patterns on mugs and plates from nineteenth century England (1820-1890).  They were intended as gifts and rewards for good children. I love the two mugs "For Loving a Book." Perhaps they was given to children who had just read their first book?

The mugs and plates were also used as teaching tools, thus the alphabet. Sometimes they had numbers, as well as math (division and addition), and even information on parts of speech (pronouns).

These antique mugs and plates sell for about $350-$450. You can find several on the Transferware Club website (many different dealers), as well as eBay, and occasionally in antique shops and at fleamarkets. The fact that they survived all this time is nothing short of a miracle. After all, they were given to children.

A recommended book on the subject is Gifts for Good Children by Noel Riley (1991).

For Loving a Book

The Learned Dog

Come Dear Child and let me see how you can say your ABC

A was an Archer Prepared for Battle
S is for Sheep
L is for Lamb, Lion, Lamp

For My Dear Girl
Christmas Day: Molded Alphabet Border teaches the Alphabet

Monday, December 20, 2010

Steve Landesberg: R.I.P.

Steve Landesberg who played Det. Sgt. Dietrich on the TV Show Barney Miller from 1975-1982, as well as other roles, most recently in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, died of cancer this morning. He was 65. More news soon.

Cartoon of the Day: JumpStart

Comic: JumpStart

Hat Tip: Kaye Wilkinson Barley

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Perfect Plant for the Mystery Reader

Perfect Holiday Plant for the Mystery Reader

Carnivorous Pitcher Plants at the UC Botanical Garden

Photo: D.H. Parks/Berkeleyside Flickr pool

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dragnet: Christmas Crime Redux

From Inner Toob, a blog exploring and celebrating the 'reality' of an alternate universe in which everything that ever happened on TV actually takes place, comes this Twice-Told Dragnet Christmas Story.  This is a great blend of two episodes from Dragnet that basically tell the same story, but in different eras of the show.  The first episode was in the 1960s, the second in the 1990s. Same Joe Friday, same Father Rojas. "The more you watch, the more you've seen!"

Dragnet Christmas Crime

Hat Tip: Bill Crider

Friday, December 17, 2010

11 Strange But True Christmas Crimes

Criminal Justice Degrees Guide Blog always has some interesting posts. Today they posted 10 Strange But True Christmas Crimes. Read the Entire Post HERE.  The holidays are a busy time for all, and criminals are certainly busy! Thefts of presents, to be sure, but lots of other crimes. I've added an 11th Crime to the list at the end.

1. Stolen Baby Jesus Use a GPS to avoid this crime!
2. WAL-MART stampede:  A just must have toy?
3. Stolen Christmas Trees: Buy your own!
4. Drunken Parade Float Driving:  Don't Drink and drive
5. Nativity Scene Vandalism:  What Can I say?
6. Frosty Stabbing: Inflatable Snowman didn't need this. Just doing his job.
7. Christmas Tree Cannabis:  The Perfect Tree?
8. Cannabis Christmas Card:  The USPS frowns on this, as does the prison system
9. Naughty Santa Claus  --our own San Francisco Macy's Santa Claus John Toomey, but he's already found another job
10. The Santa Claus Bandit:  Who wouldn't trust a fat man?

And, I'll add one more Christmas Crime to the List: Alameda, CA, has its own vandals. Last week I went to see the lights of "Christmas Tree Lane", an incredible display of holiday lights in the small island town of Alameda. Each house is decorated for the season in its own unique and over the top way, including one home's display of Santa's sled being pulled by a flock of Pink Flamingos. Sadly last weekend, vandals hit not just one night but two nights, ripping lights and posts from different homes.  Read the story HERE.

Oh the Holidays! Be safe! Be Honest!

Christmas Mysteries, Crime Fiction Authors, S-Z

The end of the list and none too soon. Only 9 days 'til Christmas. Here are the final authors who set their mysteries during Christmas. S-Z. Happy Holidays!

Here are the links that will complete this list:
Be sure and check out Christmas Crime Authors A-DAuthors E-H Authors I-N and  Authors O-R. As always, let me know if I've forgotten an author and title.

Sanders, Lawrence. The Fourth Deadly Sin
Saums, Mary. When the Last Magnolia Weeps
Sawyer, Corinne Holt. Ho Ho Homicide
Scherf, Margaret. The Gun in Daniel Webster’s Bust
Schumacher, Aileen. Framework for Death
Schweizer, Mark. The Alto Wore Tweeds
Sedaris, David. Holidays on Ice
Sefton, Maggie. Fleece Navidad
Sellars, M.R. Perfect Trust
Serafin, David. Christmas Rising
Shaber, Sarah. Burying Ground
Shannon, Dell. No Holiday For Crime
Sibley, Celestine. Spider in the Sink
Simenon, Georges. Maigret's Christmas
Slater, Susan [et al] Crooks, Crimes and Christmas
Smith, Barbara Burnett. Mistletoe From Purple Sage, 'Tis the Season for Murder (with Fred Hunter)
Smith, Frank. Fatal Flaw
Smith, George Harmon. The Christmas Angel
Smith, Joan. Don't Leave Me This Way
Smith, Terrence. The Devil and Webster Daniels
Smoak, Amanda. Generals' Row
Sprinkle, Patricia. A Mystery Bred in Buckhead
Stagge, Jonathan. The Yellow Taxi
Strohmeyer, Sarah. Bubbles All the Way
Swanson, Denise. Murder of a Barbie and Ken
Symons, Julian. The Detling Secret
Talley, Marcia. Occasion of Revenge
Taylor, Elizabeth Atwood. The Cable Car Murder
Taylor, Sarah Stewart. O' Artful Death
Temple, Lou Jane. Death is Semisweet
Thompson, Carlene. The Way You Look Tonight
Tooke, John. On the Twelfth Day of Christmas
Tourney, Leonard D. Knaves Templar
Tremayne, Peter. The Haunted Abbot
Trocheck, Kathy. A Midnight Clear
Underwood, Michael. A Party to Murder
Unsworth, Barry. Morality Play
VanLeeuwen, Jean. The Great Christmas Kidnapping Caper
Victor, Cynthia. What Matters Most
Viets, Elaine. Murder With All the Trimmings
Wainwright, John. The Life and Times of Christmas Calvert...Assassin
Walker, Persia. Darkness and the Devil behind Me
Walsh, Thomas. The Resurrection Man
Ward, Donald. Our Little Secret
Washburn Livia. The Christmas Cookie Killer
Weir, Charlene. A Cold Christmas
Welk, Mary. Deadly Little Christmas, A Merry Little Murder
Wildwind, Sharon. First Murder in Advent
Williams, David. Murder in Advent
Windsor, Patricia. The Christmas Killer
Wingfield, R.D. Frost at Christmas
Wolzien, Valerie. Deck the Halls With Murder
Wright, Eric. The Man Who Changed His Name
Yaffe, James. Mom Meets her Maker 
Zelvin, Elizabeth, Death Will Get You Sober

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Story of (Digital) Christmas

The Story of Christmas in the Digital Age!

Crime for the Holidays: Katherine Hall Page

Crime for the Holidays! Besides the huge list of Christmas Mysteries I've been posting here, I've invited several authors to Guest Blog about the holidays or whatever they'd like! Today I welcome Katherine Hall Page--and yes, there will be Chocolate. This is a cross-over post. My worlds collide: Chocolate and Crime Fiction!

Katherine Hall Page's The Body in the Gazebo (Wm. Morrow) 19th in her award winning series will be out in April. The Body in the Sleigh (Avon), a holiday book, is now out in paperback and her short story, “The Proof Is Always in the Pudding” appears in the current issue of The Strand magazine. Have Faith in Your Kitchen, Katherine Hall Page's collection of recipes is now available. Great Holiday Gift!

A Tale of How Two Old Friends Came to Cook a Book
And Yes, There Will Be Chocolate
By Katherine Hall Page

Few writers, perhaps none, can say they met their publishers at summer camp if not on the volleyball court then near it. Roger Lathbury, who started Orchises Press in 1983, and I were probably talking about books instead of spiking a ball. It was the early Sixties and we were at Rowe Camp, “Vision in the Berkshires”, a Unitarian Universalist camp for teens. There were a lot of longhaired guitar players strumming while we belted out “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore” and “If I Had a Hammer”. Campers toted around Hesse’s Siddhartha and Gibran’s The Prophet as talismans. Roger, however, was reading Fitzgerald, Auden, Sinclair Lewis, and Lewis Carroll. When we returned to our respective homes in northern New Jersey, he sent me a copy of the Jabberwocky translated into Latin. We were soul mates.

One memorable Saturday I went with him to Irving Penn’s studio in Manhattan. Roger collected photographs of his favorite authors taken by specific artists. Showing his trademark inventiveness even at this tender age, Roger funded his pursuit with a rubber address stamp business, the stamps made by him and shipped from his home. The object of desire that day was Penn’s famous portrait of Colette. Youthful ignorance can be bliss. We simply knocked on the studio door, which was opened by Penn himself. Wonderfully generous with his time, he pulled out the Colette (which Roger did purchase at a later time) and showed us a number of other extraordinary photographs. There may have been a cup of tea, as well.

I returned to the camp for several more summers. Roger didn’t, but we kept in touch, the thread snapping only during college in the way it does.

Three years ago I heard from someone that Roger was very much alive and well, a professor of English at George Mason University teaching, among other offerings, a highly popular graduate level course in nonsense. His Orchises Press in Alexandria published original poetry, reprints, and whatever took his fancy. I immediately Googled him and found the description he’d written for the site JacketFlap: “Kindly spry, youthful, ever blithe, yet (isn't it sad?) lonely, Roger Lathbury is known on four continents as ‘the man for whom spam was invented.’ The other three continents refuse to know him at all.” And this from the George Mason English Department listing: “Lathbury is a thoroughly delightful conversationalist; his imitations of Hapsburg rulers and wind chimes are renowned throughout Virginia. He does card tricks, can yodel in six non-European languages, and has built a collection of silica gel packages that is the envy of several backwater museums.” So often in life one’s memories of an individual prove a disappointment. I breathed a great sigh of relief—and emailed him immediately! Like a good claret, Roger had aged beautifully The following spring we met for coffee when I was in town for Malice Domestic and simply picked up where we had left off over 40 years earlier, talking long into the afternoon, much of it about what we had been reading in the interim. I confessed my desire to publish the recipes from my mystery series featuring caterer Faith Sibley Fairchild —Sibley incidentally was the name of one of Rowe Camp’s extremely rustic buildings—and Roger said, “I’ll do it.” Just like that. No nonsense at all.

I do not recall any of Roger’s teenaged culinary predilections. On those trips to Manhattan we probably ate at the Automat or Chock Full of Nuts and Rowe Camp ran mostly to large vats of tuna noodle type casseroles. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that he and I now share an interest in gastronomy, as well as the belief that food and crime are a natural pairing. The cookbook’s epigraph is “Le mauvais gout mène au crime”—“ Bad taste leads to crime.” (Baron Adolphe De Mareste (1784-1867). This also serves as a motto for the entire Faith Fairchild series.

When I started writing the first book, The Body in the Belfry (1990), my husband was on sabbatical and we were living in Lyon, France. Each day, I’d shop in an open air market that stretched for blocks along the Quai St. Antoine, and watch as Paul Bocuse selected his ingredients for that evening’s three star meals before following in his footsteps to select the ingredients for my more humble attempts. Back at the apartment, after putting the food away, I wrote. I liked mysteries with food in them—Rex Stout, Dorothy Sayers, Nan and Ivan, Virginia Rich—but I think Faith Fairchild was a product not just of my imagination, but the sights and smells of all that fabulous food in Lyon. (The wonderfully fresh baguettes never made it up my long flights of stairs intact-the heel was always missing by the time I opened my door).

Have Faith in Your Kitchen had been a work in progress since I first started putting recipes at the end of the books, starting with The Body in the Cast (1993). All the recipes are original, either created by me or the individual credited. The dishes are straightforward-anyone can make them-and require no expensive or exotic ingredients. In some cases, I’ve also suggested ways they can be modified to make them more heart-wise. The appendix lists the recipes by each book; some play a more prominent role in the plots than others. As I told Roger all this over coffee and croissants that day in Virginia, the book seemed to take shape right before my eyes. I’d include the Author’s Notes from the books—topics ranging from reading cookbooks solely for pleasure to funeral baked meats and other customs. The book would need an introduction. Illustrations?

Thus began the most enjoyable publishing experience of my life—a year of discussion of fonts, paper quality, and yes, illustrations, from a variety of sources: nineteenth century cookbooks, pen-and-ink drawings done by a friend. After lunch with Roger’s delightful family, I chose a burgundy Roxite Grade B cloth for the cover with a maroon headband (that little bit at the top of a sewn binding). We were doing two editions, a sewn paperback that could get messy in the kitchen and 100 signed, with a fountain pen to be precise, numbered casebound copies, both editions for “Those devoted to the cooking of mystery and the mysteries of cooking.” Roger showed me what J. D. Salinger had selected for “Hapworth 16, 1924” and, as it was after Salinger’s death, Roger felt free to relate the whole publishing adventure that sadly went awry (see Lathbury’s very moving article on it in the April 4, 2010 issue of New York Magazine). Jean Fogelberg took the author photo and did the marvelous cover design. Receiving author copies is always thrilling and a bit mystifying—“How did I do this?” This time it was less complicated, a huge thrill accompanied by the knowledge that it had all come about because of my friend Roger.

And now for the chocolate. Early on I knew that each book had to have a killer chocolate recipe in some form, so there have been cakes, cookies, bread puddings, and many references in the text to Faith Fairchild’s chocolate cravings. Here are what I consider the cream of the recipe crop: Glad’s Brownies and Chocolate Bread Pudding, both of which are the fan favorites, as well! Enjoy!
Glad’s Brownies

4 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sifted flour
1 cup dried cherries
1 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chocolate chunks or chips (milk or semi-sweet)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and lightly flour a 13”x 9” pan. Melt the chocolate squares together with the butter. Cool it slightly and beat in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the flour. Mix well, then add the cherries, walnuts, and chocolate chunks or chips. Put the batter in the pan and bake for about 35 minutes. Be careful not to over bake. Cool in the pan and serve. Makes a very generous1 1/2 dozen.

You may vary this recipe by substituting dried cranberries, golden or dark raisins for the cherries and pecans for the walnuts. Attributed in the book to Faith as a child, it is actually the creation of the author’s dear friend, Gladys Boalt of Stormville, New York.

Chocolate Bread Pudding

5 thick slices of chocolate bread, cubed
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups half and half or light cream
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
Butter to grease the pan
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

Mix the eggs, milk, half and half, sugar, vanilla, and salt together. Faith likes to pulse this in a blender, which makes it easy to pour over the bread cubes.

Put the bread cubes in a large mixing bowl and pour the egg mixture over them. Use the palm of your hand to gently push the bread into the liquid to make sure it absorbs evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Butter a Pyrex-type baking pan, approximately 12”x8”. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Mix the cherries and chocolate chips together in a small bowl.

Put a layer of the bread mixture in the pan, sprinkle the cherry/chip mixture over it, and cover with the remaining bread mixture. Again, use the palm of your hand to press down, so the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Bake for 40 minutes.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.
This is a very rich dessert and this recipe will serve 12 easily.

Neither Faith nor I have ever met a bread pudding we didn’t like. It’s comfort food. Many bakeries make chocolate bread. When Pigs Fly, the bakery company mentioned in the text is based in Wells, Maine, but their breads—including the chocolate bread—are sold at many Whole Foods and other markets. They also sell the bread—you bake it in your own kitchen for the last 30 minutes—online at They also sell a kit to make the chocolate bread.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Crime Fiction, Mystery Authors O-R

Here's the list of Christmas Mysteries, Authors O-R.  Hope you're having fun with the titles. Let me know if I've forgotten any! Be sure and check out Christmas Crime Authors A-DAuthors E-H and Authors I-N.

O'Connell, Carol. Judas Child
O'Marie, Sr. Carol Anne. Advent of Dying, Murder in Ordinary Time, A Novena for Murder
Stewart O’Nan. Last Night at the Lobster
Page, Katherine Hall. The Body in the Big Apple, The Body in the Bouillon, The Body in the Sleigh
Palmer, William. The Dons and Mr. Dickens
Papazoglou, Orania. Rich, Radiant Slaughter, Charisma
Parker, Gary E. Death Stalks a Holiday
Parker, Robert. The Widening Gyre
Paul, Barbara. A Chorus of Detectives
Pearson, Carol Lynn. A Stranger For Christmas
Pence, Joanne. Two Cooks A-Killing
Penny, Louise. A Fatal Grace
Perry, Anne. A Christmas Beginning, A Christmas Grace, A Christmas Guest, A Christmas Journey, A Christmas Secret, A Christmas Visitor, Silence in Hanover Close, A Christmas Promise
Peters, Elizabeth. He Shall Thunder in the Sky, Trojan Gold
Peters, Ellis. A Rare Benedictine, The Raven in the Foregate
Philips, Scott. The Ice Harvest
Plunkett, Susan. Silent Night (anthology)
Pomidor, Bill. Mind Over Murder
Pronzini, Bill. Snowbound
Pryce, Malcolm. Don't Cry For Me Aberystwyth
Pulver, Monica. Original Sin
Purser, Ann. Murder on Monday
Quashie, Colin. Spirits in a Material World
Queen, Ellery. The Finishing Stroke, Cat of Many Tails, Calamity Town, The Egyptian Cat Mystery, Murder at Christmas
Quentin, Patrick. Follower
Raphael, Lev. Burning Down the House
Rawls, Randy. Jingle’s Christmas
Ray, Robert J. Merry Christmas Murdock
Reinsmith, Richard. Body for Christmas
Richards, Emilie. Let There be Suspects
Rickman, Phil. Midwinter of the Spirit
Riggs, John R. Haunt of the Nightingale
Ripley, Ann. The Christmas Garden Affair
Rizzolo, S.K. The Rose in the Wheel
Robb, J.D. Holiday in Death
Roberts, Gillian. The Mummer’s Curse, Philly Stakes
Roberts, Sheila. On Strike for Christmas
Robinson, Peter. Past Reason Hated, The Price of Love and Other Stories (anthology)
Roosevelt, Eliot. The White House Pantry Murder
Rowe, Jennifer. Death in Store, Love Lies Bleeding
Rubino, Jane. Fruit Cake
Ruell, Patrick. Red Christmas
Ryan, Jenna. Mistletoe and Murder

Nordic and Italian Crime Fiction: BBC Programs

For our UK friends, Barry Forshaw has sent the news on the following programs will be shown on BBC4. US showings are planned, and Barry Forshaw will certainly update us! Thanks, Barry, for the information!


Draw the curtains and dim the lights for a chilling trip north as Timeshift investigates the success of Scandinavian crime fiction – and why it exerts such a powerful hold on our imagination.

‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ is a literary blockbuster that has introduced millions of readers to the phenomenon that is Scandinavian crime fiction – yet author Stieg Larsson spent his life in the shadows and didn’t live to see any of his books published. It’s one of the many mysteries this programme investigates as it travels to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland in search of the genre’s most acclaimed writers and memorable characters.

The program looks at Henning Mankell’s brooding Wallander series, with actor Krister Henriksson describing the challenge of bringing the character to the screen, and it asks why so many stories have a political subtext. Nordic Noir finds out how Stieg Larsson based the bestselling ‘Millennium’ trilogy on his work as an investigative journalist and it reveals the unlikely source of inspiration for his most striking character, Lisbeth Salander. The programme also meets Jo Nesbo, the Norwegian rock star turned writer tipped to inherit Larsson’s mantle, and Karin Fossum, an author whose personal experience of murder has had a profound effect on her writing.

Producer/Director: ROBERT MURPHY


Timeshift profiles a new wave of Italian crime fiction that has emerged to challenge the conventions of the detective novel. There are no happy endings in these noir tales only revelations about Italy’s dark heart – a world of corruption, unsolved murders and the mafia.

Italian Noir features exclusive interviews with the leading writers from this new wave of noir including Andrea Camilleri (Inspector Montablano Mysteries) and serving Judge Giancarlo De Cataldo (Romanzo Criminale) who explains how his work as a real life investigating judge inspired his work. From the other side of the law, Massimo Carlotto talks about how his novels were shaped by his wrongful conviction for murder and years spent on the run from the police.

The film also looks at the roots of this new wave. First Carlo Emilio Gadda (That Awful Mess) used the detective novel to expose the corruption that existed during Mussolini’s fascist regime and then after the Second World War Leonardo Sciascia’s crime novels (The Day of The Owl) tackled the rise of the Sicilian mafia. They established the rules of a new kind of noir that draws on real events and offers no neat endings.

Shot on location in Rome, Bologna and Florence, the film also features Italian writers Carlo Lucarelli and Barbara Baraldi and uses rarely seen archive from Italian television.

Produced and Directed by Francis Welch

Gifts to Accessorize Books & e-Readers

The Chicago Tribune  has an article on Gifts to accessorize books and e-readers. Check them all out  HERE. From the sublime to the ridiculous. How many would you buy or give? Here are a few.

Paperback Scent

For Comfort: Thumb Thing

For Reading in the Cold: Echo Touch gloves

What will Santa be bringing you?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kirkus Reviews: Best Mysteries 2010

The lists are pouring in. Here's the Kirkus Reviews Best Mysteries of 2010 List. How many have you read? I must admit that there are several off my radar.

Read the Kirkus Reviews of these books HERE.

Nowhere to Run by CJ Box
The Brick Layer by Noah Boyd
The Glass Rainbow by James Lee Burke
Worth Dying For by Lee Child
Edge by Jeffery Deaver
The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths
The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths
The Hanging Tree by Bryan Gruley
Crystal Death by Charles Kipps
The Charming Quirks of Others by Alexander McCall Smith
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
Gone 'Til November by Wallace Stroby
The Taken by Inger Ash Wolfe

Christmas Mysteries, Authors I-N

Here's the Third installment of Christmas Mysteries. Today, Christmas Crime Fiction Authors I-N. What a long list. Makes for more reading which is always fine with me!

Be sure and go back on Mystery Fanfare for Christmas Crime Authors A-D and Authors E-H. Let me know if I've forgotten any.

Iams, Jack. Do Not Murder Before Christmas
Indridason, Arnaldur. Voices
Innes, Michael. A Comedy of Terrors, Christmas at Candleshoe
Irving, Karen. Jupiter’s Daughter
Jaffe. Jody. Chestnut Mare, Beware
Jahn, Cathie. Add One Dead Critic
Jahn, Michael. Murder on Fifth Avenue
Jeffers, H. Paul. Murder on Mike
John, Cathie. Add One Dead Critic
Jordan, Cathleen. A Carol in the Dark
Jordan, Jennifer. Murder Under the Mistletoe.
Kane, Henry. A Corpse for Christmas (Homicide at Yuletide)
Kaplan, Arthur. A Killing for Charity
Katz, Fred. Not a Creature Was Stirring
Kavanaugh, Brian. A Canterbury Crime
Kaye, M. M. Death in the Andamans
Kellerman, Faye. Sacred and Profane
Kelley, Lee Charles. 'Twas the Bite Before Christmas
Kelly, Mary. The Christmas Egg
Kelner, Toni L.P. Mad as the Dickens
Kendrick, Stephen. Night Watch
King, Laurie R. A Monstrous Regiment of Women
Kingsbury, Kate. No Clue at the Inn, Ringing in Murder, Shrouds of Holly, Slay Bells, Decked with Folly, Mistletoe and Mayhem
Kisor, Henry. Season’s Revenge
Kitchen, C.H.B. Crime at Christmas
Kleinholz, Lisa. Exiles on Main Street
Knight, Alanna. The Dagger in the Crown
Knight, Bernard. Crowner's Quest
Knight, Kathleen Moore. They're Going to Kill Me
Knight, Stephen. Corpse at the Opera House, Murder at Home, More Crimes for a Summer Christmas
Koch, Edward I. Murder on 34th Street
Koontz, Dean R. Mister Murder, Santa’s Twin, Robot Santa
Lake, M.D. A Gift for Murder, Grave Choices
Landreth, Marsha. The Holiday Murders
Lane, Vicki. In a Dark Season
Langley, Bob. Death Stalk
Langton, Jane. The Shortest Day: Murder at the Revels, The Memorial Hall Murder
Lathen, Emma. Banking on Death
Lawrence, David. Cold Kill
Lawrence, Hilda. Blood Upon the Snow
Lawrence, Treat. Q As in Quicksand
Leach, Christopher. A Killing Frost
Leon, Donna. Blood from a Stone
Levine, Joan. The Santa Claus Mystery
Levine, Laura. Candy Cane Murders (with Joanne Fluke & Leslie Meier)
Lewin, Michael Z. The Enemies Within
Little, Constance. The Black-Headed Pins
Livingston, Nancy. Quiet Murder
Locke, William J. A Christmas Mystery
Lockridge, Richard. Dead Run
London, Cait. (and others) Sugarplums and Scandal
Long, Manning. Vicious Circle
Luber, Philip. Deadly Convictions
Macbride, Stuart. Cold Granite
MacLeod, Charlotte. Rest You Merry; ed.Christmas Stalkings: Tales of Yuletide Murder, The Convivial Codfish; Mistletoe Mysteries (ed)
MacDonald, John D. Pale Gray for Guilt
MacLeod, Charlotte. The Convivial Codfish, Murder Goes Mumming, Rest You Merry
MacPherson, Rett. A Comedy of Heirs, The Blood Ballad
MacPherson, Suzanne (and others) Sugarplums and Scandal
Malliet, G. M. Death of a Cozy Writer
Malmont, Valerie. Death, Snow, and Mistletoe
Marantz, Bill. Christmas Eve Can Kill You
Markowitz, Jeff. It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder
Marks, Jeffrey. Canine Christmas
Maron, Margaret. Corpus Christmas
Marsh, Carole. Haunted Christmas Tree Mystery
Marsh, Ngaio. Tied Up in Tinsel
Matesky, Amanda. Murder is a Girl’s Best Friend
McBain, Ed. And All Through the House, Downtown, Ghosts, Sadie When She Died
McCloy, Helen. Mr. Splitfoot
McClure, James. The Gooseberry Fool
McGinley, Patrick. Goosefoot
McGown, Jill. Murder at the Old Vicarage
McKevett, G.A. Cooked Goose, Poisoned Tarts
McLintick, Malcolm. Death of an Old Flame
McMullen, Mary. Death by Bequest
Meier, Leslie. The Christmas Cookie Murder, Mistletoe Murder, Mail Order Murder, Candy Cane Murders (w/Joanne Fluke & Laura Levine)
Meredith, David W. The Christmas Card Murders
Meredith, D. R. Murder by Sacrilege
Michaels, Kasey. High Heels and Holidays, Bowled Over
Miles, Terry. Dog Gone Christmas
Milne, A.A. A Table Near the Band, Christmas Party
Miner, Valerie. Murder in the English Department
Minichino, Camile. The Helium Murder, The Oxygen Murder
Misto, Joh. The Devil's Companions
Moore, Christopher. The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror
Morrell, David. The Spy Who Came for Christmas
Mortimer, John. A Rumpole Christmas
Moyes, Patricia. Season of Snows and Sins
Muller, Marcia. There's Nothing to be Afraid Of
Murphy, Shirley Rousseau. Cat Deck the Halls
Nabb, Magdalen. Death of an Englishman
Nash, Anne. Said with Flowers
Neel, Janet. Death's Bright Angel
Nelson, Hugh. The Season for Murder
Nesbo, Jo. The Redeemer
Nesser, Hakan. Woman with Birthmark
Nixon, Joan. The Christmas Eve Murder
Norden, Robert. Death Beneath the Christmas Tree

Christmas Crime Fiction Authors A-D and Christmas Mystery Authors E-H. If I forgot you on any of these lists, let me know.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Mysteries, Crime Fiction Authors E-H

Today, I continue the Christmas Mystery list. It's amazing how many mysteries are set during the holidays, but I guess given it's such a stressful time, I shouldn't be all that surprised.

Today Christmas Crime Authors E-H. Be sure and check the previous Christmas Mysteries list, Authors A-D. I've updated it. Please let me know if I've forgotten an author and/or book.

Eberhart, Mignon G. Postmark Murder
Eddenden, A. E. A Good Year for Murder
Egan, Lesley. Crime for Christmas
Eickhoff, Randy Lee. Then Came Christmas
Ekwensi, Cyprian. Restless City, Christmas Gold 
Englehart, Steve. Christmas Countdown
Erskine, Margaret. A Graveyard Plot
Estleman, Loren D. The Glass Highway
Evanovich, Janet. Visions of Sugar Plums
Fairstein, Linda A. The Deadhouse , The Crime and the Crystal, A Small World of Murder
Farjeon, J.J. Mystery in White
Fennelly, Tony. Home Dead for Christmas.
Ferrars, E.X. Smoke Without Fire, The Small World of Murder, The Crime and the Crystal
Ferris, Monica. Crewel Yule
Finch, Charles. The Fleet Street Murders
Finnis, Jane. A Bitter Chill
Fletcher, Jessica and Donald Bain. A Little Yuletide Murder
Floyd, John (ed). The Gift of Murder
Fluke, Joanne. Candy Cane Murders, Sugar Cookie Murder, Plum Pudding Murder
Flynn, Brian. The Murders near Mapleton
Ford, Leslie. The Simple Way of Poison
Foley, Rae. Hundreth Door
Ford, Leslie. The Simple Way of Poison 
Fowler, Earlene. The Saddlemaker’s Wife
Fraser, Anthea. The Nine Bright Shiners
Frazer, Margaret. The Servant's Tale, The Widow's Tale
Freydont, Shelley. A Merry Little Murder
Frommer, Sara Hoskinson. Witness in Bishop Hill
Furst, Clyde Bowman. The Observations of Professor Maturin
Gaarder, Jostein. The Christmas Mystery
Gagnon, Michelle. Kidnap and Ransom
Gano, John. Inspector Proby's Christmas
Garner, James Finn. Politically Correct Holiday Stories: For an Enlightened Yuletide Season
Garnet, A. H. The Santa Claus Killer
George, Anne. Murder on a Bad Hair Day
Giroux, E. X. Death for a Dietician
Godfrey, Thomas (ed) Murder for Christmas: 26 Tales of Seasonal Malice
Goldenbaum, Sally. A Holiday Yarn
Goodman, Jonathan. Murder on the Aisle
Gordon, Alan. Thirteen Night, The Moneylender of Toulouse
Gorman, Ed. Murder on the Aisle
Gouze, Roger. A Quiet Game of Bambu
Grabenstein, Chris. Hell for the Holidays, Slay Ride
Grace, Margaret. Mayhem in Miniature
Grafton, Sue. “E” is for Evidence
Graham, Heather. The Last Noel
Granger, Ann. A Season for Murder
Graves, Sarah. Wreck the Halls
Greeley, Andrew. The Bishop and the Three Kings
Green, Christine. Deadly Partners
Greenberg, Martin H. (ed) Cat Crimes for the Holidays, Holmes for the Holidays, Santa Clues, More Holmes for the Holidays. Twelve Crimes of Christmas.
Greenwood, Kerry. Murder in the Dark, Forbidden Fruit
Gregory, Susanna. A Conspiracy of Violence
Grimes, Martha. Jerusalem Inn, Old Fox Deceived, The Man with a Load of Mischief
Guest, Judith. Killing Time in St. Cloud
Gunning, Sally. Ice Water
Haddam, Jane. Not a Creature Was Stirring, A Stillness in Bethlehem
Hager, Jean. The Last Noel
Haines, Carolyn. Buried Bones
Hall, Parnell. A Puzzle in a Pear Tree
Hall, Robert Lee. Benjamin Franklin and a Case of Christmas Murder
Hammett, Dashiell. The Thin Man
Hardwick, Richard. The Season to be Deadly
Hare, Cyril. An English Murder
Harmon, Ken. The Fat Man: A Tale of North Pole Noir
Harper, Karen. The Queene’s Christmas
Harris, Charlaine. Shakespeare’s Christmas & (Ed) Wolfsbane and Mistletoe
Harris, Joanne. Chocolat
Harris, Lee. The Christmas Night Murder
Harrison, Janis. Murder Sets Seed
Hart, Carolyn G. Sugarplum Dead & Merry, Merry Ghost
Hart, Ellen. Vital Lies, Murder in the Air.
Harvey, John. Cold Light
Harvey, Roy. Seascape with Dead Figures
Hay, Doriel. The Santa Klaus Murder
Heald, Tim. (ed) A Classic Christmas Crime
Heath, Sandra. Mistletoe Mischief
Hechtman, Betty. You Better Knot Die
Hellmann, Libby. Set the Night on Fire
Hemlin, Tim. A Catered Christmas
Hess, Joan. A Holly, Jolly Murder, O Little Town of Maggody
Heyer, Georgette. Envious Casca
Hiassen, Carl. Tourist Season
Hill, Reginald. Death's Jest Book, A Clubbable Woman
Hilton, John Buxton. Death in Midwinter
Hinkemeyer, Michael. A Time to Reap
Hochgatterer, Paulus. The Sweetness of Life
Hodgkin, Marion Rous. Dead Indeed
Holland, Isabelle. A Fatal Advent
Holmes, Dee. Silent Night (anthology)
Holms, Joyce. Thin Ice
Howie, Edith. Murder for Christmas
Howlett, John. The Christmas Spy
Hughes, Mary Ellen. Wreath of Deception
Hunter, Alan. Landed Gently
Hunter, Ellen Elizabeth. Murder on the Candlelight Tour, Christmas Wedding.
Hunter, Evan. Come Winter
Hunter, Fred. Ransom for a Holiday, 'Tis the Season for Murder

Coming soon: the rest of the alphabet :-) For Authors A-D, go HERE.