Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tippi Hedren in Bodega Bay

Tippi Hedren: star of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” will be appearing and  Autographing at The Tides Wharf, Bodega Bay, CA this weekend: 

Saturday, Sept 4 10AM – 5PM
Sunday, Sept 5  11:00 AM – 5PM

The Tides Wharf (707) 875-3652

Found this Clip on YouTube of The Birds and some more recent footage of Bodega Bay and Tippi's last signing. I spend a lot of time in Bodega Bay, and I can tell you that the Birds are abundant. Lots of turkeys, seagulls, redwinged blackbirds and more. Of course, not quite as fierce as in Alfred Hitchocock's film. No worries about being caught in a phone booth. There aren't any any more, and there's very spotty cell service as well! Nevertheless, it's always fun to see Tippi Hedren, and Bodega Bay is a beautiful spot. The Schoolhouse is actually located in the town of Bodega about 5 miles inland. I've done some corporate Murder on the Menu events there. Perfect setting. I love coastal Sonoma County.

Monday, August 30, 2010

2010 Davitt Award: Sisters in Crime Australia

Australia's 2010 Davitt Awards were announced at a dinner at the Melbourne Writer's Festival on August 30. This year is the 10th anniversary of the awards.

Best Adult Crime Novel: Sharp Shooter by Marianne Delacourt

Children's &YA Adult Fiction: Liar by Justine Larbalestier

True Crime: Lady Killer by Candace Sutton and Ellen Connolly

Readers Choice: Forbidden Fruit by Kerry Greenwood

For the Full list of Nominees, go HERE

Hat Tip: Mysteries in Paradise

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Legendary Criminals in one 'Wild West' photo

From the BBC Washington office comes this amazing photo. It's not been photoshopped, but it just might be a photo that includes Wyatt Earp, Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, Teddy Roosevelt and Judge Roy Bean, among others.

If it is real, it is extraordinary: a moment when the myths and legends of the Old West crystallised for a moment into a single group photograph before evaporating again into the anonymity of the hot afternoon.

The story is told that the 15 men include Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Wyatt Earp, his brother Virgil and their friends Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson. The lounging figure is - or might be - Judge Roy Bean, who conducted trials in the bar of the saloon he owned in Texas and encouraged jurors to buy drinks between cases.  A few feet away, apparently on an upturned crate, sits a figure identified as Theodore Roosevelt, the future president. 

The picture is genuine in the sense that it is a real photograph of 15 men from the 1880s.  Just can't be quite sure who they all were.

Teddy Roosevelt did retreat into the western wilderness in 1883 after the death of his first wife and when Butch Cassidy, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson were all dotted somewhere around America's ragged and dangerous western frontier.

Read the article HERE

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dorothy Sucher, R.I.P.

Dorothy Sucher, 77, a retired psychotherapist, mystery writer and journalist whose 1965 news story about a Greenbelt City Council meeting became a test case for freedom of the press that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, died Aug. 22 at her home in Silver Spring. She had thyroid cancer.

As a psychotherapist, she practiced in Washington with the Group Health Association from 1975 to 1980 and subsequently operated a private practice in Greenbelt for seven years.

Later she turned to full-time fiction writing. She wrote three books: two mysteries, Dead Men Don't Give Seminars (1988) and Dead Men Don't Marry (1989), and a collection of personal essays, The Invisible Garden (1999).

Her short stories and articles were published in periodicals such as The Washington Post Magazine, Vermont Life and Mystery Readers Journal. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Mrs. Sucher taught mystery and fiction writing at Duke University, Georgetown University and the Writer's Center in Bethesda.

In the late 1980s, Mrs. Sucher served four years as treasurer of Sisters in Crimes. She founded the group's Chesapeake chapter.

Read her obituary in the Washington Post.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Swedish Stamps Honor Crime Fiction Authors

Sue Trowbridge just sent me this news of these great Swedish stamps that honor Swedish mystery writers. Sue reads Swedish, I don't, but you can get the gist...or you can run the articles below using Google Translate.

These Swedish stamps were recently released. In Sweden you needn't be dead to be put on a stamp. Swedish stamps are collected by people worldwide because of their beauty and interesting subject matter, so it's only natural that the postal service would introduce a set of stamps featuring one of the country's most popular exports -- crime fiction!

The authors on the stamps are Stieg Larsson, Liza Marklund, Henning Mankell, Håkan Nesser and Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö.

The first article can be found at: http://www.dn.se/kultur-noje/konst-form/skicka-mankell-vart-du-vill-1.1134653

and the Postal Service's page in English where you can buy these stamps for 60 kroner ($8) is HERE. Click on Buy next to the stamps you wish to purchase, and when you check out, it should take you through the steps in English. Thanks, Sue.

Very cool!

Seth Harwood: Fog on the Horizon

Photo: Mark Coggins
Continuing the San Francisco Mystery Theme this week, I'll be posting a few articles that appeared in the Mystery Readers Journal: San Francisco Mysteries I (Volume 24:3) 2008. To see the Table of Contents of this issue or to buy the issue as a .pdf download or hardcopy, go HERE.

Seth Harwood is the author of JACK WAKES UP, the world’s first crime novel to be serialized as a podcast. He has since podcast two more novels in the JACK PALMS Crime series and is the host of CrimeWAV.com, a weekly series of crime stories by various writers. JACK WAKES UP will be published in Summer 2009 by Three Rivers Press. For more info, visit sethharwood.com

Fog on the Horizon by Seth Harwood

James Joyce said a writer has to have three things: silence, exile and cunning. I don’t know about how my silence or cunning stack up, but when I landed in the Bay Area three years ago from my native Boston, it didn’t take long to realize I’d found my share of exile. From one coast to the other is far! Factor in the reality that by 8PM here most of my family and friends are asleep, and I’ve been good to go.

Until I got to San Francisco, I never fully understood why Joyce said exile was important. I know when he moved from Ireland, he thought he could create it better, make his own Dublin in his head and on the page without the distractions of reality. For me, it worked differently: I saw San Francisco as a new landscape without emotional attachments or the distortions of memory. I saw the city like a painter would see his subject. I started exploring San Francisco and pretty immediately found myself writing my first crime novel, JACK WAKES UP.

Suddenly I wrote scenes set on Market St., at Fisherman’s Wharf, in Sausalito, North Beach, and Embarcadero Plaza. I don’t think it was any coincidence that the novel I was writing was crime. Outside of my own slow realization that the kind of movies and TV shows I’ve always loved—James Bond, Hong Kong Cinema and Kung Fu action, Dirty Harry, cops and spies—it was something about the city that brought out the action and crime in my writing. This city isn’t infused with it, but there’s a sense of the blood on the streets—at least in a literary sense—that I couldn’t ignore. Whether it’s Hammett’s Sam Spade or the Continental Op, Dirty Harry, Frank Bullitt, or whomever else you’d like to mention, there’s always been a great history of crime thrillers, or mysteries, if you prefer, in San Francisco. This, without a doubt, has infected my writing, perhaps even changed the genre in which I write.

I think it must be the fog that started it all. The way it creeps in off the ocean and rolls out over the bridge, over Twin Peaks, and out into the Bay. Now that I live high in the hills of Berkeley, I watch it regularly take the Golden Gate out of sight, then Alcatraz and Angel Island, and finally the tall buildings of downtown. On a particularly foggy night, it claims Berkeley too and all but a few houses on the street below mine. It’s a menacing fog, with crevices instead of shadows, that creeps in and seals the spaces between skyscrapers and row houses. Add in the hills, not only the ones that defy a car chase for those less rugged than Mr. Bullitt, but the ones you never want to scale, the ones you’ll walk five blocks out of your way to avoid, and you have a great recipe for fear. The way the heights limit your range of exploration makes the city even darker, more narrow-seeming, makes its inhabitants feel even more trapped in.

In my own way I’ve been able to observe this from a detached standpoint. I might always be an outsider here in San Francisco, and maybe that makes me a lot like everyone else, but the exile that I’ve found here and the fresh eyes it’s given me have enabled one important thing: for me to see the city’s true mood, the dark brooding tension of the strip clubs so radiantly lining North Beach, the pockets of the city that you don’t even want to drive through (but often do), the ranting, meandering homeless of these streets and the iconic, unintentionally ironically-named “Hall of Justice.” I see it all and most importantly I can see my characters. Wherever they’ve come from—Boston, New York, SOMA, Sausalito, Scarface, or Pulp Fiction—they’re here on these streets walking among the fog, hiding in the alleys. Perhaps you’ve seen them or might soon hear them shout.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hills of Homicide: San Francisco

Because Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, will be held in San Francisco October 14-17, 2010, it was only natural that J. Kingston Pierce of The Rap Sheet put together several San Francisco Crime posts under the title: Hills of Homicide.

San Francisco is everybody's Favorite City, so it's not surprising that so many crime writers and producers set  their books, films and TV shows here.

Jeff (J. Kingston Pierce) asked me to post my  Top 10 San Francisco-backdropped Crime Novels.  Thought the task would be simple, but it sure wasn't. Think it would have been easier to name my top 10 L.A. crime novels. But I love San Francisco, so I was up for the challenge. I chose books for their specific San Francisco City & County setting, so that excluded many novels that take place in the surrounding cities and countryside.  I started with The Maltese Falcon, of course. I also listed David Dodge's Death and Taxes. Check out the list HERE.

Kelli Stanley put together a list of her favorite San Francisco Noir films. I concur with her great selections.

And, Jeff put together his list of San Francisco Crime TV shows. Of course, The Streets of San Francisco are on the list.

Mystery Readers Journal had two issues devoted to San Francisco Mysteries in 2008.
Check out the Table of Contents: San Francisco I. San Francisco II. We also had an earlier issue of San Francisco Mysteries in 1995.

Want to dig a little deeper into all the crime fiction set in the San Francisco Bay Area? Check out Randal Brandt's Golden Gate Mysteries.

See you in San Francisco at Bouchercon!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tyrus Books Acquires Busted Flush Press

Breaking News!


Two of Crime Fiction’s Most Respected Independent Presses Merge

Tyrus Books, Inc. today announced the acquisition of Busted Flush Press, LLC., in a move that brings together two of crime fiction’s most recognizable independent presses.

“We’re very excited to add the Busted Flush brand to Tyrus Books. David Thompson is a dedicated and tireless advocate of crime fiction and I look forward to seeing the Busted Flush brand continue to grow,” said Benjamin LeRoy, Publisher and President of Tyrus Books.

Thompson, Publisher of Busted Flush Press, will continue in his current role, selecting approximately twenty titles a year for publication. The combined companies will have approximately 45 books in print by the end of 2010 with another 20 titles scheduled for spring 2011.

Go, David!

Read the rest of the article HERE.

E-Reading: New Devices Changing Habits. People Reading More

[reading]Interesting article from the Wall Street Journal on the ABCs of e-Reading.

People who buy e-readers tend to spend more time than ever with their nose in a book, preliminary research shows.

A study of 1,200 e-reader owners by Marketing and Research Resources Inc. found that 40% said they now read more than they did with print books. Of those surveyed, 58% said they read about the same as before while 2% said they read less than before. And 55% of the respondents in the May study, paid for by e-reader maker Sony Corp., thought they'd use the device to read even more books in the future. The study looked at owners of three devices: Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle, Apple Inc.'s iPad and the Sony Reader. . .

A Writer's View
Mystery and thriller author Michael Connelly says he has about 30 e-books on his Kindle, Sony Reader and iPad, though he also still reads print books because he gets so many samples from his publisher. 

"I will never stop loving the printed book," Mr. Connelly says. Yet, "I am very interested in this world. E-books are here to stay." He adds, "There is the advantage of being able to carry multiple things. I travel a lot—believe me, I notice the weight."

Read the entire article HERE.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Inspector Lewis Returns: Masterpiece Mystery!

Inspector Lewis: Masterpiece Mystery! PBS
Inspector Lewis Returns to Masterpiece Mystery! PBS
Sundays, August 29-September 26, 2010 PBS (Check your local listings)

Detective Inspector Robbie Lewis and his partner Detective Sergeant James Hathaway return in Series III, featuring five all-new episodes, with some of your favorite PBS stars!

Lewis, the former working-class foil to the erudite Detective Inspector Morse, tackles murder and mayhem with the help of Hathaway in the seemingly perfect academic haven of Oxford.

August 29, 2010 at 9pm: Counter Culture Blues
One 90-minute episode
Rock star Esme Ford who Lewis once admired isn't dead after all. But a teenage boy is, and there seems to be a connection to Ford's old band. Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous) guest stars.

September 5, 2010 at 9pm: The Dead of Winter
One 90-minute episode
A body leads Lewis and Hathaway to an Oxford estate where Hathaway spent much of his youth. Nathaniel Parker (The Inspector Lynley Mysteries) guest stars.

September 12, 2010 at 9pm: Dark Matter
One 90-minute episode; TV-PG
When an amateur astronomer is found dead at the foot of the observatory stairs, Lewis and Hathaway find that the finger of suspicion points at the staff.

September 19, 2010 at 9pm: Your Sudden Death Question
One 90-minute episode
Lewis and Hathaway investigate the murder of a quiz competition contestant during a quiet summer holiday at an empty Oxford campus.

September 26, 2010 at 9pm: Falling Darkness
One 90-minute episode
When two murders share a link with their own Doctor Hobson, Lewis and Hathaway try to clear her name. Rupert Graves (The Forsyte Saga) guest stars.

Watch the promo HERE.

Star Island by Carl Hiassen Book Trailer

There are so many book trailers out there, but I happened on this one and found it quite fun! Of course, I really enjoyed the book, so that made this doubly fun.

Star Island by Carl Hiassen Book Trailer (Knopf)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cartoon of the Day: iPad Disappointment

Great cartoon by Debbie Ohi. Reprinted with permission. Thanks, Debbie!

Debbie’s blog for writers, Inkygirl.com: Daily Diversions For Writers, offers cartoons, interviews and tips for writers. She is the author of The Writer’s Online Marketplace (Writer’s Digest Books) and writes a daily publishing news column for Writersmarket.com. Debbie was the founder and editor-in-chief of Inkspot, one of the first websites for writers on the web, with 50,000 subscribers to Inklings, the companion e-newsletter.

She will be illustrating a picture book written by author/comedian/actor Michael Ian Black, to be published by Simon & Schuster in 2012. She says she never anticipated that her first publication credit in children’s lit would be for illustration instead of writing.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Spice Gun

Another interesting device I came across on my Internet Travels.


FYI: This isn't on the market yet, but I know I'd buy it.

Zhu Fei (China), designer.

There are three chambers in the barrel that can hold your spice of choice--salt, pepper, sugar, hot peppers?

As to how it works: The designer's own words:
spice gun is different from the other casters, it has more fun! when you pull the trigger to compress the air in the air bag. The handspike will push the bottom of the seasoning bottle to make the nozzle in the turntable to retract and spray the seasoning.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Bookcase Coffin

I'm all for bookcases in odd and weird configurations, but this is, perhaps, one of the oddest and yet so utilitarian. I found this at Last Things: Alternatives at the End. Be sure to check the site if you want to plan your own funeral.

The Bookcase Coffin

This is the bookcase coffin.  It's two seven-inch-deep boxes hinged together.  The shelves are adjustable.  When preparing it to be used as a coffin, the shelves are laid on the bottom of the coffin.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mr. Dodge

Today I welcome Guest Blogger Randal S. Brandt. Randal S. Brandt is a librarian at The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley and the creator of two critically-acclaimed websites: Golden Gate Mysteries, an annotated bibliography of crime fiction set in the San Francisco Bay Area, and A David Dodge Companion, chronicling the life and works of mystery/thriller writer David Dodge (1910-1974). He has recently written the introductions to new editions of Dodge's Death and Taxes (July 2010) and To Catch a Thief (forthcoming, fall 2010).

Happy Birthday, Mr. Dodge

David Dodge was born one hundred years ago today on August 18, 1910 in Berkeley, California. Now, just in time for Dodge’s centenary, his first novel, DEATH AND TAXES, has been published in a new edition by Bruin Books. Originally published in 1941 and out of print in the U.S. for over sixty years, the mystery introduces San Francisco tax expert James “Whit” Whitney who is reluctantly drawn into the investigation of his partner’s murder. The case revolves around the recovery of a quarter of a million dollars in overpaid taxes, Prohibition-era skullduggery, flying bullets, and a seductive blonde. It also involves witty dialogue, romance, and heavy drinking—aspects that immediately drew comparisons to Dashiell Hammett’s THE THIN MAN. Venerable San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen was the first to make the comparison: “Macmillan will bring out … a moiduh mystery with a Thin Mannish S.F. background; it’s called Death and Taxes, and was written by David Dodge, a local accountant, f’goshsakes.”

After spending much of his childhood in Los Angeles, Dodge settled down in San Francisco in 1933. Trained as a tax accountant, he turned his hand to mystery writing on a five-dollar bet with his wife, Elva, that he could produce a better mystery than the ones they were reading on a rainy family vacation. Macmillan published his DEATH AND TAXES and Dodge won the bet.

Three more Whitney novels soon followed. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dodge joined the U.S. Naval Reserve, holding down a desk job in San Francisco for the duration of World War II. Upon his release from active duty in 1945, and with the assistance of a modest inheritance from one of Elva’s distant relatives, Dodge packed his family—which included five-year old daughter Kendal—into a car and headed for Guatemala via the Pan American Highway in search of new plot devices and cheaper living south of the border. The move inspired Dodge’s second mystery series, featuring an expatriate private investigator named Al Colby working in Latin America, and his second writing career as a best-selling author of humorous “travel diaries” that documented the family’s (mis)adventures on the road.

The travel bug bit Dodge hard. Fortunately, travel and writing were the perfect compliments. In 1947, Dodge began a long, profitable relationship with Holiday magazine as a free-lance writer; he also had a deal with Pan American airlines for free airfare in exchange for contributions to their guidebooks. Dodge’s travels provided him with backgrounds, settings, characters, and experiences for his novels, travel books, and numerous magazine articles; his books and articles provided him with enough money to continue his travels. Except for the four years that Kendal was in high school, when they “settled down” in Princeton, New Jersey, the Dodges were constantly on the move, with stops in Peru, the Côte d’Azur, Casablanca, South Africa, and countless other places.

It was the south of France that provided Dodge with the raw material for his most successful novel, TO CATCH A THIEF, published by Random House in 1952. Alfred Hitchcock liked it so much he immediately bought the movie rights and brought the story to the screen in 1955 with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in the lead roles.

For the remainder of his career, Dodge alternated between whimsical anecdote-filled travel adventures and taut suspense thrillers set in exotic locales. His final novel, THE LAST MATCH, remained unpublished at his death in 1974 and languished among the family papers for over thirty years until it was finally published by Hard Case Crime in 2006.

TO CATCH A THIEF—also out of print for decades—is on deck for a new edition by Bruin Books in the fall. I think David Dodge would have been pleased at having the centennial of his birth marked by a renewal of interest in his work. Happy Birthday, Mr. Dodge.

Randal S. Brandt is the creator of A David Dodge Companion and Golden Gate Mysteries.

A David Dodge Companion
Hard Case Crime
Bruin Books:
Golden Gate Mysteries

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Betty Webb in Berkeley August 22

Retired journalist Betty Webb is best known for her real life-based "mysteries with a social conscience" (Publishers Weekly, about DESERT WIVES: POLYGAMY CAN BE MURDER).

Webb is also the author of the humorous Gunn Zoo mysteries, which began with THE ANTEATER OF DEATH, set on the Central California Coast.

Join Mystery Readers NorCal in Berkeley (CA) on Sunday, August 22, 7 p.m. as she discusses her new book, THE KOALA OF DEATH.
Please RSVP for Directions

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ned Kelly Awards 2010 Shortlist

CRIME WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA has announced the Short List for the 15th Ned Kelly Awards, honoring the past year’s best Australian crime writing. The Awards will be presented on September 3 at the Melbourne Writers' Festival.

True Crime
Peter Doyle: CROOKS LIKE US, (Historic Houses Trust)
Kathy Marks:  PITCAIRN: PARADISE LOST (Harper Collins)
Robert M.Kaplan: MEDICAL MURDER (Allen & Unwin)

Best First Fiction
Andrew Croome: DOCUMENT Z, (Allen & Unwin)
Mark Dapin: KING OF THE CROSS (Macmillan)

Best Fiction

Lenny Bartulin: THE BLACK RUSSIAN (Scribe Publications)
Michael Robotham: BLEED FOR ME (Hatchette)
Gary Disher: WYATT (Text)

SD Harvey Short Story

Lifetime Achievement Award

Peter Doyle

For the longlist, go HERE 

Congratulations to all!

Hat Tip: Mysteries in Paradise

Thomas Allen: 3D Art from Book Covers

You know how I feel about defacing books and that includes book covers, but I couldn't help but provide a link to this amazing artist who does 3D Art from Book Covers.  

Thomas Allen creates very unusual three-dimensional art by cutting out characters from old pulp fiction book covers and positioning them into action scenes. His wonderful art was inspired by classic pop-up books.


Hat Tip to Toxel.com

Friday, August 13, 2010

Inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award: Best Crime Novel Finalists

Finalists for the inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel were announced today.

The Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel will be presented at a ceremony at the upcoming The Press Christchurch Writers’ Festival in September. The award is given for the best crime, mystery, or thriller novel written by a New Zealand citizen or resident, published in New Zealand during 2009. A panel of seven local and international judges has been considering the best of locally written crime and thriller fiction published last year.

The three finalists are:

CUT & RUN by Alix Bosco (Penguin)
BURIAL by Neil Cross (Simon & Schuster)
CONTAINMENT by Vanda Symon (Penguin)

The winner of the inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel will be announced at a ceremony at the conclusion of the “Setting the Stage for Murder” event at the Festival on the evening of Friday 10 September 2010.

The Awards namesake, Dame Ngaio Marsh, is renowned worldwide as one of the four “Queens of Crime” of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, having published 32 novels featuring Inspector Roderick Alleyn between 1934 and her death in 1982. With sales in the millions, her books are still in print to this day, Dame Ngaio is possibly New Zealand’s bestselling author, ever.

For more information, please contact:
Craig Sisterson, Judging Convenor: craigsisterson@hotmail.com or (021) 184 1206

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Shamus Award Nominations: Private Eye Writers 2010

The Private Eye Writers of America announced the Shamus Award Nominations

Best Hardcover PI Novel
The Silent Hour by Michael Koryta (Minotaur/St. Martin's)
Where the Dead Lay by David Levien (Doubleday)
Locked In by Marcia Muller (Grand Central)
Schemers by Bill Pronzini (Forge)
My Soul to Take by Yrsa Sigurdardottir (William Morrow)

Best First PI Novel
Loser’s Town by Daniel Depp (Simon & Schuster)
The Last Gig by Norman Green (Minotaur/St. Martin's)
The Good Son by Russel D. McLean (Minotaur/St. Martin's)
Faces of the Gone by Brad Parks (Minotaur/St. Martin's)
Chinatown Angel by A.E. Roman (Minotaur/St. Martin's)

Best Paperback Original PI Novel
Dark Side of the Morgue by Raymond Benson (Leisure Books)
Sinner’s Ball by Ira Berkowitz (Three Rivers Press)
Red Blooded Murder by Laura Caldwell (Mira)
Vengeance Road by Rick Mofina (Mira)
Body Blows by Marc Strange (Dundurn)

Best PI Short Story
"The Dark Island" by Brendan DuBois, Boston Noir (Akashic)
"Deadline Edition" by S.L. Franklin, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, April 2009
“Blazin' on Broadway" by Gary Phillips, Phoenix Noir (Akashic)
"Suicide Bonds" by Tim L. Williams, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, March/April 2009
"Julius Katz" by Dave Zeltserman, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, September/October 2009

Congratulations to all!

Hat Tip to Ali Karim!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mystery Series Writers at Edinburgh International Book Festival

Carol Thomas over at the Examiner has the line-up for Crime Writers at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival will be held this year from August 14-August 30.

Listed below by date of their appearance are some of the writers participating in the event and the titles of the series they author.
  • Sunday, August 15 – Lin Anderson (Rhona MacLeod series), Aline Templeton (DI Marjory Fleming series) and Tess Gerritson (Rizzoli and Isles series)
  • Monday, August 16 – Lin Anderson (Rhona MacLeod series),  Caroline Dunford, Alex Gray (Lorimer and Brightman series), G J Moffat and Iain Banks
  • Tuesday, August 17 – Caroline Dunford, Reggie Nadelson (Artie Cohen series), Ian Rankin (Inspector Rebus series), Reginald Hill (Dalziel and Pascoe series), Christopher Brookmyre (Jack Parlabane series), Tony Black (Gus Dury series) and Gillian Galbraith (Alice Rice Mystery series)
See the rest of the list HERE.

For Podcasts from last year's festival, including one with Henning Mankell HERE.

Podcasts will be available for this year, too, although not all writers will be featured. This festival includes new writers, children's writers.. all kinds of writers! Wish I could be there!

Monday, August 9, 2010

CWA 2010 Dagger Finalists for Gold, Steel and John Creasey Awards

CWA 2010 Dagger Finalists for Gold, Steel and John Creasey (New Blood) Awards

Gold Dagger
Blacklands, Belinda Bauer (Corgi)
Blood Harvest, S J Bolton (Bantam Press)
Shadowplay, Karen Campbell (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Way Home, George Pelecanos (Orion)

Ian Fleming Steel Dagger
A Loyal Spy, Simon Conway (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Dying Light, Henry Porter (Orion)
Innocent, Scott Turow (Macmillan)
The Gentlemen’s Hour, Don Winslow (Heinemann)

John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger
Acts of Violence, Ryan David Jahn (Pan)
Rupture, Simon Lelic (Picador)
The Holy Thief, William Ryan (Mantle )
The Pull of the Moon, Diane Janes (Robinson)

Congratulations to all!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cartoon of the Day: Book Club

I posted this before, but now that I'm seriously contemplating the iPad, I thought I'd post again. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

2010 SCIBA Book Award Finalists

The Southern California Independent Booksellers Association announced the 2010 Book Award Finalists.

T. Jefferson Parker Award Finalists:
Boulevard by Stephen Jay Schwartz (Forge)
The First Rule by Robert Crais (Putnam)
Silver Lake by Peter Gadol (Tyrus Books)

To see the nominees in ALL categories, go HERE.

Congratulations to all!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Atkinson's Brodie to be adapted for BBC

What fabulous news!

According to TheBookseller.com, Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie will be adapted for the BBC. I hope that translates to PBS in the U.S. It will be shown in early 2011 on BBC One.

“Case Histories” will be a six-part series adapted from the mystery novels Case Histories, One Good Turn and When Will There Be Good News? Private detective Brodie will be played by Jason Isaacs, (was Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies).

The production company is Ruby Films, which also adapted "Small Island" and "The Other Boleyn Girl. The series will be filmed in Edinburgh.

Atkinson’s new Brodie novel Started Early, Took my Dog, published by Doubleday, will be out on August 19 alongside new-look reissues of her other Brodie titles.

Review of When Will there Be Good News?

Book Clutch: Booked for Murder

Kate Spade
Kate Spade has a new Book Clutch Collection. Check out the first three Book of the Month offerings.  They're advertised as a modern spin on the vintage book clutch and inspired by Classic Penguin Covers.  They are not REAL books. Other titles include The Importance of Being Earnest, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities. You see where this is going? These 'books' retail for $325!!

Olympia Le-Tan: The Big Clock 
But there is a bit of a brouhaha about these bags. Handbag designer Olympia Le-Tan introduced similar "book bags" last fall with embroidered covers made to look like famous books including The Catcher in the Rye, For Whom the Bell Tolls and Moby Dick.

This really isn't a new thing, and people have been doing this for years, so I don't think there's a copycat thing going on. I found an adorable clutch with a Gladys Mitchell cover blown up and covered in plastic. That was several years ago in a boutique in Healdsburg. I'm a big Gladys Mitchell Fan, so I was quite taken with it, particularly since 'no books were harmed in the making of this clutch". However, the price was beyond my 'pocketbook.'

In a similar vein:

CountryLiving has a crafts project on their website on how to make a Book Bag with a slide show of steps. Here's the text:
All you'll need, in addition to the book itself, is half a yard of fabric, a $4.99 handle kit, some ribbon, a button--and a free afternoon.
Instead of cutting the book from its binding (horrors!!!), read the book in that free afternoon.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Top 100 Thrillers from NPR: Killer Thrillers

The NPR audience nominated over 600 novels to the "Killer Thrillers" poll. The final roster of winners, though, is very diverse and even includes The Last of the Mohicans. I think a lot of this has to do with the definition of a Thriller. Not sure every book belongs on the list, but it's a good jumping point for your reading pleasure. You know I love lists! I've read 88 of the 100, so I know I'll have a new TBR stack forming soon.

The final NPR Killer Thriller list ranges in style and period from Dracula to The Da Vinci Code, Presumed Innocent to Pet Sematary. "What these top 100 titles share, however, is that all of them are fast-moving tales of suspense and adventure.

And menace. Critic Maureen Corrigan, who served on the advisory panel of experts for this project, was surprised by how dark many of your choices are. "Even the [Agatha] Christie pick, And Then There Were None, is one of her creepier novels."

Co-panelist, novelist and critic Patrick Anderson was more impressed with the overall quality of the choices: "The vast majority of these are very good books or classics ... Thomas Harris, Dennis Lehane, Patricia Highsmith — this audience knows good writing."

NPR audience's favorite thriller writer? Stephen King, who landed six titles in the top 100. Lee Child comes next, with four winning books. And, at three titles each, Michael Crichton, Dennis Lehane and Stieg Larsson tie for third. Read the rest of the article HERE.

1. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
 3. Kiss the Girls, by James Patterson
4. The Bourne Identity, by Robert Ludlum
5. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
6. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
7. The Shining, by Stephen King
8. And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
9. The Hunt tor Red October, by Tom Clancy
10. The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
11. Dracula, by Bram Stoker
12. The Stand, by Stephen King
13. The Bone Collector, by Jeffery Deaver
14. Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton
15. Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown
16. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
17. The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton
18. Mystic River, by Dennis Lehane
19. The Day of the Jackal, by Frederick Forsyth
20. Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
21. Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett
22. It, by Stephen King
23. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
24. The Girl Who Played with Fire, by Stieg Larsson
25. Jaws, by Peter Benchley
26. The Alienist, by Caleb Carr
27. Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris
28. Presumed Innocent, by Scott Turow
29. The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett
30. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, by Stieg Larsson
31. No Country For Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy
32. Gone Baby Gone, by Dennis Lehane
33. Gorky Park, by Martin Cruz Smith
34. Rosemary's Baby, by Ira Levin
35. Subterranean, by James Rollins
36. Clear and Present Danger, by Tom Clancy
37. Salem's Lot, by Stephen King
38. Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane
39. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, by John Le Carre
40. The Poet, by Michael Connelly
41. The Boys from Brazil, by Ira Levin
42. Cape Fear, by John MacDonald
43. The Bride Collector, by Ted Dekker
44. Pet Sematary, by Stephen King
45. Dead Zone, by Stephen King
46. The Manchurian Candidate, by Richard Condon
47. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, by John Le Carre
48. The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith
49. Tell No One, by Harlan Coben
50. Consent to Kill, by Vince Flynn
51. The 39 Steps, by John Buchan
52. Blowback, by Brad Thor
53. The Children of Men, by P.D. James
54. 61 Hours, by Lee Child
55. Marathon Man, by William Goldman
56. The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins
57. 206 Bones, by Kathy Reichs
58. Psycho, by Robert Bloch
59. The Killing Floor, by Lee Child
60. Rules of Prey, by John Sandford
61. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
62. In the Woods, by Tana French
63. Shogun, by James Clavell
64. The Relic, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
65. Intensity, by Dean Koontz
66. Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming
67. Metzger's Dog, by Thomas Perry
68. Timeline, by Michael Crichton
69. Contact, by Carl Sagan
70. What the Dead Know, by Laura Lippman
71. The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
72. The Cabinet of Curiosities, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
73. Charm School, by Nelson DeMille
74. Feed, by Mira Grant
75. Gone Tomorrow, by Lee Child
76. Darkly Dreaming Dexter, by Jeff Lindsay
77. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
78. The First Deadly Sin, by Lawrence Sanders
79. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
80. The Brotherhood of the Rose, by David Morrell
81. Primal Fear, by William Diehl
82. The Templar Legacy, by Steve Berry
82. The Hard Way, by Lee Child [tie]
84. The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper
85. Six Days of the Condor, by James Grady
86. Fail-Safe, by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler
87. Strangers on a Train, by Patricia Highsmith
88. The Eight, by Katherine Neville
89. The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown
90. Goldfinger, by Ian Fleming
91. Bangkok 8, by John Burdett
92. The Kill Artist, by Daniel Silva
93. Hardball, by Sara Paretsky
94. The Club Dumas, by Arturo Perez-Reverte
95. The Deep Blue Good-by, by John MacDonald
96. The Monkey's Raincoat, by Robert Crais
96. Berlin Game, by Len Deighton [tie]
98. A Simple Plan, by Scott Smith
99. Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith
100. Heartsick, by Chelsea Cain

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Operation Thriller: US Troops Stationed in Persian Gulf

This Fall, International Thriller Writers David Morrell, Douglas Preston, James Rollins, Steve Berry, and Andy Harp will deploy to the Persian Gulf on a week-long USO tour to visit and uplift troops.

The tour, conceived of and organized by Andy Harp, and fittingly entitled Operation Thriller, kicks off with a visit to Washington, D.C., where the group will visit with troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and National Naval Medical Center. The group then flies to the Persian Gulf to talk fiction, inspire, spread cheer and, most importantly, show their heartfelt gratitude.

Participating in what will be their first USO tour, the authors will visit multiple posts, sign autographs, pose for photos and distribute advance copies of their upcoming novels.

I think this is fabulous on so many levels. Good for the troops; good for authors; good for reading!

Many of you know my company TeamBuilding Unlimited organizes a teambuilding event: Operation Military Giving in which companies and associations pack boxes for U.S. troops overseas, specifically Iraq and Afghanistan. I always provide at least two crime novels per box. Hope some of our recipients will get to meet the authors!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Electronic Home Library circa 1959

Matt Novak at Paleo-Future Blog shares this incredible futurist cartoon strip, Closer Than We Think by Arthur Radebaugh. For media/book lovers, it's the electronic library and the videotaping of programs that's so amazing. This strip appeared in the Chicago Tribune in 1959.
Some unusual inventions for home entertainment and education will be yours in the future, such as the "television recorder" that RCA's David Sarnoff described recently.
With this device, when a worthwhile program comes over the air while you are away from home, or even while you're watching it, you'll be able to preserve both the picture and sound on tape for replaying at any time. Westinghouse's Gwilym Price expects such tapes to reproduce shows in three dimensions and color on screens as shallow as a picture. Another pushbutton development will be projection of microfilm books on the ceiling or wall in large type. To increase their impact on students, an electronic voice may accompany the visual passages.
This post original appeared on Paleo-Future Blog. Hat Tip to Book Patrol (A Haven for Book Culture)

Crimespree Award Nominations for 2010

Crimespree Magazine Awards

Favorite book of 2009
BURY ME DEEP by Megan Abbott
TOWER by Ken Bruen & Reed Farrel Coleman
TRUST NO ONE by Gregg Hurwitz
THE AMATEURS Marcus Sakey 

Favorite First Book 2009
RUNNING FROM THE DEVIL by Jamie Freveletti
EVEN by Andrew Grant
A BAD DAY FOR SORRY by Sophie Littlefield
Best in an on-going series for 2009
THE SILENT HOUR by Michael Koryta
SHATTER by Michael Robotham
WALKING DEAD by Greg Rucka
TRUTH by Peter Temple

Congratulations to all! Winners will be announced at Bouchercon 2010.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mike Nichol: Mystery Readers Journal African Mysteries

Recently Mystery Readers Journal had an issue devoted to African Mysteries. We were lucky enough to have Mike Nicol, a journalist and author, contribute. He was also instrumental in having other South African Mystery Writers contribute to this issue. Nicol's Revenge Trilogy – Payback, Killer Country and Black Heart – is being published in the UK by Old Street Publishing this year and has appeared under the Umuzi imprint in South Africa. He is the organizer of CrimeBeat: Book Southern Africa: the Internet Newspaper for SA Books.

To order the Mystery Readers Journal: African issue (Volume 26:1), go HERE.

A Guide to the Capetown Past and Present by Mike Nicol

Finding your landscape – or cityscape – is one of those quests we all face to some degree. Having a sense of place is reassuring. Mine is Cape Town. Always has been and probably always will be. I’ve lived here most of my life and the city has been a constant factor in my writing but never more so than in the crime novels I’ve written in the last six years.

When it comes to finding a setting for a crime novel Cape Town has it all: the ocean, beaches, a mountain slap bang down the middle of what is a peninsular city, a vibrant and attractive downtown, expensive suburbs hugging the mountain and overlooking the ocean, winelands, wine, and then in raw contrast the poverty of the black townships and squatter camps, and degraded, often gang-ridden inner city areas and the violent zones on the Cape Flats where coloured people were dumped by the racist policies of the apartheid state forty years ago. It is a city of great beauty and great ugliness. A city of contrasts. A city of extremes. And what is crime fiction if not a story of extremes?

Beneath this is an historic city, a city built by slaves. A city that refuses to let this past with its suffering and heartache be forgotten. Everywhere there is evidence of this older city, in buildings, squares, street names, the very names of the people on the streets. And this city forever writes itself into my crime fiction. For instance, in my novel Payback a graveyard is unearthed by a developer intent on breaking down an old building to erect a block of luxury apartments. My story is, as the saying goes, based on real events although it plays out differently. In reality the discovery of this graveyard – a site where slaves were buried in the eighteenth century – aroused extraordinary emotions and brought construction to a halt. A clear indication that the old city and the once disinherited now finally had a voice in today’s city. To me this was a felicitous example of history reaching out a bony hand and offered me an opportunity to incorporate the past into a novel that dealt with contemporary issues - the impact of the global drug trade on a city suddenly exposed to the world after decades of apartheid protectionism, and the violent phenomenon of an Islamic faction terrorising the city as they enforced their ideology. Remember us, the bones said, this is our place too, our city of bondage.

This sort of social, political, cultural and, yes, economic complexity has long attracted me. And of course it is the territory of those crime novels I prefer to read. The personal deviancies of serial killers and rapists are not my bag. Perhaps because I started writing when apartheid was at its most extreme in the 1970s, I have always focused on social issues. Since South Africa burned and bled and talked its way into a democracy in 1994, we have seen a government that held the moral highground crash into cronyism, graft, corruption, greed, turpitude as the new elite have got their hands on the spoils. We have seen breathtaking kickbacks from arms deals accumulate in the pockets of the powerful, we have seen land grabs that resulted in huge property developments that benefited the arrivistas, we have learnt of strange murders and payoffs, we have witnessed whistleblowers reduced to trembling paranoids fearful of anything that goes bump in the night. This is all the stuff of crime fiction and has gone to form the background plot to my novels.

Certainly the second in my trilogy, Killer Country, found its material in the corruption around property developments and what could be called insider trading on mining rights both of which activities tend to leave a trail of dead bodies when things go wrong which they inevitably do. This sounds heavy and all very worthy, I realise, as if it’s something of a moral crusade I’m on. Hardly. The last thing I’m interested in is letting the message get in the way of a good story. In my other life I’m a journalist so I know what happens when facts intervene – the story generally goes south. However, as an ardent crime fiction reader I learnt a long time back that if you want a glimpse into a nation’s soul, read their crime writers. These days, too, if you want a street guide to a foreign city, you can often do worse than buy a crime novel set in your holiday destination. You not only get a restaurant and cafe guide, but the nightlife bars and clubs get the nod, and as an added bonus you’re given advance warning on which corners of the city to avoid (or not depending on your intentions). If you’re thinking of visiting Cape Town you’ll get the low-down on the imaginary city in our crime novels (so also take a look at the books of my fellow citizens, especially Margie Orford’s Daddy’s Girl and Deon Meyer’s Devil’s Peak).

Strangely, until the crime genre started flourishing locally about five years ago, Cape Town did not exist as a imaginary city. If it was referred to at all in novels, the city seemed more a metaphor than a real place. But our crime fiction changed all that. Because crime fiction favours realism – even if it’s realism on steroids – it has given the city an imaginary life and simultaneously become the quintessential critique of our urban living. This has been a major attraction for me, as has the genre’s hardboiled language that has swept our street smart slangy patois into my fiction, literally giving a new vocabulary and rhythm to my city – both the real one and its fictional shadow.

Some locals have welcomed this: ‘At last I can read about the city I live in,’ is a common (and welcome) response. But I’ve also had: ‘I couldn’t finish the book, the characters were too scary.’ This speaks to that nexus between our true crime – which is violent and constant and everywhere – and our crime fiction. It perhaps also speaks to a hangover from our apartheid literature when our novels were read as the stuff newspapers couldn’t print. Many of our home-readers have yet to realise that crime fiction is a fairy tale, and like all fairy tales can be extremely disconcerting even if, in the end, everything works out. Well, at least sort of.

It might be that a number of books mentioned by South African writers are unavailable in the US, however, there are three good, reliable online bookstores:
Kalahari http://www.kalahari.net/
Exclusive Books: