Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Odd Cremation Urns

How creative do you want to be about the remains of your nearest and dearest? Is a vase on the mantle enough?  Oddee.com has compiled an interesting collection of 12 Craziest Cremation Urns from various websites. I don't think that all of them are crazy, although a few are pretty creepy such as the urn modeled on your appearance. Some of them make sense to me. Be sure and check them all out.

Do you consider yourself green? Then you know that ash is an important nutrient. The following Biodegradable Urn contains a tree seed that gets its nutrients from your ashes. Talk about the ultimate recycling. You become a tree! Greening the planet.. Shades of Soylent Green?

My sister is very active in the Transferware Club, as well as being an antiques dealer in English transferware pottery. I think the following urn might interest her and her customers. Not old enough to be an antique, so maybe not. Still the technique harks back to Josiah Spode.

Seattle's Charles Krafft offers the dead the chance to be the container. He makes urns from human ashes, following a formula that Josiah Spode invented in 1797, producing fine English china glaze by adding calcinated cow bone to the company's clay mixture. His artwork includes this urn made from cremated human remains in the shape of a vodka bottle at the request of the deceased's friends.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Library Fountain

I just love this Library Fountain. It's the Amelia Vaerio Weinberg Memorial Fountain at the Cincinnati Public Library. Cincinnati sculptor Michael Frasca. Dedicated in 1990.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ann Littlewood Zoo Mysteries: Lit Salon August 2

Are you fascinated by wild animals?
Ever wonder what it would be like to work at a zoo?
Do you enjoy a mystery with unusual characters and a a good puzzle?

Then join Mystery Readers NorCal in Berkeley on Thursday, August 2 at 2 p.m. for a Literary Salon with Ann Littlewood, author of Endangered, the third in the Zoo Mystery series.
... where not all the characters are Homo sapiens
... where an animal's behavior can provide a crucial clue
... and where "the inside scoop" is not a metaphor.


Where: Berkeley, CA (Comment below to RSVP and for directions)
Potluck Sweets or Savories

Ann Littlewood was a zoo keeper in Portland, Oregon for twelve years. She raised lions and cougars, an orangutan; and native mammals, as well as parrots, penguins, and a multitude of owls. The financial realities of raising primates (two boys of her own) led Ann to exchange a hose and rubber boots for a briefcase and pantsuit in the health care industry. Ann has maintained her membership in the American Association of Zookeepers and has kept in touch with the zoo world by visiting zoos and through friendships with zoo staffers.  http://zoomysteries.com/

Cartoon of the Day

Classic Farside:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

TV Series: The Last Policeman

Deadline reports:

Lorenzo di Bonaventura’s di Bonaventura Pictures is in negotiations to acquire the rights to The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters with the intention of turning it into a TV series. The producer had the Pierre Morel-directed pilot Zero Hour picked up at ABC. Quirk Books’ David Borgenicht will also be a producer. The book was just published.

The first in a trilogy, The Last Policeman is set on the brink of an apocalypse.

Mysteries to Die For to Close

After 19 years in business, Mysteries to Die For in Thousand Oaks, CA will close this Saturday. Alan Chisholm, who has owned the small bookshop since 2008, told the Ventura County Star that customer responses to news of the impending closure "really took me by surprise. This store stirs up a lot of feelings because this is where they go to meet their need."

He cited the financial toll of dwindling sales and the cost of necessary improvements among factors leading to his decision. "I always said I'd do this as long as I don't lose money," he said. "I don't know how to keep it going."

Posted on the Mysteries to Die For Bookstore website:

Mysteries to Die For is closing after a long and wonderful run of nineteen years. 

Thanks to all of you who have graced the store with your attendance and all of those special mail order customers who have supported the store over the years. 

We are humbled and appreciative of the countless e-mails, phone calls, and letters we have received in response to the news. 

The last day of business will be Saturday, July 28. 

Good-bye and Good Luck to all of you.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fabulous Library Cats

I have posted bookstore cats before, but never Library Cats. Once again my favorite site, Flavorwire, has posted photos of Famous and Fabulous Library Cats. I'm posting two, but be sure and check them all out.

TLC (Top Library Cat)
TLC (Top Library Cat). This kitty lives at Broken Bow Public Library in Nebraska. The library is lucky enough to have a fireplace, where TLC camps out during the chilly winter months. Notice he's reading Lilian Jackson Braun. He likes cat books!

Sir Eli
Eli is a fluffy Ragdoll cat (with a resemblance to my own Barclay). He hangs out at  Los Robles Elementary School Library twice a week to keep watch over the kids. He's a total marshmallow, docile and tolerant of tiny hands. Eli can often be seen in the school nurse’s office comforting sick children. Owner, librarian Marily Barsaleau, also takes Sir Eli to hospitals and hospices to charm patients.

Southfield, Michigan Public Library

A giant Book Heralds the Children's Library Area in Southfield, Michigan

Monday, July 23, 2012

Libraries Repurposed from Unused and Abandoned structures

Last week a WalMart store in Texas was recently converted into the country’s largest single story library, winning its category in the 2012 Library Interior Design Competition in the process. What a terrific solution to an abandoned store! Flavorwire, one of my favorite sites, decided to search out more Libraries Repurposed from Unused and Abandoned Structures, from large supermarkets to small phone booths and shipping containers. I've posted a few here, but always great to see more.. Following are a few.

Library repurposed from Walmart: McAllen, TX

Nassau Public Library: Nassau, Bahamas. Once a colonial jail, converted into a library in 1873.

Jackson Public Library: Jackson, NH, converted from a barn built in 1858.

Biblioteque Saint-Jean-Baptiste: Converted from a Church. Longueuil, Quebec
Here's a link to more.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Murder at the Olympics

The Olympics have played a very important part in crime fiction, and sadly in true crime--the 1972 Munich Olympics where Israeli atheletes were massacred. With the Olympics opening in London, I thought I'd post a few Olympics related crime fiction novels. One of my favorite Olympic books is Rebecca Cantrell's A Game of Lies. This novel really gives you a great sense of place -- the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

The following is a totally unvetted list. Mixed among the list are many well known authors, and I think you're safe with these. In my search, I came up with lots of ebooks, penned within the last few months. Jumping on the bandwagon? Are they well written? I posted a few of those titles here, too, but you'll need to decide for yourself.

As always, let me know any titles I've missed.


Skate Crime and On Think Ice by Alina Adams
Olympic Sleeper by Tom Barling
Echo of the Reich by James Becker
2012 Olympic Sabotage by D.M. Blowers
A Game of Lies by Rebecca Cantrell
Bear Pit by Jon Cleary
Gold by Chris Cleave
No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie
Typhoon by Charles Cummings
Garden of Beasts by Jeffery Deaver
Rush for the Gold: Mystery at the Olympic Games by John Feinstein (YA)
Beyond Gold by Elaine Forder
Trial Run by Dick Francis
Olympic Sacrifice by John Hocutt
Terror-Olympic Size by George L. Hoffman
Flight from Berlin by David John
March Violets by Phillip Kerr
Going for the Gold by Emma Lathen
Golden Girl by Peter Lear (Peter Lovesey)
Olympia '36 by John Lee
Dragon Games by Stephen Mertz
An Olympic Death; Off Side by Manuel Vazquez Montalban
Olympic Nemesis by James Morley
A Medal of Honor by John Morton
A Private Business by Barbara Nadel
The Judas Goat; Carol Heiss Olympic Queen by Robert B. Parker
Target America: Terror at the 2002 Olympics by Frederick W. Parkins
See How They Run by James Patterson

Private Games by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan
Death Spiral by Meredith Phillips
Olympic Fusion by Scott Pickard
The Runner by Christopher Reich
Hartliss Protector (Assignment: Prince William at the Olympics) by Mike Scantlebury
Black Rain by David Shone
The Eighth Day by Alistair Smith
Rogue Agent by Sean Sweeney
Lestrade and the Deadly Game by M.J. Trow
Summer Games: An Olympic Murder Mystery by Sabrina Wylly

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Russell Hill & Bill Moody: Lit Salon 7/25

Join Mystery Readers NorCal for an evening Literary Salon on Wednesday, July 25, 7 p.m. in Berkeley, CA. Please comment below with email to RSVP and directions.  Hope you can make it!

Russell Hill is the author of three Edgar nominated novels: The Lord God Bird, Robbie's Wife and The Dog Sox. He has lived long enough in California to consider himself a native, is married, has three children and six grandchildren. His latest novel is Deadly Negatives.

Read a guest post by Russell Hill on Mystery Fanfare.

Jazz musician Bill Moody is the author of 7 novels that feature jazz pianist-amateur sleuth Evan Horne. His latest book is a spy thriller entitled Czechmate: The Spy Who Played Jazz. He has also published a dozen short stories in various collections.

Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Awards

Denise Mina won the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year for The End of the Wasp Season.

SJ Watson, one of the nominees, confirmed that filming was due to start next year on Before I go to Sleep with Nicole Kidman playing the lead.

Outstanding Contribution Award was being given to Colin Dexter.

Read Ayo Onatade's posts about Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival at Shotsmag Confidential.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Emily Arsenault Guest Post

Today I welcome Emily Arsenault, author of The Broken Teaglass, In Search of the Rose Notes, and Miss Me When I'm Gone. She has worked as a lexicographer, an English teacher, a children’s librarian, and a Peace Corps volunteer. She lives in Shelburne Falls, MA, with her husband and daughter. She is currently at work on her fourth novel. I love her books!


When people ask me if I am a outliner or a “pantser,” I never know how to answer.

The truth is, I am envious of outliners and pretend to be one. I convince myself I know how the book is going to end as I start it. I like taking indulgent trips to Staples to buy all of the organizational supplies I think an outliner needs: big pieces of posterboard and Sharpies, Post-it notes and 3x5 cards. At the beginning of a project, I plan out an ending, because I presume that’s what mystery writers are supposed to do. I describe my ending to my husband, who asks warily, “Are you sure that’s how you want it to end?” because he knows how these things go and would like to avoid the shitstorm that will almost certainly hit him in approximately four months. And I act very offended at his suggestion that I don’t know what I’m doing. Since I am a professional.

And then I begin to write my book. After about 50 pages, I’m usually on a roll. I start giving myself a daily word count requirement—about 1,000 words at this stage. I reward myself with a Coke if I hit my daily quota. I start listening to bluegrass music as I write—banjos really get me going, typing faster and faster. This is when I start to really enjoy spending time with my characters, especially getting to know them through their dialogue.

The story, at this point, does not really resemble what I’ve written on my Post-It Notes, but whatever, at least pages are being filled and I get to keep mainlining my sweet bubbly Coca-Cola. And then, usually around page 200, something happens. A terrible feeling comes over me: I’m writing toward the wrong ending. Now that I know the characters better, I simply can’t see them doing or saying the things I had been planning for them to do.

Sometimes I try to shut out this realization for a couple of weeks. I keep writing toward the original ending I’d planned. Or I try to write the final pages ahead of time, just to assure myself the ending will work. And guess what? It doesn’t work at all. It’s ridiculous, in fact. There is no way I can force my characters to participate in such a wildly stupid ending.

“Now I have to start the book all over again!” I sob, cursing and hurling manuscript pages and Post-it notes and Sharpies as the cat skitters under the bed and my husband puts on his jacket and heads to the corner store to buy himself a bottle of gin. He knows that for the next couple of weeks he’ll have to endure me second guessing everything I’ve written so far, using him as a sounding board as I talk to myself about how the book should end/why I am writing this book/why I write books at all/why failure will always find me.

And when that’s all through I calm down and realize that what I have here is 200 pages of decent character development, from which I can still fashion a story. The story will be different from what I originally conceived. It will require that I gut what I’ve already written, but much of it—the best of it—will probably be salvageable.

This is how it always happens for me. I often wish this wasn’t the case—and always pray that the next book will go differently. But three books out of three, this has been the drill: I always need a basic preliminary outline to give me the confidence to push through the early pages. Little by little, I always start straying from it. Little by little, I always write myself into a minor nervous breakdown. And little by little, I write myself out of it.

Miss Me When I’m Gone, is a story within a story about the death of Gretchen Waters, the author of Tammyland – a memoir about her divorce and her admiration of the famous women of country music. When Gretchen takes a fatal fall down a set of stone steps after a public event, people assume it’s a tragic accident. But her best friend from college, Jamie, who is made her literary executor, starts to piece together Gretchen’s notebooks for what would have been her follow-up to Tammyland. As she goes back to Gretchen’s hometown, to search for clues, she discovers that Gretchen’s life was far from normal. Gretchen had become entangled in a search for the person who killed her mother 20 years before, and the identity of her unknown father. The more Jamie digs into Gretchen’s notebooks and tape recordings, the more she feels her own life is in danger and begins to realize that Gretchen’s death was not an accident after all. Miss Me When I’m Gone will be released on July 29.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Val McDermid to rework Northanger Abbey

The Bookseller reports that crime writer Val McDermid is going to write a contemporary re-working of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey as part of HarperFiction's series of new takes on Austen's six complete works.

Editorial director Louisa Joyner and crime and thriller publisher Julia Wisdom have acquired world all language rights from Jane Gregory in Northanger Abbey by McDermid. Publication is planned for spring 2014. The previous pairings announced in the series are Joanna Trollope re-writing Sense & Sensibility, which will be published in autumn 2013, and Pride & Prejudice re-worked by Curtis Sittenfeld.

Joyner said: "There is so much scope for reinvention in this often misunderstood novel and the idea of Val McDermid breathing life into it by bringing her literary expertise as the pre-eminent crime writer to re-ignite the novel's fear factor is incredibly exciting.

"Our stated aim is to create a series where each novel is a publishing event in its own right, and Val McDermid firmly establishes these partnerships as a literary force to be reckoned with."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Death by Chocolate: Winston Churchill

My worlds of chocolate and mystery collide again... well, some time ago..

From the Telegraph:

A Nazi plot to kill Sir Winston Churchill with a bar of exploding chocolate during the Second World War has been revealed in historic papers. 
Giving a new meaning to the dessert name “death by chocolate”, Adolf Hitler’s bomb makers coated explosive devices with a thin layer of rich dark chocolate, then packaged it in expensive-looking black and gold paper.
The Germans apparently planned to use secret agents working in Britain to discreetly place the bars - branded as Peters Chocolate - among other luxury items taken into the dining room used by the War Cabinet during the conflict.
The lethal slabs of confection were packed with enough explosives to kill anyone within several metres.

The plot was foiled by British spies who discovered the chocolate was being made and tipped off one of MI5’s most senior intelligence chiefs, Lord Victor Rothschild, before the wartime prime minister’s life could be endangered. 

Hat Tip: Kirsten Crippen (kmcripn)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Left Coast Crime 2014: Calamari Crime

Left Coast Crime 2014: Calarmari Crime. Monterey, CA
March 20-23, 2012, Portola Plaza Hotel & Spa, Monterey, CA

US Guest of Honor: Cara Black
International Guest of Honor: Louise Penny
Toastmaster: Brad Parks
Fan Guest of Honor: Sue Trowbridge

Check out the fabulous website!

Very Early Squid Registration and Incentives! 

Calamari Contest: Squid Lit

Calamari Store

Donald J. Sobol: R.I.P.

Donald J. Sobol, author of the popular "Encyclopedia Brown" series of children's mysteries, has died. He was 87.

I love these books! The 28-book series, first published in 1963, features boy detective Leroy (Encyclopedia) Brown who solves local mysteries in each book. The books also feature Brown's detective partner, tomboy Sally Kimball. Sobol's son said Sally's character was a strong role model for young girls, especially in 1963 when the series was first published.

The books became staples in classrooms and libraries. They were translated into 12 languages and sold millions of copies worldwide.

The series, which has never been out-of-print, won an Edgar Award in 1976. Throughout the years, Encyclopedia Brown’s adventures have been reincarnated as a comic strip and even an HBO television show.

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the Encyclopedia Brown series and to celebrate, the Penguin Young Readers Group’s will release a brand new adventure entitled Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Soccer Scheme.

Sobol was born in New York City and began his long and productive career with the New York Sun, where he served as a reporter. He began writing mysteries in 1958 with his syndicated column, "Two-Minute Mysteries," which featured a character who solved more heavy-handed crimes.

John Sobol said his father's story was one of perseverance. His first Encyclopedia Brown book was turned down two-dozen times before it was finally published.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


2012 Thriller Awards announced by International Thriller Writers last night!

Best Hardcover Novel: 11/22/63 by Stephen King (Scribner)
Best First Novel: Spiral by Paul McEuen (The Dial Press)
Best Paperback Original: The Last Minute by Jeff Abbott (Sphere/Little, Brown UK)
Best Short Story: “Half-Lives” by Tim L. Williams (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine [EQMM], March-April 2011)

True-crime writer Ann Rule was presented with the True Thriller Award.
Novelist Jack Higgins was ThrillerMaster at ThrillerFest.

Congratulations to winners and nominees!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bastille Day: Mysteries set in France

Happy Bastille Day (La Fete Nationale)!  Celebrate--read a mystery set in France!

Mystery Readers Journal has had two issues devoted to France. Mystery Readers Journal Volume 16:2 Mysteries set in France and the most recent issue Mysteries Set in France, Volume 28, No. 1, Spring 2012. Buy this back issue! Available in hardcopy or as a downloadable PDF.

Want some chocolate with that? Check out my post for Crepes a la Bastille: Triple Chocolate Crepes on DyingforChocolate.com

Scroll down to listen (and view) La Marseillaise from Casablanca

Table of Contents: Volume 28: No 1
A Brief Panorama of Early French Crime Fiction by Jean-Marc Lofficier
Sex and the Country: Some Thoughts on Pierre Magnan by Peter Rozovsky
An Interview with Sîan Reynolds by Peter Rozovsky
My Affair With the Birthplace of Crime Fiction by Bernadette Bean
Tale of Two Dominiques by Cary Watson
The Father of the Detective Story: Emile Gaboriau by Nina Cooper

Passion, Bloodshed, Desire, and Death by Susanne Alleyn
How I Got Into My Life of Crime French Style by Cara Black
Honest! I Was in Paris Working Very Hard! by Rick Blechta
Having a Nice Time? by Rhys Bowen
Inspector Aliette Nouvelle by John Brooke
The French Adventure of a Full-time Lawyer and Part-time Fool by Alan Gordon
Escape From Paris by Carolyn Hart
Maggie MacGowen Goes to France by Wendy Hornsby
France on Berlin Time by J. Robert Janes
Experiencing Provence by M.L. Longworth
Writing a French Police Series by Adrian Magson
France, the Write Country by Peter May
Travel + Fiction: You Want to Go There by Lise McClendon
Hemingway's Paris Remains 'A Moveable Feast' by Craig McDonald
Inspired by the "Where" by Tom Mitcheltree
It's All About Me? by Sharan Newman
Drinking Tea From a Bowl: Getting France Right by D-L Nelson
Mysteries Set in France: Vive la Différence! by Katherine Hall Page
Provence—To Die For by Renée Paley-Bain
Mick Jagger, Kirs Royales, and Paris by P.J. Parrish
Paris Shadows by M.J. Rose
Diplomatic Mystery by William S. Shepard
Alpine Beach: My French Connection by Susan Steggall
She Lost Her Head in La Belle France by Nancy Means Wright

Crossword: The French Connection by Verna Suit
Mystery in Retrospect: Reviews by Lesa Holstine, L.J. Roberts, Alana White, Marlyn Beebe
Children's Hour: Where's Madeleine? by Gay Toltl Kinman
In Short: Glimpses of France by Marvin Lachman
The Art of French Crime by Cathy Pickens
Crime Seen: Le Crime Vu by Kate Derie
Mysteries Set in France by British Authors by Philip Scowcroft
From the Editor's Desk by Janet A. Rudolph

La Marseillaise from Casablanca

Cartoon of the Day: Writer

Friday, July 13, 2012

American Book Mobiles

In case you missed this from Book Riot: A Brief History of American Bookmobiles.. in Pictures.

The first American bookmobile was actually a wagon. Mary Titcomb, a Maryland librarian, recgonized that having books was only one part of the library’s job: the other part was making the books accessible.

See more Photos and Read More HERE.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New Zealand Crime Novels: Win a set of the Ngaio Marsh Longist

From Craig Sisterson of CrimeWatch:

READERS AROUND the world now have the chance to go into the draw to win a full set of all seven crime, mystery, and thriller novels longlisted for the 2012 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel.

The longlisted titles that a lucky entrant will win are:
  • COLLECTING COOPER by Paul Cleave (Simon & Schuster)
  • LUTHER: THE CALLING by Neil Cross (Simon & Schuster)
  • FURT BENT FROM ALDAHEIT by Jack Eden (Pear Jam Books)
  • TRACES OF RED by Paddy Richardson (Penguin)
  • BY ANY MEANS by Ben Sanders (HarperCollins)
  • BOUND by Vanda Symon (Penguin)
  • THE CATASTROPHE by Ian Wedde (Victoria University Press)
The longlist reflects the growing depth and breadth of contemporary New Zealand crime and thriller writing, said Judging Convenor Craig Sisterson. “This year’s longlist features everything from dark serial killer tales to the latest books in popular detective series, ‘ripped from the headlines’ psychological suspense, and a prequel to one of the most compelling TV crime series of recent years. We have the mysterious tale of a narcissistic restaurant critic’s kidnapping, penned by New Zealand’s poet laureate, and an engaging debut thriller written under a nom de plume.”

The Ngaio Marsh Award is for the best crime, mystery, or thriller novel written by a New Zealand citizen or resident. A panel of local and international judges are currently considering the best of locally written crime and thriller fiction. This year the judges are from the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, and New Zealand. The three finalists for the 2012 Ngaio Marsh Award will be announced in July. Now readers have a chance to try for themselves the entire line-up that has been impressing the judging panel. Anyone can enter the prize draw simply by emailing a photo of themselves reading any New Zealand crime, mystery, or thriller title - contemporary or from days gone by - to ngaiomarshaward@gmail.com.

The book in your picture doesn't have to be set in New Zealand, as long as the author is associated with New Zealand (lives in New Zealand, was born or grew up in New Zealand, etc). So whether it's a well-loved copy of a Ngaio Marsh, Elizabeth Messenger, Laurie Mantell, Michael Wall, or Paul Thomas novel that's been sitting on your bookshelf for years, or a brand new New Zealand crime novel you've recently picked up from a bookstore or library, grab your camera, take a smiling photo of yourself with the book, and send it to ngaiomarshaward@gmail.com. If you need some inspiration when it comes to finding an eligible, mystery, or thriller novel to read and photograph, check out this list of more than 80 authors and more than 250 titles here.

Photos will be displayed on the Ngaio Marsh Award Facebook page, which you can visit and 'like' here.

The winner of the competition will be randomly drawn from the entered photos, and announced in the lead-up to the presentation of the 2012 Ngaio Marsh Award at The Press Christchurch Writers’ Festival on 1 September.

Best of luck, and happy snapping.

Gone Girl in 7-Figure Movie Deal

According to Deadline, 20th Century Fox acquired the rights to Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl (Crown) for seven figures! Go, Gillian!

The book will be produced by Pacific Standard’s Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea, along with Leslie Dixon. Flynn will write the screenplay.

More info to come.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

D.P. Lyle: Lit Salon July 19 in Berkeley

Join Mystery Readers NorCal for a return appearance of Award-winning Author, Lecturer, and Story Consultant, D.P. Lyle., M.D.. Intrigued by forensics? CSI? Writing a mystery? This is your opportunity to learn more  crime scene investigations, thriller and mystery writing, and much more. You won't want to miss this Literary Salon!

When: Thursday, July 19, 7 p.m.
Where: Private Home, Berkeley, CA
RSVP by leaving a comment with your email address

Writing: Non-fiction:

Writing: Fiction:
The Samantha Cody thriller series--DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND and DOUBLE BLIND)
The Royal Pains media tie-in novels: ROYAL PAINS: FIRST, DO NO HARM, ROYAL PAINS: SICK RICH

In addition to his own writing, D.P. Lyle has worked with many novelists and with the writers of popular television shows such as Law & Order, CSI: Miami, Diagnosis Murder, Monk, Judging Amy, Peacemakers, Cold Case, House, Medium, Women’s Murder Club, 1-800-Missing, The Glades, and Pretty Little Liars.

Doug Lyle was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama where his childhood interests revolved around football, baseball, and building rockets in his backyard. The latter pursuit was common in Huntsville during the 1950’s and 60’s due to the nearby NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center.

After leaving Huntsville, he attended college, medical school, and served an internship at the University of Alabama; followed by a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Texas at Houston; then a Fellowship in Cardiology at The Texas Heart Institute, also in Houston. For the past 35 years, he has practiced Cardiology in Orange County, California.

Strand Magazine Critics Awards

This just in...

Winner of the Strand Magazine Critics Award for Best Novel: The Cut by George Pelecanos

I'll update with winner of the Best First Novel shortly....

Mystery Bytes: Harry Bosch on TV

The LA Times reports that Michael Connelly has teamed up with Eric Overmyer and Fuse Entertainment to bring Harry Bosch to the small screen.

Eric Overmeyer was a writer for "Homicide: Life on the Street," "Law & Order," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Treme" and "The Wire."

Fuse Entertainment is the company responsible for "The Killing" on AMC, "The Good Guys" and USA's "Burn Notice."

In a statement, Connelly said, "There is so much Bosch material available that I've felt for a long time that the best way to maintain the integrity of the character would be to take him to television where some of the best character stuff is being done right now. I love 'The Killing' and I think teaming with Fuse and a writer of the quality and accomplishment of Eric is a fantastic combination."

The rights to the Bosch books were held by Paramount since the '90s, but Connelly bought back rights to the character earlier this year in order to pursue other opportunities.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Timothy Hallinan: Half-Cocked Hitchcock

Timothy Hallinan is the Edgar and Macavity nominated author of nine widely praised books: eight novels—including the Bangkok Poke Rafferty thrillers, the Los Angeles Simeon Grist Mysteries, and the Junior Bender comic Mysteries, as well as works of non-fiction. 
Tim Hallinan has lived, on and off in Southeast Asia for more than 25 years. He began writing books while enjoying a successful career in the television industry. He wrote songs and sang in a rock band while in college, and many of his songs were recorded by by well-known artists who included the platinum-selling group Bread. For years he has taught a course on “Finishing the Novel.” Tim currently splits his time between Los Angeles and Southeast Asia. 


In the interest of full disclosure let me say that I don't really believe my new book, THE FEAR ARTIST, is half-cocked anything. Instead, it's fully-cocked me, the best book I could write at the time I wrote it, and it's gotten starred reviews all over the place, so it seems to be okay, even if it's not “Rear Window.”

But I did consciously model the story on some of the classic Hitchcock tropes, beginning with the one so brilliantly used in “North By Northwest” and elsewhere—the total innocent thrown mistakenly into the maw of something evil, which he has to defeat somehow. In the first sentence in the book, my hero, travel writer Poke Rafferty, is backing out of a Bangkok paint store, having just bought four gallons of paint to brighten up his apartment.

In the fifth sentence, a very large American man, running at full speed, bumps into Poke and brings him to the pavement. By the end of the third page, the man has been shot to death from sniper distance while on top of Poke, and cops have materialized from nowhere to insist that no shots were fired.

It's all downhill from there. Because the man speaks three words to Rafferty—meaningless to him—several people who are active in the War on Terror in Thailand are afraid those words are very bad news for them, and they'll do anything to put Poke out of commission.

So it's a Hitchcock setup and I go on to develop it with some proven Hitchcock story and suspense mechanics (he discusses these things very generously in his book of interviews with Franҫois Truffaut). But, of course, Hitchcock had several things going for him that I don't.

First, he was Hitchcock. Nothing I can do about that.

Second, he had actors. Despite his famous scorn for actors, Hitchcock worked with the best. His stars were nonpareil, but it was the casting of the small parts where he really stood out. He used great character actors: Norman Lloyd, Martin Balsam, Leo G. Carroll, Jessie Mae Landis, Lurene Tuttle, Robert Ellenstein, Alan Mobray, and on and on—look any of these people up, and you'll recognize them at a glance if you like old movies. These performers could give you an entire character in two lines of dialogue, and then remain vivid in the audience's minds throughout the film. In their absence I have to make do with little black marks on a white page that look the same for the hero as for the villain, so it's up to me to try to make up the loss of those actors by finding other ways to make my minor characters as distinctive and as memorable as possible.

This can be done partly through a good physical description, but it's mostly how they think and talk. You can only describe a character so many times, but dialogue is a description of a different kind; its rhythms, its imagery, the view of the world it suggests, all tell us something about the character. Sometimes, early in a book, I'll go through an exercise in which I have all my characters describe the same thing—say, the front of a hotel—and see how differently they can do it. Once I'm comfortable with the various ways they approach that, I'm more secure in their dialogue.

Here's another thing Hitchcock had that I don't: great cinematographers. I can't take you to Bangkok as vividly as Hitch took his audiences to Monte Carlo or that midwestern cornfield where the crop spraying plane tried to gun down Cary Grant.

What I have instead is the ability to go inside my characters' heads and show the reader Bangkok as they experience it. I've come to believe, in fact, that a place that's just externally described in a book (“Jack looked up at the Tower of Pisa and then checked his watch.”) is essentially scenery, while setting is the relationship between the characters and the place. So while I can't show you Hitchcock's Bangkok (if he had ever filmed Bangkok) I can show you Poke Rafferty's Bangkok. And I can show you other characters' Bangkok, too.

In the end, of course, books and movies are probably different in more ways than they're similar. Perhaps the filmmaker's greatest advantage is that his or her story will be told in a couple hours' time and that the audience comes to it having set aside the interruptions of real life. We, or course, have to seduce the reader over and over again, beckon them back to the book while more important things conspire to interrupt them. I think that makes it all the more important that we learn what we can from Hitchcock and other masters of the various storytelling media. We may be fighting for the reader's attention, but we want them to return to our story eagerly. Reading should be an oasis, not a tug-of-war.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cara Black and Yigit Pura: Bastille Day Celebration

Friday, July 13, 2012 - 12:00pm
Bastille Day Celebration with the Bay Gourmet Forum

Cara Black, Author of the Aimee Leduc Mysteries in conversation with Leonard Pitt, Physical Theatre Actor and Teacher, Author, Walks Through Lost Paris: Paris, A Journey Through Time

And Yigit Pura, Winner, "Top Chef: Just Desserts"; Owner, Tout Sweet, in conversation with Cathy Curtis, Chair, Bay Gourmet Forum

San Francisco resident Black frequents a Paris little known outside the beaten tourist track. She shares this Paris with us in her award-nominated Aime’e Leduc Investigation series. Each murder mystery is based in a different arrondissement in Paris and features the spike-haired, tattoed detective Aime’e Leduc. Black and Pitt will talk about her book, their love of Paris and, of course, the cuisine of France.

She will be joined by "Top Chef: Just Desserts" champion Yigit Pura, who is opening pastry shop Tout Sweets in Macy's Union Square and who will talk about his amazing career and love of French pastries.

Delicious Treats to Follow!

Location: Commonwealth Club, San Francisco
Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program, 1 p.m. book signing
Cost: $20

Part of the Good Lit series underwritten by The Bernard Osher Foundation

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mystery News: Five Trips for Crime Lovers

I always love to visit places I've read about in mysteries. After all, I'm already familiar with them from the books. I've followed Dashiell Hammett's footsteps in San Francisco and driven around Raymond Chandler's L.A. I've taken the Sherlock Holmes walking tour in London, and found many Maigret spots in Paris.

Occasionally I post new walking, driving and bus trips here on Mystery Fanfare, so I was delighted to read an article in yesterday's CNN online edition about Five trips for Crime Lovers.  (the 5th one includes 3 different cities in Sweden) Adding these to my list.

Laura Lippman's Baltimore, MDArcher Mayor's Brattleboro, VT
Ian Rankin's Edinburgh, Scotland
Alexander McCall Smith's Gaborone, Botswana

Camilla Lackberg's Fjallbacka, Sweden
Henning Mankell's Ystad, Sweden
Stieg Larsson's Stockholm, Sweden


Just a reminder that Lewis starts tonight on Masterpiece Mystery! on PBS. Don't miss these great new episodes. Check your local listings. See trailer below.

Inspector Lewis: Season 5
Four 90-minute mysteries — Sundays, July 8 - 29, 2012
Kevin Whately returns for an all-new season as Inspector Lewis. With his young partner DS Hathaway (Laurence Fox), they continue solving cases in the seemingly perfect academic haven of Oxford.

July 8, 2012 at 9pm
The Soul of Genius
One 90-minute episode
When the body of an obsessive Oxford English professor is found, Lewis and Hathaway are set upon a seemingly impossible quest to uncover the truth. James Fleet (Little Dorrit) and Celia Imrie (Cranford) guest star.

July 15, 2012 at 9pm
Generation of Vipers
One 90-minute episode
Suspicions abound as Lewis and Hathaway investigate the death of a lovelorn Oxford professor. Was her death caused by an embarrassing Internet leak, or something much more sinister? Toby Stephens (Jane Eyre) guest stars.

July 22, 2012 at 9pm
Fearful Symmetry
One 90-minute episode
Lewis and Hathaway are drawn into a darker side of Oxford while investigating the murder of a suburban babysitter. Will the babysitter's secret life help the detectives unravel a tangled web of lies and deceit to find their killer?

July 29, 2012 at 9pm
The Indelible Stain
One 90-minute episode
A controversial American academic is found strangled after a guest lecture at Oxford, leading Lewis and Hathaway to narrow down a list of motives that includes politics, ambition and vengeance, in order to find their culprit.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Designing 007: Fifty years of Bond Style

This year makes the 50th anniversary of 007 on the silver screen. This weekend the Barbican Centre in London opens its exhibition on James Bond's flair-girls, guns, gadgest, megalomaniacs and hide-outs. Curators are Fashion historian Bronwyn Cosgrave and costume designer Lindy Hemming (costume designer on 5 Bond films.

From 1962's Dr No to this year's Skyfall, this is a unique exhibition showcasing the inside story of the design and style of the world's most influential and iconic movie brand. 

Highlights include gadgets and weapons made for Bond and his notorious adversaries by special effects experts John Stears and Chris Corbould, along with artwork for sets and storyboards by production designers Sir Ken Adam, Peter Lamont and Syd Cain, and costume designs by Bumble Dawson, Donfeld, Julie Harris, Lindy Hemming, Ronald Patterson, Emma Porteous, and Jany Temime.

On display too are lavish screen finery by Hollywood costume designers and major fashion names including Giorgio Armani, Brioni, Roberto Cavalli, Tom Ford, Hubert de Givenchy, Gucci's Frida Giannini, Douglas Hayward, Rifat Ozbek, Jenny Packham, Miuccia Prada, Oscar de la Renta, Anthony Sinclair, Philip Treacy, Emanuel Ungaro and Donatella Versace. 

And so much more..... 

Check out this great article in the WSJ about the exhibit with specifics by Mrs Cosgrave and Ms Hemming. Includes info on the First Bond Tux, the watch, the Aston Marton...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

CWA Dagger Awards

Britain's Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) announced the winners of several Dagger Awards.
CWA International Dagger: The Potter’s Field, by Andrea Camilleri, translated by Stephen Sartarelli (Mantle)

CWA Non-fiction Dagger: The Eleventh Day, by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan (Transworld/Doubleday)

CWA Short Story Dagger: Tie — “The Message,” by Margaret Murphy (from Murder Squad: Best Eaten Cold and Other Stories, edited by Martin Edwards; The Mystery Press) and “Laptop,” by Cath Staincliffe (from Murder Squad: Best Eaten Cold and Other Stories) 

CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger: Icelight, by Aly Monroe (John Murray)

CWA Dagger in the Library: Steve Mosby

CWA Debut Dagger: Beached, by Sandy Gingras

The London event also included the presentation of the CWA’s 2012 Diamond Dagger Award to Frederick Forsyth, author of The Day of the Jackal (1971), The Dogs of War (1974), and numerous other best-selling works.

On top of the six prizes handed ’round today, the CWA released the longlists of nominees for three other Dagger Awards as follows:

The John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger:
• The Doll Princess, by Tom Benn (Jonathan Cape)
• Heart-Shaped Bruise, by Tanya Byrne (Headline)
• A Land More Kind than Home, by Wiley Cash (Bantam)
• So Much Pretty, by Cara Hoffman (Century)
• Good People, by Ewart Hutton (HarperCollins)
• Turn of Mind, by Alice LaPlante (Harvill Secker)
• The Expats, by Chris Pavone (Faber and Faber)
• What Dies in Summer, by Tom Wright (Canongate)

The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger:
• Dare Me, by Megan Abbott (Picador)
• The Shadow Patrol, by Alex Berenson (Headline)
• A Foreign Country, by Charles Cumming (HarperCollins)
• The Fear Index, by Robert Harris (Hutchinson)
• The Dispatcher, by Ryan David Jahn (Macmillan)
• Uncommon Enemy, by Alan Judd (Simon & Schuster)
• The Child Who, by Simon Lelic (Mantle)
• Reamde, by Neal Stephenson (Atlantic)

The Gold Dagger:
• A Land More Kind than Home, by Wiley Cash (Bantam)
• Vengeance in Mind, by N.J. Cooper (Simon & Schuster)
• Grandad, There’s a Head on the Beach, by Colin Cotterill (Quercus)
• The Flight, by M.R. Hall (Mantle)
• The Rage, by Gene Kerrigan (Vintage)
• Turn of Mind, by Alice LaPlante (Harvill Secker)
• The Child Who, by Simon Lelic (Mantle)
• Bereft, by Chris Womersley (Quercus)

Winners in these last three categories will be announced later in the year.

Hat Tip: The Rap Sheet

OLYMPIAN MURDERS: Guest Post by Barbara Nadel

Today's guest post is by British writer Barbara Nadel, author of contemporary procedurals set in Istanbul featuring the chain-smoking, brandy-swilling Inspector Ikmen, husband to a strict Muslim woman. That series debut was Belshazzar’s Daughter, the first of 13 novels. She has also written four World War II novels in a series featuring London undertaker Francis H. She is the winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Silver Dagger for Deadly Web. Now Barbara Nadel has started a new series that comes out today (July 5). I asked Barbara to do a guest post . So glad she did. Here's the scoop!


Yes, the time has come to tell the assembled masses (or mass, if you are but singular) about my new crime series. It’s called the Hakim and Arnold series and it’s set in the London Borough of Newham, latterly and otherwise known as the Olympic borough.

The first book in the series, A Private Business, will be published today by Quercus and, unusually for me, I’m excited. This is not to say that Çetin İkmen and the Turkish cohort will suddenly cease trading now I’ve got Hakim and Arnold, they will not. My latest İkmen book, a closed room mystery, will be published in January 2013 and there will be at least another book after that. But Hakim and Arnold take me home.

 If I have learnt anything about living away from London it is this: I can’t live without it. When I lived in Cambridge, I wilted, now I live in a fabulous part of the Pennines, but it isn’t really me. Nothing to do with either Cambridge or the Pennines, the fault is mine. That said, this latest foray into pastures new has served to allow me to see London from a different perspective and view it with fresh eyes, for which I am very grateful.

But what is this new series about? Well, it’s set around a part of Newham called Upton Park and focuses on the lives and careers of two private detectives; Lee Arnold and Mumtaz Hakim.

Lee is mid forties, an ex-soldier and ex-police officer. He is divorced and lives alone except for his pet mynah bird who he has indoctrinated to sing West Ham football club songs. Handy in a fight and no nonsense, Lee nevertheless hides a past punctuated by family alcohol problems, a violent father, memories from the First Iraq War and addiction to pain killers. In order to overcome his addiction and briefly forget his problems, Lee cleans and tidies both his flat and his office to a fanatical degree. He is a risk taker and one of those risks is the woman who is his business partner, Mumtaz Hakim.

At 32, Mumtaz is very young to be widowed. Her late husband, Ahmet, and father of Mumtaz’s sixteen year old step-daughter, Shazia, was murdered less than a year before the series starts. And said husband left Mumtaz with nothing but debts. An educated woman, Mumtaz has a psychology degree and, when she is first widowed, she imagines that she will be able to get a job to support Shazia and their big house in Forest Gate easily. But it doesn’t happen. As a Muslim woman who covers her head, she is far too ‘Islamic’ for most white employers while for Muslim businesses, they generally see her as too liberal in her appearance and her views. Then she sees an advertisement for an administrative post in a private detectives office and Mumtaz and Lee come together. He takes a punt on her, she takes a risk with him and she ends up conducting her own investigations either alongside Lee or on her own. Mumtaz however hides a very unsavoury secret which I am not going to tell you about.

The sort of cases the Arnold agency get involved with include issues around infidelity, suspicion of stalking, investigations into people’s pasts and general surveillance. Of course, this being crime fiction, murders come into the equation at some point, which brings me to Lee’s old contact in the police, DI Violet Collins.

This woman is old school with a modern twist. She smokes like a trooper, drinks like a fish and swears like a sailor. She also likes to go on holiday to hot places and pick up men half her age (Vi is 54). Although she doesn’t like even that as much as she enjoys a damn good challenge which may be a case of murder, getting stuck in in a riot or tracking down a rapist. Vi will always be in the thick of any action that is going and she knows EVERYONE.

Many of the tensions within A Private Business, which will stretch across the whole series, come from the composition of Newham – both human and architectural – as well as its history and the many cultures that define its population. The borough as I’ve said before, is also host to the 2012 Olympics which has altered some parts of Newham almost out of recognition. Now, as well as being the most ethnically diverse urban area in Europe, Newham is also becoming a desirable place for people with money to live. And that is new and challenging for everyone.

So this is a big job I’ve taken on here, not just to write a new series, but to do justice to a place that is often misrepresented and which also happens to be my birthplace. Wish me luck and I hope that everyone who reads it will enjoy doing so just as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Shortlist

This news just in: Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Shortlist 
  • Now You See Me by SJ Bolton (Transworld)
  • Where the Bodies are Buried by Chris Brookmyre (Little, Brown)
  • The Burning Soul by John Connolly (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina (Orion)
  • Black Flowers by Steve Mosby (Orion)
  • Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson (Transworld)
Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award is one of the most prestigious crime writing prizes in the UK.

Now in its eighth year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, in partnership with Asda – who will promote the shortlisted titles in stores nationwide from today – and in association with the Daily Mirror, was created to celebrate the very best in crime writing and is open to British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1st June 2011 to 31st May 2012.

The overall winner will be decided by a public vote and a panel of experts which this year comprises DI Tom Thorne actor David Morrissey, Festival chair Mark Billingham, Daily Mirror Literary Editor and crime novelist Henry Sutton, Asda Fiction Buyer Ruth Lewis, and Simon Theakston, Executive Director of T&R Theakston Ltd.

The public vote opens today, Thursday 5th July (UK time), and closes on Tuesday 17th July at www.theakstons.co.uk

The winner of the prize will be announced by title sponsor Simon Theakston at an award ceremony hosted by radio broadcaster and Festival regular Mark Lawson on Thursday 19th July, the opening night of the 10th Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. The winner will receive a £3,000 cash prize as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakstons brewery.

Hat Tip: It's a crime! (or a mystery)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fourth of July Crime Fiction: a List

Another holiday, another list! The Fourth of July (Independence Day) is one of my favorite holidays, maybe because I was born in Philadelphia, the birthplace of the nation. If you've been to my house you know I collect patriotic embroideries and pottery. I'm big on Red, White, & Blue!

In all of the mysteries below, the Fourth of July plays a major part. Even if you're not celebrating Independence Day, you can celebrate this great group of mysteries! Something for everybody's taste!

Fourth of July Mysteries

The Fourth of July Wake by Harold Adams
Murder on Parade by Donald Bain (Jessica Fletcher) 
Hair of the Dog by Laurien Berenson 
The Cat Who Went Underground by Lilian Jackson Braun
Dead on the 4th of July by Meg Chittenden
Someone to Watch Over Me by Jill Churchill
Independence Day by Anne-Marie Clark
Twanged by Carol Higgins Clark
Red, White, and Blue Murder
by Bill Crider
Dead on the Fourth of July by R. E. Derouin
Lemon Meringue Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke
Tool & Die by Sarah Graves
Act Of Darkness by Jane Haddam
Yankee Doodle Dead by Carolyn Hart
Past Imperfect by Kathleen Hills
Exit Wounds by J. A. Jance
The Fourth of July by J.D. Kincaid
A Timely Vision by Joyce and Jim Lavene
Die Like a Hero by Clyde Linsley
Knee High by the Fourth of July by Jess Lourey
Star Spangled Murder by Leslie Meier
Iron Ties by Ann Parker
4th of July by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
King Suckerman by George P. Pelecanos
Can't Never Tell by Cathy Pickens
Death by Deep Dish Pie by Sharon Short
Independence Day Plague by Carla Lee Suson
And Four to Go ("Fourth of July Picnic") by Rex Stout  
Some Welcome Home by Sharon Wildwind
Star Spangled Murder by Valerie Wolzien

Short Story:
Rex Stout's "Fourth of July Picnic" in Century of Great Suspense Stories, Edited by Jeff Deaver

Children’s Mysteries
Fireworks at the FBI (Capital Mysteries Series #6) by Ron Roy, Timothy Bush (Illustrator)
Murder On The Fourth of July by Carolyn Keene

True Crime:  
Death on the Fourth of July: The Story of a Killing, a Betrayal, and Hate Crime in America by David A. Neiwert

As always, I welcome additions and comments.

Have a great holiday!!


Sad news. Iwan Hedman Morelius died suddenly on June 21, 2012.

He is mourned and missed by family and friends.

Iwan Morelius was born in Stockholm in 1931 and served in the Swedish army from 1950 to 1981. In 1968 he founded the long-running DAST Magazine dedicated to his life-long passion for crime fiction. He became an enthusiastic expert on the international crime-writing scene and although retired and living in Spain with his wife Margareta, wrote a monthly column online in Swedish.

Iwan was so supportive of the Scandinavian issue of Mystery Readers Journal, sending articles and emails of various writers to be included.

Here are some links to obituaries (in Swedish)



Andy Griffith: R.I.P.

Andy Griffith, everybody's Favorite Sheriff, has died at the age of 86.

From IMDB: 
Andy Griffith is best known for his starring roles in two very popular TV series, The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock. Griffith earned a degree in music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In the 1950s he became a regular on the Ed Sullivan Show and the Steve Allen Show. He was featured in the Broadway play "No Time for Sergeants" (1955) for which he received a Tony nomination and he later appeared in the film version. His film debut was in the provocative and prophetic A Face in the Crowd (1957), in which Griffith gave a performance that has been described as stunning.

On "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960), Griffith portrayed a folksy small-town sheriff who shared simple heartfelt wisdom. The show was one of the most popular TV series in history. It generated some successful spin-offs, and the original is still seen in re-runs to this day.

Griffith created his own production company in 1972, which produced several movies and TV series. In 1981, he was nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal in Murder in Texas (1981) (TV). In 1983 Griffith was stricken with Guillain-Barre syndrome, but he recovered after rehabilitation.

In 1986 he produced and starred in the very successful TV series "Matlock" (1986). The show spawned numerous TV movies as well. When he accepted the People's Choice Award for this show, he said this was his favorite role.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Where have all the Typewriters Gone?

Yesterday I did what I always do on the first Sunday of the Month. I went to the Alameda Point Collectible show aka Alameda Flea Market. This gigantic flea market is one of the best in the West. It's about 2 miles long and 1/2 mile wide, you can find almost anything you need--or want. Want to read Flea Market Mysteries? Here's a link to a good list.

Without any real needs or wants, I decided to focus on a theme: Typewriters. Imagine how many words were written on these typewriters over the years. Maybe even some great mysteries!