Thursday, January 31, 2013

Elaine Viets: How to Keep a Florida Series from a Dead End

The lastest issue of Mystery Readers Journal: Florida Mysteries (Volume 28:4) is now available in both PDF format and hardcopy. Check out the Table of Contents and order it HERE.

Elaine Viets, one of the contributors to this issue, writes two bestselling mystery series, the Dead-End Job mysteries and the Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper mysteries. Final Sail, her latest hardcover (NAL, 2012), explores the world of the haves and the have-yachts. Elaine won the Agatha, Anthony and Lefty Awards. 

How to Keep a Florida Series from a Dead End

My Dead-End Job series started because I worked in South Florida.

I'd been writing the Francesca Vierling mysteries set in my hometown of St. Louis, even though my husband, Don Crinklaw, and I now lived in South Florida.

Florida seemed like such a juicy setting for a series: We lived in a condo on the beach and each day more characters paraded past on the boardwalk:

A pony-tailed hippy rode a bike with a cockatoo perched on the handlebars.

A stately disabled woman motored on her scooter, an alert Boston terrier at her feet.

Dealers boldly sold pot to tourists at a beach restaurant.

Retired mobsters discussed their cholesterol at the Italian restaurant two doors down.

Beach bunnies flirted with the strapping lifeguards in the tower near my window.

They were begging me to put them in a book. But my series was set at a St. Louis newspaper. I'd been a reporter for more than 25 years. The Midwest is charming and quirky, but it lacks South Florida's outrageous style.

Then Don and I had a bad year: he was diagnosed with stage three cancer (he's fine now, thanks), we were audited by the IRS, we lost our money in the stock market and my Francesca series was canceled, along with dozens of other series when Dell wiped out its mystery division.

I went to work as a bookseller at a Barnes & Noble in Hollywood, Florida, and learned the obvious: When you make $11 an hour, people treat you worse than if you have a well-paid corporate job.

My Dead-End Job series was born. I started making notes about the colorful characters I met at the bookstore:

The furious man who screamed at me when I didn't process his return fast enough. The other customers defended me, bless them.

The old man who brought his lunch and read at the store all day, but only bought a book when his Social Security check arrived.

The woman who talked on her cell phone while I rang up her books.

It was all fodder for a new series. Helen, like me, is a Midwestern woman. We have similar views of the world, except I had a better marriage.

The bookstore wasn't the first book in my Dead-End Job series. I set Shop Till You Drop (Signet, 2003) where I had my first retail job: a high-end clothing store where the owner went to federal prison.
Murder Between the Covers (Signet, 2003), the second book in the series, was my bookstore mystery. I worked as a telemarketer for Dying to Call You (Signet, 2004). That's where Helen met her future husband, private eye Phil Sagemont. Yes, Helen works as a topless bartender to solve a murder in that book. No, I didn't work that job.
For Just Murdered (Signet, 2005) I worked in the bridal department at Zola Keller, a chic Fort Lauderdale store. I killed the mother of the bride in that novel, but the publisher wouldn't let me call it "One Dead Mother."

The Dead-End Job series went hardcover at book five, Murder Unleashed (NAL, 2006), where Helen and I worked at a dog boutique. Murder with Reservations (NAL, 2007) was the hardest job I ever worked. I was a hotel maid and made 28 beds, cleaned 17 toilets and the honeymoon Jacuzzi daily.
My back killed me.
Clubbed to Death (NAL, 2008) was the most unpleasant job: customer service for a country club whose motto should have been "Do you know who I am?" I hated waiting on spoiled rich people.
Killer Cuts (NAL, 2009) was a lot more fun. I was an assistant to a South Beach hairstylist.

After five books, Helen and Phil wanted to marry. But that plan changed on their wedding day.

I had a change of plans, too. Jobs, even dead-end ones, were getting hard to find. Florida's unemployment rate was one of the highest in the USA. I was able to work at a designer resale shop for Half-Price Homicide (NAL, 2010). I learned trophy wives were allowed unlimited shopping, but their controlling husbands wouldn't give them cash. The wives bought expensive items and sold them at the resale shop for personal cash.

Helen and Phil married in that novel. Their lives changed, and so did the direction of my series. Florida unemployment was now at 11.4 percent. More than a million people were out of work. I couldn't take a job for research when so many people needed real employment.

But Helen keeps working those dead-end jobs. In Pumped for Murder (NAL, 2011), newlywed Helen and Phil started their private eye agency, Coronado Investigations. Helen works at a gym and falls into extreme bodybuilding.

I attended private eye conventions to learn about the gumshoe business and did more research. For my May 2013 book, Board Stiff, I learned stand-up paddleboarding.

Actually, it was more like fall-off paddleboarding. In nine feet of water.

Call it in-depth research.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Child 44 Casting News

Hat Tip: Omnimystery News

Casting News for Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith:

Tom Hardy (Lawless, Inception) and Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) negotiating lead roles. Ridley Scott, producer. Daniel Espinosa (Safe House, Easy Money) will direct the adapted screenplay by Richard Price (Ransom, Clockers).

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Nominees for this year’s Dilys Winn Award. The Dilys Award has been given annually since 1993 by the IMBA (Independent Mystery Booksellers Association) to the mystery titles of the year which the member booksellers have most enjoyed selling. The Dilys Award is named in honor of Dilys Winn, the founder of the first specialty bookseller of mystery books in the United States

Winner will be announced at Left Coast Crime in Colorado Springs in March.

Granddad, There’s a Head on the Beach, Colin Cotterill (Minotaur)
Broken Harbor, Tana French (Viking)
Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, Susan Elia MacNeal (Bantam)
The Expats, Chris Pavone (Crown)
Before the Poison, Peter Robinson (William Morrow) .

The Independent Mystery Booksellers Association is comprised of a network of independently owned retail bookstores across North America and the United Kingdom, devoted to the sale of mystery books. For more information on the IMBA and the Dilys Awards, including past nominees and winners, visit

105 year old Librarian 'retires'

Joanna Poncavage at Booktrib reports on the 'retirement' of Bernie Nenner, who at 105 years and 8 months, stepped down as volunteer librarian at this Florida retirement community.

A lifelong reader, he taught himself more than enough to compensate for his lack of formal education, and he retired a millionaire decades ago. “For a poor Jewish kid from the Lower East Side of New York,” he says, “I think I did pretty well for myself, thanks to books.

Read the rest of his amazing story HERE

Monday, January 28, 2013

Grand Central Murder: Happy Birthday, Grand Central Terminal

February 1 will be the 100th Anniversary of Grand Central Terminal. Completed in 1913, the awe-inspiring Beaux-Arts landmark became the country's busiest train station serving commuter and long distance rail lines and bringing development to midtown Manhattan.

Want to celebrate? Check out the Grand Central Terminal website for special events and celebrations.

Not able to make it to New York? Watch the comedy/mystery Grand Central Murder (1942).

Release Date: 1942   Duration: 73 min
Cast: Patricia Dane, Sam Levene, Van Heflin
Categories: Movies, Crime Fiction, Detective fiction, Detective, Black-and-white, Mystery, Film noir
Grand Central Murder -- a comedy/mystery film released in 1942, based on Sue MacVeigh's 1939 novel of the same name, and stars Van Heflin as a private investigator who is one of the suspects in a murder on a private train car in Grand Central Terminal. The film was directed by S. Sylvan Simon.

Convicted murderer "Turk" (Stephen McNally) escapes from police custody, crashing through a washroom window as a train pulls into Grand Central Station in New York. He telephones his former girlfriend, Broadway star Mida King (Patricia Dane), and threatens to kill her. She leaves her show between acts and hides in a private train car on a siding at the station, planning to leave town and marry her rich, high society fiance, David V. Henderson (Mark Daniels). However, her body is found by David and his ex-fiancee, Connie Furness (Cecilia Parker). Police Inspector Gunther (Sam Levene) is called in to solve the crime. The doctor at the scene is unable to determine the cause of death. Turk is recaptured, and wisecracking private detective "Rocky" Custer (Van Heflin), whom Turk had hired, is also brought in, as he had helped his client evade the police.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Macmillan is making "a select group" of e-books available to libraries for e-lending, the publisher's first such program.

The pilot program will begin in the next two months and include more than 1200 backlist titles from Minotaur Books, the mystery and crime fiction imprint at St. Martin's Publishing Group. Using the agency model. Libraries will be able to lend the purchased e-book for two years or 52 transactions, whichever comes first.

Comments? 52 transactions?

Hat Tip: ShelfAwareness

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book Mural Circle City Books and Music

Isn't this fabulous?

Book Mural at Circle City Books and Music, Pittsboro, NC. 48 titles from Light in August (William Faulkner) to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou). Pittsboro is near Chapel Hill and Raleigh. Another reason to visit North Carolina.

READ MORE HERE... and all the book titles (L.A. Times)

LOVEY AWARD NOMINEES: Love is Murder Conference


The 2013 LOVEY Awards will be presented at the 14th annual Love is Murder Conference taking place Feb. 1-3 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Rosemont, just outside of Chicago. The awards, in nine categories, will be presented at the Saturday evening awards dinner/banquet.

The 2013 LOVEY nominees are:

Best First Novel
COURTING MURDER, by Bill Hopkins
SOULJOURNER, by D. L. Marriott
PERFIDY, by Michele May
IN HER SHADOW, by August McLaughlin
Best Traditional/Amateur Sleuth
WHERE DID YOU DIE, by Patricia K. Batta
THE TRASHY GOURMET, by David Ciambrone
A SMALL HILL TO DIE ON, by Elizabeth Duncan
DABBLERS, by Kathryn Flatt
THE LOST ARTIST, by Gail Lukasik
MURDER IN THE ROUND, by Patricia Rockwell (an Amelia Barnes Acoustic Mystery)
CROSSCURRENTS, by Powell Smily, with Susan Smily and Honora Finkelstein

Best Thriller
HITMAN: DAMNATION, by Raymond Benson
THE NINTH DAY, by Jamie Freveletti
COMPANY ORDERS, by David J. Walker

Best Police Procedural
THE SONS OF JUDE, by Brandt Dobson
Best Paranormal/Sci-Fi
WALK-IN, by Honora Finkelstein and Susan Smily

Best Historical
ARCHIE MEETS NERO WOLFE, by Robert Goldsborough
DEATH AT WOODS HOLE, by Frances McNamara

Best Suspense
A BITTER VEIL, by Libby Fischer Hellman

Best Series
GET FLUFFY, by Sparkle Abbey (the Pampered Pets mystery series)
THY WILL BE DONE, by Richard M. Davidson (the Lord's Prayer mystery series)
THE JANUS REPRISAL, by Jamie Freveletti (Robert Ludlum's Covert One series)
KILLERFIND, by Sharon Woods Hopkins (the Rhetta McCarter mysteries)
TRICKSTER'S POINT, by William Kent Krueger (the Cork O'Connor mystery series)
THE WATCH, by Jerry Peterson (the AJ Garrison crime novels)

Best Short Story
"Harry's Fall From Grace" by Luisa Buehler, prequel to the Grace Marsden mystery series
"Capital Partners", by Libby Fischer Hellman, in WRITES OF SPRING
"Early's Christmas", by Jerry Peterson, in STORIES OF THE SEASON anthology
"The Case of the Extra Ingredient", by Mary Welk, in HOT CRIME, COOL CHICKS


Florida Mysteries! Wish I were there right now. This is the second issue of Mystery Readers Journal focusing on Florida, but the last one was over 15 years ago. Florida is rife with murder and mayhem and a slew of mystery authors set their books there. Florida is clearly not all palm trees and palmetto bugs. This issue is available as a PDF or hardcopy. Order now.


  • The Florida Experience by Glynn Marsh Alam
  • Bonkers in Boca by Miriam Auerbach
  • If It Can Happen, It'll Likely Happen in Florida First by Laura Belgrave
  • Florida Novels Have Nothing on Real Life by James O. Born
  • You Can't Top This by Don Bruns
  • Finding Key West by Lucy Burdette
  • Florida Fiction & Fantasy by Diane Capri
  • Rodents, Roller Coasters, and Revenge by Thomas B. Cavanagh
  • Florida as Character by Nancy J. Cohen
  • Cowboy Country in Florida by Lesley A. Diehl
  • Inspiration Island by Vicki Doudera
  • Murder in Paradise by Shannon Esposito
  • Love Songs for the Land of the Flowers by Mary Anna Evans
  • Welcome to Paradise by Dorothy Francis
  • Blood Money and the Florida Connection by James Grippando
  • South Florida, When Young by Michael Gruber
  • Welcome to Paradise by Michael Haskins
  • Mosquitoes by Russell Hill
  • Fantasy Florida by Matt Hilton
  • Florida, My Florida by Rita Lakin
  • Exorcising Your Ghosts by John Lantigua
  • A Long Way From Disneyworld by Owen Laukkanen
  • Miami, It's a Modern-Day Mystery by Barbara Levenson
  • When Worlds Collide by Leigh Lundin
  • The Sunshine Skyway, the Road to Hell and a Confluence of Craziness by Claire Hamner Matturro
  • North Florida is My Beat by Michael Lister
  • In a Florida State of Mind by Tom Lowe
  • This Business of Names by T.J. MacGregor
  • Jessica Fletcher Goes to Florida by Renée Paley-Bain
  • Storms, Mayhem, and Mystery by Ken Pelham
  • Desperately Seeking South Florida by Neil Plakcy
  • Wild in Florida by Deborah Sharp
  • The Gulf Coast Connection by June Shaw
  • A Stranger in Paradise by Phyllis Smallman
  • How to Keep a Florida Series from a Dead End by Elaine Viets
  • Crossword: Native Whammy by Verna Suit
  • Mystery in Retrospect: Reviews by Sandie Herron, Lou Allin, L.J. Roberts
  • In Short: In Shorts by Marv Lachman
  • Children's Hour: Florida Mysteries by Gay Toltl Kinman
  • Crime Seen: Murder, with Flamingoes by Kate Derie
  • From the Editor's Desk by Janet Rudolph

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Peter May: The Story Behind The Blackhouse

Peter May's The Chessman, the third in the trilogy set on the Isle of Lewis, part of the Outer Hebrides off the extreme North West Coast of Scotland, has just launched in the UK. The second is The Lewis Man, and the first, of course, is The Blackhouse. I asked Peter for a guest post on the Trilogy, and he will be sending an article in February. Right now he's working on the text to a photo book called Peter May's Hebrides.

In the meantime, watch this video in which Peter May explains how The Blackhouse might be languishing in a drawer now, had it not been for an editor who believed in him, a publishing house that broke all the rules to support him, and a French public who have adopted this Scotsman and rewarded him with praise and literary prizes...

Sunday, January 20, 2013


January 18-May 12, 2013: The British Library's Murder in the Library is hosting an incredible exhibit and events. As part of the exhibit there will be special events and talks.

January 21: Real Crime, Real Fiction
Does the consumption of crime novels influence the way we read about real crime? Where does ‘true crime’, which takes its inspiration from actual events rather than mere imagination, fit in?  This panel discussion of writers, curators and journalists explores the impact of real-life crimes on the writing and production of crime fiction, both on television and in print. Host: writer and journalist Barry Forshaw, with authors Laura Wilson, Robert Ryan and Mark Billingham and Carla Connolly, curator at St Bartholomew’s Pathology Museum.

February 8: The Story of Crime Fiction
Mark Lawson, who recently wrote and presented BBC Radio 4 series Foreign Bodies: A History of Modern Europe Through Literary Detectives, is joined by crime fiction writers, P D James, Henry Sutton and Jason Webster to discuss the history of the genre, their favourite classics and their own work.

March 8: The Female Detective
Britain's first-ever lady detective Miss Gladden appeared in The Female Detective published in 1864, where she exposed killers while concealing her own identity. Since then the female sleuth, from Agatha Christie's Miss Marple to Alexander McCall Smith's Mma Ramotswe, has captivated readers of crime fiction. But what is is about the female detective that makes her an icon of the genre? There will be a panel of writers engaged in a debate.

All Events start at 6:30 and are held at the British Library.
For more information and to buy tickets, go HERE.

HT: Shots Magazine

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Happy Birthday, Edgar!

Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe, born January 19, 1809... this gravestone notwithstanding..

So raise a glass of Absinthe.. Nevermore..

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jakob Arjouni: R.I.P.

Very sad news that Crime writer Jakob Arjouni has died at the age of 48.

Obit in German Here.

Jakob Arjouni wrote the Kayankaya novels featuring Turkish detective in Frankfurt. Titles include Happy Birthday Turk, More Beer, One Man One Murder and Kismet. Magic Hoffmann, a standalone novel was shortlisted for the IMPAC Award. His latest novel is Chez Max and a new Kemal Kayankaya novel, Brother Kemal, to be published in the UK this year.


THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE, a three-part murder mystery series, will premiere Sundays, April 21-May 5, 2013, 10:00-11:00 p.m. on PBS.

THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE follows Susan, Millie, Lucy and Jean, ordinary women with extraordinary ability to break codes, a skill honed during World War II when they worked undercover at Bletchley Park, site of the United Kingdom’s main decryption establishment. Now, in 1952, the four have returned to civilian life, keeping their intelligence work secret from all, including family and friends. A series of ghastly murders targeting women, however, reunites the team as they set out to decode the pattern behind the crimes.

Anna Maxwell Martin (“South Riding,” “Bleak House”) stars as Susan, now a housewife with two children, who has collected data on a series of murders and tried, unsuccessfully, to convince the police that another is imminent. Rachael Stirling (“Women in Love,” “Boy Meets Girl”) is Millie, the feistiest of the bunch, conversant in 14 languages, worldly and street smart. RADA graduate Sophie Rundle plays Lucy, a young woman equipped with a photographic memory. Julie Graham (“Lapland,” “Doc Martin”), oldest of the four, is the former head of the Bletchley Park unit.

“THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE combines a vivid portrait of post-war Britain with a taut and original code-breaking mystery that is equal parts thriller and whodunit,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. “We think American audiences are going to love the story and the characters. The production is exceptionally vivid, capturing London of the 1950s fully. In addition, the journey home for these women, from war intelligence to 1950s domesticity, is highly complicated, further emphasizing the importance of their bond and friendship.”

“THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE is a dramatic celebration of a remarkable generation of British women. Together these formidable code-breakers find a new way to crack a serial murder case using their unused potential and extraordinary skills,” said Jake Lushington, Producer, World Productions.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cartoon of the Day


Mystery Writers of America announces nominees for the 2013 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television, published or produced in 2012. The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at our 67th Gala Banquet, May 2, 2013 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.

Congratulations to all!


The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins (Penguin Group USA – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (Penguin Group USA – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn (Crown Publishers)
Potboiler by Jesse Kellerman (Penguin Group USA – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Sunset by Al Lamanda (Gale Cengage Learning – Five Star)
Live by Night by Dennis Lehane (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
All I Did Was Shoot My Man by Walter Mosley (Penguin Group USA – Riverhead Books)


The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay (Random House Publishing– Ballantine)
Don’t Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman (Minotaur Books - Thomas Dunne Books)
Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal (Random House Publishing– Bantam Books)
The Expats by Chris Pavone (Crown Publishers)
The 500 by Matthew Quirk (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company – Reagan Arthur)
Black Fridays by Michael Sears (Penguin Group USA – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)


Complication by Isaac Adamson (Soft Skull Press)
Whiplash River by Lou Berney (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow Paperbacks)
Bloodland by Alan Glynn (Picador)
Blessed are the Dead by Malla Nunn (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books - Emily Bestler Books)
The Last Policeman: A Novel by Ben H. Winters (Quirk Books)


Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted
the Last Days of Old China by Paul French (Penguin Group USA – Penguin Books)
Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America
by Gilbert King (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper)
More Forensics and Fiction: Crime Writers’ Morbidly Curious Questions Expertly Answered
by D.P. Lyle, MD (Medallion Press)
Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre (Crown Publishers)
The People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from
the Streets of Tokyo – and the Evil that Swallowed Her Up
by Richard Lloyd Parry (Farrar Straus & Giroux Originals)


Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe: The Hard-Boiled Detective Transformed
by John Paul Athanasourelis (McFarland and Company)
Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers on the World's Greatest
Mystery Novels edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke
(Simon & Schuster – Atria Books – Emily Bestler Books)
The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics
by James O’Brien (Oxford University Press)
In Pursuit of Spenser: Mystery Writers on Robert B. Parker and the
Creation of an American Hero edited by Otto Penzler (Smart Pop)


"Iphigenia in Aulis" – An Apple for the Creature by Mike Carey (Penguin Group USA – Ace Books)
"Hot Sugar Blues" – Mystery Writers of America Presents: Vengeance
by Steve Liskow (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company – Mulholland Books)
"The Void it Often Brings With It” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
by Tom Piccirilli (Dell Magazines)
"The Unremarkable Heart" – Mystery Writers of America Presents:  Vengeance
by Karin Slaughter (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company – Mulholland Books)
"Still Life No. 41" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Teresa Solana
(Dell Magazines)


Fake Mustache: Or, How Jodie O’Rodeo and Her Wonder Horse (and Some Nerdy Kid) Saved the U.S. Presidential Election from a Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind
by Tom Angleberger (Abrams – Amulet Books)
13 Hangmen by Art Corriveau (Abrams – Amulet Books)
The Quick Fix by Jack D. Ferraiolo (Abrams – Amulet Books)
Spy School by Stuart Gibbs (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
(Penguin Young Readers Group – Dial Books for Young Readers)


 Emily’s Dress and Other Missing Things by Kathryn Burak
(Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group – Roaring Brook Press)
The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George (Penguin Young Readers Group – Viking)
Crusher by Niall Leonard (Random House Children’s Books – Delacorte BFYR)
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
(Penguin Young Readers Group – Dutton Children’s Books)
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Disney Publishing Worldwide - Hyperion)


“Pilot” – Longmire, Teleplay by Hunt Baldwin & John Coveny (A&E/Warner Horizon Television)
“Child Predator” – elemeNtarY, Teleplay by Peter Blake (CBS Productions)
“Slaughterhouse” – Justified, Teleplay by Fred Golan (Sony Pictures Television/FX Productions)
 “A Scandal in Belgravia” – Sherlock, Teleplay by Steven Moffat (BBC/Masterpiece)
“New Car Smell” – Homeland, Teleplay by Meredith Stiehm (Showtime/Fox21)


"When They Are Done With Us" – Staten Island Noir
by Patricia Smith (Akashic Books)


Ken Follett
Margaret Maron


Oline Cogdill
Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, San Diego & Redondo Beach, CA

Akashic Books

(Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Wednesday, May 1, 2013)

Dead Scared by S.J. Bolton (Minotaur Books)
A City of Broken Glass by Rebecca Cantrell (Forge Books)
The Reckoning by Jane Casey (Minotaur Books)
The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)
Sleepwalker by Wendy Corsi Staub (HarperCollins Publishers - Harper)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Agatha Christie Fabric

Inspired by the sleuths of Agatha Christie...Poirot, Miss Marple, Tuppence and Tommy...horrors..! the dead body is discovered...all over the English countryside! 4 Bodies are partly hidden within the pastoral settings. Drawn with a nod to Edward Gorey.

For more information, go to Spoonflower

Hat Tip: Linda Brown

TV Bytes: Jo Nesbø's I am Victor

NBC has ordered a drama pilot for I Am Victor, based on Jo Nesbø's upcoming novel. The Wrap reported that Katie Jacobs (House) will executive-produce the pilot with Nesbø, Meghan Lyvers and Daniel Rappaport. Mark Goffman (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip; West Wing) is writing the script.

HT: ShelfAwareness

Monday, January 14, 2013

TCM: A NIGHT IN NOIR CITY Co-Hosted by Eddie Muller

Tune in to TCM on Thursday, January 17, 2013 for A Night In Noir City co-hosted by the Czar of Noir Eddie Muller.

Eddie writes on the TCM website:

I was thrilled, of course, to be asked by the good folks at TCM to program and co-host a night of noir with the redoubtable Robert Osborne. My elation was tempered somewhat by the realization that I could only choose four films! Out of the literally hundreds of bold and brooding crime dramas I've screened and written about during the past fourteen years--only FOUR! A challenge, to say the least. In the end, I opted to make "A Night in Noir City" an extension of the "rescue, restoration and revival" work I do as head of the Film Noir Foundation, a grassroots non-profit that raises funds to protect and preserve at-risk exemplars of film noir--which I consider to be Hollywood's only truly organic artistic movement.

So rather than present familiar classics of the genre, like Double Indemnity (1944) or Out of the Past (1947), I went with more obscure, but in my opinion no less deserving, choices. It's my hope that prime-time exposure on TCM will shine a fresh light on these terrific, often overlooked, gems.


The Film Noir Foundation, along with our colleagues at the UCLA Film & Television Archive, recently restored this Dick Powell thriller. Powell had a special way with a wisecrack, and was also one of the most astute independent producers in the business. Cry Danger was his film all the way, and he showed off his savvy by hiring wondrous wiseacre Bill Bowers to pen the original screenplay, and giving Oscar®-winning editor Robert Parrish his first directing gig. Sure, noir is supposed to be dark and nihilistic, but a great cast spewing Bowers' dynamite dialogue proves it can be incredibly fun as well. I dedicate this showing to the late, great Nancy Mysel, who supervised the restoration of this film, a project we both savored.

99 RIVER STREET (1953)
I'm a huge fan of rugged and razor-sharp 1950's paperback crime fiction--and this is about as close as anyone ever came to hurling it onto the screen, unabashed and undiluted. John Payne is terrific as a bitter ex-boxer turned cabbie Ernie Driscoll, whose wayward wife leads him into all sorts of nefariousness in nocturnal New York. Director Phil Karlson perfected his slam-bang style right here; to me, this is his signature film. The highlight: Evelyn Keyes, typically cast as the good girl, turning up the heat in a pair of jaw-dropping set pieces.

When I first encountered this exceptional film more than a decade ago, I declared it "Gun Crazy [1950] scripted by John Steinbeck." A minor masterpiece in the filmography of the virtually forgotten Felix Feist, this is one of the best "love on the lam" tales in all noir. Steve Cochran--the Elvis of Noir--is perfect as a vulnerable ex-con who falls hard for bruised "taxi dancer" Ruth Roman (as a blonde! And never better!). Thwarted passions, a dank hotel room, a dirty cop--a gunshot! And suddenly our luckless lovers are fugitives fleeing cross-country. It's high time for this fantastic film to finally come out of hiding and get the recognition it deserves.

Many cineastes point to 1950 as perhaps the finest year ever for American movies (Sunset Boulevard, All About Eve, In a Lonely Place, The Asphalt Jungle, and many more)--but this breathtaking adaptation of Hemingway's To Have and Have Not stands equally with all those classics. John Garfield gives the most personal and self-revelatory performance of his career as a fishing boat captain who gets in too deep when he bends the law to keep his business afloat. The film was shunned--by its own studio--because of Garfield's troubles with the House Un-American Activities Committee, and in the following years copyright entanglements with the Hemingway estate kept it from earning the reputation is deserves. Insightful script (by Ranald MacDougall), brilliant performances from the entire cast (no one can be singled out, they're all superb), and Michael Curtiz's most compelling direction--and yes, I'm not forgetting Casablanca (1942) and Robin Hood (1938) and Mildred Pierce (1945) and many others. The Breaking Point truly is that good. 

Eddie Muller produces and hosts NOIR CITY: The San Francisco Film Noir Festival, the world's largest noir retrospective.

Hat Tip: Sue Trowbridge

Friday, January 11, 2013


Sad news. Gwendolyn Butler passed away a few days ago at the age of 90. I met Gwendolyn Butler only once at a CWA Conference. She was so gracious and charming. We had quite a lively conversation.

Information from her publisher on her two personnae:

Gwendoline Butler was born and brought up in south London. She wrote under both her own name and the pseudonym Jennie Melville, and wrote over fifty novels in all. Her many awards included the Crime Writers' Association's Silver Dagger,  and she was also selected as being one of the top two hundred crime writers in the world by The Times.

Jennie Melville is the pseudonym of Gwendoline Butler. A winner of the CWA's Silver Dagger, the Romantic Novelists' Association's Silver Rose Bowl and the Ellery Queen Short Story Award, she is one of Britain's most versatile and prolific writers, having written more than fifty books. A former committee member of the CWA, she also chaired the Committee for the CWA Gold Dagger Awards for Fiction.

HT: Dean James who posted this on dorothyl:

British crime writer Gwendoline Butler passed away a few days ago at the age of 90. She wrote many novels featuring Inspector John Coffin, and as Jennie Melville she created Charmian Daniels, one of the first truly professional female police officers in crime fiction. In response to a fan letter I wrote her some years ago, she sent me a signed copy of one of her books. Later on I met her at the St. Hilda's Crime Weekend in Oxford, and she was gracious and down to earth. She deserves to be much better known these days; her style is inimitable and immediately recognizable.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cartoon of the Day

And another great cartoon from Dan Piraro at Bizarro. Not specifically mystery related, but a cartoon that my social media mystery friends will appreciate..

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


The London Underground is 150 years old today! This Cyril Power print of seated commuters reading newspapers on the tube is from the British Museum’s collection. So this is a perfect jumping off point for a new list! As always, let me know if I've missed any titles. "Mind the Gap"

Crime fiction that takes place on the London Underground: A List

London Underground by Chris Angus
Death of a Ghost by Margery Allingham
Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
Patriot Games by Tom Clancy
Bryant and May Off the Rails by Christopher Fowler
The Ministry of Fear by Graham Greene
Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household
Baptism by Max Kinnings
The Death of Laurence Vining by Alan Thomas
King Solomon's Carpet by Barbara Vine
Vanished by Tim Weaver
The Blue List by Nigel West

Short Stories
"The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans" by Arthur Conan Doyle
"Crocodile Lady" by Christopher Fowler

Underground Overground by mystery author Andrew Martin: social history of the underground railway.

Just an FYI, Mystery Readers Journal will have an issue on Murder in Transit this year.

Parade's End to air on HBO

U.K. miniseries "Parade's End" with Benedict Cumberbatch and Rebecca Hall that aired in the U.K. last fall will air on HBO in February.

The miniseries is an adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s four novels which chronicle the life of Christopher Tietjens (Cumberbatch), a government statistician from a wealthy family who is serving in the British Army during World War I. While Christopher is at war, the novel also follows his wife Sylvia (Hall) – a socialite who seems intent on ruining her husband – and the suffragette Valentine (Clemens) with whom Cumberbatch is having an affair. Scandal!

The series will air over three consecutive nights starting on February 26th at 9 p.m. 

Hat Tip: ShelfAwareness

Monday, January 7, 2013

Portland's Murder by the Book closing

Another venerable mystery bookstore bites the dust. Portland's Murder by the Book will close in April. Very sad. Here's a link to the notice  on their website:

Hat Tip: Jim Fusilli

Peter Robinson on casting DCI Banks/U.S. Schedule

I mentioned yesterday that the DCI Banks production would start airing on PBS stations in the U.S. this week. The TV productions are 'adapted' from Peter Robinson's novels. Here's an article by Peter Robinson about casting.

Also, here's a link to the U.S. PBS schedule:

Sunday, January 6, 2013

DCI Banks PBS broadcast

DCI Banks on TV: PBS Bay Area. Check your local listings.

The Yorkshire countryside provides a striking and contrasting backdrop to these chilling murder stories based on the Inspector Banks novels by Peter Robinson.

Aftermath (#101H) Duration: 1:29:33 STEREO TVPG

The Hill is a seemingly ordinary house in an ordinary street. But when police officers Janet Taylor and Dennis Morrisey arrive, it is clear things are far from normal. The young, beautiful Lucy Payne is unconscious in the hallway of the house, bleeding from a head wound. Hiding in the cellar is her husband - Marcus Payne - ready to wield a knife at anyone who tries to enter, desperate to protect his secret. By the time Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks is called to the house, one of the officers is dead, the other fighting for their life and career, and Marcus Payne has been revealed as a serial killer. Hidden behind the walls and floor of the cellar are the bodies of young women with one thing in common - they all have blonde hair. This discovery marks the start of a shocking investigation that tests Inspector Banks to the limit.

Upcoming Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Mon, Jan 7, 2013 -- 9:00pm 
  • KQED Plus: Tue, Jan 8, 2013 -- 3:00am
Playing with Fire (#102H) Duration: 1:28:12 STEREO TVPG
When a fire on a houseboat leads to the discovery of the charred body of Leslie Whittaker, Banks and Annie believe they have uncovered a case of art fraud when a briefcase, containing a forgery of a famous Turner painting and £25,000 in cash, is found in the hull of the boat. At the scene, Banks trawls through the wreckage of the boat, and is informed that an unoccupied second boat, belonging to British Waterways, was moored alongside Whittaker's boat at the time of the fire, and that it subsequently sank when the fire spread on to it. The investigation soon leads to Jake McMahon, a local artist known to have connections with Whittaker. When Banks visits his house, he is confronted by a gun-wielding McMahon, who appears to believe that Banks is a man named Morrison. Banks manages to prove him otherwise, but he denies any involvement in art forgery. The post mortem on Whittaker discovers that he had been drugged prior to the time of the fire, meaning that he had no chance of escape once the fire had started. Annie enlists the help of art expert Mark Keane, in an attempt to discover if Whittaker could have gotten away with passing the Turner off as a real painting. However, things get steamy between the pair, and they subsequently sleep together. Meanwhile, Banks receives a shock when a second body is found - that of local student Christina Aspen.

Upcoming Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Mon, Jan 14, 2013 -- 9:00pm 
  • KQED Plus: Tue, Jan 15, 2013 -- 3:00am 
  • Friend of the Devil (#103H) Duration: 1:28:28 STEREO TVPG
Annie is called to the scene of a murder on Eastvale moor, and arrives to find a paralysed female in a wheelchair who had had her throat cut. Meanwhile, Banks is called to the scene of a girl found murdered in an alleyway in the town centre. Hayley Daniels, who had been out partying with her friends the previous night, is found strangled with her knickers in her mouth, and Banks immediately suspects the man who found her - a local shopkeeper, Timothy Randall. Meanwhile, Annie discovers the identity of the woman in the wheelchair - Lucy Payne. She discovers that Payne had been given a new identity following an acid attack on her whilst she was serving time for being an accomplice to the crimes committed by her husband Marcus. She discovers that Payne had been living at a care home due to no longer being able to communicate, and on the morning of her murder, had been escorted out for a walk by a woman named Mary. Meanwhile, Banks visits pathologist Elizabeth Waring to discover the circumstances surrounding Hayley Daniels' death. Banks believes he may have a serial killer on his hands - and when junior DC Kevin Templeton decides to return to the scene of the crime, he is subsequently murdered.

Upcoming Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Mon, Jan 21, 2013 -- 9:00pm 
  • KQED Plus: Tue, Jan 22, 2013 -- 3:00am

Cold Is The Grave (#104H) Duration: 1:29:07 STEREO TVPG

Banks is asked by Superintendent Gerry Rydell to track down his missing daughter, Emily, and Annie gets lumbered with an armed carjacking and the murder of a small time crook, Charlie McKai. Travelling from Eastvale to South London, Banks comes across one of Emily's friends and her ex-flatmate, Ruth, who informs him that since their bust-up, Emily has been living with a well known criminal and drug baron, Barry Clough. Paying a visit to Clough, Banks realises that Emily could be in danger, and after encouragement from Emily's mother, decides to try and persuade her to return to Eastvale with him. Meanwhile, Annie delegates that McKai's murder and the carjacking are related to a much bigger operation - but without a testimony from the owner of the carjacked van, struggles to find a lead to pursue. Banks returns to Eastvale with Emily, however, no sooner have they returned than Emily disappears again - and hours later, he receives a phone call relating to a dead body in a nightclub toilet, believing it to be Emily's friend Ruth - however, when he arrives, discovers that is in fact Emily who is the victim. The investigation takes a number of alarming twists before uncovering a conspiracy, pointing to one of the team being an informant relating to Clough. As Banks pushes all the suspects hard, the case threatens to undermine his integrity as an officer and brings his relationship with Annie to breaking point.

Upcoming Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Mon, Jan 28, 2013 -- 9:00pm 
  • KQED Plus: Tue, Jan 29, 2013 -- 3:00am

Strange Affair (#105H) Duration: 1:30:00 STEREO TVPG

When DCI Alan Banks receives a disturbing message from his brother Roy, he drops everything to find him, just as new recruit DI Helen Morton finds evidence linking Banks to the body of a murder victim.

Upcoming Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Mon, Feb 4, 2013 -- 9:00pm 
  • KQED Plus: Tue, Feb 5, 2013 -- 3:00am

Dry Bones That Dream (#106H) Duration: 1:30:00 STEREO TVPG

DCI Alan Banks and DI Helen Morton must learn to reconcile their conflicting policing styles and personalities while trying to unravel the increasingly puzzling murder of a local accountant who has been leading a secret double life.

Upcoming Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Mon, Feb 11, 2013 -- 9:00pm 
  • KQED Plus: Tue, Feb 12, 2013 -- 3:00am
Innocent Graves (#107H) Duration: 1:30:00 STEREO TVPG
When a teenage schoolgirl is found strangled, Banks and his team quickly identify their prime suspect. But the closer Banks seemingly moves towards a conviction, the more the course of the investigation distances him from Helen.

Upcoming Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Mon, Feb 18, 2013 -- 9:00pm 
  • KQED Plus: Tue, Feb 19, 2013 -- 3:00am

Flea Market Mysteries

I've posted this before, but since it's the first Flea Market of the New Year (the first Sunday of the Month), I thought I'd repost. It's raining this morning, but the Flea Market organizers posted that they're open. I have a hood on my jacket to keep dry. The rain could cut down on buyers, so there will be deals. :-) Since my house is packed to the gills with 'things', and I don't need to add to my collections, I usually pick a theme and take photos instead of doing a lot of buying. Here's a link to a recent foray to the Flea Market. Photo Theme: Typewriters.


Today is Flea Market Day, and I'm off to the Alameda Flea Market aka Alameda Point Antiques and Collectibles Faire. I'm a great flea market goer. Having been to Flea Markets all over the world, the Alameda Flea Market remains one of my favorites. Can't be beat for a spectacular view of San Francisco, either. The Flea Market is located on the old Alameda Navy Base and literally runs right into the Bay. It's about 2 miles long and 1/2 mile wide. I love going on the first Sunday of every month to this great show. Here's a photo of me from a show in July- Independence Day. And, in case you want to know, I didn't buy that Statue of Liberty, although she would have looked great in my garden!

I used to frequent the Marin Flea Market which really dates me since housing replaced that space in Sausalito many years ago. I always go to Portobello Road when in London. Not sure I'd call Portobello Road a flea market, but I've been there early on a Saturday morning when the stalls are setting up. I adore the Paris Flea Market, and I have many finds from there. I love flea markets, estate sales, boot sales, garage sales and collectible shows (although they sometimes tend more to the antique), not that that's a bad thing. .. I also won't turn my nose up at a dumpster. Lots of treasures.

So it should come as no surprise that I enjoy reading mysteries with a flea market, boot sale, picker or garage sale theme. Here's a short list. I welcome additions. And, flea markets are great places to find mysteries!

The Flea Market by Randal Adam
Antiques Flee Market by Barbara Allan
Savannah Blues, Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews
Mobbed by Carol Higgins Clark
The Unraveling of Violeta Bell by C.R. Corwin
Death of a Garage Sale Newbie by Sharon Dunn
The Flea Market Mystery by Virginia Besaw Evansen
Tight as a Tick by Toni L.P. Kelner
Killer Stuff, Dead Guy's Stuff, The Wrong Stuff, Buried Stuff by Sharon Fiffer 
The Emma Chizzit Mysteries (several titles starting with Emma Chizzit and...) by Mary Bowen Hall
Something to Kill For by Susan Holtzer
Double Dealer by Barbara Taylor McCafferty & Beverly Taylor Herald
Resolution by Denise Mina
Leave a Message for Willie by Marcia Muller
Murder of a Smart Cookie by Denise Swanson
Garage Sale Stalker by Suzi Weinert

Jonathan Gash's Lovejoy is an antiques dealer, but he employs a wonderful picker, so I might include his books on this list. He and his sidekick do a lot of foraging at sales and in stalls looking for valuable antiques.

Anthony Oliver has another favorite antique themed series. My favorite is The Pew Group.

There is definitely a difference between Flea Markets and Antique Shops, but often the same characters inhabit both worlds. If I put together another list of Antique Mysteries, I'll certainly include books by Jane Cleland, Lea Wait, Tamar Myers, and many others will be on that list.

Mystery Readers Journal has had several issues focusing on Art & Antiques Mysteries. Have a look at the Tables of Contents: HERE and HERE.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

America's Best Bookstores

Travel and Leisure's January 2013 issue has an article by Sarah L. Stewart on America's Best Bookstores.

If you're a bookish person, and you probably are if you're reading this, you search out bookstores whenever you travel. I've only been to 5 or so of the bookstores Sarah Stewart has chosen. Wouldn't it be fun to do a U.S. Bookstore Tour? Anyone game? Are there any other Bookstores you'd add to the list? What are some of your favorites?

"You’ll find more than a good read at these cool independent bookstores across America." 

Square Books, Oxford, MS
Prairie Lights, Iowa City
Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL
Politics and Prose, Washington, D.C.
Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO
Bookbook, New York City, NY
Powell's Books, Portland, OR
Faulkner House Books, New Orleans, LA
The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
Crow Bookshop, Burlington, VT
City Lights, San Francisco, CA
Chapter One Bookstore, Ketchum, ID
Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, CA
Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

For the complete article with comments and photos, go here.

Hat Tip: ShelfAwareness

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Louis Vuitton Bookcase Trunk

I love this Louis Vuitton Bookcase Trunk. Louis Vuitton opened his first store in Paris in 1854, and his name is synonymous with the ultimate in luxurious luggage. To find out more about his trunks, including this one, check out Louis Vuitton: 100 Legendary Trunks (Abrams). Fabulous book with over 600 illustrations.  

And, if you're into DIY and unique bookcases, you could buy an old trunk and outfit it for your books.. Just sayin'....

Winter Mystery Book Group

Mystery Readers International's NorCal Mystery Readers Book Group is still going strong. We meet every Tuesday night in Berkeley, CA. Read along and send comments!

January 8      The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

January 15    The Double Game by Dan Fesperman

January 22    The Blackhouse by Peter May

January 29    The Paris Deadline by Max Byrd

February 5     Bleed for Me by Michael Robotham

February 12   Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

February 19   Death on the Pont Noir by Adrian Magson

February 26   The Last Policeman by Ben H Winters

March 5         Not Dead Yet by Peter James

March 12       Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains by Catriona McPherson

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Private Eye Writers New Award

Ed Gorman reports from Robert J. Randisi that PWA is Taking a step forward. PWA has instituted a new Shamus Award for works published in 2012. It is the Best Indie P.I. Novel. This is for novels that have been published by the authors themselves. Entries must bear a 2012 copyright.

President  Steve Hamilton, Vice-President DeNoux O'Neil, and Founder/Director Robert J. Randisi have decided it's time to open the organization to self-published works as the category now includes many established authors who, for one reason or another, have decided to publish their own work. The same professional standards used to judge our other categories will be used here. This category will include e-books. However, this is an experiment and does not effect any of the other categories. 

Hat Tip: Bill Crider

Cartoon of the Day

Here's a real reflection of our times. Happy 2013!

Comics by Zits by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman