Friday, January 31, 2014


恭賀發財 Gung Hay Fat Choy! This is the Year of the Horse. Chinese New Year begins today.

I've put together Chinese New Year's Mystery Lists for the past few years, as well as some titles (scroll down) that take place in China, not necessarily during the New Year. As always, I welcome any additions.


Year of the Dog, Red Jade by Henry Chang 

Year of the Dragon by Robert Daley 
Neon Dragon by John Dobbyn
Dim Sum Dead by Jerrilyn Farmer 
The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen
Chop Suey by Ty Hutchison

The Skull Cage Key by Michael Marriott
The Shanghai Moon by S.J. Rozan
City of Dragons by Kelli Stanley
The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee by Robert Van Gulik (7th Century china) "New Year's Eve in Lan-Fang"

Short story by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer: "The Lady Fish Mystery", EQMM, September/October 1996.

The Nancy Drew Notebooks: The Chinese New Year Mystery by Carolyn Keene
The New Year Dragon Dilemma by Ron Roy

A good reference book for contemporary crime fiction in China: Chinese Justice, the Fiction: Law and Literature in Modern China by Jeffrey C. Kinkley (Stanford University Press)

Not specifically about Chinese New Year, here's a short list of authors/mysteries that are set in China:

Ralph Arnote, Hong Kong, China
Biggers, Earl Derr, Charlie Chan: The House Without a Key, The Chinese Parrot, Behind the Curtain, The Black Camel, Keeper of the Keys
Lisa Brackmann, Rock Paper Tiger
Stephen Coonts, Hong Kong
Charles Cumming, Typhoon
Jim Michael Hansen, Bad Laws
S.G. Kiner, The Hong Kong Connection
Diane Wei Liang, The Eye of Jade
Paul French, Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China
John L. Mariotti, The Chinese Conspiracy
Peter May, The Firemaker
Xiaolong Qiu, Death of a Red Heroine (and other titles)
Wang Shuo, Playing for Thrills
Eliot Pattison, Many novels set in Tibet
Catherine Sampson, The Pool of Unease
Lisa See, Flower Net
Deborah Shlian, Rabbit in the Moon
Eric Stone, Shanghaied
Nury Vittachi, The Feng Shui Detective
Christopher West, Death of a Blue Lantern

Yin-Lien C. Chin, The "Stone Lion" and Other Chinese Detective Stories
Chen Xiaoquing, Sherlock in Shanghai

Here's a wonderful blog on Writing in China by Bertrand Mialaret (in French)

Also I'll have recipes on my other blog, Dying for Chocolate, for a Chocolate Chinese New Year

The Top 10 Crime Novels in Translation: Ann Cleeves

Thought I should post this link to Ann Cleeves' article in The Guardian: The Top 10 Crime Novels in Translation. Ann Cleeves will be at Left Coast Crime in Monterey. Keep tuned for news about a special presentation with Ann at LCC: Calamari Crime.. more to come.. Ann's latest novel Harbour Street is just out.

ANN CLEEVES (from The Guardian):

I love translated crime fiction.  It gives me the buzz of a good story but a delicious voyeurism too: the same sensation as when I'm walking down a street at dusk and people have forgotten to close their curtains.  Snapshots of different domestic lives, the food they eat, the pictures on the walls, the way they bring up their children.  We can learn about a country's preoccupations by reading its popular fiction.  Scandinavian crime has become so successful that books from other territories can be overlooked. Here are some examples to show that it's worth making wider reading investigations.

Read the article and list here!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


The Agatha Award Nominees. Winners will be announced at Malice Domestic, May 3, 2014. Congratulations to all!

Best Historical Novel

Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
Death in the Time of Ice by Kaye George (Untreed Reads Publishing)
A Friendly Game of Murder by JJ Murphy (Signet)
Murder in Chelsea by Victoria Thompson (Berkley Prime Crime)
A Question of Honor by Charles Todd (William Morrow)

Best Children's/YA Nominations

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (HMH Books for Young Readers)
Traitor in the Shipyard: A Caroline Mystery by Kathleen Ernst (American Girl Mysteries)
Andi Unexpected by Amanda Flower (Zonderkidz)
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein (Random House Books)
Code Busters Club: Mystery of the Pirate's Treasure by Penny Warner (Edgmont USA)

Best Contemporary Novel

Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Minotaur Books)
Pagan Spring by G.M. Malliet (Minotaur Books)
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
Clammed Up by Barbara Ross (Kensington Books)
The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)

Best Nonfiction

Georgette Heyer by Jennifer Kloester (Source Books Inc.)
Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova (Viking Penguin)
Not Everyone's Cup of Tea: An Interesting & Entertaining History of Malice Domestic's First 25 Years by Verena Rose and Rita Owen (editors) (Wildside Press)
The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower (Minotaur Books)

Best First Novel

Death Al Dente by Leslie Budewitz (Berkley Prime Crime)
You Cannoli Die Once by Shelley Costa (Pocket Books)
Board Stiff by Kendel Lynn (Henery Press)
Kneading to Die by Liz Mugavero (Kensington)
Front Page Fatality by LynDee Walker (Henery Press)

Best Short Story

"Evil Little Girl" in Don't Get Mad, Get Even by Barb Goffman (Wildside Press)
"Nightmare" in Don't Get Mad, Get Even by Barb Goffman (Wildside Press)
"The Hindi Houdini" in Fish Nets by Gigi Pandian (Wildside Press)
"Bread Baby" in Best new England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold by Barbara Ross (Level Best Books)
"The Care and Feeding of House Plants" by Art Taylor (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)

Cartoon of the Day: Job Interview

From Bizarro:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


The nominees for this year’s Dilys Winn Award. The winner will be announced at Left Coast Crime in Monterey in March. The Dilys Award is given annually 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. 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. Congratulations to all!


Seven for a Secret, Lyndsay Faye, Amy Einhorn Books 
The Black Country, Alex Grecian, Putnam Adult 
Spider Woman’s Daughter, Anne Hillerman, Harper 
Ordinary Grace, William Kent Krueger, Atria Books 
Pagan Spring, G.M. Malliet, Minotaur 
The Land of Dreams, Vidar Sundstol, University of Minnesota Press 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Ian Rankin interview on Craig Ferguson

Love this! January 24 interview: Ian Rankin on Craig Ferguson.


Nominees have been announced in four categories of awards to be presented during Left Coast Crime in Monterey. Awards will be announced at the Banquet on March 22. Congratulations to all!

The Lefty: Best humorous mystery novel
Donna Andrews, The Hen of the Baskervilles (Minotaur Books)
Timothy Hallinan, The Fame Thief (Soho Crime)
Lisa Lutz, The Last Word (Simon & Schuster)
Brad Parks, The Good Cop (Minotaur Books)
Cindy Sample, Dying for a Daiquiri (Cindy Sample Books)

The Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award: Best historical mystery novel covering events before 1960
Rhys Bowen, Heirs and Graces (Berkley Prime Crime)
Susan Elia MacNeal, His Majesty’s Hope (Bantam)
Catriona McPherson, Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses (Minotaur Books)
David Morrell, Murder as a Fine Art (Mulholland Books)
Priscilla Royal, Covenant with Hell (Poisoned Pen Press)
Jacqueline Winspear, Leaving Everything Most Loved (HarperCollins)

The Squid: Best mystery set within the United States
Sue Grafton, W Is for Wasted (Putnam, Marian Wood Books)
Darrell James, Purgatory Key (Midnight Ink)
William Kent Krueger, Ordinary Grace (Atria Books)
Hank Phillippi Ryan, The Wrong Girl (Forge)
Terry Shames, A Killing at Cotton Hill (Seventh Street Books)

The Calamari: Best mystery set anywhere else in the world
Cara Black, Murder Below Montparnasse (Soho Crime)
Lisa Brackmann, Hour of the Rat (Soho Crime)
Catriona McPherson, As She Left It (Midnight Ink)
Louise Penny, How the Light Gets In (Minotaur Books)
Jeffrey Siger, Mykonos After Midnight (Poisoned Pen Press)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014

Mysterious "Poe Toaster"

The Mysterious "Poe Toaster" did not surface for Edgar Allan Poe's 205th Birthday!

End of an era?

From the Wire...

It used to be that each year on Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday, a bescarfed man in a wide-brim hat would leave three roses and a half-drunk bottle of cognac on the poet’s grave in Baltimore. After a few recent no-shows, the tradition of the “Poe Toaster” was declared nevermore. 

Both the origin story and identity of the “Poe Toaster” remain something of a mystery, but over the course of the last several decades, Poe groupies would gather after midnight and stand outside the grounds of Westminster Cemetery. Poe’s poems would be recited and revelers would drink amontillado—the infamous wine that did in Fortunato—and wait for the fabled toaster make his annual visit. Bearing a cane and wearing a cloak, the toaster would swoop in, leave a bottle of Martell cognac, arrange three roses the exact same way, and then steal away into the night. 

 "The visitor has occasionally left notes with his tributes, but they haven't offered much insight into the identity of the "Poe Toaster." A few indicated the tradition passed to a new generation before the original visitor's death in the 1990s, and some even mentioned the Iraq War and Baltimore Ravens football team, which was named for Poe's poem." 

By most accounts, the tradition started in 1949 (the centennial anniversary of Poe’s death) and carried on until 2009, which was the poet’s 200th birthday. But after three consecutive years without an appearance by the toaster, last year fans said that the tradition would be nothing more than a dream within a dream.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

SWEDISH CRIME FICTION TODAY: Lecture - February 2 with Dr. James Kaplan

Join Mystery Readers NorCal for an evening in Berkeley (CA) with Dr. James Kaplan, professor emeritus at Minnesota State University, Moorhead. Dr. Kaplan will speak on “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo And Beyond: Swedish Crime Fiction Today.” These detective novels are enjoying a world-wide vogue right now and have had huge successes as books, on TV and in films. Featured will be the Swedish authors Stieg Larsson, Liza Marklund, Henning Mankell and Camilla Läckberg. Detective novels are a fine opportunity to learn about Scandinavia as it is today and the lives of its people. And, of course, they are a lot of fun to read.

This lecture will be held on Sunday, February 2 from 6 to 8:00 PM at the group’s location in the Berkeley Hills. For the address and to RSVP,  make a comment below with your email address. Lecture is free and open to the public.

Dr. Jim Kaplan grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts and graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in French in 1964. He received his Ph.D. in French literature from the University of California Berkeley in 1971. He became acquainted with Sweden as a long-time camp counselor for the Swedish YMCA. He did doctoral research at the University of Uppsala, Sweden and later published books and articles on eighteenth century French literature based on manuscripts that he found in Swedish archives. After receiving his doctorate Dr. Kaplan worked for several years as a U.S. Department of State interpreter. He began teaching French and Swedish at Minnesota State University Moorhead in 1975 where he became active in the Swedish-American community. He founded the Swedish Cultural Heritage Society of the Red River Valley in 1976 and served for a long time as its president. He arranged many community programs, film series, exhibits, lecture series, concerts, etc., funded by the Arts Councils and Humanities Commissions of Minnesota and North Dakota. He founded and chaired the North Dakota New Sweden ’88 Committee to arrange programs throughout the state commemorating the Three Hundred Fiftieth Anniversary of the Swedish colony in Delaware. For his service to the Swedish-American community Dr. Kaplan was knighted by King Carl XVI Gustav with the Royal Order of the Polar Star in 1988. In recent years he has published articles and a book on the Swedish Kansas artist Birger Sandzén and on Swedish art exhibits at the World‘s Fairs of St. Louis (1904) and San Francisco (1915). Jim spends a month in Stockholm every summer working on his research. He is retired from MSUM but continues to teach Swedish courses and speaks to community groups on Swedish cultural topics.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Death in Paradise: The Books

One of my favorite TV series, Death in Paradise,  began its third season in the UK this week --with a major change. Not sure how I'll feel about that when we get to see it here in the U.S. However, Book2Book brings news of a publishing deal.

MIRA, Harlequin (UK) Ltd's commercial fiction imprint, today announces that it has won the rights to three crime novels by 'Death in Paradise' creator Robert Thorogood. 

The three novels will take inspiration from the hit BBC show but will be original stories and will feature Richard Poole as the lead protagonist amongst other show favourites. 

'Death in Paradise' is a clever, witty murder-mystery drama set on the fictional Caribbean island of Saint-Marie. The first two series followed the investigations of uptight Met police officer Richard Poole, played by Ben Miller, who first arrived to investigate the murder of his colleague and ended up staying on the idyllic – if slightly dangerous – island. 

The third series kicked off with a bang on Tuesday 14th January when Poole left the series and new detective DI Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall) arrived to replace him. 

Thorogood says, "I've been a passionate reader of murder mysteries my whole life, and in many respects 'Death in Paradise' has always been my homage to the queen of the genre, Agatha Christie. As the TV show evolves I am thrilled that MIRA are letting me bring Richard and Camille back together again. I can't wait to see them once more outwitting the very many murderers that live on Saint-Marie." 

Harlequin will publish the first novel in hardback in January 2015, with the paperback edition following in June 2015.

HT: Karen Meek, Euro Crime

Friday, January 17, 2014

SHERLOCK: Live Twitter Event

Just a reminder that SHERLOCK Season 3 premieres this Sunday, January 19 at 9:58 pm on MASTERPIECE/PBS.

Join MASTERPIECE and PBS for a live Twitter event of the premiere broadcasts of each of the 3 episodes of Sherlock Season 3 -- January 19, 25 and February 2 at 9:58-11:30 ET.

Follow along with @PBS, @masterpiecepbs, Scott Monty from the Baker Street Blaog @IHearofSherlock, James Hibberd from Entertainment Weekly @James Hibberd, and Leslie Klinger, author of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes @lklinger.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Demise of Murder & Mayhem in Muskego

I love the plethora of mystery conferences that has sprouted over the past 25 years, so it's always sad to learn that one is ending. Here's a message that was posted by Penny Halle today about Murder & Mayhem in Muskego. I never got to attend this one, alas....

From Penny Halle:

It is with great sadness that I announce that Murder & Mayhem in Muskego has ended. Our major sponsor, the Friends of the Library, will no longer support this event. According to American Library Association Mandates, all library programs should be free and open to the public.

The minimal fee we charged was meant to cover paper costs, the lunch and guaranteed seating. M&M was never meant to be a fund raiser and indeed the Friends group did spend a great deal of money each year supporting the event. We had nine great and wonderful years. I want to thank our authors, over 200, who have given of their time and talents to come to Muskego Wisconsin and the M&M event. Without their excitement to share their writing, the genre of mystery and their gracious attendance to the fans this event would never have been possible. To the staff of Muskego Library and volunteers thank you. What a terrific job you have done for the past nine years. To my family for keeping me sane, that is no small job, thank you, thank you. Jon & Ruth Jordan, you guys are an inspiration and a joy. I’m blessed to know you and count you as friends. You have made me a better person. Richard you are unbelievable on so many levels, thank you. I don’t have the space to mention everyone by name and I would absolutely miss someone anyway, I thank all you for everything you’ve done to make M&M a wonderful success. To the fans of mystery and M&M I thank you the most. We are like family a reunion each year, only without the matching t-shirts and arguments. I will miss all of you. I hope that I will see you in the library or at other mystery gatherings. Until then. . .

Keep reading, Support your local libraries, Peace, Penny


Mystery Writers of America announced the Nominees for the 2014 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television, published or produced in 2013. The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at our 68th Gala Banquet, May 1, 2014 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City

Best Novel 

Sandrine's Case by Thomas H. Cook (Grove Atlantic – The Mysterious Press)
The Humans by Matt Haig (Simon & Schuster)
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books)
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
Standing in Another Man's Grave by Ian Rankin (Hachette Book Group – Reagan Arthur Books)
Until She Comes Home by Lori Roy (Penguin Group USA – Dutton Books)

Best First Novel

The Resurrectionist by Matthew Guinn (W.W. Norton)
Ghostman by Roger Hobbs (Alfred A. Knopf)
Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman (Minotaur Books)
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews (Simon & Schuster - Scribner)
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (HarperCollins Publishers)

Best Paperback Original

The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow Paperbacks)
Almost Criminal by E. R. Brown (Dundurn)
Joe Victim by Paul Cleave (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books)
Joyland by Stephen King (Hard Case Crime)
The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood (Penguin Group USA - Penguin Books)
Brilliance by Marcus Sakey (Amazon Publishing – Thomas and Mercer)

Best Fact Crime

Duel with the Devil: The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed Up to Take on America's First Sensational Murder Mysteryby Paul Collins (Crown Trade Group)
Mortal Sins: Sex, Crime, and the Era of Catholic Scandal by Michael D'Antonio (Thomas Dunne Books)
The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness and Murder by Charles Graeber (Grand Central Publishing – Twelve)
The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and the Medics Behind Nazi Lines
by Cate Lineberry (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company)
The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower (Minotaur Books)

Best Critical/Biographical

Maigret, Simenon and France: Social Dimensions of the Novels and Stories by Bill Alder (McFarland & Company)
America is Elsewhere: The Noir Tradition in the Age of Consumer Culture by Erik Dussere (Oxford University Press)
Pimping Fictions: African American Crime Literature and the Untold Story of Black Pulp Publishing by Justin Gifford (Temple University Press)
Ian Fleming by Andrew Lycett (St. Martin's Press)
Middlebrow Feminism in Classic British Detective Fiction by Melissa Schaub (Palgrave Macmillan)

Best Short Story

"The Terminal" – Kwik Krimes by Reed Farrel Coleman (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
"So Long, Chief" – Strand Magazine by Max Allan Collins & Mickey Spillane (The Strand)
"The Caxton Private Lending Library and Book Depository" – Bibliomysteries by John Connolly (Mysterious)
"There are Roads in the Water" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Tina Corey (Dell Magazines)
"Where That Morning Sun Does Down" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Tim L. Williams (Dell Magazines)

Best Juvenile

Strike Three, You're Dead by Josh Berk (Random House Children's Books – Alfred A. Knopf BFYR)
Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking by Erin Dionne (Penguin Young Readers Group – Dial)
P.K. Pinkerton and the Petrified Man by Caroline Lawrence  (Penguin Young Readers Group – Putnam Juvenile)
Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (Disney Publishing Worldwide – Disney-Hyperion)
One Came Home by Amy Timberlake (Random House Children's Books – Alfred A. Knopf BFYR)

Young Adult

All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry (Penguin Young Readers Group – Viking Juvenile)
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal (Random House Children's Books – Alfred A. Knopf BFYR)
Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy (Simon & Schuster – Simon Pulse)
How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller (Penguin Young Readers Group – Razorbill)
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) 

TV Episode Teleplay

"Episode 3" – Luther, Teleplay by Neil Cross (BBC Worldwide)
"Episode 1" – The Fall, Teleplay by Allan Cubitt (Netflix)
"Legitimate Rape" – Law & Order: SVU, Teleplay by Kevin Fox & Peter Blauner (NBC Universal)
 "Variations Under Domestication" – Orphan Black, Teleplay by Will Pascoe (BBC Worldwide)
"Pilot" – The Following Teleplay by Kevin Williamson (Fox/Warner Bros. Television)

Robert L. Fish Memorial

"The Wentworth Letter" – Criminal Element's Malfeasance Occasional
by Jeff Soloway (St. Martin's Press)

Mary Higgins Clark Award

There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
Fear of Beauty by Susan Froetschel (Prometheus – Seventh Street Books)
The Money Kill by Katia Lief (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper)
Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman (Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine Books)
The Sixth Station by Linda Stasi (Forge Books)
Grand Master:
Robert Crais 
Carolyn Hart
Aunt Agatha's Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The House of Crime and Mystery Awards

House of Crime & Mysteries 2nd Annual Readers's Choice Awards:

The best crime books of the year, voted by readers worldwide. Books were published between November 1st, 2012 and November 31st, 2013.  Ballots came in mainly from the USA, UK, and Canada, as well as France, Australia, Germany, Africa, Norway, and Spain.

Best International Crime Novel: Watching You by Michael Robotham (Sphere)
Best Crime Novel in the United Kingdom: The Wrath of Angels by John Connolly (Atria/Emily Bestler Books)
Best Crime Novel in the USA: The Black Box by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)
Best Crime Novel in Canada: Vigilante Season by Peter Kirby (Linda Leith)
Best Indie or Self-Published Crime Novel: A Taste for Malice by Michael J. Malone (Five Leaves Publications)
Best Short Fiction Collection: Dead Letters: Stories of Murder and Mayhem by Chris F. Holm (eBook -Kindle edition)
Best Non-Fiction Crime Book: Being Cool: The Work of Elmore Leonard by Charles J. Rzepka (Johns Hopkins U. Press)
Best Crime Fiction in French: Sous la Surface by Martin Michaud (Les Éditions Goélette)
Best Crime Fiction Translated into French: La Nuit by Dennis Lehane
Your Favorite Crime Novel of 2013: The Wrath of Angels by John Connolly

Cornwall's Jamaica Inn: Mystery Real Estate for Sale

Cornwall's Jamaica Inn, made famous by Daphne du Maurier, is on sale for 2 Million Pounds.

Du Maurier wrote her period tale of Cornish smugglers after staying at the former coaching inn on Bodmin Moor in 1930, and – unlike in Rebecca – used the place's real name.

Making much of its murky past, as well as its literary and film connections (the author's writing desk is one of the exhibits in the adjacent smuggling-themed museum), Jamaica Inn remains a functioning pub and B&B. The owners have put the inn and 3 hectare (6.5 acre) site up for sale because they are retiring, but their timing may also have been influenced by a forthcoming BBC adaptation of the novel, starring Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findlay.

Jamaica Inn is a novel by the English writer Daphne du Maurier, first published in 1936. It was later made into a film, also called Jamaica Inn, by Alfred Hitchcock. It is an eerie period piece set in Cornwall in 1820; the real Jamaica Inn that is for sale is in the middle of Bodmin Moor.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

NORDICANA, February 1-2: London

Nordicana 2014 (February 1-2, 2014 ) in London (The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane) is a two-day event for anyone interested in – or obsessed with – Scandinavian crime fiction and drama.

In addition to panels with authors such as Hakan Nesser and Arne Dahl (interviewed by Scandinavian Crime Fiction expert Barry Forshaw), "Deconstructing the Killing" with David Hewson;  there will be screenings of films and television episodes that include Q&As with cast members from Borgen, The Bridge and Wallender. 

For the complete Schedule, go HERE.

HT: Adrian Muller, CrimeFest

Monday, January 13, 2014



The North American Branch of the International Association of Crime Writers announced the nominees for their annual HAMMETT PRIZE for a work of literary excellence in the field of crime writing by a US or Canadian author. The  nominees are as follows:           

Craig Davidson, Cataract City: A Novel (Doubleday Canada)
Heywood Gould, Green Light for Murder (Tyrus Books)
Richard Lange, Angel Baby: A Novel (Mulholland Books)
Lisa Moore, Caught (House of Anansi Press)
George P. Pelecanos, The Double (Little, Brown)

A reading committee of IACW/NA members selected the nominees, based on recommendations from other members and the publishing community.  The committee was headed by Wendy Hornsby and included Michael Bowen, Lorenzo Carcaterra, Deen Kogan, and Ann Romeo.

The winner will be chosen by three distinguished outside judges: Steven Kruger, author of The Spectral Jew: Conversion and Embodiment in Medieval Europe; Ben McNally, owner of Ben McNally Books in Toronto; and Karen Solie, winner of the 2010 Griffin Poetry Prize for Pigeon.

The organization will name the HAMMETT PRIZE  winner, during the Bloody Words Conference, in Toronto, June 6-8. The winner will receive a bronze trophy, designed by sculptor Peter Boiger.

Cartoon of the Day: Evidence

HT: Doc Quatermass

Sunday, January 12, 2014

LIVERMORE READS TOGETHER: The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King

Laurie King’s The Beekeeper’s Apprentice is the Livermore Reads Together selection for 2014. Livermore Reads Together is an annual community-wide reading program sponsored by The Friends of the Livermore Library.  

Sunday, January 26, 2-3 p.m. Civic Center Library Storytime Room:
Laurie R. King, author of The Beekeeper's Apprentice

Laurie R. King is a third generation Northern Californian. Her background is as mixed as any writer's, from theology to managing a coffee store to raising children, vegetables, and the occasional building. Chosen as one of the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century, The Beekeeper's Apprentice presents Mary Russell, a fifteen-year-old American orphan, who meets Sherlock Holmes in 1915 in Sussex Downs. Holmes, who spends his quiet days studying beekeeping and dabbling in detective work, takes the spirited Russell on as an apprentice. In her, Holmes finds his perfect partner in detection.

Sunday, February 23, 2-3 p.m. Civic Center Library Storytime Room:
Leslie S. Klinger, Sherlockian expert

Leslie S. Klinger will explore the life and times of Sherlock Holmes, the world’s first consulting detective. Learn how Holmes continues to inspire and fascinate more than 125 years after he first appeared in Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories. Mr. Klinger is one of the world’s foremost Sherlockian authorities. He is a member of the Baker Street Irregulars and served as technical advisor on the 2009 and 2011 Sherlock Holmes films. Klinger has published numerous articles and co-edited works on the Great Detective including A Study in Sherlock with Laurie R. King.


Konvict: An incarcerating perfume!

Who says there isn't a perfume for everyone? 

Akon launched his first two perfumes named Konvict in 2010. Konvict Homme has a fresh aroma of bergamot and lemon suitable for casual occasions and touch of sandalwood and cedar that are ideal for special evenings.

Unique design of the bottle includes two separate bottles of 50 ml linked with chain and handcuffs, so that the total consists of 100 ml EDP. The male bottle is the color of silver.

To  order:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Ending for Movie of Gone Girl

From Entertainment Weekly:

Fans of the novel Gone Girl might be in for a big surprise when the movie version is released later this year: Author Gillian Flynn has rewritten the entire final act for the movie.

The film adaptation of the bestselling novel is directed by David Fincher, and stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as the toxic married couple Nick and Amy Dunne. It’s unclear just how the ending will differ on-screen, but Flynn—who wrote both the novel and the screenplay—hinted in an interview to Entertainment Weekly that the change is drastic. “Ben was so shocked by it,” Flynn told EW. “He would say, ‘This is a whole new third act! She literally threw that third act out and started from scratch.’”

Depending on how readers interpreted the origina ending, the change could be welcome. For Flynn’s part, she apparently had no problem with changing her work. She told EW, “there was something thrilling about taking this piece of work that I’d spent about two years painstakingly putting together with all its eight million Lego pieces and take a hammer to it and bash it apart and reassemble it into a movie.”

The film hits opens on Oct. 3.

Friday, January 10, 2014


HBO premieres True Detective Sunday night at 9. The series stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as Louisiana detectives Rust Cohle and Martin Hart, whose lives collide and entwine during a 17-year hunt for a killer, ranging from the original investigation of a bizarre murder in 1995 to the reopening of the case in 2012. Michelle Monaghan stars as Hart’s wife, Maggie, who struggles to keep her family together as the men in her life become locked in a cycle of violence and obsession. Nic Pizzolatto is also an executive producer and the writer of TRUE DETECTIVE. 

Read more about the 8 episode season HERE.

Two Clips: The first from Episode 1.  (Photo credit HBO/James Bridges)

Secret Lives of Great Authors

I'm all about holidays, as you know, and today is Peculiar People Day! In honor of the day, Mental Floss offers up a fun book today: Secret Lives of Great Authors.

Strange-but-true tales of murderers, adulterers, drug addicts, and other literary legends.

Outrageous and uncensored profiles of everyone from William Shakespeare to Thomas Pynchon, Secret Lives of Great Authors tackles all the tough questions your high school teachers were afraid to ask: What’s the deal with Lewis Carroll and little girls? Is it true that J. D. Salinger drank his own urine? How many women—and men—did Lord Byron actually sleep with? And why was Ayn Rand such a big fan of Charlie’s Angels? Classic literature was never this much fun in school!

For more info and to order, go HERE.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Friend in Need: From Simon Wood

Thriller writer Simon Wood is truly a good guy. Simon is donating the royalties earned on the eBook version of The Fall Guy during the month of January to Karen J. Laubenstein. Some of you know Karen from the Anchorage Bouchercon which she organized or from her amazing photos of Alaska or from her upbeat comments on Facebook -- in spite of the adversity in her life. Karen's husband has been diagnosed with early onset dementia. It's been a hard time for the family over the past few years, but they finally have an appointment at the Mayo Clinic in February. The money Simon raises will go toward covering the trip to the Mayo Clinic.

Here are the details:

Karen is a very special person. Be sure and friend her on Facebook to see her amazing photos and learn more about what makes her so special!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winter Reading List: Mystery Readers Book Group, Berkeley

Several readers have asked what our Mystery Book Group is reading this Winter, so I thought I'd post the list. This list is a mix of foreign setting books and some foreign award winners.. and the Knopf is the Nero Wolf winner.  I think it will make for excellent discussions. We meet every Tuesday night in Berkeley, CA. Our group has been meeting for over 30 years.


January 7:     Norwegian by Night by Derek Miller 

January 14:   The Missing File by D.A. Mishani

January 21    Land of Dreams by Vidar Sundstol

January 28     Death on Demand by Paul Thomas

February 4    A Grain of Truth by Zygmunt Miloszewski

February 11    Dead Anyway by Chris Knopf

February 18   The Collini Case by Ferndinand Von Schirach

February 25    Death in Florence by Marco Vichi

And two other mysteries we may be adding:

How a Gunman Says Goodbye by Malcolm Mackay

The Doll’s House by Louise Phillips

Cartoon of the Day: Novelist

Another comic from my favorite cartoonist Hilary Price of Rhymes with Orange.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Lawrence Block: A dialogue between Bernie and Larry on self-publishing

Today I welcome back one of my favorite authors, Lawrence Block. His latest novel, The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons, continues his burglar Bernie Rodenbarr series, but let Bernie and Larry tell you about the book and the road to self-publishing!

From Lawrence Block:

Scene: An old-fashioned antiquarian bookshop on East Eleventh Street, in New York’s Greenwich Village. A tailless cat, either a Manx or a Manx manqué, dozes in a sunny spot in the front window. A young woman, cute as a button, browses at a bookshelf, iPhone in hand. A clean-cut young man, boyishly handsome, sits behind the sales counter, holding a book; he is BERNIE RHODENBARR, and is the store’s proprietor. A much older man, bald and bearded, stands across the counter from him; he is LAWRENCE BLOCK, and we sense that he would be more comfortable sitting, or perhaps lying down, with a cold cloth on his forehead. There’s a briefcase at his feet, but we barely notice it. 

BERNIE RHODENBARR: It’s a fine-looking book.

LAWRENCE BLOCK: Glad you like it.

BR: I didn’t say I liked it. I said it was fine-looking.

LB: You don’t like it?

BR: I didn’t say that, either. I remember that topcoat.

LB: Checkered, like your career.

BR (rolls eyes): I wore it throughout the late 70s. Then one day in the early 80s I looked for it and it was gone. I’ve always wondered what happened to it.

LB: Maybe somebody stole it.

BR: Who’d steal a man’s coat?

LB: Who indeed? You stole a man’s shoes once.

BR: I didn’t really have much choice, and it didn’t hurt that they were Allen-Edmonds, and a perfect fit. I still have them. But here I am on the new book, wearing that coat again.

LB: And looking the same as you did back then.

BR: On the first four books you wrote about me. Burglars Can’t Be Choosers, The Burglar in the Closet, The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling, and The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza. Then you switched publishers, and I never saw that coat again. Yet here I am, wearing it, and not because you’re back with Random House. You published this book yourself.

LB: I did.

BR: And found the original artist, Emanuel Schongut, and somehow euchred him into turning out a gorgeous painting that’s got everything—a spoon, a whole bunch of brightly-colored buttons…

LB: And the coat.

BR: Right. And, you know, I read the book, and I have to say you did a pretty good job with it. Aside from changing a couple of names and addresses, and sneaking in the occasional groaner of a pun, you stayed remarkably close to the facts.

LB: Glad you approve.

BR: But there’s something I don’t begin to understand. You published the book yourself—I’m fine with that part—but as an eBook…

LB: You don’t approve of eBooks?

BR: How could I? I’m a bookseller and a burglar, and an eBook is something I can neither sell nor steal. But you didn’t let me finish. You published it as an eBook, and as a trade paperback.

LB: A HandsomeTradePaperback, actually. It’s all one word.

BR (rolls eyes again): Whatever you say. Still, eBooks and paperbacks. Didn’t you forget something?

LB: Uh—

BR: Where’s the damn hardcover?

LB (picks up briefcase which we barely noticed, opens it, removes and brandishes book): Right here.

BR: And it’s gorgeous. Dark green leather cover, gold stamping, Manny’s cover art tipped on, text on high-quality 80# stock. Limitation sheet’s signed and numbered, and bears a custom-made US postage stamp, canceled with three asterisks.

YOUNG CUTE-AS-A-BUTTON WOMAN: Asterisks? That’s hysterical!

BR: But.

LB: But?

BR: But this is a collector’s item! It must sell for a hundred bucks, and—

LB: $79.99, with free shipping.

BR: That’s all? Even so, it’s a good fifty dollars more than you’d pay for an ordinary hardcover book. You’ve essentially published my eleventh adventure as a paperback original, with a high-ticket Collector Edition as a back-up.

LB: So?

BR: Is it a sneaky way to get an Edgar nomination? You figure there’s less competition in the Best Paperback Original category?

LB: The book’s self-published, remember? That renders it ineligible for Edgar consideration. And let me stop you right now before you start saying that’s unfair. MWA’s policy is both right and inevitable. As it stands, committee members are swamped with books they have to read. Open the process to self-published books as well and they’d all resign, and who could blame them?

BR: Then—

LB: You know, a book is a complicated thing.

YCAABW: There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away
Or any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
They stare at her. 
That’s Emily Dickinson. I forget the rest.
They continue to stare, and she disappears into the stacks. 

BR: You were saying.

LB: I was saying that the whole definition of a book has been changing. You might say it’s been bifurcating.

BR: I wouldn’t. But I suppose you might.

LB: On the one hand, it’s a device for conveying information, whether fact or fiction. For that purpose, the consumer can decide which vehicle works best for him.

YCAABW (off-stage): Or her.

LB: Uh, right. That may be an eBook or a printed book or an audiobook, depending on where you prefer your words—on a screen, on a page, or in your ear. To the extent that The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons is about reading, those three media are there to serve the reader. And the HandsomeTradePaperback does the job as well as a hardcover, with the same page size and type face. If anything, it does it better—and at half the price.

BR: And on the other hand…

LB: On the other hand, a book is a physical object. You can admire it, you can collect it, you can cherish it. Any sort of physical book can serve in this capacity, and a collectible volume may be esteemed because it’s the first state of a first printing, or because it’s an association copy, presented by the author to someone noteworthy, or for no end of reasons. It helps, certainly, if it’s attractive and well-made.

BR: This one seems to be both.

LB: That was the idea. It was produced less to be read—although it certainly lends itself to that use—than to be esteemed by its owner as an objet de vertu. The average commercial hardcover book doesn’t really serve that purpose. All it is, really, is a paperback book with a cheesy hardcover, tucked out of sight within a dust jacket.

BR: That’s another thing. Your book doesn’t have a dust jacket.

LB: Nope. The original dust jackets, you know, were to protect the book while it sat on a bookstore shelf waiting for someone to buy it. When you got the book home, you typically threw away the dust jacket before you read it. Or you kept it on, using the flap to mark your place, and then tossed the jacket when it got ratty.

BR: Which is why books printed before 1950 are rarely found with dust jackets. See that shelf? There are half a dozen books on it ranging in price from fifty to a hundred dollars. If they had dust jackets, the range would be more like five hundred to a thousand.

LB: So the dust jacket is worth ten times as much as the book itself. You don’t think that’s crazy?

BR: No crazier than anything else in a free market. Collectors came to regard a book without a dust jacket as incomplete, and the prices reflect this view. Something similar is happening with autographs, you know. With modern first editions, an unsigned book is thought to be missing something. But you’d probably rather talk about something else.

LB: Almost anything, really. Even dust jackets, but I don’t have much to say on the subject. I’d rather put production dollars into the book itself, and I’d rather make the book’s actual hard cover a thing of beauty.

BR: But anybody who wants a hardcover—

LB: —has to pay a high price for it, but they’re getting what they pay for. The collector who buys an ordinary commercial hardcover pays a little less and gets a little less. But not everybody who buys commercial hardcover fiction does so for a collector’s reasons. He—

YCAABW (off-stage): Or she!

LB (with commendable restraint): —wants to read a printed copy, and doesn’t want to wait six months or a year. Well, that’s what the paperback is for.

BR: The HandsomeTradePaperback, selling for $14.99.

LB: Right. And the hardcover is the true first edition, you know. It went to press first, and it even has two minor typos you won’t find in the paperback. And it shipped to customers on December 21, four days before the on-sale date of the eBook and paperback.

BR: And will this be how books are published in the future?

LB: Oh, hell, how do I know? Maybe everyone will have his—or her!—own reality show, and nobody will read anymore. I barely know what the present holds, let alone the future.

BR: I’m the same myself. Look, if I ever have another adventure, would you write it up?

LB: If I have the strength.

BR: And would you publish it yourself?

LB: I can’t see why not. This is the most fun I’ve had in all my years in the business.

BR: And if all that happens, would I get to wear the coat again? Wait a minute, you don’t have to answer that now. I have a feeling Emily Dickinson’s cutest fan needs my assistance.

He disappears into the stacks. The older man looks around, as if trying to remember who he is and what he’s doing here. He returns the book to his briefcase, walks past the sleeping cat, and goes out the door. 

The curtain falls, and not a moment too soon.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Alameda Flea Market: Mystery Toys and Books

The Alameda Flea Market takes place the first Sunday of every month, and I am always there! It's about 2 miles by 1/2 mile. We get there early and stay the whole day. Lots of fun things to see and buy. So today I thought I'd post a few 'mystery' related items that I thought were quite fun!

And, in case you were wondering what I bought.. well, coals to Newcastle.. I scooped up these green Penguin Margery Allinghams. Love her books! I don't remember Coroner's Pidgin, but perhaps it has a different title. In any case, I look forward to re-reading all of them.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Friday, January 3, 2014

UK Order of the British Empire Awards

Of interest to mystery readers: A few of the UK Order of the British Empire Honors presented New Year's Day:

Author Anthony Horowitz received an OBE for services to Literature. Anthony Horowitz is the author of more than 40 books including the Alex Rider spy books. He is also the creator of the TV series Foyle's War. As well as being a board member of the Old Vic theatre, he is patron of East Anglia Children's Hospices and the anti-bullying charity Kidscape.

Edinburgh-based Alanna Knight, author of historical crime series including the Inspector Faro mysteries, has also been awarded an MBE, appearing on the honours list under her given name of Gladys Knight.

The actors Penelope Keith and Angela Lansbury both became dames in a New Year honours list that, for the first time since the Order of the British Empire was founded in 1917, has recognised more women than men. British-born Lansbury, 88, who starred in the Murder, She Wrote series, received her damehood in the diplomatic and overseas list for drama, charitable work and philanthropy.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014