Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Mysteries/New Year's Eve Crime Fiction

New Year's Mysteries! I wish you a safe, healthy and prosperous 2015. May mystery and mayhem only happen in crime fiction!

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

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

You might want to check out my Christmas list (Christmas Mysteries, Authors A-Z). Some of the books spill over into New Year's.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Inscription: SF Public Library

Love the stone inscriptions at the former San Francisco Main Public Library (now the Asian Art Museum). This one should be at my house!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Guest Post by Israeli Thriller Writer Liad Shoham

Today I welcome thriller writer Liad Shoham, author of just released in the U.S. Asylum City. Liad Shoham is Israel’s leading crime writer and a practicing attorney with degrees from Jerusalem’s Hebrew University and the London School of Economics. He lives in Tel Aviv. Liad Shoham has published 7 thrillers. A number one bestseller in Israel, ASYLUM CITY (Harper), his latest crime novel, follows a budding female police officer’s search for answers about the murder of a young social activist, painting a vivid picture of Tel Aviv and the refugee underworld of African asylum-seekers.


A year ago my five year old daughter sat in the living room of our apartment and wrote letters on a page.

“What are you writing?” I asked her.

“The Bible,” she answered simply. There are people who have literary aspirations even at a young age. Not me.

For many years I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. When I completed my time in the army, I went through the university course guide and rejected many subjects. In the end, I did what many people do as a default: I went to study Law. I completed my first degree in Jerusalem and then did a Master’s in London.

When I returned to Israel I began working as a lawyer. I went to work early in the morning, and returned, exhausted, late at night. While studying in London, I began to write about my experiences before going to sleep.

It was very unusual. I had never written for myself or for others. In any case, night after night, I wrote short stories. I enjoyed reminiscing and the act of writing - the pages piling up without anyone knowing. When I finished, I looked at the pile of pages in disbelief. I wanted to show them to other people, but I was also embarrassed. I felt that I needed to do something with all those papers. In the end I found a solution. I typed them up, printed them out, bound them, and sent them off to publishers, feeling optimistic in the spirit of “anyway, nothing will come from it”.

And truthfully, nothing came from it. Publisher after publisher returned the manuscript I had sent with a sentence that always began with the word “regretfully”. I was thankful that I hadn’t shown the book to anyone close to me and that only strangers were sorry. I had already convinced myself that nothing would happen, until suddenly a big Israeli publisher said “yes”.

I was a lawyer, and for me a profession was something that came with a diploma. Writing was a hobby. I loved creating something out of nothing, telling a story, not speaking in someone else’s name and not representing anyone, but saying something that was mine. I wrote a book and another book: about the lives of singles, about life in Israel, short stories about the Bible.

And then, suddenly, it all stopped. Months passed and I didn’t have any ideas. Complete emptiness. In the end it was a hobby - I tried to encourage myself but didn’t succeed. I felt a physical need, not just emotional, to return to writing, but I didn’t know how.

Happily the same publisher who gave me that one “yes” didn’t give up on me so easily. In a meeting with the editor he suggested that I begin writing thrillers. The idea seemed unrealistic – what did a geek like me know about thrillers, and how did you write them anyway? But I was so desperate to go back to the hobby that had abandoned me - prematurely and without warning - that I immediately said yes. It seems that the publisher was also skeptical about my ability to write thrillers, so they gave me a teacher.

It is not easy being a crime novelist in Israel: it is a small country and it’s very difficult to disappear. There is no “CSI Israel”. One of the most famous jokes in Israel is, “Why are policemen always in pairs? There needs to be one who can read and another that can write.” Ah yes, there are no serial killers, no basements or attics to hide bodies. I could go on and on.

Still, from the moment I started writing thrillers, I felt that I had reached the place that I was supposed to reach. From the start, thrillers weren’t only an opportunity to tell a story, but also a sphere in which I can deal with social issues, something that’s bigger than plot. I’ve now published seven thrillers. Each time I finish one, my head is already preparing for the next. It’s true that no one gave me a writer’s diploma, but something in my attitude towards writing changed: I understood that I have to do it, and that I can’t do without it.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Merla Zellerbach: R.I.P.

Merla Zellerbach, San Francisco author, philanthropist, and civic leader. 84, died at her home yesterday from pancreatic cancer.

Read the SF Chronicle Obitutary here.

Merla Zellerbach wrote a mystery series featuring PR amateur detective Hallie Marsh. All include a fun look at San Francisco, relationships, and San Francisco society. The books reflect different aspects drawn from her personal life from fundraising to breast cancer to self-help to SF personalities. Merla Zellerbach wrote several novels and non-fiction, was editor of the Nob Hill Gazette, had a column in the SF Chronicle, but she didn't begin writing mysteries until she was 82.

Read an article (2012) about her and her Hallie Marsh mysteries in the Stanford Alumni Magazine here. From the article:  How does she explain all those romances in her books? "Hard-core mystery buffs and purists of the genre want me to choose between romance and mystery. But then I would ask: What is death without life? And what is life or death without love?"

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Charles Todd Literary Salon: Berkeley, January 9

Join Mystery Readers NorCal for an afternoon Literary Salon on Friday, January 9, at 2 p.m. in Berkeley. Comment below with your email address to RSVP and for directions.

Charles Todd is the bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother-and-son writing team (Caroline and Charles Todd), they live in Delaware and North Carolina. Charles Todd’s series about the brilliant yet troubled Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge began with A TEST OF WILLS when Rutledge returns from serving four years in the Great War and tries to resume his career at the Yard. His experience on the battlefields changed him, and although he remains a gifted and dedicated investigator, he faces a constant struggle to bury the haunting secrets from the war in order to remain in control and keep his job. Rutledge is tormented by shell shock and the guilt he faces every day for killing Hamish MacLeod, a young Scots soldier who refused an order on the battlefield thus forcing Rutledge to execute him on site.

Their new mystery, A FINE SUMMER’S DAY is a great entry point into an established series that will give fans insight into a character they already enjoy. Charles Todd provides readers with their trademark twisty mystery that will keep everyone guessing until the last page. With this newest entry into the award-winning and acclaimed series, readers will see Rutledge before the war.  Before his life changed forever.

On a fine summer’s day in June, 1914, the Great War is still only the distant crack of revolver shots at a motorcar in faraway Sarajevo. And Ian Rutledge, already an Inspector at Scotland Yard, has decided to propose to the woman he’s so deeply in love with-despite hints from friends and family that she may not be the wisest choice. In Scotland, a Highlander shows his own love the house he’s planning to build for her in September.

But in another part of England, a man stands in the kitchen of his widowed mother’s house, waiting for the undertaker to come for her body, and stares at the clock on the mantel board. He doesn’t know yet that he will become Rutledge’s last case before Britain is drawn into war. He doesn’t even know what he will do with his life, now. But in the weeks to come, as summer moves on toward the shadows of August, he will set out to right a wrong, and Rutledge will find himself having to choose between the Yard and his country, between the woman he loves and duty, and between the truth and honor.

When: Friday, January 9, 2 p.m.
Where: Make a comment below with email for directions and to RSVP
Potluck hors d'oeuvres and sweets

Friday, December 26, 2014

Downton Abbey: Field Trip?

Love Downton Abbey? Now you can stay there!

Highclere Castle, the fab British mansion that doubles as Downton in the long-running UK television series, is opening up rooms to paying guests. Bookings are now being taken for London Lodge, an historic gateway that forms a grand entrance to Highclere’s extensive grounds in the countryside west of London. Built around 1840, the “unique and luxurious” accommodation for two has, according to the estate, been restored over the past two years by the current Earl of Carnarvon and his wife. The rooms are split across the two buildings flanking the original gateway built in 1793.
The Lodge will be available Valentine's Day 2015 and selected weekends through the Spring and Summer.

Unfortunately there will be no servants, nor will any of the cast be on hand during your stay. Weekends start at $545 per night.

Can't stay for the weekend? Highclere Castle is open for tours (limited dates). Advanced bookings necessary. In addition, areas of the Castle and grounds can be booked for Weddings and Corporate Events.

A Boxing Day Mystery

December 26 is Boxing Day. I've put together a  list of over 500 mysteries that take place at Christmas, and I'm sure there are several that continue through Boxing Day, but here's a mystery that focuses specifically on Boxing Day: Nicholas Blake's Thou Shell of Death (1936). Nicholas Blake is the pseudonym of Cecil Day Lewis, late British poet laureate.

Thou Shell of Death concerns Fergus O'Brien, a WWI flying ace. Fergus receives four letters predicting that he will be murdered on Boxing Day. Despite this, or maybe because of this, he plans a party and invites all the suspects (there are several people who might want to do him in) plus private detective Nigel Strangeways. O'Brien does die, and it's up to Nigel Strangeways with the help of Inspector Blount of Scotland Yard to solve the crime. This is Blount's first appearance in the series. Thou Shell of Death is an oldie but goodie, especially if you like houseparty mysteries.

And, in case you're not familiar with Boxing Day, it's the day after Christmas, when "servants and tradesmen traditionally would receive gifts from their superiors." Today it's a national holiday in the U.K. and Ireland. As far as why it's called Boxing Day, there are several different theories:

A ‘Christmas Box’ in Britain is a name for a Christmas present.

Boxing Day was a day off for servants and when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master.
The servants would also go home to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families.

A box to collect money for the poor was placed in Churches on Christmas day then opened the next day.

Great sailing ships when setting sail would have a sealed box containing money on board for good luck. If the voyage were a success the box was given to a priest, opened at Christmas and the contents given to the poor.

Is there a specific Boxing Day Mystery I've forgotten?

And, if you're not tired of cooking and baking, today is also Candy Cane Day. If you have any candy canes lying around, try one of these recipes for Chocolate Candy Cane Truffles, Brownies, Fudge, Bark, and more!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2015 Behind my Garden Gate Calendar to Benefit NCGRR

2015 Behind my Garden Gate Calendar: $15

Every day on my Facebook profile page I post a photo, usually of a rose. I have over 140 rose bushes. The calendar features a rose a month...well, actually there's an iris and a sunflower on two different months, but mostly roses. I love my garden, and I hope you will, too. I love to take photos of the ever changing landscape and flowers in my garden.

This year I decided to donate the proceeds of the sale of the Calendar to NorCal Golden Retriever Rescue. I adopted "Rosie" on December 9, 2013, from Rescued Love from Taiwan, which falls under the auspices of NCGRR. Rescued Love from Taiwan rescues goldens, rehabilitates them, cares for them, and then sends them to the U.S. where they are adopted. They're great dogs who need a loving home.

Here's a link to the Calendar. If you like seeing a rose a day, consider ordering one. Limited supply. U.S. addresses only, please.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Cartoon of the Day: Claustrophobia

Crimelandia News: Left Coast Crime, March 12-15, 2015

Save: Register before 12/31/14

The cost of registering for Left Coast Crime 2015: Crimelandia goes up after December 31st to $195. If you have friends who are procrastinating, remind them to register now!
Not sure if you have registered yet? Check the Crimelandia Attendee list.
Need to register? Registration page.

Author/Reader Connections

One of the best things about Left Coast Crime is the chance to get to know your fellow readers and writers. But sometimes, during the excitement and flurry of activities, it’s not always easy to find time to meet your favorite writer. At Crimelandia, a number of authors want to make it easy to connect with readers. With that in mind, Crimelandia has created Author/Reader Connections. It might be lunch or dinner, a quiet drink, or a walk together through town. All you need to do is click the link for the writer you’d like to connect with and sign-up. Then, during the conference, you’ll connect at the scheduled time and place. These connections are free, and in some cases may include some special benefits from the authors.

Visit our Author/Reader Connection page to sign up.

Crimelandia Award Nominations

Reminder: Keep making notes about your favorite books published in 2014 in order to be prepared for the Left Coast Crime 2015 Award Nominations, which happen very soon — in January!

Registrants of the 2014 and 2015 Left Coast Crime Conventions will be able to nominate three titles in each category. Nominations will be accepted between January 1 and January 23, 2015, for the Left Coast Crime awards in these four categories:

The Lefty: Best humorous mystery novel

The Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award: Best historical mystery novel covering events before 1960

The Rose: Best mystery novel set in the LCC region (North America Mountain Time Zone and all time zones westward to Hawaii)

The Rosebud: For budding writers, best first mystery novel set anywhere in the world

To be eligible, titles must have been published for the first time in the United States during 2014, in book or ebook format. If published in another country before 2014, a title is still eligible if it was published in the US during 2014.

Nomination forms will be emailed to all 2014 and 2015 LCC registrants on January 1, 2015. The nominations will be announced on January 26, 2015. Final voting will be by paper ballot at the convention in Portland. The awards will be presented at the Awards Banquet on Saturday, March 14, 2015.

Questions? Email Awards Co-Chairs Lucinda Surber & Stan Ulrich.

Grantchester: Masterpiece Mystery!

Grantchester On PBS MASTERPIECE Mystery!

Sundays, January 18 - February 22, 2015
At a Special Time: 10pm ET on PBS

Fond of whisky, jazz, and women, Reverend Sidney Chambers gives clergymen a fresh image in Grantchester, a new mystery series airing on MASTERPIECE in January.

In Grantchester, a young vicar and a veteran cop join forces to solve baffling murders around a placid English village in 1953.

James Norton (Happy Valley) stars as Reverend Chambers, with Robson Green (Wire in the Blood, Reckless) as Inspector Geordie Keating, in this six-part drama based on James Runcie's acclaimed"Grantchester Mysteries.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cartoon of the Day: Holiday Grammarian Chicken

From Doug Savage, one of my favorite cartoonists!

Chanukah Crime Fiction// Hanukah Mysteries

Chanukah (Hanukah, Hanukkah) is celebrated for eight days, so you have plenty of time to read all these books! Let me know if I've missed any mysteries.

A Crafty Christmas by Molly Cox Bryan
Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle (mostly about Christmas but Hanukah is mentioned)
Beautiful Lie the Dead by Barbara Fradkin
Festival of Deaths by Jane Haddam
Out of the Frying Pan into the Choir by Sharon Kahn
Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry by Harry Kemelman
Murder at the Minyan by Shlumat E. Kustanowitz
The Body in the Sleigh by Katherine Hall Page (mostly about Christmas but Hanukah is mentioned)
Chanukah Guilt by Ilene Schneider
The Tattooed Rabbi by Marvin J. Wolf

Children's Hanukah Mysteries
Rabbi Rocketpower and the Mystery of the Missing Menorahs - A
Hanukkah Humdinger! by Rabbi Susan Abramson and Aaron Dvorkin and Ariel DiOrio

Mystery Short Stories
"Mom Lights a Candle" by James Yaffe, appeared in Mystery: The Best of 2002, ed. by Jon L. Breen.
"Hanukah" by Morris Hershman in Cat Crimes for the Holidays, ed. by Martin Greenberg, Edward Gorman and Larry Segriff
"The Worse Noel" by Barb Goffman in The Gift of Murder.
"Death on the List" by B.K. Stevens (AHMM, January 1999)
For more info on Jewish short story mysteries, check out Steven Steinbock who blogs on Criminal Brief, the Mystery Short Story Web Log Project.
"Navidad" by Elizabeth Zelvin, EQMM, January 2011
"No Candles for Antiochus" by Barry Ergang

Mystery Games
Children's software mystery game: Who Stole Hanukkah? offered in five languages: English, Hebrew, Russian, French and Spanish
Other Games for Children: The Case of the Stolen Menorah: An Enlightening Hanukkah Mystery

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Downton Abbey LIVE events: San Francisco & San Jose

Celebrate Downton Abbey in San Francisco and San Jose! 

Season 5 starts January 4. I've seen all the episodes, and they're wonderful. The acting is fabulous, the storylines riveting, and the costumes superb!

Join KQED and other Downton fans on Saturday, January 3 for an exclusive preview of the premiere episode of Downton Abbey Season 5. This year KQED will have four free screenings (2 in San Francisco and 2 in San Jose) of the one-hour premiere followed by a classic Maggie Smith film! Admission is free but space is limited and there's a waitlist. RSVP below for you and a guest. Phone reservations not accepted.

Saturday, January 3
1:00pm Downton Abbey Preview
2:45pm The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969)

Maggie Smith won the Best Actress Oscar for her searing portrayal of a headstrong teacher ignoring the curriculum to spread an over romanticized world view to her 12 year old charges. Adapted from the novel by Muriel Spark and based on the play by Jay Presson Allen. Directed by Ronald Neame.
Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St, San Francisco
California Theatre, 345 S 1st St, San Jose

6:30pm Downton Abbey Preview
8:15pm The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012)

Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, and Penelope Wilton move to a retirement home in India. All that's missing is Helen Mirren. Directed by John Madden.
Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St, San Francisco
California Theatre, 345 S 1st St, San Jose

Cartoon of the Day: Reindeer Social Media

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

NOIR CITY XMAS: San Francisco, 12/17

The Film Noir Foundation presents its 5th annual holiday show at San Francisco's majestic Castro Theatre this Wednesday, December 17, at 7p.m. In addition to a seasonally themed double bill of vintage noir-stained films, host Eddie Muller will be revealing the complete schedule (and hot new poster!) for the eagerly anticipated NOIR CITY 13 festival, coming to the Castro January 16-25, 2015! Enjoy the big-screen premiere of a new documentary showcasing the world-renowned NOIR CITY festival (you might be in it!) and catch up on gift shopping for the film noir lover in your life—including the local debut of Eddie Muller's new book, Gun Crazy: The Origin of American Outlaw Cinema. Buy tickets ahead of time for NOIR CITY Xmas at Brown Paper Tickets or at the door of the Castro the night of the show. Only $10 for both films.

O. Henry's Full House  (1952, 117 minutes)
This anthology of short stories by America's master of the ironic twist is as entertaining as it is star-studded—featuring juicy roles for Richard Widmark, Anne Baxter, Farley Granger, Marilyn Monroe, Charles Laughton, Jean Peters, and many more. 20th Century-Fox employed several of its most renowned directors—Henry Hathaway, Henry King, Howard Hawks, Henry Koster, and Jean Negulesco—to bring to life such famous O. Henry tales as "The Last Leaf," "The Clarion Call," and the Christmas classic, "The Gift of the Magi." Each segment introduced by John Steinbeck! (Disclaimer: Mr. Steinbeck will not be appearing in-person.)

Playing with—
The Curse of the Cat People  (1944, 70 minutes)
This sequel to 1942's The Cat People is a stunner on many levels—far from being a horror story, it's a poignant and deeply felt meditation of the pain and loneliness of childhood, and perhaps the most sublime and personal film in the career of legendary producer Val Lewton. Eight-year-old Ann Carter gives a mesmerizing performance as imaginative little Amy, with Simone Simon (the original Cat Woman) reappearing as her imaginary friend. A spellbinding classic, co-directed by Robert Wise.

Christmas Mysteries// Christmas Crime Fiction: Authors A-Z

Over the past few weeks I've posted my Holiday Christmas Mysteries List in 5 parts, so I decided to do a final round-up in one place.

Happy Holidays!

Christmas Mysteries, Authors A-D

Christmas Mysteries, Authors E-H 

Christmas Mysteries, Authors I-N

Christmas Mysteries, Authors O-R

Christmas Mysteries, Authors S-Z

Cartoon of the Day: Santa Witness Protection Program

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sujata Massey: The Kizuna Coast, Guest Post & Give-Away

Today I welcome mystery author Sujata Massey. Sujata was born in England to parents from India and Germany and grew up mostly in St. Paul, Minnesota. She holds a BA in Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University and started her working life as a features reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun. After leaving the newspaper, she moved to Japan, where she studied Japanese, taught English and began writing her first novel, The Salaryman’s Wife. This novel became the first of many in the Rei Shimura mystery series, which has won Agatha and Macavity awards and been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, and Mary Higgins Clark awards. Her August 2013 release, The Sleeping Dictionary, is a trade paperback with Simon & Schuster’s Gallery line, and also an audiobook published by Dreamscape. It’s the first in a series of historical suspense novels featuring Bengali women who each play a role in making modern India.

Sujata Massey's new book, The Kizuna Coast, comes out today, December 15,  as an Amazon release and March 15 as a worldwide, multi-bookstore, multiplatform release. It's a mystery set right after the 2011 tsunami, and is the 11th Rei Shimura mystery, the first one to be published since 2008.

GIVE AWAY! Sujata Massey is giving away two eBooks of The Kizuna Coast to Mystery Fanfare blog readers. Enter the drawing by December 21 by writing “Mystery Fanfare” in the subject line of your email message sent here.


I met my first mystery novel at age twelve. It was The Moonstone, a prescient holiday gift from my father. In the years since, I grew into my life as a mystery and historical fiction writer. Turning bits and pieces of my imagination into something others can read is a thrilling experience.

From 1997 to 2008, I wrote ten novels in an amateur sleuth series about a young Japanese-American antiques dealer. Twentysomething Rei Shimura left California to build a creative life in Tokyo; however, she kept stumbling upon the darnedest secrets. Due to Japan’s low crime rate, Rei’s mysteries involved very few guns, but did have a lot of art, sociology and romantic fun.

Then, in March, 2011, a 9.0 Richter earthquake occurred 200 miles from Sendai, Japan. A powerful shifting of plates under the Pacific built a lethal tsunami wave that hammered the northeastern Tohoku region. More than fifteen thousand people died in one afternoon. An estimated one million buildings suffered damage and hundreds of thousands of Tohoku residents became homeless. Historians declared this was the toughest time for Japan since World War II, and TV footage made it look as if the country had suffered an irreversible fall.

In the weeks after the tsunami, I tried to learn whether my Japanese friends’ families were safe and how people were coping with gasoline, electricity and food shortages. I also wondered if the light-hearted, beautiful world I’d written about could continue. The Rei books were already in hiatus. I wasn’t sure what to do.

So I did what a lot of other people did: I followed the news. I learned that even as the wave was approaching, police, medical personnel and municipal employees stayed in the danger zone to help fleeing people reach higher ground. After the waters had subsided, survivors assisted others, not talking about the losses they were going through. Fukushima nuclear plant workers stayed onsite to shut down the reactor. As the nuclear situation worsened with persistent fires, soldiers, sailors and firefighters came from all over Japan, risking their lives for the safety of the nation.

Kizuna, a uniquely Japanese word meaning “bonds of loving kindness,” was used to describe this selfless behavior toward others. And as I heard even more stories of bravery, self-sacrifice and kindness, I felt these events were worth recording somewhere beyond short news reports that I knew would trickle into nothing after a year. But I had some worries about writing a tsunami book.

My first concern was that the tragedy was still ongoing, if you counted the thousands mourning the dead and suffering from health problems and loss of their homes. I considered making up a fictitious earthquake hitting a different part of Japan. However, that didn’t seem like it would be any more sensitive to survivors’ feelings. It also wouldn’t satisfy my desire to credit the citizens of Tohoku for what they’d endured.

Ultimately, I decided to write about the real tsunami, deliberately setting the book in a fictitious town close to real places. I brought back the same characters my longtime readers know, and I introduced new people of all ages from Tohoku. As well as a dog! I incorporated scenes of stylish Tokyo trying to pull itself back on track, as well as the battered coast. I found myself moving between two worlds—just like my protagonist had always done.

And with her voice in my head, I began understanding that beauty endures. While I needed to describe the impact of millions of dead fish on a town, I also could note the Buddha statues placed respectfully by residents to overlook the shattered streets. In my mind’s eye I saw children happily playing on a jungle gym washed clean by their loving parents; and the pleasure shelter residents took sipping the first hot bowls of miso-vegetable stew.

By the time I’d finished writing The Kizuna Coast, I felt grateful for what the people of Tohoku had taught me. Just as I felt blessed by the power of fiction, which allows us all to take the long view past misery and onward to hope.

Sujata Massey: Japan in Snow

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Crime Fiction: Authors S-Z

Here is the final post of Christmas Mysteries: Authors S-Z. And to all a Good Night!

Here are the links that complete this list:
Check out Christmas Crime Fiction, Authors A-D,  Authors E-H Authors I-N and Authors O-R. As always, let me know if I've forgotten an author and title. Have a great holiday!

Christmas Mysteries: Authors S-Z

Sample, Cindy. Dying for a Dance
Sanders, Lawrence. The Fourth Deadly Sin
Santangelo, Elena. Poison to Purge Melancholy, Double Cross
Saums, Mary. When the Last Magnolia Weeps
Sawyer, Corinne Holt. Ho Ho Homicide
Sayers, Dorothy L. The Nine Tailors
Scherf, Margaret. The Gun in Daniel Webster’s Bust
Schumacher, Aileen. Framework for Death
Schweizer, Mark. The Alto Wore Tweeds, The Christmas Cantata
Sedaris, David. Holidays on Ice
Sefton, Maggie. Fleece Navidad
Sellars, M.R. Perfect Trust
Serafin, David. Christmas Rising
Shaber, Sarah. Shell Game (UK title: Burying Ground)
Shannon, Dell. No Holiday For Crime
Shelton, Connie. Sweet Holidays
Sibley, Celestine. Spider in the Sink
Simenon, Georges. Maigret's Christmas
Slater, Susan [anthology] Crooks, Crimes and Christmas
Sleeman, Susan. The Christmas Witness
Smith, Barbara Burnett. Mistletoe From Purple Sage, 'Tis the Season for Murder (with Fred Hunter)
Smith, Frank. Fatal Flaw
Smith, George Harmon. The Christmas Angel
Smith, Joan. Don't Leave Me This Way
Smith, Terrence. The Devil and Webster Daniels
Smoak, Amanda. Generals' Row
Soles, Caro (ed) Blood on the Holly
Sparks, Kerrelyn. Sugarplums and Scandal (anthology)
Sprinkle, Patricia. A Mystery Bred in Buckhead
Stagge, Jonathan. The Yellow Taxi
Stanley, J. B. The Battered Body
Stout, Rex. And Four to Go
Strohmeyer, Sarah. Bubbles All the Way
Swanson, Denise. Murder of a Barbie and Ken
Symons, Julian. The Detling Secret
Talley, Marcia. Occasion of Revenge
Taylor, Elizabeth Atwood. The Cable Car Murder
Taylor, Sarah Stewart. O' Artful Death
Temple, Lou Jane. Death is Semisweet
Tesh, Jane. Mixed Signals
Thames, Nancy. Waiting for Santa
Theorin, Johan. The Darkest Room
Thompson, Carlene. The Way You Look Tonight
Todd, Charles. The Walnut Tree
Tooke, John. On the Twelfth Day of Christmas
Tope, Rebecca. Trouble in the Cotswolds
Tourney, Leonard D. Knaves Templar
Tremayne, Peter. The Haunted Abbot
Trocheck, Kathy. A Midnight Clear, Fatal Fruitcake (written as Mary Kay Andrews)
Underwood, Michael. A Party to Murder
Unsworth, Barry. Morality Play
VanLeeuwen, Jean. The Great Christmas Kidnapping Caper
Victor, Cynthia. What Matters Most
Viets, Elaine. Murder With All the Trimmings
Wainwright, John. The Life and Times of Christmas Calvert...Assassin
Wait, Lea. Shadows on a Maine Christmas.
Walker, Persia. Darkness and the Devil behind Me
Waller, Gail & Jim Gilber. A Kudzu Christmas
Walsh, Thomas. The Resurrection Man
Ward, Donald. Our Little Secret
Washburn Livia. The Christmas Cookie Killer, The Gingerbread Bump-Off
Webb, Peggy. Elvis and the Blue Christmas Corpse
Webber, Heather. Trouble Under the Tree
Weir, Charlene. A Cold Christmas
Welk, Mary. Deadly Little Christmas, A Merry Little Murder
Wildwind, Sharon. First Murder in Advent
Williams, David. Murder in Advent
Willig, Lauren. The Mischief of the Mistletoe
Windsor, Patricia. The Christmas Killer
Wilson, Gahan. Murder for Christmas: 26 Tales of Seasonal Malice
Wingfield, R.D. Frost at Christmas
Wishart, David. Last Rites
Wolzien, Valerie. Deck the Halls With Murder, 'Tis the Season to be Murdered, We wish You a Merry Murder
Wright, Eric. The Man Who Changed His Name
Yaffe, James. Mom Meets her Maker 
Zelvin, Elizabeth, Death Will Get You Sober 

For the complete list, be sure and check out Christmas Crime Authors A-D,  Authors E-H Authors I-N and Authors O-R.

Cartoon of the Day: Christmas Group Therapy

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Mysteries: Authors O-R

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


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

Don't forget to check out Christmas Mysteries, Authors A-DAuthors E-H, Authors I-N.

MWA 2015 Grand Master, Raven, & Ellery Queen Awards

Mystery Writers of America's National Board of Directors announced the 2015 Grand Master, Raven, and Ellery Queen award recipients.

Grand Masters: Lois Duncan and James Ellroy

Raven Awards: Ruth & Jon Jordan (Crimespree Magazine) and Kathryn Kennison (Magna Cum Murder)

Ellery Queen Award:  Charles Ardai, founder of Hard Case Crime

For all the details, Go Here: 2015 Special Edgar Awards

Congratulations to all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

J.K. Rowling's Cuckoo's Calling to be Part of TV series

From the Hollywood Reporter:

J.K. Rowling's Cormoran Strike crime novels, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, beginning with The Cuckoo's Calling, will be adapted for a major new drama series for BBC One, produced by the author's Bronte Film and TV production company.

Rowling will collaborate on the project, with the number and length of episodes to be determined once the adaptation process has formally begun. Rowling previously teamed up with BBC and HBO for a three-hour miniseries adaptation of her novel The Casual Vacancy, which is set to air on BBC One in February.

Read more here.

Cartoon of the Day: Book People

HT: Jean Utley

Christmas Mysteries, Authors I-N

Here's the Third installment of Crime for the Holidays: Christmas Mysteries, Authors I-N. What a long list. Makes for more reading which is always fine with me! As always, let me know if I've missed any titles or authors.

Be sure and go back on Mystery Fanfare for Christmas Crime Fiction Authors A-D and Authors E-H.

Iams, Jack. Do Not Murder Before Christmas
Indridason, Arnaldur. Voices
Innes, Michael. A Comedy of Terrors, Christmas at Candleshoe
Irving, Karen. Jupiter’s Daughter
Ivie, Judith. Drowning in Christmas
Jackson, Melanie. Murder on Parade
Jaffe. Jody. Chestnut Mare, Beware
Jahn, Cathie. Add One Dead Critic
Jahn, Michael. Murder on Fifth Avenue
Jarvis, Nancy Lynn. Buying Murder
Jeffers, H. Paul. Murder on Mike
John, Cathie. Add One Dead Critic
Johnson, Craig. Death Without Company, Christmas in Absaroka, Spirit of Steamboat: A Walt Longmire Story
Jordan, Cathleen. A Carol in the Dark
Jordan, Jennifer. Murder Under the Mistletoe.
Kane, Henry. A Corpse for Christmas (Homicide at Yuletide)
Kaplan, Arthur. A Killing for Charity
Katz, Fred. Not a Creature Was Stirring
Kaufman, Karin. The Witch Tree
Kavanaugh, Brian. A Canterbury Crime
Kaye, M. M. Death in the Andamans
Kellerman, Faye. Sacred and Profane
Kelley, Lee Charles. 'Twas the Bite Before Christmas
Kelly, Mary. The Christmas Egg
Kelner, Toni L.P. Mad as the Dickens, Murder Under the Tree (ed)
Kendrick, Stephen. Night Watch
King, John. The Big Mouth
King, Laurie R. A Monstrous Regiment of Women
Kingsbury, Kate. No Clue at the Inn, Ringing in Murder, Shrouds of Holly, Slay Bells, Decked with Folly, Mistletoe and Mayhem, Herald of Death, The Clue is in the Pudding, Mulled Murder
Kisor, Henry. Season’s Revenge
Kitchen, C.H.B. Crime at Christmas
Kleinholz, Lisa. Exiles on Main Street
Knight, Alanna. The Dagger in the Crown
Knight, Bernard. Crowner's Quest
Knight, Kathleen Moore. They're Going to Kill Me
Knight, Stephen. Corpse at the Opera House, Murder at Home, More Crimes for a Summer Christmas
Koch, Edward I. Murder on 34th Street
Koontz, Dean R. Mister Murder, Santa’s Twin, Robot Santa
Lake, M.D. A Gift for Murder, Grave Choices
Landreth, Marsha. The Holiday Murders
Lane, Vicki. In a Dark Season
Langley, Bob. Death Stalk
Langston, Josh & Barbara Galler-Smith. Christmas Beyond the Box
Langton, Jane. The Shortest Day: Murder at the Revels, The Memorial Hall Murder
Lanyon, Josh & Sarah Black. I'll be Dead for Christmas
Lathen, Emma. Banking on Death
Lavene, Joyce and Jim. Treacherous Toys
Lawrence, David. Cold Kill
Lawrence, Hilda. Blood Upon the Snow
Lawrence, Treat. Q As in Quicksand
Leach, Christopher. A Killing Frost
Lee, Wendy. Murder, Mayhem and Mistletoe (anthology)
Leon, Donna. Blood from a Stone
Levine, Joan. The Santa Claus Mystery
Levine, Laura. Candy Cane Murders (with Joanne Fluke & Leslie Meier), Gingerbread Cookie Murder (with Joanne Fluke & Leslie Meier)
Lewin, Michael Z. The Enemies Within
Lewis, Ted. Carter's Law
Little, Constance. The Black-Headed Pins
Livingston, Nancy. Quiet Murder
Loan-Wilsey, Anna. Anything But Civil
Locke, William J. A Christmas Mystery
Lockridge, Richard. Dead Run
London, Cait. (and others) Sugarplums and Scandal
Long, Manning. Vicious Circle
Lord, Christopher. The Christmas Carol Murders
Lourey, Jess. December Dread
Luber, Philip. Deadly Convictions
Macbride, Stuart. Cold Granite
MacLeod, Charlotte. Rest You Merry; ed.Christmas Stalkings: Tales of Yuletide Murder, The Convivial Codfish; Mistletoe Mysteries (ed)
MacDonald, John D. Pale Gray for Guilt
MacLeod, Charlotte. The Convivial Codfish, Murder Goes Mumming, Rest You Merry
MacPherson, Rett. A Comedy of Heirs, The Blood Ballad
MacPherson, Suzanne (and others) Sugarplums and Scandal
Malliet, G. M. Death of a Cozy Writer
Malmont, Valerie. Death, Snow, and Mistletoe
Manson, Cynthia (ed). Christmas Crimes, Merry Murder, Murder Under the Mistletoe, Mystery for Christmas, Murder at Christmas
Marantz, Bill. Christmas Eve Can Kill You
Markham, Marion. Christmas Present Mystery (anthology)
Markowitz, Jeff. It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder
Marks, Jeffrey. Canine Christmas
Maron, Margaret. Corpus Christmas, Rituals of the Season, Christmas Mourning
Marsh, Carole. Haunted Christmas Tree Mystery
Marsh, Ngaio. Tied Up in Tinsel
Matesky, Amanda. Murder is a Girl’s Best Friend
McBain, Ed. And All Through the House, Downtown, Ghosts, Sadie When She Died
McCloy, Helen. Mr. Splitfoot
McClure, James. The Gooseberry Fool
McCrumb, Sharyn. Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past
McGinley, Patrick. Goosefoot
McGown, Jill. Murder at the Old Vicarage
McKevett, G.A. Cooked Goose, Poisoned Tarts
McLean, Donna. A Sparrow Falls Christmas
McLintick, Malcolm. Death of an Old Flame
McMullen, Mary. Death by Bequest
Mehl, Nancy. There Goes Santa Claus
Meier, Leslie. The Christmas Cookie Murder, Mistletoe Murder, Mail Order Murder, Candy Cane Murders (w/Joanne Fluke & Laura Levine), Gingerbread Cookie Murder, A Winter Wonderland
Meredith, David W. The Christmas Card Murders
Meredith, D. R. Murder by Sacrilege
Michaels, Kasey. High Heels and Holidays, Bowled Over
Miles, Terry. Dog Gone Christmas
Milne, A.A. A Table Near the Band, Christmas Party
Miner, Valerie. Murder in the English Department
Minichino, Camile. The Helium Murder, The Oxygen Murder
Misto, Joh. The Devil's Companions
Mitcheltree, Tom. How Still We See Thee Lie (with Elizabeth Gunn & Connie Shelton)
Moore, Christopher. The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror
Morrell, David. The Spy Who Came for Christmas
Mortimer, John. A Rumpole Christmas
Moyes, Patricia. Season of Snows and Sins
Muller, Marcia. There's Nothing to be Afraid Of
Murphy, Shirley Rousseau. Cat Deck the Halls, Cat Coming Home, Cat Bearing Gifts
Nabb, Magdalen. Death of an Englishman
Nash, Anne. Said with Flowers
Neel, Janet. Death's Bright Angel
Nelson, Hugh. The Season for Murder
Nesbo, Jo. The Redeemer
Nesser, Hakan. Woman with Birthmark
Nixon, Joan. The Christmas Eve Murder
Norden, Robert. Death Beneath the Christmas Tree
Norton, Jemima. The Mistletoe Bride

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

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

David Geherin: The Ever Expanding Crime Fiction Genre

I'm a collector of crime fiction reference books, and I have all of David Geherin's books, so when I saw he had a new one coming out, Small Towns in Recent American Crime Fiction, I not only had to have it, but I wanted a post from David for Mystery Fanfare. He is so gracious and sent this right away. David Geherin is professor emeritus of English at Eastern Michigan University.

I've now read Small Towns in Recent American Crime Fiction (McFarland), and it's a must for your reference shelf. In it David Geherin examines the way "several contemporary American crime writers are employing small towns in their crime fiction...writers of realistic American crime fiction have discovered new creative possibilities to be found in quite, peaceful, and remote locations. The results are once again helping to expand the boards of crime fiction in a new direction. This book examines ten of the best of these writers.


Although I devoured the Hardy Boys books as a youth, I don’t remember ever reading any other mystery novel until 1969, when I was a graduate student studying for my Ph.D. in English Literature at Purdue University. One day, while I was supposed to be writing my doctoral dissertation, I stumbled upon a review of The Goodbye Look by Ross Macdonald that appeared on the front page of The New York Times Book Review. The reviewer, William Goldman, argued that Macdonald’s mysteries were “the finest series of detective novels ever written by an American.” Wow! Not only had I never heard of Ross Macdonald, as an undergraduate major in English and now a Ph.D. student, I was discouraged from ever wasting my time reading such lowbrow “popular” literature. What was I missing?

Curious as to why The New York Times would bother reviewing Ross Macdonald (and also looking for any excuse not to be writing my dissertation), I read The Goodbye Look. At first I felt guilty about slumming, but when I learned that Macdonald himself had a Ph.D. in English Literature, I felt better about my “waste” of time. When I discovered that Macdonald was an author of intelligence and literary style who fully captured my imagination, I concluded that there was nothing “inferior” about writing like his.

Later that year (after finally finishing my dissertation) I began teaching courses at Eastern Michigan University in 20th Century British and American fiction. And catching up on my reading of Chandler and Hammett. It wasn't long before I began to realize that what interested me most about the novels I was teaching—language, narration, character, setting, an ability to explore social, political, even moral issues— could also be found in the mystery novels I was reading. I soon began to take an academic interest in them, which led to my first publication on crime fiction in 1975, an essay on Ross Macdonald’s use of the Hollywood setting in his Lew Archer novels. Times were changing and the academy’s bias against genre literature was starting to fade. Book publishers were also beginning to take an interest in serious critical studies of the genre, which gave me an opportunity to write four books on the subject in the 1980s: Sons of Sam Spade (1980), John D. MacDonald (1982), The American Private Eye: the Image in Fiction (1985, nominated for an Edgar Award) and the first book-length study of Elmore Leonard in 1989.

At the same time, I also began teaching courses on crime and mystery fiction at Eastern Michigan. One such course I developed was titled “Murder in Literature.” Here I was, not that many years from believing that reading popular genre books was a waste of time, teaching a course that featured Raymond Chandler, Sue Grafton, and Elmore Leonard alongside Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

After a twenty-five-year hiatus from publishing (I usually joked it was because I had run out of things to say, but it was largely due to increased departmental responsibilities and several study-abroad teaching assignments), I wrote Scene of the Crime: The Importance of Place in Crime and Mystery Fiction (2008). This book (which received both Edgar and Macavity Award nominations) grew out of a longtime interest in the role of setting in novels that dated back to my very first published article on Ross Macdonald’s Hollywood settings. During the course of researching that book, I began reading several notable European authors of crime fiction, among them Georges Simenon, Leonardo Sciascia, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. This whetted my interest in international crime fiction, particularly the rise of Nordic noir, which resulted in my next book, The Dragon Tattoo and Its Long Tail: The New Wave of European Crime Fiction in America, in 2012.

Reading European writers like Andrea Camilleri, Henning Mankell, and especially Karin Fossum then got me thinking about the devastating effects of crime on a small town, which prompted me to write my latest book (just published), Small Towns in Recent American Crime Fiction. While small-town settings have long been used in crime and mystery fiction, they have usually been found only in cozy mysteries. But in recent years, writers of realistic crime fiction about cops, private eyes, and county sheriffs who might otherwise have set their novels in big cities have discovered fresh creative possibilities in small-town locations. In my book I focus on ten authors—K. C. Constantine, Daniel Woodrell, Dana Stabenow, William Kent Krueger, Steve Hamilton, P. L. Gaus, Karin Slaughter, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Craig Johnson, and Nevada Barr— who are putting small towns and out-of-the-way places on the map of the contemporary American crime novel. 

As I look back on my reading and writing over the forty years, I am struck by the remarkable ability of the mystery genre to evolve and expand in new and exciting ways. For example, when I wrote my book on the American private eye, the genre was almost exclusively a male one. Had I written it five years later, I would have been able to talk about a wholly new direction in the genre made possible by the revolutionary work of Marcia Muller, Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, and Linda Barnes. Adaptability and growth keep revitalizing the genre, expanding its readership in the process. And its acceptance by the literary community. No better evidence of that is the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters awarded to Elmore Leonard in 2010, the first time a crime or mystery writer has so been honored.

There has never been a time like today when so many talented authors have been writing such an interesting variety of crime novels, and at such a high level of artistry. Perhaps not every one of these novels reaches the level of a Hemingway or a Faulkner. But anyone looking for a challenging, entertaining, and richly rewarding reading experience will undoubtedly be able to find it in a good crime or mystery novel. And after all, isn’t that why we read fiction in the first place?