Thursday, November 30, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Holiday Icon

Brand new-old story: "The Glass That Laughed" by Dashiell Hammett: Read it Free

In September 2017 Dashiell Hammett’s granddaughter, Julie Rivett, co-editor with Richard Layman on The Big Book of the Continental Op, saw a notice on the Dashiell Hammett Reading Group Facebook page posted by Kevin Burton Smith, founder of The Thrilling Detective Web Site, stating that an unnamed fan had come across a previously unrecorded story by Hammett in True Police Stories.

Read about the discovery here.

Read the story The Glass That Laughed by Dashiell Hammett on Electric Literature.

Irish Independent Crime Novel of the Year

2017 Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards:

Irish Independent Crime Fiction Novel of the Year:

The Therapy House, by Julie Parsons (New Island)
Also Nominated:

• Can You Keep A Secret? by Karen Perry (Michael Joseph)
• Here and Gone, by Haylen Beck (Harvill Secker)
• Let the Dead Speak, by Jane Casey (HarperCollins
• One Bad Turn, by Sinéad Crowley (Quercus)
• There Was a Crooked Man, by Cat Hogan (Poolbeg Press)

John Connolly won the Ryan Tubridy Listeners' Choice Award for his non-crime novel, He (Hodder & Stoughton), about the life of 20th century English comic Stan Laurel.

There were 13 categories of works and authors. See them here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Confessions of a Christmas Cheater: Guest Post by Ellen Byron

Today I'm starting my Christmas Crime Fiction posts. I'll be posting my lists (and checking them twice!), but this year, I'll also be posting guest blogs from authors with Christmas themed mysteries. Enjoy!

Ellen Byron writes the Cajun Country Mystery series. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called her new book, A Cajun Christmas Killing, “superb.” Body on the Bayou won the Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery, and was nominated for a Best Contemporary Novel Agatha Award. Plantation Shudders, was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards, and made the USA Today Bestseller list. She’s written over 200 national magazine articles; published plays include the award-winning Graceland; TV credits include Wings, Just Shoot Me, Fairly OddParents, and pilots. A native New Yorker, Ellen now lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband, daughter, and two spoiled rescue dogs.


I have a confession to make. I’m a Christmas cheater.

For me, one of the best aspects of the holiday is the surprise element. Oooo, what’s in the bag? What’s in the box? Except by the time the big day rolled around, I already knew. Because much as I insisted on being surprised, I was helpless against my urge to track down the presents and have a looksee. One year when I was about ten, the rest of my family went out, leaving me home alone. Having searched all the closets for the holiday presents and come up empty, I pulled down the old ladder to the attic of our 1920s home, scurried up it, and located the gift haul. When my family came home, I greeted them in tears because the Little Kiddle doll I desperately wanted wasn’t among the haul. “You weren’t supposed to even see the presents,” my exasperated mother scolded. “You’re the one who always wants to be surprised.”

Abashed, I swore I’d never do the cheat-and-peek again. And I didn’t… for a few years. Then one day pre-holiday, I accidentally found the Christmas gifts in a basement closet. I didn’t just peek that time. I tried everything on. My acting talent was undeniable on Christmas morning when I acted totally surprised as I opened each outfit. By the way, I wasn’t a kid at that point. I was fifteen.

As an adult, I’ve been known to shake a box, peek into a bag, and try to elicit clues from gift givers. Seriously, I still do this - all the while insisting that I want to be surprised. But it also works in reverse for me. If I’m really excited about a gift I’m giving someone, I beg the recipient to let me give it to them sooner than the actual holiday. More than once my teen say, “My birthday isn’t for two weeks, but I’ll open your present now if means you’ll stop bothering me!”

In an early draft of A Cajun Christmas Killing, my latest Cajun Country Mystery, I gave this cockeyed gift attitude to my protagonist Maggie. But when I read the draft, I thought, wow, she’s super annoying. So I rewrote the story and gave her a healthy, normal attitude toward gift giving.

These days, with the constant stream of boxes from Amazon or Vistaprint showing up on our doorstep, every week feel like a holiday. I’ve told my family not to buy me presents for Christmas or my birthday. I say it’s because I don’t need anything, but I also think it’s to protect them and myself from my chronic serial cheating. Old habits die hard, or in my case, not at all. But at least my characters are more mature about gift getting and giving than I am.

Cartoon of the Day: Writer

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Love, Lies & Records

Looking for something good to watch? Check out Love, Lies & Records on AcornTV.  This is a terrific 6-part (wish there were more episodes) drama set in a Leeds register office. It's all about interpersonal intrigue, amateur sleuthing, and big emotional swings. Ashley Jensen (Agatha Raisin, Catastrophe, Ugly Betty) stars at the compassionate registrar Kate who tries to balance her work and home life. At the same time, she assists her clients with their life milestones: birth, marriage, and death. Each episode is a gem, filled with personal and professional crises. This AcornTV Original is written by Kay Mellor (The Syndicate) and is produced by Rollem Productions for BBC One.

Don't miss it!

Cartoon of the Day: Golden Retriever

Niklas Eriksson's Carpe Diem:

Monday, November 27, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: The Assassin

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition

Still suffering from withdrawal pangs after the demise of Downton Abbey? Well here's something to perk you up! Downton Abbey: The Exhibition is now open in New York City. Purchase your tickets at: www.

Get up close with your favorite characters, costumes, locations, and more in this one-of-a-kind interactive exhibit. There's also see never-before-seen show footage.

Imagine for yourself the bustle of Mrs. Patmore’s kitchen, the whispers in the servants quarters, the opulence of the family dining room, and the elegance of Lady Mary's bedroom as you walk through these most recognizable sets. Then, marvel at the beauty and detail of more than 50 of the show's official costumes! Based on the  television show, this exhibit transports you to post-Edwardian England, where the characters and the iconic house come to life. You’ll be immersed in the fascinating social history, culture, and some of the most memorable moments from the show’s six-season run.

This exhibit opened in Singapore last June and all the press releases mention it will travel to other places in the U.S. after NYC. Still no updates on where it will go on the tour. Make a comment below if you know.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Alienist: TV launch January 22

TNT Launches New Psychological Thriller The Alienist Jan. 22

Turner's TNT will take viewers into the darkest corners of New York City during the Gilded Age with the eagerly anticipated series. The Alienist based on the Anthony Award-winning international bestseller by Caleb Carr. Set in 1896 amidst a backdrop of vast wealth, extreme poverty and technological innovation, this psychological thriller stars Daniel Brühl (Rush), Luke Evans (The Girl on The Train), Dakota Fanning (American Pastoral) and Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker). The Alienist is slated to premiere on Monday, Jan. 22 at 9 p.m. ET/PT across TNT platforms. 

The Alienist opens when a series of haunting, gruesome murders of boy prostitutes grips New York City. Newly appointed police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt (Geraghty) calls upon criminal psychologist (aka alienist) Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Brühl) and newspaper illustrator John Moore (Evans) to conduct the investigation in secret. They are joined by Sara Howard (Fanning), a headstrong secretary determined to become the city's first female police detective. Using the emerging disciplines of psychology and early forensic investigation techniques, this band of social outsiders set out to find and apprehend one of New York City's first serial killers.

The Alienist also stars Douglas Smith (Miss Sloane) and Matthew Shear (Mistress America) as Marcus and Lucius Isaacson, twin brothers who help unravel the disturbing mystery; Matt Lintz (Pixels) as Stevie, a tough, young boy employed by Dr. Kreizler as a driver and errand boy; Robert Ray Wisdom (The Wire) as Cyrus, Kreizler's valet, a man with a dark past who has been reformed by Kreizler; and Q'orianka Kilcher (The New World) as Mary, Kreizler's mute maid with whom he shares a special unspoken connection.

Shot in Budapest, Hungary, The Alienist is a co-production of Paramount Television and Turner's Studio T. BAFTA-nominee Jakob Verbruggen (Black Mirror) serves as director and executive producer along with Emmy® winner Cary Fukunaga (True Detective), Academy Award® winner Eric Roth (Forrest Gump), Academy Award® nominees Hossein Amini (Drive) and E. Max Frye (Foxcatcher), Anonymous Content's Steve Golin and Rosalie Swedlin, along with Chris Symes. Serving as co-executive producers on the series are Marshall Persinger (Rectify) and Jamie Payne (The Driver).

Cartoon of the Day: Search for the Karaoke Killer

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Joan Hess: R.I.P.

Still staggering from this sad news. Joan Hess passed away at the age of 68. Joan Hess was the author of the Claire Malloy Mysteries and the Arly Hanks Mysteries, formally known as the Maggody Mysteries. She won the American Mystery Award, the Agatha Award, for which she had been nominated five times, and the Macavity Award. She was a member of Sisters in Crime and a former president of the American Crime Writers League. She contributed to multiple anthologies and book series, including Crosswinds, Deadly Allies, Malice Domestic, and The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. She also wrote the Theo Bloomer mystery series under the pseudonym Joan Hadley.

I was privileged to meet Joan many times at Malice Domestic, as well as Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime, but it was Malice where we really spent time. She held court in the lobby bar at many of the Malice Domestic conferences. Her wit, her candor, and her dry humor were unparalleled. Her books gave me many hours of enjoyment.

This past year Joan completed an unfinished manuscript of Elizabeth Peters. Based on extensive notes and conversations with Barbara Mertz (aka Elizabeth Peters), her devoted friend, Joan took on the task of completing the last edition of this cherished series. Joan delivered a story brimming with intrigue and humor, blending Victorian formality with a clever, tongue-in-cheek wit, true to Barbara’s style.

Read her August Mystery Fanfare post on Finishing The Painted Queen.

R.I.P., Joan Hess

Cartoon of the Day: The Last Thanksgiving

From Roz Chast:

Cartoon of the Day: The Trial

Monday, November 20, 2017

MWA Announces Grand Master, Raven, Ellery Queen Award Recipients

MWA Announces 2018 
Grand Master, Raven, & Ellery Queen Award Recipients 

Jane Langton, William Link, and Peter Lovesey have been chosen as the 2018 Grand Masters by Mystery Writers of America (MWA). MWA’s Grand Master Award represents the pinnacle of achievement in mystery writing and was established to acknowledge important contributions to this genre, as well as for a body of work that is both significant and of consistent high quality. Ms. Langton, Mr. Link, and Mr. Lovesey will receive their awards at the 72nd Annual Edgar Awards Banquet, which will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on April 26, 2018.

In a writing career that spanned over four decades, Jane Langton has not only written multiple mystery series, but also illustrated them. Her first children’s book, The Majesty of Grace, was published by Harper in 1961. The first book of her Hall Family Chronicles series, The Diamond in the Window, was nominated for the Edgar for Best Juvenile. The Fledgling, fourth in the series, is a Newbery Honor Book. Langton has written 18 books in the Homer (and Mary) Kelly series, published between 1964 and 2005. The fifth in the series, Emily Dickinson Is Dead, was an Edgar nominee and received a Nero Wolfe award. When told of being named a Grand Master, Langton said, “Oh, what an honor! I am so very delighted.”

William Link's love of writing began with the cartoons he drew as a very young boy. When he learned to write, he immediately created stories for them. The first day of middle school, he would meet a classmate, Richard Levinson. They went home and started writing together that afternoon. The partnership of these two creative minds would change television history and the format of the crime drama forever with shows like Columbo, Ellery Queen, Mannix, And Murder She Wrote to name a few. They even wrote a Broadway musical, Merlin. After the death of his best friend and writing partner, he continued on alone. Bill has received numerous awards for excellence including 2 Emmys, 2 Golden Globes, 4 Edgar Awards, The Ellery Queen, The Marlowe, The Poirot, the George Foster Peabody, and The Paddy Chayefsky Laurel award. He was inducted into The Television Academy Hall of Fame. Even with all these accomplishments, when the call came in with the news that he is to be named Grand Master for 2018 he said, "I was stunned and moved to tears. In the words of Lt. Columbo, 'Just one more thing...' This is the highest honor I could possibly receive and I couldn't be more proud of the recognition. I am humbled and thrilled to be included in the company of so many of my favorite authors."

Peter (Harmer) Lovesey, also known by his pen name Peter Lear, is a British writer of historical and contemporary detective novels and short stories. His best-known series characters are Sergeant Cribb, a Victorian-era police detective based in London, and Peter Diamond, a modern-day police detective in Bath. Peter Lovesey has won awards for his fiction, including Gold and Silver Daggers from the British Crime Writers’ Association, the Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement, the French Grand Prix de Littérature Policière and first place in the MWA’s 50th Anniversary Short Story Contest. When told that he was named a Grand Master, Lovesey said, “'Right now I'm sitting on cloud nine hoping this is true. Thank you, MWA, for giving me the biggest lift of my life. I'm touched, dazed and humbled by the company you're inviting me to join.”

The Raven Award recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing. The Raven Bookstore and Kristopher Zgorski will receive the 2018 Raven Award.

The Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, Kansas, celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017. The store was opened in 1987 by co-owners Pat Kehde and Mary Lou Wright. Kehde kept the store for 28 years, weathering the Borders storm with a plan to “stay the same size and cultivate [the] clients.” Heidi Raak took over the store in 2008. Current owner and poet Danny Caine took over in August of 2017; he is a longtime employee of the shop. The Raven has two store cats, Dashiell and Ngiao. Upon hearing of the Raven Award, Raven Bookstore owner Danny Caine said, "I'm humbled and amazed to receive a Raven Award. Along with the Raven's staff, past and present, I'm delighted to join the company of such great bookstores, organizations, and people that have won the Raven in years past. Much credit belongs to previous Raven owners Pat Kehde, Mary Lou Wright, and Heidi Raak who did so much to build the store's mystery community. Thanks so much to the MWA for the award, which, aside from being a huge honor, has a pretty great name."

When told that he would receive the Raven Award, Zgorski said, “The crime fiction tribe represents my chosen family, so to receive this honor from an esteemed organization like Mystery Writers of America feels as much like encouragement from those closest to my heart as it does acknowledgement from the publishing industry at large. I appreciate MWA’s celebration of myself – and BOLO Books – not only on a personal level, but also as a vote of confidence for the contributions of book bloggers everywhere.” Kristopher Zgorski is the founder of the crime fiction book review blog, BOLO Books ( Kristopher also has a column called Central Booking in Deadly Pleasures Magazine. His reviews have also run in genre-specific publications such as Crimespree Magazine, Mystery Readers Journal, and the UK-based Shots Crime and Thriller Ezine. Kristopher is obviously an avid reader and regularly attends industry conventions such as Bouchercon, Malice Domestic, and BEA, in addition to smaller MD/DC/VA area book gatherings and signings.

The Ellery Queen Award was established in 1983 to honor “outstanding writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry. This year the Board chose to honor Robert Pépin. Mr. Pépin began his literary career in 1964 as a translator of English-language novels. Since then he has been a translator, editor, and publisher of some of the most important authors of the past century including Lawrence Block, Alex Berenson, C.J. Box, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, James Church, Miles Corwin, Martin Cruz Smith, and Robert Crais. In 1992, Pépin founded Le Seuil publishing company, which successfully introduced the finest American crime writers to the French public. In 2010, he established his own imprint, the eponymous “Robert Pépin présente…”at the venerable French publishing house Calmann-Levy Paris, a division of Hachette. There, he continues to bring great English language writers to France. On learning he would receive the Ellery Queen Award, Pépin said, “I still can’t believe I won The Ellery Queen Award, but as it seems to be true, I want to thank all of you, my MWA friends, for conferring such an honor on me. It is indeed very generous of you. Publishing and translating American writers into French has always been a great pleasure for me. Go on writing, my friends!”

Cartoon of the Day: The Trial

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Female Librarians Delivering Books on Horseback

This article sure caught my eye. Female Librarians on Horseback Delivering Books, circa 1930s. Article from Love that the WPA created the Pack Horse Library Initiative to help Americans become more literate so they'd have a better chance of finding employment.

From HistoryDaily:

In the 1930s, many people living in isolated communities had very little access to jobs, let alone a good education for their children. In Kentucky, they had isolated mountain communities which could only get their books and reading material from one source… librarians on horseback.  
President Franklin Roosevelt was trying to figure out a way to resolve the Great Depression of the 1930s. His Works Progress Administration created the Pack Horse Library Initiative to help Americans become more literate so that they’d have a better chance of finding employment.
Read the rest of the article HERE.

HT: Taffy Cannon

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: The Mouse

Happy Caturday!

Noir City Xmas!

'Tis the Season – NOIR CITY Xmas 2017
Wednesday, December 20, at San Francisco's historic Castro Theatre -- NOIR CITY XMAS. The Film Noir Foundation offers a double-feature of rare noir-stained 1940s' films to darken your yuletide spirit. At 7:30 p.m., it's Manhandled (1949) starring Dan Duryea, Dorothy Lamour, and Sterling Hayden, followed at 9:30 p.m. by Alias Boston Blackie (1942) with Chester Morris. More about the films here.
The evening will also feature the unveiling of the full program (and poster!) for NOIR CITY 16, the world's most popular film noir festival, coming to the Castro January 26 – February 4, 2018. And for your holiday shopping pleasure, NOIR CITY 16 Passports (10-day all-access festival passes for 24 movies, plus Opening Night reception) will be available for sale at our Xmas show for $120 (cash or credit card) at the FNF's merchandise table on the Castro mezzanine! As always, NOIR CITY programmer and FNF prez Eddie Muller will be your noir Noël host.
Tickets for NOIR CITY XMAS are now available online and can also be purchased at the Castro Theatre box office on the day of the show. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: The Adventures of Grammar Man

Thanksgiving Mysteries: A List

Thanksgiving. I have a lot to give thanks for -- my family, my friends, and the wonderful mystery community.

I'll be going to my sister's home for a multi-generational Thanksgiving. My family is as dysfunctional as most, but we don't stoop to murder! That can't be said for the families in the following updated List of Thanksgiving Crime Fiction. As the saying goes, "Families are like Fudge, Sweet with a few Nuts thrown in."As always, please let me know about any titles I've missed.

And speaking of Chocolate, I'll be posting recipes on for Chocolate Thanksgiving desserts, sides, and main course (Chocolate Turkey Rub!).

Thanksgiving Mysteries

Victoria Abbott The Wolfe Widow
Susan Wittig Albert Bittersweet
Laura Alden Foul Play at the PTA
Deb Baker Murder Talks Turkey
S.H. Baker The Colonel's Tale
Mignon Ballard, Miss Dimple Disappears
Sandra Balzo Hit and Run
Bob Berger The Risk of Fortune
William Bernhardt, Editor, Natural Suspect
Kate Borden Death of a Turkey
Ali Brandon Twice Told Tail
Lilian Jackson Braun The Cat Who Went into the Closet, The Cat Who Talked Turkey
Lizbie Brown Turkey Tracks
Carole Bugge Who Killed Mona Lisa?
Sammi Carter Goody Goody Gunshots
Joelle Charbonneau Skating Under the Wire
Jennifer Chiaverini A Quilter's Holiday 
Laura Childs Scones & Bones 
Bobbi A. Chukran Short mystery stores in her Nameless, Texas series
Christine E. Collier A Holiday Sampler
Sheila Connolly A Killer Crop
Cleo Coyle Murder by Mocha
Isis Crawford A Catered Thanksgiving
Bill Crider with Willard Scott Murder under Blue Skies
Jessie Crockett Drizzled with Death
Amanda Cross A Trap for Fools
Barbara D'Amato Hard Tack, Hard Christmas
Mary Daheim Alpine Fury, Fowl Prey, The Alpine Vengeance
Kathi Daley Turkeys, Tuxes and Tabbies; The Trouble with Turkeys
Jeanne Dams Sins Out of School
Claire Daniels Final Intuition
Evelyn David Murder Takes the Cake
Mary Janice Davidson Undead and Unfinished
Krista Davis The Diva Runs Out of Thyme
Michael Dibdin Thanksgiving
Joanne Dobson Raven and the Nightingale
Alice Duncan Thanksgiving Angels
Christine Duncan Safe House
Janet Evanovich Thanksgiving (technically a romance)*
Nancy Fairbanks Turkey Flambe
Christy Fifield Murder Ties the Knot 
Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain Murder She Wrote: A Fatal Feast
Joanne Fluke Raspberry Danish Murder
Katherine V. Forrest The Beverly Malibu
Shelley Freydont Cold Turkey
Noreen Gilpatrick The Piano Man
Martin H. Greenberg (editor) Cat Crimes for the Holidays
Jane Haddam Feast of Murder
Janice Hamrick Death Rides Again
Lee Harris The Thanksgiving Day Murder
Ellen Hart The Grave Soul
J. Alan Hartman, editor, The Killer Wore Cranberry, The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping; The Killer Wore Cranberry: Room for Thirds; The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fourth Meal of Mayhem
Robin Hathaway The Doctor Makes a Dollhouse Call
Richard Hawke Speak of the Devil
Victoria Houston Dead Hot Shot
Dorothy Howell Fanny Packs and Foul Play
Linda Joffe Hull Black Thursday
Ellen Elizabeth Hunter Murder on the ICW
Melanie Jackson Death in a Turkey Town, Cornucopia
Sue Ann Jaffarian Cornucopia, Secondhand Stiff
J. A. Jance Shoot Don't Shoot
Madison Johns The Great Turkey Caper
Alex Kava Black Friday
Faye Kellerman Serpent's Tooth
Harry Kemelman That Day the Rabbi Left Town
John Lescroat The Keeper
Clyde Linsley Death of a Mill Girl
Georgette Livingston Telltale Turkey Caper
M. Louisa Locke Pilfered Promises
Nial Magill Thanksgiving Murder in the Mountains
G.M. Malliet Wicked Autumn
Margaret Maron Up Jumps the Devil
Evan Marshall Stabbing Stefanie
Ralph McInerny Celt and Pepper
Leslie Meier Turkey Day Murder
Deborah Morgan The Marriage Casket
Meg Muldoon Roasted in Christmas River 
Joan Lowery Nixon The Thanksgiving Mystery (children's)
Carla Norton The Edge of Normal
Carol O'Connell Shell Game
Nancy J Parra Murder Gone A-Rye
Louise Penny Still Life
Cathy Pickens Southern Fried
Michael Poore Up Jumps the Devil
Ann Ripley Harvest of Murder
J.D. Robb Thankless in Death
Delia Rosen One Foot in the Gravy
M.L. Rowland Zero Degree Murder
Ilene Schneider Chanukah Guilt
Maria E. Schneider Executive Retention
Willard Scott and Bill Crider Murder under Blue Skies
Sarah R. Shaber Snipe Hunt
Sharon Gwyn Short, Hung Out to Die
Paullina Simons, Red Leaves
Alexandra Sokoloff The Harrowing
Rex Stout Too Many Cooks
Denise Swanson Murder of a Barbie and Ken, Murder of a Botoxed Blonde
Marcia Talley Occasion of Revenge
Sharon Burch Toner Maggie's Brujo
Teresa Trent Burnout
Lisa Unger In the Blood
Jennifer Vanderbes Strangers at the Feast
Debbie Viguie I Shall Not Want
Livia J. Washburn The Pumpkin Muffin Murder
Leslie Wheeler Murder at Plimoth Plantation
Angela Zeman The Witch and the Borscht Pearl

Let me know if I've forgotten any titles!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Guy Fawkes Night Crime Fiction

Remember, remember! 
The fifth of November 

Well, I definitely forgot to post this updated list. We may not celebrate Guy Fawkes Night here in the U.S., but this popular U.K. holiday is celebrated in several places around the world and appears in many crime fiction novels. As a listmaker, I felt compelled to put one together for this holiday. :-) See list below.

Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night, is an annual celebration, primarily in Great Britain, traditionally and usually held on the evening of November 5.  Festivities are centered on the use of fireworks and the lighting of bonfires.

Historically, the celebrations mark the anniversary of the failed Gunpowder Plot of November 5, 1605. Guy Fawkes Night originates from the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, the failed conspiracy by a group of provincial English Catholics to assassinate the Protestant King James I of England and replace him with a Catholic head of state. The survival of the king was first celebrated on 5 November 1605, after Guy Fawkes, left in charge of the gunpowder placed underneath the House of Lords, was discovered and arrested.

Traditionally, an effigy (or "guy") representing Fawkes is ritually burnt on the bonfire. In the weeks before bonfire night, children traditionally displayed the "guy" and requested a "penny for the guy" in order to raise funds with which to buy fireworks. This practice has diminished greatly, perhaps because it has been seen as begging, and also because children are not allowed to buy fireworks. In addition there are concerns that children might misuse the money. And another reason might be that Halloween is becoming more popular and replacing Guy Fawkes Night in many British communities.

In Britain, there are several foods that are traditionally consumed on Bonfire Night:
Bangers and mash
Black treacle goods such as bonfire toffee
Toffee apples
Baked potatoes which are wrapped in aluminium foil and cooked in the bonfire or its embers
Black peas with vinegar
Potato pie with pickled red cabbage

Check out for an easy recipe for Guy Fawkes Night Chocolate Sparklers

Guy Fawkes Night Crime Fiction

Murder on  Bonfire Night by Margaret Addison
Murder in the Mews by Agatha Christie
The Powder Treason by Michael Dax
Gunpowder Plot by Carola Dunn
Bryant & May and the Burning Man by Christopher Fowler
V is for Vendetta by Alan Moore
A Demon in My View by Ruth Rendell
The Desperate Remedy: Henry Gresham and the Gunpowder Plot by Martin Stephen
The Progress of a Crime by Julian Symons
A Fearsome Doubt by Charles Todd 
The Mystery of Mr. Mock (aka The Corpse with the Floating Foot) by R.A. J Walling

Any titles missing? Let me know, so I can add to the list.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Accommodating Advanced Age

Prix Goncourt: Eric Vuillard

Eric Vuillard won the Prix Goncourt for best work of French literature 2017.  Vuillard's book "L'Ordre du jour" looks at the hidden steps that gave rise to the Nazi invasion of Austria in 1938. 

The Prix Goncourt was awarded last week by the 10 members of the Academy Goncourt in Paris to Eric Vuillard for having written the best French-language prose work of the preceding year. While Vuillard takes home a token prize of just €10 (around $12), his book L'Ordre du jour (The Order of the Day) receives the highly coveted Goncourt jacket-band, which leads to explosive book sales and household name fame.

In L'Ordre du jour, Eric Vuillard uses fiction to retrace the behind-the-scenes steps leading to Nazi Germany's invasion of Austria in 1938.  With respect to the relationship between history and fiction, Vuillard has said that, "Literature is intended to tell the stories that are important and even threatening ... There are forms of discovery that are specific to reading and writing. What I call fiction is the editing made by the data collected."

Also announced last week was the Prix Renaudot, which is seen as a second-place award that, while not related to the Prix Goncourt, complements it. Author Olivier Guez received the honor for his work, "La disparition de Joseph Menguele" (The Disappearance of Joseph Menguele).

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Veterans Day

From Brian Fray:

Murder in Wartime: Mystery Readers Journal

Since today is Veterans Day, I thought I'd repost a link to Mystery Readers Journal: Murder in Wartime. Check out the Table of Contents and links below. Great articles and reviews by and about your favorite authors. 110 pages! Thanks to everyone who contributed to make this such a terrific issue. This issue is available for purchase. Buy this back issue! Available in hardcopy or as a downloadable PDF.

MYSTERY READERS JOURNAL: Murder in Wartime (Volume 33:2)

Buy this back issue! Available in hardcopy or as a downloadable PDF.

  • World War II and the Golden Age Tradition by Kate Jackson
  • The Making of Heroes by Suzanne M. Arruda
  • It Never Happened by Mary Adler
  • On Edge by Albert Ashforth
  • Between Lost and Dead by Rona Bell
  • A Half Century Later, Vietnam Is Still a Mystery by R.G. Belsky
  • Harry Lime Was Wrong by James Benn
  • My Wartime Connection by Cara Black
  • The Secrets of Bletchley Park by Rhys Bowen
  • Passing On the Memory of Wars I Never Knew by William Broderick
  • Don’t Mention the War by Frances Brody
  • Why Care About a Murder in Wartime? by Rebecca Cantrell
  • The Green Corn Rebellion by Donis Casey
  • War Is Hell… but Hell Makes Good Mysteries by John A. Connell
  • Murder and Ancient War by Gary Corby
  • The Real and Recent Wars Behind My Fiction by Diana Deverell
  • Spoils of War by David Edgerley Gates
  • You Say Conflict, I Say War by Chris Goff
  • Mystery in The First World War by Dolores Gordon-Smith
  • Civil War Crime by Paul E. Hardisty
  • War Stories by Libby Hellmann
  • Body of Evidence by Graham Ison
  • Wartime in England by Maureen Jennings
  • The Mysteries of War by Kay Kendall
  • From Bomb Shelters to a B&B by Kate Kingsbury
  • Bombs and Short Legs by Joan Lock
  • Rough Cider in the Making by Peter Lovesey
  • If It’s War, It Can’t Be Murder? by Michael Niemann
  • Echoes of Vietnam by Neil Plakcy
  • When the Investigator Wears Boots by Ben Pastor
  • His Debts Were Settled At Last by Mary Reed
  • Murder in Wartime by Gavin Scott
  • The Time Traveler As Writer by Sarah R. Shaber
  • A Coin for the Hangman: The Home Front and the Returning Soldier by Ralph Spurrier
  • The Solitary Soldier by Kelli Stanley
  • Wartime in New York by Triss Stein
  • Writing About War by Charles Todd
  • It’s Not Our War: Writing a WWI-Era Mystery Series Set in New York by Radha Vatsal
  • Fading Away by Sharon Wildwind
  • Bloodshed Behind the Lines by Sally Wright
  • Fate, Facts, and War Stories by Ursula Wong
  • Mystery in Retrospect: Reviews by Kristopher Zgorski, Craig Sisterson, L.J. Roberts, Sandie Herron, Kate Jackson, Kate Derie
  • Khaki Cops by Jim Doherty
  • True Crime in Wartime by Cathy Pickens
  • The Children’s Hour: War Mysteries by Gay Toltl Kinman
  • Just the Facts: The Military Mutilator by Jim Doherty
  • Crime Scene: Murder in a Time of War by Kate Derie
  • From the Editor’s Desk by Janet Rudolph

Cartoon of the Day: Cat Chess Tournaments

Happy Caturday! Cartoon of the Day: Cat Chess Tournaments

Friday, November 10, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Punctuation

John Hillerman: R.I.P.

Sad news, indeed. actor John Hillerman, Jonathan Higgins on Magnum, P.I.: R.I.P.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

John Hillerman, the actor who made a career out of playing snooty types, including Tom Selleck's fastidious estate caretaker Jonathan Quayle Higgins III on Magnum, P.I., died Thursday. He was 84. 

Hillerman, who received four Emmy nominations in consecutive years for portraying Higgins and won in 1987, died at his home in Houston, family spokeswoman Lori De Waal told the Associated Press. She said the cause of death had not been determined. 

His Higgins character was a natural extension of a part he played on the TV detective show Ellery Queen: Simon Brimmer, a radio personality and affected gent who fancied himself a savvy sleuth. Ironically, Hillerman, who often played condescending characters with more than a touch of the Tory Brit — the Mayfair accent — was a Texan from a tiny railroad town, the son of a gas station owner. 

Hillerman also appeared as Higgins on episodes of Murder, She Wrote and Simon & Simon

Hillerman received his first onscreen credit in 1971 at the relatively advanced age of 39 off a part in the 1971 Western Lawman. Also that year, he had a small role as a teacher in Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show. Later, he appeared for the director in What's Up, Doc? (1972), Paper Moon (1973) and At Long Last Love (1975). Hillerman had roles in many top films, including such hits as Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles (1974), where he played a chap named Howard Johnson, and Roman Polanski's noir classic Chinatown (1974), as Russ Yelburton, deputy chief of the water department. Hillerman also performed in High Plains Drifter (1973), Lucky Lady (1975), Audrey Rose (1977) and another Brooks' film, History of the World: Part I (1981) and A Very Brady Sequel (1996).

2017 Bord Gáis Energy Irish Crime Fiction Book Award Shortlist

2017 Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards:

Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year Shortlist

• Can You Keep A Secret? by Karen Perry (Michael Joseph)
• Here and Gone, by Haylen Beck (Harvill Secker)
• Let the Dead Speak, by Jane Casey (HarperCollins
• One Bad Turn, by Sinéad Crowley (Quercus)
• There Was a Crooked Man, by Cat Hogan (Poolbeg Press)
• The Therapy House, by Julie Parsons (New Island)

There were nominees in various categories. Winners will be announced in Dublin on November 28.

Thanks to B. V. Lawson's In Reference to Murder’s for the list of finalists for the Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Dog Noir

Veterans Day Mysteries

Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice Day (also known as Remembrance Day), is November 11. Veterans Day commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, that took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning — the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" 1918.

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day November 11, 1919. The U.S.  Congress passed a concurrent resolution seven years later on June 4, 1926, requesting the President issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. The 11th of November is"a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'." It was later changed to Veteran's Day.

I love to read mysteries that reflect regions and holidays, so I'm reposting about Veterans Day with a few additions. Julia Spencer-Fleming's Once Was a Soldier,  Jacqueline Winspear and Charles Todd's mystery series are at the top of my list of Veterans Day Mysteries. There's also the Joe Sandilands series by Barbara Cleverly. And Bulldog Drummond is a WWI veteran in the Sapper/H.C. McNeile books. Add to that Walter Mosley's WWII Vet Easy Rawlins. Don't miss Marcia Talley's All Things Undying in which Hannah Ives helps to locate the grave of a WWII serviceman. James Lee Burke is another great mystery author whose Cajun detective Dave Robicheaux is a Vietnam Veteran.

BV Lawson's 2007 post of Veteran's Day Mysteries is great. No need to duplicate her efforts. Be sure and read her blog, as well as all the comments. Another fine list is In Remembrance Fiction in Times of War (not all mysteries) from the St. Charles Public Library. I also did a Memorial Day post here on Mystery Fanfare that covers some of the same territory Mysteries in Paradise about Remembrance Day is also a great resource.

Wikipedia has an entry about Veterans Day Mysteries. Several hardboiled heroes have been war veterans. Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer and many others from World War II, and John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee from the Korean War. "The frequent exposure to death and hardship often leads to a cynical and callous attitude as well as a character trait known today as post-traumatic stress characterizes many hardboiled protagonists."

And, for the young set, one of the first Veteran-related mysteries: Cherry Ames: Veterans' Nurse by Helen Wells.

Read a Veterans Day mystery today and remember the men and women who have served and are serving our country now. Thank you.

In Memory of Captain Joseph Rudolph, M.D., WWII

Cartoon of the Day: Cats

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Self-Published Writer: MWA NorCal Workshop

The Self-Published Writer: January 27, 2018 

Mystery Writers of America welcomes self-published writers—so MWA NorCal will be hosting an all-day workshop for the indie writer.

Rockridge Public Library, Oakland, 10:30-3:30 

From research to cover art and promotion, the Indie writer runs a one-person business. This is a one-day NorCal academy that covers the nuts and bolts of getting your Indie career moving. Free and open to the public—but with limited seating, priority will be given to MWA members.

I. 10:30-11:20: So many publishing options!
Where on the spectrum am I, from Big 5 to self-pub? Drawbacks and delights: what are my own strengths?

II. 11:30-12:20: The Editorial Tangle: finding your way to a good, clean manuscript.
Yes, you need fresh eyes! Editorial software—how well does it work? Professional help—editor vs. book doctor; editor vs. copyeditor How much does help cost? Finding good help.

III. 12:30-1:15: Lunch ($8.00 or bring your own)
 …and networking

IV. 1:15-1:45: An Intriguing Face: great cover art 
 DIY covers: how to? Cover design services: how much?

V. 1:45-2:35: The Web of Connections—from web site to social media.
What’s the bare minimum? Do I have to do it all? How to get the most out of my efforts

VI. 2:45-3:30: Money money money—an outline of writer as retailer
Setting up Square; using PayPal ISBN? LLC? MWA! Pricing your e-book E-book only, or print? Rights: audio, print, etc

Ongoing during the day: professional photographer Charles Lucke doing author head-shots! MWA NorCal is covering the cost of a low-res digital image for covers, promotion, and what-have-you, or order a high res for just $20.

Sign up for the workshop, the portrait, and for the $8.00 sandwich lunch, here.

Cartoon of the Day: Unclear on the Concept

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Cartoon of the Day

From The New Yorker. The sad state of our country.

The Name of the Rose: TV Series

TV series remake: The Name of the Rose

An Italian TV adaptation of Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, starring Rupert Everett and John Turturro, has found an international distributor. Deadline reported that Germany's Tele Munchen Group "has acquired international rights outside of Italy for the eight-part series, commissioned by Italian public broadcaster Rai." The bestselling novel was previously adapted as a 1986 film directed by Jean-Jacques, starring Christian Slater and Sean Connery and Annaud.

Turturro stars as William of Baskerville with Everett playing Gui. The series is written by Andrea Porporati, Nigel Williams and Giacomo Battiato, with Battiato directing. Principal photography starts this January in Rome and on location around Lazio and Abruzzo. It is expected to air in the first quarter of 2019.

TMG managing director Herbert L. Kloiber said: "Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose is a monumental masterpiece. We are thrilled to be part of this high-class, state-of-the-art adaptation, which will also resonate well with a young audience that loves the suspenseful story in a gloomy and thrilling medieval setting. Those who are already familiar with the book will see a new modern take and details to this multilayered story that can only be told in a series."

Saturday, November 4, 2017