Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Trick or Treating

Tragedy in Dedham: Review by Steven Powell

Steven Powell:  
Francis Russell's Tragedy in Dedham

Recently I sat down to read one of those great award-winning books that was a major hit upon publication but has been largely forgotten today. Tragedy in Dedham is Francis Russell’s account of the Sacco-Vanzetti case and won the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime in 1963. Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti’s names have become shorthand for how easily a miscarriage of justice can occur when xenophobia and prejudice are at work. The two men were Italian anarchists who emigrated to the United States in 1908. Living in Boston, at the time a hotbed of political radicalism especially among the Italian community, Sacco and Vanzetti were charged with armed robbery and murder after a guard and a paymaster were killed during a holdup of the Morrill Shoe Company in Braintree in 1920. Their subsequent trial was widely viewed as unfair and tainted by anti-Italian and anti-immigrant bias. They were convicted and sentenced to death in 1921, and finally executed in 1927, by which time their case had become a cause célèbre with protest marches being held in major cities on every continent. In the Soviet Union, the case was used as propaganda to highlight the brutality of the capitalist system the two Italians had opposed. Today, few commentators would claim that Sacco and Vanzetti received a fair trial, but that still leaves the question open -- were they innocent?

Author Francis Russell was a man of letters, a noted wit, and a fashionable Bostonian of a bygone age. He served as a captain in the Intelligence Corps of the Canadian army during World War II, and later became a historian of some repute. As an author, he had an uncanny ability to make himself a character in the text. This is evident in his acclaimed biography of Warren Harding, The Shadow of Blooming Grove. While researching the book, Russell had come across 105 previously unseen letters between Harding and his mistress Carrie Phillips. Excited by such an important historical discovery, Russell made the mistake of handing them over to the Ohio Historical Society which he soon found was more interested in protecting Harding’s reputation and its own privileged status than it was in historical scholarship. Outraged by the letters erotic content, the OHS with the connivance of Harding’s nephew, succeeded in blocking Russell from publishing them. Russell devotes the final chapter of the biography to this affair, and his running battles with the Society read like a gripping legal thriller. The letters still appear in the book, only with blank spaces in the text where he had originally quoted from them. The letters were finally published in 2014, with the racy relationship between Harding, Carrie and ‘Jerry’ exposed in all its sordid glory.

Russell begins Tragedy in Dedham in similarly personal tones. He devotes the first two chapters to his initial thoughts and research on the case. He makes it clear that it is impossible to view the case without some degree of bias:

‘One’s view of the case depended on one’s status in the community. If one was middle-class and Republican and read the Herald mornings and the Transcript nights, one thought Sacco and Vanzetti guilty [...] But if one was a university liberal, one tended to think the trial unfair, and if one read the Nation or New Republic one was sure they were innocent.’

Russell was inspired to write the book after serving on a jury in the same Dedham courthouse where Sacco and Vanzetti had been condemned years earlier. While researching the case, there were numerous people still around who remembered the events or were involved somehow. Russell would soon discover how opinion on Sacco and Vanzetti’s guilt or innocence was divided along political lines, and was fairly unshakeable at that, when he was warned against writing a book by a lawyer who was trying to publish his own book on the trial, ‘If you tell the truth you’ll never find a publisher. Because if you really go into the case you can only conclude that those two Italians were guilty. And you’ll never get a hearing on that. Why? Because their innocence has become a liberal trademark.’

By chapter three, Russell begins to unfurl events in chronological order: the robbery at Braintree, the subsequent arrest of Sacco and Vanzetti after they were found carrying guns connected to the crime, and finally - the show-trial. Vanzetti was first convicted for an earlier robbery which had happened in Bridgewater, a conviction which was seen as helpful in securing a guilty verdict on the Braintree robbery, where the evidence against him was weak. In the public mind he was already guilty. The Galleanist philosophy which Sacco and Vanzetti subscribed to was looked upon with palpable fear and hatred. A wave of bombings was terrorising the US, and the presiding Judge Webster Thayer made several outbursts against the defendants and their anarchist beliefs which were later used to argue he had not been impartial during the trial. Russell is at his best in his witty caricatures of the principal players in the affair. Of the sixty-two-year-old Thayer he writes, ‘the leathery texture of his face made him seem a decade older. He was about five feet two inches tall, with the edgy vanity of many short men, and a voice that easily turned petulant. On the bench he looked the part of a judge. He had a high forehead, a sudden little hawk nose bridged by pince-nez, thin gray hair and mustache, dark-circled eyes, and a narrow Yankee line of mouth.’ Thayer’s house was bombed five years after Sacco and Vanzetti were executed. He was unhurt but lived the rest of his life under police protection.

Russell handles other characters sympathetically, such as Fred Moore the socialist Californian attorney of Sacco and Vanzetti. Moore had enjoyed a number of successes championing labour causes. Unfortunately, his eccentric West Coast ways proved completely out of place in the ‘colonial backwater’ of Dedham, and he made an enemy of Judge Thayer and, surprisingly, the two defendants. Sacco dismissed him in a letter he signed, ‘Your implacable enemy, now and forever’. Russell humorously and movingly describes the diminished Moore’s return to California:

‘He left Boston for good in the old Dodge touring car that was his sole permanent acquisition from the case, alone, in his frayed suit and cracked boots, and with three hundred borrowed dollars in his pocket. His immediate wish was to get back to California, to that land of brighter sunshine and wider horizons, three thousand good miles away from the mongrel English city where even the anarchists seemed affected by the constrictions of the Puritan heritage. Stacked behind him in the Dodge were several dozen packages of little tin signs, for attaching to rear license plates, that read: IF YOU CAN READ THIS YOU’RE TOO DAMN CLOSE. By selling these at filling stations and garages he hoped to cover his expenses on the way back.’

These little moments add profundity to the text and presage the concluding tragedy of Sacco’s and Vanzetti’s execution. Russell’s final view is that Sacco was guilty but Vanzetti was not. His thesis fits the temperament he identified in both men. Sacco was the fiery revolutionary who had no compunction in committing murder for the anarchist cause. Vanzetti was the quiet, intellectual anarchist to whom violence was anathema but, through loyalty to his friend and ideology, condemns himself to the electric chair.

Sacco and Vanzetti, guilty or not, became emblematic of the injustices of their time. As for Francis Russell, I think of him as the nearly Great man of American literature. Philip K. Dick had vivid dreams about The Shadow of Blooming Grove, but when he sat down to read the book he found it a bore. James Ellroy planned to write a novel about President Harding based upon his reading of Russell’s biography, but he eventually jettisoned the idea. The irony of Russell’s literary career is that while he was at his best making himself a character of past events, he has been almost entirely written out of literary history. Just as Russell was once warned, ‘If you tell the truth you’ll never find a publisher’, so too does it seem that being a damn fine writer is no guarantee of a posthumous reputation.

I, for one, have always admired Russell as an author, and would love to see a revival of interest in his work. Tragedy in Dedham is a grand place to start.

Steven Powell is a crime fiction scholar and, in the words of Andrew Pepper, 'the authority on James Ellroy'. His book James Ellroy: Demon Dog of Crime Fiction (Palgrave Macmillan 2016) was nominated for the HRF Keating Award for Best Biographical / Critical work. He is also the editor of the anthologies Conversations with James Ellroy (University Press of Mississippi 2012) and The Big Somewhere: Essays on James Ellroy's Noir World (Bloomsbury 2018). He edited the anthology 100 American Crime Writers (Palgrave Macmillan 2012) and is a member of the Crime Writers Association. He blogs about crime fiction at Venetian Vase.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Happy Halloween!! Bloody Cocktails, Deadly Wine, and Boo-tiful Beers!


Chateau Du Vampire Wines Bordeaux Style Cabernet Blend (Vampire Vineyards – Paso Robles, California): blend of cabernet sauvignon (60%) with cabernet franc (30%), and 10% malbec to finish it off.

Vampire Cabernet Sauvignon (Vampire vineyards – Paso Robles, California): Vampire Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from several small-berry clones of this traditional Bordeaux varietal, grown in the Paso Robles region of California’s Central Coast.

Dracula Wines: Zinfandel and Syrah (originally the grapes for this wine were grown on the Transylvanian plateau, now they're made from California grapes).

Trueblood Napa Valley Syrah: This wine will "bruise your soul" with its palate crushing cherry, plum smoke and spice.

Ghost Block: 100% cabernet from Rock Cairn Vineyard in Oakville, next to Yountville's Pioneer Cemetery.

Twisted Oak 2011 River of Skulls in Calaveras County. Limited production vineyard mouvedre (red wine grape). Label has a bright red skull. English translation of calaveras is "skulls."

Ghostly White Chardonnay and Bone Dry Red Cabernet Sauvignon. Elk Creek Vineyards in Kentucky

Poizin from Armida Winery in Healdsburg is a 'wine to die for..". This Zinfandel sold in little wooden coffins

Big Red Monster  Red wine made from Syrah, Zinfandel and Petite Syrah.

Spellbound 2012 Merlot. Full Moon on the label. 

Ravenswood 2013 Besieged Red Blend. Ravens on the label.

Michael David 2012 Freakshow Cab.

Other Wines, Beers and Ales: Witches Brew, Evil (upside down and backwards label), Sinister Hand, Toad Hollow Eye of the Toad, Zeller Schwarz Katz.

Want to give the personal touch to your Halloween wines? Add ghoulish labels or rebottle in cool jars with apothecary labels from Pottery Barn (or make them yourself). For a great article, go to Spooky Halloween Bottle & Glass Labels.


And what about an awesome cocktail? Make Nick and Nora proud! They always loved a good party. Throw in some rubber spiders or eyeballs as garnish. Want to make your own Halloween Cocktail Garnish--some eyeballs and fingersClick HERE.

Blood Bath
1 Part Tequila Silver
1 Part Strawberry Liqueur

Shake with ice, and strain into shot glass.

Blood Test
1 Part Tequila Reposado
1 Part Grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into shot glass

Blood Shot
1 part Iceberg Vodka
1 part peach schnapps
1 part Jagermeister
1 part cranberry juice

Chill all ingredients. Combine in shaker with ice. Strain into shot glass. shoot!

2 oz VeeV Acai Spirit
1 oz acai juice
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
Top with fresh champagne
lime wedge for garnish

Combine VeeV, Acai juice and fresh lime with fresh ice in a cocktail shaker and shake.
Strain into chilled martini glass and top with champagne.
Serve with fresh lime wedge.

Blood and Sand
3/4 ounce Scotch
3/4 ounce cherry liqueur
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
3/4 ounce orange juice
1 thin strip orange zest

In cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the liquids. Strain into martini glass, then garnish with the strip of zest. (recipe from Bank Cafe & Bar in Napa)

Corpse Reviver
1 ounce gin
1 ounce Lillet (blanc)
1 ounce triple sec
Juice of half a lemon
5 drops of absinthe
1 thin slice orange

In cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the liquids. Strain into martini glass, then garnish with the orange slice.
(Recipe from Epic Roasthouse in San Francisco)

Vampire Blood Punch
4 cups cranberry raspberry juice (or cranberry juice cocktail)
2 cups natural pineapple juice (100% juice)
2 cups raspberry-flavored seltzer water
wormy ice cubes (optional)

Mix all ingredients together, and pour into large, decorative punch bowl.
Serve punch with wormy ice cubes, if desired

Corzo Bite
1-1/2 parts Corzo Silver Tequila
1/2 parts Campari
1 part fresh blood orange juice
1/4 parts blood (aka home-made grenadine) **
2 parts Jarritos Tamarindo Soda

Build all ingredients into highball glass filled with ice. Add “blood” at the end.
Garnish: Blood orange wheel and strawberry syrup

** Home-made grenadine: Add equal parts white sugar and POM pomegranate juice together and dissolve sugar over high on stove-top

Midori Eye-Tini (from Rob Husted of Florida)
1-1⁄4 parts Midori Melon liqueur
3⁄4 parts SKYY Infusions Citrus
1⁄2 part Finest Call Agave Syrup
2 parts of Canada Dry Green Tea Ginger Ale
2 parts Finest Call Sweet & Sour Mix
3 Orange Wedges
2 Fresh Ripped Basil Leaves
Strawberry Sundae Syrup

In shaker glass combine Midori Melon liqueur, SKYY infusions Citrus, Finest Call Agave Syrup, 3 Orange Wedges and 2 Fresh Ripped Basil Leaves.
Muddle ingredients together. Add ice and Finest Call Sweet & Sour Mix.
Shake for 10 seconds.
Add Canada Dry Green Tea Ginger Ale and roll drink back and forth between your mixing tin and shaker glass.
Strain into a chilled martini glass drizzled with Strawberry Sundae Syrup to give an effect of a bloodshot eye.

Garnish: Chilled red seedless grape at bottom of glass (to look like an eyeball) and bruised basil leaf floated on top of cocktail for aroma.

Black Martini
The Black Martini replaces vermouth with either blackberry brandy or black raspberry liqueur.
3 1/2 oz gin or vodka
1/2 oz blackberry brandy or black raspberry liqueur
lemon twist or black olive for garnish or gold flakes

Pour the ingredients into cocktail shaker with ice.
Shake vigorously.
Strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a lemon twist or black olive or sprinkle in gold flakes.



Evil Dead Red from AleSmith Brewing Company

Dead Guy Ale from Rogue

Dead 'n' Dead from Rogue

Witch's Wit from Lost Abbey

Cuvee des Trolls from Brasserie Dubuisson

Black Death Chili from Fallen Angel

Black Heart from 3 Floyds Brewing

Monk's Blood from 21st Amendment

Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout from Left Hand Brewing

Zombie Dust from Three Floyds Brewing Company

Krieky Bones from Firestone Walker Brewing

The Fear Imperial Ale from Flying Dog

Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin from New Belgium

Dead Ringer from Ballast Point

Monday, October 29, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Cat Trick or Treat



I love learning stuff, and one of the best ways to do that, sometimes, is to just listen. Something I learned a long time ago, before I became an author, was that most people you’ll ever meet in life have a story. Maybe it just one story inside them, something that happened to them once, long ago, and just sometimes, if you can just mine it out of them, you have pure gold. So, when I had a phone call out of the blue, back in 1989, from a man claiming to have proof of God’s existence, I didn't immediately replace the receiver, I listened.

Many people I’ve told this story to say they would have hung up, in those first seconds. But if I had done that, I would never have written this book, which has taken me on an incredible 29-year journey, and is the book I’m most proud of and most excited about of all thirty-three novels I have written.

The caller, an elderly sounding gentleman asked if I was Peter James, the author. Hesitantly, I said I was.

‘Thank God I’ve found you!’ he replied. ‘I’ve called every Peter James in the phone book in the South of England, it’s taken me two weeks. My name is Harry Nixon, I assure you I’m not a lunatic, I’m a retired academic, and I was a bomber pilot during the War. This may sound extraordinary, but I’ve been given absolute proof of God’s existence, and I’ve been told, on the highest authority, that you are the man to help me get taken seriously.’

I asked him who exactly it was who had recommended me.

‘Well I’m sure it will sound strange, but I can assure you it was a representative of God. Please hear me out.’

He told me he lived in the Midlands and that his wife had recently passed away from cancer. Before she’d died, they agreed that he would go to a medium to attempt to communicate with her. Some while after her death, he dutifully did this, but instead of his wife, a male claiming to be a representative of God came through.

He told Harry Nixon that God was extremely concerned about the state of the world, and felt that if mankind could have faith in Him reaffirmed, it would help steer us back onto an even keel. As proof of his bona fides, God’s representative had given him three pieces of information no one on earth knew, all of them in the form of compass coordinates: The first was the location of the tomb of Akhenaten, uncle of Tutankhamun and the first monotheist of the pharos. The second was the location of the Holy Grail. And the third was the location of the Ark of the Covenant.

I asked him if he had checked any of these out and he replied, excitedly, that he had indeed. ‘I can’t tell you any more over the phone, Mr James, I need to come and see you. I’m going to need four days of your time.’

I told him that was a pretty big ask! I said I was extremely busy, I could spare him half an hour for a cup of tea and if he could convince me we needed longer, we’d take it from there. We made an arrangement for him to come down the following Tuesday, at 4pm.

On the nanosecond of 4pm the doorbell rang. Standing there was a man in his seventies, holding a large attaché case, who had the air of a retired bank manager. He was dressed in a neat suit, with matching tie and handkerchief and looked at me with sad, rheumy eyes. ‘Thank you for seeing me, Mr James,’ he said, shaking my hand and holding my gaze. ‘You and I have to save the world.’

‘Yep, well, I’ll do my best, I replied.

I made him a cup of tea and sat down with him in the living room. ‘So where do we start?’ I asked him.

He opened his case and removed a manuscript, hundreds of pages thick, bound with an elastic band. ‘We start with you reading this, please.’

I glanced at it, it looked about 1000 pages long, typed with the pages covered in handwritten annotations. ‘Sure,’ I said, ‘Leave it with me.’

He shook his head. ‘I cannot let this out of my sight – this was channeled to me directly from God, through his representative.’

‘So Mr Nixon, you are going to sit there, in that chair, watching me sitting here, reading it all the way through until I’ve finished?’


‘This would take me four days!’

Excitedly he retorted, ‘See, I told you so!’

I replied that either he took a massive leap of faith and left it with me, or he took it back home with him after his cuppa, but there was no way he was going to sit in my home for four days! And, before anything else, could he now answer my question over the phone about whether he had checked out any of the coordinates?

He replied he had indeed. Using his skills learned as a Fleet Air Arm navigator in the War, he now had, so far, the precise location of the lost tomb of Akhenaten in the Valley of the Kings, and the precise location of the Holy Grail. The Holy Grail, he told me, was at Chalice Well in Glastonbury. I’d never heard of this place, but I subsequently discovered this wasn't too far-fetched a scenario. Long a holy and mystical site, there is some evidence that Joseph of Arimithea bought the Holy Grail – the chalice used at the Last Supper and to collect Christ’s blood when he was on the cross - to Glastonbury and hid it at Chalice Well.

‘I’ve been dowsing and metal detecting there, and there is something under the ground in the exact position I’ve been given,’ Harry said. ‘Chalice Well is run by a group of trustees – I’ve approached them asking permission to do an archaeological dig at this location, but they won’t take me seriously. But, Mr James, I am sure they would take you seriously.’

Eventually he agreed to leave the manuscript with me, and trundled off into the night. I settled down to start reading – and after about twenty minutes I began to lose the will to live. I was wading through page after page of religious tracts, new age diatribes, and barely legible annotations.

I might have simply returned the manuscript to him the next day, were it not for an extraordinary thing that happened and was to change everything.

By sheer coincidence, the following day I had to go to Bristol to do a BBC radio interview for my then latest novel. When we finished the interview, I carried on chatting for some minutes with the very bright and delightful presenter. Suddenly, out of the blue, she mentioned Chalice Well.

Coincidences have always fascinated me, and her words send a ripple of excitement through me. Twenty-four hours earlier I’d never heard of the place – and now it was twice in two days. ‘What do you know about Chalice Well?’ I asked her.

‘Quite a bit – my uncle’s a trustee,’ he replied.

Astonished and very excited now I told her the story of my encounter with Harry Nixon. She said she would ask her uncle what he knew about the man. I left, feeling very strange – not exactly the chosen one but I had the feeling something was going on, and phoned a good friend of mine, Dominic Walker, who at that time was the Bishop of Reading (he went on to become Bishop of Monmouth and is now retired). I asked if I could come and talk to him.

I should add that Dominic had always struck me as a very modern thinking clergyman, coming from a no-nonsense family – his father was a doctor, his mother a nurse – and he has a brilliant intellect. Over lunch a couple of days later, I told him the story and asked him what he thought.

He thought about it very carefully and said, ‘I think I would want something more than just three sets of compass coordinates to give me proof of God. I would want to see something that defies the laws of physics of the universe – in other words a miracle, and it would need to be a pretty spectacular one.’

‘OK,’ I replied. ‘If someone could deliver that, what then?’

‘You know what I really think if someone could deliver that? I think they would be assassinated. Because whose God would it actually be? You have all the different factions of the Anglican, Catholic, Judaic, Islamic, Hindu, Sikh and all the other monotheist religions in utter disarray. How would China view it or Russia? Would either of them want a higher power usurping their authority? What would the impact actually be on the world?’

As I left, I punched the air with excitement, as I realized I had my story right there! The potential for a truly twisty, global thriller, centered around the biggest question for all mankind.

Twenty-nine years of research later, I’m thrilled to see Absolute Proof published, and equally thrilled that in the US it is an Audible exclusive, brilliantly and compellingly narrated by Hugh Bonneville of Downton Abbey fame.

Peter James is the author of the Roy Grace thriller series. He has had 3 smash--hit play adaptations of his work, has hit #1 on the international bestseller list, and was awarded the Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016

Before writing full time, James lived in the U.S. for a number of years, producing films including The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes. James’s novella ‘The Perfect Murder’, started its world stage premiere in 2014, and his first Roy Grace novel Dead Simple has now been adapted for stage, and toured the UK in 2015. In 1994, in addition to conventional print publishing, James’s novel Host was published on two floppy discs and is now in the Science Museum as the world’s first electronic novel. 

Famed for his in-depth research, in 2009 James was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Brighton in recognition of his services to literature and the community, and in 2013 he was awarded an Outstanding Public Service Award by Sussex Police with whom he rides along regularly.  He has served as two-times Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association and is a board member of the US International Thriller Writers. He has won numerous literary awards, including the publicly voted ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards People’s Bestseller Dagger in 2011 and was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize for Perfect People in 2012. 

James’s novels have been translated into thirty-six languages and three have been turned into films. All of his novels reflect a deep interest in the world of the police, with whom he does in–depth research and has unprecedented access, as well as science, medicine and the paranormal. A speed junkie, who in his teens was selected to train for the British Olympic Ski Team, he holds an international motor racing license and switches off from work by racing his classic 1965 BMW. James divides his time between his homes in Notting Hill in London and near Brighton in Sussex.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

MYSTERY BYTES: Interesting & Quirky Mystery-Related Postings

Here's my weekly Round-Up of interesting and quirky mystery-related articles and postings on the Internet. Just wanted to share in case you missed these. Click on the link to read the entire story.

How Agatha Christie's wartime Nursing role gave her a lifelong taste for poison. The Guardian

Agatha Christie loved her poisons, whether a glass of champagne spiked with cyanide, a dose of lethal strychnine doled out at a country manor house, or, at the heart of her A Caribbean Mystery, some cosmetics laced with belladonna. In fact, deadly toxins are deployed in more than 30 of her whodunnits.

Jeff Abbott on what Happens when your Crime Library Goes up in Smoke. CrimeReads. 

The lightning bolt blasted down from the fast-moving summer storm, exploding into our roof, through our attic, and into the guest bedroom. Fire erupted on the bed. My sons put out that fire in the bedroom, but the roof and attic were ablaze. Within two minutes, my family were out of the house, with our pets, pulling our cars out of the garage, as the flames spread. Despite the heavy rain, smoke already wreathed our home. We got out with the clothes we had on our backs. We were safe. We watched our home burn as multiple fire departments responded, as news crews and the Red Cross arrived, as dozens of our neighbors gathered around us to offer comfort, as our family tried to grapple with what seemed an unimaginable new reality.

How California's almond harvest has greated a golden opportunity for bee thieves. RevealNews

The crime scene was a mess of boxes, some half-assembled, others scattered across patches of dried grass and partially gouged to raw wood. The victims scrambled about looking for food and water. There were thousands of them. Maybe millions.

The Best Crime Documentaries on Netflix. Thrillist

The past several years have seen a veritable explosion in true crime stories, across virtually every platform. You can barely open a web browser without stumbling across a video, podcast, long-form story, or some other piece of content that exposes a horribly tragic crime and/or a horribly tragic justice process. The lesson, as always: When a nation gives you a corrupt and punitive justice system biased against minorities and the poor, make a documentary about it. 

How to Lend a Kindle Book. BookRiot 

One of my favorite things about books is sharing and discussing them with my friends and family. When I got my first Kindle ereader, I was thrilled with the money I could save on ebooks, my new ability to borrow ebooks from the library, and how easy it made reading while traveling, but I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to share the books I bought with others. Luckily, someone taught me how to lend a Kindle book and share the reading love.

The Mother Archetype in Crime Fiction. Catriona McPherson. CrimeReads.

There are precious few happy kids of loving mothers in crime fiction. Perhaps that’s inevitable, since crime fiction shows us flawed individuals, at times of great crisis. Fiction in general might offer up Mrs Bennet, Marge Simpson, Marmee Marsh, Molly Weasley and Lorelei Gilmore but in the mystery world it’s slim pickings. Until you turn to the dark side, that is . . . True villains abound. With them, though, we also find more nuanced portrayals of mothers, struggling, out of their depth, trying but failing.

Five Novelists Imagine Trump's Next Chapter. Joseph Finder, Laura Lippman, Jason Matthews, Zoe Sharp, and Scott Turow. New York Times. 

An Interview with Alan Bradley. TheReadingLists

And with Halloween coming up this week, don't miss: 

Halloween Crime Fiction: A List. MysteryFanfare

Friday, October 26, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Vampire School

CWA Dagger Awards

The 2018 CWA (Crime Writers Association) Dagger Awards were announced last. Congratulations to all! Lots of great reading!

CWA Gold Dagger:
• The Liar, by Steve Cavanagh (Orion)

CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger:
• Bluebird, Bluebird, by Attica Locke (Serpent’s Tail)

CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger:
• Lola, by Melissa Scrivner Love (Point Blank)

 CWA International Dagger:
• After the Fire, by Henning Mankell, translated by Marlaine Delargy (Harvill Secker)

CWA Historical Dagger:
• Nucleus, by Rory Clements (Zaffre)

CWA Short Story Dagger:
• “Nemo Me Impune Lacessit,” by Denise Mina (from Bloody Scotland)

CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction:
Blood on the Page by Thomas Harding (Heinemann)

CWA Dagger in the Library: (Selected by nominations from libraries)
• Martin Edwards

A special Red Herring Award for services to the genre was awarded to Ali Karim, Mike Stotter, and Ayo Onatade

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Bookstore Sign of the Day



Suspending our disbelief has become a national past time. While it can be alarming in real life, Coleridge’s concept is usually something fiction readers embrace. But where’s the line between delight and cognitive dissonance, between a gasp and a guffaw, or in my case, a loud, sarcastic “Pleeeease,” or “You’ve got to be kidding,” snorted across the living room.

On the surface, fantasy and sci-fi may be in more obvious need of our psychic largesse, but mystery novels require their share, particularly if they involve weekly corpses in a sleepy seaside town, sleuthing kittens, coffee roasters who put the FBI to shame, or for that matter, justice.

Despite its body count, I believe our genre is a hopeful one. Crime novels are a place where wrongs are occasionally righted and characters—however flawed—can win, or at least have a shot at redemption. So it’s more important than ever not to betray our readers by pulling them out of the story. Where is that line we can’t cross? How much leeway do we have?

My conclusion, which is certainly up for debate, is a lot.

Successful writers across the genre push the bounds of believability all the time. Take Lee Child’s Jack Reacher. Can he really keep a toothbrush in his pocket while obliterating eighteen bikers? Can he actually find clothes that fit him perfectly in the middle of nowhere, every single time his are dirty/bloody, when I can barely do it with an entire mall and the internet at my disposal?

Of course he can, because Child made sure Reacher was larger than life from the start—in every novel he accomplishes things which would seem impossible for a normal person. And because his wardrobe, or lack thereof, brilliantly supports and illuminates his restlessness and the impermanence of his life, we don’t care that it’s unlikely every small town surplus store carries khakis for giants.

Janet Evanovich offers us the world’s oldest hamster—Stephanie Plum’s Rex. What is he, twenty-five? Who cares? I hope he lives to be a hundred. Stephanie’s been through enough.

As a reader, I will put up with a certain amount of coincidence, a couple of “wait a minute, didn’t she’s?” and some leaps in logic, as long as I’m connected to the characters and the book feels emotionally truthful and consistent with the tone the writer established in the early pages.

As a writer, though, I’ve struggled to determine how much artistic license writing a “zany” mystery gives me, when it comes to the details of plot and character. I started out as a film writer, operating in a realm where nothing was expected to be realistic, but are the rules different for novelists? Do comedies get a pass hard-boiled books don’t? Or are the rules the same for any imaginary world?

In my particular case, my first novel, Lost Luggage, had an amateur sleuth in Cyd Redondo, but a zanier tone than most cozies, so I turned to my inspiration—screwball film comedies—for a working “logic threshold.” How did the whole leopard thing really work in Bringing Up Baby? Did Katherine Hepburn’s Susan Vance have a leopard litter box the size of a bathtub, off screen? Would she really wear a floor-length chiffon peignoir with claws around? Did it matter? I embraced every silly moment of that film, because writers Hagar Wilde and Dudley Nichols set up Hepburn’s character to repel logic from her first line of dialogue. And because it’s the tension between what is happening on screen and what should reasonably be happening which makes the film a classic.

Would Garbo’s Russian beaurocrat in Ninotchka actually wear that ludicrous hat, or would eight bachelor scholars take in a gangster’s moll in Ball of Fire? If Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett were writing it, absolutely, because they gave us a beautifully crafted “suspension bridge” from the first moment of both films, making their characters believable in all their glorious unreality.

When Preston Sturges opens his script for Easy Living with a Fifth Avenue millionaire’s mink coat landing on broke heroine Jean Arthur’s head, we have no problem believing she will unwittingly meet and fall in love with the millionaire’s son. We know right away we’re in a world where no coincidence or happy accident is too great.

Still, as I struggled with my second novel and attempted to recreate the tone one reviewer had kindly called “enchantingly ridiculous,” I was wary of the line which might push it into merely “ridiculous.”

In the end, it came down to listening to my character’s internal logic to make sure all my comic set pieces unfolded in a way that was believable for her and for the tone of the series. I found it also helped to try to keep up a relentless pace. That’s the true genius of the screwball comedies of the 1930s and 40s—their pace doesn’t leave the audience time to question or ponder. So that’s what I’ve tried to do in Drowned Under– write Cyd’s true, eccentric nature, as fast as I can.

Whether readers will buy her lowering herself on a rope—with her carry-ons—from a helicopter onto a cruise ship, preserving blood from a corpse in a travel nail polish bottle, or defeating the villain with her intimate knowledge of the way wheelchairs work, remains to be seen.

How do you “cheat” logic or push believability in your novels and, as a reader, where do you draw the line?

Wendall Thomas teaches in the Graduate Film School at UCLA, lectures internationally on screenwriting, and has worked as an entertainment reporter, development executive, script consultant, and film and television writer. Her novel Lost Luggage was nominated for Lefty and Macavity Awards for Best Debut Mystery of 2017 and her next Cyd Redondo mystery, Drowned Under, is due out in February. Find her at

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


Join Mystery Readers NorCal in Berkeley for an evening Literary Salon with mystery authors Tim Hallinan, Nancy Tingley, and Wendall Thomas

When: Wednesday, November 7, 7 p.m.
Where: RSVP for venue address (Berkeley, CA)
This is a free evening, but YOU MUST RSVP to attend. Address sent with acceptance. Space limited.
RSVP: janet @ mysteryreaders . org


Award winning author Timothy Hallinan has lived, on and off, in Southeast Asia for more than 25 years. He began writing books while enjoying a successful career in the television industry. Over the past seventeen years he has been responsible for a number of well-reviewed novels and a nonfiction book on Charles Dickens.Hallinan has been nominated for the Edgar, Nero, Shamus, Macavity, and Silver Dagger awards. He is the author of twenty novels, including For the Dead, The Hot Countries, Crashed, Little Elvises, The Fame Thief, King Maybe, and Herbie's Game, which won the Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery. Tim currently maintains a house in Santa Monica, and apartments in Bangkok, Thailand; and Phnom Penh, Cambodia.


Nancy Tingley is an independent art historian and consultant with a specialty in Asian art. She has worked extensively in the art world and as a museum curator. Most recently, she curated Arts of Ancient Viet Nam: From River Plain to Open Sea, jointly organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and The Asia Society, New York. She is the author of The Jenna Murphy Mystery series - A Head in Cambodia and A Death in Bali.


Wendall Thomas teaches in the Graduate Film School at UCLA, lectures internationally on screenwriting, and has worked as an entertainment reporter, script consultant, and film and television writer. Her short fiction has appeared in the crime anthologies Ladies Night and Last Resort. Her novel Lost Luggage was nominated for the Lefty and Macavity Awards for Best Mystery of 2017.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: The Stacks

Evelyn Anthony: R.I.P.

Spy Thriller Writer Evelyn Anthony dies at 92. 

From the NYT:

Evelyn Anthony, a best-selling British novelist who transitioned from historical fiction to espionage thrillers, becoming one of the first female writers to explore the spy genre, died on Sept. 25 at her home in Essex, northeast of London. She was 92.

As her writing career began in the early 1950s, Evelyn Ward Thomas took on the pseudonym Evelyn Anthony (for St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost items). The name stuck, first on the short stories she wrote for magazines and then on novels that reimagined the lives of monarchs, most of them British.

... in the late 1960s Ms. Anthony turned to telling suspenseful stories about Cold War espionage, entering a field dominated by men like John le Carré, Ian Fleming, Eric Ambler and Len Deighton.

“What made me change from historical novels was getting to know people who had been in the Special Operations Executive and MI5 during the war,” she said in an interview in 1991 with the British newspaper The Observer, referring to a secret British force that undertook sabotage missions against Hitler’s Germany and the British domestic security agency.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Film Noir

Little Free Library creator Todd Bol: R.I.P.

Do you have a Little Free Library in your neighborhood? in front of your house? down the road? If you do, you may not know who started this movement.

Sadly Todd Bol, the founder of the Little Free Library movement, died this past week from pancreatic cancer at the age of 62. Bol was a serial entrepreneur, founding companies that created nursing fellowships and a health care staffing company. But he was most famous for an inspiration that came after he lost his job in 2009. After setting up a home office for his next venture, he cut up a discarded garage door to build a model of a one-room schoolhouse in tribute to his teacher mother, who died in 2001. He set up the tiny library in his front yard and filled it with her books.

In May, 2010, he had a garage sale, but the bookcase — later to become the first Little Free Library — was the main attraction. Bol scrounged up more scrap materials and started building them in earnest, and sold one and gave away about 30 more the first year.

Read more on NPR News.

Post a photo of your Little Free Library in the comments below for a chance to win a package of mysteries for you and your Little Free Library.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Cats at School

Happy Caturday!

MYSTERY BYTES: TV, Movies, and other Media

Here's a Round-Up of some upcoming Mystery Movies, TV shows, and other media.

Lawrence Kasdan to Script & Direct Adaptation of Lou Berney's November Road. DEADLINE
Though the past several years have left Lawrence Kasdan focused in space writing Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Solo: A Star Wars Story, Kasdan will now focus on the period surrounding the JFK assassination. Kasdan has made a six-figure acquisition of the film rights to November Road, the upcoming novel from Edgar Award-winning author Lou Berney. The novel is just being published by William Morrow HarperCollins.

The Women Crime Writers with the Most Film Adaptations by Molly Odintz. CRIMEREADS
While the world at large bemoans the lack of opportunity for women directors, Hollywood has never felt the same reluctance when it comes to female novelists, happily assigning the biggest directors of the era to tackle complex subjects and reinterpret them in filmic code. It’s easy to forget how many films have been adapted from works by women writers, given how frequently the textual basis for famous films has been allowed to go out of print.

Stephen King is King of Hollywood Right Now. QUARTZY
This time it’s the second remake of the horror maestro’s novel Pet Sematary, about a family that moves to a home in the woods where they discover an ancient burial ground that can reanimate the dead. The story was first adapted in a 1989 film directed by Mary Lambert.

Death on the Nile cast. JANUARY MAGAZINE
Israeli actress Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) has joined the cast of Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile, his film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s 1937 Hercule Poirot novel. The movie is set for release in December 2019. 

Liam Neeson & Kate Walsh to Star in Honest Thief. DEADLINE
Career bank robber Tom Carter (Neeson) meets the love his life in Annie (Walsh), who works at the front desk of a storage facility where he hid $7 million in stolen loot. They fall head over heels, and he resolves to wipe the slate clean by turning himself in. When the case is turned over to a crooked FBI agent, everything becomes far more dangerous and difficult.

BBC renews Strike for another series. KILLINGTIMES
There was much frothing of the mouth when it was announced that the BBC was to adapt Robert ‘JK Rowling’ Galbraith’s best-selling Cormoran Strike novels for TV and through eight episodes and the first three of Rowling’s Strike novels, we were introduced to a comfortingly familiar lone detective (played by Tom Burke) and his assistant Robin (Holliday Grainger). They got better as the episodes ticked by, and the hope was that the BBC would produce more of them. Rowling’s latest Strike novel – Lethal White – is on its way, as is a four-part adaptation.

Want to find out way more about what's happening in the world of Mystery Movies, TV, and other Media?
Don't miss B.V. Lawson's In Reference to Murder, especially Media Murder for Monday.


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Pat Lupoff: R.I.P.

Sad news. Pat Lupoff, longtime science fiction, comic book and mystery fan, bookseller par excellence, and friend, has passed away. Pat Lupoff was the co-winner with her husband Richard Lupoff of the 1963 Best Fanzine Hugo Award for Xero — which made her the first female recipient of a Hugo. Pat was also the mystery and children's book buyer at Cody's and then Dark Carnival. I knew she hadn't been well in the last few years, but still it's a shock. My heart goes out to Dick, her family, and her many friends.

Cartoon of the Day: Identity Theft

ANTICIPATION: Guest post by Lisa Preston

Lisa Preston:

Enjoying the present (often with a good book), we may also look and lean forward. Anticipation is part of why we roll out of bed in the morning, why we cook, call a friend, read. What will the day bring? How will that taste? How was her trip to Scotland? Where is this story going? What happens next?

“Ooh, I can’t wait to find out,” we say, as we wait.

So, while I have a new mystery series debuting in November, I’m also looking forward to a 2019 anthology of mystery stories. 

Last spring, a general call for submissions to Malice Domestic’s next anthology was announced. This will be the fourteenth collection, published just in time for next year’s Malice Domestic conference in May.

I can’t wait.

The submission process is blind, and something in the neighborhood of 125 stories were received by the selectors.

Ooh, I can’t wait.

Thirty-five new mysteries were selected. Each Malice Domestic collection has a unique theme. Murder Most Historical. Murder Most Geographical. The next theme is culinary-related and the anthology is titled Murder Most Edible.

I’m hoping there will be a chocolate-related story—or two—perhaps with a recipe that can be showcased on Janet’s Dying for Chocolate blog.

2019’s Murder Most Edible sounds like such a fun read. As soon as I heard the title, I thought about Rainy Dale, the young horseshoer heroine who serves as the amateur sleuth in my new series, which starts with The Clincher. Rainy’s love interest, Guy, is a chef.

Ooh, I can’t wait.

I asked my editor at Skyhorse for the okay to use The Clincher’s characters in a new short story I planned to write for the anthology. Permission secured, I penned a little mystery set in rural Oregon to reveal the early days of Rainy and Guy’s relationship. Anticipation.

Anticipa-a-tion, is keeping me wai-ai-aiting.

Last week, anthology selections were announced. Readers will find stories by Marcia Adair, Laura Brennan, Leslie Budewitz, Richard Cass, Lynne Ewing, Debra Goldstein, Marni Graff, Kristin Kisska, Cynthia Kuhn, Ellen Larson, Linda Leszczuk, Joan Long, Sharon Lynn, Edith Maxwell, Ruth McCarty, Rosemary McCracken, M.A. Monnin, Josh Pachter, Elizabeth Perona, Adele Polomski, Ang Pomano, me (Gutbombs ’n’ Guinness), Stephen Rogers, Verena Rose, Sara Rosett, Harriette Sackler, Terry Shames, Nancy Cole Silverman, Shawn Reilly Simmons, Mark Thielman, Victoria Thompson, Christine Trent, Gabriel Valjan, Kate Willett, and Stacy Woodson.

This line-up has me leaning forward, eager to see what all of the authors reveal.

If you can’t make it to Malice Domestic, you can still try to get your hands on the highly anticipated anthology, Murder Most Edible, when it is published in May 2019.


Lisa Preston is the author of the psychological thriller Orchids and Stone, and the psychological suspense The Measure of the Moon (Thomas & Mercer). Her new mystery series debuts in November with The Clincher (Skyhorse). She turned to writing after careers as a cop and a paramedic, and lives with her hubby in the Pacific Northwest. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

MIDNIGHT INK: Shutting its doors

Sad news. Terri Bischoff posted the news that Midnight Ink will be shutting its doors after the Spring/Summer 2019 season. Midnight Ink has published so many wonderful authors. I had the privilege to sit at their table at Left Coast Crime one year. What a great family! The demise of Midnight Ink is such a loss to the mystery community. Sending love and support to Terri and the other editors and staff at Midnight Ink.

More information to follow.

Cartoon of the Day: Chat Room

Monday, October 15, 2018


Happy Halloween! Halloween so lends itself to crime fiction! Here's my updated 2018 list of Halloween Mysteries. Let me know if I've missed any titles. I'd like to have this list as complete as possible. Boo!!


Behind Chocolate Bars by Kathie Aarons
The Root of All Evil by Ellery Adams
The Pumpkin Killer by Stacey Alabaster
Green Water Ghost by Glynn Marsh Alam
Witches Bane by Susan Wittig Albert
Antiques Maul by Barbara Allan
In Charm's Way by Madelyn Alt
Lord of the Wings by Donna Andrews
Strange Brew by Mary Kay Andrews
A Roux of Revenge by Connie Archer
Far to Go by May Louise Aswell
Killing Time by Amy Beth Arkaway
Ghouls Just Want to Have Fun, Calamity Jayne and the Haunted Homecoming by Kathleen Bacus 
A Haunting Homicide: Halloween Cozy by Kathy Bacus and Sally J. Smith   
Trick or Treachery: A Murder She Wrote Mystery by Donald Bain and Jessica Fletcher
The Ghost and Mrs Fletcher by Donald Bain, Renee Paley-Bain, & "Jessica Fletcher"
Punked by the Pumpkin by Constance Barker
In the Spirit of Murder by Laura Belgrave 
The Long Good Boy by Carol Lea Benjamin
Spackled and Spooked by Jennie Bentley 
Watchdog by Laurien Berenson
The Ginseng Conspiracy by Susan Bernhardt
A Haunting is Brewing by Juliet Blackwell
Dial Meow for Murder by Bethany Blake
Ghost of a Potion by Heather Blake (aka Heather Webber)
The Scent of Murder by Barbara Block
Under an English Heaven by Alice K. Boatwright
Witches of Floxglove Corners by Dorothy Bodoin 
Night of the Living Thread by Janet Bolin  
Death of a Trickster by Kate Borden 
Post-Mortem Effects by Thomas Boyle
A Graveyard for Lunatics, The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
Rebel without a Cake by Jacklyn Brady
The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts by Lilian Jackson Braun
Death Overdue by Allison Brook
The Hunt Ball, The Litter of the Law by Rita Mae Brown
Death on All Hallowe'en by Leo Bruce
The Big Chili by Julia Buckley
Halloween by Leslie Burgess
Death Goes Shopping by Jessica Burton
Wycliffe and the Scapegoat by W.J. Burley
Death Goes Shopping by Jessica Burton
Scrapbook of the Dead by Mollie Cox Bryan
Wolf in Sheep's Clothing by Ann Campbell
The Wizard of La-La Land by R. Wright Campbell
The Charm Stone by Lillian Stewart Carl
The Murders at Astaire Castle by Lauren Carr
The Halloween Murders by John Newton Chance 
Death with an Ocean View by Nora Charles 
Frill Kill, Tragic Magic, Photo Finished, Bedeviled Eggs The Jasmine Moon Murder, Fiber and Brimstone, Bedeviled Eggs, Frill Kill, Gossamer Ghost, Ming Tea Murder by Laura Childs
Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie
Haunted Hair Nights by Nancy J. Cohen
PoisonBuried Punch by Lyndsey Cole 
A Holiday Sampler by Christine E. Collier
Lost Souls by Michael Collins
A Gala Event; Search for the Dead by Sheila Connolly (aka Sarah Atwell)
Under the Hill by Sheila Connolly
Not in My Backyard by Susan Rogers Cooper
Night of the Living Deed by E.J. Copperman
Deadly Magic by Elisabeth Crabtree
Trick or Treat by Caroline Crane
A Catered Halloween by Isis Crawford
Newly Crimsoned Reliquary by Donna Fletcher Crow
Silver Scream, Bantam of the Opera, The Alpine Uproar by Mary Daheim
Halloween Hijinks, Pumpkins in Paradise, Haunted Hamlet, Legend of Tabby Hallow, Ghostly Graveyard, Costume Catastrope, Count Catula; Trick or Treason,  by Kathi Daley by Kathi Daley
The Dracula Murders by Philip Daniels
The Diva Haunts the House, The Ghost and Mrs Mewer by Krista Davis
Fatal Undertaking by Mark de Castrique
Farmcall Fatality by Abby Deuel
Throw Darts at a Cheesecake by Denise Dietz
Trick or Treat, The Halloween Murder by Doris Miles Disney
A Map of the Dark by John Dixon
Ghostly Murders by P. C. Doherty
Died to Match by Deborah Donnelly
Cat with an Emerald Eye by Carole Nelson Douglas
Cupcakes, Bats, and Scare-dy Cats by Pamela DuMond
Not Exactly a Brahmin by Susan Dunlap 
Vampires, Bones and Treacle Scones by Kaitlyn Dunnett 
A Ghost to Die For by Elizabeth Eagan-Cox
Be Careful What You Witch For by Dawn Eastman 
The Bowl of Night by Rosemary Edghill 
The Frozen Shroud by Martin Edwards
Ghost Story by K.J. Emrick
Death by Pumpkin Spice by Alex Erickson
Door of Death by John Esteven 
The Witchfinder by Loren D. Estleman 
Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich 
Dead Ends by Anne C. Fallon 
Sympathy For The Devil by Jerrilyn Farmer
Dead in the Pumpkin Patch by Connie Feddersen 
It's Your Party Die if You Want To by Vickie Fee  
Blackwork, Hanging by a Thread, Blackwork by Monica Ferris
Scary Stuff by Sharon Fiffer
The Lawyer Who Died Trying by Honora Finkelstein 
Trick or Treachery by "Jessica Fletcher" and Donald Bain
The Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke
Halloween Murder, Foul Play at the Fair, Trick or Deceit by Shelley Freydont
Broke by Kaye George
Stirring the Plot by Daryl Wood Gerber
Trick or Treat by Leslie Glaister
Mommy and the Murder by Nancy Gladstone
Haunted by Jeanne Glidewell 
Blood & Broomsticks by Jean G. Goodhind (aka J.G. Goodhind)  
A Few Dying Words by Paula Gosling
The Black Heart Crypt by Chris Grabenstein (YA)
Monster in Miniature by Margaret Grace  
Hell for the Holidays by Chris Gravenstein 
Nail Biter by Sarah Graves 
Deadly Harvest by Heather Graham 
Trick or Treat by Kerry Greenwood 
Halloween by Ben Greer 
The Snafued Snatch by Jackie Griffey 
Quoth the Raven, Skeleton Key by Jane Haddam
A Crime of Poison by Nancy Haddock
Hallowed Bones, Bone to Be Wild by Carolyn Haines
Muffin but Murder by Victoria Hamilton
Black Light by Elizabeth Hand
Delicious Mischief by Marianne Harde
Southern Ghost, Ghost at Work by Carolyn Hart 
Sweet Poison by Ellen Hart
Hide in the Dark by Frances Noyes Hart 
Revenge of the Cootie Girls by Sparkle Hayter
Town in a Pumpkin Bash by B.B. Haywood
Asking for the Moon by Reginald Hill  (SS)
The Fallen Man, The Wailing Wind by Tony Hillerman 
Death of a Pumpkin Carver by Lee Hollis
The Color of Blood by Declan Hughes  
Murder on the Ghost Walk by Ellen Elizabeth Hunter 
From Bad to Wurst by Maddie Hunter  
Already Dead by Charlie Huston
Long Time No See by Susan Isaacs
Murder on Old Main Street, Dirty Tricks, Dying Wishes by Judith K. Ivie
The Pumpkin Thief, The Great Pumpkin Caper by Melanie Jackson
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Murder Among Us by Jonnie Jacobs
A Murder Made in Stitches by Pamela James
The Widow's Walk League by Nancy Lynn Jarvis
The Devil's Cat, Cat's Eye, Cat's Cradle, The Devil's Kiss, The Devil's Heart, The Devil's Touch by William W. Johnstone  
The Violet Hour by Daniel Judson
Muffins & Murder by Heather Justesen
A Charming Voodoo by Tonya Kappes
The Sacrifice by Karin Kaufman
Day of Atonement by Faye Kellerman
Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry by Harry Kemelman
Wed and Buried, The Skeleton Haunts a House by Toni L.P. Kelner
Verse of the Vampyre by Diana Killian
Pumpkin Roll by Josi S. Kilpack 
The Animal Hour by Andrew Klavan 
Paws for Murder by Annie Knox
The Spirit in Question by Cynthia Kuhn
Murder in the Neighborhood by Janis Lane 
Ghastly Glass by Joyce and Jim Lavene 
The Stitching Hour by Amanda Lee (aka Gayle Trent)  
Death of a Neighborhood Witch by Laura Levine 
Death Knocks Twice by James H. Lilley
The Legend of Sleepy Harlow by Kylie Logan (aka Miranda Bliss & Casey Daniels)
Smoke Screen by Marianne MacDonald
Pumpkin Pied; Deadly Brew by Karen MacInerney 
Poisoned by Elaine Macko 
Halloween Flight 77 by Debbie Madison
The Haunted Season by G.M. Malliet  
Baby Doll Games by Margaret Maron
Satan's Silence by Alex Matthews 
Tricks: an 87th Precinct Mystery by Ed McBain 
Poisoned Tarts by G.A. McKevett 
Death on All Hallows by Allen Campbell McLean
A Sparrow Falls Holiday by Donna McLean
Witch of the Palo Duro by Mardi Oakley Medawar  
Trick or Treat Murder, Wicked Witch Murder, Candy Corn Murder by Leslie Meier 
Dancing Floor, Prince of Darkness by Barbara Michaels
Monster in Miniature by Camille Minichino 
The Violet Hour by Richard Montanari
A Biscuit, a Casket by Liz Mugavero
Send in the Crows by Julie Mulhern
Bread of the Dead by Ann Myers 
Dead End by Helen R. Myers
Nightmare in Shining Armor by Tamar Myers 
Hatchet Job by J.E. Neighbors
Oink by Judith Newton
What Doesn't Kill Here by Carla Norton
Retribution by Patrick J. O'Brien
Deadly Places by Terry Odell
Halloween House by Ed Okonowicz
The Body in the Moonlight by Katherine Hall Page 
Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge
Caught Dead Handed; Grave Errors by Carol J. Perry
The Skeleton Haunts a House by Leigh Perry
Flight of a Witch by Ellis Peters 
Twilight by Nancy Pickard
Pumpkin Spice Murder by Summer Prescott  
Murder at Witches Bluff by Silver Ravenwolf
Poltergeist by Kat Richardson 
Death Notice by Todd Ritter 
Spook Night by David Robbins 
A Hole in Juan by Gillian Roberts
Murder in a Nice Neighborhood by Lora Roberts
Magnolias, Moonlight, and Murder by Sara Rosett
Scared Stiff by Annelise Ryan
Death of Halloween by Kim Sauke
Mighty Old Bones by Mary Saums 
Murder Ole! by Corinne Holt Sawyer
Tracking Magic by Maria E. Schneider
The Tenor Wore Tapshoes by Mark Schweizer
Phantoms Can be Murder by Connie Shelton
A Killer Maize by Paige Shelton
Dance of the Scarecrows by Ray Sipherd
The Sterling Inheritance by Michael Siverling
The Lawyer Who Died Trying by Susan Smily
Recipe for Murder by Janet Elaine Smith
Town Haunts by Cathy Spencer
Carbs and Cadavers by J.B. Stanley
In the Blink of an Eye, Halloween Party by Wendy Corsi Staub
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
Ripping Abigail by Barbara Sullivan
Murder of a Royal Pain by Denise Swanson
Mourning Shift by Kathleen Taylor
Halloween Homicide by Lee Thayer
Inked Up by Terri Thayer
Charlie's Web by L.L. Thrasher
Gods of the Nowhere by James Tipper
Death in the Cotswolds by Rebecca Tope
A Room with a Brew by Joyce Tremel
A Dash of Murder by Teresa Trent
Strange Brew by Kathy Hogan Trochek
Bitter Harvest by Wendy Tyson
Masking for Trouble by Diane Vallere
Pineapple Mystery Box by Amy Vansant
I Will Fear No Evil by Debbie Viguié
Dangling by a Threat by Lea Wait
How to Party with a Killer Vampire by Penny Warner
Murder by the Slice, Trick or Deadly Treat by Livia J. Washburn 
Five-Minute Halloween Mysteries by Ken Weber
The Scarecrow Murders by Mary V. Welk
Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner  
Killer Mousse by Melinda Wells
Ghoul of My Dreams by Richard F. West 
All Hallow's Eve by Charles Williams
Mayhem, Marriage, and Murderous Mystery Manuscripts by J.L. Wilson
A Stitch to Die For by Lois Winston
Killer See, Killer Do by Jonathan Wolfe
All Hallow's Evil by Valerie Wolzien

And here's a list of Halloween Mystery Short Story anthologies:

Homicidal Holidays: Fourteen Tales of Murder and Merriment, edited by Donna Andrews, Barb Goffman, & Marcia Talley
Deadly Treats: Halloween Tales of Mystery, Magic and Mayhem, Edited by Anne Frasier 
Trick and Treats edited by Joe Gores & Bill Pronzini
Asking for the Moon (includes "Pascoe's Ghost" and "Dalziel's Ghost") by Reginald Hill
Murder for Halloween by Cynthia Manson
The Haunted Hour, edited by Cynthia Manson & Constance Scarborough
Murder for Halloween: Tales of Suspense, edited by Michele Slung & Roland Hartman.
Mystery for Halloween (an anthology), edited by Donald Westlake
Halloween Horrors, edited by Alan Ryan
All Hallows' Evil, edited by Sarah E. Glenn
Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays, edited by Donna Andrews, Barb Goffman and Marcia Talley
Halloween Thirteen-a Collection of Mysteriously Macabre Tales, by Bobbi Chukran
Happy Homicides 4: Falling into Crime, edited by Joanna Campbell Slan et al.

Want some Chocolate Treats to accompany your reading? Head on over to my Chocolate Blog