Wednesday, November 20, 2019


Bristol, the buzziest city in Britain, hosts one of the country’s biggest crime fiction conventions as CRIMEFEST returns from 4-7 June, 2020.

The website is updated with new participating authors and attendees. The fee for the Full Weekend Pass increases on 16 December. So, buy your TICKETS now!

MARTINA COLE:  Sadly, Martina Cole has had to withdraw as a Featured Guest Author from next year’s CRIMEFEST. This is due to a prior agreed appearance at Harrogate’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. Harrogate International Festivals organisers state that, as a "small arts charity, with an artistic programme that depends on delivering distinctive cultural experiences" their Special Guest authors are required to appear "exclusively at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival and not as a special guest, guest of honour or headline interviewer at any other crime fiction festival/convention taking place in the UK within the same calendar year." We appreciate that CRIMEFEST’s later 2020 dates are close to those of Harrogate’s and would not purposely duplicate Featured Guest Authors. Instead we very much look forward to welcoming Martina as a Featured Guest at a future CRIMEFEST.


Robert Goddard Robert previously appeared in 2013, but next year he returns as the Godfather of the Genre after Goddard recently claimed the Crime Writers’ Association’s most prestigious award: the Diamond Dagger, the lifetime achievement award for authors whose careers are marked by sustained excellence. Considered to be one of Britain’s best crime novelists, he joins the pantheon of other recipients of the accolade including Simon Brett, Lee Child, Ann Cleeves, Michael Connelly, Lindsey Davis, Colin Dexter, Sue Grafton, John Harvey, P.D. James, Peter James, Ian Rankin and Andrew Taylor. Goddard is a consummate stylist and a champion of the traditional virtues of pace, narrative propulsion and plot.

Laura Lippman We are delighted to have one of America’s most loved crime writers – and twice winner of CRIMEFEST’s eDunnit award (for Wilde Lake and Sunburn) – attend as a Featured Guest Author. Best known for her series featuring Tess Monaghan, more recently she has turned to writing outstanding standalone crime novels. Garnering huge respect from readers and writers alike, her award-winning novels are acclaimed as “deeply moving explorations of the human heart.” Attendees will be able to find out a lot more about Laura in My Life As A Villainess, an upcoming collection of essays which, along with her fiction, she will be talking about when she comes to Bristol next year.

2020 CRIMEFEST AWARDS OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS The 2020 CRIMEFEST awards are now open for submissions. With one exception (the TV Crime Drama Award—more on this below), only publishers are able to submit entries. If you are an author, then please encourage your publisher to do so. To ensure that even small publishers are able to enter, there is no charge for taking part. The official deadline to do so is 29 November.


Friday, November 15, 2019


There were several Anthony Awards given out at the 50th Bouchercon Celebration, but there were also two special awards presented by the Organizers of Bouchercon 2019. These awards celebrate Fandom. After all, Bouchercon is a Fan Convention. 

1. Special Thanks for your many years of service to document mystery fandom and 50 years of Bouchercon history: Marv Lachman

2. For the First Fifty Years of Bouchercon Fans 1969-2019: Chris Aldrich

Wednesday, November 13, 2019


Sunday, November 24, 2019
4:30 p.m.
There will be a special tribute concert to Bette Golden Lamb, writer/sculptor/artist 
(Feb 1935-Oct 2019).
Clifford Lamb’s most recent jazz albums, Blues and Hues, Brothers and Sisters, and Bridges, were produced by Jeffrey Weber and are consistently in the top 50 albums played on national jazz radio. Blues and Hues was also in the top ten recordings picked by Cadence Magazine’s Critics’ Poll 2019.
Tickets are $25 general admission. Children 12 and under are free. Advance tickets are available at the link below, or you may purchase your tickets at the door the night of the show. Doors open one half hour before show time. We accept cash only at the door (ATMs are nearby).
The Back Room
is an all-ages, BYOB (for those 21+) space, dedicated to (mostly) acoustic music of all kinds. You are welcome to bring your own adult beverage with no additional corkage fee.

Cartoon of the Day: Hawthorne's Attempt at a Sequel

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Peter Lovesey First Crime Novel Contest

Here's some great news from Soho Crime: The Peter Lovesey First Crime Novel Contest
Fifty years ago, Peter Lovesey—who would go on to become an MWA Grand Master and a CWA Diamond Dagger Lifetime Achievement Award-winner—published his first mystery novel, Wobble to Death, after winning a first novel contest he stumbled across in an English newspaper. Over 40 novels (and a few television series) later, he has gone on to become one of the most respected mystery writers at work today. ​

To celebrate Peter Lovesey's incredible career and its unusual beginnings, Soho Crime is proud to present the Peter Lovesey First Crime Novel Contest, in which one debut crime/mystery author will be awarded a publication contract with Soho Crime.*

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE CONTEST? Any writer, regardless of nationality, aged 18 or older, who has never been the author of any Published Novel (in any genre), as defined by the contest rules. Employees of Soho Press and members of their immediate families living in the same household (or a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate) are not eligible to enter.

WHAT TYPE OF NOVEL IS ELIGIBLE? For the purpose of this Contest, a “Crime Novel” means a work of fiction of at least 30,000 words that features any of the characteristics outlined in detail in the contest rules.

WHAT IS THE PRIZE? If a winner is selected, he or she will be offered the opportunity to enter into a publication agreement with Soho Press. After execution of the standard form author's agreement by both parties, the winner will receive an advance against future royalties of $10,000 (ten thousand US dollars).

WHAT IS THE DEADLINE FOR ENTRY? All submissions must be received by 11:59pm EST on April 1, 2020

WHO IS JUDGING THE ENTRIES? The editorial staff of Soho Crime will select a shortlist of two (2) or three (3) Finalists, and the winner will be selected from among the Finalists by Peter Lovesey.

HOW DO I ENTER? To enter into this contest, you must first read and agree to the complete contest rules, which contain the complete method of entry. Any entries that do not abide by entry rules are subject to disqualification.

Monday, November 11, 2019

CHOCOLATE LORE: Guest post by JoAnna Carl

JoAnna Carl:
Chocolate Lore

When I came up with the idea for a mystery series about a chocolate business in a Great Lakes resort town, one of the problems it posed was recipes.

The series’ background threw it into the mystery category of “culinary.” Usually, that meant it contained recipes.

But for the Chocoholic series, I couldn’t see that working. TenHuis Chocolade, the main setting of the books, has the motto “Fine European-Style Chocolates.” Most readers can’t make that sort of chocolate. Neither can I. I can’t even imagine myself making that sort of chocolate. I’m just not that kind of a cook. And I certainly couldn’t describe making that kind of bonbons and truffles book after book.

All I could think of was turning to a true chocolate expert and asking that person to contribute recipes. But the book was my book. I didn’t really want a contributor.

I didn’t know what to do.

That’s when I received a practical demonstration of why good books have good editors. My editor suggested that instead of using recipes for “Fine European-style chocolates” I use “Chocolate Lore.” This she defined as interesting facts about chocolate.

Facts! Hallelujah! I began my writing life as a reporter and spent more than 25 years in the newspaper world. I can handle facts. I started researching immediately. And the facts about chocolate are fascinating. Such as:
  • The Aztecs and the Mayas used chocolate beans for money. In fact, this custom was probably universal through the area where cacao trees were originally grown. Sometimes crooks even made counterfeit chocolate beans. 
  • Chocolate was introduced to France by Cardinal Richelieu. Yes, the same guy who gave the Three Musketeers and Anne of Austria all that trouble in the Dumas novel I adored as a teenager. Richelieu discovered chocolate through his brother and used it as medicine.
  • Cary Grant is given credit for the custom, observed by fancy hotels, of putting chocolates on guests’ pillows each night.
  • What do England’s Quaker chocolatiers of the 18th and 19th Centuries have in common with Milton Hershey, the American inventor of the chocolate kiss? Both Quakers and Hershey established model communities for their workers. Both also produced chocolate using the very latest technology of their times.
Those bits of Lore are all from the category History. Chocolate Lore comes in all categories – science and business are also rife with interesting facts about the cacao tree and its produce. The people who made their marks on chocolate are totally fascinating.

And then there’s cooking. Of all the Lore items I’ve researched and written, the one that inspired the most mail was my grandmother’s fudge recipe. And TenHuis Chocolate does not make or sell fudge!

My grandmother found the recipe during the 1950s, and I never knew it was unusual. It simply became the family standard for fudge. The fudge produced doesn’t require extensive beating, as earlier fudge had. A little Internet research (and my family’s Lore) revealed the fudge depends on a product named “Marshmallow Fluff” invented in the early 20th Century. Kraft was, and is, one of the main producers of this magic goo, and it had a “no-fail” recipe for fudge on the label. I’m sure that’s where Gran found the recipe. Of course, she just happened to be a superb cook to begin with – unafraid to try new products.

My own favorite books for chocolate lore include the following:
  • The True History of Chocolate, by Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe. The Coes spent many years researching the history of chocolate, and the information in this book is mind-bogglingly complete. It’s the source for nearly all of my information on the history of chocolate.
  • The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars, by Joel Glenn Brenner. A fascinating book that looks at the lives and business success of both Milton Hershey and Forrest Mars – the greatest entrepreneurs of chocolate in the United States. Two interesting guys – but how different they are! 
  • Chocolate Without Guilt, by Terry Graedon and Kit Gruelle. Yes, that’s “Graedon,” as in Joe and Terry Graedon, who write a syndicated column on drugs and prescriptions. (I never miss it.) This book looks at chocolate as a health food – among other things. It also offers dozens of recipes.
  • Chocolate Moulds: A History and Encyclopedia, by Jedene Divone. This catalogs the history of moulds used to form chocolate throughout history. I used it a lot when I wrote The Chocolate Bear Burglary. (The most popular mould is – surprise! – the Teddy Bear. Easter bunnies and Santas are close behind.) And in the chocolate world, “mould” refers to something the cook uses to make a food in a particular shape. To them “mold” is what you scrub off the bathroom tile. 
All in all, I’ve probably enjoyed the Lore of the Chocoholic books more than most of the readers have. Though my favorite bit of Lore in The Chocolate Shark Shenanigans has nothing to do with chocolate. This time I described the urban legend that claims there are sharks in Lake Michigan.

I found it hilarious.

JoAnna Carl is the pseudonym of Eve K. Sandstrom. She spent 25 years as a reporter, feature writer, editor and columnist. JoAnna lives in Oklahoma but summers in Michigan where the Chocoholic Mystery series is set. She has one daughter who is a CPA and another who works for a chocolate company and provides much delicious insider information on the chocolate business. The Chocolate Shark Shenanigans is the 17th Chocoholic book, all of them focusing on TenHuis Chocolade and two amateur detectives, Lee and Joe Woodyard. The book was just published by Berkley Prime Crime.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

BALTHAZAR: French Crime Drama on Acorn TV

BALTHAZAR introduces America to the suave, smart and somewhat strange, forensic pathologist (Raphaël Balthazar) who has the knack of making the dead speak like no one else to solve Paris’ most disturbing crimes. There’s one case that continues to haunt him - the murder of his wife over a decade ago. Popular actor/director/comic Tomer Sisley (Messiah, We’re the Millers, Largo Winch) has been called “flawless” and “brilliant” by French media for his performance in the star role of this alluring series. Sisley is evenly matched with Hélène de Fougerolles (Le Secret d’Elise), who plays the no-nonsense police commander collaborating with him during these investigations.

Acorn TV will stream BALTHAZAR Series 1 on Monday, November 25,  and they’ve already picked up Series 2 scheduled to premiere in spring 2020.

Friday, November 8, 2019


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. And, of course, the Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers where the mystery turns on the poppy in the lapel.

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.

You'll want to read J. Kingston's Pierce's recent article 9 Mysteries Set in the Immediate Aftermath of WWI on CrimeReads.

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 our country. Thank you.

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

Cartoon of the Day: Surprise Witness

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: Dogs


More awards!

Last weekend at Bouchercon, the Local Organizing Committee announced the winners of the Bill Crider Prize for Short Fiction.

First Place: Joseph S. Walker, “The Last Man in Lafarge”
Second Place: Jaap Boekestein, “Long Overdue”
Third Place: Douglas Dorow, “Trust Me”
Fourth Place: Dixon Hill, “Mi Corazón, Sin Cartero, Sin Timbre de la Puerta (My Heart, Sans Postman, Sans Doorbell)”


Mystery Readers Journal: Private Eyes I (Volume 35:3: Fall 2019) is available now as a PDF and hardcopy. Subscriber copies have been mailed. This is the first installment of this theme. Private Eyes II will be out Winter 2019-2020. We are still looking for articles and author essays for the next issue. Thanks to everyone who contributed to these issues. 

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

PRIVATE EYES I (Volume 35:3)

  • Big Sleep vs. Big Lebowski: Chandleresque Masculinity, 80 Years Later by Austin Wright
  • Three PIs in Their Sodoms: Hollywood, Hoboken, Galway by Jay Gertzman
  • Old-Time Radio’s Best, and Last, Private Eye by Jim Doherty
  • All My Best Eyes Are Private by Lawrence Block
  • Detecting: It’s All in the Details by Cara Black
  • Dude, You’re Not Wearing Any Pants! by Tracy Clark
  • Of Thugs and Heroes by Sean Carswell
  • There’s No Such Thing as Private Eyes by Mark Coggins
  • Nate Heller and Mike Hammer by Max Allan Collins
  • Finding My Path Along The Trail Blazed by Others by Matt Coyle
  • Captivating PIs and the Creation Process by Rich DiSilvio
  • My Introduction to Private Eyes by Parnell Hall
  • Laughing Into the Darkness by Jack Fredrickson
  • Easy Work by Russell Hill
  • My First PI by Aimee Hix
  • My PI Is a Real Person… More or Less by Nancy Lynn Jarvis
  • The Many Guises of the Private Eye by Vaseem Khan
  • Think of Me as the Antidote to Dennis Lehane by David Housewright
  • Stand Down by Gay Toltl Kinman
  • You Want Your PIs Hard, Soft, or Medium-Boiled? (With a Side of Procedural) by B.V. Lawson
  • The Mysterious Heart of the PI by Chris Knopf
  • Fifty Years On by Michael Lewin
  • A 19th Century Private Eye Takes on the Wild West by Ann Parker
  • What Is It About the Private Eye, Anyway? by S.J. Rozan
  • Barker and Llewelyn: Private Enquiry Agents by Will Thomas
  • The Journalist as Private Eye by Charles Salzberg
  • The Psychic PI by Nancy Cole Silverman
  • My Medieval Detective Is Closing Up Shop by Jeri Westerson
  • Mystery in Retrospect: Reviews by Sandie Herron, D.J. Lutz, L.J. Roberts
  • Just the Facts: Ray Schindler, Shamus by Jim Doherty
  • The Children’s Hour: Private Eyes by Gay Toltl Kinman
  • In Short: The Private Eye by Marvin Lachman
  • Crime Seen: PIs — Not Just Tough Guys by Kate Derie
  • From the Editor’s Desk by Janet A. Rudolph

Monday, November 4, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: Dogs

SHAMUS AWARDS: Private Eye Writer of America

PRIVATE EYE WRITERS OF AMERICA SHAMUS AWARD WINNERS 2019 for works published in 2018. I am missing info on Best First Private Eye Novel. I asked just about everyone at the convention who was at the Shamus Awards, but no one seemed to remember. I will update this post when I find out.

Best Private Eye Novel 
What You Want to See by Kristen Lepionka (Minotaur Books)

Best Original Private Eye Paperback                                                 
The Questionable Behavior of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone (Redhook Books)

Best Private Eye Short Story 
"Chin Yong-Yun Helps a Fool," by S.J. Rozan, EQMM

Best First Private Eye Novel
The Best Bad Things by Katrina Carrasco (MCD Farrar, Straus, Giroux)

Saturday, November 2, 2019


The Anthony Award Winners were announced tonight at Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention. Congratulations to all!


Best Novel 
November Road by Lou Berney (William Morrow)

Best First Novel
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Doubleday)

Best Paperback Original Novel 
Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day (William Morrow Paperbacks)

Best Short Story 
“The Grass Beneath My Feet” by S.A. Cosby, in Tough (blogazine, August 20, 2018)

Best Critical or Non-Fiction Work 
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara (HarperCollins)

The Anthony® Award is named for the late Anthony Boucher (rhymes with “voucher”), a well-known California writer and critic who wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times Book Review, and also helped found Mystery Writers of America. First presented in 1986, the Anthony Awards are among the most prestigious and coveted literary awards. Bouchercon®, the World Mystery Convention founded in 1970, is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization celebrating the mystery genre. It is the largest annual meeting in the world for readers, writers, fans, publishers, editors, agents, booksellers, and other lovers of crime fiction. 

For more information, please visit



Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine announced the Barry Award Winners of the Barry Awards at the Dallas Bouchercon Opening Ceremonies. Congratulations to all! 

The 2019 Barry Award Winners

Best Novel
Lou Berney, NOVEMBER ROAD (Morrow)  

Best First Novel

C. J. Tudor, THE CHALK MAN (Crown)

Best Paperback Original 

Dervla McTiernan, THE RUIN (Penguin) 

Best Thriller

Dan Fesperman, SAFE HOUSES (Knopf)

Friday, November 1, 2019


What holiday could be more fitting to Mysteries than El Dia de los Muertos: Day of the Dead? You'll love this list. Be sure and check my updated Halloween Crime Fiction list for other mysteries that start on Halloween and include Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead Crime Fiction

Day of the Dead by Kristi Belcamino
Scrapbook of the Dead by Mollie Cox Bryan
The Day of the Dead by John Creed
Trick or Treason by Kathi Daley
Day of the Dead by Brenda Donelan
A Cemetery, a Cannibal, and the Day of the Dead by CC Dragon
The Day of the Dead by Nicci French
The Day of the Dead: the Autumn of Commissario Ricciardi by Maurizio de Giovanni
Days of the Dead by Barbara Hambly
Sugar Skull by Denise Hamilton
Dios De Los Muertos by Kent Harrington
The Wrong Goodbye by Chris Holm
Death Arts by Melanie Jackson
Day of the Dead by J.A. Jance
Depth of Winter by Craig Johnson
Devil's Kitchen by Clark Lohr
Weave Her Thread with Bones by Claudia Long
Day of the Dead by Manuel Luis Martinez
Bread of the Dead by Ann Myers
Oink by Judith Newton
Day of the Dead by Mark Roberts
The Day of the Dead by Bart Spicer
The Day of the Dead Mystery (The Boxcar Children Mysteries) by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Any titles missing?

Thursday, October 31, 2019


The Macavity Awards 2019 
(for works published in 2018)

The Macavity Awards were announced tonight! The Macavity Awards are nominated by members of Mystery Readers International, subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal and friends of MRI. Congratulations to all.

Best Novel 
November Road by Lou Berney (William Morrow)

Also nominated
If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin (William Morrow)
The Lost Man by Jane Harper (Flat Iron Books)
Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier (Minotaur Books)
Hiroshima Boy by Naomi Hirahara (Prospect Park Books)
Under My Skin by Lisa Unger (Harlequin - Park Row Books)

Best First Novel 
Dodging and Burning by John Copenhaver (Pegasus Books)

Also Nominated
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Doubleday)
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman (Ballantine)
The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor (Crown)

Best Nonfiction 
The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman (HarperCollins)

Also nominated
The Metaphysical Mysteries of G.K. Chesterton: A Critical Study of the Father Brown Stories and Other Detective Fiction by Laird R. Blackwell (McFarland)
Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World’s Most Famous Detective Writer by Margalit Fox (Random House)
Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s by Leslie S. Klinger (Pegasus Books)
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara (HarperCollins)
Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life by Laura Thompson (Pegasus Books)

Best Short Story 
 “English 398: Fiction Workshop” by Art Taylor (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Jul/Aug 2018)

Also nominated
“Race to Judgment” by Craig Faustus Buck (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Nov/Dec 2018)
“All God’s Sparrows” by Leslie Budewitz (Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, May/Jun 2018)
“Bug Appétit” by Barb Goffman (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Nov/Dec 2018)
“Three-Star Sushi” by Barry Lancet (Down & Out: The Magazine, Vol.1, No. 3)
“The Cambodian Curse” by Gigi Pandian (The Cambodian Curse and Other Stories)

Sue Feder Memorial Award for Best Historical Mystery 
The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)

Also Nominated
A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman (Kensington)
City of Ink by Elsa Hart (Minotaur)
Island of the Mad by Laurie R. King (Bantam)
A Dying Note by Ann Parker (Poisoned Pen)
A Forgotten Place by Charles Todd (William Morrow)


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 28, 2019


Happy Halloween! Halloween so lends itself to crime fiction! Here's my updated 2019 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
The Pint of No Return by Ellie Alexander
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
Killing Time by Amy Beth Arkaway 
Far to Go by May Louise Aswell
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
Last Licks by Cynthia Baxter
Scary Sweets by Jessica Beck
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
The Halloween Pumpkin Spell by Morgana Best
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
Scrapbook of the Dead by Mollie Cox Bryan
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
Murder on All Hallows by Beth Byers
A Deadly Brew by Lynn Cahoon
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 
Bad Neighbors by Maia 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
Hazelnuts and Halloween by Leena Clover
Fudge Bites by Nancy Coco
Haunted Hair Nights by Nancy J. Cohen
Poison Buried Punch; Boo Buried Cupcakes 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
Spooky Business: Spooky Spider by Addison Creek
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
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
And Murder for Dessert by Kathleen Delaney
Murder on Halloween by Steve Demaree
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; Do No Harm 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
Five Dog Voodoo by Lia Farrell
Mulberry Mischief by Sharon Farrow
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
A Harvest of Bones by Yasmine Galenorn
The Spook in the Stacks by Eva Gates (aka Vicki Delany)
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; Hell for the Holidays by Chris Grabenstein
Monster in Miniature by Margaret Grace 
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
Dead Pirates of Cawsand by Steve Higgs
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
Delicious Mischief by Marianne Horden
The Color of Blood by Declan Hughes
A Vintage Death by Mary Ellen Hughes
Halloween Waffle Murder by Carolyn Q Hunter 
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
Mean Girl Murder by Leslie Langtry
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 
Bear Witness to Murder by Meg Macy

Halloween Flight 77 by Debbie Madison
The Haunted Season by G.M. Malliet  
Baby Doll Games by Margaret Maron
A Halloween Hookup by Jennie Marts
Satan's Silence by Alex Matthews 
Tricks: an 87th Precinct Mystery by Ed McBain 
Poisoned Tarts by G.A. McKevett 
Dark Chocolate Demise by Jenn McKinlay

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
Bobbing for Bodies by Addison Moore
Death by Jack O'Lantern by Alexis Morgan
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
Curried Away by Gail Oust
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
Strange Halloween by Horace Poulin
Pumpkin Spice Murder by Summer Prescott
Charmed Again by Rose Pressey
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
Trick or Treat or Murder by Kendall Scott
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
Tiaras & Terror by Anne Marie Stoddard
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
Ripping Abigail by Barbara Sullivan
Candy Coated Murder by Kathleen Suzette
Murder of a Royal Pain by Denise Swanson
Mourning Shift by Kathleen Taylor
Halloween Homicide by Lee Thayer
Inked Up by Terri Thayer
Sharpe Point by Lisa B. Thomas
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 Thread by Lea Wait
Haunted Hayride with Murder by Auralee Wallace
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 
Sweet Fire & Stone by J.A. Whiting

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
Trick or Murder? by Debbie Young

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