Tuesday, January 15, 2019

LEFTY AWARD NOMINATIONS: Left Coast Crime 2019

Left Coast Crime announced the nominees for the Lefty Awards. The Lefty awards will be voted on at the convention and presented at a banquet on Saturday, March 30, at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver, during Left Coast Crime. Congrats to all!

Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel. The nominees are:
  • Ellen Byron, Mardi Gras Murder (Crooked Lane Books)
  • Kellye Garrett, Hollywood Ending (Midnight Ink)
  • Timothy Hallinan, Nighttown (Soho Crime)
  • Leslie Karst, Death al Fresco (Crooked Lane Books)
  • Cynthia Kuhn, The Spirit in Question (Henery Press)
  • Catriona McPherson, Scot Free (Midnight Ink)
Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel (Bruce Alexander Memorial) for books covering events before 1960. The nominees are:
  • Rhys Bowen, Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding (Berkeley Prime Crime)
  • David Corbett, The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday (Black Opal Books)
  • Laurie R. King, Island of the Mad (Bantam Books)
  • Sujata Massey, The Widows of Malabar Hill (Soho Crime)
  • Ann Parker, A Dying Note (Poisoned Pen Press)
  • Iona Whishaw, It Begins in Betrayal (Touchwood Editions)
Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel. The nominees are:
  • Tracy Clark, Broken Places (Kensington Books)
  • A.J. Devlin, Cobra Clutch (NeWest Press)
  • A.J. Finn, The Woman in the Window (William Morrow)
  • Dianne Freeman, A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder (Kensington Books)
  • Aimee Hix, What Doesn’t Kill You (Midnight Ink)
  •  Keenan Powell, Deadly Solution (Level Best Books)
  • J.G. Toews, Give Out Creek (Mosaic Press)
Lefty for Best Mystery Novel (not in other categories). The nominees are:
  • Lou Berney, November Road (William Morrow)
  • Matt Coyle, Wrong Light (Oceanview Publishing)
  • Louise Penny, Kingdom of the Blind (Minotaur Books)
  • Lori Rader-Day, Under a Dark Sky (William Morrow Paperbacks)
  • Terry Shames, A Reckoning in the Back Country (Seventh Street Books)
  • James W. Ziskin, A Stone’s Throw (Seventh Street Books)

Cartoon of the Day: Clue


Michael Chabon's YIDDISH POLICEMEN'S UNION to be TV Drama

I really enjoyed Michael Chabon's Yiddish Policemen's Union when it came out in 2007.  It's a smart and quirky thriller/mystery/speculative novel. This alternate history mystery has Alaska as the home of a big Jewish settlement after WWII and the holocaust.

From Deadline:

CBS TV Studios, Nina Tassler and Denise DiNovi’s PatMa Productions and Keshet Studios have acquired a spec drama script by husband-and-wife writing duo Chabon and Ayelet Waldman. The project will be taken out shortly to premium cable and streaming networks. 

Based on Chabon’s novel and developed for television by Chabon and Waldman, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is a darkly comedic murder mystery and political thriller. In Chabon’s alternative history, Jewish refugees from Hitler’s Europe found unlikely refuge on the Alaskan panhandle. In the present day of this world, as the community faces yet another exile, Homicide Detective Meyer Landsman must overcome the shambles of his broken life and marriage to solve a mysterious murder with profound political and religious ramifications.

Yiddish Policemen’s Union, published in 2007 by HarperCollins, has received the Hugo, Sidewise, Nebula and Ignotus awards. Chabon’s other notable books include Wonder Boys (1995), The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000), Telegraph Avenue (2012), and Moonglow: A Novel (2016). He received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2001.

Waldman, who worked for three years as a federal public defender, penned The Mommy-Track Mysteries, a series of seven mystery novels, along with novels Love and Other Possible Pursuits, Bad Mother, Motherlove and A Really Good Day.

Read more here.

HT: J. Kingston Pierce -  TheRapSheet 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Matthew Rhys to Play PERRY MASON on HBO

I really like Matthew Rhys, but not sure he's Perry Mason. However, I am thrilled that at least the HBO redo will be set in an historical time period. I will reserve judgment until I see the production. This HBO entry is not the courtroom Mason that we know from Raymond Burr on TV. Rather, it's from a time in Mason's life when he was living check-to-check as a low-rent private investigator.

So here's the info from Dateline:

HBO's long-in-the-works Perry Mason drama is officially moving forward.

The Americans grad Matthew Rhys has been tapped to star in the limited series, taking over the title role from Robert Downey Jr. The latter will remain on board as an executive producer on the series, which is searching for a director. 

Based on the characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner, HBO's Perry Mason will follow the character at a time in his life when he is living check-to-check as a low-rent private investigator. Mason is haunted by his wartime experiences in France and is suffering the effects of a broken marriage.
 
Here's the official logline, from HBO: "1932, Los Angeles. While the rest of the country recovers from the Great Depression, this city is booming! Oil! Olympic Games! Talking Pictures! Evangelical Fervor! And a child kidnapping gone very, very wrong! Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner, this limited series follows the origins of American Fiction’s most legendary criminal defense lawyer, Perry Mason. When the case of the decade breaks down his door, Mason’s relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself."

The character of Perry Mason, a Los Angeles defense attorney, served as the inspiration for the CBS series of the same name. The drama ran from 1957 to 1966 and starred Raymond Burr in the title role.
Read more here.. 
 

"FUN": Guest post by Debra H. Goldstein

Judge Debra H. Goldstein is the author of One Taste Too Many, the first of Kensington’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series. She also wrote Should Have Played Poker and 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly. Debra is president of Sisters in Crime’s Guppy Chapter, serves on SinC’s national board, and is president of the Southeast Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Find out more about Debra at www.DebraHGoldstein.com

DEBRA H. GOLDSTEIN:
“FUN”

I am a voracious reader. It’s a habit I honed to perfection when I was bored in school. My modus operandi was check out a book from the library every morning, slip it into my text books for reading during class, and return it the next morning. I read all genres, but my favorite books are mysteries and biographies because they let me completely lose myself for a few hours in another world. This has always been important because the demands of being a litigator and then a judge, a wife and mother of four, a civic volunteer, and thinking about writing, never permitted a lot of “me” time. Reading was and is my get-away-from-it-all “fun.”

When I began writing fiction seriously, I decided to write the kind of book that gave me the most pleasure –mysteries. My first book, 2012 IPPY winning Maze in Blue, an academic mystery set on the University of Michigan’s campus, was a breeze. Having attended Michigan for my undergraduate degree, the book didn’t require extensive research. I wrote about the campus, students, faculty, and activities I knew.

After Maze was published, the publisher ceased operations. Stunned, I talked to agents, editors and writers. Everyone told me to write something new. The result was a traditional mystery with cozy elements, Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery. Again, the research was somewhat limited because I stole the setting from a community I often visited, the protagonist was a young corporate lawyer - exactly my first legal job, and the Mah Jongg players and other characters were composites of people I knew.

Unfortunately, shortly after Poker was published, the publisher shuttered its mystery line. This time, I knew I wanted to write a true cozy, but I had a problem. Most cozies feature individuals who are experts in a craft or are marvelous in the kitchen. I’m neither, but I am a good researcher. Using what I gleaned from my research, I wrote pages galore of a new book. When I read what I wrote, I realized I had a problem. My work in progress was boring and anything but “fun” to read.

I didn’t like it, and, if that was the case, neither would anyone else. That’s when it hit me – there are plenty of people in the world who think being in the kitchen is like being in a foreign country or whose craft efforts evoke roars of laughter. Why not be honest and include that kind of character in a book?

Once I embraced Sarah Blair, a character who isn’t perfect in the kitchen or at much else, I couldn’t stop the flow of words nor stem the “fun” of writing them. Hopefully, the “fun” I’m having writing about Sarah will be shared by One Taste Too Many’s readers.

Here’s a taste of what I consider “fun.”

For culinary challenged Sarah Blair, there’s only one thing scarier than cooking from scratch—murder! 

Sarah knew starting over after her divorce would be messy. But things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by her twin sister’s award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with RahRah wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and her twin wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

BRONZEVILLE BOOKS: There's a new publishing house in town!

Here's some good news about Bronzeville Books. Information on new publishers is always good news, and when the publishing house includes many of my friends, it's even better. Congrats, Bronzeville Books!
Bronzeville Books is a reader-focused publisher of crime, science, fantasy, and literary fiction.

From Danny Gardner:

In Q3 2018, after an eighteen-month start-up phase, I quietly founded a publishing house with a brand-centric focus, rather than genre-centric, to respond to readers’ desire for stories that are told according to the blended lives of mystery, crime, suspense, romance, and adventure we’re already living. To publish at a standard high enough to earn our readers’ respect and dollars, and return them to the creators they admire, all so the magic continues. A publisher of the people, for the people, publishing books for the children of the woods, mountains, desert, and concrete, delivering them to bookstores other folks wouldn’t, handing them to readers many think we shouldn’t. To start conversations across oceans of perception, we’ve chosen to be a publisher that brings people closer together, so the gaps may be crossed within the span of a few good stories, and if not, then we’ll print more, as long as folks keep crossing.

The going canard is we’re a diversity player, which is one way of viewing the venture. Bronzeville Books’ founder is African American. Women such as Renee Pickup, Sara J. Henry, and Erin Mitchell make up its publishing leadership. Our inaugural class of authors reflects much of this diversity, thus, “we good,” as we say out Sout’.

A publisher of the people, for the people, publishing books for the children of the woods, mountains, desert, and concrete, delivering them to bookstores other folks wouldn’t, handing them to readers many think we shouldn’t. 

We’re excited to present to our readers the results of diversity, in function. You’ll feel it in our choice of books to bring to market. Hooking up readers with great stories and the folks who create them, irrespective of the limits in perception, is what we do. Selling great books. Loving those who read them. Honoring and supporting those who write them. It’s as old as publishing. Nothing untried and untested about it.

The seven of us who lead Bronzeville are in it for the work. We want the responsibility for rewarding readers and the authors who work hard for them. It’s why I sacrificed personal possibilities in artistic merit to shift focus on the community. Our business intent is to establish new metrics based upon a commitment to not only write of a better world but contribute actively in creating it, a mission we’ll achieve as long as we pluck the best and the brightest from the places where they’re overlooked and place them upon our platform.

We want Bronzeville Books to make reading come alive for you. 

If you’re a writer, watch for our submission announcements. If you bring your best work and your courage, you just may achieve your dreams. To be an author is to have a hand in shaping folks’ lives. A better person has a better bookshelf, and we want you on that better person’s bookshelf, with the Bronzeville “B” on the spine.

Bronzeville was the neighborhood of my birth, and the place books first came alive for me. We want Bronzeville Books to make reading come alive for you. If you’re a reader or a writer, and you feel ghettoized by those who currently set the tone, roll through Bronzeville. You’ll see how beautiful the ghetto can be.

Danny Gardner, 
Founder Bronzeville Books 
An Allied Gardner Company

Bookstore Sign of the Day


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: Frankenstein


How Our Bogus Bestseller Became a Real One: Guest Post by Cleo Coyle

Today I welcome back CLEO COYLE, a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the long-running Coffeehouse Mysteries. Alice and Marc are also authors of popular adult and children’s fiction and non-fiction, as well as media tie-in writers, who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together, including the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, which was recently honored with a Best Book of 2018 selection by Suspense Magazine.

Cleo Coyle:
How Our Bogus Bestseller Became a Real One

No author knows for sure what will happen when a fiction series launches. You cast off and sail away with your ship of characters. The journey may be short—one book and you’re sunk. Or the trip may be somewhat longer.

After writing 17 books in 15 years, we consider ourselves fortunate that our Coffeehouse Mysteries are still steaming along. At this stage of writing (7,000 pages and counting), the dock where we launched is far, far away.

The world has turned plenty between our first Coffeehouse entry and our latest, Shot in the Dark. Technologies have advanced. Presidents have come and gone—and so have our editors.

We’ve changed, too. We still rely on our instinct for inspiration and experience for insight, but at times, as with all journeys into unpredictable waters, the right direction is not always clear.

One of the many things we’ve learned is that you’re not out to sea alone with your characters. The longtime fans are right there with you. Is that a blessing? Or a curse? Paul Sheldon of Stephen King’s Misery would say the latter.

While we understand Paul’s dilemma, in our experience (so far, anyway), the readers have been a blessing. Not that we’re suggesting series authors exclusively listen to fans. In this particular case, however, the readers were right.

Around a year after we created our Coffeehouse Mysteries (in 2003), we launched a second series. The Ghost and Mrs. McClure introduced our earnest New England bookseller to the world. Penelope McClure grew up reading her father’s favorite authors from the Black Mask school. One day, while under a great deal of stress, a disembodied voice speaks to Pen and never stops.

The voice claims to be the spirit of Jack Shepard, a PI famously gunned down on her shop’s premises in 1949. Pen isn’t entirely convinced that Jack is a ghost. At times she wonders if he’s a product of her imagination, an alter ego able to express the things she can’t. Whatever the truth of Pen’s haunting, her gruff and gutsy spirit comes in handy when cunning killers commit crimes in Pen’s hometown.

Readers enthusiastically embraced the stories of Jack and Pen. Most understood what we were going for in the risky blending of cozy and hardboiled genres. They saw the fun in our pastiche of an iconic character like Jack Shepard, the kind of ghost a fan of Chandler and Spillane might dream up.

Our publisher was happy with the sales, and we wrote four more Haunted Bookshop titles in steady succession. The Ghost and the Dead Deb (2005), The Ghost and the Dead Man’s Library (2006), The Ghost and the Femme Fatale (2008), and The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion (2009).

Then we stopped writing them.


Some wondered if the series was cancelled. It was not. We stopped intentionally for many reasons, one being the demands of our Coffeehouse Mysteries. Another reason, frankly, was the climate in the book trade.

At that time (2009), the rise of ebooks and self-publishing rocked the industry. Predictions about the “death of print,” the demise of booksellers, and the end of traditional publishing were all the rage. Speed of output began to make the market feel crowded and chaotic. Consequently, we decided that until the atmosphere surrounding the book business (a trade, don’t forget, that we were writing about via Pen’s profession) became a little saner, we would focus on a single series and let our hardboiled ghost rest in peace—for a while, anyway.

What we never expected was the outcry that ensued. Emails and messages flooded in to us (some nice, some not so nice) all asking us to continue the series. Would any of them, like Misery’s “number one fan,” have hobbled us and demanded a new manuscript? Let’s put it this way, we’re glad our car never crashed into a Colorado snowbank.

We assumed the pleas would die down, but they never did. Our readers’ steadfast devotion was the primary reason we made our ghost reappear. That and the fact that all those predictions about the “death of print” and end of booksellers like Penelope turned out to be monumentally premature.

The result was our decision to write the first new Haunted Bookshop Mystery in nearly ten years, The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller, which became an actual bestseller and a “Best Book of 2018” selection by Suspense Magazine.

To our longtime publisher’s credit—including and especially our new editor Michelle Vega—the gamble of reviving our PI ghost paid off, and we recently signed an updated contract to write three new titles in the series with an option for more.

We hope this ship will keep sailing, but nothing is guaranteed. Whatever we do, some readers will love us, some won’t. For now, we’re simply glad to thank the ones who believed in us and what we created.

You have to be grateful when people like that are on board for the ride.

***



Monday, January 7, 2019

LIterary Salon: Matt Coyle, Patricia Smiley, Paul Charles: January 17

Join Mystery Readers NorCal in Berkeley for an evening Literary Salon with mystery authors Matt Coyle, Patricia Smiley, and Paul Charles

When: Thursday, January 17, 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

MATT COYLE
Matt Coyle is the author of the best-selling Rick Cahill crime novels. Writing at night for over a decade his debut novel, Yesterday’s Echo, was finally published in 2013. The wait was almost worth it as it won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, the San Diego Book Award for Best Mystery, the Ben Franklin Award for Best New Voice in Fiction. Matt’s second book, Night Tremors, was a Bookreporter.com Reviewers’ Favorite Book of 2015 and was an Anthony, Shamus, and Lefty Award finalist. Dark Fissures, the third book in the Rick Cahill crime series, was a finalist for the Macavity and Lefty awards and was a 2016 Top Pick for Bookreporter.com. Blood Truth was a Shamus, Lefty Award finalist, a Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Silver Award winner for Thriller/Suspence, and a top pick by Bookreporter.com for Best Mysteries of 2017. Wrong Light, Matt’s fifth Rick Cahill novel, was published in December.

PATRICIA SMILEY
Patricia Smiley is the Los Angeles Times bestselling author of four novels featuring amateur sleuth Tucker Sinclair. The three books in her latest series are hard-boiled police procedurals about LAPD homicide detective Davie Richards (Pacific Homicide, Outside the Wire, The Second Goodbye). The novels are based on her fifteen years as a volunteer and a Specialist Reserve Officer for the Los Angeles Police Department. Patty’s short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Two of the Deadliest, an anthology edited by Elizabeth George. She has taught writing at various conferences in the U.S. and Canada and also served as vice president for the Southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America and as president of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles.

PAUL CHARLES
A native of Magherafelt, Northern Ireland, Paul Charles has been managing bands since he was 15 and writing detective novels since 1996. His most recent novel, A Day in the Life of Louis Bloom, is the second to feature semi-retired Belfast police detective Brendy McCusker. A short story featuring his first fictional protagonist, London Detective Inspector Christy Kennedy, appeared in the September/October 2018 issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Paul divides his time between London and Santa Monica.

Cartoon of the Day: Book Signing

Thanks to Sarah Shaber for this comic!


Brian Garfield: R.I.P.

Sad news. Brian Garfield: R.I.P. Garfield was 79. 
Jim Doherty wrote the following memorial:

Award-winning crime novelist Brian Garfield passed away on 29 December, in Pasadena, California. That rare combination of high productivity and excellence, his fiction was wide-ranging in its themes, settings, and plots.

He began in the western genre with novels like Trail Drive (Avalon, 1962) and Vultures in the Sun (Macmillan, 1963), and a seven novel series about a frontier lawman named Jeremy Six that he wrote under the pseudonym “Brian Wynne.” During this time, he served a term as the president of the Western Writers of America.

He never really left westerns behind and, even when he did switch to crime, his contemporary crime fiction tended to have a western flavor. His first series character in the mystery genre, for example, Arizona State Trooper Sam Watchman, was a Navajo who pursued bad guys across the broad expanses of the Southwest. Introduced in Relentless (World, 1972), in which he hunts a gang of cop-killing bank robbers into the snowbound wilderness of northern Arizona, Watchman returned for one encore in The Threepersons Hunt (Evans, 1974), a whodunit set on an Apache reservation. Relentless was made into a top-flight TV-movie, first broadcast in 1977, with Will Sampson as Watchman, the first time an Indian lead character in a Hollywood production was played by an Indian actor. Sampson was cast in the role at Garfield’s suggestion.

His best-known crime novel, Death Wish (McKay, 1972), was adapted into a film starring Charles Bronson, perhaps the most popular of all of Bronson’s movies. Superficially faithful to the novel, the film version was considerably more sympathetic to the protagonist’s vigilante actions. Displeased that the film took this approach, Garfield wrote a sequel, Death Sentence (Evans, 1975), in which he made his anti-vigilante opinions more clear. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t adapted into any of the many film sequels that also starred Bronson.

Aside from Death Wish, Garfield will probably be best-remembered for Hopscotch (Evans, 1975), a Cold War espionage thriller in which a cashiered CIA agent tries to recapture the excitement of his spy career by writing a book exposing the worst aspects of US intelligence operations, sending the manuscript to his publisher in installments, and challenging his old employers to try to stop him while he leads them on a merry chase all over the world. Hopscotch won Garfield an Edgar for Best Mystery Novel. Five years later, his script (on which he collaborated with Bryan Forbes) for a film adaptation released by Avco Embassy was a finalist for an Edgar in the Screenplay category.

Garfield also wrote a lot of short fiction in both the western and mystery genres, and, as with his novels, often seemed to combine the two. His Edgar-nominated “Jode’s Last Hunt” (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Jan. 1977), for example, told the story of a legendary small-town sheriff, whose adventures as a kick-ass lawman have been fictionalized in movies and TV shows (not unlike the real-life Buford Pusser), enjoying his one last chance at high-publicity glory. “Scrimshaw” (EQMM, Dec.1979), a tight little horror tale, earned him another Edgar nomination, And eleven pieces of short spy fiction featuring top-flight US operative Charlie Dark, set in the same universe as Hopscotch, were collected in Checkpoint Charlie (Mysterious, 1981). In 1983, he was elected President of the Mystery Writers of America, the only author to serve as president of both the WWA and the MWA.

Through the late ‘70’s and ‘80’s, Garfield tended to devote himself to “big” projects, returning to the western with epic novels like Wild Times (Simon & Schuster, 1978), about a frontiersman turned showman inspired by, if not precisely based on, Buffalo Bill Cody; and Manifest Destiny (Grand Central, 1989), a novel fictionalizing the frontier adventures of young Theodore Roosevelt. The Paladin (Simon and Schuster, 1989), was a World II-set espionage thriller about a teen-aged schoolboy who becomes Winston Churchill’s top undercover operative.

In later years, Garfield devoted himself to non-fiction. The Thousand Mile War (Aurum, 2004), a history of World War II in the Aleutians and the mainland of Alaska, was a finalist for a Pulitzer. The Meinertzhagen Mystery (Potomac, 2008) was a biography of a flamboyant British secret agent, who was a trusted associate of such diverse figures as Churchill, T.E. Lawrence, David Ben Gurion, and Elspeth Huxley, but who may, through it all, have been a colossal fraud.

A respected pro, Garfield was a friendly and self-effacing person, regarded as a true gentleman by his friends and acquaintances. He’ll be missed, but he leaves a large body of work by which he will be remembered.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: New Year's Resolutions Most Easily Broken by Cats

Happy Caturday!


Mystery Bytes: Quirky & Interesting Book-Related Links

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

Live in New England? Plan to visit? Here's a great guide to New England's Best Bookstores to Spend the Day. What could be better? New England Travel.

Creating a “best bookstores” list for New England is more challenging than it would be for most places. Our region is blessed with countless wonderful shops, each with its own charm. Some pride themselves on being eclectic, or all-encompassing, or uniquely focused. But for this post, I’m calling out what I consider to be destination bookshops.

***
Speaking of Bookstores. Here's a wonderful article on that charming 17th century alley, Cecil Court, that's lined with secondhand bookstores and antiquarian shops. It's a great stop when in London. Atlas Obscura.

This dreamy little 17th-century lane is a book lover’s paradise. It’s lined with about 20 secondhand bookstores and antiquarian shops, all selling a trove of unique treasures. It’s no wonder the street’s nickname is “Booksellers’ Row.”

***
If you're like me, you have books everywhere -- on shelves, on the floor, in piles, in the kitchen, bathroom, linen closet, bedroom, dining room, etc.  Will you ever get to read them all? Well don't fret, here's an article on Why You Should Surround Yourself with More Books Thank You'll Ever Have Time to Read. Fast Company.

Lifelong learning will help you be happier, earn more, and even stay healthier, experts say. Plus, plenty of the smartest names in business, from Bill Gates to Elon Musk, insist that the best way to get smarter is to read. So what do you do? You go out and buy books, lots of them. ut life is busy, and intentions are one thing, actions another. Soon you find your shelves (or e-reader) overflowing with titles you intend to read one day, or books you flipped through once but then abandoned. Is this a disaster for your project to become a smarter, wiser person?

***
I used to love Board Games, especially Monopoly and Clue. The original Monopoly board was based on Atlantic City where I spent summers, so it was very special to me. And don't we all just love Clue? Here's a Fun article on Board Games: Miss Flame in the Bedroom with the Shoe: 4 Board Games that Changed with the Culture. Mental Floss.

Plenty of board games have debuted special editions, integrated electronics (who wants to roll dice anymore?), and upgraded to fancy carved pieces. But here are four classic games that had to change their rules just to stay relevant in the culture around them.

***
Do you love audio books? Apple Lets You Download Six Free Audio Books Read by Celebrity Narrators. No mysteries in this FREE group, but definitely worth listening to. OpenCulture.

***
Intrigued by Nigeria? Crime Fiction Lover reviews Five Nigerian Noir books. I would add My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

While the wave of superb Scandinavian novels been the buzz in crime fiction for a good while, and you have new trends like Korean crime novels beginning to bubble to the surface, few have noticed the gritty, blade-on-your-throat crime fiction emerging from Nigeria today, by writers like Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani. These novels have that pulse and energy you get from classic noir, but they simultaneously play with genre tropes, subverting them, bending the craft to suit the peculiarities of modern Nigeria...

***
And, one more article: Changing the Face of Crime Fiction: Six Writers of Coloron Writing Mysteries, Crime Novels and Thrillers. Writer's Digest.


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: Calendar


INTERNATIONAL MYSTERIES: Mystery Readers NorCal Winter Book Group

Our weekly Tuesday night Mystery Readers NorCal mystery book group has been meeting for over 35 years. Every winter we 'travel' together to distant lands with a list featuring International Crime Fiction. In real time/real space this takes place every Tuesday night at 7 in Berkeley, CA. Since we read a book a week for at least 40 weeks a year, we've discussed a lot of books. Nevertheless, I put together what I think is a great list of books that we have not yet discussed. Some of the books are written by residents of the countries in which they are set, some are written by "outsiders." Whatever, this list offers something for everyone in our book group. Feel free to follow along with us and send comments.

INTERNATIONAL MYSTERIES: Winter 2019

January 8        The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (India)
January 15      An Aegean April by Jeff Siger (Greece)
January 22      The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong  (Korea)
January 29      Aunti Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano  (Sicily)
February 5      The Rage by Gene Kerrigan (Ireland)
February 12    Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen (Norway)  
February 19    The Bookseller by Mark Pryor (France)
February 26    Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder by Shamini Flint (Malaysia)
March 5         Time is a Killer by Michel Bussi (Corsica)
March 12       All This I Will Give to You by Dolores Redondo (Spain)
March 19       Hiroshima Boy by Naomi Hirahara (Japan)
March 26       No meeting: Left Coast Crime in Vancouver
April 2           My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Nigeria)