Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: At the Canine Support Center

Good one from Scott Metzger:

Why I Write What I Write: Guest Post by Manjiri Prabhu

Today I welcome Manjiri Prabhu. Dr. Manjiri Prabhu is an award-winning Writer/ Novelist of mystery fiction, an independent short-filmmaker,  and also the Founder/ Director of two Festivals. She has directed over 200 children’s TV programmes,  more than 50 short fiction and travel films and has authored 15 books. Her latest mystery is The Trail of Four.

Manjiri Prabhu:
Why I Write What I Write

When the stream skips by 
and the peaks seem shy, 
When twilight drapes 
the golden landscapes, 
The words and the verse 
light a path to the Universe… 
That’s when I take flight, 
That is why I write…. 

It was really early on in life when I discovered that I had a direct connection with the Universe’s creative energy. It was a unique relationship with the Universe, which revealed to me in a swoop that I had a job to do – I had to write. I was a writer at age seven and I have been a writer all my life.

But here is a simple answer to the question – Why do I write?

Because I can’t help writing! 

And why do I write what I write?

Because the mystery genre has found me and stayed with me and sought its expression through me. And I enjoy being the chosen one to represent this genre and discover newer ways to explore and experiment with the mystery, suspense and thriller format.

I write because I am self-absorbed, even self-obsessed, a universal entity in connect with the Universe. Because I am selfish and in deep love with what my imagination conspires, and love the spring of ‘surprise’ and because I connect more with fiction than reality. Fiction is my world, my characters are my companions and my ordained role is to narrate a story that would entertain, engross, engage and educate – in that specific order.

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” 

This quote by Benjamin Franklin features prominently on my website and has dominated my world of creation.

15 books to date, hopefully more to come…..what am I really proud of in this journey?

I write because I don’t feel the need to prove anything to anyone. I do not wish to prove that I am a woman in a man’s world. I do not wish to prove that I am better than another man or another woman or for that matter another writer. I don’t wish to prove anything.

And that is why I write what I write - Pure creative energy that stems from a prosperous source. Still. Non-turbulent. Undisturbed and happy. Stories that uncoil from an unadulterated love of the art, adventures and plots that my inventive energy attracts. I write because I think like a human being, not like a woman but like a person without gender. Being labeled as ‘Desi Agatha Christie’ and then compared to Dan Brown, is proof of this state of my mind and my writing.

I write not to deliberately break any glass ceilings, because I have encountered none in my life and believe in none. And yet I have broken moulds, opened paths to others by being the first Indian woman to write mysteries, suspense, and destination thrillers in main stream Indian fiction. My characters are strong, fierce, wise and empowered and in the journey of the book, become even more so - Inspiring and aspirational characters which lead you through life in the most amazing manner possible. I write because imagination is my focal point where ideas germinate, flourish and become reality.

I have given myself full freedom and permission to write what I wish, without the pressure of clichéd expectations and societal stereotypes, the pressure of womanhood and the sense of responsibility frequently and inevitably thrust on women writers, without being answerable to mental conditioning of decades, or entrapped into pleasing the dictates of sexist inhibitions.….Perhaps I have risked an emotional bonding with some readers by not adhering to the ready template of women’s fiction. My fiction stems from my need to be me, carefree and adventurous. And in that sense, I have remained true to myself and my creative energy.

Whether it is my destination mystery/thriller series with Re Parkar, or the Astro-Detective series with Sonia Samarth, both trend-setters and unique concepts in India or the dystopian Super-Dome Chronicles – another less-explored genre in India – I have always been different in the study of subjects. Perhaps it has more to do with what I wish to read and cannot find out there or simply that I am ahead of my times. Whatever it is, the bottom line is that I write what pleases me and what I please. Fortunately for me I have found support from many Publishers who were kind enough to help me find space in the world of publishing.

I realized early on that I am trying to play God, not a Saint. Trying to be a Creator, not a Reformer. I look at change as that which moves from one emotion to another emotion, from one moment to another moment like a slow delicious stirring of thought. An unconscious shedding of set notions, like the erosion of the soil or the melting of metal in heat. And I think mystery fiction has the capacity to do this, in its ability to encompass myriad issues within its genre. In the guise of a good plot, can hide the streams of political ideologies, socio-psychological upheavals, relationship and societal issues and you-name-it, thus initiating rather unobtrusively and intelligently, a pleasant excitement in the reader. I find this rather challenging, fascinating and inspiring – the subtle art of deception stirring a sense of contentment.

Mystery fiction to me is also Motivational Fiction. Where else would you learn that no matter what life throws at you – conflict, hassles, ups and downs – in the end, all is well. It redefines courage and encourages optimism and independent thinking. It demotes the evil in beings and uplifts compassion, love and what is good in humans. Mystery fiction tickles interest, perks the reader’s brain, inspires him or her to prod on against adversities, and offers hope as an eternal serving.

However, at no point in this writing journey, do I wish to take full credit for what I have written. Artists, I believe, are mere channels for the creative energy to flow through them. What you create is a gift from the Muse, from the Universe and you are an instrument in the process. Albeit an important instrument. But neither can you separate the creator from the created. Thank God for that!

When I am at the age to look back and question my choices, I hope that I can respond with candour and honesty, that the work I put out in the world, was the true expression of my beliefs and acts. That it was a genuine effort to fulfill the role assigned to me. That I did justice to the task undertaken – the task to entertain, engross, engage and educate through the art of telling stories that stimulated imagination and thought and created magic, memories and motivation. And in the process allowed myself the pleasure of being entertained! I hope that when I look back, I feel a complete sense of accomplishment and pride.

March Retro Reading Poster

Monday, March 18, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: Lie vs. Lay



Emerging Writer of Color Will Receive $2,000 Grant to Support Career Development

Sisters in Crime is accepting applications for its sixth annual Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award, a $2,000 grant awarded to an emerging female or male writer of color. The award honors the late, pioneering African American crime fiction author Eleanor Taylor Bland. Candidates must apply by June 9, 2019 and the winner will be announced by July 1, 2019.

“Throughout her career, Eleanor Taylor Bland served as both advocate and inspiration to countless women and authors of color. Her legacy is still felt today,” said Sisters in Crime President Sherry Harris. “We've been thrilled with the response to the grant in her honor and are excited to expand it this year to help another writer of color follow Bland's lead and take the next steps in their publishing journey.”

The Eleanor Taylor Bland Award was created in 2014 with a bequest from Bland’s estate to support Sisters in Crime’s vision statement that the organization should serve as the voice for excellence and diversity in crime writing. The grant is intended for a writer beginning their crime writing career and will support activities related to career development including workshops, seminars, conferences, and retreats; online courses; and research activities required for completion of his or her work. This year, Sisters in Crime raised the grant amount from $1,500 to $2,000.

The 2019 winner will join past recipients Mia Manansala (2018), Jessica Ellis Laine (2017), Stephane Dunn (2016), Vera H-C Chan (2015), and Maria Kelson (2014).

Eleanor Taylor Bland was the author of fourteen crime fiction novels published between 1992 and 2007 which featured Marti MacAlister, an African-American female police detective and an enduring and beloved heroine who went against the grain of stereotypes related to African American women in much of U.S. popular culture. Bland also published several works of short crime fiction and edited a collection titled Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African American Authors (2004). 

Sisters in Crime (SinC) was founded in 1986 to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers. Today, the organization boasts 4,200 members and 51 chapters worldwide and its initiatives also include other scholarships; grants for academic research into the roles of women and underserved voices in crime fiction; cash awards to libraries and bookstores; and surveys and monitoring projects which determine visibility and representation of women and diverse voices in the genre and across the marketplace. For more information on its programs and author members, visit the organization’s website at www.sistersincrime.org

Complete guidelines and the application can be found at SistersinCrime.org/etb.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

IRISH MYSTERIES: Mystery Readers Journal (24:2)

Erin Go Bragh! With St Patrick's Day tomorrow, you'll want to read up on Irish Mysteries. Mystery Readers Journal had a spectacular themed issue on Irish Mysteries in 2008. Download now for immediate satisfaction or order hardcopy. Buy this back issue! Available in hardcopy or as a downloadable PDF.

Irish Mysteries

Volume 24, No. 2, Summer 2008

Irish Mysteries
Buy this back issue! Available in hardcopy or as a downloadable PDF.
  • Shadows of Guilt: Ireland in the 1950s by John Banville, aka Benjamin Black
  • Distance Lends Perspective by Colin Bateman
  • Billy Boyle Goes to Ireland by James R. Benn
  • An Irish Heroine by Rhys Bowen
  • Crime Pays—On the Page by Declan Burke
  • No, Not the Blarney Stone by Ken Bruen
  • An Irishman’s Lot by Doug M. Cummings
  • The Importance of Being Irish by David Dickinson
  • When Irish Writing Roots Are Showing… by Carole Nelson Douglas
  • Where Fact Meets Fiction by Garbhan Downey
  • Killing the Peace Process by Ruth Dudley Edwards
  • The Roots of Murder by Tana French
  • Rachel O’Reilly’s Murder by Jenny Friel
  • Josephine Tey and Nuala Anne McGrail by Father Andrew M. Greeley
  • Finding Mythic Ireland by Lyn Hamilton
  • Foxes, Cabbages & the Ancient Laws of Ireland by Cora Harrison
  • Stumbling on a Body in the Bog by Erin Hart
  • How the Irish Created My Civilization by Jeremiah Healy
  • I Owe My Life to an Irish Criminal by Eoin Hennigan
  • Irish Soul by Tobsha Learner
  • A Literary Tour of One Dublin Author by Stephen Leather
  • The Irish in P.I. Frank Johnson’s Debut Outing by Ed Lynskey
  • Casting a Cold Eye on the Gloss of Modern Ireland by K.T. McCaffrey
  • Irish Connection by John McEvoy
  • Patrolling the Border by Brian McGilloway
  • The Absence of Death by Cormac Millar
  • Writing and Ireland by Pat Mullan
  • The Elusive Irishman by Teagan Oliver
  • An Arresting Tale by Ralph Robb
  • The Irish in Me by Les Roberts
  • Balancing the Book by Zoë Sharp
  • Lark and the Quaker Connection by Sheila Simonson
  • Interwoven Irish by Therese Szymanski
  • Irish Crime Writing: Truth Sells Better Than Fiction by Neville Thompson
  • Sister Fidelma, 7th-Century Supersleuth by Peter Tremayne
  • In Short: Murder Most Irish by Marvin Lachman
  • Just The Facts: Mole To Manhunter by Jim Doherty
  • Children’s Hour: Irish Mysteries by Gay Toltl Kinman
  • An Irish Author in the Golden Age: Freeman Wills Crofts by Philip Scowcroft
  • MRI MAYHEM by Janet A. Rudolph
  • Letters to the Editor
  • From the Editor’s Desk by Janet A. Rudolph

Friday, March 15, 2019

Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore Move

Murder on the Beach will leave its current location at the end of this month.
Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore, in Delray Beach, Fla., will move next month to a retail space in the Delray Beach Public Library building. The bookstore and the library will have separate entrances, and store founder and manager Joanne Sinchuk said she's hoping for "synergy between the two." The new space is slightly smaller than the current store, Sinchuk said, but has more windows, and is located a few blocks away, on the main avenue through downtown (the current store is on a side street). Because of the smaller space, the store will stock slightly fewer titles, and the shipping/receiving area will be tight, she said. One of the bathrooms in the new space will be turned into her office.
Sinchuk and store owner David Wulf said, "We love Delray and are happy to be able to keep Murder on the Beach in the most fun small town in the USA." Delray Library director Karen Ronald added, "We have a lot in common and hope to make a difference in the community."
The bookstore had been on a month-to-month lease since its lease expired in December, and the site's owner plans to build a boutique hotel.
Murder on the Beach will be closed March 28-31 for the move, and will re-open at 104 West Atlantic Avenue on Monday, April 1. The store's phone number, e-mail, website and hours will remain the same.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019


Erin - Go - bragh! St. Patrick's Day figures in several mysteries, so here's my updated St. Patrick's Day Crime Fiction list. Irish aka Emerald Noir is very popular right now, so you can always add titles to your TBR pile from the many Irish crime writers available, although they may not take place specifically during St. Patrick's Day. Declan Burke had a great post on his blog CrimeAlwaysPays Overview: The St. Patrick's Day Rewind

Mystery Readers Journal had an issue that focused on Irish Mysteries. It's available as PDF or hardcopy.

As always, I welcome comments and additions to this list. 


Susan Wittig Albert: Love Lies Bleeding
Donna Andrews, Barb Goffman, & Marcia Talley (editors): Homicidal Holidays: Fourteen Tales of Murder and Merriment
Mary Kay Andrews (aka Kathy Hogan Trocheck): Irish Eyes
S. Furlong-Bollinger: Paddy Whacked
Harry Brandt (Richard Price): The Whites
Isis Crawford: A Catered St. Patrick's Day
Nelson DeMille: Cathedral
Janet Evanovich: Plum Lucky
Sharon Fiffer: Lucky Stuff 
S. Furlong-Bollinger: Paddy Whacked
Andrew Greeley: Irish Gold
Jane Haddam: A Great Day for the Deadly
Lyn Hamilton: The Celtic Riddle
Jonathan Harrington: A Great Day for Dying
Lee Harris: The St. Patrick's Day Murder
Dorothy Howell: Duffel Bags and Drownings 
Melanie Jackson: The Sham
Madison Johns: Lucky Strike
Diane Kelly: Love, Luck, and the Little Green Men 
Amanda Lee: The Long Stitch Good Night
Wendi Lee: The Good Daughter
Dan Mahoney: Once in, Never Out
Marion Markham: The St. Patrick's Day Shamrock Mystery (children's)
Leslie Meier: St. Patrick's Day Murder
Sister Carol Anne O’Marie: Death Takes Up A Collection
Ralph M. McInerny: Lack of the Irish
Janet Elaine Smith: In St. Patrick's Custody
JJ Toner: St. Patrick's Day Special
Kathy Hogan Trochek (aka Mary Kay Andrews): Irish Eyes
Debbie Viguié: Lie Down in Green Pastures
Noreen Wald: Death Never Takes a Holiday

Check out Dublin Noir, a collection of short stories edited by Ken Bruen, published by Akashic Books in the US and Brandon in Ireland and the UK.

Read Val McDermid's take on the Popularity of Irish Crime Fiction.

Read Lisa Alber's guest post on Travels to Ireland, or, Bah, I Scoff at "Write What You Know"

Some Irish crime writers you might want to read: Tana French, Erin Hart, Benjamin Black, Declan Hughes, Jane Casey, Brian McGilloway, Alan Glynn, John Brady, Stuart Neville, Adrian McKinty, John Banville (Benjamin Black), Ken Bruen, Jesse Louisa Rickard, Eoin Colfer.

Who are your favorite Irish authors?

May the road rise up to meet you and the wind be always at your back!


And, if you want something CHOCOLATE to go along with your stout and Bailey's, have a look at my DyingforChocolate blog for some Killer St. Patrick's Day Recipes including:

Bailey's Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake
Bailey's Chocolate Truffles
Guinness Chocolate Pie
Chocolate Guinness Cake
Guinness Chocolate Stout Brownies
Chocolate Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Ice Cream
Bailey's Chocolate Trifle
You Make Me Want to Stout Cupcakes (Scharffen Berger)
Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge

Guinness Chocolate Cherry Bread & Guinness Brown Breads

Monday, March 11, 2019


Manhunt with Martin Clunes starts today on AcornTV. Don't miss this 3 part mini-series.

Acorn TV features the exclusive North American premiere of new British crime drama and Acorn TV Original miniseries MANHUNT on Monday, March 11, 2019. Based upon the memoirs of former London Metropolitan police detective DCI Colin Sutton, the new three-part ITV drama from Buffalo Pictures stars one of the most popular British actors on television in the United States,
Martin Clunes (Doc Martin, Vanity Fair, Shakespeare in Love). Clunes stars as DCI Sutton who determinedly and tenaciously pursued serial killer Levi Bellfield.

Written by Ed Whitmore (Silent Witness, Strike Back) and directed by Marc Evans (Trauma, Safe House, Hinterland), Manhunt is the real-life story of how the murder of French National, Amelie Delagrange, on Twickenham Green in August 2004 was eventually linked to two other murders. Hard working and instinctive, DCI Sutton was assigned to the case and dedicated himself to finding Amelie’s killer. With no forensics, motive or witnesses, his painstaking approach and the diligence of his fellow officers gradually led to breakthroughs in the case and to suspected serial killer Levi Bellfield. But now the hunt is on for enough evidence to arrest him and make sure he’s found guilty at trial. The miniseries co-stars Claudie Blakley (Granchester, Cranford) as Sutton’s wife, Louise.

Spotted Owl Award Finalists

Friends of Mystery announced the Spotted Owl Finalists. The Spotted Owl is chosen by a volunteer committee of Friends of Mystery members. For a book to be considered for the Spotted Owl Award: The author must have primary residence in the states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho or the Province of British Columbia.

Spotted Owl Finalists 2019

Baron Birtcher – Fistful of Rain
Robert Dugoni – A Steep Price
Warren Easley – Moving Targets
G.M. Ford – Soul Survivor
Elizabeth George – The Punishment She Deserves
Stephen Holgate - Madagascar
Mike Lawson – House Witness
Martin Limon – The Line
John Straley – Baby’s First Felony
Jon Talton – The Bomb Shelter

Friday, March 8, 2019

Australian Book Industry Awards Longlist

The Australian Publishers Association is excited to announce the longlist for the 2019 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs). The longlist introduces the titles, publishers and authors in contention for a coveted 2019 ABIA.

Voted for by the ABIA Academy — a group of more than 250 publishers, booksellers, agents, media and industry representatives — have selected books published in 2018 across 12 categories.

The ABIAs showcase the collaborative efforts of publishers, editors, illustrators, marketers, designers, and authors in bringing quality books to Australian and international markets.

General Fiction Book of the Year:
Nine Perfect Strangers, Liane Moriarty (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia)
Scrublands, Chris Hammer (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, Holly Ringland (HarperCollins Publishers, Fourth Estate)
The Lost Man, Jane Harper (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia)
The Nowhere Child, Christian White (Affirm Press)
The Other Wife, Michael Robotham (Hachette Australia Pty Ltd, Hachette Australia)
The Rúin, Dervla McTiernan (HarperCollins Publishers, HarperCollins Publishers)
The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Heather Morris (Echo Publishing, Echo Publishing)

For other categories, go HERE.

HT: Michael Robotham. Congrats on your nomination!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: Story Structures

From Grant Snider:

Lambda Literary Award Finalists 2019: The Lammys!

Lambda Literary, the nation’s oldest and largest literary arts organization advancing LGBTQ literature, announced the finalists of the 31st Annual Lambda Literary Awards – or the “Lammys,” as they are affectionately known.

This year’s finalist were selected by a panel of over 60 literary professionals from over 1,000 book submissions from over 300 publishers. We’re excited to announce the finalists in 24 categories (including new for this year, Bisexual Poetry). Finalists will be celebrated and winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony and Gala the evening of Monday, June 3, 2019 in New York City.

Here's a link to all the finalists in the 24 categories. Congrats to all!

For the purposes of this blog, here are the finalists in the MYSTERY CATEGORY:

Lesbian Mystery
A Matter of Blood, Catherine Maiorisi, Bella Books
A Study in Honor: A Novel, Claire O’Dell, HarperCollins / HarperVoyager
A Whisper of Bones: A Jane Lawless Mystery, Ellen Hart, Minotaur Books
Alice Isn’t Dead: A Novel, Joseph Fink, Harper Perennial
Gnarled Hollow, Charlotte Greene, Bold Strokes Books
The Locket, Gerri Hill, Bella Books
Secrets of the Last Castle, A. Rose Mathieu, Bold Strokes Books
Stolen: A Kieran Yeats Mystery, Linda J. Wright, Cats Paw Books

Gay Mystery 
Black Diamond Fall, Joseph Olshan, Polis Books
Boystown 11: Heart’s Desire, Marshall Thornton, Kenmore Books
Death Checks In, David S. Pederson, Bold Strokes Books
Dodging and Burning: A Mystery, John Copenhaver, Pegasus Books
The God Game: A Dan Sharp Mystery, Jeffrey Round, Dundurn
Late Fees: A Pinx Video Mystery, Marshall Thornton, Kenmore Books
Somewhere Over Lorain Road, Bud Gundy, Bold Stroke Books
Survival Is a Dying Art: An Angus Green Novel, Neil S. Plakcy, Samwise Books

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: Oxford Comma


Thanks to The Rap Sheet, I learned that the Audio Publishers Association (APA) announced the winners for the 24th annual Audie Awards® competition, the premier awards program in the United States recognizing distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment. Congratulations to all.

Of interest to mystery readers:


The Punishment She Deserves by Elizabeth George, narrated by Simon Vance

Also Nominated:
The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen, narrated by Jonathan Keeble and Katy Sobey
Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves, narrated by Kenny Blyth.
Lethal White by Robert Galbraith, narrated by Robert Glenister
The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah, narrated by Julian Rhind-Tutt

Crimson Lake by Candice Fox, narrated by Euan Morton

Also Nominated:
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware, narrated by Imogen Church
Macbeth by Jo Nesbo, narrated by Euan Morton
The Outsider by Stephen King, narrated by Will Patton
The Terminal List by Jack Carr, narrated by Ray Porter
Their Lost Daughters by Joy Ellis, narrated by Richard Armitage

Tuesday, March 5, 2019


Today is Mardi Gras aka Fat Tuesday aka Carnivale. Whatever you call it, is a great setting for Murder! Busy streets, crowds, costumes, drinking ..  mix it all together, and you have a recipe for the perfect crime novel.

So in honor of the Day, here's my updated list of Mardi Gras Mysteries. As always, I welcome additional titles, additions and omissions.


Mardi Gras Murder, edited by Sarah Glenn
The Mardi Gras Mystery by Henry Bedford-Jones
Death Visits Mardi Gras by J.J. Boortz
Cake on a Hot Tin Roof, A Sheetcake Named Desire by Jacklyn Brady
Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite
Fat Tuesday, Sunny Chandler's Return by Sandra Brown
Purple Cane Road, Dixie City Jam, The Tin Roof Blowdown, Creole Belle by James Lee Burke
Mardi Gras Murder: A Cajun Country Mystery by Ellen Byron
Gumbo Justice, Jambalaya Justice by Holli Castillo 
The Secret of the Other Mother by Laura Cayouette
Murder Comes to Mardi Gras, Death Swatch, Keepsake Crimes, Death by Design by Laura Childs
Fat Tuesday Fricassee by J.J. Cook (Children)
Havana Storm by Clive Cussler
Mardi Gras Murders by Nicole Daines and Robert Daines
The Mardi Gras Murders by Ricardo S. Dubois
No Mardi Gras for the Dead by D.J. Donaldson
Shelter from the Storm; Crooked Man by Tony Dunbar
Fat Tuesday by Earl Emerson
The Big Uneasy-Terror Strikes Mardi Gras by Murray C. Fincher
The Unknown Terrorist by Richard Flanagan
Carnaval Capers by Jody Ford
Carnival by Charlotte Foryan
Venetian Mask by Mickey Friedman
Jass, Rampart Street by David Fulmer
Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran
Mardi Grad Madness: Stories of Murder and Mayhem in New Orleans, edited by Martin Harry Greenberg
A Free Man of Color, Fever Season, Sold Down the River by Barbara Hambly
Mardi Gras Mambo; The Orion Mask by Greg Herren
A Thin Dark Line by Tami Hoag
The Assassin's Gift by Ian C.P. Irvine
Mind Games by Polly Iyer
The Mardi Gras Mystery; The Mardi Gras Masquerade by Carolyn Keene
Storm Damage by Ed Kovacs
Murder at the Mardi Gras by Linda Kozar
The Devil's Muse by Bill Loehfelm
The Mardi Gras Murders by Gwen Bristow & Bruce Manning
Mardi Gras Madness by Ken Mask
The Gay Mardi Gras Murders by Sylvia Massara
Mardi Gras Eyes by Phyllis Morris
Masques by Bill Pronzini
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts
Mardi Gras Murders by Phillip Scott
New Orleans Mourning by Julie Smith
New Orleans Noir, edited by Julie Smith (Akashic Books)
A Diamond Before You Die by Chris Wiltz

Carnivale in Brazil:
The Lost Manuscript by Rubem Fonseca

To celebrate Fat Tuesday, you might want to have some Chocolate Chip Pancakes or Chocolate  Pecan Pie or Chocolate "Cupped" Cakes with Coffee & Chicory or Chocolate Beignets. If you're celebrating Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama, or along the Gulf Coast, have a Moon Pie. Read more here. They're a favorite 'throw' in Mobile.

Sunday, March 3, 2019


Although I announced the Nero Award in December 2018, I omitted the winner of the Black Orchid Novella Award. Here are all the results for both from
The Wolfe Pack.

August Snow by Stephen Mack Jones (Soho)

The Nero Award is presented each year to an author for the best American Mystery written in the tradition of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe stories. It is presented at the Black Orchid Banquet, traditionally held on the first Saturday in December in New York City.

Minerva James and the Goddess of Justice by Mark Bruce

The Black Orchid Novella Award is presented jointly by The Wolfe Pack and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine to celebrate the novella format popularized by Rex Stout.

Saturday, March 2, 2019


Charles McCarry: R.I.P.

From the NYT:

Charles McCarry, a former C.I.A. agent who used his Cold War experiences to animate his widely admired espionage novels, notably The Tears of Autumn, a best seller about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, died on Tuesday in Fairfax, Va. He was 88. His son Caleb said the cause was complications of a cerebral hemorrhage caused by a fall.

The soft-spoken Mr. McCarry followed other former spies into writing fiction, a group that includes Graham Greene, Ian Fleming and David Cornwell, who writes under the pseudonym John le Carré. And over nearly 40 years, Mr. McCarry’s dense plotting, realistic detail and brisk writing style brought him a reputation as one of espionage fiction’s leading practitioners.

“McCarry is the best modern writer on the subject of intrigue — by the breadth of Alan Furst, by the fathom of Eric Ambler, by any measure,” the political satirist P. J. O’Rourke wrote in a review of Mr. McCarry’s “Old Boys” (2004) in The Weekly Standard.

Old Boy is the sixth of seven novels that center on Paul Christopher, an urbane agent for the Outfit (read: the C.I.A.), who first appeared in The Miernik Dossier (1973), an inventive tale told through letters, surveillance reports, diaries and transcripts of phone conversations. The Christopher character — Mr. McCarry’s equivalent of George Smiley — returned the next year in The Tears of Autumn.

The Tears of Autumn, Mr. McCarry’s biggest seller, reimagines the Kennedy assassination as payback by the South Vietnamese — using Cubans and the Mafia as go-betweens — for the White House’s role in the coup that led to the death of President Ngo Dinh Diem weeks before Kennedy was gunned down. Christopher travels the world to prove that his theory is correct.

McCarry’s years as an undercover operative served him well,” the critic Patrick Anderson wrote in The Washington Post in 2005, when Tears was reissued. “Some of the novel’s best moments show Christopher meeting with a variety of revolutionaries, rogues and killers.”

He added, “The Christopher novels are brilliant, but their flaw is that their hero has no flaw — he is too good to be true.”

Although he described his undercover work — the dead drops, the cover stories, the clandestine rendezvous — as unglamorous and tedious, Mr. McCarry said he had surrendered to it as the foundation of his intricately plotted novels.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DR. SEUSS! Read Across America Day

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! March 2nd is not only Dr. Seuss's Birthday, but it's also National Read Across America Day, a national program to support and encourage children's reading. NEA's Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss. Having been a reading teacher in a former life, I know how important it is to get children reading when they're young. This is a fabulous day, and since I also have a Chocolate Blog, you can enhance the day with chocolate, but that's my bias.

The more that you read, the more things you will know. 
The more you learn, the more places you'll go." 
— Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Even though Green Eggs & Ham is the most popular of the 'food' Seuss books, and, by all means read it and make some green eggs and ham, since it's Dr. Seuss's Birthday, read Happy Birthday to You and Bake a Cake!  Check out a copy from your library or buy a copy and read it to or with a child. To enhance the experience, bake a few chocolate cakes, cupcakes or buy a chocolate Sheet Cake, and have the children decorate.

You could also read Thidwick, the Big-Hearted Moose and serve Chocolate Mousse sprinkled with red candy hearts.

Here's a classic recipe for Cat in the Hat Cookies: Melt white chocolate in the microwave. Dip a round cracker or cookie in the white chocolate, place on wax paper and top with a marshmallow. Allow to cool. Pipe bright red icing as rings around the marshmallow and cover the top.

And from Parents Connect, here's a recipe for  Dr. Seuss's Sneetch Treats. Perfect as a companion to reading The Sneetches.

Dr Seuss's Sneetch Treats

8 ounces butter, melted
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups uncooked, 1-minute oatmeal
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup golden raisins
2 chocolate bars, chopped into squares
6 large marshmallows
Wooden skewers soaked in water or BBQ forks

Preheat oven to 350°
Combine melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a bowl. Mix well.
In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add to butter mixture.
Add oatmeal, walnuts, and raisins. Mix well.
Drop batter (1 Tbsp at time) onto ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie slightly with the back of spatula.
Bake 12 minutes until golden and firm. Remove cookies to cake rack to cool.
Once cookies have cooled, put square of chocolate onto each cookie.
Heat up grill (or smoker... or fire pit... or oven).
Place marshmallows on skewers or BBQ forks. Slowly roast marshmallows over grill until golden on each side.
 Carefully slide marshmallows off forks and onto t chocolate-covered cookies.
Place another cookie on top of the Marshmallow.

Theodor Seuss Geisel (March 2, 1904 – September 24, 1991) was an American writer and cartoonist best known for his classic children's books under the pen name Dr. Seuss. With millions of books in print, and nearly all of his titles still available for sale, Dr. Seuss was, up until his death in 1991, one of the most prolific living writer behind Barbara Cartland. His Green Eggs and Ham is the third largest selling book in the English language. He wrote 44 children’s books. His best-sellers included: Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Horton Hatches the Egg, Horton Hears a Who!, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Seuss’s first book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street was published in 1937 after being rejected almost 30 times.

Check out this cute Cat in the Hat Birthday Cake from Christine Guzman, owner of The Quaint Cake Co in Boca Raton, FL.  It was a chocolate cake, of course! They're no longer making cakes, but be sure and check out their gallery...site is still up for your enjoyment!

Friday, March 1, 2019

CWA Diamond Dagger

The British Crime Writers’ Association has selected author Robert Goddard as the recipient of its 2019 CWA Diamond Dagger.

CWA (Crime Writers Association) Press Release:

“The Dagger award recognises authors whose crime writing careers have been marked by sustained excellence, and who have made a significant contribution to the genre.” Goddard will be given this commendation during the CWA’s Dagger Awards ceremony in London on October 24. 

Martin Edwards, Chair of the CWA, said: “Robert Goddard has been entertaining crime fiction fans across the world for over thirty years. His books are notable for their breathtaking plot twists, sharp characterisation, and insights into history. It is a genuine pleasure to celebrate his illustrious career with the award of the Diamond Dagger.” 

Robert Goddard said: “I’m greatly honoured to be this year’s CWA Diamond Dagger recipient, particularly since it’s an award conferred by my fellow writers, who know about the challenges of the craft from the inside. Looking back, I’m not exactly sure when trying to make a go of writing turned into a career, but it’s been a hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience and recognition like this is much appreciated. It also gives me encouragement, for which I’m very grateful, to look ahead to all those books yet to come!”

HT: J.Kingston Pierce, TheRapSheet

Thursday, February 28, 2019

H. Terrell Griffin: R.I.P.

Sad news. H. Terrell Griffin passed away this week. Terry was the award-winning and best-selling author of eleven Matt Royal mysteries set on the Florida Gulf Coast island of Longboat Key and Vindication, set in The Villages in Central Florida. Terry grew up in Waycross, Georgia and Sanford, Florida. He earned degrees in history and law from Mercer University and was a board-certified civil trial lawyer based in Orlando. He served three years in the US Army, much of it as a medic in an Armored Cavalry regiment on the East German border.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: Cats

Malice Domestic: Mystery Most Edible Anthology

Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible

The 14th anthology in the Malice Domestic series will be published by Wildside Press and released during Malice 31 in May. What a great collection! Mystery Most Edible is presented by Parnell Hall and includes the following stories:

Brown Recluse by Marcia Adair
A Slice of Heaven by Laura Brennan
A Death in Yelapa by Leslie Budewitz
Pie Sisters by Richard Cass
Too Many Cooks Spoil the Murder by Lynne Ewing
Pig Lickin' Good by Debra H Goldstein
Quiche Alain by Marni Graff
Snowbirding by Kristin Kisska
The Blue Ribbon by Cynthia Kuhn
Up Day Down Day Deadly Day by Ellen Larson
The Extra Ingredient by Joan Long
Carne Diem by Sharon Lynn
Sticky Fingers by L.D. Masterson
Sushi Lessons by Edith Maxwell
Killer Chocolate Chips by Ruth McCarty
Dining Out by Rosemary McCracken
Bad Ju-Ju by M.A. Monnin
The Cremains of the Day by Josh Pachter
The Missing Ingredient for Murderous Intent by Elizabeth Perona
Canning Season by Adele Polomski
Diet of Death by Ang Pompano
Gutbombs 'N' Guinness by Lisa Preston
Turn the Sage by Stephen Rogers
Death at the Willard Hotel by Verena Rose
Deadly In-Flight Dining by Sara Rosett
Honor Thy Father by Harriette Sackler
Bring It by Terry Shames
The Gourmand by Nancy Cole Silverman
The Last Word by Shawn Reilly Simmons
Bull Dog Gravy by Mark Thielman
Morsels of the Gods by Victoria Thompson
Mrs. Beeton's Sausage Stuffing by Christine Trent
First Day of the Year by Gabriel Valjan
Murder Takes the Cupcake by Kate Willett
The Secret Blend by Stacy Woodson

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Hammett Prize Nominees 2019

The North American Branch of the International Association of Crime Writers announced  the nominees for their annual HAMMETT PRIZE for a work of literary excellence in the field of crime writing by a US or Canadian author. Congratulations to all.

The nominees: 

William Boyle, The Lonely Witness (Pegasus Crime)
Lisa Unger, Under My Skin (Park Row)
Sam Wiebe, Cut You Down (Random House Canada)
Lou Berney, November Road (William Morrow)
Robert Olen Butler, Paris in the Dark (The Mysterious Press)

Cartoon of the Day: Call Center

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Links to Agatha Short Story Nominees: Malice Domestic

I love when I can read all the short story nominations for awards, even if I am not voting. Thanks to Art Taylor for the links to the Malice Domestic Agatha Award nominated Short Stories. Some of the links are PDFS, so copy the links and place them in your browser. Congrats to all.


"All God's Sparrows"by Leslie Budewitz (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine):

"A Postcard for the Dead"by Susanna Calkins in Florida Happens (Three Rooms Press): http://www.susannacalkins.com/uploads/8/6/7/1/8671494/calkins_a_postcard_for_the_dead[1].pdf 

"Bug Appetit" by Barb Goffman (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine): http://www.barbgoffman.com/whose-wine-is-it-anyway-.html

"The Case of the Vanishing Professor"by Tara Laskowski (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine): http://taralaskowski.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Laskowski_Case_of_the_Vanishing_Professor.pdf

"English 398: Fiction Workshop"by Art Taylor (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine): http://www.arttaylorwriter.com/arttaylor/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Taylor_English398.pdf

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: The Stacks

The Frisco Detective, Or, How I came to be a Publisher of Old Stories in Brilliant New Editions: Guest Post by Mark Williams

Mark Williams:
The Frisco Detective, Or, How I came to be a Publisher of Old Stories in Brilliant New Editions 

Mark Williams here, and I should introduce myself. I’m the guy starting a publishing company to bring “lost” detective and crime stories of the late 1800s to new readers. Stories like The Frisco Detective, which has just come out as a trade paperback. My company is called Dark Lantern Tales, and here is how it came to be.

My parents were artists, and while growing up I had no other expectation than to pursue life as an artist myself. But during my one erratic year in college I became part of a bootleg underground radio station and soon was in the music business, recording music for a living.

Most of the people in my life know me from the long career I had in the recording business. Obsessively pursuing the knowledge, skill, intuition, and opportunities to make fine recordings of music was way beyond a job – it was who I was! And that was for nearly fifty years, during which time I had to evolve through many changes in the recording industry. But a couple of years ago it became obvious to me that new changes in the business were more than I was up to tackling. It was finally time to call it a day.

And that led to the question, “If I am not recording music, who am I?” Good question, and looking for a satisfying alternative, I began to imagine how I might create a publishing company to share my interest in an obscure area of literature.

Beginning as a teenager I have studied late 19th century American history and collected artifacts. Series books of that time period interested me, and I still have some of the copies I gathered in the 1960s. Over the years I further focused my interest and collecting on the more ephemeral popular fiction sold from newsstands to working folks in the 1800s. The publishing business of the latter 19th century was as seamy and chaotic as anything I experienced in the music business, and I always felt a kindred with the hard living and hard working writers who scratched out thousands of words each day with pen and ink.

After a twelve-hour day working in a recording studio somewhere, I would relax in my hotel room with a glass or two of red, and prowl the internet. I was learning and looking for rare titles I wanted. My wife, Ann, would have the boxes of my online finds for me when I got back home.

A favorite author of mine is Albert W. Aiken. Aiken was part of the stable of writers for Beadle and Adams publications and maintained a parallel career as a playwright and actor. Many of his stories feature vivid backstage scenes in sleazy theatres. I am drawing on his crime and detective novels for many of the initial releases from Dark Lantern Tales, including The Frisco Detective.

A concept came to me that people might really enjoy the low brow, high action detective stories of the 1870s-1890s if they were easy to read. There are lots of readers who like Historical Fiction, and there is new interest in Victorian era drama on TV with shows like The Alienist, Ripper Street, and Penny Dreadful. Trying to read the fragile, browned originals, or trying to read scans from computer files was OK for academics (and me) but someone on a long flight or sitting on a beach would want a convenient, modern format. Modern ebooks looked like a good place to start, print versions are coming out now, and eventually audiobooks will be available.

The Frisco Detective is the first title out as a trade paperback, and Jim Wann, our storyteller friend who has authored Pump Boys and Dinettes, Diamond Studs, and other musicals, recently wrote this:

My friend Mark Williams came to Tybee for KING MACKEREL and handed me this novel he has just edited and brought out under his banner, Dark Lantern Tales. I loved it! The crooked police chief, the beautiful woman who may or may not be on the level, the cheerful thugs with their inventive patois, the resourceful hero--all characters that fans of Hammett would encounter about 40 years on with his own Frisco detectives, Sam Spade, The Continental Op, and Ned Beaumont. Highly recommended! 

So, to answer my question from a few paragraphs ago, I am now an editor and publisher of these stories from Dark Lantern Tales. Being immersed in these old detective stories, and going through all the stages to bring them from the scarce originals to new editions, has become my new obsession. My search is for adventurous Historical Fiction readers, and I hardly miss making records at all. Welcome to the world of action-packed, ephemeral crime thrillers of the late 1800s!

P.S. What is a “Dark Lantern?” The answer is here: https://darklanterntales.wordpress.com/what-is-a-dark-lantern/

The Frisco Detective in Trade Paperback and Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=The+Frisco+Detective&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

The Frisco Detective in EPUB file for iPad, iPhone, other readers than Kindle: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/891939