Saturday, May 18, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: Cats

Happy Caturday!

CRIME MUSEUMS: International Museum Day

I'm all about holidays, and since today is International Museum Day, I thought I'd post a list of Crime-related Museums. This is not a definitive list by any means. Feel free to add your favorites or comment on Museums you've visited.

Crime Museum: Washington D.C.
This museum includes a crime lab, the filming studios for America's Most Wanted, a simulated shooting range, a high-speed police-chase, and hundreds of interactive exhibits and artifacts pertaining to America's favorite subject.

The Mob Museum, Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement — aka The Mob Museum — is an interactive museum dedicated to the history of organized crime and law enforcement. Focuses on organized crime's impact on Las Vegas history and its unique imprint on America and the world.

The Black Museum, London, England: The Black Museum of Scotland Yard is a collection of criminal memorabilia kept at the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police in London, England. Started in 1874, although unofficially, by 1875, it had become an official museum of the force, with a police inspector and a police constable assigned to duty there.

Medieval Crime and Justice Museum, Rothenberg, Germany. A leading museum of medieval crime. Torture instruments, shame punishments and more, it also houses a vast collection of seals and law books.

American Police Hall of Fame & Museum: Titusville, FL. The American Police Hall of Fame and Museum was founded in 1960. It is the nation's first national police museum and memorial dedicated to law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

New York City Police Museum

National Law Enforcement Museum. Washington, D.C.

Other Police Museums:
Cleveland Police Museum
Phoenix Police Museum
Houston Police Museum
Portland Police Museum
New Jersey State Police Museum & Learning Center
Security Forces Museum (San Antonio, TX)
Los Angeles Police Historical Society Museum & Community Education Center
Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum
International Police Museum of Southern California
Norfolk Police & Fire Rescue Museum
Police Heritage Museum, York, PA
Silver State National Peace Officers Museum, NV
National Police Museum. Delhi, India.
National Police Museum, Finland
New Zealand Police Museum
Justice and Police Museum, Sydney, Australia


International Spy Museum, Washington, D.C. The only public museum in the United States solely dedicated to espionage and the only one in the world to provide a global perspective on a profession that has shaped history and continues to have a significant impact on world events. The Museum features the largest collection of international espionage artifacts ever placed on public display.

Bletchley Park: Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, England. Home of the Codebreakers, Enigma Machines, history and more. Surely you've seen Bletchley Circle? Visited the Churchill War Rooms? Check out the website, too, and there's also a virtual tour on the Internet.

Spy Museum. Vakoilumuseo. Tampere, Finland.

James Bond Museum: Momence, IL

The James Bond Exhibit at the Dezer Collection. Miami, FL

Any favorite crime museum I've forgotten? Make a comment? Any Museum Mysteries you'll be reading today?

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Stop the Presses: The Journalist in Mystery Fiction. Guest post by R.G. Belsky

by R.G. Belsky 

I’m a mystery author who follows the old adage: write what you know. Me, I know about journalists. Not surprisingly then, the protagonist in all 12 of my mystery novels has been a journalist too. The most recent book BELOW THE FOLD comes out this month. It features TV newswoman Clare Carlson who investigates the death of a homeless woman in New York and uncovers long buried dark secrets involving rich and powerful figures.

Now a journalist isn’t that common in the mystery world crowded with PIs, cops, lawyers, amateur sleuths, etc.

One of the reasons for that is writing about a journalist is a lot more challenging than a traditional mystery protagonist. A cop or a PI can use a gun to catch the criminals. A lawyer can haul people into court. But a journalist has to use words to solve cases. And, although it might be true that the pen really is mightier than the sword, well…the sword is a lot easier to make exciting in a book than a damn pen!

But there are other authors out there besides me, most of them also current or former journalists, who have been very successful using journalists as their protagonists. In no particular order, here are a few of my favorites that come to mind:

MICHAEL CONNELLY - This one may be a surprise to some because he’s most well-known for Harry Bosch, his LA homicide detective. But one of his finest books is The Poet, which has a newspaper reporter named Jack McEvoy chasing after a serial killer. Connelly has brought McEvoy back since then, most notably in The Scarecrow. Connelly himself used to be a journalist too, as a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times. “I sometimes still think of myself as a journalist who writes books,” Connelly has said.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN - Ryan is another author who really writes about what she knows. She’s a popular TV reporter on Boston television who has won prestigious awards as an investigative journalist, and she’s the author of many terrific best-selling mystery novels set in the fictional world of TV news. Her two series feature Jane Ryland and Charlotte McNally. No question you’re getting the real scoop from behind the cameras when you read a Hank Phillippi Ryan book.

JAMES ZISKIN - I got to know Ziskin when we were on a panel together at a mystery conference talking about this very topic of journalistic protagonists. I was intrigued to find out that he wrote about a female newspaper reporter and did it in the first person, just like I’ve done in several of my novels. He writes a wonderful series about Ellie Stone, a woman far ahead of her time as a tough-talking, hard-drinking reporter for a small upstate New York newspaper in the early 1960s - long before women were taken seriously in the media.

JULIA DAHL - Dahl and I share the distinction of being alumnae of the New York Post, although from far different eras. I was the city editor there for more than a decade during the tabloid heydays of the ‘80s. Dahl worked as a street reporter much more recently, and then used that experience to create a fascinating journalistic character in Rebekah Roberts. Rebekah’s a young reporter at a New York City tabloid paper who investigates crimes in the Hasidic community where her mother came from.

BRAD PARKS – Parks is a former investigative reporter for a New Jersey newspaper who began writing mystery novels about, wait for it….an investigative reporter for a New Jersey newspaper. Parks say his fictional reporter Carter Ross came out of a quadruple murder story he once covered in Newark. I’ve had the pleasure of being on several panels at mystery conferences with Parks where we’ve talked about everything from serious investigative journalism to the origin of the famous New York Post tabloid headline HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR. He’s an interesting guy, and so are his books.

RICH ZAHRADNIK - Zahradnik is a longtime journalist at CNN and other places who writes about a New York City newspaper reporter in the ‘70s. Coleridge Taylor somehow manages to scoop the armies of reporters from all the other big city media on story after story from that turbulent era - which included such legendary events as the Son of Sam crime spree. I have a special affinity for Zahradnik’s books about 1970s New York newspapers - because I lived it as a journalist myself!

There’s a couple of other pretty notable authors out there who are ex-journalists that I want to mention here too - even if their characters aren’t usually working as actual reporters in their books.

Laura Lippman was a reporter at the Baltimore Sun and other newspapers, who created the memorable character of Tess Monaghan, a reporter who loses her job and becomes a private investigator.

And Gillian Flynn wrote for Entertainment Weekly before she got laid off and started turning out mystery thrillers - including the blockbuster Gone Girl. The two main characters, Nick and Amy Dunne, were ex-writers too who had lost their jobs, similar to her own real-life experience. And her book before that, Sharp Objects, did feature a woman newspaper reporter. “I could not have written a novel if I hadn’t been a journalist first,” she has said.

A lot of us feel that way.


R.G. Belsky is a longtime journalist and a crime fiction author in New York City. Belsky has worked as a top editor at the New York Post, the New York Daily News, Star magazine and NBC News – and covered most of the big crime stories from Son of Sam to O.J. to Jon Benet to Casey Anthony. He has also published 12 mystery novels, including his current Clare Carlson series – about a woman TV journalist. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, announced the Anthony Awards nominations. Winners will be selected at Bouchercon in Dallas, TX, October 3-November 3. Congratulations to all the nominees. See you in Dallas!


Best Novel 
Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott (Little, Brown and Company)
November Road by Lou Berney (William Morrow)
Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier (Minotaur Books)
Sunburn by Laura Lippman (William Morrow)
Blackout by Alex Segura (Polis Books)

Best First Novel
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Doubleday)
Broken Places by Tracy Clark (Kensington)
Dodging and Burning by John Copenhaver (Pegasus Books)
What Doesn’t Kill You by Aimee Hix (Midnight Ink)
Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin (Ecco)

Best Paperback Original Novel 
Hollywood Ending by Kellye Garrett (Midnight Ink)
If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin (William Morrow Paperbacks)
Hiroshima Boy by Naomi Hirahara (Prospect Park Books)
Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day (William Morrow Paperbacks)
A Stone’s Throw by James W. Ziskin (Seventh Street Books)

Best Short Story 
“The Grass Beneath My Feet” by S.A. Cosby, in Tough (blogazine, August 20, 2018)
“Bug Appétit” by Barb Goffman, in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (November/December 2018)
“Cold Beer No Flies” by Greg Herren, in Florida Happens (Three Rooms Press
“English 398: Fiction Workshop” by Art Taylor, in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (July/August 2018)
“The Best Laid Plans” by Holly West, in Florida Happens (Three Rooms Press)

Best Critical or Non-Fiction Work 
Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession by Alice Bolin (William Morrow Paperbacks)
Mastering Plot Twists: How To Use Suspense, Targeted Storytelling Strategies, and Structure To Captivate Your Readers by Jane K. Cleland (Writer’s Digest Books)
Pulp According to David Goodis by Jay A. Gertzman (Down & Out Books)
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)
The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman (Ecco)

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

Cartoon of the Day: Reading

Tuesday, May 14, 2019


The Strand Magazine announced the 2019 Strand Critics Awards. Winners will be announced this summer at a cocktail party in New York City.

Best Mystery Novel:
 Lullaby Road, by James Anderson (Crown)
 Transcription, by Kate Atkinson (Little, Brown)
 November Road, by Lou Berney (Morrow)
 Dark Sacred Night, by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)
 The Witch Elm, by Tana French (Viking)
 Sunburn, by Laura Lippman (HarperCollins)

Best Debut Mystery Novel:
 Dodging and Burning, by John Copenhaver (Pegasus)
 Star of the North, by D.B. John (Crown)
 The Other Side of Everything, by Lauren Doyle Owens (Touchstone)
 The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton 
(Sourcebooks Landmark)
 Beautiful Bad, by Annie Ward (Park Row)

The Strand also announced the recipients of its latest Lifetime Achievement Awards: Heather Graham and Donna Leon. Also named was Dominique Raccah, the publisher/CEO of Sourcebooks, as its Publisher of the Year Award.

HT: The Rap Sheet

Monday, May 13, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: Books

I relate!

LINE OF DUTY: Season 5 now on AcornTV

LINE OF DUTY’s record-setting Season 5 makes its premiere today, May 13, been added to Acorn TV. This season remains the highest rated UK program this year and the consolidated figures rose to a staggering 13.2 million UK viewers. Two-time BAFTA Award winner Anna Maxwell Martin (And Then There Were None, The Bletchley Circle, Bleak House) guest stars in the final two episodes as a top-ranking anti-corruption officer.

Acorn TV’s cop thriller LINE OF DUTY, Season 5 makes its U.S. Premiere today Monday, May 13 with all six episodes available to binge. 

FYI: AcornTV has Seasons 1 to 4 available to stream.


1) The new season is the highest-rated UK show of 2019 with 13.2 million viewers (a huge number in the UK)
2) From Jed Mercurio, the creator/writer of global sensation BODYGUARD
3) LINE OF DUTY is even better reviewethan Bodyguard with an overall series Rotten Tomatoes score of a stellar 98%
4) I love the series and I’m biased, BUT it’s beloved by critics •The New York Times Watching calls the series, “Binge-inducing television at its best... best British police show since Prime Suspect... Suspensefully plotted and wickedly well-acted... Addictive... jaw-dropping reveals” •The Guardian calls the new season a“Masterpiece... Not a scene, line or beat is wasted... instantly addictive”•Digital Spy called it, “Bloody brilliant television”
5) PERFECT BINGEing a soon-to-be post-Game of Thrones and Endgame world: Just five or six episodes a season (at 23 episodes for the first four seasons, it’s less than one US network season)
6) Stellar season-long guest stars The Walking Dead’s Lennie James in Season 1, Bodyguard’s Keeley Hawes in Season 2 and Westworld’s Emmy winner Thandie Newton in Season 4
7) Stephen Graham (Boardwalk Empire’s Al Capone) joins as the Season 5 guest star and is just as intense as ever
8) Ratings increase every season with the new season being the highest yet
9) The series is the best cop thriller on television with constant surprises and cliffhangers
10) Frequently compared to HBO’s beloved The Wire and called the antidote to Downton Abbey (The New York Times)

Saturday, May 11, 2019


CrimeFest announced their Award Winners tonight! Congratulations to all!

Audible Sounds of Crime Award:
Robert Galbraith for Lethal White, read by Robert Glenister (Hachette Audio)

eDunnit Award:
Laura Lippman for Sunburn (Faber and Faber)

Last Laugh Award:
Lynne Truss for A Shot in the Dark (Bloomsbury)

H.R.F. Keating Award:
James Sallis for Difficult Lives – Hitching Rides (No Exit Press)

Best Crime Novel for Children:
Lauren St. John for Kat Wolfe Investigates (Macmillan Children’s Books)

Best Crime Novel for Young Adults
Nikesh Shukla for Run, Riot (Hodder Children’s Books)

The Petrona Award Winner was also announced:
The Kathrarina Code by Jorn Lier Horst, translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce, published by Michael Joseph

CWA Gold Dagger 2019 Longlists

CWA Dagger 2019 Longlists were announced last night at CrimeFest.

CWA Gold Dagger 2019 Longlists

Claire Askew All the Hidden Truths (Hodder & Stoughton)
Belinda Bauer Snap (Transworld –Bantam Press)
Ray Celestin The Mobster's Lament (Pan Macmillan –Mantle)
M W Craven The Puppet Show (Little, Brown –Constable)
John Harvey Body and Sou l(Cornerstone –William Heinemann)
Christobel Kent What We Did (Little, Brown –Sphere)
Donna Leon Unto Us a Son Is Given (William Heinemann)
John Lincoln Fade to Grey (No Exit Press)
David Mark Cold Bones (Hodder & Stoughton –Mulholland Books)
Derek B. Miller American By Day (Transworld –Doubleday)
Abir Mukherjee Smoke and Ashes (Harvill Secker)
William Shaw Salt Lane (Riverrun)
Peter Swanson Before She Knew Him (Faber & Faber)
Andrew Taylor The Fire Court (Harper Collins –Harper Fiction)
Benjamin Wood A Station on the Path to Somewhere Better (Simon & Schuster UK –Scribner)

CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2019 Longlist

Megan Abbott Give Me Your Hand Pan Macmillan –Picador
Steve Cavanagh Thirteen Orion –Orion Fiction
Dan Fesperman Safe Houses Head of Zeus
Elly Griffiths The Stranger Diaries Quercus Fiction
Luke Jennings No Tomorrow John Murray
Stephen Mack Jones Lives Laid Away Soho Press –Soho Crime
Niklas Natt och Dag The Wolf and the Watchman John Murray
Khurrum Rahman Homegrown Hero Harper Collins –HQ
Holly Watt To The Lions Bloomsbury –Raven Books
Tim Willocks Memo From Turner Jonathan Cape

CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger 2019 Longlist

G D Abson –Motherland (Mirror Books)
Claire Askew –All the Hidden Truths (Hodder & Stoughton)
Alex Dahl –The Boy at the Door (Head of Zeus)
Mark Griffin –When Darkness Calls (Little, Brown –Piatkus)
Chris Hammer –Scrublands (Headline –Wildfire)
Vicky Newham –Turn A Blind Eye (HQ)
Laura Shepherd-Robinson –Blood And Sugar (Pan Macmillan –Mantle)
Catherine Steadman –Something In The Water (Simon & Schuster)
Søren Sveistrup –The Chestnut Man (Penguin Random House –Michael Joseph)
Vanda Symon –Overkill (Orenda)

CWA ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-fiction 2019 Longlist

Sue Black All That Remains (Transworld –Doubleday)
Mikita Brottman An Unexplained Death (Canongate)
Rachael Brown Trace (Scribe UK)
Claire Harman Murder by the Book (Viking)
Kirk Johnson The Feather Thief(Hutchinson)
Helena Kennedy Eve Was Shamed (Chatto & Windus)
Sarah Longford In Your Defence (Transworld -Doubleday)
Ben Macintyre The Spy and the Traitor (Viking)
Hallie Rubenhold The Five (Transworld –Doubleday)
David Wilson My Life with Murderers (Little, Brown –Sphere)

CWA International Dagger 2019 Longlist

Dov Alfon: A Long Night in Paris, translator Daniella Zamir –Maclehose Press
Karin Brynard: Weeping Waters, translators Maya Fowler & Isobel Dixon –Europa–World Noir
Gianrico Carofiglio: The Cold Summer, translator Howard Curtis –Bitter Lemon Press
Keigo Higashino: Newcomer, translator Giles Murray –Little, Brown
Håkan Nesser: The Root of Evil, translator Sarah Death –Pan Macmillan–Mantle
Cay Rademacher: The Forger, translator Peter Millar –Arcadia Books
Andrea Camilleri: The Overnight Kidnapper, translator Stephen Sartarelli –Pan Macmillan–Mantle
Kjell Ola Dahl: The Courier, translator Don Bartlett –Orenda Books
Martin Holmén: Slugger, translator A A Prime –Pushkin Vertigo
Jørn Lier Horst: The Katherina Code, translator Anne Bruce –Penguin–Michael Joseph

CWA Sapere Historical Dagger 2019 Longlist

Laura Shepherd-RobinsonBlood & SugarPan Macmillan –Mantle
S G Maclean Destroying Angel Quercus Fiction
Martin Edwards Gallows Court Head of Zeus
Abir Mukherjee Smoke and Ashes Harvill Secker
C J Sansom Tombland Pan Macmillan –Mantle
S W Perry The Angel’s Mark Corvus
Alex Reeve The House on Half Moon Street Raven Books
Jim Kelly The Mathematical Bridge Allison & Busby
Ray Celestin The Mobster’s Lament Pan Macmillan –Mantle
Liam McIlvanney The Quaker Harper Fiction

The CWA Short Story Dagger 2019 Longlist

Room Number Twoby Andrea Camilleri in ‘Death at Sea’ by Andrea Camilleri, published by Mantle

Strangers in a Pub by Martin Edwards in ‘Ten Year Stretch’, edited by Martin Edwards and Adrian Muller, published by No Exit Press

How Many Cats Have You Killed? by Mick Herronin ‘Ten Year Stretch’, edited by Martin Edwards and Adrian Muller, published by No Exit Press

Death Becomes Her by Syd Moore in ‘The Strange Casebook’ by Syd Moore, published by Point Blank Books

The Dummies’ Guide to Serial Killing by Danuta Reah in ‘The Dummies’ Guide to Serial Killing and other Fantastic Female Fables’, published by Fantastic Books

I Detest Mozart by Teresa Solana in ‘The First Historic Serial Killers’ by Teresa Solana, published by Bitter Lemon Press

Paradise Gained by TeresaSolana in ‘The First Historic Serial Killers’ by Teresa Solana, published by Bitter Lemon Press

Bag Manby Lavie Tidhar in ‘The Outcast Hours’, edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin, published by Solaris 9/10CWA

Dagger In The Library 2019
Longlist Selected by nominations from libraries.

M C Beaton
Simon Beckett
Mark Billingham
Christopher Brookmyre
John Connolly
Kate Ellis
Sophie Hannah
Graham Masterton
Denise Mina
C J Sansom
Cath Staincliffe
Jacqueline Winspear

CWA Debut Dagger 2019 Longlist
For the opening of a crime novel from a writer without a traditional publishing contract.

Shelley BurrWake
Mairi Campbell-Jack  Self-Help for Serial Killers: Let Your Creativity Bloom
Jerry Crause
The Mourning Light
Michael Fleming The Fruits of Rashness
Carol Glaser Down the Well
Catherine Hendricks Hardways
Anna Maloney The Right Man
David Smith The Firefly
Fran Smith A Thin Sharp Blade
Matthew Smith A Wolf’s Clothing

Shortlists for the Daggers will be announced in the summer and the winners will be announced at the Dagger Awards dinner in London on 24 October.

Visit for more information.

Winner of the 2019 Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement: Robert Goddard

Friday, May 10, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: Mother's Day


Mother's Day: So many Mothers in Mysteries, but the following is a sampling with emphasis on the Mother's Day Holiday. If I listed all the mysteries and crime fiction with famous and infamous mothers, the list would be way too long. This is an updated list, so let me know if I've missed any titles. Be sure and scroll down to view the Psycho Trailer with one of the most famous (infamous) 'mystery' mothers!


Angel at Troublesome Creek by Mignon F. Ballard
The Mother's Day by Peter Bartram
Mother's Day by Frankie Bow
How to Murder Your Mother-in-Law, Mum's the Word by Dorothy Cannell
Mother's Day Mayhem by Lynn Cahoon
Mother's Day Murder by Wensley Clarkson
A Holiday Sampler by Christine E. Collier
A Catered Mother's Day by Isis Crawford 
A Darkly Hidden Truth by Donna Fletcher Crow
Motherhood is Murder (Short Stories) by Mary Daheim, Carolyn Hart, Shirley Rousseau Murphy and Jane Isenberg
The Mother's Day Mishap by Kathi Daley
Murder Can Upset Your Mother by Selma Eichler
A Mother's Day Murder by Dee Ernst
Bon Bon Voyage by Nancy Fairbanks
Murder for Mother: Short Story collection, edited by Martin S. Greenberg
Murder Superior by Jane Haddam
A Gift for Mother's Day by K.C. Hardy
The Mother’s Day Murder by Lee Harris
"Pull my Paw"(short story) by Sue Ann Jaffarian
Mother's Day: A Short Story by Renée Knight  (short story)
Every Day is Mother's Day by Hilary Mantel (not exactly a mystery, but a good read)
Mother’s Day by Patricia MacDonald
Mother's Day Out by Karen MacInerney
Mother's Day by Dennis McDougal
Mother’s Day Murder by Leslie Meier
Mom, Apple Pie & Murder: A collection of New Mysteries for Mother’s Day, edited by Nancy Pickard
Mother's Day, Muffins, and Murder by Sara Rosett
Mother’s Day by Joshua Quittner and Michelle Slatalla
A Mother's Day Murder by Genevieve Scholl
Comfort Me by Debbie Viguie
Mother's Day by Ron Vincent

True Crime: 
The Mother's Day Murder by Wensley Clarkson

Who's your favorite Mother in Crime Fiction?

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: Errors Commonly Made by Inexperienced Murder-Mystery Novelists

From Tom Gauld:

How Honey Became a Character: Guest Post by L.C. Hayden


In order to understand how Honey, the dog, came to be a character in my latest thriller When Memory Fails, one must first know a bit about the story’s basic plot.

Sandy Sechrest, her boyfriend Daniel, and retired Detective Harry Bronson head for Sechrest Falls, a ghost town in Colorado, which houses an alluring ledger that the three seek. The sole resident in this ghost town is a character simply known as The Hermit.

In order for this story to work, I knew that the Hermit needed to be a strong character, one that the readers would identify with. However, when I read the first draft of When Memory Fails, the Hermit was definitely not memorable. The story needed something that would give the Hermit a boost. I considered adding another character. I quickly eliminated that idea as it would only detract from the story.

What then? I thought and thought. Then it hit me.

The Hermit would have a dog. Yes, the right type of dog would be ideal.

Once I had decided this, my next step was to create such a dog. That meant first finding the right kind of breed. I felt overwhelmed when I realized that a lot of types of breeds exist, not to mention the sub-breeds. Which one should I choose? And how could I narrow this list down?

As I’m brooding over this, my dog, a Basenji named Honey, nudged me.

I looked at her.

She nudged me again. Feed me. 

“Later,” I told her. I wanted to finish my research.

She gently hit my hand with her nose. No, now.

I glared at her. She nudged me again. I sighed and stood up. “Okay, dog, you win.” I went to the kitchen and prepared her food. For any other dog, this would be the end of the task. But not for Honey. She insists on me being present when she eats. If I simply put her food down and walk away, she will follow me and not eat. She’d rather starve. Consequently, I crossed my arms and waited until she finished eating.

Once she did, I quickly headed for my computer to finish my work. Honey ran in front of me, blocking my way. I stopped and looked at her.

Aren’t you forgetting something? her eyes seemed to ask.

I gave myself a mental tap on my forehead. Oh, yeah. Her after-dinner treat: a dental chew stick we call Greenie. Thank God she is willing to eat this by herself without me being present. I gave it to her and made a mad dash for my computer.

Minutes later, she stood by me and yelped. Basenji’s don’t bark as their ancestors used to live with the Egyptian pharaohs in their castles. Therefore, the dogs were not allowed to bark. To guarantee that there would be no barking in the castle, the king ordered the dogs’ vocal chords removed. Through generations, this breed of dogs lost their ability to bark, but they are definitely not one-hundred percent quiet. They learned to yodel and make all kinds of other noises. Thus the reason Honey yelped instead of barked. I knew what she wanted. “Let me finish this first, and then we’ll take you for your walk,” I told her.

She let out another high pitch yelp.

I ignored her.

She yelped again.

I did my darnest to ignore her.

She yelped.

I stood up. “Okay, okay, you win. I get it. You want your walk now.”

Rich, my husband, put her harness on and the three of us went for the walk. Half-an-hour later, as we headed home, I treasured the idea that Honey likes to take a nap after her walk. Good. Finally, I’ll find the time to continue editing my novel.

We reached our house, and Rich said that he was a bit tired and was also going to take a nap. Great! A picture of a quiet house danced in my head. I could finally focus on my research.

That lasted a whole five minutes.

Honey let out a loud whining, not once, but a constant sound that sent a chill running down my back. I bolted out of my chair, nearly knocking it down, and ran down the hallway and into our bedroom.

Thankfully, being hard of hearing, my husband remained sound asleep. Honey stood beside the bed by his head, looking up at him, whining.

“Honey, what’s wrong? You’re going to wake Daddy up. Hush.” I pulled her toward me.

She worked her way free and resumed her stance by Rich’s head. Once again, she whined. I grabbed her again and the entire incident repeated itself.

In spite of my efforts to keep the dog quiet, my husband woke up. He opened his eyes and looked at her. “What’s wrong, Honey? You ate, you got your treat, and your walk. What do you want?”

Honey whined.

Rich sat up on the bed.


She continued to whine.

“Do you want to play? Is that it?”

Her answer came in the form of another whine.

“Okay, okay. We’ll play.” Rich got up and reached for his shoes.

Soon as he was out of bed, the dog jumped up and occupied the same spot Rich had just vacated. She curled up and went to sleep.

Rich and I stood looking at her. She wanted his spot, and she got the spot.

I shook my head. “What a dog,” I told my husband.

Rich agreed.

I went back to work on my computer.

Now, let’s see, where was I? Oh yeah, I was about to decide on what kind of a breed the dog in my story should be. I considered the qualifications I needed for my fictional dog to have.

First of all, the dog shouldn’t be too big or too small. It had to be just the right size. An image of Honey popped in my head. I nodded. Yeah, a dog about her size would be ideal.

Second, I needed basically a quiet dog, like a Basenji. Same image popped up.


I needed a dog that had a cute personality.


I needed a dog that had a strong personality that always found a way to communicate with the humans in the story.


I shook off the images and began the research. I typed in on the Google bar dog breeds. I heard Honey gently snoring, happy that everything had gone according to her schedule.


I closed the search bar. I didn’t need to do any research. I had everything I needed here at home.

And that’s how Honey became a character in my book—and will continue to be a character in future Bronson books.

Honey. What a dog.

Read Honey’s first adventure in When Memory Fails at  
L. C. Hayden's real name is Elsie Hayden. Hayden loves writing mysteries, inspirational books, and children's picture books, although she's written other genres. She is also a popular speaker who has done presentations all over the world. She currently has three mystery series going: the Harry Bronson, the Aimme Brent, and the Connie Weaver series. The books have been finalist for the Agatha Award, the Left Coast Crime Award, Best of the Best Award, and others. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: Reply All


Friends of Mystery announced the Spotted Owl Winner. 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 Winner
Mike Lawson – House Witness (Atlantic Monthly Press)

Also Nominated
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
Martin Limon – The Line
John Straley – Baby’s First Felony
Jon Talton – The Bomb Shelter

Monday, May 6, 2019


Mystery Readers Journal: Mystery in the American South II (Volume 35:1: Spring 2019) is available now as a PDF and hardcopy. Subscriber copies have been mailed. This is the second installment of this theme. The first issue of Mystery In the American South I (Volume 34:4) is still available. Thanks to everyone who contributed to both issues.

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



  • The American South, circa 1964 by Gary Alexander
  • GRITS by Jenna Bennett
  • Fabulous Florida by Nancy J. Cohen
  • Southern Mysteries: It’s All in the History by Beverly Connor
  • The Role of Memory in Southern Mystery Fiction by John Copenhaver
  • The Heart in Conflict With Itself: The Myth of the South by J. Madison Davis
  • Religion in the Deep South by Phillip DePoy
  • Southern Porches by Tracy Dunham
  • Appalachian Love Song by Dean Feldmeyer
  • Where the Deep Waters Flow by David Fulmer
  • Chicken Fried Lit: The Southern Gothic Tradition in Crime Fiction by Richard Helms
  • Ponce de Leon by Russell Hill
  • Back from the Dead by Ed Kovacs
  • Smoky Mountain Intrigue by Deborah J Ledford
  • Writing a Cozy Mystery as a ‘deep Southerner’ by R.J. Lee
  • Hungry, Haunted, and Helplessly Imaginative by Gayle Leeson
  • Storytelling in Dixie by D.P. Lyle
  • Little Old Southern Ladies Who Wear Gumshoes by Ed Lynskey
  • Is Maryland Really in the South? by Debbi Mack
  • Judge Deborah Knott’s View of the South by Margaret Maron
  • A Yankee in the Land of Cotton by Brent Monahan
  • Make Mine a Mausoleum by M. A. Monnin
  • True Confessions of a Transplanted Yankee by Gail Oust
  • Fiction Seasoned by the South by Linda Bennett Pennell
  • Many Souths by Cathy Pickens
  • Memories of the American South Find Their Way into My Debut Novel by Ang Pompano
  • Justice with Gentility by Rosemary Poole-Carter
  • Stereotypes and Reality by Terry Shames
  • Murder, Treachery, and Heroism in the CSA by Christopher Stires
  • I’m a Hillbilly by Nancy Swing
  • Pull Up a Chair and Sit a Spell by Jane Tesh
  • A Magic Southern City by T.K. Thorne
  • And Justice for the Dead by Maggie Toussaint
  • Southern Fried Murder: Mayhem in the Old South by Robert W. Walker
  • Tapping into the Deep South’s Rich Literary Heritage by Peggy Webb
  • Hidden Under the Floorboards by Karen White
  • Murder in Retrospect: Reviews by Sandie Herron, L.J. Roberts, Dru Ann Love, and Lesa Holstine
  • The Children’s Hour: Crime Fiction in the American South by Gay Toltl Kinman
  • In Short: The Southern Regional Short Story by Marvin Lachman
  • From the Editor’s Desk by Janet A. Rudolph

Call for Memorabilia and More: Bouchercon 50!

Bouchercon 2019 (the World Mystery Convention) which will be held in Dallas, Texas, this year, October 31-November 3, and the organizers have put out a call for Memorabilia and More. Bouchercon will be 50!


We are concentrating on the history of our first fifty years. If you have and are willing to donate historical programs, bags, buttons, pictures, Anthony Awards, mementos or other articles for display, please contact Carol Puckett, Bouchercon 2019 Chair and a member of the Bouchercon National History Committee at 

Note that we are hoping to include some of these articles in an archive that we are planning to establish to continue to honor the history of Bouchercon. If you are a former Guest of Honor, Anthony Award winner, or standing committee/board chair, we would like to acknowledge and honor you in Dallas. We will have historical displays recognizing you and will pay special tribute during our convention events. 

If you have registered, thank you. If you have not registered, I would like to extend a personal invitation to do so for Bouchercon 50. We are eager to welcome every fan to Bouchercon in Dallas. If you have any questions about the Dallas Bouchercon convention, please contact us. 

Sunday, May 5, 2019


MALICE DOMESTIC announced the winners the Agatha Awards last night! Congratulations to all!

Best Contemporary Novel 
Mardi Gras Murder by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)

Best Historical Novel
The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)

Best First Novel 
Tie: A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman (Kensington)
Curses Boiled Again by Shari Randall (St. Martin's)

Best Short Story 
Tie: "All God's Sparrows" by Leslie Budewitz (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)
"The Case of the Vanishing Professor" by Tara Laskowski (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)

Best Children's/Young Adult Mystery 
Potion Problems (Just Add Magic) by Cindy Callaghan (Aladdin)

Best Nonfiction 
Mastering Plot Twists: How to Use Suspense, Targeted Storytelling Strategies, and Structure to Captivate Your Readers by Jane Cleland (Writer's Digest Books)

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine 2018 READERS AWARD

ElleryQueen Mystery Magazine Readers Award 2018

Stacy Woodson has won first place with her story “Duty, Honor, Hammett” from the November/December 2018 issue’s Department of First Stories. EQMM readers enjoyed the way the D.C.-based U.S. Army veteran combined a military setting, a suspenseful plot, and some crime-fiction history in her first professionally published tale. Stacy is also the winner of the 2017 Daphne du Maurier Award for Best Romantic Suspense in the single title, unpublished category. She contributes to Publishers Weekly and her short fiction can be found in a handful of upcoming anthologies.

Second place is Virginia translator, writer, editor, and instructor Josh Pachter, whose winning story “50” (from the November/December 2018 issue) marks a special occasion: the half-century anniversary of his first fiction publication (in our Department of First Stories), an event that occurred when he was still a teenager and made him the second-youngest author to be published in EQMM. The tale, a classical whodunit, brings back the characters from that original story and gives a nod to Ellery Queen. Josh is the editor of The Misadventures of Ellery Queen (Wildside Press) among other titles.

In third place is retired New Jersey police chief David Dean with his chilling “Sofee,” about a child seeking justice for a friend (from the March/April 2018 issue). David is a prolific short-story writer whose work has received nominations for almost all of the major mystery awards, including the Edgar. He is also a novelist (see The Thirteenth Child, The Purple Robe, and Starvation Cay), and a previous EQMM Readers Award winner (for “Ibrahim’s Eyes” in 2007).

For more information on these authors and their work, and to see the announcement of the runners up, check out our May/June 2019 issue.

HT: Kevin Tipple

Cartoon of the Day: Cats

Happy Caturday! from Off the Mark:


Shirley Jackson Awards "in recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s writing, and with permission of the author’s estate, The Shirley Jackson Awards, Inc. has been established for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantasy."

  • Everything Under, Daisy Johnson (Jonathan Cape)
  • In the Night Wood, Dale Bailey (John Joseph Adams Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Little Eve, Catriona Ward (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, an imprint of The Orion Publishing Group)
  • Social Creature, Tara Isabella Burton (Double Day/Raven Books)
  • We Sold Our Souls, Grady Hendrix (Quirk Books)
  • Judderman, DA Northwood (Gary Budden) (Dead Ink Books/Cinder House Publishing)
  • The Atrocities, Jeremy C. Shipp (
  • The Only Harmless Great Thing, Brooke Bolander (
  • The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky, John Hornor Jacobs (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • The Taiga Syndrome, Cristina Rivera Garza (Dorothy, a Publishing Project)
  • “Adriftica,” Maria Dahvana Headley (Robots vs. Fairies)
  • “Blood and Smoke, Vinegar and Ashes,” D.P. Watt (The Silent Garden)
  • Ghostographs: An Album, Maria Romasco Moore (Rose Metal Press)
  • “Help the Witch,” Tom Cox (Help the Witch)
  • “The Black Sea,” Chris Mason (Beneath the Waves – Tales from the Deep, April 2018)
  • “Back Seat,” Bracken MacLeod (Lost Highways)
  • “Hell,” David Hansen (The Charcoal Issue of Fairy Tale Review, March 2018)
  • “How to be a Horror Writer,” Tim Waggoner (Vastarien: A Literary Journal vol 1., issue 2 – Summer / Grimscribe Press)
  • “The Astronaut,” Christina Wood Martinez (Granta 142: Animalia)
  • “The Woman Dies,” Aoko Matsuda, translated from the Japanese by Polly Barton (online edition of Granta 144: genericlovestory)
  • All the Fabulous Beasts, Priya Sharma (Undertow Publications)
  • Drawn up from Deep Places, Gemma Files (Trepidatio Publishing)
  • Garden of Eldritch Delights, Lucy A. Snyder (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Quartier Perdu, Sean O’Brien (Comma Press)
  • The Human Alchemy, Michael Griffin (Word Horde)
  • Chiral Mad 4: An Anthology of Collaborations, edited by Michael Bailey and Lucy A. Snyder (Written Backwards)
  • Robots vs. Fairies, edited by Navah Wolfe and Dominik Parisien (Saga Press)
  • The Silent Garden: A Journal of Esoteric Fabulism, edited by The Silent Garden Collective (Undertow Publications)
  • This Dreaming Isle, edited by Dan Coxon (Unsung Stories)
  • Tiny Crimes: Very Short Tales of Mystery and Murder, edited by Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto (Black Balloon)

Friday, May 3, 2019


Celebrate Cinco de Mayo! Read a mystery!

The holiday of Cinco De Mayo, the 5th Of May, commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862. It's primarily a regional holiday celebrated in the Mexican state capital city of Puebla and throughout the state of Puebla, with some recognition in other parts of the Mexico, and also in U.S. cities with a significant Mexican population. It's not, as many people believe, Mexico's Independence Day, which is actually September 16.

I've blogged about Cinco de Mayo Mysteries before, but I think it's always good to run this post again -- with a few additions for those who missed it or won't take the extra step to click. :-)

This list is supplemented with Mexican mystery writers and books set in Mexico and on the Mexican-American border. Let me know any titles or authors you think should be included.

Add to your Cinco de Mayo reading pleasure with a Mexican Chocolate Celebration. Check out my other Blog, Dying for Chocolate, for recipes and suggestions of great Chocolate for Cinco de Mayo. Entrees, drinks and desserts and more desserts.  I've also posted several recipes for different versions of Mole Poblano and Mexican Chocolate Truffles (including Tequila Truffles).

Cinco de Mayo Mysteries:
The Cinco de Mayo Murder by Lee Harris
A Corpse for Cuamantla by Harol Marshall
Cinco de Mayo by Michael Martineck (science fiction/but cross-over)
Cinco de Mayhem by Ann Myers 
The Bane of Cinco de Mayo by Nathan S. Mitchell
The Cinco de Mayo Reckoning by Terry Money

And a few Mexican crime writers who set their mysteries in Mexico but not on Cinco de Mayo. They have not all been translated into English.

Mexican Crime Writers:
Paco Ignacio Taibo II The Uncomfortable Dead (and numerous other novels)
Eduardo Monteverde
Juan Hernandez Luna
Martin Solares
Elmer Mendoza
Rolo Diez
Juan Hernandez Luna
Yuri Herrera

Hardboiled Fiction on the Mexican-US Border: 
Gabriel Trujillo Munoz-known for his science fiction and literary criticism, also writes detective fiction: Mesquite Road, Tijuana City Blues
Carlos Fuentes: Cabeza de la Hidra (The Hydra Head)
Joaquin Guerrero-Casaola: The Law of the Garrotte
Sam Hawken: The Dead Women of Juarez; Tequila Sunset
Rolando Hinojosa: Partners in Crime, Ask a Policeman
Elmer Mendoza: Silver Bullets
Don Winslow: The Cartel; The Power of the Dog; The Border

Other Crime Fiction set in Mexico
Rafael Bernal: The Mongolian Conspiracy
Lili Wright: Dancing with the Tiger

Want to find out more?

Read G.J. Demko's Landscapes of Crime: Mysteries in Mexico
Read Lucha Corpi's: La Bloga on Chicana Crime Fiction: Where to?
Read an essay by Jennifer Insley "Border criminals, border crime: hard-boiled fiction on the American Frontier in Confluencia: Revista Hispanica de Cultura y Literatura

YA Literature? You Don't Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens, edited by Sarah Cortez (Arte Publico Press)

Interested in Crime for the Holidays? Check out Mystery Readers Journal, Volume 25:1.

And a fun fact: Five most popular Tequilas in the U.S.
1. Jose Cuervo
2. Patron
3. Sauza
4. Herradura
5. Cabo Wabo

And, here's one of my favorite roses: Cinco de Mayo! a repeat bloomer with a unique shape, color, and scent!