Tuesday, April 30, 2019

On Framing: Guest Post by Chris Pavone


For the past dozen years, I’ve been a professional writer. But for three decades now, I’ve been doing the following things on a regular nonprofessional basis: painting walls, framing pictures, and arranging clusters of framed pictures on walls that I painted.

Why? They’re all things that are enjoyable for me to contemplate doing in the future, and soothing while actually doing them, and satisfying afterward. I like working with paint rollers and brushes, flat and glossy, walls and trim; I like cutting matts and stringing wire and using a special tool to insert little metal points into wooden frames; I like arranging and rearranging pictures on the floor into the right pattern, then measuring and hammering, hanging and aligning. I love how it all looks when finished, and it was me who did it. This is not highly skilled work—there’s no real expertise involved—and that’s one of the things I like about it, similar to cooking daily supper for my family: the main requirement is merely a willingness to chop onions.

But why do I like doing some things with my hands—brushwork on crown molding, dicing carrots—but dislike others? I think it’s related to the sorts of the sorts of things I like to do with my mind.

Not only do I love real-world physical framing. I also love imaginary stories about framing—I love reading them, and I love writing them.

In THE PARIS DIVERSION, I tried to create layers of framing: within the story, where characters make one another look guilty of things they’re not; and also as a reading experience, making readers question who’s innocent, and who’s guilty, and of what. I tried to construct each character within similar frames (as a parent, and as a professional, and as an American in Paris), and then arranged those individual pieces into a pattern that when finished looks clean and elegant, all set against what I hope is a beautiful backdrop that I very carefully painted—

Wait a second: am I talking about the book, or the wall?

I also love crossword puzzles, boxed into their own frames, which I’ve also been doing for more than thirty years, beginning when I’d lounge on my university’s arts quad with the Daily Sun. In New York, my first full-time permanent job was as an editorial assistant at Dell Puzzle Magazines, which published mostly crosswords. For my whole adult life, I’ve been doing the Times puzzle religiously (in ink, thank you very much), partly because I enjoy it, also because it’s a fantastic exercise for my brain, not just figuring out the puzzle, but also exercising language muscles generally—vocabulary, synonyms, puns, double entendres. The crossword is like going to the gym, for the brain.

My favorite sort of puzzle is one that tricks me on two levels. With individual clues that set me up to think the answer is going to be one sort of word or phrase, but turns out to be something different. And with an overall theme that begs this question throughout the solving experience: what exactly is going on here? In a good puzzle, my first guess is almost never the right one. Nor the second. The more wrong guesses, the more fun, and the more satisfaction from the eventual solution.

Which is exactly the same sort of pleasure as reading a story about framing, the tension of not knowing what’s really going on, the fun of guessing again and again, readjusting your guesses to accommodate new clues, the excitement as you near the solution, and the eventual satisfaction of finally knowing everything, that moment when you can see the whole puzzle’s solution, every element in place, hanging right there, deftly arranged on that perfectly painted wall.

Photo Above: My wall of black-and-white wall with red in the middle, including a very old map of New York and another of Paris, various 19th-century works on paper, one photo of the kids and one of our first dog Charlie Brown, a piece of charred paper picked up downtown after 9/11, a few mid-century etchings by a distant relative, a vintage photo and a contemporary one and one excised from a damaged book, a Raymond Pettibon drawing and, the red bull’s eye, Steven Sorman’s 1978 collage “Letter to Matisse.”


CHRIS PAVONE is the New York Times–bestselling author of the international thrillers The Expats, winner of the Edgar and Anthony awards for best first novel, The Accident, The Travelers, and most recently The Paris Diversion.

Cartoon of the Day: Maypole

Sunday, April 28, 2019

BOOKSTORE MYSTERIES: Independent Bookstore Day

I totally forgot to post my list of Bookstore Mysteries for Independent Bookstore Day. This list is incomplete, and I invite you to comment below with missing titles. Mystery Readers Journal has had several issues dedicated to Bibliomysteries that have included Bookstore Mysteries. Don't forget to buy a book (or two or ten) at your local independent bookstore!


Kathy Aarons: Death is Like a Box of Chocolates
Victoria Abbott: The Christie Curse
Ellery Adams: The Secret, Book & Scone Society
Laura Alden: Murder at the PTA; Plotting at the PTA, Foul Play at the PTA, Curse of the PTA, Poison at the PTA
Garrison Allen: Desert Cat, Roayl Cat, Stable Cat, Baseball Cat, Dinosaur Cat
Esmahan Aykol: Hotel Bosphorus, Baksheesh, Divorce Turkish Style
Lorna Barrett: Murder on the Half Shelf, Murder is Binding, Bookmarked for Death, Bookplate Special, Chapter and Hearse, Sentenced to Death, Not the Killing Type, Book Clubbed, A Fatal Chapter, Title Wave, A Just Cause
Mikkel Birkegaard: The Library of Shadows
Lawrence Block: Burglars Can't be Choosers, The Burglar in the Closet, The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling, The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza, The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian, The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams, The Burglar Who Thought He was Bogart, The Burglar in the Library, The Burglar in the Rye, The Burglar on the Prowl, The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons
Michael Bowen: Washington Deceased, Faithfully Executed, Corruptly Procured, Worst Case Scenario, Collateral Damage
Ali Brandon: Double Booked for Death, A Novel Way to Die, Words with Fiends, Literally Murder, Plot Boiler, Twice Told Tail
Jon Breen: The Gathering Place, Touch of the Past
V. M. Burns: The Plot is Murder; Read Herring Hunt, The Novel Art of Murder; Wed, Read and Dead (May 2019)
Lynn Cahoon: Guidebook to Murder
Liam Callanan: Paris by the Book
Kate Carlisle: Homicide in Hardcover
John Connolly: The Museum of Literary Souls
Cindy Daniel: Death Warmed Over...Coming Soon, A Family Affair
Vicki Delany: Body on Baker Street; Elementary, She Reads,  The Cat of the Baskervilles
Kathi Daley: Romeow and Juliet
John Dunning: Booked to Die, The Bookman's Wake, The Bookman's Promise, The Sign of the Book, The Bookwoman's Last Fling
Lauren Elliott: Murder by the Book
Alex Erickson: Death by Coffee; Death by Tea, Death by Pumpkin Spice, Death by Vanilla Latte, Death by Eggnog, Death by Espresso
Amanda Flowers:  Crime and Poetry; Prose and Cons; Murders and Metaphors
Bruce Graeme: Seven Clues in Search of a Crime, House with Crooked Walls, A Case for Solomon, Work for the Hangman, Ten Trails to Tyburn, And a Bottle of Rum, Dead Pigs at Hungry Farm
Carolyn Hart: Death on Demand, Design for Murder, Something Wicked, Honeymoon with Murder, A Little Class on Murder, Deadly Valentine, The Christie Caper,  Southern Ghost, The Mint Julep Murder, Yankee Doodle Dead, White Elephant Dead, Sugar Plum Dead, April Fool Dead  Engaged To Die, Murder Walks the Plank, Death of the Party, Dead Days of Summer, Death Walked In, Dare To Die, Laughed ’Til He Died, Dead by Midnight, Death Comes Silently; Dead, White, and Blue; Death at the Door, Don’t Go Home, Walking on My Grave, Death on Demand
Joan Hess: Strangled Prose, The Murder at the Murder at the Mimosa Inn, Dear Miss Demeanor,  A Really Cute Corpse, A Diet to Die For, Roll Over and Play Dead,  Death by the Light of the Moon, Poisoned Pins, Pickled to Death, Busy Bodies, Closely Akin to Murder;  A Holly, Jolly Murder ; A Conventional Corpse, Out on a Limb, The Goodbye Body, Damsels in Distress, Mummy Dearest, Deader Homes and Gardens, Murder as a Second Language, Pride v. Prejudice
Alice Kimberly (Cleo Coyle): The Ghost of Mrs McClure; The Ghost and the Dead Deb, The Ghost and the Dead Man's Library; The Ghost and the Femme Fatale, The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion; The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller,
Allison Kingsley: Mind Over Murder, A Sinister Sense, Trouble Vision, Extra Sensory Deception
Essie Lang: Trouble on the Books
Josh Lanyon: Fatal Shadows, A Dangerous Thing, The Hell You Say, Death of a Pirate King, The Dark Tide
Marianne MacDonald: Death's Autograph,  Ghost Walk, Smoke Screen, Road Kill, Blood Lies; Die Once, Three Monkeys, Faking It
T. J. MacGregor: The Hanged Man,  Black Water, Total Silence, Category Five, Cold as Death
Russell D. McLean: Ed's Dead
Molly MacRae: Plaid and Plagiarism, Scones and Scoundrels
Elizabeth C. Main: Murder of the Month, No Rest for the Wicked
Christine Matthews (w/Robert Randisi); Murder is the Deal of the Day, The Masks of Auntie Laveau, Same Time, Same Murder
Terrie Farley Moran: Well Read, Then Dead; Caught Read-Handed, Read to Death
Walter Mosley: Fearless Jones, Fear Itself, Fear of the Dark
Otto Penzler, ed.: Bibliomysteries (2 volumes): Short Stories
Bill Petrocelli: Through the Bookstore Window
Mark Pryor: The Bookseller series  (multiple titles)
Kym Roberts: Fatal Fiction
Paige Shelton: The Cracked Spine; Lost Books and Old Bones; A Christmas Tartan
Sheila Simonson: Larkspur, Skylark, Mudlark, Meadowlark, Malarkey
Robin Sloan: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Matthew J. Sullivan: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
Carolyn Wells: Murder in the Bookshop
Gayle Wigglesworth: Tea is for Terror, Washington Weirdos, Intrigue in Italics, Cruisin' for a Brusin', Malice in Mexico
T.E. Wilson: Mezcalero
M.K. Wren: Curiosity Didn’t Kill the Cat; A Multitude of Sins, Oh Bury Me Not, Nothing's Certain by Death, Seasons of Death, Wake Up, Darlin’ Corey, Dead Matter,  King of the Mountain
Carlos Ruiz Zafron: The Shadow of the Wind

Friday, April 26, 2019


The 2019 Petrona Award Shortlist for Best Translated Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year
The winning novel will be announced at CrimeFest in Bristol.


The Ice Swimmer, by Kjell Ola Dahl, translated by Don Bartlett (Orenda Books; Norway)
The Whisperer, by Karin Fossum, translated by Kari Dickson (Harvill Secker; Norway)
The Katharina Code, by Jørn Lier Horst, translated by Anne Bruce (Michael Joseph; Norway)
The Darkness, by Ragnar Jónasson, translated by Victoria Cribb (Penguin Random House; Iceland)
Resin, by Ane Riel, translated by Charlotte Barslund (Doubleday; Denmark)
Big Sister, by Gunnar Staalesen, translated by Don Bartlett (Orenda Books; Norway)  

HT: The Rap Sheet

Thursday, April 25, 2019


Mystery Writers of America announced the Winners of the 2019 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2018. Congratulations to all!

Down the River Unto the Sea by Walter Mosley (Hachette Book Group - Mulholland)

Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin (HarperCollins Publishers - Ecco)

If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)

Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge First and the Rise of Gay Liberation by Robert W. Fieseler (W.W. Norton & Company - Liveright)

Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s by Leslie S. Klinger (Pegasus Books)

“English 398: Fiction Workshop” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Art Taylor (Dell Magazines)

Otherwood by Pete Hautman (Candlewick Press)

Sadie by Courtney Summers (Wednesday Books)

“The One That Holds Everything” – The Romanoffs, Teleplay by Matthew Weiner & Donald Joh (Amazon Prime Video)


“How Does He Die This Time?” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Nancy Novick (Dell Magazines)
The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (Soho Press – Soho Crime)

Shell Game by Sara Paretsky (HarperCollins – William Morrow)

Martin Cruz Smith


Marilyn Stasio


Linda Landrigan, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

Cartoon of the Day: Fitbit

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Tuesday, April 23, 2019



How did you get into mysteries? What led you to the genre, and what led you to love it?

For some, it might have been Sherlock Holmes. For others a classic movie, like Laura, or The Third Man, or Vertigo, or a TV show, like Columbo, or Peter Gunn, or Murder She Wrote. For an awful lot of people, it might have been reading about Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys as kids.

My gateway drug to the mystery genre was a comic strip to which I was introduced before I could even read. Every Sunday, my dad would read me the Sunday comics, and one of my favorites, perhaps my very favorite, was Dick Tracy.

From Tracy, I graduated to Holmes, to Perry Mason, to Sam Spade and the Continental Op, to Gideon of the Yard, the 87th Precinct, James Bond, Phil Marlowe, and Mike Hammer. But Tracy was my introduction to the genre, the reason I became a mystery fan, and, eventually a mystery writer.

In fact, it’s likely that Tracy had some influence on my non-writing career, too. Of course, having a lot of cops in my family had its effect, but, in my heart of hearts, when I first pinned on a badge, it was Dick Tracy I was trying to emulate.

So when, some years after moving to Chicago (Dick Tracy’s City, though this is never explicitly stated), I was offered the chance to be part of the team that put the strip out, of course I jumped at the chance.

When, upon the retirement of Dick Locher, the Pulitzer-winning cartoonist who had illustrated the strip since 1983, and written it since 2005, Mike Curtis was hired to write the strip, and Joe Staton to illustrate it, Mike brought me in as the strip’s police technical advisor, which meant that, among other things, I would write the copy for the weekly “Crimestoppers Textbook” panel.

 I’ve since left the strip, but was recently invited back as a guest writer.

Mike Curtis likes to try new things, and he had the idea of interspersing the long, complex storylines that play out over several months, with occasional short sequences in which guest writers and artists would have a chance to take a crack at the iconic character in the medium in which he was first introduced to the world.

Mike calls them “Minit Mysteries,” storylines that play out in only a week or two, “fair-play whodunits” (in contrast to the longer storylines, which are typically pursuits, with the villain known to the audience) in which readers are invited to compete with Tracy in figuring out the correct solution.

He based the notion on the “Minute Mysteries” that used to appear as back-up features in the last few pages of the old Dick Tracy Monthly comic book. The regular stories in DTM were reprints of the newspaper strip, reconfigured to fit a comic book page. But the “Minute Mysteries,” sometimes featuring Tracy, sometimes another sleuth such as “The Count” or clues-spotting legal secretary Myra Wilson, were original stories, created specifically for the comic book. Here’s an example from a 1949 issue of Dick Tracy Monthly.

Naturally, I jumped at the chance to write a story about the character who introduced me to the genre we all love, one that would appear in newspapers all across the world. Potentially, it might give me a wider readership than any other story I’d ever written.

Aside from that, it would put me in heady company. Last year I had a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, “The Adventure of the Manhunting Marshal,” published in Sherlock Holmes – Consulting Detective, Vol. 11 (Airship 27, 2018). Writing about the two most famous detectives in fiction would put me on a very short list. In fact, the only other writer I know of who has done this is the late and legendary Edward D. Hoch.

My “Minit Mystery” is called “The Occam’s Razor Case,” and in it, Tracy is being interviewed by a pair of writers who are collaborating on a biography of the square-jawed cop, Patrick Culhane (who looks an awful lot like Max Allan Collins, another one-time Tracy writer) and Austin Black (a fictional counterpart for A. Brad Shwartz, who collaborated with Al on a biography of Eliot Ness). In the course of the interview, Tracy reminisces about his tenure, early in his law enforcement career, as the reform police chief of a gangster-ridden suburb called “Homeville” (a fictional analog for Cicero, IL). He recounts to the two writers the story of how he had to solve a puzzling cop-killing. The issue wasn’t who killed Officer Adrienne Hart. She was murdered by a contract killer named Rev O. Lucian, a professional assassin who specializes in cops (a target most hit men avoid like the plague).

The mystery is trying to figure out who hired Lucian.

The sequence begins Sunday, 28 April 2019, and runs through Sunday, 12 May 2019. 

If your paper doesn’t happen to carry Tracy, you can follow the story on the Internet here:


The one mystery Tracy can’t solve? How can a “Minute Mystery” (or “Minit” to use Mike’s preferred spelling) last two weeks?


By the way, while I’ve got your attention, my first novel, An Obscure Grave (Pro Se Press, 2018) is still getting five-star reviews over at Amazon. If you’ve got Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free.

Cartoon of the Day: World Book Day

Happy World Book Day!

Monday, April 22, 2019

EARTH DAY 2019: Environmental & Ecological Mysteries

Earth Day 2019

Earth Day! Today the world considers climate change, environmental issues, and how we can save our planet. At least I hope we do. Living in Berkeley, this is a daily concern, and it should be with everyone everywhere. A few years ago I started posting a list of environmental/ecological mysteries. The list has grown. Crime fiction is an excellent way to make readers aware of issues.  So for Earth Day 2019, I have an updated Earth Day/Environmental Mysteries list.  There are many more authors, and certainly more books by many of the authors on the list. As always, I welcome additions. I took a few liberties on the list, too, but I think they all fall under the umbrella of environmental mysteries. Scroll down for a second list that deals exclusively with Drowned Towns aka Reservoir Noir.

Mystery Readers Journal had an issue on Environmental Mysteries. It's available as a PDF. This is a great source for more titles.

Be kind to the Earth. It's the only one we have.


Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang' Hayduke Lives!
P.D. Abbey's H2Glo
Liz Adair's Snakewater Affair
Glyyn Marsh Alam's Cold Water Corpse; Bilge Water Bones
Grace Alexander's Hegemon 
Lou Allin's Northern Winters Are Murder; Blackflies Are Murder: Memories Are Murder
Suzanne Arruda's Stalking Ivory
Sarah Andrews' Em Hansen Mystery series
Lindsay Arthur's The Litigators
Anna Ashwood-Collins' Deadly Resolution; Red Roses for a Dead Trucker
Sandi Ault's Wild Inferno; Wild Indigo; Wild Penance; Wild Sorrow
Shannon Baker's Tainted Mountain; Broken Trust; Tattered Legacy; Skies of Fire
J. G. Ballard's Rushing to Paradise
Michael Barbour's The Kenai Catastrophe; Blue Water, Blue Island
Nevada Barr's Track of the Cat; Ill Wind; Borderline; and others
Lee Barwood's A Dream of Drowned Hollow?
Pamela Beason's Sam Westin wildlife biologist series
Robert P. Bennett's Blind Traveler's Blues
William Bernhardt's Silent Justice
Donald J Bingle's GreensWord
Michael Black's A Killing Frost 
Jennifer Blake's Shameless
C J Box's Winterkill; Open Season; Below Zero; Savage Run; Out of Range; Trophy Hunt; Free Fire; In Plain Sight
Lisa Brackmann's Hour of the Rat
Alex Brett's Dead Water Creek
Tobias S. Buckell's Artic Rising
James Lee Burke's Creole Belle
Rex Burns' Endangered Species
Chester Campbell's The Surest Poison
Robin Cook's Fever
Donna Cousins' Landscape
Ann Cleeves' Another Man's Poison
Eileen Charbonneau Waltzing in Ragtime
Anna Ashwood Collins's Metamorphis for Murder; Deadly Resolutions
Dawn Corrigan's Mitigating Circumstances
Peter Corris's Deep Water
Donna Cousin's Landscape
Michael Crichton's State of Fear
James Crumley's Dancing Bear
Janet Dawson's Don't Turn Your Back on the Ocean
Barbara Delinsky's Looking for Peyton Place
Lionel Derrick's Death Ray Terror
William Deverell's April Fool
Karen Dionne's Boiling Point; Freezing Point
Paul Doiron's The Poacher's Son; Trespasser; Bad Little Falls; The Bone Orchard and others
David Michael Donovan's Evil Down in the Alley
Mark Douglas-Home's The Sea Detective
Rubin Douglas' The Wise Pelican: From the Cradle to the Grave
Jack Du Brul's Vulcan's Forge; River of Ruin; and others
Robert Dugoni & Joseph Hilldorfer's Cyanide Canary
Toni Dwiggins' Badwater
Kerstin Ekman's Blackwater
Aaron J Elkins' The Dark Place; Unnatural Selection
Howard Engel's Dead and Buried
Kathleen Ernst's High Stakes in a Great Lake
Eric C. Evans' Endangered
Nancy Fairbanks's Acid Bath; Hunting Game; and others 
Cher Fischer's Falling into Green
Bill Fitzhugh's Pest Control; The Exterminators
Mary Flodin's The Death of the Gecko
G M Ford's Who in Hell is Wanda Fuca?
Clare Francis's The Killing Winds (Requiem)
Jamie Freveletti's Dead Asleep 
Sara Hoskinson Frommer's Death Climbs a Tree
Jean Craighead George's The Missing 'Gator of Gumbo Limbo; Who Really Killed Cock Robin?; The Case of the Missing Cutthroats (young readers)
Matthew Glass's Ultimatum
Kenneth Goddard's Double Blind; Prey; Wildfire
Chris Goff's A Rant of Ravens; Death of a Songbird; A Nest in the Ashes
Steven Gould and Laura J. Mixon's Greenwar
Alexander M. Grace's Hegemon
Scott Graham's Mountain Rampage, Yellowstone Standoff
Robert O. Greer's The Devil's Hatband
John Grisham's The Pelican Brief; The Appeal; The Litigators
Beth Groundwater's Deadly Currents; Wicked Eddies
Elizabeth Gunn's Eleven Little Piggies
Jean Hager's Ravenmocker
William Hagard's The Vendettists
James W. Hall's Bones of Coral
Patricia Hall's The Poison Pool
Joseph Hall's Nightwork
Karen Hall's Unreasonable Risk, Through Dark Spaces
Matt Hammond's Milkshake
Sue Henry's Termination Dust
Robert Herring's McCampbell's War
Joseph Heywood's Blue Wolf in Green Fire, Ice Hunter, Chasing a Blond Moon
Carl Hiaasen's Skinny Dip; Stormy Weather; Sick Puppy; Strip Tease; Scat; Star Island
Tony Hillerman's The Blessing Way
Tami Hoag's Lucky's Lady
John Hockenberry's A River out of Eden
Peter Hoeg's Smilla's Sense of Snow
John Holt's Hunted
Dave Hugelschaffer's Day into Night, One Careless Moment
Judy Hughes' The Snowmobile Kidnapping
Mary Ellen Hughes' A Taste of Death
Dana Andrew Jennings' Lonesome Standard Time
Sylvia Kelso's The Solitaire Ghost; The Time Seam
Emily Kimelman's Unleashed
M.T. Kingsley's With Malicious Intent
Linda Kistler's Cause for Concern
Lisa Kleinholz's Dancing with Mr. D. 
Bill Knox's The Scavengers, Devilweed, and others in the Webb Carrick series
Dean Koontz's Icebound
William Kent Krueger's "Cork O'Connor" series
Janice Law's Infected Be the Air
Leena Lehtolainen's Fatat Headwind
Stephen Legault's The Darkening Archipelago
Donna Leon's Death in a Strange Country; About Face; Earthly Remains
David Liss' The Ethical Assassin
Sam Llewellyn's Deadeye
Charles & Lidia LoPinto's Countdown in Alaska; Nukes
Robert Lopresti's Greenfellas
Jim Lynch's The Highest Tide
John D MacDonald's Barrier Island (and other titles)
Ross Macdonald's Sleeping Beauty
Jassy Mackenzie's The Fallen
Larry Maness' Once a Perfect Place
Elizabeth Manz's Wasted Space
John Marsden's A Killing Frost
Margaret Maron's High Country Fall, Shooting at Loons, Up Jumps the Devil, Hard Row
John Martel's Partners
Steve Martini's Critical Mass
John McGoran's Drift, Deadout, Dust Up
Karin McQuillan's Deadly Safari, Cheetah Chase, Elephant's Graveyard
Anne Metikosh's Undercurrent 
Deon Meyer's Blood Safari, Thirteen Hours
Shanon Michaud's Still Water
Penny Mickelbury's What Could Be More Than Dead?
Kirk Mitchell's High Desert Malice, Deep Valley Malice
Laura J. Mixon & Steven Gould's Greenwar
Skye Kathleen Moody's Blue Poppy, and other Venus Diamond mysteries
C. George Muller's Echoes in the Blue
Marcia Muller's Cape Perdido
Judith Newton's Oink
Michael Norman's Skeleton Picnic
Dan O'Brien's Brendan Prairie
Michael Palmer's Fatal
Sara Paretsky's Blood Shot
Brad Parks' The Player
T. Jefferson's Parker's Pacific Beat
Cathy Pickens' Southern Fried
Carl Posey's Bushmaster Fall
David Poyer's As the Wolf Loves Winter, Winter in the Heart
Katherine Prairie's Thirst
Kwei Quartey's Murder at Cape Three Points
Peter Ralph's Dirty Fracking Business
Bob Reiss's Purgatory Road
Ruth Rendell's Road Rage 
Geoffrey Robert's The Alo Release
Carolyn Rose's An Uncertain Refuge
Leonard Rosen's The Tenth Witness
Rebecca Rothenberg's The Shy Tulip Murders; The Bulrush Murder
Patricia Rushford's Red Sky in the Mourning
Alan Russell's The Forest Prime Evil 
Kirk Russell's Shell Games
Nick Russell's Big Lake Blizzard
Brenda Seabrook's The Dragon That Slurped the Green Slime Swamp (Children's)
Frank Schätzing's The Swarm
L.J. Seller's Crimes of Memory
Barry Siegel's Actual Innocence
Sheila Simonson's An Old Chaos 
Jessica Speart's Bird Brained, Blue Twilight, Gator Aide, Tortoise Soup
Dana Stabenow's A Cold Day for Murder, A Deeper Sleep, A Fine and Bitter Snow, Midnight Come Again, A Taint in the Blood, and many others
John Stanley's The Woman Who Married a Bear, The Curious Eat Themselves, 
Neal Stephenson's Zodiac
Mark Stevens' Buried by the Roan 
David Sundstrand's Shadow of the Raven
William Tapply's Cutter's Run
Peter Temple's The Broken Shore
Craig Thomas's A Wild Justice
Antti Tuomainen's The Healer
Judith Van Gleson's "Neil Hamel" series
David Rains Wallace's The Turquoise Dragon
Lee Wallingford's Clear-Cut Murder
Joseph Wambaugh's Finnegan's Week
Sterling Watson's Deadly Sweet
Betty Webb's Desert Wind 
Randy Wayne White's White Captiva
Robert Wilson's Blood is Dirt
K.J.A. Wishnia's The Glass Factory; 23 Shades of Black
John Yunker's The Tourist Trail

Reservoir Noir
Crime Fiction that deals with intentional flooding of towns and villages because of building dams and reservoirs for water supply, irrigation, power and other reasons--a sad addition to the environmental crime fiction list.

Alan Dipper's Drowning Day
Eileen Dunlop's Valley of the Deer (YA)
Lee Harris's Christening Day Murder
Reginald Hill's On Beulah Height
Donald James' Walking the Shadows
James D. Landis' The Talking (Artist of the Beautiful)
Jane Langton's Emily Dickenson is Dead
Julia Wallis Martin's A Likeness in Stone
Sharyn McCrumb's Zombies of the Gene Pool
Michael Miano's The Dead of Summer
Ron Rash's One Foot in Eden
Rick Riordan's The Devil Went Down to Austin
Peter Robinson's In a Dry Season
Lisa See's Dragon Bones
Paul Somers' Broken Jigsaw
Julia Spencer-Fleming's Out of the Deep I Cry
Donald Westlake's Drowned Hopes
John Morgan Wilson's Rhapsody in Blood
Robert Wilson's Blood is Dirt
Stuart Woods's Under the Lake

Let me know any other titles you think should be included.

Friday, April 19, 2019


Even if you don't live in Norway where Paskekrim (Easter Crime Fiction) is a crime fiction Easter Holiday tradition, you can enjoy reading some great mysteries that take place at Easter.  

To find out more about Paskekrim that takes place over 5 days from Holy Thursday through Easter Monday, when the country is caught up in watching and reading murder mysteries and detective series and publishers bring out their latest crime fiction, click here.

My Easter Crime Fiction list has been expanded from last year, and, as always, I welcome any additions. I've also added some Good Friday mysteries, rounding out the weekend.


Antiques Bizarre by Barbara Allan
Ship of Danger by Mabel Esther Allan
Aunt Dimity: Detective by Nancy Atherton
Bunny Donuts and a Body by Cindy Bell
Death and the Easter Bunny by Linda Berry
Easter Weekend by David Bottoms
In a Gilded Cage by Rhys Bowen 
The Last Enemy by Grace Brophy
Wycliffe and the Last Rites by W.J. Burley
The Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha by JoAnna Carl
Papa la-Bas by John Dickson Carr
Eggs in a Casket; Steak and Eggs; Eggs on Ice; Eggs in Purgatory; Egg Drop Dead by Laura Childs
Do You Promise Not To Tell? by Mary Jane Clark
Easter Buried Eggs by Lyndsey Cole
Little Easter by Reed Farrel Coleman
A Holiday Sampler by Christine E. Collier
Last Easter by Caroline Conklin
Absolute Certainty by Rose Connors
Murder on Good Friday by Sara Conway
Holy Terrors by Mary R. Daheim
Big Bunny Bump Off, Easter Escapade, Hippity Hoppity Homicide by Kathi Daley
Death of a Harlequin by Mary-Jane Deeb
The House of Death by Paul Doherty
Cue the Easter Bunny by Liz Evans
Death at the Wheel by Kate Flora
Lord James Harrington and the Easter Mystery by Lynn Florkiewicz
Toxic Toffee; Criminally Cocoa by Amanda Flower
Mrs. Pollifax, Innocent Tourist by Dorothy Gilman
Deadly Sin by P.J. Grady
Precious Blood by Jane Haddam
Chocolat by Joanne Harris
The Good Friday Murder by Lee Harris 
Server Down by J.M. Hayes
Semana Santa by David Hewson
Killer Easter Pie by Carolyn Q Hunter
Eggsecutive Orders by Julie Hyzy
Easter Murders by Bryant Jackson & Edward Meadows
Death of a Dumb Bunny by Melanie Jackson
Murder on the Eightfold Path by Diana Killian
Bunny Drop by Linda Kozar
Chef Maurice and the Bunny-Boiler Bake Off by J.A. Lang
Do Not Exceed the Stated Dose (short stories) by Peter Lovesey
Dyeing Season by Karen Macinerney
Pagan Spring by G. M. Malliet
Some Like It Lethal by Nancy Martin
Easter Bunny Murder by Leslie Meier
Devil's Door by Sharan Newman
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
The Wolf and the Lamb by Frederick Ramsey
Death at the Spring Plant Sale by Ann Ripley
The Baritone Wore Chiffon; The Soprano Wore Falsettos by Mark Schweizer
Easter's Lily by Judy Serrano
Prey on Patmos by Jeffrey Siger
Tourist Trap by Julie Smith
Out of the Deep I Cry by Julia Spencer-Fleming
And Four To Go includes "The Easter Parade" aka The Easter Parade Murder" by Rex Stout
Nickeled-and-Dimed to Death by Denise Swanson
The Quarry by Johan Theorin
Midnight at the Camposanto by Mari Ulmer
The Lord is My Shepherd by Debbie Viguie
The Blind Man of Seville by Robert Wilson
The Easter Egg Murder by Patricia Smith Wood

Short Story: "The Man on the Cross" by Bill Crider from the collection Thou Shalt Not Kill, edited by Anne Perry."The Rabbit Died" by Sue Ann Jaffarian.

Looking for Easter Chocolate to eat while reading? Stop by my other Blog, DyingforChocolate.com for some great Chocolate Easter Recipes and the History and Culture of the Chocolate Easter Bunny.

Look Magazine, April 16, 1957

Thursday, April 18, 2019

National Library Week: I want to be a Librarian

So this is National Library Week. I love this Vintage Children's Book.

I'm not sure I wanted to be a Librarian, but I am sure I wanted to go to the Library as much as possible. In order to get a library card, my library insisted that the patron be able to write his/her name. Since I read before I could write, I asked my big sister Judie to teach me to write my name. I practiced until I got it right, and I was finally to get my library card when I was four. I was already reading, but mostly the books my sister chose or books she owned. How exciting to have my own card that opened the world of books to me. My plan was to start at "A" and work my way through the alphabet. I was too young to know that was futile, but for some reason I'm still trying.....

ARTHUR ELLIS AWARDS SHORTLISTS for Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing

2019 Arthur Ellis Awards Shortlists for Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing

The annual Arthur Ellis Awards by Crime Writers of Canada recognizes the best in mystery, crime, and suspense fiction and crime nonfiction by Canadian authors. Winners will be announced on May 23rd at the Arthur Ellis Awards Gala in Toronto. 

Ron Corbett,
Cape Diamond, ECW Press
Anne Emery,
Though the Heavens Fall, ECW Press
Lisa Gabriele,
The Winters, Doubleday Canada
Louise Penny,
Kingdom of the Blind, Minotaur Books
Loreth Anne White,
The Girl in the Moss, Montlake Romance

BEST FIRST CRIME NOVEL (Sponsored by Rakuten Kobo)
A.J. Devlin,
Cobra Clutch, NeWest Press
Helen C. Escott,
Operation Wormwood, Flanker Press
Beverley McLachlin,
Full Disclosure, Simon & Schuster Canada 

Bill Prentice, Why Was Rachel Murdered?, Echo Road
Nathan Ripley,
Find You in the Dark, Simon & Schuster Canada

BEST CRIME NOVELLA The Lou Allin Memorial Award
Melodie Campbell,
The B-Team: The Case of the Angry First Wife, Orca Book Publishers 

Vicki Delany, Blue Water Hues, Orca Book Publishers
John Lawrence Reynolds,
Murder Among the Pines, Orca Book Publishers

BEST CRIME SHORT STORY (Sponsored by Mystery Weekly Magazine) 
Melodie Campbell, A Ship Called Pandora, Mystery Weekly Magazine  
Therese Greenwood, The Power Man, Baby It's Cold Outside, Coffin Hop Press 
Twist Phelan, Game, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
Linda L. Richards, Terminal City, Vancouver Noir, Akashic Books
Sam Wiebe,
Wonderful Life, Vancouver Noir, Akashic Books

Jean-Philippe Bernié,
Un dernier baiser avant de te tuer, Libre Expression 

Hervé Gagnon, Adolphus - Une enquête de Joseph Laflamme, Libre Expression 
André Jacques, Ces femmes aux yeux cernés, Éditions Druide
Guillaume Morissette,
Deux coups de pied de trop, Guy Saint-Jean Éditeur 

Johanne Seymour, Rinzen la beauté intérieure, Expression noir

Linwood Barclay,
Escape, Puffin Canada
Michelle Barker,
The House of One Thousand Eyes, Annick Press 

Kevin Sands, Call of the Wraith, Aladdin
Tim Wynne-Jones,
The Ruinous Sweep, Candlewick Press
E.R. Yatscoff,
The Rumrunner's Boy, TG & R Books

Patrick Brode,
Dying for a Drink: How a Prohibition Preacher Got Away With Murder, Biblioasis
Thomas Giacomaro and Natasha Stoynoff,
The King of Con: How a Smooth-Talking Jersey Boy Made and Lost Billions, Baffled the FBI, Eluded the Mob, and Lived to Tell the Crooked Tale, BenBella Books, Inc
Nate Hendley,
The Boy on the Bicycle: A Forgotten Case of Wrongful Conviction in Toronto, Five Rivers Publishing
Eve Lazarus,
Murder by Milkshake: An Astonishing True Story of Adultery, Arsenic, and a Charismatic Killer, Arsenal Pulp Press
Sarah Weinman,
The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World, Alfred A. Knopf Canada

BEST UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPT aka The Unhanged Arthur (Sponsored by Dundurn Press) 
Jim Bottomley, Hypnotizing Lions
Don Macdonald, Omand’s Creek
Liv McFarlane, The Scarlet Cross

Heather McLeod, One for the Raven Darrow Woods, The Book of Answers

CWC announces the 2019 Derrick Murdoch Award recipient Vicki Delany.

The Derrick Murdoch Award is a special achievement award for contributions to the crime genre. Vicki Delany is a successful and prolific Canadian writer, author of (so far) 34 published books, both standalones and series. She has been a strong supporter and advocate for Canadian crime writers through her work with the Crime Writers of Canada, including serving two terms as Chair of the organization. She has also been a strong supporter of literacy and libraries across Canada and she is one of the founders of the Women Killing It literary festival, which has become a much sought after and sold-out event in Prince Edward County every year.

About Crime Writers of Canada
Crime Writers of Canada was founded in 1982 as a professional organization designed to raise the profile of Canadian crime writers. Members include authors, publishers, editors, booksellers, librarians, reviewers, and literary agents as well as many developing authors. Past winners of the “Arthurs” have included such major names in Canadian crime writing as Mario Bolduc, Gail Bowen, Stevie Cameron, Howard Engel, Barbara Fradkin, Louise Penny, Peter Robinson and Eric Wright.

For more information about the awards, please contact:
Ludvica Boota, Arthur Ellis Awards Manager,

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: The Easter Perp


The Jewish holiday of Passover starts Friday night, April 19, and will last for eight days. That should give you plenty of time to read some of these great mysteries. As always, let me know any missing titles.

Passover Crime Fiction

Passover by Aphrodite Anagnost
Conspirators by Michael Andre Bernstein 
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks 
The Passover Murder by Lee Harris 
All Other Nights by Dara Horn
Never Nosh a Matzo Ball by Sharon Kahn
Sunday the Rabbi Stayed Home by Harry Kemelman 
The Fixer by Bernard Malamed
The Wolf and the Lamb by Frederick Ramsay

The Samaritans' Secret by Matt Beynon Rees
Mrs Kaplan and the Matzo Ball of Death by Mark Reutlinger
Unleavened Dead by Ilene Schneider
The Passover Plot by Hugh J. Schonfield 
The Secret Supper by Javier Sierra
The Lord is My Shepherd by Debbie Viguie (on my Easter list, too!)
The Big Nap by Ayelet Waldman 
The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia

Passover Short Stories in the following collections:
Criminal Kabbalah, edited by Laurie R. King
Murder is No Mitzvah, edited by Abigail Browning
Mystery Midrash, edited by Rabbi Lawrence Raphael

There are several children's and YA Passover Mysteries including:
Jodie's Passover Adventure by Anna Levine

Celebrating the holiday? Check out DyingforChocolate.com for Chocolate Passover Recipes.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

ORCHIDS & MYSTERY: National Orchid Day

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know I post a flower photo every day, usually with the title "Behind my Garden Gate." I grow lots of roses (over 125 varieties), but I also grow orchids. My outdoor orchids--cymbidiums, need to be divided in a specific way.

Every time I start the procedure of hacking away at the roots (yes, hacking with a knife cleaned with a blowtorch), I think about rainforests and the quest for rare orchids. I’ve always been fascinated with orchids. When I was growing up, Brenda Starr, Girl Reporter, was my favorite comic strip. I wanted to be just like Brenda – the intrepid reporter traveling the globe in search of the story. Brenda Starr, the liberated, career-action reporter, was definitely my role model. Of course, my fantasy included a romantic Brazilian mystery man like Basil St. John who was always searching for the rare black orchid. Dale Messick’s original Brenda Starr comic strip that I followed in the Philadelphia Bulletin was full of romance, mystery, and exotic black orchids.

So splitting my orchids is actually a sojourn into my past. I’m sure it was because of my very close ‘personal’ ties with Brenda Starr that I represented Brazil in the model U.N. when I was in high school, and much later I chose to travel to Brazil for a Fulbright. During that time I even managed to go up the Amazon into Basil’s rain forest, and although I did see a lot of orchids, none were black—and Basil was nowhere to be found.

What Is a Black Orchid? Does the Black Orchid really exist? Where is the Black Orchid found? These questions and others have fascinated orchid enthusiasts for centuries, and orchid growers have been trying to grow this magical, mysterious black colored orchid for ages, too, but this still seems to be a mythical plant. All the hard work by hybridization specialists has been in vain and the search for the Black Orchid continues. I grow a lot of varieties of orchids, but none are black. I guess I’ll just continue my personal search through mystery fiction, and sometimes while on holiday in tropical rainforests.

So since today is National Orchid Day, I thought I'd post about mystery and orchids and rainforests. I’m a big list-maker, and orchids play an important part in mystery fiction starting with Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe and his love of orchids. Stout's Black Orchids is one of my favorite titles. Other orchid mystery titles (fiction and non-fiction and a few out of the normal mystery realm) include:


In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
Mayhem on the Orchid Isle; Something's Rotten in Paradise by Aysia Amery
The Black Orchid by Annis Bell
No Orchids for Miss Blandish by James Hadley Chase
The Cloud Garden by Tom Hart Dyke and Paul Winder
Moonraker by Ian Fleming 
Orchids to Murder by Hulbert Fottner
The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman
Black Orchid by Vaughn C. Hardacker
Black Orchid by Steve Hawk
Beware the Orchids by Cynthia Hickey
Hidden: A Bloom in Waiting by Pyper James
The Emerald Cathedral R.H. Jones
The Orchid Thief by Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew)
Killer-Orchid by K.T. McCall
Black Orchid by Dave McKean
Blood Orchids by Toby Neal 
The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean
The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid by Craig Pittman
Tigerlily's Orchids by Ruth Rendell
The Cranefly Orchid Murders by Cynthia Riggs
Death in the Orchid GardenDeath at the Spring Plant Sale by Ann Ripley
The Case of the Black Orchids (and other titles) by Rex Stout
The Ghost Orchid Murder by Nancy Jill Thames
Black Orchid Blues by Persia Walker
Deadly Slipper, The Orchid Shroud, Death in the Dordogne by Michelle Wan 
Death of an Orchid Lover by Nathan Walpow
Dream of Orchids by Phyllis A. Whitney

Spirit in the Rainforest by Eric Wilson

So there you have it: Mysteries and Orchids. As always, let me know if I've missed a title.

Orchids: Behind my Garden Gate