Saturday, November 30, 2019

Midsomer Murders Series 21 Premieres on AcornTV

Oh Joy! MIDSOMER MURDERS SERIES 21 premieres December 1 on AcornTV

The cozy villages of Midsomer County reveal some of their most sinister secrets yet in upcoming series 21 of MIDSOMER MURDERS, the beloved, long-running British mystery institution.

In four all-new feature-length episodes, will premiere as a binge in the U.S. on Acorn TV on Sunday, December 1, DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon, Life of Riley) and DS Jamie Winter (Nick Hendrix, Marcella) investigate the killings of a ballroom dance competitor and a real estate agent, a series of attacks in a village known for its specialty honey, and a violent clash between fishermen and mud runners.

In England’s most murderous county, Detective Chief Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) and Detective Sergeant Winter (Nick Hendrix) investigate the villages’ most sinister secrets, regardless if they are on the dance floor or in a doll house. Called a “glorious streaming service…an essential must-have” (The Hollywood Reporter), AMC Networks’ Acorn TV is North America’s most popular streamer focused on British and international television.

Episode 1: The Point of Balance: Midsomer is buzzing with excitement at the arrival of the annual ‘Paramount Dance Extravaganza.’ But behind the sequins and smiles are deep running feuds and passions, and when the stakes are high, the desire to win can outweigh just about anything.

Episode 2: The Miniature Murders: The worlds of miniature doll houses and real houses collide when prolific real estate agent Alexander Beauvoisin is murdered in front of a crowd at the unveiling of a new doll house collection at the Midsomer Museum of the Family.

Episode 3: The Sting of Death: The Deddingtons’ thriving bee empire has put the village of Granville Norton on the map, but what lengths will they go to ensure they’re never dethroned.

Episode 4: With Baited Breath: Fishermen and women flock to the village of Solomon Gorge, desperate to catch a giant fish that is said to lurk in the lake. Their plans are threatened however when hundreds of lycra-clad sporting enthusiasts descend on the area for the Psycho Mud Run. U.S.

Premiere: Sunday, December 1, 2019 Episodes: 4 feature-length episodes (90 minutes)


Cartoon of the Day: Cat Photographer

Happy Caturday!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: The Inquest

NO COMMENT: Retro Thanksgiving Camel Cigarette Ad

This Retro Thanksgiving Advertisement for Camel Cigarettes does not have a chocolate recipe, although it mentions chocolate layer cake, but I couldn't help but post it because it shows how far we've come--and where we've been.

"Thanksgiving Dinner.. and then the peaceful feeling that comes from good digestion and smoking Camels. ... For Digestion's Sake--Smoke Camels."

One of the "authorities" in this ad is a Food Editor. Hope you don't have a cigarette after your Thanksgiving Dinner.


Samantha Harvey’s The Western Wind (Vintage) has won the £1000 2019 Staunch Book Prize. The medieval mystery thriller follows priest John Reve as he tries to resolve the death of a wealthy villager under the suspicious eye of the regional dean.

Entries to the Staunch Book Prize have to fulfill the criteria of being a thriller novel in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered.

Bridget Lawless, founder of the Staunch Book Prize, said: “This year's winner is a hugely atmospheric and detailed medieval crime story with a man's soul at stake. Harvey's vivid prose and remarkable story-telling conjure a rich and entertaining slow-burn thriller out of mud, secrets, guilt and fear in an isolated 15th-century village.” 

Others Nominated:
Liar's Candle by August Thomas (Simon & Schuster)
Only To Sleep by Lawrence Osborne (Vintage)
Honey by Brenda Brooks (ECW Press)
The Godmother by Hannelore Cayre (Old Street Publishing).

HT: The Rap Sheet via The Bookseller

Monday, November 25, 2019

A Time for Murder...and Something New: Guest Post by Jon Land


A Time for Murder marks the 50th title in the iconic Murder, She Wrote book series based on the fabulously successful television show. Of those fifty titles, I’ve been lucky enough to pen four now, which carries with it a tremendous responsibility to the series’ fans and followers. After all, Murder, She Wrote has been around since it debuted on CBS in 1984 and was regularly rated among the most-watched shows on the air for a dozen seasons, drawing audiences that often approached twenty million viewers.

The opportunity to take over a series I knew and loved so much (my second favorite TV mystery series after Columbo!) was surreal. As a thriller writer, would I be up to the task? Would I be able to satisfy the legions of fans who followed the television series into the book world or discovered the books separately?

I knew from the moment I put to pen to paper—well, fingers to keyboard—that the answers to both questions was a resounding, YES! That’s because I was able to find Jessica Fletcher’s voice in my first series contribution, A Date with Murder, right from the start. She’s listed as my co-author with good reason, because it’s her voice I hear in my mind when I’m writing (Well, Angela Lansbury’s voice, actually!).

Early on in the process, I thought it would be fun to give the series a bit of a reboot in terms of timing and technology. I didn’t want to leave Jessica stranded in an unchanged past, so my writing evoked Murder, She Wrote updated to the current day with Uber, iPhones, text messages, and a Cabot Cove newly besieged by tourists. But the essence of her character remained the same; she may compose her novels on the latest Mac, but she still does her research at the Cabot Cove Library where she serves as president of the friends group.

At some point during the writing of my next two efforts, Manuscript for Murder and Murder in Red, I asked myself what could I do that no one had ever done before? My thinking on that started with a conversation about how the television series might stage a return someday. CBS has already flirted with the notion, with Octavia Spencer in the lead role. The network, though, ultimately backed off, figuring there was only one Jessica Fletcher and her initials are “AL.”

But what about a younger Jessica Fletcher, I asked myself? A Jessica still married to very much alive husband Frank, raising her nephew Grady, and serving as a substitute English teacher at a Maine high school while trying to get published twenty-five years in the past. What if a murder happened at that high school and Jessica was drawn in, finding that she not only has a knack for solving crime, but also for writing mysteries?

And so A Time for Murder was born. I had an absolute blast reverse-engineering the back story presented and/or hinted at in the television show. For instance, the name of the high school where Jessica taught is never mentioned anywhere on the show or in the previous books in the series. But she met her husband Frank while the two of them were volunteering on a play at the Appleton Playhouse, so I placed them in Appleton. And when the town’s beloved high school principal is murdered, who do you think the detective on the case turns out to be?

Amos Tupper, future sheriff of Cabot Cove fabulously played by Tom Bosley in the TV series. That gave me an excuse to explore the very origins of his relationship with Jessica, as well as incorporating one of the TV series’ most popular characters into the story, no easy task given that he was replaced long ago as sheriff by Mort Metzger.

To say I was off and running with A Time for Murder would be an understatement. Indeed, I was off on a dead sprint following a murder in the present intrinsically connected to that of the high school principal in the past. Add to that the fact that Jessica has been invited to a retirement party for one of her old colleagues at Appleton High and I had the connective tissue that every book demands, in this case through flashback chapters triggered by Jessica’s memories.

I was essentially writing two separate, interconnected stories and having a blast with both of them. And in that respect A Time for Murder became what superhero film fans might call an “origins” story, as it sought to answer many of the questions never addressed by either the previous books or the TV series itself. And I can’t tell you how rewarding it was to bring something new to a series that enjoys such great name/brand recognition, a series that has been around for more than thirty-five years.

I always tell people that one of the real keys to penning a great story is to enjoy writing it as much as the reader will enjoy reading it. And I have every confidence that fans of both the book and television series will love meeting Frank and young Grady, not to mention (spoiler alert!) younger versions of real estate agent Eve Simpson and Seth Hazlitt, along with the aforementioned Amos Tupper. Want more? How about Jessica seeing her beloved home at 698 Candlewood Lane for the first time and wondering whether she and Frank can afford it? We’ll see her in A Time for Murder displaying her incredible powers of observation for the first time in solving a murder twenty-five years in the past that culminates in a Columbo-like twist.

As a thriller writer by nature, I so enjoy exposing Jessica to a bit more danger than she’s been used to in the past; in fact, one critic coined a new literary term in describing my approach to Murder, She Wrote: the cozy thriller. Labels aside, I find America’s favorite sleuth to be an exceptionally strong woman, forging a great life for herself without anyone else’s help. I always found her to be ahead of her time back when the series was on the air, and I continue to see her as a feminist heroine today.

For me, reading a Murder, She Wrote mystery is like visiting twice a year with old friends you haven’t seen in too long. And in A Time for Murder, get ready to take a trip back in time to meet some new ones.

Jon Land is the bestselling author over 25 novels. He graduated from Brown University in 1979 Phi Beta Kappa and Magna cum Laude and continues his association with Brown as an alumni advisor.
Jon often bases his novels and scripts on extensive travel and research as well as a twenty-five year career in martial arts.  He is an associate member of the US Special Forces and frequently volunteers in schools to help young people learn to enjoy the process of writing. Jon is the Vice-President of marketing of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and is often asked to speak on topics regarding writing and research. In addition to writing suspense/thrillers John is also a screenwriter.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

SCARLET STILETTO AWARDS: Sisters in Crime Australia

Sisters in Crime Australia handed out its 26th annual Scarlet Stiletto Awards for short fiction “written by Australian women and featuring a strong female protagonist.”

Swinburne University Award 1st Prize: “At Length I Would Be Avenged,” by Blanche Clark

Simon & Schuster Award 2nd Prize: “Dead End,” 
by Philomena Horsley

The Sun Bookshop/Wild Dingo Press Award 3rd Prize: “The Fossil Hunters,” by Bridgette Cummings

Melbourne Athenaeum Library Award for Best “Body in the Library” Story: Winner—“At Length I Would Be Avenged,” by Blanche Clark. Runner-up—“Death in the Catacombs,” by Kelly Gardiner

International Association of Forensic Linguists Award for Best Forensic Linguistics Story: “Marie’s Voice,” by Jaimee Sharrett

Kerry Greenwood Award for Best Malice Domestic Story: 
“Screwed,” by Caroline de Costa

Every Cloud Productions Award for Best Mystery with History Story: “Loose Lips,” by Eugenie Pusenjak

Writers Victoria Crime and Punishment Award for the Story with the Most Satisfying Retribution: “Plenty More Fish,” by Kristin Murdock

HQ Fiction Award for Best Romantic Suspense Story: “Sweet Baby Dies,” by Sandi Wallace

Clan Destine Press Award for Best Cross-genre Story: 
“Manny,” by Natalie Conyer

Terror Australis Readers and Writers Festival Award for Best Bushranger Story: “The Emerald Lady,” by Missy Jane Birch

Liz Navratil Award for Best Story with a Disabled Protagonist: “Dead End,” by Philomena Horsley

Scriptworks Award for a Great Film Idea: “Lifeboat,” by Janette Ellis

Elephant Tree Publishing Award for Best Young Writer: “Death by Couch,” by Lyra Philp

HT: TheRapSheet

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: Thanksgiving


California Schemin’—Bouchercon 2020 Short Story Anthology

Bouchercon 2020 Sacramento invites you to submit a short story for the conference anthology, California Schemin’, to be published for Bouchercon 2020, October 15-18, 2020, in Sacramento, California.

California Schemin’—Bouchercon Anthology 2020 will feature stories by the conference’s guests of honor:  Scott Turow, Walter Mosley, Anne Perry, Anthony Horowitz, Cara Black, and Catriona McPherson. Editing the anthology will be Art Taylor—winner of the Agatha, Anthony, Derringer, Edgar, and Macavity Awards for his own short fiction. The collection will be published by Wildside Press in late September 2020, with all profits from book sales donated to 916 Ink, a creative writing nonprofit that provides workshops for students grades 3-12 in the Sacramento area to help “transform them into confident writers and published authors.”

The deadline for submissions is March 1, 2020; see full guidelines below. Authors will be notified when the final selections have been made, sometime in June 2020. An announcement about contributors will be made on the Bouchercon 2020 website after all contributors have been confirmed.

Anthology authors will receive $75 and one copy of the anthology and will be invited to participate in a Bouchercon anthology panel and signing at the conference.


  1. Submit your story as an email attachment, in Word .doc or docx, to
  2. The email subject line should read: [your last name goes here], Anthology Submission, [title of story goes here].  For example, Smith, Anthology Submission, All That Glitters Is Not Gold
  3. All author contact information must be in the COVER EMAIL ONLY. Include your real name, your pen name (if you want the story to be published under a different name), your address, phone number, preferred e-mail address, and word count for the story.
  4. There should be no identifying information anywhere on the story.
  5. Stories must be original – not previously published anywhere else.
  6. Stories should be between 1,500 and 5,500 words.
  7. One story submission per person ONLY.
  8. Deadline for submission is midnight on March 1, 2020. Manuscripts MUST be received by that date.
Mandatory Manuscript Guidelines:
  1. Word count: 1,500 to 5,500. Theme: California Schemin’—following that phrase wherever it might take you.
  2. Attach your story to the email. Word doc or docx only. There should be no identifying information in the manuscript. ALL identifying information must be in the cover email.
  3. Use a legible standard font such as Courier or Times New Roman at 12 pt size; no fancy fonts or formatting, please. Italicize (don’t underline) words that are to be italicized.
  4. Indent the first line of new paragraphs by a half-inch tab. Do not simply add additional spacing at the start of each paragraph.
  5. Denote scene breaks with a centered hashtag: #.
  6. Double-space with one-inch margins on all sides.
Questions? Contact Michele Drier, co-chair, Bouchercon 2020:

Friday, November 22, 2019


Thanksgiving. I have a lot to give thanks for -- my family, my friends, and the wonderful mystery community.

I'll be going to my sister's home for a multi-generational Thanksgiving. My family is as dysfunctional as most, but we don't stoop to murder! That can't be said for the families in the following updated List of Thanksgiving Crime Fiction. As the saying goes, "Families are like Fudge, Sweet with a few Nuts thrown in."As always, please let me know about any titles I've missed.

And speaking of Chocolate, I'm posting daily recipes for Chocolate Thanksgiving desserts, sides, and main course (Chocolate Turkey Rub!) on

Thanksgiving Mysteries

Victoria Abbott The Wolfe Widow
Susan Wittig Albert Bittersweet
Laura Alden Foul Play at the PTA
Deb Baker Murder Talks Turkey
S.H. Baker The Colonel's Tale
Mignon Ballard, Miss Dimple Disappears
Sandra Balzo Hit and Run
Bob Berger The Risk of Fortune
William Bernhardt, Editor, Natural Suspect
Kate Borden Death of a Turkey
Ali Brandon Twice Told Tail
Lilian Jackson Braun The Cat Who Went into the Closet, The Cat Who Talked Turkey
Lizbie Brown Turkey Tracks
Carole Bugge Who Killed Mona Lisa?
Lynn Cahoon A Very Mummy Holiday
Sammi Carter Goody Goody Gunshots
Joelle Charbonneau Skating Under the Wire
Jennifer Chiaverini A Quilter's Holiday 
Laura Childs Scones & Bones 
Bobbi A. Chukran Short mystery stores in her Nameless, Texas series
Christine E. Collier A Holiday Sampler
Sheila Connolly A Killer Crop
Cleo Coyle Murder by Mocha
Isis Crawford A Catered Thanksgiving
Bill Crider with Willard Scott Murder under Blue Skies
Jessie Crockett Drizzled with Death
Amanda Cross A Trap for Fools
Barbara D'Amato Hard Tack, Hard Christmas
Mary Daheim Alpine Fury, Fowl Prey, The Alpine Vengeance
Kathi Daley Turkeys, Tuxes and Tabbies; The Trouble with Turkeys; Thanksgiving Trip: The Inn at Holiday Bay (Pilgrim in the Parlor)
Jeanne Dams Sins Out of School
Claire Daniels Final Intuition
Evelyn David Murder Takes the Cake
Mary Janice Davidson Undead and Unfinished
Krista Davis The Diva Runs Out of Thyme
Vicki Delany (aka Eva Gates) Silent Night, Deadly Night
Michael Dibdin Thanksgiving
Joanne Dobson Raven and the Nightingale
Alice Duncan Thanksgiving Angels
Christine Duncan Safe House
Kaitlyn Dunnett Overkilt
Janet Evanovich Thanksgiving (technically a romance)*
Nancy Fairbanks Turkey Flambe
Christy Fifield Murder Ties the Knot 
Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain Murder She Wrote: A Fatal Feast
Joanne Fluke Raspberry Danish Murder
Katherine V. Forrest The Beverly Malibu
Shelley Freydont Cold Turkey
Noreen Gilpatrick The Piano Man
Martin H. Greenberg (editor) Cat Crimes for the Holidays
Jane Haddam Feast of Murder
Janice Hamrick Death Rides Again
Susannah Hardy A Killer Kebab
Lee Harris The Thanksgiving Day Murder
Ellen Hart The Grave Soul
J. Alan Hartman, editor, The Killer Wore Cranberry, The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping; The Killer Wore Cranberry: Room for Thirds; The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fourth Meal of Mayhem
Robin Hathaway The Doctor Makes a Dollhouse Call
Richard Hawke Speak of the Devil
Victoria Houston Dead Hot Shot
Dorothy Howell Fanny Packs and Foul Play
Linda Joffe Hull Black Thursday
Ellen Elizabeth Hunter Murder on the ICW
Melanie Jackson Death in a Turkey Town, Cornucopia
Sue Ann Jaffarian Cornucopia, Secondhand Stiff
J. A. Jance Shoot Don't Shoot
Madison Johns The Great Turkey Caper
Alex Kava Black Friday
Faye Kellerman Serpent's Tooth
Harry Kemelman That Day the Rabbi Left Town
John Lescroat The Keeper
Clyde Linsley Death of a Mill Girl
Georgette Livingston Telltale Turkey Caper
M. Louisa Locke Pilfered Promises
Nial Magill Thanksgiving Murder in the Mountains
G.M. Malliet Wicked Autumn
Margaret Maron Up Jumps the Devil
Evan Marshall Stabbing Stefanie
K. L. McCluskey Three for Pumpkin Pie
Ralph McInerny Celt and Pepper
Leslie Meier Turkey Day Murder
Deborah Morgan The Marriage Casket
Meg Muldoon Roasted in Christmas River 
Joan Lowery Nixon The Thanksgiving Mystery (children's)
Carla Norton The Edge of Normal
Carol O'Connell Shell Game
Nancy J Parra Murder Gone A-Rye
Louise Penny Still Life
Cathy Pickens Southern Fried
Michael Poore Up Jumps the Devil 
Craig Rice The Thursday Turkey Murders
Ann Ripley Harvest of Murder
J.D. Robb Thankless in Death
Delia Rosen One Foot in the Gravy
M.L. Rowland Zero Degree Murder
Ilene Schneider Chanukah Guilt
Maria E. Schneider Executive Retention
Willard Scott and Bill Crider Murder under Blue Skies
Sarah R. Shaber Snipe Hunt
Sharon Gwyn Short, Hung Out to Die
Paullina Simons, Red Leaves
Alexandra Sokoloff The Harrowing
Rex Stout Too Many Cooks
Denise Swanson Murder of a Barbie and Ken; Murder of a Botoxed Blonde
Marcia Talley Occasion of Revenge
Sharon Burch Toner Maggie's Brujo
Teresa Trent Burnout
Lisa Unger In the Blood
Jennifer Vanderbes Strangers at the Feast
Debbie Viguie I Shall Not Want
Auralee Wallace Haunted Hayride with Murder
Livia J. Washburn The Pumpkin Muffin Murder
Leslie Wheeler Murder at Plimoth Plantation
Angela Zeman The Witch and the Borscht Pearl

Let me know if I've forgotten any titles!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019


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

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

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


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

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

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


Friday, November 15, 2019


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

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

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

Wednesday, November 13, 2019


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

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

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Peter Lovesey First Crime Novel Contest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 11, 2019

CHOCOLATE LORE: Guest post by JoAnna Carl

JoAnna Carl:
Chocolate Lore

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

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

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

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

I didn’t know what to do.

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

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

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

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

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

I found it hilarious.

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

Sunday, November 10, 2019

BALTHAZAR: French Crime Drama on Acorn TV

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

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

Friday, November 8, 2019


Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice Day (also known as Remembrance Day), is November 11. Veterans Day commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, that took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning — the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" 1918.

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day November 11, 1919. The U.S.  Congress passed a concurrent resolution seven years later on June 4, 1926, requesting the President issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. The 11th of November is"a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'." It was later changed to Veteran's Day.

I love to read mysteries that reflect regions and holidays, so I'm reposting about Veterans Day with a few additions. Julia Spencer-Fleming's Once Was a Soldier,  Jacqueline Winspear and Charles Todd's mystery series are at the top of my list of Veterans Day Mysteries. There's also the Joe Sandilands series by Barbara Cleverly. And Bulldog Drummond is a WWI veteran in the Sapper/H.C. McNeile books. Add to that Walter Mosley's WWII Vet Easy Rawlins. Don't miss Marcia Talley's All Things Undying in which Hannah Ives helps to locate the grave of a WWII serviceman. James Lee Burke is another great mystery author whose Cajun detective Dave Robicheaux is a Vietnam Veteran. And, of course, the Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers where the mystery turns on the poppy in the lapel.

BV Lawson's 2007 post of Veteran's Day Mysteries is great. No need to duplicate her efforts. Be sure and read her blog, as well as all the comments. Another fine list is In Remembrance Fiction in Times of War (not all mysteries) from the St. Charles Public Library. I also did a Memorial Day post here on Mystery Fanfare that covers some of the same territory Mysteries in Paradise about Remembrance Day is also a great resource.

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

Wikipedia has an entry about Veterans Day Mysteries. Several hardboiled heroes have been war veterans. Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer and many others from World War II, and John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee from the Korean War. "The frequent exposure to death and hardship often leads to a cynical and callous attitude as well as a character trait known today as post-traumatic stress characterizes many hardboiled protagonists."

And, for the young set, one of the first Veteran-related mysteries: Cherry Ames: Veterans' Nurse by Helen Wells.

Read a Veterans Day mystery today and remember the men and women who have served our country. Thank you.

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

Cartoon of the Day: Surprise Witness

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Cartoon of the Day: Dogs


More awards!

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

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


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

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

PRIVATE EYES I (Volume 35:3)

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