Friday, January 31, 2020

Sharan Newman Literary Salon: Monday, February 10

Upcoming Literary Salon in Berkeley, CA

When: Monday, February 10, 7 p.m.

Who: Sharan Newman

Where: RSVP for venue address (Berkeley, CA)

This is a free event, but YOU MUST RSVP to attend.
Space is limited. Venue address sent with acceptance.
Please make a comment below with your email address.

Sharan Newman

Sharan Newman is a medieval historian and author. She took her Master’s degree in Medieval Literature at Michigan State University and then did her doctoral work at the University of California at Santa Barbara in Medieval Studies, specializing in twelfth-century France. She is a member of the Medieval Academy and the Medieval Association of the Pacific.

Rather than teach, Newman chose to use her education to write novels set in the Middle Ages, including three Arthurian fantasies and ten mysteries set in twelfth-century France. The books focus on the life of the bourgeoisie and minor nobility and also the uneasy relations between Christians and Jews at that time. They also incorporate events of the twelfth-century such as the Second Crusade and the rise of the Cathars.

The Catherine Levendeur mysteries have been nominated for many awards. Sharan won the Macavity Award for best first mystery for Death Comes As Epiphany and the Herodotus Award for best historical mystery of 1998 for Cursed in the Blood. The most recent book in the series The Witch in the Well won the Bruce Alexander award for best Historical mystery of 2004.

She has also opted to try writing in different setting such as with The Shanghai Tunnel, set in Portland in 1868 or in many of her short story collections including the newly released Golden Quest (2019).   Newman has also written several non-fiction books, including The Real History Behind the Da Vince Code (2005), the Real History Behind the Templars (2007), The Real History of the End of the World (2010), and Defending the City of God (2014).

Don't miss this special Literary Salon. Sharan Newman now lives in Ireland!

To RSVP,  make a comment below with email address or send DM.


I love bookstores--and booksellers. Here's a link and trailer of the documentary: The Booksellers.
From the website: 
Antiquarian booksellers are part scholar, part detective and part businessperson, and their personalities and knowledge are as broad as the material they handle. They also play an underappreciated yet essential role in preserving history. THE BOOKSELLERS takes viewers inside their small but fascinating world, populated by an assortment of obsessives, intellects, eccentrics and dreamers.
Executive produced by Parker Posey, the film features interviews with some of the most important dealers in the business, as well as prominent collectors, auctioneers, and writers such as Fran Lebowitz, Susan Orlean, Kevin Young and Gay Talese. Both a loving celebration of book culture and a serious exploration of the future of the book, the film also examines technology’s impact on the trade, the importance of books as physical objects, the decline of used and rare bookstores, collecting obsessions, and the relentless hunt for the next great find. 
And perhaps best of all, THE BOOKSELLERS offers a rare glimpse of many unique and remarkable objects, including the most expensive book ever sold, Da Vinci’s The Codex Leicester; handwritten Borges manuscripts; jeweled bindings; books bound in human flesh; essential early hip-hop documents; accounts of polar expeditions published with samples of real wooly mammoth fur; and many more.

Cartoon of the Day: Identity Kit

Thursday, January 30, 2020


SUPER BOWL SUNDAY! There's lots of real crime surrounding the Super Bowl: drugs, money, egos, etc, and it's all fodder for the crime writer. So in 'honor' of Sunday's Super Bowl Game, I've updated my short lists of Super Bowl and other Football Mysteries. This is in no way a definitive list--just some football crime fiction for you to enjoy in case you're not watching the Super Bowl! As always, I welcome additions!

If you're interested in other Sports Mysteries and essays on Football Mysteries, Mystery Readers Journal has had several Sports Mysteries issues. The last Sports Mysteries Issue of MRJ was Volume 25:4 (Winter 2009-2010). Available in Hardcopy and .pdf download

Super Bowl Mysteries

The Hidden Key by George Harmon Coxe
Super-Dude by John Craig
Cover-Up: Mystery at the Super Bowl by John Feinstein (YA)
Black Sunday by Thomas Harris
Paydirt by Paul Levine
The Last Super Bowl by Robin Moore & David Harper
4th and Fixed by Reggie Rivers
Murder at the Super Bowl by Fran Tarkenton and Herb Resnicow
Life's Work by Jonathan Valin
Killerbowl by Gary K. Wolf

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
Other Football Mysteries (not British Football, of which there are many titles)

The Professor by Robert Bailey
Rough and Tumble by Mark Bavaro
Pass Judgment by Jerry Brewer
Sweeper by Steve Bruce 
Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben
Coliseum by Barney Cohen
Et Tu Brady by Joseph Collum
Day of the Ram by William Campbell Gault
Murder at Cleaver Stadium by Douglas Lee Gibboney
Quarterback Trap by Dallas Gorham
Double Reverse; Ruffians by Tim Green
Playing for Pizza by John Grisham
Bleeding Maize and Blue by Susan Holtzer
Crown of All Virtues by Reece Kepler
The Prophet by Michael Koryta
Two-Minute Warning by George LaFountaine
Bump and Run by Mike Lupica
The Draft by Wil Mara
Dead Ball Foul by Kayla McGrady
A Cardinal Offense by Ralph McInerny
Parker's Blood by William Miller
Foul Play; Dead Ball; Off Side; Killer Pass; Foul Play: Own Goal by Tom Palmer
The Jook by Gary Phillips
Winter and Night by S. J. Rozan
Sudden Death by David Rosenfelt
Marked Man; Red Card by Mel Stein
A Touch of Death by Charles Williams

Short Stories:  The Mighty Johns edited by Otto Penzler

Scoreboard, Baby: A Story of College Football, Crime and Complicity by Ken Armstrong and Nick Perry (winner of the 2011 Edgar for Best Fact Crime)
All-American Murder by James Patterson & Alex Abramovich

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Cartoon of the Day: Writer's Life

Sisters in Crime NorCal: Annual Meet & Greet 2/1/2020

Sisters in Crime, Northern California Chapter Annual Meet & Greet with Panel Discussion on how to get the most out of Book/Conference Events!
February 1, 2020 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Sausalito Public Library, 420 Litho St., SausalitoCA 94965

Annual Meet & Greet gives everyone an opportunity to introduce themselves, their writing, and their other mysterious (or not) interests. In addition, we’ll have a panel discussion loaded with information and tips about this year’s Left Coast Crime (March 12-15 in San Diego), Bay Area Book Festival (May 2-3 in Berkeley), and Bouchercon (October 15-18 in Sacramento).

Contributions to the Refreshment Table and the Book Exchange table are always appreciated.

The more the merrier! All Welcome!!!

Left Coast Crime: Janet Rudolph
Bay Area Book Festival: Ana Brazil
Bouchercon & Moderating: Susan Bickford

Free parking is available at the Sausalito Public Library.

LAST CALL FOR ARTICLES: Environmental/Wildlife Mysteries


The next issue of Mystery Readers Journal (Volume 36:1) will focus on mysteries featuring Environmental & Wildlife Mysteries.

We're looking for Reviews, Articles, and Author! Author! essays.

Reviews: 50-250 words; Articles: 250-1000 words; Author! Author! essays: 500-1500 words.

Author essays are first person, about yourself, your books, and your unique 'Wildlife and/or Environmental' connection. Think of it as chatting with friends and other writers in the bar or cafe about your work and your  Environmental/Wildlife connection. Add title and 2-3 sentence bio/tagline.

Deadline: February 1, 2020

Here's a link to Mystery Readers Journal. Past themed issues.

Send to: Janet Rudolph, Editor. janet @

Please forward this request to anyone you think should be included.

Monday, January 27, 2020

A Tribute to Lumpkin the Cat: Guest Post by Kaitlyn Dunnett

Kaitlyn Dunnett: 
A Tribute to Lumpkin the Cat

It's never a good idea to base a fictional character too closely on a real person. As I recently discovered, it can also be a mistake to use one of your own pets as the inspiration for that character's feline companion.

Back in 2007, when I began my cozy Liss MacCrimmon mystery series with Kilt Dead, it seemed perfectly natural to model Lumpkin, the big Maine Coon cat Liss inherits, on my own big Maine Coon cat, Nefret. With each new book, Nefret generously provided me with more quirky "bits" to include.

I guess I should pause here to add that, yes, Nefret was named after the character in Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody mysteries. The name Lumpkin came from the family of that name in Charlotte MacLeod's Peter Shandy series.

Among the Nefretisms I gave to Lumpkin were a tendency to bite ankles, a dislike of sharing with other cats or (horrors!) dogs, and the habit of stealing food off plates. Like Nefret, Lumpkin also chewed holes in the ankle weights Liss (and I) use to do leg lifts and gnawed on shoes, purse straps, and charger cords. Another shared trait was to play with the cabinet doors above the refrigerator, using one paw to pry them open an inch or two and then letting them thud closed on their own. And, since all Maine Coon cats shed enough fur to stuff a pillow, that, too, went into a book. In fact, Lumpkin's fur helped catch a killer in Scone Cold Dead.

Right from the start, Lumpkin played a role in crime solving, as this excerpt from Kilt Dead proves:

Lumpkin led Dan and Pete on a merry chase through the house, but they finally cornered him in the small downstairs room Mrs. Norris had called her library. The walls were lined with tall bookcases. Seemingly without effort, Lumpkin went from the back of a recliner to the top of the nearest set of shelves. A looseleaf binder tumbled to the floor as he launched himself from there to Mrs. Norris's cluttered desk. A stack of computer printouts, a tissue box, and a remote control scattered as he landed. "Close the door!" Dan yelled as the cat caromed off an end table and headed that way. Pete slammed it shut, trapping Lumpkin in the room. He was swarming up the drapes when Dan pounced, recapturing him. Pete had the carrier ready, but Lumpkin managed to brace all four paws against the opening. Grimly determined, Dan pried them loose, claw by claw, and gave one final push. Lumpkin flew into the carrier. Dan closed and latched the grate on a yowl of protest. 

Did you notice the looseleaf binder? And the printouts? Those turn out to be important clues.

Something that really happened to Nefret inspired one of my favorite bits of comic relief in a later book:

Lumpkin, in search of something edible, decided to investigate the plates of salad Liss had just placed on the kitchen table. She’d turned her back on him to collect the rest of their meal from the kitchen counter, unwittingly giving him time enough to catch a claw in a placemat and pull both it and one of the salads to the floor. A dinner plate in each hand, she swung around at the sound of ceramic clattering on tile. It was already too late to avert disaster. Lumpkin, happily chowing down on scattered bits of romaine, was unaware that a healthy dollop of cottage cheese that had, until a moment earlier, been nestled on top of the lettuce, now decorated his back, the curds actively embedding themselves in his long, luxurious fur. 

Talk about having a mess to clean up!

Almost two years ago, shortly before I was to begin writing the latest book in the series, A View to a Kilt, Nefret's age caught up with him. He lived to be eighteen years old, which is a pretty good life span for a cat, but his passing left a huge hole in my life and, from a practical point of view, I was presented with a difficult dilemma. Having lost him so recently, I didn't think I could bring myself to write any more Lumpkin scenes.

My solution was to continue to have art imitate life and write about Liss after the loss of Lumpkin. I know very well the "rule" about never killing a cat, but in real life animals don't have the life span humans do. Writing about life after Lumpkin provided closure for both Liss and me. It also ended up moving the plot forward. Any cat lover can relate to why someone telling Liss "it was just a cat" would make her angry enough to do something impulsive.

Losing a feline companion after nearly two decades is never easy, and it was made harder by having made Lumpkin such a big part of my long-running series. I have learned my lesson. No more basing cat characters on cats who currently share my household. So, in my "Deadly Edits" series, the resident cat, a calico named Calpurnia, is based on a cat who was part of our lives for nearly nearly twenty years but has long since gone to her reward. The fictional Calpurnia can survive indefinitely.

A View to a Kilt was just released (2020). Kaitlyn Dunnett, who also writes as Kathy Lynn Emerson, lives in rural Maine with her husband and a black cat named Shadow. Her websites are and

Saturday, January 25, 2020

WRITING ATHLETICISM: Guest Post by Tori Eldridge

Tori Eldridge:
Writing Athleticism

On my fiftieth birthday, I stopped training and teaching the ninja martial arts to pursue a career as a fiction writer. Talk about a dramatic change in lifestyle! I had expected it would involve major shifts, but I never imagined how much physical stamina a sedentary career would require.

I began planning this move for six months prior to my half-centennial birthday, ever since I picked up an old manuscript I had written thirteen years earlier. Back then, my sons were very young and my time was divided between parenting and martial arts. Although I truly enjoyed writing that first full-length manuscript and the screenplays that preceded it, I wasn’t willing to devote the attention necessary to pursue writing as a career.

For me, it’s always been all or nothing.

That’s how I landed roles in theater, film, and television and how I earned a fifth degree black belt in To-Shin Do ninjutsu. It’s how I still work as the debut author of The Ninja Daughter with the second Lily Wong book awaiting editorial review and a third unrelated novel halfway to completion. I immerse myself completely and commit my time, resources, and energy to a goal.

It took me less than a year in New York City to land my first Broadway show.

It took me eight years before my first novel was published.

I caught the fiction writing bug for the second time in the Fall of 2010, after I had already published a non-fiction book on empowerment, blogged on mindful living, and ran an online clothing store and website. The business of writing didn’t feel as intimidating as it had before. And since I’d accomplished what I had wanted with the martial arts, the time felt right for a major shift.
Sword Cutter

Being almost half Chinese, I pay attention to auspicious dates and significant events. So the idea of changing my life’s course on the very day I began the second half century of my life felt symbolically powerful. It was also very ninja.

As with all my previous careers, I made the switch cold turkey but allowed myself time to adjust. I’d been an athlete all my life and everything I’d done to that point had been physically demanding. I expected challenges with mental focus, but I had no idea how hard it would be on my body to write eight hours a day. My back cramped. My legs ached. I grew more fatigued than I had ever felt rehearsing for or performing in the original first national tour of Cats. Even the aches and pains of martial arts didn’t cause this sort of physical fatigue. The sitting was killing me.
Developing the mental stamina to write all day was comparatively easy because my excitement about the manuscript I was rewriting pushed me onward. I didn’t know at the time that editing would become my favorite part about the writing process.

How Dancers Write
I had to get creative about my writing practice in order to hold still long enough to create.

Writing in Hawaii
My solution was to change positions and locations throughout the day. I perched my laptop on a rack on my kitchen counter and wrote standing up until noon. Since the story I was writing at that time was set in Brazil, I’d often play and dance to samba music. Needless to say, this led to many typos I later had to fix.

Writing on the way to Bali
Next, I’d move to a table where I’d either bounce on a yoga ball or sit with my legs sprawled in some dancer position. I’d been known to do this in restaurants, on the floor at home, or even in airport terminals.

I’m also fond of writing at cafes, lounging on my lanai, pedaling on my exercise bike, or dictating on a hike. What I find the most challenging is sitting in a chair with my feet on the floor.
Dictating on the Trail
Fortunately, from what I’ve learned in the last eight and a half years of pursuing this new career, is that there is no one way to write. We are all fabulously unique and quirky in our creative methods. Please remember this and think kindly of me when you see me standing on my head.


Tori Eldridge is a Honolulu-born thriller writer and author of The Ninja Daughter (Lefty Award nominee for Best Debut Mystery Novel), about a Chinese-Norwegian modern-day ninja in Los Angeles. Her second book in the Lily Wong series releases September 1, 2020. Learn more about her on her website

Friday, January 24, 2020

Cartoon of the Day: Editor's Block


恭賀發財 Gung Hay Fat Choy! This is the Year of the Rat.
I've put together my latest Chinese New Year Mystery List. Included, as well as specific Chinese New Year Crime Fiction, are some titles (scroll down) that take place in China and Taiwan, not necessarily during the New Year. As always, I welcome any additions.

And even though I haven't made a list this year, remember that Lunar New Year is celebrated in many other Asian countries? Want to add some of your favorite Lunar New Year Mysteries in other countries? Make a comment below.


The Corpses Hanging Over Paris by Cathy Ace

Year of the Dog; Red Jade by Henry Chang 
Year of the Dragon by Robert Daley 
Neon Dragon by John Dobbyn
Dim Sum Dead by Jerrilyn Farmer 
The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen
Chop Suey by Ty Hutchison 
The Chinese New Year Mystery (Nancy Drew) by Carolyn Keene

The Skull Cage Key by Michael Marriott
The Shanghai Moon by S.J. Rozan
City of Dragons by Kelli Stanley
The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee by Robert Van Gulik (7th Century China) "New Year's Eve in Lan-Fang"

Short story by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer: "The Lady Fish Mystery", EQMM, September/October 1996.

"Murder Keeps No Calendar" by Cathy Ace.
The Nancy Drew Notebooks: The Chinese New Year Mystery by Carolyn Keene
The New Year Dragon Dilemma by Ron Roy

A good reference book for contemporary crime fiction in China: Chinese Justice, the Fiction: Law and Literature in Modern China by Jeffrey C. Kinkley (Stanford University Press)

Not specifically about Chinese New Year, here's a short list of mysteries set in China and Taiwan:

Ralph Arnote:  Hong Kong, China
Earl Derr Biggers: Charlie Chan: The House Without a Key, The Chinese Parrot, Behind the Curtain, The Black Camel, Keeper of the Keys
Lisa Brackmann: Rock Paper Tiger, Hour of the Rat
Adam Brookes: Night Heron
Koonchung Chan: The Fat Years
Henry Chang: Chinatown Beat, Year of the Dog, Red Jade
Feng Chi-Shun: Hong Kong Noir
Yin-Lien C. Chin: The "Stone Lion" and Other Chinese Detective Stories
Stephen Coonts: Hong Kong
Charles Cumming: Typhoon
Franklin M. Davis, Jr., Secret: Hong Kong
Chris Emmett: Hong Kong Policeman 
Shamini Flint: A Calamitous Chinese Killing
Paul French: Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China
Ian Hamilton: The Water Rat of Wanchai; The Wild Beasts of Wuhan 
Jim Michael Hansen: Bad Laws
Zhou Haohui: Death Notice
Elsa Hart: The White Mirror
Chan Ho-Kei: The Borrowed, The Locked Room of Bluebeard, The Man Who Sold the World, 13.67
Mara Hvistendahl: And The City Swallowed Them
He Jiahong: Hanging Devils
Carolyn Keene: The Mystery of the Fire Dragon (Nancy Drew)
He Jiahong: The Madwoman; Crime De Sang; Black Holes
S.G. Kiner: The Hong Kong Connection
D.L. Kung:  The End of May Road; The Wardens of Punyu
M.J. Lee: Death in Shanghai
Sha Li: Beijing Abduction
Diane Wei Liang, The Eye of Jade
Ed Lin:  Ghost Month, Incense, Snakes Can't Run, One Red Bastard
John L. Mariotti: The Chinese Conspiracy
Paul Mason: Rare Earth
Peter May: The Firemaker, The Killing Room, Chinese Whispers, The Firemaker
Lei Mi: Profiler
Nicole Mones, A Cup of Light; Night in Shanghai 
E.W. Peters: Shanghai Policeman
Alex Ryan: Beijing Red; Hong Kong Black
Catherine Sampson: The Pool of Unease
Lisa See: Flower Net, Dragon Bones, The Interior
Deborah Shlian: Rabbit in the Moon
Wang Shuo: Playing for Thrills
Robert Stewart: The Last Bowl of Tea
Eric Stone: Shanghaied
Robert van Gulik: The Chinese Maze Murders ; The Emporor's Pearl; Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee
Nury Vittachi: The Feng Shui Detective
A.Yi: A Perfect Crime
Shuo Wang: Playing for Thrills
Christopher West: Death of a Blue Lantern
Zhi Wen: Salvation at Knife's Edge
Kate Whitehead: Hong Kong Murders
Don Winslow: Shibumi (o.k., only part of the action is in China, but I love this novel!)
David Wise: Tiger Trap
Chen Xiaoquing: Sherlock in Shanghai
Qiu Xiaolong: Death of a Red Heroine, A Loyal Character Dancer, When Red is Black, A Case of Two Cities, Red Mandarin Dress, The Mao Case, Don't Cry, Tai Lake; Enigma of China, Shanghai Redemption

And, here's a wonderful blog on Writing in China by Bertrand Mialaret (in French)

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Cartoon of the Day: Why Novelists don't Become Court Reporters

Shakespeare & Hathaway: Season 3

The third season of Shakespeare & Hathaway – Private Investigators will premiere on BBC One on Monday February 3rd at 2:15pm.

Shakespeare & Hathaway – Private Investigators follows Frank Hathaway, a hardboiled private investigator, and his rookie sidekick Lu Shakespeare form the unlikeliest of partnerships as they investigate the secrets of rural Warwickshire’s residents. The drama series is produced by BBC Studios and stars Jo Joyner, Mark Benton and Patrick Walsh McBride.
Season Three sees Shakespeare and Hathaway dealing with an ageing heavy metal star with a pact with the devil, a Shakespeare museum full of deadly secrets and a King Lear story set in a carpet warehouse, amongst others. Yasmin Kaur Barn joins the cast this season as PC Viola Deacon, a 20-something friend of Sebastian with boundless, puppy-like enthusiasm. 

The series has already renewed for a ten episode Fourth Season, which will air on BBC One in 2021.

No date yet for Series 3 in the U.S. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Cartoon of the Day: Hindsight

EDGAR AWARD NOMINATIONS: Mystery Writers of America

Mystery Writers of America announced the Nominees for the 2020 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2019. The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at our 74th Gala Banquet, April 30, 2020 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.


Fake Like Me by Barbara Bourland (Hachette Book Group – Grand Central Publishing)
The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The River by Peter Heller (Penguin Random House – Alfred A. Knopf)
Smoke and Ashes by Abir Mukherjee (Pegasus Books)
Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham (Simon & Schuster - Scribner)


My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing (Penguin Random House - Berkley)
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim (Farrar Straus and Giroux)
The Good Detective by John McMahon (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott (Penguin Random House – Alfred A. Knopf)
Three-Fifths by John Vercher (Polis Books – Agora Books)
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson (Penguin Random House – Random House)


Dread of Winter by Susan Alice Bickford (Kensington Publishing)
Freedom Road by William Lashner (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
Blood Relations by Jonathan Moore (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – Mariner Books)
February’s Son by Alan Parks (Europa Editions – World Noir)
The Hotel Neversink by Adam O’Fallon Price (Tin House Books)
The Bird Boys by Lisa Sandlin (Cinco Puntos Press)


The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder that Shocked Jazz-Age America by Karen Abbott (Penguin Random House - Crown)
The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity by Axton Betz-Hamilton (Hachette Book Group – Grand Central Publishing)
American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century by Maureen Callahan (Penguin Random House - Viking)
Norco '80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History by Peter Houlahan (Counterpoint Press)
Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall by James Polchin (Counterpoint Press)


Hitchcock and the Censors by John Billheimer (University Press of Kentucky)
Beyond the Thirty-Nine Steps: A Life of John Buchan by Ursula Buchan (Bloomsbury Publishing)
The Hooded Gunman: An Illustrated History of Collins Crime Club by John Curran (Collins Crime Club)
Medieval Crime Fiction: A Critical Overview by Anne McKendry (McFarland)
The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle 
Remade the World for Women by Mo Moulton (Hachette Book Group – Basic Books)


“Turistas," from Paque Tu Lo Sepas by Hector Acosta (Down & Out Books)
“One of These Nights," from Cutting Edge: New Stories of Mystery and Crime by Women Writers by Livia Llewellyn (Akashic Books)
“The Passenger," from Sydney Noir by Kirsten Tranter (Akashic Books)
“Home at Last," from Die Behind the Wheel: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of Steely Dan by Sam Wiebe (Down & Out Books)
“Brother’s Keeper," from Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Dave Zeltserman (Dell Magazine)


The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster by Cary Fagan (Penguin Random House Canada – Tundra Books
Eventown by Corey Ann Haydu (HarperCollins Children’s Books – Katherine Tegen Books)
The Whispers by Greg Howard (Penguin Young Readers – G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR)
All the Greys on Greene Street by Laura Tucker (Penguin Young Readers – Viking BFYR)
Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse by Susan Vaught (Simon & Schuster Children’s Books – Paula Wiseman Books)


Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer (Tom Doherty Associates – Tor Teen)
Killing November by Adriana Mather (Random House Children’s Books – Alfred A. Knopf BFYR)
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (Penguin Young Readers - Kokila)
The Deceivers by Kristen Simmons (Tom Doherty Associates – Tor Teen)
Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas (Bloomsbury Publishing)


“Season 5, Episode 3” – Line of Duty, Teleplay by Jed Mercurio (Acorn TV)
“Season 5, Episode 4” – Line of Duty, Teleplay by Jed Mercurio (Acorn TV)
“Episode 1” – Dublin Murders, Teleplay by Sarah Phelps (STARZ)
“Episode 1” – Manhunt, Teleplay by Ed Whitmore (Acorn TV)
“Episode 1” – The Wisting, Teleplay by Katherine Valen Zeiner & Trygve Allister Diesen (Sundance Now)


“There’s a Riot Goin’ On," from Milwaukee Noir by Derrick Harriell (Akashic Books)
* * * * * *

The Night Visitors by Carol Goodman (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski (Harlequin – Graydon House)
Strangers at the Gate by Catriona McPherson (Minotaur Books)
Where the Missing Go by Emma Rowley (Kensington Publishing)
The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Tom Doherty Associates – Forge Books)
* * * * * *

Shamed by Linda Castillo (Minotaur Books)
Borrowed Time by Tracy Clark ( Kensington Publishing)
The Missing Ones by Edwin Hill (Kensington Publishing)
The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)
The Alchemist’s Illusion by Gigi Pandian (Midnight Ink)
Girl Gone Missing by Marcie R. Rendon (Cincos Puntos Press)

The Edgar Awards, or “Edgars,” as they are commonly known, are named after MWA’s patron saint Edgar Allan Poe and are presented to authors of distinguished work in various categories. MWA is the premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime-writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those who are devoted to the genre. The organization encompasses some 3,000 members including authors of fiction and non-fiction books, screen and television writers, as well as publishers, editors, and literary agents.

Mystery Writers of America would like to emphasize our commitment to diversity and fairness in the judging of the Edgar Awards. Judges are selected from every region of the country, from every sub-category of our genre, and from every demographic to ensure fairness and impartiality.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

AGATHA NOMINEES: Malice Domestic

Malice Domestic announced the 2019 Agatha Award Nominees. Winners will be announced at Malice Domestic 32 (May 1-3)

Best Contemporary Novel
Fatal Cajun Festival by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
The Long Call by Ann Cleeves (Minotaur)
Fair Game by Annette Dashofy (Henery Press)
The Missing Ones by Edwin Hill (Kensington)
A Better Man by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
The Murder List by Hank Philippi Ryan (Forge)

Best First Mystery Novel
A Dream of Death by Connie Berry (Crooked Lane Books)
One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski (Graydon House, a division of Harlequin)
Murder Once Removed by S. C. Perkins (Minotaur)
When It’s Time for Leaving by Ang Pompano (Encircle Publications)
Staging for Murder by Grace Topping (Henery Press)

Best Historical Mystery 
Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen (Penquin)
Murder Knocks Twice by Susanna Calkins (Minotaur)
The Pearl Dagger by L. A. Chandlar (Kensington)
Charity’s Burden by Edith Maxwell (Midnight Ink)
The Naming Game by Gabriel Valjan (Winter Goose Publishing)

Best Nonfiction
Frederic Dannay, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and the Art of the Detective Short Story by Laird R. Blackwell (McFarland)
Blonde Rattlesnake: Burmah Adams, Tom White, and the 1933 Crime Spree that Terrified Los Angeles by Julia Bricklin (Lyons Press)
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep (Knopf)
The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women by Mo Moulton (Basic Books)
The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold (Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt)

Best Children/Young Adult
Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers by Shauna Holyoak (Disney Hyperion)
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen MacManus (Delacorte Press)
The Last Crystal by Frances Schoonmaker (Auctus Press)
Top Marks for Murder (A Most Unladylike Mystery)
by Robin Stevens (Puffin)
Jada Sly, Artist and Spy by Sherri Winston (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)

Best Short Story
"Grist for the Mill" by Kaye George in A Murder of Crows (Darkhouse Books)
"Alex’s Choice" by Barb Goffman in Crime Travel (Wildside Press)
"The Blue Ribbon" by Cynthia Kuhn in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
"The Last Word" by Shawn Reilly Simmons, Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
"Better Days" by Art Taylor in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

Dogs: Guest post by Thriller Writer Joseph Finder


A couple of years ago the serial autobiographer Karl Ove Knausgaard asked, in The New Yorker, “Has a single good author ever owned a dog?” No offense, Karl, but that question, to borrow a Chris Evans line from the movie “Knives Out,” was stupid with two o’s. The internet bristles with rejoinders — oh yeah? how about Anton Chekhov’s dachshunds? Or Faulkner’s Jack Russell terriers? Or Virginia Woolf and her beloved cocker spaniel, Pinka? Woolf even wrote a biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s dog, Flush. Emily Brontë’s dog Keeper was so grief-stricken after Brontë’s death that he howled outside her bedroom door for weeks. An early draft of Of Mice and Men was shredded and eaten by John Steinbeck’s setter puppy, Toby. (“Two months of work, gone,” he lamented.) There’s a great picture of Edith Wharton posing with a Chihuahua perched on each shoulder. Anyway I could go on, and on, at the risk of burning out my Google machine.

My point is that right now I am dogless.

This is a sad state of affairs that I hope to remedy soon. A dogless life is lived in black and white.

Until her death a couple of years ago I was owned by Mia, a Golden Retriever. We adopted her from The Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey, which trains dogs — Goldens and Labs and German Shepherds, mostly — as guide dogs for the blind. Some dogs, failing to meet the school’s high standards, are given away for adoption. After some three years on the waiting list, we got a sudden phone call one day: a “gorgeous” two-year-old Golden Retriever named Mia was available. We had twenty four hours to say yes or no.

Understand, we knew nothing about this dog. But she was a Golden, and Goldens tend to be easy-going. She’d also gone through years of training, so we figured she’d be trainable. Mia had already worked with some blind people. She’d flunked out of dog-training school in her senior year, but it was for a good reason: she was too “friendly.” How could you go wrong with a dog that flunked out of training for being too friendly?

So we said yes, and drove down to Morristown to meet this dog whom we’d accepted sight unseen. But first we had to be interviewed, to make sure we were fit adoptive parents. From the next room we could hear frantic canine whining and squealing, accompanied by some kind of crashing sound.

“That’s Mia,” said the woman, Judy, who was interviewing us. She sounded almost apologetic. Once we’d passed, Judy went to get Mia from the room across the hall.

A moment later there was a blurred motion—a dog came flying through the air into our room—and a cloud of fur floating in the air, and the dog came at me like a guided missile. She knocked me to the floor and proceeded to lick my face, to smother me with kisses.

We’d been expecting a docile, obedient, sober-sided canine and what we got instead was a rebel. Boisterous and affectionate and loving beyond belief, but not a conformist. It took us a while to come to the realization that Mia was in fact clever. She’d escaped a life of servitude. Seeing-eye dogs have to be on duty nearly all the time, doing their wonderful work for the blind. Mia wasn’t having any of that. Let other dogs be dutiful and submissive; Mia just wanted to have fun.

Once we got her home and my wife was eating her lunch, a burger, Mia dove through the air to nab it — but taking only the bun and ignoring the burger, which fell on the floor. She turned out to have a particular affinity for French bread, particularly sourdough. If you left a sourdough baguette on the kitchen counter, Mia would somehow find a way to scramble up there. Goldens are famously food-motivated, but Mia took it to another level. She was an outlaw with a jones for bread. If she saw some, she snagged it. She couldn’t resist. We had to hide our bread in high, inaccessible places.

One day she stole an enormous bar of dark chocolate from Trader Joe’s that my dad had left on the counter, not imagining my dog could easily get up there. We had to make her drink peroxide, in order to make her vomit up the dangerous stomachful. Chocolate can be deadly to certain breeds of dogs, including Goldens.

Make no mistake, she was no blond bimbo. She knew plenty of commands and even obeyed them when she felt like it. As she grew older and her face whitened, she calmed down, mellowed a bit. But she remained adamantly puppyish.

Once I tried bringing her to my office, a few blocks away from our apartment. Writing is a solitary business, and I was maybe envisioning her curled at my feet under my desk, sighing contentedly as I finished a chapter. I’m actually not sure what I had in mind.

But Mia had other ideas. When she wasn’t asking to go out, she just wanted to play. She’d bring me a tennis ball. She’d nudge me. She’d grunt. She constantly wanted attention. She made it impossible to focus. She was not good for productivity. She wasn’t a work dog, but she had other, deeper talents. If you were sad or stressed, she’d come sit beside you and sometimes even pat you with her paw.

Sometimes, when I’m on deadline, I find myself getting up at four in the morning to write. Mia quickly figured this out. So she started waking me up at right around four every morning — I mean, within five minutes either side of four. I have no idea how she did it, but after making sure I got up, she returned to her bed and went back to sleep and didn’t ask for food until it was light outside. She was a reliable canine alarm clock.

Somehow Mia was so tuned into me that she knew when I was returning home from work. Ten minutes before I arrived, she’d start whining, pacing. I could hear her throwing herself at the front door as I approached.

One morning when she was nearly fourteen, she wouldn’t get up. After a few hours of this, we took her to the animal emergency room. They told us she had cancer, that she’d bled internally so much that she lacked the energy to stand. We put her through an arduous and expensive surgery, but the tumors came right back. We made the agonizing decision to put her down, rather than let her die in pain, feeling, our vet said, like she was drowning.

The terrible time came, and we surrounded Mia. My wife was the one who held her, and in the last few seconds of her life, Mia reached out to my sobbing wife and patted her hand with a consoling paw.

No dog can ever replace Mia, I know that, but the author needs his dog. We’re on the waiting list for another dropout.

JOSEPH FINDER is the New York Times bestselling author of fifteen previous novels, including Judgment, The Switch, Guilty Minds, The Fixer, and Suspicion. Finder's international bestseller Killer Instinct won the International Thriller Writers' Thriller Award for Best Novel of 2006. Other bestselling titles include Paranoia and High Crimes, which both became major motion pictures. In his new thriller, House on Fire, private investigator Nick Heller is hired to infiltrate a powerful family whose wealth and reputation hide something far more sinister.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Magic of Cats: Guest post by Clea Simon

Happy Caturday! Today we have a wonderful 'cat' post from mystery Author Clea Simon!

The Magic of Cats

It took me 26 books, but I’m finally back where I started – exploring the magic of cats. Because, yes, my new cozy An Incantation of Cats, draws on the premise I established last year, with A Spell of Murder, that is, that my human protagonist might want to be a witch but it is really her three felines that have the supernatural powers. But as I launch Incantation into the world (and dig in to start book three in the “Witch Cats of Cambridge” series, tentatively titled A Felony of Felines), I find myself once more exploring the lore and legends that have surrounded cats for millennia.

Long ago, and in another world, I was a journalist. I wrote nonfiction books on serious subjects, like mental health and family dysfunction. But when a friend – a non-cat person, I should note – suggested I turn my research and writing chops toward felines, the idea immediately clicked. Yes, I wanted to write about cats. At that point, I had cohabited with Cyrus, an elegant long-haired gray gentleman, for several years, and I knew that many of my friends and colleagues had similar close relationships with their pets. But being a journalist, I wanted to dig a bit. And so I did, researching the various roles felines have played as gods and goddesses (from the Middle East’s Inanna and Bastet to the Americas, where the Olmecs worshipped a half-jaguar deity). I also found numerous incidents of felines being power adjacent – partnering with deities (usually women) in mystical ways. The Norse goddess Freya, for example, rides a chariot drawn by black cats, a precursor to our more modern concept of the witch and her (flying) familiar.

As I did my research, the rationale for such linkages became clear. Cats, with their excellent night vision, were believed to be capable of seeing in the dark, while their flexibility made them appear to be able to shape shift and fly, if not actually confound death. Their fecundity and apparent ease producing litters of multiple kittens made them exemplars for childbirth. Add in their beauty and sensuality – that fur, that grace – and it’s no wonder that cats became linked with the magics, the mysteries, of women. Birth, death, the ability to see beyond this world … well, the resulting book, The Feline Mystique: On the Mysterious Connection Between Women and Death kind of wrote itself.

In that book, I wove real-life stories, including that of me and Cyrus, in with the mythology. But while acknowledging the symbolism, I kept the present-day accounts grounded in the everyday. We love these beasts as they are, I wanted to say. And that’s fine. But in the years since, I’ve found myself observing my cats – Musetta, after Cyrus, and now Thisbe – with growing wonder. How did she just appear like that? Could he have really known how I was feeling?

Once I started to ask myself what other powers do these truly wonderful animals might have, I was hooked – and I came up with three cats – “weird sisters” – who each have their own supernatural power. And, to me, this makes perfect sense. I’ve either become more fanciful, or … could it be? Maybe that’s the secret of cat magic. Once they draw you in, they refuse to let you go.

Clea Simon is the author of An Incantation of Cats and 25 other mysteries, most involving cats. A former journalist, she lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband Jon and their marvelous tortie Thisbe. She can be reached at  

Monday, January 13, 2020


Left Coast Crime 2020, “Murder’s a Beach,” will be presenting four Lefty Awards at the 30th annual LCC convention, to be held in San Diego in March: humorous, historical, debut, and best. The awards will be voted on at the convention and presented at a banquet on Saturday, March 14, at the Marriot Mission Valley in San Diego. The award nominees have been selected by this and last years’ convention registrants.
LCC is delighted to announce the 2020 Lefty nominees for books published in 2019. Congratulations to all!
Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel. The nominees are:
Ellen Byron, Fatal Cajun Festival (Crooked Lane Books)
Leslie Karst, Murder from Scratch (Crooked Lane Books)
Cynthia Kuhn, The Subject of Malice (Henery Press)
Catriona McPherson, Scot & Soda (Midnight Ink)
Wendall Thomas, Drowned Under (Poisoned Pen Press)
Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel for books set before 1970. The nominees are:
L.A. Chandlar, The Pearl Dagger (Kensington Books)
Dianne Freeman, A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder (Kensington Books)
Jennifer Kincheloe, The Body in Griffith Park (Seventh Street Books)
Sujata Massey, The Satapur Moonstone (Soho Crime)
Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel. The nominees are:
Tori Eldridge, The Ninja Daughter (Agora Books)
Angie Kim, Miracle Creek (Sarah Crichton Books)
Tara Laskowski, One Night Gone (Graydon House)
John Vercher, Three-Fifths (Agora Books)
Carl Vonderau, Murderabilia (Midnight Ink)
Lefty for Best Mystery Novel (not in other categories). The nominees are:
Steph Cha, Your House Will Pay (Ecco)
Tracy Clark, Borrowed Time (Kensington Books)
Matt Coyle, Lost Tomorrows (Oceanview Publishing)
Rachel Howzell Hall, They All Fall Down (Forge Books)
Attica Locke, Heaven, My Home (Mulholland Books)
The Left Coast Crime Convention is an annual event sponsored by mystery fans, both readers and authors. Held in the western half of North America, LCC’s intent is to host an event where readers, authors, critics, librarians, publishers, and other fans can gather in convivial surroundings to pursue their mutual interests. Lefty Awards have been given since 1996.
The 30th annual Left Coast Crime Convention will take place in San Diego, California, March 
12–15, 2020. This year’s Guests of Honor are authors Rachel Howzell Hall and T. Jefferson Parker. Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore is the Fan Guest of Honor, and author Matt Coyle will serve as Toastmaster.
Left Coast Crime is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation holding annual mystery conventions in the West. Each LCC convention raises money to support a local literary organization and is staffed entirely by volunteers.
For more information on Left Coast Crime 2020, please visit