Tuesday, June 30, 2020


The Ngaio Marsh Awards have celebrated the best New Zealand crime, mystery, thriller, and suspense writing since 2010.

The Longlist for this year’s Best Novel prize is: 

• SHADOW OF A DOUBT by SL Beaumont (Paperback Writers Publishing)
• TRUST ME, I'M DEAD by Sherryl Clark (Verve Books)
• WHATEVER IT TAKES by Paul Cleave (Upstart Press)
• ONE SINGLE THING by Tina Clough (Lightpool Publishing)
• GIRL FROM THE TREE HOUSE by Gudrun Frerichs
• AUE by Becky Manawatu (Makaro Press)
• THE NANCYS by RWR McDonald (Allen & Unwin)
• HIDE by SJ Morgan (MidnightSun Publishing)
• IN THE CLEARING by JP Pomare (Hachette)
• THE WILD CARD by Renee (Cuba Press)
• A MADNESS OF SUNSHINE by Nalini Singh (Hachette)

The longlist is currently being considered by a judging panel of crime, thriller, and suspense writing experts from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

The finalists for both this Best Novel category and Best First Novel will be announced later this year.

The finalists will be celebrated, and the winners announced, as part of a special event at this year’s WORD Christchurch Festival, held from 29 October to 1 November.

Saturday, June 27, 2020


Summertime, and the living is easy. Or is it? So many mysteries taking place during Summer are filled with murder and mayhem -- on the Beach, at the Lake, and in the City! What follows is a list of Summer Crime Fiction that exudes the heat and accompanying crime of Summertime. I've omitted most Fourth of July and Labor Day Mysteries from this list, but I'll be updating those lists later this Summer. As always I invite you to add any titles I've missed. This is far from a definitive list, but it's updated since last year.

Summertime Mysteries 

Foxglove Summer by Ban Aaronovitch
The Corpse with the Garnet Face by Cathy Ace
A Cat on a Beach Blanket by Lydia Adamson
A Deadly Cliche; Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams
Moon Water Madness by Glynn Marsh Alam
A Tangled June by Neil Albert
Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander
Gone Gull by Donna Andrews
Sunset Beach; High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews
Tiger's Eve by Barbara Annino
Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea by Nancy Atherton
Sweet Tea and Secrets by Joy Avon
Live and Let Chai by Bree Baker
Gold Medal Threat by Michael Balkind (Kids: 7-15)
A Midsummer Night's Killing by Trevor Barnes
Milwaukee Summers Can Be Deadly by Kathleen Anne Barrett
Hot Murder by Lorraine Bartlett
Love, Lies and Liquor by M.C. Beaton
Summertime News by Dick Belsky
Pups, Pilots and Peril by Cindy Bell
The Summer School Mystery by Josephine Bell
Jaws by Peter Benchley (maybe not quite a mystery, but a good read, especially at the Beach)
Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Murder by Fireworks by Susan Bernhardt
A Death in Summer by Benjamin Black
Another Man's Ground by Claire Booth
The Down East Murders by J.S. Borthwick
Royal Flush by Rhys Bowen
Deadly Readings by Laura Bradford
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Pot Boiler by Ali Brandon
The Cat Who Saw Stars, The Cat Who Went Up the Creek by Lilian Jackson Braun
Chill of Summer by Carol Brennan
Death by the Sea by Kathleen Bridge
Devils Island by Carl Brookins
Killer in Crinolines; Braking for Bodies by Duffy Brown
Tall Tail by Rita Mae Brown
Scrappy Summer by Mollie Cox Bryan
Magic and Macaroons by Bailey Cates
Wonton Terror by Vivien Chien
Twanged; Zapped by Carol Higgins Clark
Footprints in the Sand by Mary Jane Clark
Remember Me by Mary Higgins Clark
Thin Air by Ann Cleeves
Dead and Berried by Peg Cochran
All You Need is Fudge, To Fudge or not to Fudge by Nancy Coco
BlackBuried Pie by Lyndsey Cole
Murder at the Mansion by Sheila Connolly
Beach Music by Pat Conroy
Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell
Death on a Summer Night by Matthew Costello
Murder Most Frothy by Cleo Coyle
A Shoot on Martha's Vineyard by Philip Craig
The Trouble with a Hot Summer by Camilla Crespi
Never Say Pie by Carol Culver
Barkley's Treasure, Bikinis in Paradise; Beach Blanket Barbie; Camp Carter; Maui Madness; Bikinis in Paradise by Kathi Daley
The Alpine Recluse; The Alpine Zen; Clam Wake; Dune to Death by Mary Daheim
The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss by Krista Davis
A Summer in the Twenties by Peter Dickinson
The Gold Coast, Plum Island by Nelson DeMille
Dead & Buried by Leighann Dobbs
Kilt at the Highland Games by Kaitlyn Dunnett
Killer Heat by Linda Fairstein
Four Dog's Sake by Lia Farrell
Blackberry Burial, Dying for Strawberries; Killed on Blueberry Hill by Sharon Farrow
One Fete in the Grave by Vickie Fee
Murder Sends a Postcard by Christy Fifield
The Angel of Knowlton Park by Kate Flora
Lord James Harrington and the Summer Mystery by Lynn Florkiewicz
Apple Turnover Murder, Blackberry Pie Murder, Carrot Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke
Beneath the Skin by Nicci French
A Dish Best Served Cold by Rosie Genova
Murder Makes Waves by Anne George
The Caleb Cove Mystery Series  (3 in the series) by Mahrie Reid Glab
Summertime, All the Cats are Bored by Philippe Georget
The Cats that Watched the Woods by Karen Anne Golden
A Fatal Fleece, Angora Alibi: Murder at Lambswool Farm by Sally Goldenbaum
Sunflower Street by Pamela Grandstaff
Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake; Knockdown by Sarah Graves
Sound Proof by Barbara Gregorich
Bowled Over by Victoria Hamilton
Dead Days of Summer; Dead Man's Island by Carolyn Hart
Town in a Lobster Stew; Town in a Strawberry Swirl by B.B. Haywood
A Stitch in Crime by Betty Hechtman
Tilling the Truth by Julia Henry
The Summer of Dead Toys by Antonio Hill
The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
Summer of the Big Bachi by Naomi Hirahara
Death of a Cookbook Author; Death of a Lobster Lover by Lee Hollis
Cracked to Death by Cheryl Holton
Beach Bags and Burglaries by Dorothy Howell
Murder at Wrightsville Beach by Ellen Elizabeth Hunter
Magic Hour by Susan Isaacs
Death in Holy Orders by P.D. James
One Feta in the Grave by Tina Kashian
A Summer for Dying by Jamie Katz
The Foxglove Killings by Tara Kelly (YA)
Rainy Day Women by Kay Kendell
Murder in the Past Tense by E.E. Kennedy
Death and a Pot of Chowder by Cornelia Kidd
Banana Split by Josi S. Kilpack
Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch
A Timely Vision; A Watery Death by Joyce and Jim Lavene
Midsummer Malice by M.D. Lake
Dark Nantucket Noon by Jane Langton
The Bottoms by Joe Lansdale
You Only Witch Once by Amanda M. Lee
Death of a Bacherlorette by Laura Levine
A Tale of Two Biddies by Kylie Logan
Murder on the Ile Sordou by M.L. Longworth
August Moon, June Bug by Jess Lourey
Nun But the Brave by Alice Loweecey
A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry
The Body in the Wetlands by Judi Lynn
Berried to the Hilt, Death Runs Adrift; Claws for Alarm; Murder on the Rocks by Karen MacInerny
A Demon Summer by G.M. Malliet
Grave Heritage by Blanche Day Manos
Swimming Alone by Nina Mansfield (YA)
Death in a Mood Indigo by Francine Mathews
Murder at Beechwood by Alyssa Maxwell
Till Death Do Us Bark by Judi McCoy
Killer Honeymoon by G.A. McKevitt
Left Hanging by Patricia McLinn
Tippy Toe Murder by Leslie Meier
Murder Most Finicky by Liz Mugavero
Bats and Bones; Peete and Repeat, The Lady of the Lake, To Cache a Killer by Karen Nortman
Murder at Kildare Mensa by Clare O'Beara
Foal Play; Murder on the Hoof by Kathryn O'Sullivan
The Body in the Lighthouse; The Body in the Birches; The Body in the Wake by Katherine Hall Page
Murder at the Seaside Hotel by Sonia Paris
Mercury's Rise by Ann Parker
The Heat of the Moon by Sandra Parshall
Paws in the Action; A Timely Murder by Max Parrott
Mrs. Bundle's Dog Days of Summer: A Case of Artful Arson by Allison Cesario Paton
The Summer House by James Patterson
Summer of the Dragon by Elizabeth Peters
5 Dan Marlowe/Hampton Beach, NH mysteries by Jed Power
Murder at Honeysuckle Hotel by Rose Pressey
Cat of Many Tails by Ellery Queen
Still Life in Brunswick Stew by Larissa Reinhart
In the Dead of the Summer; How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Gillian Roberts
Calamity@the Carwash by Sharon Rose
Mint Juleps, Mayhem, and Murder; Milkshakes, Mermaids and Murder by Sara Rosett
Boiled Over, Clammed Up by Barbara Ross
Murder in the Dining Room by Betty Rowlands
Field of Prey by John Sandford 
Dark Fire by C.J. Sansom
Hang My Head & Cry by Elena Santangelo
Miss Lizzie by Walter Satterthwait
Purl Up and Die by Maggie Sefton
Vacations Can Be Murder by Connie Shelton
Bushel Full of Murder, If Onions Could Spring Leeks by Paige Shelton
Summer in the Woods by Steven K. Smith
Pick Your Poison; The Cat, The Vagabond and The Victim by Leann Sweeney
Cape Cod Mystery by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
A Fine Summer's Day by Charles Todd
Deception in the Cotswolds by Rebecca Tope
Trouble in the Tarot by Kari Lee Townsend
Rooted in Deceit by Wendy Tyson
Board Stiff by Elaine Viets
Shadows of a Down East Summer; Thread and Gone by Lea Wait
The Great Chili Kill-Off; Killer Crab Cakes by Livia J. Washburn
A Sense of Entitlement by Anna Loan Wilsey
Trail of Secrets by Laura Wolfe (YA)
An Old Faithful Murder, Remodelled to Death; Death in a Beach Chair by Valerie Wolzien
Orchid Beach by Stuart Woods
Sins of a Shaker Summer by Deborah Woodworth
Summer Will End by Dorian Yeager
Heart of Stone by James Ziskin

Any titles you'd like to add?

Thursday, June 25, 2020


PRIVATE EYE WRITERS OF AMERICA SHAMUS AWARD WINNERS 2020 for works published in 2019. Congratulations to all!

Best Original Private Eye Paperback 

Behind the Wall of Sleep by James DF Hannah / author

Best Private Eye Short Story 

“Sac-A-Lait Man” by O’Neil De Noux in EQMM Sept/Oct

 Best Private Eye Novel 

Lost Tomorrows by Matt Coyle / Oceanview

Cartoon of the Day: Dogs

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

ITALIAN MYSTERIES: Mystery Readers Journal (Volume 36:2)

Mystery Readers Journal: Italian Mysteries (Volume 36: 2, Summer 2020) is available as a PDF and hardcopy. Subscriber copies should arrive this week. PDF Contributor Copies will go out tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this issue. 

Be safe! Be well!

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

  • Italy—The Mystery Setting by Robert J. Stern
  • Donna Leon by Jack Erickson
  • “It’s the System, Not the People”: Conor Fitzgerald’s Alec Blume Series by David Clark
  • Food—A Critical Element in the Inspector Montalbano Mysteries by Joan Leotta
  • Italy’s (In)Famous Son by Lisa Black
  • An Introduction to Gang Life: Tuscany, c.1940 by Jay A. Gertzman
  • Place, Food, Language and Sleaze: Setting in Italian Mysteries by Elizabeth Immirzi
  • Music and Murder, Italian-style by Paul Adam
  • “You See But You Do Not Observe” by Rona Bell
  • Community Policing in Italy by Grace Brophy
  • Of Operas and Artichokes by Shelley Costa / Stephanie Cole
  • The Little Drummer by Sandrone Dazieri
  • Italy: Land of Beauty, Mystery, and Inspiration by Rich DiSilvio
  • Working in Italy by David Hewson
  • An Italian Parking Ticket by Russell Hill
  • The Lightning Bolt by Jack Erickson
  • In the Beginning (and Ending)… Italy by Joseph LeValley
  • The Italian Art Job by Larry Mild
  • Bella Italia by Arthur Kerns
  • Sicilian Murder by Alec Peche
  • One Writer’s Origins (with Apologies to Ms. Welty) by Vito Racanelli
  • Boat Memories by Sebastian Rotella
  • The Diavolo in the Details by David P. Wagner
  • Turn to Stone: Quarantined in Florence with Ellie Stone by James W. Ziskin
  • Mystery in Retrospect: Reviews by Lesa Holstine, Lexa M. Mack, D.R. Ransdell, L.J. Roberts, Lucinda Surber, Nicola Trwst
  • In Short: Italian Short Stories by Marvin Lachman
  • The Children’s Hour: Mysteries Set in Italy by Gay Toltl Kinman
  • Just the Facts: A New Patron Saint for Cops? by Jim Doherty
  • Real Italy Mysteries by Cathy Pickens
  • Crime Seen: Guido and Salvo, the Two Commissari by Kate Derie
  • From the Editor’s Desk by Janet A. Rudolph


Denise Mina, Ian Rankin, Richard Osman and Karen Robinson announce the shortlist for the Bloody Scotland Debut Book of the Year and the longlist for the McIlvanney Prize which awards the Scottish Crime Book of the Year. Bloody Scotland was cancelled due to the coronavirus, but the winners will be announced in the Fall. Congratulations to all the nominees! Great reading!

 Find out more at www.bloodyscotland.com

Sunday, June 21, 2020

FATHER'S DAY: Father's Day Mysteries; Fathers & Daughters; Fathers & Sons

Just an FYI, this is a repost. For some reason, probably because of the timelessness of being Sheltered in Place, I posted this Father's Day Crime Fiction article in May.. So here it is again on Father's Day. I guess the books are not timely, really, you can read them any time..or give them to Dad today as ebooks!

My own father was the ultimate reader. His idea of a good vacation was sitting in a chair reading a good mystery. It didn't mattered where he was, the book took him miles away.

Even now after he's been gone for many years, I find myself finishing a book and saying to myself, "I have to send this to Dad. He'll love it." It always makes me sad to remember I can't. My father engendered my love of mysteries through his collection of mystery novels and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazines. I like to think he's up there somewhere in a chair surrounded by books and reading a good mystery.

Here's to you, Dad, on Father's Day!

The following are updated lists! As always let me know any titles that you think should be included.


Father’s Day by John Calvin Batchelor
Father’s Day by Rudolph Engelman
Father's Day: A Detective Joe Guerry Story by Tippie Rosemarie Fulton
Father’s Day Keith Gilman 
Dear Old Dead by Jane Haddam
The Father’s Day Murder by Lee Harris
Day of Reckoning by Kathy Herman
Dead Water by Victoria Houston
Father’s Day Murder by Leslie Meier
On Father's Day by Megan Norris
Father’s Day by Alan Trustman

Murder for Father, edited by Martin Greenberg (short stories)
"Father's Day" by Patti Abbott --short story at Spinetingler
Collateral Damage: A Do Some Damage Collection  e-book of Father's Day themed short stories.
"Where's Your Daddy?" by Sue Ann Jaffarian

Let me know if I missed any titles.

And a very short list of Crime Fiction that focuses on Fathers and Sons and Fathers and Daughters. Have a favorite Father / Son Father/Daughter Mystery? Post below in comments.


Carriage Trade by Stephen Birmingham
His Father's Son by Tony Black
Her Father's Secret by Sara Blaedel
The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian
All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage
Secret Father by James Carroll
The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter
Hot Plastic by Peter Craig
The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne 
The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron
Lars and Little Olduvai by Keith Spencer Felton
Unsub by Meg Gardner   
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
King of Lies by John Hart
Damage by Josephine Hart
The Good Father by Noah Hawley
1922 by Stephen King
A Perfect Spy by John LeCarre 
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh 
The Son by Jo Nesbo
The Godfather by Mario Puzo
The Roman Hat Mystery; other novels by Ellery Queen (Manfred B. Lee and Frederic Dannay)
Paperback Original by Will Rhode
The Senior Sleuths: Dead in Bed by Marcia Rosen
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti
The Father by Anton Swenson

Saturday, June 20, 2020


The Shirley Jackson Awards  are given"in recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s writing, and with permission of the author’s estate, The Shirley Jackson Awards, Inc. has been established for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantasy." The following are the nominees. The final awards will be given sometime in the future. 


The Book of X by Sarah Rose Etter (Two Dollar Radio)
Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand (Little, Brown and Co)
Goodnight Stranger by Miciah Bay Gault (Park Row Books)
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (Gollancz-UK/Flatiron Books-US)
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson (Ecco)
Tinfoil Butterfly by Rachel Eve Moulton (MCD x FSG Originals)

Into Bones Like Oil by Kaaron Warren (Meerkat Press)
Late Returns by Joe Hill (Full Throttle)
The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht (Tor.com)
Ormeshadow by Priya Sharma (Tor.com)
This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone (Gallery/Saga Press)

Black Bequeathments by Simon Strantzas (Dim Shores)
The Couvade by Joanna Koch (Demain Publishing)
Deeper, Darker Things” by Steve Dillon (Deeper, Darker Things and Other Oddities)
Luminous Body by Brooke Warra (Dim Shores)
Pwdre Ser by Kurt Fawver (Dim Shores)
Taproot” by M. R. Carey (Ten-Word Tragedies)

How to Become a Witch-Queen” by Theodora Goss (Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery)
Kali_Na” by Indrapramit Das (The Mythic Dream)
The Truth About Josh Enloe” by Nick Straatmann (Parhelion)
The Well” by Mariana Enríquez, translated by Megan McDowell (issue 55.1 of The Southern Review)
Whistle, My Lad, and I Will Come” by Gina Ochsner (The Pink Issue of Fairy Tale Review)

Collision: Stories by J. S. Breukelaar (Meerkat Press, LLC)
Every Human Love: Stories by Joanna Pearson (Acre Books)
Homesick by Nino Cipri (Dzanc Books)
Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell (Riverhead Books)
Song for the Unraveling of the World by Brian Evenson (Coffee House Press)
Wounds by Nathan Ballingrud (Saga Press)

Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Storiesedited by Ellen Datlow (Saga Press)
The Mythic Dream, edited by Navah Wolfe and Dominik Parisien (Saga Press)
The Twisted Book of Shadowsedited by Christopher Golden & James A. Moore (Twisted Publishing)
The Unquiet Dreamer: A Tribute to Harlan Ellisonedited by Preston Grassmann (PS Publishing)
Wonderland: An Anthology of Works Inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderlandedited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane (Titan Books)

Friday, June 19, 2020

Carlos Ruiz Zafón: R.I.P.

Such sad news. Carlos Ruiz Zafón died today at the age of 55. He was one of my favorite writers. Way too young. Such a talented man.

Here's the article from The Guardian.  Zafon was frequently described as the most-read Spanish author since Cervantes. He had been diagnosed with colon cancer.

The novelist, who was frequently described as the most-read Spanish author since Cervantes, died on Friday at his home in Los Angeles, his publisher Planeta announced. According to Spanish language reports, Ruiz Zafón had been diagnosed with colon cancer in 2018.

Pedro Sánchez, the Spanish prime minister, tweeted: “We have lost one of the world’s most read and most admired Spanish writers. Carlos Ruiz Zafón, a key novelist of our epoch, made a significant contribution to modern literature.”

Calling him “one of the best contemporary novelists”, Planeta quoted from his most famous book, The Shadow of the Wind, a literary thriller about a library of obscure titles: “Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it.” His English-language publisher Weidenfeld & Nicolson said it was “deeply saddened to hear of Carlos’ passing”.

The author of eight novels that also include The Angel’s Game and The Labyrinth of the Spirits, Ruiz Zafón’s books sold more than 38m copies worldwide, were translated into more than 40 languages, and won him multiple awards. .

Born in Barcelona, Ruiz Zafón worked in advertising before he made his debut as an author in 1993 with young adult novel The Prince of Mist. In 2001, he published The Shadow of the Wind, which followed a boy called Daniel who is taken to the Cemetery of Lost Books in Barcelona and becomes fascinated by the author Julian Carax and the shadowy figure trying to eradicate every last copy of Carax’s books. The novel was translated into English by Lucia Graves in 2004, and became an international hit. “If you thought the true gothic novel died with the 19th century, this will change your mind,” said Stephen King in a review. “Shadow is the real deal, a novel full of cheesy splendour and creaking trapdoors, a novel where even the subplots have subplots.”

Ruiz Zafón, who moved to Los Angeles in the 1990s, and divided his time between Spain and the US, has said that while he had written “pretty successful” young adult novels for 10 years, with The Shadow of the Wind he “wanted to create something very special”.

THE VESPER MARTINI: Shaken Not Stirred for National Martini Day

Today is National Martini Day, and perhaps the most iconic Martini is that of James Bond aka 007! The Vodka Martini is as synonymous with 007 as the Walther PPK and the Aston Martin DB5. James Bond first ordered his trademark drink  in Ian Fleming's debut novel Casino Royale (1953):

'A dry martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne goblet.'
'Oui, monsieur.'
'Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?'
'Certainly, monsieur.' The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
'Gosh, that's certainly a drink,' said Leiter.
Bond laughed. 'When I'm . . . er . . . concentrating,' he explained, 'I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I can think of a good name.'

Having invented his own signature drink for Bond, Fleming left the reader hanging for the name for the drink until Vesper Lynd entered the novel. Bond thought her name was perfect for his preferred drink:

'Vesper,' she said. 'Vesper Lynd.'... She smiled. 'Some people like it, others don't. I'm just used to it.'
'I think it's a fine name,' said Bond. An idea struck him. 'Can I borrow it?'
He explained about the special martini he had invented and his search for a name for it. 'The Vesper,' he said.
'It sounds perfect and it's very appropriate to the violet hour when my cocktail will now be drunk all over the world. Can I have it?'
'So long as I can try one first,' she promised. 'It sounds a drink to be proud of.'

The 'Vesper' Martini created by Bond in Casino Royale and liked by Fleming

Add 3 measures Gordon's Gin
Add 1 measure Vodka
Add 1 measure blond Lillet vermouth
Shake very well until it's ice cold
Garnish with a slice of lemon peel

The medium-dry Vodka Martini preferred by James Bond in the films

4 measures Vodka (use a tbsp or an oz as a measure to fill one cocktail glass)
Add 1 measure dry Vermouth
Shake with ice. Do not stir. (Shaking gives the misty effect and extra chill preferred by Bond)
Add 1 green olive ( James Bond prefers olives)
Garnish with a thin slice of lemon peel
Serve in a cocktail glass

Thanks to MI6-HQ.com for the citations

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Cartoon of the Day: Mother Goose: The Writers' Room

Researching for Dharma: A Rekha Rao Mystery

Vee Kumari:
Researching for Dharma: A Rekha Rao Mystery

I had to do quite a bit of research about archeology as well as Indian and Hindu idols to ensure the facts presented are accurate. I hope I haven’t erred by omission. As a former neuroscientist, I was used to research.


The story of the discovery of microliths, 35,000-year-old stone tools in Jwalapuram in the state of Andhra Pradesh in central India, is true and comes from an article I came across in the journal, Antiquity (Volume 83, Issue 320, June 2009, pp. 326-348), written by first author Chris Clarkson.

Its abstract:

The Jwalapuram Locality 9 rockshelter in southern India dates back to 35000 years ago and it is emerging as one of the key sites for documenting human activity and behaviour in South Asia. The excavated assemblage includes a proliferation of lithic artifacts, beads, worked bone, and fragments of a human cranium. The industry is microlithic in character, establishing Jwalapuram 9 as one of the oldest and most important sites of its kind in South Asia.

The excavation plays a minor role only in the novel. I wanted to connect archeologists Faust and Davidson with an excavation in India where the Durga could potentially be discovered. Certainly, no idol was reported to have been unearthed among the Jwalapuram finds, but I used my creative license to invent that. I wrote and obtained permission from the first author to do this. Any reader who notices the discrepancy in the timeline–excavation of the microliths published in 2009 and the beginning of my story in 2017, will hopefully forgive me.


Having grown up in the south of India, I knew the basics about how Goddess Durga was created from parts of the Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. I also knew that the Mahishasura Mardini was one of her incarnations created with the specific purpose of destroying the buffalo-demon, Mahishasura. However, I was unaware of the folklore about their relationship that ends in a battle in which the Goddess kills the demon.

Durga, (Sanskrit: “the Inaccessible”) is the most powerful Hindu Goddess in the Hindu pantheon. The word Durga literally means "impassable", "invincible, unassailable." It is related to the word Durg which means "fortress, something difficult to defeat or pass."

Mahishasura Mardini (sometimes written as one word) means the killer (maradini) of Mahishasura (the great Asura*, one of a class of beings defined by their opposition to the devas or suras, the Gods. From: https://www.britannica.com/topic/avatar-Hinduism).

On the left, the stock photo used as the cover of my book, showing the figure of Mahishasura being impaled by Durga’s trident. Out of the buffalo’s cut neck, a human head emerges, that of Mahishasura. The lion that she rides on can be seen on the left, trying to do his share of damage to the demon.

On the right, Durga Ma (Mother), a more benevolent and nurturing version of the Durga, on her tiger, without the Mahishasura. (By multiple authors - Konkani vishwakosh, Goa University, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31111758).

She is usually depicted riding a lion or tiger and with 8 or 10 arms, each holding the special weapon of one of the gods, who gave them to her for her battle against the buffalo demon.

Durga-puja, or pooja, is a prayer ritual performed by Hindus to offer devotional worship to one or more deities. It is held annually in her honor and is one of the great Hindu festivals of northeastern India. In 2020, Durga Puja dates are: October 22-26.

The Divine and The Demoniac, Mahisha’s Heroic Struggle with Durga by Carmel Berkson, published in in India by the Oxford University Press in 1995, is a wonderful resource for the Mahishasura Mardini story. In small font and 318 pages, it offered a true challenge for me. It covers in detail the birth and growth of Mahisha in as much detail as it describes the encounter between him and the Goddess. The story goes that he falls in love with the Goddess and offers his hand in marriage, which Durga rejects. Enraged, Mahishasura declares war and dies in the battle. I, like my protagonist, focused on Chapter Nine The Life Stages of the Hero: Depictions in Stone, and Conclusion, pp. 220-232. For anyone interested in the details, it is a vital resource.


Author Vee Kumari, author of Dharma, A Rekha Rao Mystery, grew up in India. She loved to read, and often used it to avoid her mother, who might want her to do a chore or two. It was her mother who directed her to use the dictionary to learn the meanings of new words and construct sentences with them. Vee wanted to become an English professor but went to medical school instead. 

Monday, June 15, 2020

2020 SCRIBE AWARDS NOMINEES: International Association of Media Tie-In Writers

Acknowledging excellence in the field of tie-in writing, the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers announced the nominees for the 2020 Scribe Awards. The winner in each category will be announced this July at the San Diego ComicCon. 

Winners will be announced on July 15! Congratulations to all nominees! It was a very good year for Media Tie-in writing!

Alita: Battle Angel by Pat Cadigan
Batman: The Killing Joke by Christa Faust and Gary Phillips
Doctor Who: Scratch Man by Tom Baker
Godzilla: King of the Monsters by Greg Keyes

Diary of River Song – Concealed Weapon by Scott Handcock
Doctor Who – Companion Chronicles – Daybreak by John Pritchard
Doctor Who – 10 Doctor Adventures – The Creeping Death by Roy Gill
Torchwood – Sargasso by Christopher Cooper
Warhammer – Watcher in the Rain by Alex Worley

Blade Runner 2019: Los Angeles (Michael Green and Mike Johnson)
Doctor who—the Thirteenth Doctor: Old Friends (Jody Houser)
Pet Noir (Anne Toole/Christie Tant/Pati Nagle)
Star Trek—Year Five: Valentine’s Day Special (Paul Cornell)
The Wrath of Fantomas (Olivier Bouquet)

The Bitterest Pill - Reed Farrel Coleman
Murder, My Love - Max Allan Collins
Murder, She Wrote: A Taste For Murder - John Land

Batman, The Court of Owls by Greg Cox
Firefly, The Magnificent Nine by James Lovegrove
Star Trek TNG, Collateral Damage by David Mack
Star Trek Discovery, The Enterprise War by John Jackson Miller
Star Wars: Galaxy Edge, Black Spire by Delilah S. Dawson
Warhammer, The Red Feast by Gav Thorpe

Cookie by Shance Lacy Hensley
Cutter & Razz by Chris A. Jackson
The Girl’s Best Friend Matter by Bobby Nash
Pure History by George Ivanoff
The Queen Slayer by Jean Rabe

Battletech: Rogue Academy - Iron Dawn by Jennifer Brozek
Halo: Battle Born by Cassandra Rose Clarke
The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: The Midnight People by John Peel
Warhammer Adventures: Attack of the Necron by Cavan Scott
Warhammer Adventures: City of Lifestone by Tom Huddleston

HT: Jonathan Maberry

Friday, June 12, 2020


Grace Edwards, a Harlem mystery writer and a former director of the Harlem Writers Guild, died on February 25. Edwards published her first novel when she was 55, and her first mystery, featuring a stylish female ex-cop turned sleuth, when she was 64.

From the New York Times:

Though she began writing at age 7, Grace F. Edwards waited until she was 55 to publish her first novel. That book, “In the Shadow of the Peacock,” was a lush portrayal of Harlem during World War II, a girl’s coming-of-age story set against the race riots of the time. 

It was a placeholder for the six detective stories she would later write, mysteries set in Harlem starring a female cop turned sociologist and accidental sleuth named Mali Anderson, always with a backbeat of jazz. The first of these, “If I Should Die,” was published in 1997, when Ms. Edwards was 64. 

She was 87 when she died on Feb. 25 at Downstate Hospital in Brooklyn, her death receiving little notice at the time. Her daughter, Perri Edwards, who confirmed the death, said she had had dementia for three years.

Read more here. 

Cartoon of the Day: Murder Mysteries

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Selecting Stories for an Anthology: An Editor’s Point of View: Guest Post by Judy Penz Sheluk

Judy Penz Sheluk:
Selecting Stories for an Anthology: An Editor’s Point of View 

I’ve been on all sides of the anthology fence, as a story submitter, a publisher, editor and judge. I’ve felt the thrill of acceptance and the disappointment of rejection (as the intake coordinator for Passport to Murder, the Bouchercon Toronto anthology, I had the dubious distinction of sending a rejection letter to myself). I’m also an avid reader of short mystery fiction. Love it. And so, in October 2018, I sent out my very first callout under my recently formed Superior Shores Press imprint for The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, published June 18, 2019. Buoyed by the critical acclaim and commercial success of Plans, and convinced that this time around I’d be able to streamline the process somewhat, I sent another callout in October 2019, this time for Heartbreaks & Half-truths: 22 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, which releases on June 18, 2020. Now, with Plans, I’d received a total of 71 submissions, and I was expecting about the same number this go-round. Not so. In all, 105 submissions were received for Heartbreaks, representing authors from Argentina, Australia, France, Germany, Scotland, the UK, US, and Canada.

But, how does one make the cut from 105 to 22? The truth is, reading is subjective. I’ve yet to read an anthology where I’ve liked every story in the collection (my own anthologies excluded). The best you can do is even up your odds. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you submit:

Does it meet the theme? 
Most anthologies have an underlying theme. In this case, the theme was heartbreaks and half-truths. That’s pretty broad, and yet, some stories didn’t have so much of a hint of either. Bottom line: No matter how good a story is, if it doesn’t meet the theme, it won’t be accepted.

Does it meet the word count guidelines?
Some anthologies are very strict about word counts; one word over and you’re out. For Heartbreaks, I requested stories from 1,500 to 5,000 words, though this was “somewhat flexible,” meaning a few less or a few more words wouldn’t mean an automatic rejection. I did, however, draw the line at one submission of 7,800 words, which I didn’t take the time to read. Bottom line: There’s somewhat flexible and then there’s being an Olympic gymnast.

Does it meet the criteria? 
For Heartbreaks, the callout stated: Traditional, locked room, noir, historical and suspense will be considered; however, do not submit stories with overt sex, violence, or excessive bad language. And yup, you guessed it, I received some with all of that and more. Bottom line: Submit to a market that isn’t looking for a PG rating and give yourself a chance.

Did you format according to the publisher’s specifications? 
I requested: Times New Roman 12, double spaced, 1” margins, .5” indent (no tabs), no header or footer. Word .doc or .docx only. About 50% of authors paid attention to this (headers/footers being the one thing no one wanted to give up). Bottom line: Will you be rejected for submitting in Calibri 11, single-spaced, with headers and footers? Probably not, at least not if your story is good. But why not show the editor that you can read as well as write?

Don’t be last minute 
You don’t have to be first out of the gate. In fact, if you submit on day one, I’m pretty sure you’re sending me something out of your slush pile. That doesn’t mean sending it in on the last day, or in some cases, in the last hour. Because (and again, I can’t speak for other publishers/editors/judges), I’ve read each story as it came in, and I’ve already started my long list. Bottom line: No one wants a long list that’s, well, too long.

And now, a bit about Heartbreaks & Half-truths: 22 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, available in trade paperback and on Kindle (Kobo, Nook, Apple Books to follow at a later date).

Lovers and losers. 
Whether it’s 1950s Hollywood, a scientific experiment, or a yard sale in suburbia, the twenty-two authors represented in this collection of mystery and suspense interpret the overarching theme of “heartbreaks and half-truths” in their own inimitable style, where only one thing is certain: Behind every broken heart lies a half-truth. And behind every half-truth lies a secret.

Featuring stories by Sharon Hart Addy, Paula Gail Benson, James Blakey, Gustavo Bondoni, Susan Daly, Buzz Dixon, Rhonda Eikamp, Christine Eskilson, Tracy Falenwolfe, Kate Flora, John M. Floyd, J.A. Henderson, Blair Keetch, Steve Liskow, Edward Lodi, Judy Penz Sheluk, KM Rockwood, Peggy Rothschild, Joseph S. Walker, James Lincoln Warren, Chris Wheatley and Robb T. White.

Judy Penz Sheluk (editor/author) is the bestselling author of two mystery series: the Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. Her short stories appear in several collections, including Live Free or Tri and The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, which she also edited. Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime National, Toronto, and Guppy Chapters, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, International Thriller Writers, South Simcoe Arts Council, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves as Chair on the Board of Directors. Release Date: June 18, Kindle and trade paperback. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2020


Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel Of The Year Shortlist

My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald
The Lost Man by Jane Harper
Joe Country by Mick Herron
The Chain by Adrian McKinty
Smoke And Ashes by Abir Mukherjee

Have your say. Vote for the ONE shortlisted book that you feel most deserves to be crowned the 2020 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Voting closes on July 19. Winner will be announced on July 23 in a digital awards ceremony.

Go here to Vote.

2020 marks the 16th year of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award. The prize was created to celebrate the very best in crime fiction and is open to UK and Irish crime authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1 May 2019 to 30 April 2020. The award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and The Mail on Sunday.

Cartoon of the Day: Writing

Monday, June 8, 2020


Bouchercon, the world mystery convention, announced the nominees for its prestigious Anthony Award. Awards voting will take place during Virtual Bouchercon, October 16–7, 2020, and the awards will be presented as part of an online ceremony on October 17. Bouchercon 2020: Sacramento.

2020 Anthony Award Nominees

Your House Will Pay, by Steph Cha (Ecco)
They All Fall Down, by Rachel Howzell Hall (Forge)
Lady in the Lake, by Laura Lippman (William Morrow)
The Murder List, by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge)
Miami Midnight, by Alex Segura (Polis Books)

The Ninja Daughter, by Tori Eldridge (Agora Books)
Miracle Creek, by Angie Kim (Sarah Crichton Books)
One Night Gone, by Tara Laskowski (Graydon House)
Three-Fifths, by John Vercher (Agora Books)
American Spy, by Lauren Wilkinson (Random House)

The Unrepentant, by E.A. Aymar (Down & Out Books)
Murder Knocks Twice, by Susanna Calkins (Minotaur)
The Pearl Dagger, by L.A. Chandlar (Kensington)
Scot & Soda, by Catriona McPherson (Midnight Ink)
The Alchemist’s Illusion, by Gigi Pandian (Midnight Ink)
Drowned Under, by Wendall Thomas (Poisoned Pen Press)
The Naming Game, by Gabriel Valjan (Winter Goose Press)

Hitchcock and the Censors, by John Billheimer (University Press of Kentucky)
The Hooded Gunman: An Illustrated History of the Collins Crime Club, by John Curran (Collins Crime Club)
The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women, by Mo Moulton (Basic Books)
The Trail of Lizzie Borden: A True Story, by Cara Robertson (Simon & Schuster)
The Five: The Untold Stories of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper, by Hallie Rubenhold (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

“Turistas,” by Hector Acosta (appearing in ¡Pa’que Tu Lo Sepas!: Stories to Benefit the People of Puerto Rico)
“Unforgiven,” by Hilary Davidson (appearing in Murder a-Go-Gos: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of the Go-Gos)
“The Red Zone,” by Alex Segura (appearing in ¡Pa’que Tu Lo Sepas!: Stories to Benefit the People of Puerto Rico)
“Better Days,” by Art Taylor (appearing in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, May/June 2019)
“Hard Return,” by Art Taylor (appearing in Crime Travel)

The Eyes of Texas: Private Investigators from the Panhandle to the Piney Woods, edited by Michael Bracken (Down & Out Books)
¡Pa’que Tu Lo Sepas!: Stories to Benefit the People of Puerto Rico, edited by Angel Luis Colón (Down & Out Books)
Crime Travel, edited by Barb Goffman (Wildside Press)
Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible, edited by Verena Rose, Rita Owen, and Shawn Reilly Simmons (Wildside Press)
Murder A-Go-Go’s: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of the Go-Gos, edited by Holly West (Down & Out Books)

Seven Ways to Get Rid of Harry, by Jen Conley (Down & Out Books)
Catfishing on CatNet, by Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen)
Killing November, by Adriana Mather (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Patron Saints of Nothing, by Randy Ribay (Kokila)
The Deceivers, by Kristen Simmons (Tor Teen)
Wild and Crooked, by Leah Thomas (Bloomsbury YA)

** This year, there are two categories with more than five nominees. This is the result of a tie for fifth place. When this occurs, according to Bouchercon standing rules, all of the authors who have tied become nominees.

Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that holds an annual convention attended by readers, writers, publishers, editors, agents, booksellers, and other lovers of crime fiction. Its annual Anthony Awards are named for writer and book critic Anthony Boucher and are one of crime fiction’s most prestigious and coveted awards.

Cartoon of the Day: Her Majesty's Secret Service

Sunday, June 7, 2020

THE HAMMETT PRIZE: International Association of Crime Writers

THE 2020 Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in Crime Writing was announced by the International Association of Crime Writers

Bluff by Jane Stanton Hitchcock, Poisoned Pen Press

Also Nominated:

The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols by Nicholas Meyer, St. Martin’s Press
Blood Relations by Jonathan Moore, Mariner Books
The Murals by William Bayer, Severn House Norco '80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History by Peter Houlahan, Counterpoint Press

The winner will be awarded the Hammett trophy, designed by artist Peter Boiger, depicting a falcon-headed figure based upon a celebrated photograph of Dashiell Hammett. The location of the presentation to be determined at a later time. 

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Cartoon of the Day: Lockdown


CALL FOR ARTICLES: SENIOR SLEUTHS: Mystery Readers Journal (Volume 36:3)

The next issue of Mystery Readers Journal will focus on Senior Sleuths. 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 take on "Senior Sleuths'. Think of it as chatting with friends and other writers in the bar or cafe (or on Zoom) about your work and your 'Senior Sleuth' connection. Add a title and 2-3 sentence bio/tagline.

Deadline: July 1, 2020

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

Send to: Janet Rudolph, Editor. janet @ mysteryreaders.org

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

Subscribe to Mystery Readers Journal. Themes in 2020: Environmental Mysteries: Italian Mysteries: Senior Sleuths: Ireland