Saturday, August 29, 2020

BOOKSTORE MYSTERIES: Independent Bookstore Day

Here's a random incomplete but fun updated list of Bookstore Mysteries for Independent Bookstore Day. I invite you to comment below with your favorite titles...and add missing titles. Mystery Readers Journal has had several issues dedicated to Bibliomysteries that have included Bookstore Mysteries. Don't forget to buy a book (or two or ten) at your local independent bookstore today!


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

Friday, August 28, 2020

AGING HEROES: Guest post by Kevin P. Thornton

The next issue of the Mystery Readers Journal will focus on Senior Sleuths. Here's a great article from Kevin P. Thornton that expands this upcoming issue. Thanks, Kevin!

Kevin P. Thornton:
Aging Heroes

When Robert B. Parker’s first Spenser story The Godwulf Manuscript was published in 1973, the author was 40 years old and a Korean War veteran. His hero Spenser was 37 and had also been on the same battlegrounds. When the last Parker-penned novel Sixkill came out in 2010, everyone, theoretically, was 37 years older. Yet although the history of the character hadn’t changed - he was still a Korean War Veteran – his age also seemed to remain the same. One of Spenser’s prouder boasts made in several of the early books was he once fought Jersey Joe Walcott, the former world boxing champion. In the real world Walcott retired from the ring in 1953. Had he been alive in 2010, he would have been 96. Parker may have ignored it, but his readers knew. Spenser was getting on a bit.

Every series writer, if she or he is successful enough, will at some point face the problem of aging heroes. Spenser at 37 is youngish, brash, cocky and nearly able to leap small buildings. Nearly four decades on he can still do one arm push ups, and while his adopted son ages from 15 to 37 in real time before he too stops, Spenser and Hawk seem in suspended animation. Realist fans are left to deal with the incongruities of a 74 year old still behaving as an overgrown teenager.

Parker’s way to resolve the mathematical conundra his success had caused was to ignore it. People were still buying the books and Spenser had become a beloved and genre-redefining character, able to survive the occasional pedantic question. It is interesting to note however that later in Parker’s career when he created new series characters Sunny Randall and Jesse Stone, their ages were not so sharply defined and they were able to hide behind an assertive vagueness.

The mathematics of aging in fictional detective series may be divided, broadly speaking, into three categories: 1) real time, 2) meh! it’s fiction, and 3) the mathematical finesse of space in time or vice versa. Spenser falls firmly into the second category, allowing readers to reconcile the numerical anomalies in their own way. Stone and Randall meanwhile are characters from the third group. While the world advances around them, they age in a much slower manner and there are less incongruities. While dogs age and die and phones move from the wall to the pocket, Sunny Randall and Jesse Stone hardly change.

Real time writers, on the other hand, either set out to write a character who ages with them or end up doing so by accident. Both Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch and Ian Rankin’s John Rebus have grown old apace with their stories and have fallen into police retirement, and the challenge their writers face is keeping the characters relevant even as they lose their place in the squad room. Rankin and Connelly have done so, others have not, among them Sara Paretsky – more on her later.

Creating a long-running series featuring a much-loved character can be both a blessing and a curse. As time passes in the real world the writer has to decide how to deal with a fictional timeline. Ruth Rendell had Inspector Wexford still solving crimes in his retirement whereas Sue Grafton keeps Kinsey Milhone at the same age and in the same historical context. Both are real time solutions, both work for the respective characters.

Twenty five years into her most famous series featuring Tony Hill and Carol Jordan, Val McDermid has thought about their ages, but not to the extent it troubles her. “I feel an affection for Tony and Carol, a sympathy for what they’ve been through. Who knows how old they are? They’ve probably aged about one year for every book, rather than in real time. It’s fiction and I can do what I want. I guess they’re about mid-40s.”

John Connolly realized this right at the beginning of his series. “The spark for Charlie Parker was an image of a man going to visit the grave of his wife and child, flowers in the back of the car. For me the big thing was letting the characters grow older. You can take the Patricia Cornwell route, which is to keep your characters a certain age all the way through but the series can’t really develop if you do that because you’re just going to keep repeating certain tropes, the character is set in aspic. The other option is to do what somebody like James Lee Burke has done with Robicheaux, who ages with the writer effectively. Robicheaux is into his early 70s, so the books become meditations on mortality.”

So what is a series writer to do? It is difficult. Most writers don’t know at the time their first book is published that it will become a series. Quite often, if you go back and reread an author’s first book you can see places where a writer might have made her own life easier, had she but known of the looming success. Would Lee Child have changed Reacher if he knew they’d be together – author and character – for a quarter of a century? Was Jesse Stone Parker's attempt at a younger better Spenser?

Perhaps one of the better ways to deal with is the pragmatic approach adopted by Sara Paretsky who aged VI Warshawski in real time until both writer and PI hit fifty. VI stayed there as Sara moved on, acknowledging that part of the attraction of such characters is that they are vibrant heroes able to change their world and keep up with the adventure they encounter. In VI’s case aging in real time would have been a disservice both to the protagonist and the readers.

It would be much easier to write a series character if we knew it was going to be a series. However not knowing doesn’t mean there aren’t timely things a writer can do.

1. Try to avoid tying a character to a specific historical event. If your character was twenty-five serving in the Falklands, no amount of jiggery-pokery can change that he is a sixty-three-year-old pensioner in 2020, and not the strapping Royal Marine he once was.

2. Always try to write younger than you are, so that by book fifteen when you the writer are hitting seventy, your famous protagonist might only be sixty. Readers are accepting older heroes more and more, and it is easier to write from experience. You know what sixty feels like when you are seventy, it’s hard to imagine eighty from the same viewpoint.

3. Trust in your writing and your characters. At the end of the day, fans stick with you because they are invested in your hero and his life. They may sigh inwardly at the anomaly of an OAP-aged Boston detective bench-pressing twice his own weight, but they will stay for your writing. That’s what brought them to you in the first place.

4. Create a hero you hope you can live and grow with. Agatha Christie at one point hated Poirot and wanted to kill him off, Conan Doyle did so with his detective, and Lee Child recently gave Reacher to his brother to continue writing. If you like who you created, it makes it easier to continue with her/him.

5. Be careful with names. When Wilbur Smith wrote his first novel – When the Lion Feeds – his hero was Sean Courtney, pronounced Shawn. Half the buying public insisted on calling him Seen Courtney, which set the Author’s teeth on edge. Where possible, pick a name that’s easy, you may be stuck with it for a long while.

6. Never try to explain the time/age/space anomaly in too much detail. It ups your nerd ranking way beyond where a mystery writer should be, and most of the readers don’t care.

The exception to rule 6 is Reginald Hill. The creator of Joe Sixsmith, and Dalziel and Pascoe, wrote a foreword to the original edition of One Small Step wherein he imagined a conversation he should have had with Andy Dalziel (pronounced Dee-ell, see rule 5) and Peter Pascoe. In it he expounds his theory of dual chronology, touched on lightly elsewhere in this article though not with Hill’s delicacy. As Pascoe says to his author “. . .[so] we should regard historical time, i.e. your time, and fictive time, i.e. our time, as passenger trains running on parallel lines at different speeds?”. Hill concurs.

There is much more to this delightful interlude, and it is worth hunting it down to read and savour. Suffice it to say that Hill explains the inconsistencies of time within space in his series as ‘the chronic dualism of serial literature’, which may not cover all the anomalies discussed here, but is certainly a most elegant way to describe them.

Kevin P. Thornton has over twenty short stories published and available in reputable sales outlets, He is seven time finalist in the Crime Writers of Canada annual Awards. He has never won. He lives in Northern Canada in a town that has been wholly or partly evacuated four times recently due to floods or fires. It’s not that he is unlucky, but don’t believe him if he says he has winning lottery numbers. He is a past or current member of the MWA, CWA, CWC, ITW, SMFS, the Sisters in Crime, Mesdames of Mayhem and Writers’ Guild of Alberta. He like to belong. 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Cartoon of the Day: Dogs



The Australian Crime Writers Association has announced the 2020 Ned Kelly Awards Shortlists aka the Neddies.

Death of a Typographer by Nick Gadd (Australian Scholarly Publishing)
The Strangers We Know by Pip Drysdale (Simon & Schuster Australia)
The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan (Harlequin Enterprises Australia)
The Wife and the Widow by Christian White (Affirm Press)
Rivers of Salt by Dave Warner (Fremantle Press)
True West by David Whish-Wilson (Fremantle Press)
Present Tense by Natalie Conyer (Clan Destine Press)
Eight Lives by Susan Hurley (Affirm Press)
Where the Truth Lies by Karina Kilmore (Simon & Schuster Australia)
The Nancys by RWR McDonald (Allen & Unwin)
Six Minutes by Petronella McGovern (Allen & Unwin)
Lapse by Sarah Thornton (Text Publishing)
Bowraville by Dan Box (Penguin Random House Australia)
Dead Man Walking: The murky world of Michael McGurk and Ron Medich by Kate McClymont (Penguin Random House Australia)
Shark Arm by Phillip Rooper and Kevin Meagher (Allen & Unwin)
Snakes and Ladders by Angela Williams (Affirm Press)

Cruel Acts by Jane Casey (Harper Collins Australia)
The Night Fire by Michael Connelly (Allen & Unwin)
The Chain by Adrian McKinty (Hachette Australia)
The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter (Harper Collins Australia)

Wednesday, August 26, 2020


Hot off the press: Left Coast Crime 2021 Rescheduled to 2022

Due to the uncertainty of holding large gatherings in the spring of 2021, the Left Coast Crime 2021 convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been rescheduled for April 7–10, 2022 – same place, same week in April, just a year later.

The Left Coast Crime national committee is making this decision now because we cannot count on having favorable government policies and the hotel's ability to provide necessary services by next spring, as well as the willingness of our Left Coast Crime community to travel with confidence. We've been in continual conversations with hotel personnel and sought assurances from the State of New Mexico, but no one can say when conventions can resume, even in 2021.

Left Coast Crime 2022 — Southwest Sleuths — will feature the same incredible convention guests: Guests of Honor Mick Herron & Catriona McPherson, Fan Guest of Honor Kristopher Zgorski, Toastmaster Kellye Garrett, and Ghost of Honor Tony Hillerman.

2021 Lefty Awards: The Unconvention

Because of the current extraordinary circumstances, Left Coast Crime will be handling the 2021 Lefty Awards virtually to celebrate books published in 2020. Registrants for the Left Coast Crime Conventions in San Diego and Albuquerque will be able to nominate three titles in each category. Nomination forms will be emailed to all eligible LCC registrants by January 1, 2021. The Lefty Award categories are: Best Mystery Novel, Best Debut Mystery Novel, Best Humorous Mystery Novel, Best Historical Mystery Novel (The Bruce Alexander Memorial).
More information about the Lefty Awards

Registration is open for Left Coast Crime 2022

Tuesday, August 25, 2020


Although voting has ended, Art Taylor offers us links to all the Mystery Readers International Macavity nominated short stories. Great reads. Thanks, Art, for putting together the links! Winning story will be announced at Virtual Bouchercon in October.

Saturday, August 22, 2020


Congratulations to all.

Winner: The Best Lousy Choice by Jim Nesbitt

Best Cozy 2020
Winner: A Sip Before Dying by Gemma Halliday

Best Juvenile or Young Adult 2020
Winner: The Clockwork Dragon by James R. Hannibal

Best Mystery 2020
Lovely Digits by Jeanine Englert

Best Procedural or P.I. 2020
Winner: Paid in Spades by Richard Helms

Best Sci-Fi, Fantasy, or Horror 2020
Winner: The Line Between by Tosca Lee

Best Short Story Collection or Anthology 2020
Winner: The Muse of Wallace Rose by Bill Woods

Best Suspense 2020
Winner: Queen's Gambit by Bradley Harper

Best Thriller 2020
Winner: Hyperion's Fracture by Thomas Kelso

Readers' Choice 2020
Winner: A Sip Before Dying by Gemma Halliday

Best "Attending" Author 2020
Winner: Below the Fold by R.G. Belsky

Book of the year 2020 
Winner: Queen's Gambit by Bradley Harper

Cartoon of the Day: Cats

Happy Caturday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

LITERARY SALON ONLINE: Karen Dionne & Tori Eldridge: August 27

Literary Salon Online

When: Thursday, August 27, Noon PDT

Who: Karen Dionne & Tori Eldridge

Where: RSVP for Zoom login instructions

This is a free event, but YOU MUST RSVP to attend.
Zoom info will be sent when you register.
There will be a waiting room before admittance, so be sure to include your name with your email.
Space limited, as this will be an interactive salon. 
Send RSVP to janet @

Karen Dionne

Karen Dionne is the USA Today and #1 internationally bestselling author of the award-winning psychological suspense novel The Marsh King’s Daughter published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in the US and in 25 other languages. Her next psychological suspense, The Wicked Sister, has just been published from G.P. Putnam’s Sons in the US and Little, Brown in the UK August 4, 2020. Karen enjoys nature photography and lives with her husband in Detroit’s northern suburbs.

Tori Eldridge

Tori Eldridge is the author of The Ninja Daughter, nominated for the Anthony, Lefty, and Macavity Awards for Best First Novel and named one of the "Best Mystery Books of the Year" by The South Florida Sun Sentinel. The second book in her Lily Wong series, The Ninja’s Blade, releases on September 1st. Tori has short stories published in several anthologies and a narrative poem in the inaugural reboot of Weird Tales magazine. She holds a 5th degree black belt in To-Shin Do ninjutsu and has traveled the U.S. teaching ninja arts and women’s self-protection.  

Send RSVP to janet @

Saturday, August 15, 2020

HOW TO RELEASE A BOOK IN A PANDEMIC: Guest Post by Jenny Milchman

How to Release a Book in a Pandemic 

Hi Mystery Fanfare readers! My name is Jenny Milchman, and I write suspense novels in which women face overwhelming odds…and triumph. I’d like to tell you about my journey to become a published author because it says a lot about the mystery community…and even includes a stop at Janet Rudolph’s very own home!

Ready to travel along with me? First we have to go back a ways into the past. Don’t worry, this won’t take long…but there will be some twists and turns. Just like in the best mystery novels.

It took me eleven years to sell my “first” novel, which was actually the eighth one I’d written. If you’re thinking that that’s a long time to be told no every day…you’re right.

There were nights I lay in bed, the lines from my latest rejection letter running through my head, and cried. There were mornings it was hard to get up.

My husband kept encouraging me. Saying I didn’t have to fall back on Plan B, I could stick to Plan A, for as long as I had in me. He seemed to know, even better than I did myself, that I wouldn’t be truly happy doing anything else. Writing had been my dream since I was a little kid, but after more than a decade of trying to get published, it seemed like I might never get to share my work with readers. (Back when I started, self-publishing wasn’t the viable route it is now. It was called “vanity publishing” for a reason. And I didn’t have any money to spend on it). I could let my earnings crash by dropping my work hours so I‘d have time to write. (I stayed home with the kiddies, saving on daycare).

I could keep us in our starter home where my husband and I slept in a nook off the living room with no door and hoped we’d be able to move before the kids got old enough to wander in on their own. But I was not going to take money out of our food or clothing budget to print books no one had wanted.

There is one reason I finally broke through and got published — and although I’d like to say it was because my work kept getting better and I finally wrote a really good book…it wasn’t that.

It was because I began to reach out to others in the mystery world.

First, I started attending bookstore and library events where authors were speaking. I would drive as many as five hours—through snow and rain and gloom of night, just like a postal worker, or a character in a mystery—to see authors who almost certainly include favorites of yours, along with perhaps one or two new discoveries.

Lisa Scottoline, John Searles. Chris Bohjalian. Jodi Picoult. Harlan Coben. Lee Child. Kate Morgenroth. Carol Goodman. John Burnham Schwarts. I could go on.

If I couldn’t go and see the author, I’d reach out with a note. A real snail mail letter back when I started, progressing as the years accumulated to email. I told them what their book had meant to me and why.

After I became more confident in my writing, had gotten an agent, and editors wished to acquire my book but couldn’t get consensus for an offer, I began letting the authors I contacted know that I was a writer. And having a durn hard time of it.

Eventually an author who is beloved in the mystery world offered to read the unpublished manuscript my agent was shopping without success. This author decided to give it to her own editor. And five torturous weeks later, that editor made an offer on it. The kicker? She was at an imprint that had rejected the same book six months before!

My debut novel went on to win the Mary Higgins Clark award, hit the USA Today bestseller list, and seven years later, it still appears on things like Book of the Day calendars and 100 Mysteries to Read in a Lifetime lists.

Life lesson? The people who tell you no don’t always know what they’re talking about. Whether it’s about a book, or anything else.

After my debut novel sold, my husband (the aforementioned source of encouragement) and I thought about how much it had taken to get to this point, and decided we really needed to be all-in in terms of trying to make the book a success.

So we did the next natural thing.

Rented out our house, traded in two cars for an SUV that could handle Denver in February, pulled the kids out of first and third grades to “car-school” them as we traveled from bookstore to bookstore, library to library, and book club to book club across the lower 48.

Shelf Awareness called it the world’s longest book tour.

One of those stops took us to Janet Rudolph’s legendary literary salon, where I appeared alongside Richard North Patterson—a legend whom I’d met earlier that summer at ThrillerFest.

See? The mystery community, with its spiderweb of connections, strikes again. Don’t they say spider thread is as strong as steel? So is this community of ours.

Which brings us to the pandemic.

Seven years later, I’m still alive as an author, and in fact, my fifth novel has just come out. But I have never forgotten what finally got me here. The mystery community. Authors, and now readers, with whom I still want to connect.

The world’s longest book tour has to go virtual. 

What does this mean? Well, there are bookstores and libraries doing robust virtual events, and I’m scheduled to appear at some. If you have a beloved bookstore in your community, or your library is open, check out their calendars. And if they haven’t begun doing events via Zoom or one of the other platforms, you could propose one!

Also online book clubs. I’ve always loved a great book club, and though I’ll surely miss the extravaganzas an in-person meeting often turns into—one group made noose cookies for my first novel, and a canoe cake swam through a river of frosting for my fourth—a rousing discussion of whodunnit and why transcends format. If you’re part of a book club or know of one—and you too are missing community during this time—why not suggest a remote gathering?

And if at any of these, you might want a guest author to appear? Well, please reach out—to me and others.

Because even in a pandemic, especially in a pandemic, the mystery world is needed.

Jenny Milchman is the author of COVER OF SNOW, which won the Mary Higgins Clark Award, RUIN FALLS, an Indie Next Pick and a Top Ten of 2014 by Suspense Magazine and AS NIGHT FALLS, the recipient of the 2015 Silver Falchion award for best novel. Her fouth novel, WICKED RIVER, was an Indie Next Pick and selected as one of Strand Magazine's Best of the Year. Her fifth novel, THE SECOND MOTHER, comes out this summer. 

She served as Vice President of Author Programming for International Thriller Writers, is a member of the Sisters in Crime speakers bureau, and the founder and organizer of Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, which is celebrated annually in all fifty states. Jenny lives in the Hudson River Valley with her family.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

KEY LIME PARFAITS to celebrate The Key Lime Crime: Post by Lucy Burdette

Key Lime Parfaits to Celebrate THE KEY LIME CRIME

Key limes are smaller than regular limes--and here I have to tell the truth--kind of a pain to juice. My husband John helped me and it took all the limes in a pound bag to end up with 1/2 cup of juice. (Next time, I might try the recipe with regular limes.)


5 whole graham crackers, crushed, to make about one cup
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice
key lime zest
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 350. Crush the graham crackers. (Easy way--place the graham crackers in a ziplock bag, seal the bag, and roll them to crumbs with a rolling pin.)

Mix the crumbs with the melted butter and brown sugar. Spread this on a foil-covered baking sheet and bake for ten minutes or until golden. Let this cool, then break into crumbs again.

Meanwhile, whip the cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla. (I used my food processor, which was a snap.) Set half of this aside for the topping.

Mix the condensed milk with the lime juice. The citrus will cause the milk to thicken. Gently stir in one cup of whipped cream.

Now comes the fun part, in which you layer the parts you've prepared. I chose wine snifters--next time I would try something taller and thinner, as these servings were BIG. Luckily for our waistlines and cholesterol counts, we cut them in half to serve.

Layer in some of the baked crumbs, then some of the key lime mixture, and repeat. When you have distributed all the ingredients, top with dollops of whipped cream and sprinkle with more crumbs and some zested lime if you want a stronger flavor.

It’s the week between Christmas and New Year’s and Key West is bursting at the seams with holiday events and hordes of tourists. Adding to the chaos, Key lime pie aficionado David Sloan has persuaded the city to host his Key Lime pie extravaganza and contest. Food critic Hayley Snow can’t escape the madness because her bosses at Key Zest magazine have assigned her to cover the event. Every pie purveyor in Key West is determined to claim the Key lime spotlight—and win the coveted Key Lime Key to the City.

Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) is the author of 18 mysteries, including THE KEY LIME CRIME (Crooked Lane Books,) the latest in the Key West series featuring food critic Hayley Snow. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She's a past president of Sisters in Crime and the current president of the Friends of the Key West Library.

Sunday, August 9, 2020


Fresh perspectives and first-time offenders: 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards finalists revealed

A diverse array of fresh contenders have amassed to challenge New Zealand’s king of crime fiction as the finalists for the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards were revealed today

 “Ten years after we launched the Ngaio Marsh Awards to help celebrate excellence in local crime, mystery, thriller, and suspense writing it’s heartening to see so many new voices infusing and stretching our #yeahnoir community,” says founder Craig Sisterson.

“While we’ve had around 80 debut authors enter the Ngaios in recent years, it’s also been fantastic to see many experienced Kiwi storytellers become first-time Ngaios entrants as they’ve entertained readers and explored society through these types of stories.”

Along with the finalists in the Best First Novel category, for the first time two debut authors – Becky Manawatu and RWR McDonald – have been named finalists for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel. Two of the other finalists – Gudrun Frerichs and Renée – are also first-time crime and thriller writers (having previously published in other genres). They’re joined by 2019 Best First Novel winner JP Pomare and three-time Best Novel winner Paul Cleave.

The finalists for the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards are: 


Whatever it Takes by Paul Cleave (Upstart Press)
Girl from the Tree House by Gudrun Frerichs
Auē by Becky Manawatu (Mākaro Press)
The Nancys by RWR McDonald (Allen & Unwin)
In the Clearing by JP Pomare (Hachette NZ)
The Wild Card by Renée (The Cuba Press)


Tugga’s Mob by Stephen Johnson (Clan Destine Press)
Auē by Becky Manawatu (Mākaro Press)
The Nancys by RWR McDonald (Allen & Unwin)
Into the Void by Christina O’Reilly

This year’s finalists are a fascinating group of Kiwi storytellers who’ve collectively won or been shortlisted for accolades in New Zealand and overseas including the Prime Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement, the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, the Australian Book Industry Awards, the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards, the Saint-Maur Crime Novel of the Year in France, and the Edgar Awards and Barry Awards in the United States.

“Our international judging panels have been dealing with a range of rāhui and lockdown situations this year but have thoroughly enjoyed reading the range and quality of stories offered by our Kiwi authors,” says Sisterson. “There were differing favourites, tough decisions, and some great reads our judges loved that didn’t become finalists. A decade on from our inaugural Ngaio Marsh Awards, our local genre is certainly in great health.”

Each category of the Ngaio Marsh Awards is judged by a separate international panel, consisting of book critics for print and online publications, bestselling authors, university academics, and festival directors from the USA, UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

The finalists for the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards will be celebrated, and winners announced, at the WORD Christchurch Spring Festival, being held from 29 October to 1 November.

“It’s been a tough year for so many people,” says Sisterson. “We’re glad to be able to highlight some great Kiwi storytelling. All over the world, people turned to the fruits of the creative industries while in lockdown – reading books and watching films and shows for entertainment, learning, comfort, and escape. While we were saddened to have to cancel a dozen or more library events in April and May, to help keep everyone safe, we’re stoked we now have a chance to once again celebrate some of our local authors. We’re grateful for the support of Rachael King and WORD Christchurch, and the efforts of all New Zealanders.”

For more information on this year’s finalist authors and books, or the Ngaio Marsh Awards in general, please contact founder and judging convenor Craig Sisterson,

ENDEAVOR on PBS Masterpiece!

Don't forget that Endeavor starts tonight on PBS Masterpiece! Check your local station for time. And, if you have PBS Passport, you can watch the entire season whenever you'd like. Yay!

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Tori's Chinese Comfort Soup: Guest Post and Recipe by Tori Eldridge

Tori Eldridge:
Tori’s Chinese Comfort Soup 

Everyone who’s read The Ninja Daughter or the upcoming The Ninja’s Blade (out September 1st) are instantly hit by two things: the fast-paced action and Lily Wong’s obsession with food. This ninja heroine has a foodie’s palate and a sumo wrestler’s appetite that will have you dreaming of sizzling garlic shrimp, barbecued pork tamales, and Gruyère-potato beignets. And if you think your stomach growls through these books as a reader, imagine what it’s like for me as the author, writing about my favorite Chinese comfort foods like chow fun, congee, and crispy-skin roasted duck.

In books one and two, I sent Lily to foodie paradises in Los Angeles like République, Tokyo Fried Chicken, and my fictitious Pacos Tacos for the best tamales in the city. Now that I’m writing book three, I can salivate over comfort foods I ate in the cha chaan teng (tea restaurants) in Hong Kong and five-star restaurants I wish I had visited.

Just writing this article has me craving the xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and Kurobuta pork sticky rice wraps from my favorite dim sum haunt in Glendale that I haven’t been able to visit since the social distancing began.

Are you getting hungry? Because I am.

So, after whetting your appetite, I figured the least I could do is share my easy-to-make Tori’s Chinese Comfort Soup. It features boneless chicken thighs, sweet green cabbage, and loads of fresh ginger and garlic. Sometimes, as in the photo below, I even add cubes of butternut squash.

I make this soup a couple times a month and eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. To me, a good Asian-style soup is an anytime food, especially when it’s homemade, low in sodium, and gluten free.

Why so health conscious? Because unlike my ninja heroine—who burns thousands of calories zipping around town on her racing bike, sprinting across rooftops, or fighting members of the Varrio Norwalk 66 gang—I actually have to monitor my sugars, fats, and calories. Go figure!

I hope you enjoy this healthy and delicious soup. And because I rarely follow a recipe without adding my own embellishments, I’ve included a couple of variations. Please feel free to add and delete as you please. The measurements are estimates, so mince and pour as you will.

Tori’s Chicken Cabbage Soup (with variations) 

2 frozen boneless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon (or as needed)100% pure Asian-style sesame oil
1/2 cup sliced sweet onion
2-3 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
2-3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger 1/3 cup sake
1 32-oz box low-sodium or unsalted beef or chicken broth
1/3 green cabbage shredded

Option: 2 cups cubed pre-cooked butternut squash
Option: 2 eggs swirled with broccoli and sliced mushrooms
Option: pre-cooked wonton dumplings
Option: low-sodium soy sauce and chopped scallions

1. Coat a pan in sesame oil and brown one side of the chicken.
2. Turn the chicken over and add onions, garlic, and ginger. (If using mushrooms, sauté here.)
3. Add sake to deglaze pan and chop chicken with metal spatula or knife.
4. When sake evaporates, add beef or chicken broth and bring to boil.
5. Add cabbage and simmer.
6. Add optional squash or pre-cooked wontons with extra water if desired. 7. Serve with low-sodium soy sauce and freshly chopped scallions.

Tori Eldridge is a Honolulu-born writer, a 5th degree black belt ninja, and a former actress, dancer, singer on Broadway, television, and film. She writes action-packed, culturally-rich thrillers and mystically intriguing suspense, empowering non-fiction, and has taught ninjutsu and empowerment across the country. She is the author of Ninja Daughter and The Ninja's Blade (coming in September)

Friday, August 7, 2020

Cartoon of the Day: The Heist


Congratulations to all. Winners will be announced on August 22, 2020.

Top 20 Finalists 

C.C. Anderson Sunday Split 
R.G. Belsky The Baghdad Conspiracy 
Alexander Bruce Of Empires and Eternities 
Mary Bush Crooked 
Kathy Cuddihy Safe Harbours 
Nicholas Holloway Three Houses on a Hill 
Geoffrey Hyatt A Coffin for Mr. Blackpoole 
Michael Jordan A Desperate Race 
William Kaufmann  Killing Bodhi 
Edson Knapp Ghosts of Kilimanjaro 
Grace Lawler Astral Exile 
Michael Byers Lewis The Pilate Scroll 
Lisa Malice Dead Ringer 
Kevin Maris Forged in Lightning 
William Burton McCormick Ghost 
Mark Renshaw Cyborn 
Steven Sanders War Wolves 
Sheila Sobel Time Flies 
J.B. Stevens The Red Exit 
Victory Witherkeigh The Girl

Thursday, August 6, 2020


CWA (Crime Writers Association - UK) Daggers Awards 2020 Shortlists. Winners will be announced on October 22.


Claire Askew: What You Pay For (Hodder & Stoughton)
Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction)
John Fairfax: Forced Confessions (Little, Brown)
Mick Herron: Joe Country (John Murray)
Abir Mukherjee: Death in the East (Harvill Secker)
Michael Robotham: Good Girl, Bad Girl (Sphere)


Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction)
Tom Chatfield: This is Gomorrah (Hodder & Stoughton)
AA Dhand: One Way Out (Bantam Press)
Eva Dolan: Between Two Evils (Raven Books)
David Koepp: Cold Storage (HQ)
Alex North: The Whisper Man (Michael Joseph)


Steph Cha: Your House Will Pay (Faber & Faber)
Samantha Downing: My Lovely Wife (Michael Joseph)
Philippa East: Little White Lies (HQ)
Robin Morgan-Bentley: The Wreckage (Trapeze)
Trevor Wood: The Man on the Street (Quercus Fiction)


Alis Hawkins: In Two Minds (The Dome Press)
Philip Kerr: Metropolis (Quercus Fiction)
SG MacLean: The Bear Pit (Quercus Fiction)
Abir Mukherjee: Death in the East (Harvill Secker)
Alex Reeve: The Anarchists’ Club (Raven Books)
Ovidia Yu: The Paper Bark Tree Mystery (Constable)


Marion Brunet: Summer of Reckoning, translated by Katherine Gregor (Bitter Lemon Press)
Hannelore Cayre: The Godmother, translated by Stephanie Smee (Old Street Publishing)
K Ferrari: Like Flies from Afar, translated by Adrian Nathan West (Canongate Books)
Jorge Galán: November, translated by Jason Wilson (Constable)
Sergio Olguin: The Fragility of Bodies, translated by Miranda France (Bitter Lemon Press)
Antti Tuomainen: Little Siberia, translated by David Hackston (Orenda Books)


Jeffery Deaver: The Bully in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)
Paul Finch: The New Lad in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)
Christopher Fowler: The Washing in Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books)
Lauren Henderson: #Me Too in Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books)
Louise Jensen: The Recipe in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)
Syd Moore: Easily Made in 12 Strange Days of Christmas (Point Blank Press)


Peter Everett: Corrupt Bodies (Icon Books)
Caroline Goode: Honour: Achieving Justice for Banaz Mahmod (Oneworld Publications)
Sean O’Connor: The Fatal Passion of Alma Rattenbury (Simon & Schuster)
Adam Sisman: The Professor and the Parson: A Story of Desire, Deceit and Defrocking (Profile Books)
Susannah Stapleton: The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective (Picador)


Christopher Brookmyre
Jane Casey
Alex Gray
Quintin Jardine


Anna Caig: The Spae-Wife
Leanne Fry: Whipstick
Kim Hays: Pesticide
Nicholas Morrish: Emergency Drill
Josephine Moulds: Revolution Never Lies
Michael Munro: Bitter Lake


Bitter Lemon Press
Harvill Secker
Head of Zeus
Michael Joseph
Orenda Books
Raven Books
Severn House

Cartoon of the Day: Dogs

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

St Hilda's College Crime Fiction Weekend Goes Virtual

St. Hilda's College Crime Fiction Weekend goes Virtual Crime this year, starting on Friday evening and running all day Saturday, live. August 14-15, 2020

Theme: ‘All Our Yesterdays’: Historical Crime Fiction. 

Find yourself unleashed upon the London of the Swinging Sixties, the winding backstreets of 1950s Bombay, the gin shops and brothels of Georgian London, and some dark doings as Brighton hangs out the bunting for the Coronation – and all in pursuit of Murder. They do say Time heals everything…

Participants, subjects, and speakers: 
Val McDermid, Mick Herron, William Shaw, Sarah Hilary, Abir Mukherjee, Vaseem Khan, Tom Wood, Sara Sheridan, Laura Shepherd-Robinson, Jill Dawson, Mary Paulson-Ellis, Elly Griffiths and Anna Mazzola. Alison Joseph and Jake Kerridge will be sharing the chairing with subjects ranging from Christie and Highsmith, Du Maurier and Vine, to CJ Sansom and Dr Who. Andrew Wilson will be celebrating Agatha Christie in this the 100th anniversary of The Mysterious Affair At Styles with Everything Agatha!

Puzzler and prize: 
No event exploring Historical Crime Fiction would be complete without Andrew Taylor. Not only our 2020 Guest Of Honour, he is penning this year's dramatic Whodunnit. The Murder of Lucy Ackroyd is a chillingly implausible whodunit set in Oxford. The demise of a famed literary novelist takes place in a former women’s college located in the academic badlands beyond Magdalen Bridge. Starring: Chief Inspector Taylor, Val McDermid, Sarah Hilary, Triona Adams, Abir Mukherjee, and Mick Herron. Blackwell's Bookshop have provided a splendid prize: a signed, first edition of PD James' The Lighthouse (Faber and Faber, 2005.)

One ticket buys access to all of the live sessions, and to all the recordings which will made immediately available and remain accessible for a month. In this way you can be flexible with what you view and when. Further details and simple joining instructions will be sent out to all attendees a couple of days prior to the big event. View the Program here

Register Here: