Friday, October 30, 2020


Happy Halloween! Halloween so lends itself to crime fiction! Here's my updated 2020 list of Halloween Mysteries. Let me know if I've missed any titles. I'd like to have this list as complete as possible. Boo!!


Behind Chocolate Bars by Kathie Aarons
The Root of All Evil by Ellery Adams
The Pumpkin Killer by Stacey Alabaster
Green Water Ghost by Glynn Marsh Alam
Witches Bane by Susan Wittig Albert
Antiques Maul by Barbara Allan
The Pint of No Return by Ellie Alexander
In Charm's Way by Madelyn Alt
Lord of the Wings by Donna Andrews
Strange Brew by Mary Kay Andrews
A Roux of Revenge by Connie Archer
Killing Time by Amy Beth Arkaway
Far to Go by May Louise Aswell
Ghouls Just Want to Have Fun, Calamity Jayne and the Haunted Homecoming by Kathleen Bacus 
A Haunting Homicide: Halloween Cozy by Kathy Bacus and Sally J. Smith

Closely Harbored Secrets by Bree Baker  
Trick or Treachery: A Murder She Wrote Mystery by Donald Bain and Jessica Fletcher
The Ghost and Mrs Fletcher by Donald Bain, Renee Paley-Bain, & "Jessica Fletcher"
Punked by the Pumpkin by Constance Barker
Last Licks by Cynthia Baxter
Scary Sweets by Jessica Beck
In the Spirit of Murder by Laura Belgrave 
The Long Good Boy by Carol Lea Benjamin
Spackled and Spooked by Jennie Bentley 
Watchdog; Howlween Murder by Laurien Berenson
The Ginseng Conspiracy by Susan Bernhardt
The Halloween Pumpkin Spell by Morgana Best
A Haunting is Brewing by Juliet Blackwell
Dial Meow for Murder by Bethany Blake
Ghost of a Potion by Heather Blake (aka Heather Webber)
The Scent of Murder by Barbara Block
Under an English Heaven by Alice K. Boatwright
Witches of Floxglove Corners by Dorothy Bodoin 
Night of the Living Thread by Janet Bolin  
Death of a Trickster by Kate Borden 
Post-Mortem Effects by Thomas Boyle
A Graveyard for Lunatics; The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
Rebel without a Cake by Jacklyn Brady
The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts by Lilian Jackson Braun

15 Minutes of Flame by Christin Brecher
Death Overdue by Allison Brook
The Hunt Ball; The Litter of the Law by Rita Mae Brown
Death on All Hallowe'en by Leo Bruce
Scrapbook of the Dead by Mollie Cox Bryan

Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron
The Big Chili by Julia Buckley
Halloween by Leslie Burgess
Death Goes Shopping by Jessica Burton
Wycliffe and the Scapegoat by W.J. Burley
Death Goes Shopping by Jessica Burton
Murder on All Hallows by Beth Byers
A Deadly Brew by Lynn Cahoon
Wolf in Sheep's Clothing by Ann Campbell
The Wizard of La-La Land by R. Wright Campbell
The Charm Stone by Lillian Stewart Carl
The Murders at Astaire Castle by Lauren Carr
The Halloween Murders by John Newton Chance 
Bad Neighbors by Maia Chance
Death with an Ocean View by Nora Charles 
Frill Kill, Tragic Magic, Photo Finished, Bedeviled Eggs The Jasmine Moon Murder, Fiber and Brimstone, Bedeviled Eggs, Frill Kill, Gossamer Ghost, Ming Tea Murder by Laura Childs
Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie
Hazelnuts and Halloween by Leena Clover
Fudge Bites by Nancy Coco
Haunted Hair Nights by Nancy J. Cohen
Poison Buried Punch; Boo Buried Cupcakes by Lyndsey Cole 
A Holiday Sampler by Christine E. Collier
Lost Souls by Michael Collins
A Gala Event; Search for the Dead by Sheila Connolly (aka Sarah Atwell)
Under the Hill by Sheila Connolly
Not in My Backyard by Susan Rogers Cooper
Night of the Living Deed by E.J. Copperman

Crypt Suzette by Maya Corrigan

The Ghost and Mrs. McClure; Decaffeinated Corpse by Cleo Coyle
Deadly Magic by Elisabeth Crabtree
Trick or Treat by Caroline Crane
A Catered Halloween by Isis Crawford
Spooky Business: Spooky Spider by Addison Creek
Newly Crimsoned Reliquary by Donna Fletcher Crow
Silver Scream, Bantam of the Opera, The Alpine Uproar by Mary Daheim
Halloween Hijinks, Pumpkins in Paradise, Haunted Hamlet, Legend of Tabby Hallow, Ghostly Graveyard, Costume Catastrope, Count Catula; Trick or Treason,  by Kathi Daley
The Dracula Murders by Philip Daniels
The Diva Haunts the House, The Ghost and Mrs Mewer by Krista Davis
Fatal Undertaking by Mark de Castrique
And Murder for Dessert by Kathleen Delaney
Murder on Halloween by Steve Demaree
Farmcall Fatality by Abby Deuel
Throw Darts at a Cheesecake by Denise Dietz
Trick or Treat, The Halloween Murder by Doris Miles Disney
A Map of the Dark by John Dixon
Ghostly Murders by P. C. Doherty
Died to Match by Deborah Donnelly
Cat with an Emerald Eye by Carole Nelson Douglas
Cupcakes, Bats, and Scare-dy Cats by Pamela DuMond
Not Exactly a Brahmin by Susan Dunlap 
Vampires, Bones and Treacle Scones by Kaitlyn Dunnett 
A Ghost to Die For by Elizabeth Eagan-Cox
Be Careful What You Witch For; Do No Harm by Dawn Eastman 
The Bowl of Night by Rosemary Edghill 
The Frozen Shroud by Martin Edwards

Knit of the Living Dead by Peggy Ehrhart
Ghost Story by K.J. Emrick
Death by Pumpkin Spice by Alex Erickson
Door of Death by John Esteven 
The Witchfinder by Loren D. Estleman 
Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich 

Dead Pig in the Sunshine by Penny Burwell Ewing
Dead Ends by Anne C. Fallon 
Sympathy For The Devil by Jerrilyn Farmer
Five Dog Voodoo by Lia Farrell
Mulberry Mischief by Sharon Farrow
Dead in the Pumpkin Patch by Connie Feddersen 
It's Your Party Die if You Want To by Vickie Fee  
Blackwork, Hanging by a Thread, Blackwork by Monica Ferris
Scary Stuff by Sharon Fiffer
The Lawyer Who Died Trying by Honora Finkelstein 
Trick or Treachery by "Jessica Fletcher" and Donald Bain

Halloween by D.M. Flexer
The Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke
Halloween Murder, Foul Play at the Fair, Trick or Deceit by Shelley Freydont
A Harvest of Bones by Yasmine Galenorn
The Spook in the Stacks by Eva Gates (aka Vicki Delany)
Broke by Kaye George
Stirring the Plot by Daryl Wood Gerber
Trick or Treat by Leslie Glaister
Mommy and the Murder by Nancy Gladstone
Haunted by Jeanne Glidewell 
Blood & Broomsticks by Jean G. Goodhind (aka J.G. Goodhind)  
A Few Dying Words by Paula Gosling
The Black Heart Crypt; Hell for the Holidays by Chris Grabenstein
Monster in Miniature by Margaret Grace 

Deadly Harvest by Heather Graham 

Pumpkin Ridge by Pamela Grandstaff  
Nail Biter by Sarah Graves
Trick or Treat by Kerry Greenwood 
Halloween by Ben Greer 

A Waffle Lot of Murder by Lena Gregory
The Snafued Snatch by Jackie Griffey
Quoth the Raven; Skeleton Key by Jane Haddam
A Crime of Poison by Nancy Haddock
Hallowed Bones; Bone to Be Wild by Carolyn Haines
Muffin but Murder by Victoria Hamilton
Black Light by Elizabeth Hand
Delicious Mischief by Marianne Harden
Southern Ghost, Ghost at Work by Carolyn Hart 
Sweet Poison by Ellen Hart
Hide in the Dark by Frances Noyes Hart 
Revenge of the Cootie Girls by Sparkle Hayter
Town in a Pumpkin Bash by B.B. Haywood

Digging Up the Remains by Julia Henry

Samhain Secrets by Jennifer David Hesse
Dead Pirates of Cawsand by Steve Higgs
Asking for the Moon by Reginald Hill  (SS)
The Fallen Man, The Wailing Wind by Tony Hillerman 
Death of a Pumpkin Carver by Lee Hollis
Delicious Mischief by Marianne Horden
The Color of Blood by Declan Hughes
A Vintage Death by Mary Ellen Hughes
Halloween Waffle Murder by Carolyn Q Hunter 
Murder on the Ghost Walk by Ellen Elizabeth Hunter 
From Bad to Wurst by Maddie Hunter  
Already Dead by Charlie Huston
Long Time No See by Susan Isaacs
Murder on Old Main Street, Dirty Tricks, Dying Wishes by Judith K. Ivie
The Pumpkin Thief, The Great Pumpkin Caper by Melanie Jackson
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Murder Among Us by Jonnie Jacobs
A Murder Made in Stitches by Pamela James
The Widow's Walk League by Nancy Lynn Jarvis

Designed for Haunting by Sybil Johnson
The Devil's Cat, Cat's Eye, Cat's Cradle, The Devil's Kiss, The Devil's Heart, The Devil's Touch by William W. Johnstone  
The Violet Hour by Daniel Judson
Muffins & Murder by Heather Justesen
A Charming Voodoo by Tonya Kappes
The Sacrifice by Karin Kaufman
Day of Atonement by Faye Kellerman
Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry by Harry Kemelman
Wed and Buried, The Skeleton Haunts a House by Toni L.P. Kelner
Verse of the Vampyre by Diana Killian
Pumpkin Roll by Josi S. Kilpack 
The Animal Hour by Andrew Klavan 
Paws for Murder by Annie Knox
The Spirit in Question by Cynthia Kuhn

Mean Girl Murder by Leslie Langtry
Murder in the Neighborhood by Janis Lane 
Ghastly Glass by Joyce and Jim Lavene 
The Stitching Hour by Amanda Lee (aka Gayle Trent)  
Death of a Neighborhood Witch by Laura Levine 
Death Knocks Twice by James H. Lilley
The Legend of Sleepy Harlow by Kylie Logan (aka Miranda Bliss & Casey Daniels)

The Body from the Past by Judi Lynn
Smoke Screen by Marianne MacDonald
Pumpkin Pied; Deadly Brew by Karen MacInerney 
Poisoned by Elaine Macko 
Bear Witness to Murder by Meg Macy
Halloween Flight 77 by Debbie Madison
The Haunted Season by G.M. Malliet  
Baby Doll Games by Margaret Maron
A Halloween Hookup by Jennie Marts
Satan's Silence by Alex Matthews 
Tricks: an 87th Precinct Mystery by Ed McBain 
Poisoned Tarts by G.A. McKevett 
Dark Chocolate Demise by Jenn McKinlay
Death on All Hallows by Allen Campbell McLean
A Sparrow Falls Holiday by Donna McLean
Witch of the Palo Duro by Mardi Oakley Medawar  
Trick or Treat Murder, Wicked Witch Murder, Candy Corn Murder by Leslie Meier 
Dancing Floor, Prince of Darkness by Barbara Michaels
Monster in Miniature by Camille Minichino 
The Violet Hour by Richard Montanari
Bobbing for Bodies by Addison Moore
Death by Jack O'Lantern by Alexis Morgan
A Biscuit, a Casket by Liz Mugavero
Send in the Crows by Julie Mulhern
Bread of the Dead by Ann Myers 
Dead End by Helen R. Myers
Nightmare in Shining Armor by Tamar Myers 
Hatchet Job by J.E. Neighbors
Oink by Judith Newton
What Doesn't Kill Here by Carla Norton
Retribution by Patrick J. O'Brien
Deadly Places by Terry Odell
Halloween House by Ed Okonowicz
Curried Away by Gail Oust
The Body in the Moonlight by Katherine Hall Page 
Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge
Caught Dead Handed; Grave Errors by Carol J. Perry
The Skeleton Haunts a House by Leigh Perry
Flight of a Witch by Ellis Peters 
Twilight by Nancy Pickard
Strange Halloween by Horace Poulin
Pumpkin Spice Murder by Summer Prescott
Charmed Again by Rose Pressey
Murder at Witches Bluff by Silver Ravenwolf
Poltergeist by Kat Richardson 

Death Notice by Todd Ritter 
Spook Night by David Robbins 
A Hole in Juan by Gillian Roberts
Murder in a Nice Neighborhood by Lora Roberts

Magnolias, Moonlight, and Murder by Sara Rosett
Scared Stiff by Annelise Ryan
Death of Halloween by Kim Sauke
Mighty Old Bones by Mary Saums 
Murder Ole! by Corinne Holt Sawyer
Tracking Magic by Maria E. Schneider
The Tenor Wore Tapshoes by Mark Schweizer
Trick or Treat or Murder by Kendall Scott
Phantoms Can be Murder by Connie Shelton
A Killer Maize by Paige Shelton
Dance of the Scarecrows by Ray Sipherd
The Sterling Inheritance by Michael Siverling
The Lawyer Who Died Trying by Susan Smily
Recipe for Murder by Janet Elaine Smith
Town Haunts by Cathy Spencer
Carbs and Cadavers by J.B. Stanley
In the Blink of an Eye, Halloween Party by Wendy Corsi Staub
Tiaras & Terror by Anne Marie Stoddard
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
Ripping Abigail by Barbara Sullivan
Candy Coated Murder by Kathleen Suzette
Murder of a Royal Pain by Denise Swanson
Mourning Shift by Kathleen Taylor

The Darkness Deepens by S.D. Thames
Halloween Homicide by Lee Thayer
Inked Up; Inked Up by Terri Thayer
Sharpe Point by Lisa B. Thomas
Charlie's Web by L.L. Thrasher
Gods of the Nowhere by James Tipper
Death in the Cotswolds by Rebecca Tope
A Room with a Brew by Joyce Tremel
A Dash of Murder by Teresa Trent
Strange Brew by Kathy Hogan Trochek
Bitter Harvest by Wendy Tyson
Masking for Trouble by Diane Vallere
Pineapple Mystery Box by Amy Vansant
I Will Fear No Evil by Debbie Viguié
Dangling by a Thread by Lea Wait
Haunted Hayride with Murder by Auralee Wallace
How to Party with a Killer Vampire by Penny Warner
Murder by the Slice, Trick or Deadly Treat by Livia J. Washburn 
Five-Minute Halloween Mysteries by Ken Weber
The Scarecrow Murders by Mary V. Welk
Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner

Gourd to Death by Kirsten Weiss 
Killer Mousse by Melinda Wells
Ghoul of My Dreams by Richard F. West 
Sweet Fire & Stone by J.A. Whiting

All Hallow's Eve by Charles Williams
Mayhem, Marriage, and Murderous Mystery Manuscripts by J.L. Wilson

Mrs Morris and the Witch by Traci Wilton
A Stitch to Die For by Lois Winston
Killer See, Killer Do by Jonathan Wolfe
All Hallow's Evil by Valerie Wolzien
Trick or Murder? by Debbie Young

And here's a list of Halloween Mystery Short Story anthologies:

Homicidal Holidays: Fourteen Tales of Murder and Merriment, edited by Donna Andrews, Barb Goffman, & Marcia Talley
Deadly Treats: Halloween Tales of Mystery, Magic and Mayhem, Edited by Anne Frasier 
Trick and Treats edited by Joe Gores & Bill Pronzini
Asking for the Moon (includes "Pascoe's Ghost" and "Dalziel's Ghost") by Reginald Hill
Murder for Halloween by Cynthia Manson
The Haunted Hour, edited by Cynthia Manson & Constance Scarborough
Murder for Halloween: Tales of Suspense, edited by Michele Slung & Roland Hartman.
Mystery for Halloween (an anthology), edited by Donald Westlake
Halloween Horrors, edited by Alan Ryan
All Hallows' Evil, edited by Sarah E. Glenn
Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays, edited by Donna Andrews, Barb Goffman and Marcia Talley
Halloween Thirteen-a Collection of Mysteriously Macabre Tales, by Bobbi Chukran
Happy Homicides 4: Falling into Crime, edited by Joanna Campbell Slan et al.

Murder on Halloween by Steve Demaree

Want some Chocolate Treats to accompany your reading? Head on over to my Chocolate Blog

GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Guest Post by Libby Hellmann



The most common question authors are asked about a new novel is: “Where did you get the idea?” At the beginning of my career, I used to answer, “At the Idea Store, of course.” But time mellows us, and I no longer try to be so sarcastic. Partly because I’m trying to be more courteous, but more importantly, I’m not sure it’s the most important question to ask. 

I’d rather be asked about my expectations for the novel. What do I want it to be remembered for, if at all? What will its legacy will be? Where do I hope it will end up, in the scheme of all things “book”? 

Much of that is unknowable when a book is first released. As an author, I’m still worried whether the plot and characters are well enough developed, whether the cover reinforces the book, and if I’ve smoothed out that passage on page 235. It’s only over time that the novel’s place in literature becomes clear. 

I’ve had a little time to think about A BEND IN THE RIVER, and what I hope its legacy will be, so that’s what I’d like to share. 

Emotional Involvement 

BEND was clearly a departure for me. While I have written four historical thrillers, they’ve pretty much adhered to the craft of mystery and suspense, where plot is carefully constructed. We anguish about where to put the red herrings or what obstacles the protagonist will face. Take those tasks out of the equation, though, and different issues arise. Will the story have enough emotional clout? Will readers identify with the characters more deeply? Will readers still want to follow them, even though their journey is less defined? 

Paradoxically, those questions freed me. One of my complaints is that I hate to write, but I love having written. This time I actually enjoyed the writing. Because I wasn’t as worried about the overall plot, I was able to concentrate on each incident and how it affected the two sisters. What were their fears when they confronted a new obstacle? What strengths did they bring to the problem? Were those qualities credible in terms of who they were? Did they succeed or fail? What did they learn or not learn? Most important, how could I show all of this rather than tell? For me the process was more natural and organic than writing a mystery. I could really focus on who they were. And when readers tell me they shed a tear here and there, I think to myself, “I got it right.” 


Two generations of Americans have grown up since the Vietnam War, and for most of them, Vietnam is just a cursory historical explanation squeezed in during the Cold War. Or a story told by a grandfather who was there or knew someone who was. 

Essentially, the Vietnam war was a civil war that began before the US got involved. After the French left the country (they colonized Vietnam for decades) the US justified our involvement as a fight against Communism and the “Domino Theory.” But that wasn’t the motivation from the Vietnamese side. They wanted their country to be unified. The problem was that the North was Communist, and the South was bitterly anti-Communist. 

Most of Western literature about Vietnam has, until recently, been written from the American point of view. Former soldiers and participants in the war have written some beautiful memoirs and books, even short stories. But until The Sympathizer, there wasn’t much written from the Vietnamese point of view. Recently, there’s been more, and I saw an opportunity to provide information and context for Westerners, even though I’m not Vietnamese. I wanted to offer a fictional account based on accurate research and facts. So you can imagine how delighted I was when one reviewer said, “It offers interesting nuance and added depth to a war we thought we knew but maybe did not entirely understand.” 


Finally, I am drawn to stories about ordinary people in extraordinary times. It’s been the central premise of all my historical thrillers. In this context A Bend In the River joins the ranks. We are taught that in fiction there must be conflict on every page. Since I tend to go to extremes, a war or revolution becomes a vehicle through which many layers of conflict can be explored. Still, conflict is best illustrated by individual characters. Who becomes a hero? Who remains a coward? Why? What are the repercussions for them? Do the good guys win? I’m always eager to explore those themes, and I had the chance to do so in BEND

Will I write more historical fiction? You can bet on it. I love doing the research, imagining the characters who might have lived through the period, and the freedom I felt when writing about them. Still, there are new stories to be told in my crime fiction series. Georgia Davis tells me she has an idea for her next outing, and Ellie Foreman just handed over her most of her investigations to her daughter, Rachel in Virtually Undetectable. So I’m torn. What to do next? If you have any ideas, I’m all ears.


Libby Fischer Hellmann left a career in broadcast news in Washington, DC and moved to Chicago 35 years ago, where she, naturally, began to write gritty crime fiction. Thirteen novels and twenty short stories later, she claims they’ll take her out of the Windy City feet first. She has been nominated for many awards in the mystery writing community and has even won a few. More at

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Sunday, October 25, 2020

BLOODY SCOTLAND: Catch up on the panels

I loved attending Bloody Scotland on my computer this year. Yes, I would rather have been there, but I probably wouldn't have been able to attend. I try to limit my conventions and conferences. Thanks so much to everyone involved in Bloody Scotland for making it available to all of us! If you missed it, you can still catch up on the panels. They're posted online here, but only for another week:

All the panels were great. Here are individual links to some I really enjoyed (but I enjoyed them all.

Peter May and Ann Cleeves

Steve Cavanagh, Simon Mayo and Adrian McKinty

Lin Anderson, Oyinkan Braithwaite, Attica Locke, Shamini Flint & J. Pomare

Val McDemid & Lee Child

Ian Rankin & Lawrence Block: Criminal Masterminds

Thursday, October 22, 2020


CWA (Crime Writers Association - UK) Daggers Awards 2020. Winners were announced today at a wonderful Zoom Awards Ceremony hosted by Barry Forshaw. So glad I got to attend.


Martin Edwards


Michael Robotham: Good Girl, Bad Girl (Sphere)


Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction)


Trevor Wood: The Man on the Street (Quercus Fiction)


Abir Mukherjee: Death in the East (Harvill Secker)


Hannelore Cayre: The Godmother, translated by Stephanie Smee (Old Street Publishing)


Lauren Henderson: #Me Too in Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books)


Casey Cep: Furious Hours (William Heinemann)


Christopher Brookmyre


Josephine Moulds: Revolution Never Lies


Orenda Books


Sad news. Richard Lupoff, science fiction writer, mystery author, radio celebrity, non-fiction writer, and friend, passed away October 20 at the age of 85. I'm still reeling from the news, but I'll update this post shortly.

Richaard Lupoff's Detective Fiction
  • The Comic Book Killer (1988)
  • The Classic Car Killer (1992)
  • The Bessie Blue Killer (1994)
  • The Sepia Siren Killer (1994)
  • The Cover Girl Killer (1995)
  • The Silver Chariot Killer (1996)
  • The Radio Red Killer (1997)
  • One Murder at a Time (associated short fiction) (2001)
  • The Emerald Cat Killer (2012)
  • Rookie Blues (one-off) (2012)
  • Killer's Dozen: Thirteen Mystery Tales

Read Richard Lupoff's post on Mystery Fanfare.

From Locus:

Richard Allen Lupoff was born February 21, 1935 in New York. He met Pat on a blind date in 1957, and they were married the following year. The Lupoffs were active in comics and SF fandom starting in the 1960s, hosting meetings of the (Second) Futurian Society in Manhattan and helping to found the Fanoclasts. Before becoming a full-time writer in 1970 he worked in the computer industry, including for IBM. The Lupoffs soon settled in Northern California.

A series of Lupoff’s articles on comics from Xero became the basis for essay collection All in Color for a Dime (1970, co-edited with Don Thompson). The Best of Xero, with Pat Lupoff, appeared in 2004 and was a finalist for the Best Related Book Hugo Award.

Lupoff’s debut novel was SF adventure One Million Centuries (1967). He published numerous novels in the ‘70s, including Sacred Locomotive Flies (1971), Nebula Award finalist Sword of the Demon (1977), The Triune Man (1976), The Crack in the Sky (1976; as Fool’s Hill, 1978), Sandworld (1976), Lisa Kane (1976), and Space War Blues (1978), the latter expanding his Nebula Award-nominated story “With the Bentfin Boomer Boys on Little Old New Alabama” from Again, Dangerous Visions (1972). Into the Aether (1974) was adapted as comic The Adventures of Professor Thintwhistle and His Incredible Aether Flyer with Steve Stiles for Heavy Metal in 1980, collected in 1991.

In the ‘80s he wrote the Twin Planet series, Circumpolar! (1984) and Countersolar! (1987) terms. The Sun’s End series had Sun’s End (1984) and Galaxy’s End (1988). Standalones include alternate history Lovecraft’s Book (1985) and SF The Forever City (1987). An early version of Lovecraft’s Book, long thought lost, was discovered and published as Marblehead in 2007.

A master of pastiche, Lupoff wrote a series of short parodies of other SF writer under the name Ova Hamlet, collected as The Oval Hamlet Papers (1975). Notable stories include Hugo Award finalist “After the Dreamtime” (1974) and Hugo and Nebula Award nominee “Sail the Tide of Mourning” (1975). His time-loop story “12:01 PM” (1973) became short film 12:01 PM (1990) and TV movie 12:01 (1993). Some of his stories were collected in Before… 12.01… And After (1996), Claremont Tales (2001), Claremont Tales II (2001), Terrors (2005), Visions (2009; expanded 2012), Dreams (2011; expanded 2012), Dreamer’s Dozen (2015), and The Doom that Came to Dunwich (2017).

Lupoff was an expert on the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs, helping to bring his work back into print in the ‘60s and writing about him extensively. He also wrote Buck Rogers tie-ins under the name Addison E. Steele. He contributed novels to Philip José Farmer’s shared world project The Dungeon and to Daniel Pinkwater’s Melvinge of the Metaverse series. His non-fiction includes The Reader’s Guide to Barsoom and Amtor (1963), Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure (1965), Barsoom: Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Martian Vision (1976), essay collection Writer at Large (1998), autobiographies Writer, Volume 1 (2014) and Writer, Volume 2 (2014), Where Memory Hides: A Writer’s Life (2016), Writer, Volume Three (2016), and Writer, Volume Four (2020).

He edited numerous collections and anthologies, including The Comic-Book Book (1973, with Don Thompson, expanded 1998), What If? #1: Stories that Should Have Won the Hugo (1980) and two additional volumes in 1981, and The Two-Timers (1981, with Fender Tucker). He co-hosted literary-focused radio show Probabilities in Berkeley CA from 1977 to 1995, when it was renamed Cover to Cover; he left the show in 2001.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Cartoon of the Day: Cats

IT'S WHAT YOU DO before THAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE: Guest Post by Randy Overbeck

Dr. Randy Overbeck:


At a recent book talk, an aspiring writer asked if it’s true that authors simply sit down at their computer and type away, inventing incredible new worlds and the next best seller. While this image might be inspirational, it doesn’t square very well with reality. For me, the truth is that before I ever put pen to paper—or type words on a white screen—I have to tackle a whole host of tasks. I’m not talking about the old pantser or plotter debate; that an issue for a whole other post. I’m talking about research, preparation, and organization. 

When I chose to write my new series, the Haunted Shores Mysteries, I deliberately set the bar quite high on research expectations. Since each book is set in a different resort location, that means I needed to learn what it was like to live (and die) in each of the settings. I needed to research the lingo and dialect, the customs and traditions, the foods and favorite drinks for each place. I needed to learn the geography of each, on land and sometimes on water. 

My next set of challenges came with the timeframe for my narratives. My protagonist’s journey begins in 1998, more than twenty years in the past. This means I needed to research different aspects of life at the time of my tales. What music was popular and when, what did the fashions of the day look like, what particular slang was hip, what were the major news stories of the day. In addition, since I’m setting my stories in actual towns, I needed to be certain which stores and restaurants were operating then. 

A third set of research demands involve particular details of the narratives. For example, in my first series entry, Blood on the Chesapeake, an important element of the story involves sailing on the Chesapeake Bay. Even though I’ve taken several “cruises” on the Bay, I’m certainly no sailor and had to learn a great deal of particulars about sailing, including a whole separate language. In my second installment, Crimson at Cape May, my protagonist takes a job coaching a summer football camp. Though I’ve coached some sports, I’ve never coached football and certainly never ran a summer camp. So I had to get expert help to provide the credible details for this part of the story. Also, both novels included essential details about health issues, i.e, falls, poisonings, hypothermia, and I sought expert medical help to get these right. 

I had to collect data, review old newspapers, consult experts and go native—most of this before I wrote the first line of each novel. I never want to rain on an aspiring writer’s parade—we all need our inspiration—but the truth about being an author is much more complicated, demanding and messy than the heroic image of the guy with a laptop in his room. 

Still, I tell new writers, it is all worth it in the end.  


Dr. Randy Overbeck is an award-winning educator, writer and speaker who has earned recognition in the Midwest and beyond. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentation “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.  

The first entry in his Haunted Shores Mystery series, BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE, was published last year by the Wild Rose Press and earned rave reviews and even picked up two national awards. The second installment in the series, CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY, was released this summer and it quickly garnered two ★★★★★ reviews and a national award, the Gold Award from Literary Titan.

Monday, October 19, 2020


Sad news. Jill Paton Walsh  died yesterday. Paton Walsh was an English novelist and children's writer, best known to readers of this blog for her Peter Wimsey–Harriet Vane mysteries that completed and continued the work of Dorothy L. Sayers.

From Wikipedia:

In 1996, Paton Walsh received the CBE for services to literature and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 1998 she won the Phoenix Award from the Children's Literature Association, for A Chance Child as the best children's book published twenty years earlier that did not win a major award. 

In an essay on realism in children's literature, Walsh stated that realism (like fantasy) is also metaphorical, and that she would like the relationship between the reader and her characters Bill and Julie to be as metaphorical as that between "dragons and the reader's greed or courage". 


Knowledge of Angels (1993), a medieval philosophical novel, that she published herself was shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize. Other adult novels include: Farewell, Great King (1972), Lapsing (1986), about Catholic university students, A School for Lovers (1989), reworking of the plot of Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, The Serpentine Cave (1997), based on a lifeboat disaster in St Ives, A Desert in Bohemia (2000), which follows a group of characters in England and in an imaginary Eastern European country through the years between World War II and 1989.


Imogen Quy 

Paton Walsh wrote four detective stories featuring part-time college nurse Imogen Quy, set in fictional St. Agatha's College, University of Cambridge: The Wyndham Case (1993) A Piece of Justice (1995) Debts of Dishonour (2006) The Bad Quarto (2007) 

Lord Peter Wimsey 

In 1998, she completed Dorothy L. Sayers's unfinished Lord Peter Wimsey–Harriet Vane novel, Thrones, Dominations. In 2002, she followed this up with another Lord Peter novel, A Presumption of Death. In 2010, she published a third, The Attenbury Emeralds.[8] Her last addition to the series, The Late Scholar, was published in 2013 in the UK, and January 2014 in the U.S.

 In addition she wrote over 30 children's books.

Saturday, October 17, 2020


Bouchercon, the world mystery convention, announced the nominees for its prestigious Anthony Awards tonight at the first Virtual Bouchercon. Bouchercon 2020: Sacramento.

2020 Anthony Award Awards

The Murder List, by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge)

One Night Gone, by Tara Laskowski (Graydon House)

The Alchemist’s Illusion, by Gigi Pandian (Midnight Ink)

The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women, by Mo Moulton (Basic Books)

“The Red Zone,” by Alex Segura (appearing in ¡Pa’que Tu Lo Sepas!: Stories to Benefit the People of Puerto Rico)

Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible, edited by Verena Rose, Rita Owen, and Shawn Reilly Simmons (Wildside Press)

Seven Ways to Get Rid of Harry, by Jen Conley (Down & Out Books)

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.

Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine announced the Barry Award Winners of this year’s Barry Awards during the Virtual Bouchercon World Mystery Convention.

Best Mystery/Crime Novel 

THE LOST MAN, Jane Harper (Flatiron)

Best First Mystery/Crime Novel

THE CHESTNUT MAN, Soren Sveistrup (Harper)

Best Paperback Original Mystery/Crime Novel

MISSING DAUGHTER, Rick Mofina (Mira)

Best Thriller

THE CHAIN, Adrian McKinty (Mulholland)

Best Mystery/Crime Novel of the Decade

SUSPECT, Robert Crais (Putnam)

Friday, October 16, 2020


The Macavity Award Winners 2020
(for works published in 2019)

The Macavity Awards are nominated by members of Mystery Readers International, subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal, and friends of MRI. The winners were announced at opening ceremonies at Virtual Bouchercon 2020 Sacramento. Congratulations to all.

Best Mystery Novel  

The Chain by Adrian McKinty (Mulholland)

Best First Mystery

One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski (Graydon House)

Best Mystery Short Story 

“Better Days,” by Art Taylor (EQMM, May/June 2019)

Best Mystery Nonfiction/Critical

Hitchcock and the Censors by John Billheimer (University Press of Kentucky)

Sue Feder Memorial Award for Best Historical Mystery

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott (Vintage) 

For all the Nominees: Go Here

Thursday, October 15, 2020

2020 NED KELLY AWARDS: Australian Crime Writers Association

The Australian Crime Writers Association announced the winners of the 2020 Ned Kelly Awards, aka the Neddies.

Best Crime Fiction:
The Wife and the Widow, by Christian White (Affirm Press)

Also nominated: Death of a Typographer, by Nick Gadd (Australian Scholarly Publishing); The Strangers We Know, by Pip Drysdale (Simon & Schuster); The Scholar, by Dervla McTiernan (Harlequin); Rivers of Salt, by Dave Warner (Fremantle Press); and True West, by David Whish-Wilson (Fremantle Press)

Best Debut Crime Fiction:
Present Tense, by Natalie Conyer (Clan Destine Press)

Also nominated: Eight Lives, by Susan Hurley (Affirm Press); Where the Truth Lies, by Karina Kilmore (Simon & Schuster); The Nancys, by R.W.R. McDonald (Allen & Unwin); Six Minutes, by Petronella McGovern (Allen & Unwin); and Lapse, by Sarah Thornton (Text)

Best True Crime:
Bowraville, by Dan Box (Penguin Random House)

Also nominated: Dead Man Walking: The Murky World of Michael McGurk and Ron Medich, by Kate McClymont (Penguin Random House); Shark Arm, by Phillip Rooper and Kevin Meagher (Allen & Unwin); and Snakes and Ladders, by Angela Williams (Affirm Press)

Best International Crime Fiction:
The Chain, by Adrian McKinty (Hachette)

Also nominated: Cruel Acts, by Jane Casey (HarperCollins); The Night Fire, by Michael Connelly (Allen & Unwin); and The Last Widow, by Karin Slaughter (HarperCollins)

HT: The Gumshoe Site and The Rapsheet