Sunday, December 10, 2023



Crime for the Holidays. Christmas time is a major time for murder! Every year I post a list of mysteries set during the Christmas holidays. It's such an extensive list, that I divide it into multiple parts. Here's the first installment, Authors A-E, of what will be a huge Christmas Crime Fiction list. I'll be posting the rest of the list over the next few days, so be sure and stop back.

Although the list is updated every year, I'm sure I've still managed to miss a few authors and titles. Let me know, and I'd be glad to add them. Please comment below.

Christmas Mysteries: Authors F-L (to come) 

Christmas Mysteries: Authors M-Z (to come)

Christmas Mysteries: Short Story Anthologies and Novellas (to come)

Christmas Crime Fiction: 
Authors A-E

Abbott, Allyson: Shots in the Dark 
Abbot, Anthony: About the Murder of a Startled Lady; About the Murder of Geraldine Foster.
Abresch, Peter: The Faltese Malcom.
Adams, Deborah: All the Crazy Winters.
Adamson, Lydia: A Cat in the Manger; A Cat in the Wings; A Cat on Jingle Bell Rock; A Cat Under the Mistletoe.
Alan, Isabella: Murder, Served Simply.
Albert, Susan Wittig: Mistletoe Man; Rueful Death; Holly Blues: The Darling Dahlias and the Poinsetta Puzzle.
Alexander, David: Shoot a Sitting Duck.
Alexander, Ellie (aka Kate Dyer-Seeley): A Cup of Holiday Fear.
Alexander, Hannah & Jill Elizabeth Nelson: Season of Danger; Silent Night; Deadly Night/Mistletoe Mayhem.
Alexander, Maria: Snowed.
Alexander, Victoria: What Happens at Christmas.
Allan, Barbara: Antiques Flee Market.
Allen, E.A.: The Fifth Christmas; The Dandridge Charter.
Allen, Michael: Spence and the Holiday Murders.
Ambrose, Terry: The Killer Christmas Sweater Club.
Amo, Gary: Silent Night.
Amsden, Pat: A Christmas to Die For.
Andre, Joel: A Death at the North Pole.
Andrews, Donna: How the Finch Stole Christmas; Six Geese A-Slaying; Duck the Halls; The Nightingale Before Christmas; Lark! The Herald Angels Sing; Owl Be Home for Christmas; The Gift of the Magpie; The Twelve Jays of Christmas; Let It Crow, Let It Crow; Let it Crow. 
Andrews, Mary Kay (Kathy Hogan Trocheck): Fatal Fruitcake; Blue Christmas; Christmas Bliss; Midnight Clear.
Traci Andrighetti & Elizabeth Ashby: A Poison Manicure and Peach Liqueur

Kate Angel: Gingerbread Man.
Angela, Mary: A Very Merry Murder.
Appignanesi, Lisa: The Dead of Winter
Archer, Gretchen. Double Deck the Halls

Armstrong, Vivien: Fly in Amber.
Arnold, Carolyn. Christmas is Murder.
Arsenault, Emily: The Broken Teaglass.
Arts, David Jay: Quiet Desperation.
Ash, Maureen: Murder for Christ's Mass.
Ashe, Ellie: Chasing Tinsel.
Atherton, Nancy: Aunt Dimity's Christmas; Aunt Dimity and the Heart of Gold.
Atkins, Ace: Leavin' Trunk Blues.
Aubert, Rosemary: The Feast of Stephen.
Avon, Joy: In Peppermint Peril.
Baantjer, Albert: Murder in Amsterdam.
Babson, Marian: Twelve Deaths of Christmas; Line Up for Murder; Murder on a Mystery Tour.
Bailey, Jodie, Debby Giusti & Susan Sleeman: Holiday Defenders.
Bain, Donald (as Jessica Fletcher): A Little Yuletide Murder; Manhattans and Murder.
Baker, Deb: Murder Trims the Tree.
Baker, North: Dead to the World.
Baldacci, David: The Christmas Train.
Ball, Donna: Silent Night.
Ballard, Mignon F.: Deadly Promise; Hark! The Herald Angel Screamed.
Banks, Carolyn: Horse to Die For

Banville, John. Snow.
Barnard, Robert: Death in a Cold Climate; The Habit of Widowhood.
Barnett, T.L.: Murder for the New Year.

Barre, Richard: Bethany.
Barrett, Kathleen: Homicide for the Holidays.
Barritt, Christy. High-Stakes Holiday Reunion; It Came Upon a Midnight Crime.
Barron, Stephanie: Jane and the Wandering Eye; Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Bartlett, Lorraine & Gayle Leeson: Yule Be Dead.
Barton, Beverly: Sugar and Spice.

Battison, Brian: The Christmas Bow Murder.
Baxt, George: Scheme and Variations; A Christmas Story.
Bayard, Louis: Mr Timothy.
Beaton, M.C.: Death of A Snob; A Highland Christmas; Agatha Raisin and Kissing Christmas Goodbye; Death of a Prankster; Christmas Crumble; Busy Body.
Beaumont, Cyril: The Mysterious Toyshop.
Beechy, Alan: Murdering Ministers.
Bell, Cindy: Mistletoe, Makeup and Murder; Christmas Chocolates and Crime.
Bellairs, George: The Dead Shall Be Raised.

Belle, Josie: Buried in Bargains.
Benedict, Alexandra: The Christmas Murder Game; Murder on the Christmas Express.
Benison, C.C. Death at Sandringham House.

Bennett, Jenna: A Done Deal.
Benrey, Ron & Janet: Season of Glory.
Bentley, Jennie: Home for The Homicide.
Berenson, Laurien: Jingle Bell Bark; Once Bitten; Wagging through the Snow.
Bernhardt, Susan: Murder Under the Tree.
Bernhardt, William: The Midnight Before Christmas.
Berry, Carole: This Year Will Be Different; The Year of the Monkey.
Bingham, John: Crime at Lark Cottage.
Bird, Nigel. Let It Snow.

Bishop, Claudia: A Carol for a Corpse.
Black, Gavin: Dragon for Christmas.
Black, Sarah & John Lanyon: I'll be Dead for Christmas.
Blackburn, Cindy: Three Odd Balls.
Blackstock, Charity: The Foggy, Foggy Dew.
Blake, Bethany. Paw Prints and Predicaments; A Midwinter's Tale.
Blake, Nicholas: The Corpse in the Snowman; The Smiler With the Knife; Thou Shell of Death.
Blanc, Nero: A Crossworder's Delight; A Crossworder's Gift; A Crossworder's Holiday; Wrapped Up in Crosswords.
Boatwright, Alice K.: What Child is This?.
Bodelson, Anders: Think of a Number.
Bohart, Lynn: Inn Keeping with Murder.
Bolen, Cheryl. The Theft before Christmas

Bolton, Ginger (aka Janet Bolin): Deck the Donuts.
Borger, Gale: Totally Decked.
Borthwick, J. S.: Dude on Arrival; The Student Body.
Boucher, Anthony: The Night Before Christmas.
Bowen, Rhys: The Twelve Clues at Christmas; Away in a Manger; The Ghost of Christmas Past; God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen.
Boyd, Eunice Mays, with Elizabeth Reed Aden: Slay Bells: A Vintage Mystery

Boylan, Eleanor: Pushing Murder.
Boyle, Thomas: Post-Mortem Effects.
Bradley, Alan: The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches; I Am Half Sick of Shadows; As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust.
Brady, James: Hampton's Christmas.
Bramble, Forbes: Dead of Winter.
Bran, Helen. Silent Night.
Braun, Lilian Jackson: The Cat Who Turned On and Off; The Cat Who Went into the Closet.
Bredes, Don: Cold Comfort.
Breen, Jon: Probable Claus.
Brett, Simon: The Christmas Crimes at Puzzle Manor; The Shooting in the Shop; The Cinderella Killer.
Brightwell, Emily: Mrs. Jeffries and the Feast of St. Stephen; Mrs. Jeffries & the Yuletide Weddings; Mrs. Jeffries & the Mistletoe Mix Up; Mrs. Jeffries and the Silent Knight; Mrs. Jeffries and the Three Wise Women; Mrs. Jeffries and the Alms of the Angel.
Brockman, Suzanne: All Through the Night.
Brook, Allison. Read and Gone.
Brown, Benedict: A Corpse for Christmas; The Mystery of Mistletoe Hall; The Snows of Weston Moor.

Brown, Carter: A Corpse for Christmas.
Brown, Frederic: Murder Can be Fun.
Brown, Rita Mae: Rest in Pieces; Santa Clawed; Homeward Hound; Hiss & Tell.
Bruce, Leo: Such is Death.
Brunette, Lisa: Framed and Burning.

Bruns, Catherine: The Enemy You Gnocchi.
Bryan, Mollie Cox: A Crafty Christmas.; Christmas Cow Bells.
Buchanan, Edna: The Ice Maiden.
Buckley, Julia: Cheddar Off Dead.
Buchanan, Edna.The Ice Maiden.

Budewitz, Leslie: As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles; Peppermint Barked 
Burdette, Lucy: Death with all the Trimmings.
Burke, Anna Celeste: A Merry Christmas Wedding Mystery.
Burke, Declan: Eightball Boogie.
Burke, James: A Present for Santa.
Burley, W. J.: Death in Willow Pattern; Wycliffe and the Quiet Virgin.
Bush, Christopher: Dancing Death

Byerrum, Ellen: Grave Apparel
Byron, Ellen: A Cajun Christmas Killing; Grave Appeal.
Cahoon, Lynn: If the Shoe Fits; Have A Holly, Haunted Christmas.

Caine, Leslie: Holly and Homicide.
Cairns, Alison: New Year Resolution.
Callaghan, Hope. Reindeer & Robberies; Merry Masquerade in Savannah.
Carl, Joanna: The Chocolate Bear Burglary; The Chocolate Snowman Murders.

Carlisle, Kate. Deck the Hallways.
Carmack, Amanda. Murder at Whitehall. 
Cantrell, Rebecca: The World Beneath.

Carpenter, Sally. Flower Power Fatality.
Carr, Carol K.: India Black and the Widow of Windsor.
Carrier, Warren: Justice at Christmas.

Carrington, Tori: Queen's Ransom.
Carter, John Franklin: The Corpse on the White House Lawn.
Carter, Nick: The Christmas Kill.
Casey, Elizabeth Lynn: Let It Sew.
Caunitz, William J.: Exceptional Clearance.
Challinor, C. S.: Christmas is Murder.
Chan, Cassandra: Spider on the Stairs.
Chapman, Brenda: Cold Mourning.
Chaput, W. J.: The Man on the Train.
Chase, Erika: Read and Buried.
Chastain, Thomas: 911 (aka The Christmas Bomber).
Chaze, Elliott: Goodbye Goliath.
Cheever, Sam: Christmas Grift.
Chesbro, George C.: Second Horseman Out of Eden; Colde Smell of Sacred Stone.
Childs, Laura: The Teaberry Strangler; Eggs on Ice; Twisted Tea Christmas.
Christie, Agatha: Hercule Poirot's Christmas (aka Murder for Christmas, aka Holiday for Murder); The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (novella); The Sittaford Mystery.
Christmas, Joyce: Dying Well; Fete Worse than Death.
Churchill, Jill: Farewell to Yarns; The Merchant of Menace; From Here to Paternity.
Clad, Noel: Savage.
Claire, Edie: Never Mess with Mistletoe.
Clark, Carol Higgins: Iced.
Clark, Mary Higgins: All Through the Night; Silent Night; My Gal Sunday; Silent Night.
Clark, Mary Higgins and Carol Higgins Clark: Deck the Halls; The Christmas Thief; He Sees You When You're Sleeping; Dashing Through the Snow; Santa Cruise.
Cleland, Jane: Ornaments of Death.
Cleverly, Barbara: Fall of Angels.
Coco, Nancy: All I Want for Christmas is Fudge.
Coggin, Joan: Who Killed the Curate; Dancing with Death.
Cohen, Charles: Silver Linings.
Cohen, Tammy: Dying for Christmas.

Collette, Abby: A Deadly Scoop Inside.
Collier, Christine: Christmas at Cliffhanger Inn; A Holiday Sampler.
Collings, Rex: Clerical Crimes for Christmas.
Collins, Kate: Missing Under the Mistletoe.
Collins, Max Allen: Blue Christmas and Other Holiday Homicides (collection); No Cure for Death; Spree.
Colt, Jennifer: The Con Artist of Catalina Island.
Conant, Susan: Gone to the Dogs.
Connelly, Michael. The Black Ice.

Connolly, Sheila. Gone to the Dogs.
Constantine, K.C.: Upon Some Midnights Clear.
Conte, Cate: Whisker of a Doubt.

Cook, Sharon Love: A Deadly Christmas Carol.
Cooper, Natasha: Evil is Done.
Cornish, Constance: Dead of Winter.
Cornwell, Patricia: Scarpetta's Winter Table.

Corrigan, Maya: Gingerdead Man.
Cortez, Donn: Miami--Harm for the Holidays.
Cousins, Caroline: Fiddle Dee Death.
Coyle, Cleo: Holiday Grind; Holiday Buzz; Latte Trouble.
Craft, Michael: Body Language.
Craig, Alisa: Murder Goes Mumming.
Craig, Philip R.: A Deadly Vineyard Holiday; Off Season.
Crane, Hamilton: Starring Miss Seeton.
Cranston, Kathy: Mistletoe is Murder.
Crawford, Isis: A Catered Christmas; A Catered Christmas Cookie Exchange.
Creasey, John: Death of a Postman.
Crespi, Trella: Trouble with Thin Ice.
Crider, Bill: Cursed to Death.
Crighton, Michael: Coma.
Crockett, Jessie: Live Free or Die.
Crombie, Deborah: Water Like a Stone; And Justice There is None.
Cross, Amanda: No Word from Winifred.

D'Amato, Barbara: Hard Christmas.
Daheim, Mary: The Alpine Christmas; Nutty as a Fruitcake; The Alpine Winter.
Dain, Catherine. The Last Noel.
Daley, Kathi: Christmas Cozy; The Cat of Christmas Past; Alaskan Alliance; The Mystery Before Christmas; Celtic Christmas; The Catnap Before Christmas.
Dams, Jeanne M.: The Body in the Transept; Indigo Christmas; Winter of Discontent.
Dane, Joel: The Christmas Tree Murders.
Danielewski, Cynthia: Night Fire.
Darrell, Elizabeth: Czech Mate.
Davenport, Chari: The Christmas Party.
Davidson, Diane Mott: Sweet Revenge.
Davidson, Mary Janice: Undead and Unreturnable.
Davis, Frederick: Drag the Dark.
Davis, Kim: Frosted Yuletide Murder.

Davis, Krista: The Diva Runs Out of Thyme; The Diva Cooks a Goose; Not a Creature was Purring; The Diva Wraps It Up.
Davis, Mildred B.: Tell Them What's Her Name Called; Three Minutes to Midnight.
Dawson, Janet: Nobody's Child.

Day, Maddie: Candy Slain Murder.
Day, Marlis: Curriculum Murders.
De Castrique, Mark: Grave Undertaking.
Dean, Spencer: Credit for a Murder.
DeAndrea, William L.: Killed on the Ice.
Dee, Ed: Little Boy Blue.
Deeb, Mary Jane: Christmas Mystery in Provence.
Delany, Kathleen: Murder Half-Baked; Purebred Dead; Dying in a Winter Wonderland.
Delany, Vicki: Winter of Secrets; Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen; We Wish You a Murderous Christmas; Hark the Herald Angels Slay; Dying in a Winter Wonderland; Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas
Demaree, Steve. A Body under the Christmas Tree.
Dengler, Sandy: Murder on the Mount.
Dentinger, Jane: The Queen is Dead.
DeSmet, Christine: Holly Jolly Fudge; When Rudolph Was Kidnapped.

Deverell, Diana: Twelve Drummers Drumming.
Dexter, Colin: The Secret of Annexe 3; Morse's Greatest Mystery and Other Stories (collection).
Dickson, Carter: The White Priority Murders.
DiRico, Maria. It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder.

Dobbs, Leighann: Grievance in Gingerbread Alley.
Dobson, Joanne: Quieter Than Sleep.
Donnelly, Deborah: Died to Match; May the Best Man Die.
Donovan, Rose: The Mystery of Ruby's Mistletoe.

Dorsey, Tim: When Elves Attack.
Douglas, Carole Nelson: Cat in a Golden Garland.
Douglas, Charlotte: Holidays are Murder.
Downing, Todd: The Last Trumpet.
Driscoll, Patricia: Shedding Light on Murder.
Drummond, John Keith: Tis the Season to be Dying.
Dubois, Brendan: The Gift of King Herod.
Duffy, James: The Christmas Gang.
Dunbar, Sophie: Shiveree.
Duncan, Elizabeth: A Killer's Christmas in Wales.
Duncan, Francis: Murder for Christmas.
Dunn, Carola: Mistletoe and Murder; Death at Wentwater Court.
Dunnett, Kaitlyn (Kathy Lynn Emerson): A Wee Christmas Homicide; Ho-Ho-Homicide.
Durham, Laura: Marry and Bright.
Durham, Mary: Keeps Death His Court.

Early, Barbara: Murder on the Toy Town Express; Death of a Russian Doll.
Eason, Lynette: Holiday Hideout.
Eberhart, Mignon G.: Postmark Murder.
Eddenden, A. E.: A Good Year for Murder.
Egan, Lesley: Crime for Christmas.
Ehrhart, Peggy: Silent Knit, Deadly Knit; Death of a Christmas Card Crafter.
Eickhoff, Randy Lee: Then Came Christmas.
Ekwensi, Cyprian: Restless City; Christmas Gold.
Emerson, Kathy Lynn (as Kaitlyn Dunnett): A Wee Christmas Homicide; Ho-Ho-Homicide.
Emrick, K.J.: Murder, Wrapped Up; Christmas Spirit; The Naughty List.
Englehart, Steve: Christmas Countdown.
Erickson, Alex: Death by Eggnog; Death by Peppermint Candy.
Erskine, Margaret: A Graveyard Plot.
Estleman, Loren D.: The Glass Highway.
Evanovich, Janet: Visions of Sugar Plums.


Christmas Mysteries: Authors F-L. 

Christmas Mysteries: Authors M-Z.

Christmas Mysteries: Short Story Anthologies and Novellas

Friday, December 8, 2023


Tony Shalhoub is back as Adrian Monk in Mr. Monk's Last Case. The movie premieres today (December 8) on Peacock.

This is the first new Monk case since the series concluded in 2009 (after 125 episodes!). Monk suffers from OCD and has a large range of phobias. 

The new movie is written by Andy Breckman, creator of the original series. And FYI, the pandemic plays an important role in the film. 

Other characters from the series that will return: Traylor Howard as Natalie, Monk's assistant, and Ted Levine, Jason Gray-Stanford, Melora Hardin, and Hector Elizondo -- all from the original cast.

I can't wait!

Cartoon of the Day: Hanukkah


Thursday, December 7, 2023


(no matter how you spell it - Hanukah, Hanukkah) starts tonight (Thursday, December 7). Because the holiday lasts eight days, you will have plenty of time to read these books! Let me know if I've missed any authors or titles. Put a note in the comments. This is an updated list for 2023. Happy Chanukah!

Want some chocolate with your reading? Make Sufganiyot! Chocolate Donuts or Hannukah Gelt Cookies!

Hanukkah Mystery Novels 

A Crafty Christmas by Molly Cox Bryan
Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle (mostly about Christmas but Hanukah is mentioned)
Beautiful Lie the Dead by Barbara Fradkin
Strength to Stand by Sheyna Galyan
Festival of Deaths by Jane Haddam
Hanukkah Gelt by T. Lee Harris
Out of the Frying Pan into the Choir by Sharon Kahn
Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry by Harry Kemelman
As Dog is My Witness by Jeff Cohen

Murder at the Minyan by Shlumat E. Kustanowitz
The Body in the Sleigh by Katherine Hall Page (mostly about Christmas but Hanukah is mentioned)
Dog Have Mercy by Neil Plakcy
Chanukah Guilt by Rabbi Ilene Schneider
The Tattooed Rabbi by Marvin J. Wolf
Mom Lights a Candle by James Yaffe

Children's Hanukah Mysteries

Rabbi Rocketpower and the Mystery of the Missing Menorahs - A Hanukkah Humdinger! by Rabbi Susan Abramson and Aaron Dvorkin and Ariel DiOrio
Too Many Latkes: A Chanukah Mystery by Sonia Zylberberg
The Mohel from Mars by Miri Ariel
The Case of the Disappearing Chanukah Candles by Ellen Roteman
The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming by Lemony Snicket.

Mystery Hanukkah Short Stories

"Mom Lights a Candle" by James Yaffe, appeared in Mystery: The Best of 2002, ed. by Jon L. Breen.

"Hanukah" by Morris Hershman in Cat Crimes for the Holidays, ed. by Martin Greenberg, Edward Gorman and Larry Segriff
"The Worse Noel" by Barb Goffman in The Gift of Murder, ed. by John M. Floyd
"A Great Miracle Happened There" by Alan Orloff in Black Cat Weekly (Issue 119, 2023)
"Death on the List" by B.K. Stevens (AHMM, January 1999)
For more info on Jewish short story mysteries, check out Steven Steinbock who blogs on Criminal Brief, the Mystery Short Story Web Log Project.
"Navidad" by Elizabeth Zelvin, EQMM, January 2011
"No Candles for Antiochus" by Barry Ergang
Murder is no Mitzvah: Short Stories about Jewish Occasions, edited by Abigail Browning
The Latke in the Library & Other Mystery Stories for Chanukah by Libi Astaire

Mystery Chanukah Anthologies

The Melancholy Menorah (Jewish Regency Mystery Stories Book 4), Libi Astaire
The Latke in the Library and Other Mystery Stories for Chanukah, Libi Astaire
36 Candles: Chassidic Tales for Chanukah, Libi Astaire
Murder is No Mitzvah: Short Mysteries About Jewish Occasions, Abigail Browning
Jewish Noir, Edited by Kenneth Wishnia

Tuesday, December 5, 2023



Originally set to premiere on December 15 on Amazon Prime Video. This season is an adaptation of Lee Child's Bad Luck and Trouble (#11 in the series).  

I love this show. Great casting, fabulous acting, terrific plot and action! If you haven't watched the show, start with Season 1. It's still available on Prime Video. 

The first three episodes of Reacher, Season 2, will now premiere on Prime Video on December 14, 2023. The remaining five episodes will stream on Prime Video every Friday, with the finale streaming on January 19, 2024. I like to binge, so this will be difficult. I hate waiting.

The official description for Season 2: 

“‘Reacher’ Season Two begins when veteran military police investigator Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson) receives a coded message that the members of his former U.S. Army unit, the 110th MP Special Investigations, are being mysteriously and brutally murdered one by one. 

Pulled from his drifter lifestyle, Reacher reunites with three of his former teammates turned chosen family to investigate, including Frances Neagley (Maria Sten); Karla Dixon (Serinda Swan), a forensic accountant for whom Reacher has long had a soft spot; and fast-talking, switchblade-wielding family man David O’Donnell (Shaun Sipos). Together, they begin to connect the dots in a mystery where the stakes get higher at every turn, and that brings about questions of who has betrayed them—and who will die next. Using his inimitable blend of smarts and size, Reacher will stop at nothing to uncover the truth and protect the members of his unit. If there’s one thing Reacher and his team know for certain, it’s that you do not mess with the Special Investigators. This season, get ready for Reacher and the 110th to hit back hard.”


Many of our favorite mystery shows have Christmas specials. Beyond Paradise will have its first Christmas special on BBC One.  Death in Paradise will also have a Christmas special as well, also on BBC1 in the UK. More info on that to come.

Unfortunately I cannot find any information on U.S. broadcasts. If you hear anything, please let me know. 

And just an FYI, Beyond Paradise will return in early 2024 for series 2, as will series 13 of Death in Paradise. A third spin-off titled Return to Paradise, set in Australia, will be out in late 2024.

Monday, December 4, 2023

MIDSOMER MURDERS, SEASON 24, starts today!

Just a Reminder: Midsomer Murders, Season 24 Starts Today!!! Enjoy. Alas, only 4 episodes. 

I love Midsomer Murders, and I confess that I've seen the entire series at least twice, probably more. Midsomer Murders is a quirky series with  imaginative murder scenes and weapons. If that sounds dark, I will tell you it isn't. I think of this series as one of the best mystery series on TV..not gritty, not scary.. just great acting, lovely scenery, and plots. Of course, I wouldn't want to live in the county of Midsomer. Way too many murders for my taste. It's  Cabot Cove on steroids. 

Midsomer Murders, Season 24, premieres on AcornTV on December 4. 

Midsomer Murders is one of the longest-running mysteries currently still airing. It first aired in 1997 (first with John Nettles as DCI Tom Barnaby, then with Neil Dudgeon as DCI John Barnaby). The series is based on Caroline Graham's Chief Inspector Barnaby novels. The series is set in the fictional Midsomer County, and follows two different DCI Barnabys as they solve quirky murders occurring in lovely small villages. It's mystery 'lite',  and the murders often require some suspension of disbelief. I'm o.k. with that. 


 From the Amazing Tom Gauld:

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Holiday Homicide: Classic Crime Thrillers of the 1960s: Online Panel, December 5: FREE

Holiday Homicide! I've signed up for this event.  Sign up now. FREE.

I’m Dreaming of a Noir Christmas: Classic Crime Thrillers of the 1960s
with Geoffrey O’Brien, Sarah Weinman, Gene Seymour, and David Lehman

Join Library of America for a killer lineup of panelists as they explore classic crime thrillers of the 1960s, from Donald Westlake-writing-as-Richard Stark’s taut smash-and-grab heist novel The Score to Patricia Highsmith’s eerie potboiler The Tremor of Forgery

Join Geoffrey O’Brien, editor of Crime Novels of the 1960s, along with noir maven Sarah Weinman (The Real Lolita), cultural critic Gene Seymour, and poet David Lehman (The Mysterious Romance of Murder) for an arresting dive into nine astonishingly inventive novels that pulse with the energies of a turbulent, transformative decade. 

Tuesday, December 5 6:00–7:00 PM ET 

 This online event is free, but you must preregister to attend.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

SLOW HORSES, SEASON 3: November 29

Slow Horses, Season 3, based on Mick Herron's Slough House mysteries, debuted last night, November 29, on Apple TV+. 

Gary Oldman plays Jackson Lamb, the unpleasant dissolved head of a group of dejected British spies. His band of spooks are called Slow Horses because they've messed up their careers in a variety of ways. Lamb always reinforces their failures. 

Read the Review on NPR

I missed the first episode of Season 3 because I was watching the first episode of Shetland, Season 8. So many great seasons premiering this month and next. 

I highly recommend you read Mick Herron's Slough Mysteries. They're great. Terrific writing, fabulous characters, and great plots. Read them in order. 

Let me know what you think of Slow Horses, the TV series.

Real Rembrandt Art Theft in a New Detective Yarn: An Interview by Janet Stilson With Larry Maness, Author of ‘The Perfect Crime’

There’s a splendid building in the heart of Boston that’s haunted by a tragic loss. The elegant Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is home to a collection of more than 7,500 pieces of precious art. If you follow art news or events around Boston, then you may recall the burglary that took place there in 1990, which has never been solved. The 13 stolen works of art, 11 of which are paintings, have a value of $500 million and include works by Rembrandt van Rijn and Johannes Vermeer. Empty frames, where stolen paintings once hung, appear like ghosts on the walls.

This provided lots of creative fodder for the writer Larry Maness, who based his recently released mystery novel, The Perfect Crime: Unmasking the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist, on the theft. The captivating tale blends together actual known facts about the Gardner heist, various suspicions, and dark deeds that are purely imagined. Maness seems to have the mental abilities of a master criminal or conspiracy theorist — keeping his readers guessing about where the art might be located and who’s behind the crime until the end.

The Perfect Crime: Unmasking the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist features a fictional detective named Theo Perdoux, who’s a former Boston cop. This is the second time Perdoux has shown up in a Maness novel. The first book in the series, The Last Perdoux, is equally as engrossing and delves into another real mystery: the disappearance of masterpieces stolen by Nazis during World War II.

After reading both books, I had to wonder what parts of the Perdoux mysteries are real, and what parts Maness made up. So I got in touch with him. In the following interview, he supplies some answers and discusses other sources of inspiration, including travels through Italy, where both books are largely set. He also drops a clue about what real-life mystery could be the basis of the next Perdoux novel that he writes.

Why did you decide to center your most recent book on the Gardner art heist? There has to be a lot of mysteries out there worthy of your attention.

“Why has no one claimed the $10 million reward offered by the Gardner Museum for the return of the stolen items?” That question prompted me to consider possibilities for a novel. What really did the robbers want? If not a hefty reward, did a collector want specific masterpieces for his private collection? Or, as some suggest, were the stolen pieces to be used as a bargaining chip to get a master criminal out of prison? My novel explores these options. In the end, it also explains why the reward has never been claimed.

Can you give me some examples of what you included in the novel that’s actually known about the Gardner robbery and what you imagined? For example, was there someone who came to the museum posing as a well-known violin craftsman who was “casing” the artworks that were eventually stolen? Were any of the museum guards suspect?

To answer your last question first, yes, Gardner Museum guards were considered suspects. They did break protocol and let the robbers into the museum. Both guards claimed their innocence. No charges were ever brought.

Once inside, the two robbers dressed as Boston policemen and cut Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee and Vermeer’s The Concert from their frames. They collected nine other [paintings] before leaving the museum never to be seen again.

In my novel, The Perfect Crime, I build on the fact that the stolen items have never been found and that the thieves have never been caught. To construct my plot, I created a character who comes to the museum with the stated purpose of repairing the famous Cavelli guitar. His real purpose is far different and leads to the robbery.

What happens to the artwork after the robbery is a major theme of my novel. It is that theme that takes the reader to Rome where most of the novel takes place.

Did you receive any push-back from the museum, or any reaction from it at all, as you were writing or after the book was published?

Larry Maness at work, and the Gardner Museum’s courtyard. Photo Sources: Larry Maness and (for the courtyard) Jen Shishmanian on Unsplash

In your first novel in the series, The Last Perdoux, you explore a mystery that involves art stolen by the Nazis in World War II. Was there a certain moment in time when you had an ah-ha moment, realizing that it was fertile ground to explore in a book — and fertile ground for a book series that uses stolen art as a binding theme?

What first captured my attention was how easily a man’s life can be upended. Stolen artwork was an added element.

The idea for creating Theo Perdoux, a man with a fascinating past he knew nothing about since he had been adopted, came from a true story I read about in a newspaper. It seems a middle-aged man from Boston was located by a Spanish attorney with news that his biological mother had recently died in Barcelona. She left him her art collection in her will. The news overwhelmed this man and upended his life in various ways. Most of those ways were not pleasant.

In The Last Perdoux, I explore how a life can be upended when one learns that he comes from a famous Paris art collecting family whose collection was stolen by the Nazis during World War II. Theo’s mother spent her life hunting for the family’s stolen artwork. Her will demands that Theo take up the cause as the last Perdoux.

Complexities in the novel are achieved by Theo’s need to find his family’s stolen collection intertwined with his need to find out more about his biological family. As with the man I read about in the newspaper, what Theo learns is not always pleasant. For example, what was his mother’s shame that forced her to give Theo away? Who was Theo’s father? Was he still alive? Theo digs deep into his past to learn those answers.

Is there art stolen by the Nazis that still has yet to be recovered?

The Nazis plundered thousands of pieces of art. Heirs to many of those collections are even now trying to reclaim from museums and private collections what was stolen. Proving ownership is not easy. The process can take years.

What complicates the issue is that museums and private collectors often believe that their purchases were legitimate. In other words, they didn’t believe they were buying stolen merchandise. As a consequence, they are reluctant to give the pieces back. Enter the courts.

One of the aspects of both books that I love are its locations. The majority of the action in both books takes place in various parts of Italy. Can you tell me a little about your travels there, and the creative “seeds” it planted in your mind?

My first trip to Rome was for the production of one of my plays. I stayed for six months, living in an apartment overlooking the Spanish Steps. Years later, my wife and I rented a house in a small hilltop village for four months in Liguria, an area between Nice and Genoa. Fewer than 400 people lived in the village. A Catholic church sat at one end, a small market at the other. In the middle was a simple cafĂ©. It was the perfect, remote location to use as the setting for The Last Perdoux.

A few years later, we rented a house back in Rome for several months. During that trip, the idea of The Perfect Crime came to me. On one corner not far from our house near the Campo di Fiori was the small shop of a famous violin maker. That shop and its proprietor form the basis for Aldo Conti, the violin maker in The Perfect Crime.

For readers who’ve never been to Italy, I try to provide a sense of what a wonderful country it is. For those who have been, I hope the locations I use in my plots resonate.

There’s an arch nemesis in both books — a mysterious Nazi whose whereabouts is largely unknown, except for the unexpected moments when he surfaces. And the man, Wilhelm Barr, is also the protagonist’s father. Is he based on any historical figures in particular?

Not specifically, Wilhelm Barr is an amalgam, a mixture of characteristics from various figures. I don’t read a lot of fiction. Most of my reading is biography and history. Researching The Perfect Crime, I read several books on Nazi Germany. Barr’s creation was no doubt influenced by that reading, but he isn’t based on one specific historical figure.

Did you base the character traits of the detective Theo Perdoux on any people in particular?

Theo is pure fiction. I wanted him to have characteristics that readers admire and expect in protagonists. As a consequence, Theo is intelligent, inquisitive, tough enough to survive, and determined. He is divorced. His business partner in Sala Ponte, a combination art gallery and art reclamation service, is Gina Ponte, a happily married lesbian.

In “The Perfect Crime” one of the characters is named Marianna. Immediately, I was struck by how closely that resembles your wife’s name, Marianne. Do you often pick names of people you know as a way of delving more deeply into the characters you write?

I did model Marianna on my wife, Marianne. She has appeared in all of my novels, not always identified by name. Creating believable characters is the key to a successful novel. Painters rely on models; writers do as well.

As far as selecting names, I don’t often use names of people I know. I once made the exception and used the names of a brother and sister who ran the coffee shop near me in Cambridge. They were delighted and gave me free coffee for a week.

Have you pinpointed the next mystery that you want Theo Perdoux to solve?

I am researching now an idea involving Thomas Jefferson. All of my six previous novels have had some connection to an historical event. Jefferson’s life is full of historical events. In addition, he was an avid collector.

Whether or not there is a novel in any of my research, it’s too soon to tell. If not, I’ll move on to something else. I have a folder full of ideas.

Larry Maness is the author of two books of plays and six novels (the last of which was published in 2023). 3 Plays was introduced by Pulitzer prize-winner, William Inge. His plays War Rabbit and Bailey both premiered in New York City at The American Theatre of Actors. His first novel, Nantucket Revenge, is called “The best beach read since Jaws” according to Florida Crime Writers author Steve Glassman. His second novel, A Once Perfect Place, is included in the Literature of Social Change collection at Duke University. Strangler, his third novel featuring Private Investigator Jake Eaton, is a Detective Book Club selection. The Voice of God, his fourth novel, is called by Rosemary Herbert, author of The Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Writing, “an assured production that snares the reader from start to finish.”  And, of course, there are the two novels featured in the interview above. Maness lives on the south shore of Massachusetts with his wife, Marianne, known as “The Cookie Lady” in some parts of the world.

Janet Stilson writes sci-fi fiction that's shot through with suspense. Her novel about the future of media and mind control, The Juice, received rave reviews, and is based on her work as a journalist. Janet is the winner of the Writers’ Lab for Women competition,sponsored by Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman.


This interview was originally posted on Medium by Janet Stilson. Reprinted with permission. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Tim Dorsey: R.I.P.

Tim Dorsey
, author of the Serge A. Storms mystery series about an
 ingenious serial killer and fan of Florida history, died Sunday, at the age of 62. Tim published 26 novels, filled with crazy zany "Florida" people and stories. 

Tim Dorsey was a reporter and editor for the Tampa Tribune from 1987 to 1999, and was the author of: Tropic of StupidNaked Came the Florida Man, No Sunscreen for the Dead, Pope of Palm Beach, Clownfish Blues, Coconut Cowboy, Shark Skin Suite, Tiger Shrimp Tango, The Riptide Ultra-Glide, When Elves Attack, Pineapple Grenade, Electric Barracuda, Gator A-Go-Go, Nuclear Jellyfish, Atomic Lobster, Hurricane Punch, The Big Bamboo, Torpedo Juice, Cadillac Beach, The Stingray Shuffle, Triggerfish Twist, Orange Crush, Hammerhead Ranch Motel, Mermaid Confidential, Naked Florida Man, and Florida Roadkill.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

Randy Wayne White,  a friend and fellow Florida author, said

“When he started writing a series about an insane serial killer, I thought, how long can that bulls--t go on?
“But he wrote about every nook and cranny of Florida. He colonized it. That will last. He was not a haphazard researcher; he was a field historian. Plus the books are freaking hilarious,” White said. “Humor plus history — that’s a winning combination.”

In interviews, Dorsey credited his journalism career as a rich source for his fiction, providing both his encyclopedic knowledge of Florida lore and his familiarity with bizarre crimes. He was a political reporter, copy editor and night metro editor at the Tribune before leaving in 1999, one day after his first book was published.

While writing that first novel, Florida Roadkill, Dorsey originally created Serge Storms as a James Bond-style villain — and killed him off.

In a 2022 interview, Dorsey said, “After (Serge’s) second rant, it was a revelation: This is the main character. I could see where I needed to go — adjust my coordinates. So in the second draft, I made him the main guy. “Luckily, I said to myself, ‘Don’t kill him off. You’re going to need this guy.’”

Don Bruns, another great Florida mystery writer, wrote on his FaceBook page: 

Tim Dorsey wrote about a chaotic backstory of Florida, using serial killer Serge Storms as his vehicle/protagonist. The Tampa based novelist, the author of twenty-six novels passed away at age sixty-two in Islamorada.
Tim was a friend, a comrade who once asked me if he could use part of one of my novels as a source for one of his.
Dorsey explored dive bars…one being the Crescent Club on Siesta Key. His protagonist drove through the underbelly of Florida in a Firebird Trans am and found unique ways to kill, murder, mutilate and destroy the bad guys.
Tim was first a journalist with the Tampa Bay paper…then took the crime writing to a new…fictional level.
He was down to earth, funny both in his personal and literary life. When I wrote Stuff To Spy For, I asked him to read the novel. He asked me if he could blurb the book and of course I said yes. His review was as follows.
“This is the stuff of side-aching laughs: Hiaasen meets grown-up Spy Kids. With another winner under his belt, Bruns has proven he’s definitely got Florida down for the count.”
Tim once told me that he was stopped by a highway patrol officer who informed him he was doing ninety in a sixty speed zone. When the officer saw his license, he smiled and said…”Serge, slow down and keep it close to the limit, okay?”
Tim Dorsey’s writings were famous and did a lot more for readers merriment than just keep him out of a speeding ticket.
RIP, buddy. We will miss you.

Please leave comments and condolences in the comment section. Sad news, indeed.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023



SHETLAND, SEASON 8, NEWS! The season starts in the U.S.
 tomorrow night, Wednesday, November 29 on Britbox. Yay! 

Shetland, Season 8, stars Ashley Jensen as the lead following the departure of Douglas Henshall. 

There will be six episodes, starting on November 29, and drops an episode once-a-week for a total of six weeks. Six Episodes is not enough for me, but I'll take it. Can't wait!!

From WhatToWatch

Ashley Jensen taking over as the island's top cop following the departure of Douglas Hensall as DI Jimmy Perez.

Shetland will have a new feel as Ashely's DI Ruth Calder will be teaming up with long-standing series regular DS Alison "Tosh" McIntosh (Alison O’Donnell). 

The plot will see Calder heading back to her native Shetland to protect a vulnerable witness to a gangland murder. But can Calder and Tosh find the witness in time? And how will the pair work together, especially given Calder's hostility towards Shetland?

Talking about joining the team, Ashley said when she was cast: "I am absolutely thrilled to be joining Shetland as DI Ruth Calder. It's such a hugely successful show and I am aware I have very big boots to fill since the departure of DI Perez, who was very much loved by fans of the show.

"There will be a different dynamic with Ruth amongst the regular characters and a few more new interesting characters to enjoy. However, the integrity of the show and the world that has been created will remain very much in the same tone as the last seven seasons. It's a real privilege to be asked to lead this show into a new chapter. I can’t wait to be working in Scotland again. I have missed it!”

Also joining the cast are Phyllis Logan (GuiltDowntown Abbey), Jamie Sives (GuiltAnnika), Dawn Steele (Holby CityGranite Harbour), Don Gilet (EastEndersSherwood), Ann Louise Ross (River CityKatie Morag) and Lorraine McIntosh (OutlanderMy Name is Joe). The guest cast will star alongside series regulars including Steven Robertson (playing DC Sandy Wilson), Lewis Howden (Sgt Billy McCabe), Anne Kidd (Cora McLean), Angus Miller (Donnie), Conor McCarry (PC Alex Grant) and Eubha Akilade (PC Lorna Burns).

Books That Inspired Me as an Author and Journalist: Guest Post by Peg Tyre

I am always attracted to writing that deals frankly and in an unvarnished way with what it means to be human. I am compelled by characters who have lofty dreams, and who are rocked by dreams dashed. I like characters who understand the madness and the glory of it all but don’t hide the gristle. I like characters with a certain level of alienation. 

Characters like this keep me tethered to the world. I recognize them like my long lost sisters and brothers. I think we would understand each other in real life– which is a crazy and somewhat nightmarish notion, really. Imagine meeting fiction characters in real life. We like them because they surprise us, and sometimes not in a good way. Probably best to keep them within the pages of a book, or trapped in your Kindle. 

Strange as it may seem, the best in class for this, to me, and one who first inspired me as a writer, is Edith Wharton, a 19th century novelist of manners. She did not write crime novels. She wrote largely about New York’s elite but the heart of her books are as black, hard and unflinching as history books about the scourges of war. She knew her crowd. She knew that money, and the comfort money brings, meant everything to them. She wasn’t afraid to write about that. 

On the other side of the socio-economic spectrum and forward in time 80 years, sits Pete Dexter’s books, especially his first and unsung book, God’s Pocket, which most people have forgotten about I guess, but is worth a read. In the way that Edith Wharton wrote about the sustaining and corrosive effect of money, Dexter wrote about the impact of violence. And trying to understand violence was a task laid on me when I was pretty young. Later, when I became a crime reporter for a New York City daily newspaper, I made it my profession. The genius of that book, to me, is that it captures the hum of danger that exists just under the surface of so many lives, especially among people who haven’t had a lot of advantages. Being attuned to that hum is an element I tried to capture in my first novel, Strangers in the Night, which I am delighted to say is being republished by Dead Sky Publishing. My paying job at that time was trying to understand violence – where it comes from, how it is expressed, what the impact is on a person, a family, a community and a city. Crazy as it sounds, day to day, I drove my big baby blue third hand Ford Fairmont to crime scenes– homicides mostly – and tried to piece together what went down there as best I could. Then drove to a newsroom and wrote a story that could well be the front page the next morning. Then I went home at night and wrote Strangers. Dexter, whose book Paris Trout won a National Book Award, was a journalist first, and then a novelist. His books and his career gave me a lot of hope. 

The author who blew me away, though, and made me try to write better was John William who wrote the actual Great American Novel called Stoner. I knew I could never write with anything like William’s power, and emotional precision, or ruthlessness. Honestly, Williams sets the goalposts so high. For the squeamish among you, who are revolted by Dexter, be assured, there is absolutely no violence in it, beyond the slow inexorable crushing of a human spirit. Brutal. It is about coming to terms with what is, and the struggle of amor fati or loving your fate. And that, of course, is the story contained in every essay, novel or work of journalism you’ll probably ever read, or write. 

When I was writing this book, I was inspired by a lot of my colleagues too– hard bitten hacks who were funny, cutting and vulgar and could write paragraphs with enough poetry in them to make you weep. Back then, before the newspaper business cratered, there was a whole tribe of people in Brooklyn, Upper Manhattan, Queens and Hoboken, who made their living in the writing life. Authors, editors, newspaper people, magazine writers. Every one of us hustled to make a living, Except for an heir or two gone bad, it wasn’t a tony crowd. We worked too hard. We dressed like slobs. We didn’t sleep much. We did battle with our limitations at the keyboard and when we prayed, oh we prayed to be able to express it better – to have our words reach out and touch others. We talked about books like sports teams –haters and devoted fans could argue for an hour. It wasn’t all great. The drinking– ugh. And we had a bit of reverse snobbishness. When the few that had trust funds, or pedigrees or higher aspirations got out early and moved to the suburbs and found something easier to do, we all sort of nodded. Figures, we scoffed. I’m a bit embarrassed about that now. The men were characters, and to be honest, sometimes a bit limited. (In general, too much drinking doesn’t tend to make you a very nice person.) But the women in that tribe were something else: fierce, ambitious and brave. We came from all walks of life and many ethnicities. We were daughters, mothers, sisters. We could talk to anyone, anywhere and often did. We had a strange sort of sorority, goading each other on, bringing each other into interesting projects, or sharing ideas. I tried to capture that life in Strangers in the Night. I’m glad I did. We were there to tell the stories that poured in on us from every neighborhood, precinct, and parish. We thought it would last forever but of course, it’s gone now. My book is a window into that time. 


Peg Tyre, the bestselling author of THE TROUBLE WITH BOYS, was, until recently, a senior writer at Newsweek specializing in social trends and education. She has won numerous awards, including a Pulitzer Prize, a Clarion Award, and a National Education Writers Association Award. She lives in New York City with her husband, novelist Peter Blauner, and their two sons. Her novel, STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT, was recently re-released by Dead Sky Publishing. Connect with Peg at