Sunday, December 31, 2023

Cartoon of the Day: Year-End Reading Statistics

Thank you, Tom Gauld


2023: A Year in Passing (Obits)

Bright Lights extinguished: 2023

The following is a list of several (but not all) of mystery writers and friends who passed away in 2023. Please let me know if there's anyone else who left us in 2023 that you would like to mention. Please leave a comment, and, if possible, add a link to the obituary.


Ted Bell

Win Blevins

Jill Churchill

Carol Higgins Clark


Tom Corcoran

Jerry Doolittle

Tim Dorsey

John Dunning

Les Edgerton

Christopher Fowler

James Hayman

Patricia Holt

John Jakes

Marv Lachman

Rita Lakin

Jim Napier

Anne Perry

Tom Savage

Tom Schantz


I could not find obituaries for: 

Jan Christensen

Dawn Dowdle

Harriet Stay

Please send links to any obituary for the above.

Cartoon of the Day: New Year's Eve Party!

I'm sure my dogs do this! Remnants of party hats and biscuits on my return! 

Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 29, 2023

Mysteries, Crime Fiction, Thrillers, and Movies that take place at the New Year

Happy New Year! Wishing you the best for 2024! May Mystery and Mayhem only happen in crime fiction! 

Today's list features Mysteries, Crime Fiction, Thrillers, and Movies that take place at the New Year. This is an updated list. Let me know if I've forgotten any of your favorites! 

Crime Fiction Set at the New Year

Allyson K. Abbott: A Toast to Murder
Alderson, Jennifer: Death on the Danube

Marian Babson: Line up for Murder
Bain, Donald and Jessica Fletcher. Murder She Wrote: Death of a Blue Blood
T. L. Barnett: Murder for the New Year
George Baxt: The Marlene Dietrich Murder Case
George Bellairs: The Case of the Headless Jesuit

Virginia K. Bennett: The Toast of New Year's Eve. 
Nero Blanc: A Crossworder's Gift
Eileen Brady: Last But Not Leashed
Paul Brazil: Guns of Brixton; Cold London Blues
Jon L. Breen: Touch of the Past

Rita Mae Brown: Full Cry
Anna Celeste Burke: Gnarly New Year!
Lynn Cahoon: Have A Deadly New Year.

Alison Cairns: New Year Resolution
Lillian Stewart Carl: The Blue Hackle
C.S. Challinor: Murder at Midnight
Lee Child (ed): Killer Year: Stories to Die for
Anne Cleeves: Raven Black
Anna Ashwood Collins: Deadly Resolutions
Michael Connelly: The Dark Hours

Patricia Cornwell: Cause of Death
Mark Costello: Bag Men
Alisa Craig: Murder Goes Mumming

Isis Crawford: A Catered New Year's Eve
M. Culler: A New Year's Cat-aclysm
Maddie Day: Murder in a Cape Cottage

Jeffrey Deaver: The Devil's Teardrop
Colin Dexter: The Secret of Annexe 3
Carter Dickson: Death and the Gilded Man
Carole Nelson Douglas: Cat on a Hyacinth Hunt
D.B. Elrogg: Murder Again! Happy New Year

Loren D. Estleman: Stress
James Ellroy: This Storm
Janet Evanovich: Plum New Year
J. Jefferson Fargeon: Death in Fancy Dress (aka The Fancy Dress Ball)
Quinn Fawcett: Siren Song
Jerrilyn Farmer: Dim Sum Dead
Lucy Foley: The Hunting Party

Frederick Forsyth: The Fourth Protocol
Janet Gleeson: The Grenadillo Box
J.M. Gregson: The Lancashire Leopard
Kerry Greenwood: Murder in the Dark

Jane Haddam: Fountain of Death
Karen Harper: The Queene's Christmas
Lee Harris: The New Year's Eve Murder
Ellen Hart: Hallowed Murder, Merchant of Venus
Roy Hart: Seascape with Dead Figures
Lauren Henderson: Pretty Boy
Reginald Hill: Killing The Lawyers
Jorn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger: Smoke Screen

Graham Ison: Hardcastle's Traitors.
J.A. Jance: Name Withheld
Tonya Kappas: New Year Nuisance
Rufus King: Holiday Homicide

Harper Lin: New Year's Slay
Frances and Richard Lockridge: The Dishonest Murderer; Let Dead Enough Alone
Heather Dune Macadam: The Weeping Buddha
Clair Mackintosh: The Last Party

Ed McBain: Lullaby
Johnston McCulley: New Year's Pardon; New Year's Duty
Ellie McDougan: Homicide and a Happy New Year
Philip McLauren: Scream Black Murder
Elisabeth McNeill: Hot News

Leslie Meier: New Year's Eve Murder
James Melville: Body Wore Brocade
David William Meredith: The Christmas Card Murders
Miriam Ann Moore: Stayin' Alive
Tamar Myers: A Penny Urned

Nick Oldham: Bad Tidings
Leonardo Padura: Havana Blue (starts with a New Year's Eve hangover)
Elizabeth Peters: The Golden One
Edward O. Phillips: Sunday's Child
Denis Pitts: This City is Ours

Ellery Queen: Calamity Town
Craig Rice: The Right Murder
Gillian Roberts: The Mummer’s Curse
Cindy Sample: Dying for a Date
Dorothy L. Sayers: The Nine Tailors (begins on New Year's Eve)

Catherine Shaw: Fatal Inheritance
Sofia Slater: Auld Acquaintance

Paige Sleuth: Cherry Hills Case Files
Joan Smith: Don't Leave Me This Way, Why Aren't They Screaming
Kat Stone: New Years Dog-Tastrophe
Kathleen Suzette: New Year, New Murder
Meg Taggart: Murder at the Savoy
Kathleen Taylor: Cold Front
Charles Todd: A Long Shadow
Carolyne Topdjian: The Hitman's Daughter
Auralee Wallace: Ring in the Year with Murder
Patricia Wentworth: The Clock Strikes Twelve
Valerie Wolzein: 'Tis the Season to be Murdered (aka And a Lethal New Year)

Whiting, J.A. & Nell McCarthy: The Horse Knows the Way
James Ziskin: Stone Cold Dead
Mark Richard Zubro: The Truth Can Get You Killed

Short Story:
Q. Patrick: "Murder on New Year's Eve"

Ron Roy: New Year's Eve Thieves

You might also want to check out my Christmas list (Christmas Mysteries, Authors A-Z). Some of the action spills over into New Year's.

Mystery Movies that take place at the New Year.

Happy Viewing!

After the Thin Man (1936)
Better Luck Tomorrow (2002)
Entrapment (1999)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Little Caesar (1931)
Money Train (1995)
New Year's Evil (1980)
Night Train to Paris (1964) 
Ocean's 11 (1960)
Strange Days (1995)
Survivor (2015)

Thursday, December 28, 2023


Update: Both the Death in Paradise and Beyond Paradise Christmas Specials are now available on Britbox in the U.S. 

FYI, Season 13 of Death in Paradise will return in 2024, with "plenty of surprises" in store to celebrate the show's 100th episode, as promised by executive producer Tim Key.

The Poisoned Chocolates Case: National Box of Chocolates Day!

Today is National Box of Chocolates Day, and what better way to celebrate than to read one of my favorite chocolate mysteries, The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley. Don't put poison in your bon bons!


Wednesday, December 27, 2023

FATHER BROWN, Season 11 Premiere

Father Brown, Season 11,
starts on Britbox (U.S.) on Tuesday, January 23, 2024 with 2 episodes. Then there will be one episode a week until the end of March. 10 episodes total. As a bonus, Sister Boniface will appear in one of Father Brown's adventures. And, watch out for Flambeau. He's back! Of course, I miss Mrs McCarthy. I feel she made the show, not to mention Lady Felicia and Bunty. Oh well, I'm still very much looking forward to the season. 

Here's the Season 11 synopsis from Tellyvisions:

The new season picks up in 1955 where Chief Inspector Sullivan and Mrs Devine have grown closer since we saw them last. Something which hasn't escaped the notice of Father Brown and Brenda.
With a food fayre to die for, a real life crime at a crime writing festival and a village rivalry that turns deadly at the local Olimpicks, there's plenty for the gang to be busy with. Father Brown and Sister Boniface become embroiled in a murder at an arts and crafts fair, while Brenda takes a trip in time to face ghosts from her past when an old friend, Dr McClurgy, reaches out. Meanwhile Father Brown's frenemy Flambeau returns with his estranged father, Gabriel, in tow and a dangerous mission in mind...


Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Cartoon of the Day: Books of the Year


BOXING DAY MYSTERIES //Boxing Day Crime Fiction

Today is Boxing Day (the Day after Christmas). I've put together several lists that cover 1400 mysteries that take place at Christmas, and although I'm sure several of the mysteries on the list continue mystery and mayhem through Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. I've only found a few mysteries that focus or start specifically on Boxing Day.

One Boxing Day Mystery is Nicholas Blake's Thou Shell of Death (1936). Nicholas Blake is the pseudonym of Cecil Day Lewis, the late British poet laureate.

Thou Shell of Death features Fergus O'Brien, WWI flying ace. Fergus receives four letters predicting that he will be murdered on Boxing Day. Despite this, or maybe because of this, he plans a party and invites all the suspects (there are several people who might want to do him in) plus private detective Nigel Strangeways. O'Brien does die, and it's up to Nigel Strangeways with the help of Inspector Blount of Scotland Yard to solve the crime. This is Blount's first appearance in the series. Thou Shell of Death is an oldie but goodie, especially if you like houseparty mysteries.

There are three other novels that focus on Boxing Day. A frozen body is found on Boxing Day in Viveca Sten's In Harm's Way. Another mystery is Gilbert Adair's The Act of Roger Murgatroyd that takes place entirely on Boxing Day. This is part of his series of novels about Evadne Mount, and is clearly a play on Agatha Christie novels. In another Boxing Day mystery, Death at Sandringham House by C.C. Benison, Her Majesty the Queen, along with her housemaid Jane Bee, investigates. 

Thanks to Aubrey Nye Hamilton for the Boxing Day addition of Murder After Christmas by Rupert Latimer. It's a British Crime Library Classic, and I enjoyed reading it.

Keith Raffel points out that the murder in A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny takes place the day after Christmas.. Boxing Day, for sure.

And, if you're unfamiliar with Boxing Day, it's the day after Christmas, when "servants and tradesmen traditionally would receive gifts from their superiors." Today it's a National Holiday in most of the British Commonwealth and former British colonies.

As far as why it's called Boxing Day, there are several different theories:

A ‘Christmas Box' in Britain is a name for a Christmas present. 

Boxing Day was a day off for servants and when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master. The servants would also go home to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families.

A box to collect money for the poor was placed in Churches on Christmas day then opened the next day.

Great sailing ships when setting sail would have a sealed box containing money on board for good luck. If the voyage were a success the box was given to a priest, opened at Christmas and the contents given to the poor.

Are there any other Boxing Day Mysteries I've forgotten?

Monday, December 25, 2023


I have a softspot for Typewriters. I don't collect typewriters (no space or I would), but I do take photos of them.. and occasionally post here on Mystery Fanfare. I also love Retro Ads, so here's the marriage of both... Retro Typewriter Advertisements for the Holidays!

The Typewriter: Perfect gift for Christmas from the 1920s through the 1970s. Happy Holidays!

No Comment: Christmas Gifts: Ways to Please a Lady?

Way to please a lady? No toaster for me for Christmas.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Friday, December 22, 2023

Cartoon of the Day: Cat Christmas Movie


is a hot spot for tourists, but it's also known for Jolabokaflod or The Christmas Book Flood. And this holiday tradition in Iceland involves chocolate, as well as books! The holiday really takes off on Christmas Eve.

On Christmas Eve, every family member is given a brand-new book,  and then you cozy up in your favorite reading place or in front of the fire with a mug of hot cocoa. You spend the rest of the evening reading. This is how Icelandanders celebrate Christmas each year. It's called Jolabokaflod -- "Christmas Book Flood."

Jolabokaflod started during World War II, when paper was one of the few things not rationed in Iceland. Because of this, Icelanders gave books as gifts while other commodities were in short supply, turning them into a country of bookaholics to this day, according to 

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Cartoon of the Day: Christmas Shopping

 From Tom Gauld:


 For those of you frantically searching for the Vera Christmas Special: This special can be found on BritBox as Season 12, Episode 5. It took some searching. Although I enjoyed the show (I love the Vera series), Christmas is only a tangential part of the story. There are Christmas trees and decorations, and an office party. Totally 'stuck' in. Other than that, Christmas is definitely not part of the plot. Who would go to an island reunion just before Christmas? Certainly not a cold windy one with a causeway that floods with the tide. Oh well. But I do recommend watching..for the acting and another episode with all our 'friends.'  Looking forward to Vera, Series 13. Rumor has it that there will be only 3 episodes. 

Just want to remind you that the Vera Christmas Special was released in the U.S. on December 20 on Britbox. (UK: 12/26) 

This feature-length Christmas Special is based on Ann Cleeves's The Rising Tide. We discussed The Rising Tide in my mystery book group. It was very well received. The Rising Tide is perfect for TV, although, of course, everyone should read the book first! 

In The Rising Tide, a group of teenagers spent a weekend on Holy Island fifty years ago, but it forged a bond that has lasted a lifetime. They still return every five years to celebrate their friendship, and remember the friend they lost to the rising waters of the causeway at the first reunion. When one of them is found hanged, Vera is called in. Learning that the dead man had recently been fired after misconduct allegations, Vera knows she must discover what the friends are hiding, and whether the events of many years before could have led to murder then, and now . . 

But with the tide rising, secrets long-hidden are finding their way to the surface, and Vera and the team may find themselves in more danger than they could have believed possible . . The story takes place on Holy Island (aka Lindisfarne --remember the Gospels!), a tidal island. We all know tides can be tricky.. If you go IRL, be sure and check your tide tables to avoid problems!

Can't wait to watch The Vera Christmas Special! What a nice holiday present!

Wednesday, December 20, 2023



I love the Winter Solstice. I love light, so I'm glad the days will now begin to lengthen.

I put together a huge list of Christmas Mysteries again this year (5 posts), and I'm sure some of those authors/titles reference the Winter Solstice. Here are a few that really center on the Winter Solstice. This is an updated list. Let me know if there are any titles/authors I should add?

Winter Solstice Mysteries

Cleeves, Ann: The Darkest Evening
Farren, C.: Winter Solstice Murders; The Solstice Murders; Winter Solstice Murders Notebook
Fitt, Mary: Death and the Shortest Day
Hess, Joan: A Holly Jolly Murder
Higgs, Steve: Solstice Goat

Johnson, Erin: Solstice Spirits
Langton, Jane: The Shortest Day: Murder at the Revels
Mankel, Henning: Italian Shoes
Marsh, Ngaio: Off with His Head
Mitchell, Gladys: The Dancing Druids
Murphy, Lois: Soon.
Oldre, Bonnie: Silent Winter Solstice
Snow, Melanie: Witch's Tail
Watson, Sophia: Solstice

True Crime: 

Sweeney, Martin: Death in the Winter Solstice

And, if you want to celebrate your Winter Solstice in chocolate, check out this Buche de Noel aka Yule log on my other blog,