Monday, January 30, 2023

Scottish Mysteries: Mystery Readers Journal

Mystery Readers Journal: Scottish Mysteries (Volume 31:3) is a great issue, filled with articles, reviews, and essays by your favorite writers. It's still available as a PDF. Buy the PDF.  Here's the Table of Contents and a few sample articles. Enjoy! 



  • Performing Scottish Crime: Ian Rankin’s Dark Road by Charlotte Beyer
  • The Many Hues of Tartan Noir by Nancie Clare
  • Escape Through Idyllic Scotland by Ann-Marie Lamb
  • Tartan Noir: Scottish Mystery Fiction by Chris Longmuir
  • Beautiful Mysterious Scotland by Patricia Smiley
  • Crime Writing — Scotland’s Other National Export by Lin Anderson
  • Beatrice Who? Some Thoughts on Scotland by Rhys Bowen
  • Rain and Scottish Crime Writing by G.J. Brown
  • The Deadly Flower of Scotland by Lillian Stewart Carl
  • At Home in Edinburgh by C.S. Challinor
  • Casanova and the Scottish Connection by Myra Duffy
  • Finding My Scottish Essence by David Hagerty
  • By Yon Bonnie Braes by Jo A. Hiestand
  • A Brief History of Bodysnatching by Anna Lee Huber
  • My Search To Belong by Coco Ihle
  • Scottish Heads and Scottish Hearts by Paul Johnston
  • Mystery and Murder in the Heart of Scotland by Chris Longmuir
  • Ghosts, Whisky, Fire… and a Single Flower by Bonnie MacBird
  • The Angel’s Share by Diane Gilbert Madsen
  • The Emergence of Muirteach Macphee by Susan McDuffie
  • Writing About Scotland by Peter May
  • Land of My Heart by Catriona McPherson
  • Grunt Goes to Canada by Grant McKenzie
  • What’s in a Name? by T. Frank Muir
  • Childhood Adventures in Scotland by Gigi Pandian
  • A Tale of Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties by Martha Reed
  • Scotland the Grave by Craig Robertson
  • My Heart’s in the Highlands by A.D. Scott
  • An American Guide to Scotland by Alexandra Sokoloff
  • Shetland? But what do you find to do with yourself up there… ? by Marsali Taylor
  • Is This Edinburgh? by Marty Wingate
  • Mystery in Retrospect: Reviews by Sandie Herron, John Patrick Lang, Lesa Holstine, L.J. Roberts, Craig Sisterson
  • Scotland and British Crime Fiction: Some Observations by Philip L. Scowcroft
  • Children’s Hour: Scotland by Gay Toltl Kinman
  • Crime Seen: Detecting Scotsmen by Kate Derie
  • In Short: The Short Scottish Mystery by Marvin Lachman
  • Scotland’s Classic Mysteries by Cathy Pickens
  • From the Editor’s Desk by Janet Rudolph

Saturday, January 28, 2023

BLOODLANDS, SEASON 2 release date

BLOODLANDS, Season 2, premieres on Acorn TV.

Episodes 1-2 Premiere February 6; two episodes premiere weekly through February 20

This gritty Irish crime thriller features DCI Tom Brannick (James Nesbitt). Tom Brannick returns as the murder of a crooked accountant unravels a trail of greed that threatens to expose the true identity of the legendary assassin codenamed Goliath. Between Tom and redemption stands the accountant’s widow, Olivia (Victoria Smurfit), whose intentions may be far from innocent. 

Cartoon of the Day: Cats

Happy Caturday! 


Friday, January 27, 2023

Cartoon of the Day: Dogs


announced the Agatha Award Nominees. Congratulations to all. The Agatha Awards will be presented Saturday, April 29, 2023, during Malice Domestic 35.

Best Contemporary Novel

Bayou Book Thief, Ellen Byron (Berkley Prime Crime)
Death By Bubble Tea, Jennifer J. Chow (Berkley)
Fatal Reunion, Annette Dashofy (Level Best Books)
Dead Man's Leap, Tina de Bellegarde (Level Best Books)
A World of Curiosities, Louise Penny (Minotaur)

Best Historical Novel

The Counterfeit Wife, Mally Becker (Level Best Books)
Because I Could Not Stop for Death, Amanda Flower (Berkley)
The Lindbergh Nanny, Mariah Fredericks (Minotaur)
In Place of Fear, Catriona McPherson (Mobius)
Under a Veiled Moon, Karen Odden (Crooked Lane Books)

Best First Novel

Cheddar Off Dead, Korina Moss (St. Martin’s)
Death in the Aegean, M. A. Monnin (Level Best Books)
The Bangalore Detectives Club, Harini Nagendra (Constable)
Devil’s Chew Toy, Rob Osler (Crooked Lane Books)
The Finalist, Joan Long (Level Best Books)
The Gallery of Beauties, Nina Wachsman (Level Best Books)

Best Short Story

"Beauty and the Beyotch," Barb Goffman (Sherlock Holmes Magazine, Feb. 2022)
"There Comes a Time," Cynthia Kuhn, Malice Domestic Murder Most Diabolical (Wildside Press)
"Fly Me to the Morgue," Lisa Q Mathews, Malice Domestic Mystery Most Diabolical (Wildside Press)
"The Minnesota Twins Meet Bigfoot," Richie Narvaez, Land of 10,000 Thrills, Bouchercon Anthology (Down & Out Books)
"The Invisible Band," Art Taylor, Edgar & Shamus Go Golden (Down & Out Books)

Best Non-Fiction

The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and Their Creators, Martin Edwards (HarperCollins)
The Handbook to Agatha Christie: The Bloomsbury Handbook to Agatha Christie, Mary Anna Evans and J. C. Bernthal (Bloomsbury Academic)
The Science of Murder: The Forensics of Agatha Christie, Carla Valentine (Sourcebooks)
Promophobia: Taking the Mystery Out of Promoting Crime Fiction, Diane Vallere Ed. (Sisters in Crime)
Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman, Lucy Worsley (Pegasus Crime)

Best Children's/YA Mystery

Daybreak on Raven Island, Fleur Bradley (Viking Books for Young People)
In Myrtle Peril, Elizabeth C. Bunce (Algonquin Young Readers)
#shedeservedit, Greg Herren (Bold Strokes Books)
Sid Johnson and the Phantom Slave Stealer, Frances Schoonmaker (Auctus Publishers)
Enola Holmes and the Elegant Escapade, Nancy Springer (Wednesday Books)

Wednesday, January 25, 2023


VERA, Season 12, will premiere on BritBox January 29! YAY! We have a date at last!

Vera is, of course, is played by two-time Academy Award nominee Brenda Blethyn. Blethyn brings the Ann Cleeves's Vera Stanhope to life, with her "usual brand of searing insight, caustic wit and fearless detection." Vera's team members, Detective Sergeant Aiden Healy (played by Kenny Doughty) will be back in the new episodes, as well as DC Kenny Lockhart (Jon Morrison), DC Mark Edwards (Riley Jones) and DC Jacqueline Williams (Ibinabo Jack).

The books are based on characters from Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series. Want to catch up on the series? Read all the books. They're wonderful! Well written, great characters, terrific plots, great prose and fabulous setting.

Ann Cleeves's Vera Stanhope mystery novels:

The Crow Trap (1999) 
Telling Tales (2005) 
Hidden Depths (2007) 
Silent Voices (2011) 
The Glass Room (2012) 
Harbour Street (2014) 
The Moth Catcher (2015) 
The Seagull (2017) 
The Darkest Evening (2020) 
The Rising Tide (2022)

Short Stories:
    "The Starlings," by Ann Cleeves in The Starlings and Other Stories, Edited by Ann Cleeves
    "The Habit of Silence," by Ann Cleeves in Best Eaten Cold
    "The Woman on the Island," by Ann Cleeves, originally published as Hector's Other Woman in Guilty Consciences" (Crime Writers' Association). Available as a Kindle single.  Also in Offshore, A Short Story Collection by Ann Cleeves. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

DI RAY, Season 1 on PBS

DI RAY, Season 1 

February 20 on PBS Passport and Prime Video Channel; July for regular broadcast

Parminder Nagar (“The Blacklist,” “Bend it Like Beckham”) stars in the new crime thriller series “DI RAY” which premieres on the PBS app for viewers with PBS Passport, an added member benefit which provides extended access to a digital, on-demand library of PBS programs, and the PBS MASTERPIECE Prime Video Channel on February 20, 2023.

DI Ray debuted on ITV in the UK in May 2022. Created and written by Maya Sondhi (Line of Duty), the series stars Parminder Nagra in the title role working for a fictitious Birmingham-based police force. Nagra's co-stars include Gemma Whelan (Killing Eve) and Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica) as her superiors. All four episodes arrive as a PBS Passport binge on February 20, 2023, ahead of broadcast in July

Monday, January 23, 2023

Cartoon of the Day: Dogs

Mystery in Asia: Mystery Readers Journal

恭賀發財 Gung Hay Fat Choy! This is the Year of the Rabbit. To celebrate the Chinese New Year, read Mystery Readers Journal: Mystery in Asia (Volume 34: 3: 2018). Below is the Table of Contents, as well as some sample articles from Mystery Readers Journal: Mystery in Asia.  

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

  • Judge Dee: a Look at Van Gulik’s Chinese Master Detective by Michael Kurland
  • Ethel Proudlock and the Murder of William Steward by Roberta Rood
  • A Yen for Mystery: Four Japanese Women by John Apostolou
  • Flatfoots in the Far East by Jim Doherty
  • White House Travel and Intrigue in Asia by Karna Small Bodman
  • Panic and Desperation in Hong Kong by Susan Blumberg-Kason
  • The Apothecary Shop by Laura Boss
  • The East Is Different by John Burdett
  • Digging into the Thai Underbelly by Colin Cotterill
  • The Crimson Masquerade by Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson
  • The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay
  • Writing the Past by Dale Furutani
  • Armchair-Traveling in China by Chris Goff
  • Darkness in the Land of Smiles by Timothy Hallinan
  • Murder at the Grand Raj Palace: Why Crime Writers Love a Good Hotel by Vaseem Khan
  • From the Mountain to the City by Elsa Hart
  • Talking Story—Japan by Barry Lancet
  • Mysteries of the Orient by Joan K. Lacy
  • Prawns in the Game by Ed Lin
  • Murder, Money and Music in Hong Kong by Charles Philipp Martin
  • Adventures in South Korea by J. R. Lindermuth
  • Noodle in a Haystack by Saul Maskell
  • One Morning in Mumbai by Sujata Massey
  • The World of Vincent Calvino, P.I., Bangkok by Christopher G. Moore
  • Some Notes From a Long, Strange Journey by Jake Needham
  • Up Like Thunder by Colin T. Nelson
  • Murder and Mayhem in Imperial Japan by I.J. Parker
  • It’s Good to Be Thought Stupid by 22 Million People by David Rotenberg
  • Tokyo—Stories, Culture, Murder by Michael Pronko
  • China, Korea, Macao, Hong Kong and the Rabbit in the Moon by Deborah Shlian
  • Sumatra: Perfect Scene For A Crime by Nancy Raven Smith
  • Art Leads to Mystery in Southeast Asia by Nancy Tingley
  • Durian Days by Ovidia Yu
  • Murder in Retrospect: Reviews by L.J. Roberts, Craig Sisterson, Jonathan Woods, Lesa Holstine, and Tuhin Giri
  • The Children’s Hour: Mystery in Asia by Gay Toltl Kinman
  • Crime Seen: Sherlock in Japan by Kate Derie
  • Real Crime in East Asia by Cathy Pickens
  • A Personal Overview of Asian Mysteries by Thom Walls
  • From the Editor’s Desk by Janet A. Rudolph

Want to read books set during Chinese New Year? Here's a link to a list of Lunar New Year Mysteries

Sunday, January 22, 2023


恭賀發財 Gung Hay Fat Choy! This is the Year of the Rabbit. To celebrate the Chinese New Year, I've put together a list of mysteries that take place during the Lunar New Year. As always, I welcome any additions. I'd like to include any other Asian New Year Crime Fiction, so please send author/titles.


The Corpses Hanging Over Paris by Cathy Ace

The Chinese Parrot by Erle Derr Biggers
Year of the Dog by Henry Chang 
Year of the Dragon by Robert Daley 
Serpent's Doom by Connie di Marco

Neon Dragon by John Dobbyn
Dim Sum Dead by Jerrilyn Farmer 
The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen
Murder on Bamboo Lane by Naomi Hirahara

Chop Suey by Ty Hutchison 
The Chinese New Year Mystery (Nancy Drew) by Carolyn Keene
The Skull Cage Key by Michael Marriott
The Shanghai Moon by S.J. Rozan
City of Dragons by Kelli Stanley

Breezy Friends and Bodies: A Raina Sun Mystery by Anne R. Tan
The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee by Robert Van Gulik (7th Century China) "New Year's Eve in Lan-Fang"

 Children and Young Adult:

The Nancy Drew Notebooks: The Chinese New Year Mystery by Carolyn Keene
The New Year Dragon Dilemma by Ron Roy  

Short stories:

 "The Lady Fish Mystery" by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer, EQMM, September/October 1996.
"Murder Keeps No Calendar" by Cathy Ace.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Who Wants to Live Forever? Guest Post by Rebecca Cantrell

Rebecca Cantrell:
Who Wants to Live Forever?

In my newest thriller, The Girl Who Would Live Forever, a character is obsessed with “stopping the bony hand of death from choking out the life of everyone on Earth [and] bottling immortality.”As Queen sang, Who Wants to Live Forever? The answer is: a lot of us. Since humans started dying, they started looking around to figure out ways to keep it from happening. At first it was the province of the gods and special food they ate or drank. If humans consumed it, they became immortal too. Many cultures have such mythological food--from the Tree of Eternal Life to the Peaches of Immortality through a lot of magical milk. But getting those immortal god-food has proven elusive.

When the old myths didn't work, we turned to supernatural sources. If you want to live forever and look sexy doing it, vampirism is the clear winner. Immortality without trying hard but also not looking good? Zombies. Immortality on a slightly different plane? Ghosts. Immortality after death? Heaven and hell.

But most people want to live forever in the bodies they had when they arrived. So we started looking for other methods. Alchemists searched for the philosopher’s stone which, in addition to turning lead to gold, conferred immortality. Shelby Linton, the character in my book, searches for pharmacological means to extend life. She strives to harness the power of Turritopsis dohrnii, a biologically immortal jellyfish that reverts to an earlier life stage when needed and grows up all over again. She’s not alone in her search, as real life scientists are examining those jellyfish searching for the same thing.

Other scientists are using gene editing to reverse aging in mice, with promising results. In the short term, I guess that’s great news for wealthy mice, but not so much for humans.

More promising right now are metformin (diabetes drug) and rapamycin (immune-suppressing drug) which are already on the market. They’ve been shown to increase life expectancy in mice, even when administered to older mice. The science isn’t settled for either of them, but maybe these technologies will help us to live a happy and healthy 120 years and beyond.

Imagine what you’d do with all that extra time. Read more books? Write more? Finally clean out all your closets?


New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Cantrell's works have won the ITW Thriller, the Bruce Alexander, and the Macavity awards and been nominated for the Barry, Mary Higgins Clark, GoodReads Choice, APPY, RT Reviewers Choice, and Shriekfest Film Festival awards. She and her husband and son live in Hawaii where they avoid jellyfish instead of using them to become immortal. 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

EDGAR AWARD NOMINATIONS: Mystery Writers of America

Mystery Writers of America announced the nominees for the 2023 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2022. The 77thAnnual Edgar® Awards will be celebrated on April 27, 2023, at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square.


Devil House by John Darnielle (Farrar, Straus and Giroux - MCD)
Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown & Co./Mulholland Books)
Gangland by Chuck Hogan (Hachette Book Group – Grand Central Publishing)
The Devil Takes You Home by Gabino Iglesias (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown & Co./Mulholland Books)
Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
The Maid by Nita Prose (Penguin Random House – Ballantine Books)


Jackal by Erin E. Adams (Penguin Random House - Bantam)
Don’t Know Tough by Eli Cranor (Soho Press – Soho Crime)
Shutter by Ramona Emerson (Soho Press – Soho Crime)
More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li (Penguin Random House – Tiny Reparations Books)

Quarry’s Blood by Max Allan Collins (Hard Case Crime)
On a Quiet Street by Seraphina Nova Glass (Harlequin Trade Publishing – Graydon House
Or Else by Joe Hart (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
Cleopatra’s Dagger by Carole Lawrence (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
A Familiar Stranger by A.R. Torre (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)

Slenderman: Online Obsession, Mental Illness, and the Violent Crime of Two Midwestern Girls by Kathleen Hale (Grove Atlantic – Grove Press)
Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation by Erika Krouse (Flatiron Books)
Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders by Kathryn Miles (Hachette Book Group – Workman Publishing – Algonquin Books)
American Caliph: The True Story of a Muslim Mystic, a Hollywood Epic, and the 1977 Siege of Washington, D.C. by Shahan Mufti (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
American Demon: Eliot Ness and the Hunt for America's Jack the Ripper by Daniel Stashower (Minotaur Books)

The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and Their Creators by Martin Edwards (HarperCollins – Collins Crime Club)
The Bloomsbury Handbook to Agatha Christie by Mary Anna Evans & J.C. Bernthal (Bloomsbury – Bloomsbury Academic)
The Crime World of Michael Connelly: A Study of His Works and Their Adaptations by David Geherin (McFarland)
The Woman Beyond the Attic: The V.C. Andrews Story by Andrew Neiderman (Simon & Schuster – Gallery Books)
Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman by Lucy Worsley (Pegasus Books – Pegasus Crime)

"Red Flag," Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Gregory Fallis (Dell Magazines)
"Backstory," Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Charles John Harper (Dell Magazines)
"Locked-In," Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by William Burton McCormick (Dell Magazines)
“The Amnesty Box," Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms by Tim McLoughlin (Akashic Books)
“First You Dream, Then You Die," Black is the Night by Donna Moore (Titan Books)


The Swallowtail Legacy: Wreck at Ada’s Reef by Michael D. Beil (Holiday House – Pixel+Ink)
The Area 51 Files by Julie Buxbaum (Random House Children's Books - Delacorte Press)
Aggie Morton Mystery Queen: The Seaside Corpse by Marthe Jocelyn (Penguin Random House Canada - Tundra Books)
Adventures on Trains: Murder on the Safari Star by M.G. Leonard & Sam Sedgman (Macmillan Children's Publishing - Feiwel & Friends)
Chester Keene Cracks the Code by Kekla Magoon (Random House Children's Books - Wendy Lamb Books)


Pretty Dead Queens by Alexa Donne (Random House Children’s Books – Crown BFYR)
Frightmares by Eva V. Gibson (Random House Children’s Books - Underlined)
The Black Girls Left Standing by Juliana Goodman (Macmillan Children’s Books – Feiwel & Friends)
The Red Palace by June Hur (Macmillan Children’s Books – Feiwel & Friends)
Lock the Doors by Vincent Ralph (Sourcebooks - Fire)


“One Mighty and Strong" - Under the Banner of Heaven, Written by Brandon Boyce (Hulu/FX)
“Episode 1” – Magpie Murders, Written by Anthony Horowitz (Masterpiece/PBS)
“Episode 1" - Karen Pirie, Written by Emer Kenny (BritBox)
“When Harry Met Fergus" - Harry Wild, Written by David Logan (Acorn TV)
“The Reagan Way" - Blue Bloods, Written by Siobhan Byrne O’Connor (CBS)
"Eighteen Wheels A Predator" - Law & Order: SVU, Written by Brianna Yellen & Monet Hurst-Mendoza (NBC Universal)

"Dogs in the Canyon," Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Mark Harrison (Dell Magazines)
* * * * * *

Because I Could Not Stop for Death by Amanda Flower (Penguin Random House - Berkley)
The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill (Sourcebooks – Poisoned Pen Press)
The Disinvited Guest by Carol Goodman (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
A Dreadful Splendor by B.R. Myers (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
Never Name the Dead by D.M. Rowell (Crooked Lane Books)

Secret Lives by Mark de Castrique (Sourcebooks – Poisoned Pen Press)
An Unforgiving Place by Claire Kells (Crooked Lane Books)
Hideout by Louisa Luna (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group – Doubleday)
Behind the Lie by Emilya Naymark (Crooked Lane Books)
Secrets Typed in Blood by Stephen Spotswood (Knopf Doubleday Publishing – Doubleday)

The Shadow of Memory by Connie Berry (Crooked Lane Books)
Buried in a Good Book by Tamara Berry (Sourcebooks – Poisoned Pen Press)
Smile Beach Murder by Alicia Bessette (Penguin Random House – Berkley)
Desert Getaway by Michael Craft (Brash Books)
The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood (Sourcebooks – Poisoned Pen Press)

Michael Connelly
Joanne Fluke
Crime Writers of Color
Eddie Muller for Noir Alley and The Noir Foundation
The Strand Magazine

Tuesday, January 17, 2023


PBS MASTERPIECE announced today
at the Television Critics Association press tour that it will co-produce and broadcast Moonflower Murders, a new six-part drama based on the best- selling novel written by Anthony Horowitz, CBE. A sequel to the acclaimed 2022 MASTERPIECE adaptation of Horowitz’s Magpie MurdersMoonflower Murders is executive produced by Jill Green and Eleventh Hour Films and adapted by Horowitz. BBC is the UK partner on the series.

Anthony Horowitz said: “I can’t wait to get started on the scripts of Moonflower Murders. We had a fantastic response to Magpie and, speaking personally, it was a joy bringing Susan Ryeland and Atticus Pünd to life on the screen. There are lots of surprises in the second book, including something I’ve never done before in a murder mystery. It’s going to be great fun.”

Returning in the lead roles they originated in Magpie Murders are Academy Award-nominee Lesley Manville (The CrownPhantom Thread) as editor turned sleuth Susan Ryeland and Timothy McMullan (Patrick MelroseThe Crown) as famous literary detective Atticus Pünd.

MASTERPIECE executive producer Susanne Simpson said, “We’re delighted to partner with Eleventh Hour Films on another ingenious mystery from Anthony Horowitz. Magpie Murders was a hit with our audience, who loved its clever storytelling of a mystery-within-a-mystery. It’s thrilling to know that Lesley and Tim will be returning to MASTERPIECE in Moonflower Murders.” MASTERPIECE is presented on PBS by GBH Boston.

Moonflower Murders is the second novel in Horowitz’s Susan Ryeland series. Published in 2020, it was lauded as “a fiendishly plotted crime novel, with a fabulous twist” by the Guardian and picks up where Magpie Murders left off: Susan has left the cut-throat world of publishing and is living in Crete with her longtime boyfriend, Andreas. She ends up returning to London when she is asked to investigate a mystery relating to Alan Conway, the author of the best- selling Atticus Pünd mysteries, whose death changed her life in Magpie Murders.

Moonflower Murders will be available to stream in the US on, the PBS App and the PBS MASTERPIECE Prime Video Channel. In the UK, the series will be available to stream on iPlayer.

Moonflower Murders is an Eleventh Hour Films production in association with Salt Films for MASTERPIECE and BBC One, and distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures Television and PBS Distribution in North America. 

LEFTY AWARD NOMINEES: Left Coast Crime: Trouble in Tucson!


Lefty Award Nominees

The Lefty Awards will be voted on at the Left Coast Crime Convention and presented at a banquet on Saturday, March 18, at the El Conquistador Resort in the Oro Valley of Tucson, Arizona. Congratulations to all!

Lefty Nominees for Best Humorous Mystery Novel
  • Ellen Byron, Bayou Book Thief (Berkley Prime Crime)
  • Jennifer J. Chow, Death by Bubble Tea (Berkley Prime Crime)
  • A.J. Devlin, Five Moves of Doom (NeWest Press)
  • T.G. Herren, A Streetcar Named Murder (Crooked Lane Books)
  • Catriona McPherson, Scot in a Trap (Severn House)

Lefty Nominees for Best Historical Mystery Novel

(The Bill Gottfried Memorial) for books set before 1970
  • Dianne Freeman, A Bride’s Guide to Marriage and Murder (Kensington Books)
  • Catriona McPherson, In Place of Fear (Severn House)
  • Wanda M. Morris, Anywhere You Run (William Morrow)
  • Karen Odden, Under a Veiled Moon (Crooked Lane Books)
  • Ann Parker, The Secret in the Wall (Poisoned Pen Press)
  • Iona Whishaw, Framed in Fire (Touchwood)

    Lefty Nominees for Best Debut Mystery Novel
    • Erin E. Adams, Jackal (Bantam Books)
    • Eli Cranor, Don’t Know Tough (Soho Crime)
    • Ramona Emerson, Shutter (Soho Crime)
    • Meredith Hambrock, Other People’s Secrets (Crooked Lane Books)
    • Harini Nagendra, The Bangalore Detectives Club (Pegasus Crime)
    • Rob Osler, Devil’s Chew Toy (Crooked Lane Books)
    • Jane Pek, The Verifiers (Vintage Books)

    Lefty Nominees for Best Mystery Novel

    (not in other categories)
    • Kellye Garrett, Like a Sister (Mulholland Books)
    • Laurie R. King, Back to the Garden (Bantam Books)
    • James L’Etoile, Dead Drop (Level Best Books)
    • Gigi Pandian, Under Lock & Skeleton Key (Minotaur Books)
    • Louise Penny, A World of Curiosities (Minotaur Books)
    • Alex Segura, Secret Identity (Flatiron Books)
    To register for Left Coast Crime:

    Monday, January 16, 2023

    The Hard-Won Vitality of America in the “Vast Obscurity beyond the City”: Guest Post by Jay A. Gertzman

    Jay A. Gertzman
    published Beyond Twisted Sorrow, The Future of Rural Noir in October 2022. Beyond Twisted Sorrow 
    describes new directions in American noir crime fiction taken by writers such as Crews, Woodrell, Offutt, Post, Proulx, Johnson, and others who set their work in rural not urban settings in October 2022. 

    JAY GERTZMAN: The Hard-Won Vitality of America in the “Vast Obscurity beyond the City”

    The diverse, still-emerging genre of Country (or Redneck, Ridgerunner, or Ozark) noir is marked by protagonists who have an instinct for community as a coherent territory and recreate the possibly self-destructive but stubbornly self-assertive traits that characterized what Greil Marcus called “the old, weird America.”

    While reading classic era crime stories by Hammett, Goodis, Thompson, and  Highsmith, Millar, and Williford, one admires the protagonists’ acceptance of their inability to overcome the hostility and distrust that make happiness impossible.  That acceptance is brave, clear sighted and stoically aware. McCoy’s They Shoot Horses, Chandler’s The Long Goodbye, and Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice are examples.

    Recent crime narratives set in rural America have just as much noir insight into desperate motives, repressive social control, and megalomaniacal villainy as their mass market predecessors. The contrast lies in their strivng to present more hopeful closures, some of which are deeply spiritual. Larry Brown's Dirty Work concerns a Vietnam vet left without arms and legs. He speaks to a smiling angel and with God himself.  The man in the next bed, whose face has been seared by napalm, sacrifices  his own freedom to end the roommate’s suffering by a violent act, but one  of selfless kindness.

                Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is replete with angry, emotionally frozen, and cruel people. In contrast is Sheriff Willoughby, whose immediate task is calming a populace coping with a rape murder. The victim’s mother has erected, on signboards, direct challenges to his handling of the case. He has no answers for her, and does not have the time to find them. He is dying. Among those who weep for him are every member of his hard-bitten staff. Sheriff Willoughby kills himself to save his loved ones from witnessing his painful decline. His sacrifice brings a new awareness about what it takes to keep a town alive. Citizens begin to respect the hate-filled mother’s actions; a fired deputy takes up his own investigation; and with that hard-won intelligence the mother and deputy join up not just to find the rapist but to consider what, beside punishing, they ought to do. That indecision may be due to the suspicion that PTSD from service in Iraq might have caused the rapist’s violence.

    Chloé Zhao’s 2020 film Nomadland dramatizes American perseverant ingenuity, using a protagonist with a defiant bullbleep detector who, like Harry Crews and his characters, “stands up to life and spits in its face.” It is based on Jessica Bruder’s Nomadland, which The New York Times cited as a “Notable Book” when it appeared in 2017. It is about van dwellers whose nomadic travels took them throughout the vast western part of the country. They took part-time work, learning how to repair their vehicles and appliances on their own, using all their strength to circumvent a system that had allowed the Crash of 2008 to occur, as a result of which they had lost their homes. Zhao’s background colors, i.e., the film’s “palette,” can be described as “low mist.” The soft piano chords imply isolation. It’s usually either dawn or dusk. Low lights in the distance might border on the badlands, “The Great American Desert.”

              There are several night scenes, with neon marking restaurants, bars, or motels. The first episode is at Christmas, with Fern driving to the Amazon CamperForce parking lot. Snow sits on the roadside; one could imagine the mud and ice being a shadowy omen, visible despite the dull light. The ambience reflects Fern’s own state of mind. She cannot bring herself to go to a more comfortable climate. She is not yet ready to break the emotional tie to her home in Empire, Nevada. Nor can she trade in her vehicle, which she has dubbed Vanguard, for one in better shape, because she lives in it. D. H. Lawrence specified the American need for wandering and discovery as “the sloughing off of the old skin, toward a new youth. It is the myth of America.” That image captures the process Fern is undergoing.

    Other narratives capturing it include Steph Post’s Lightwood, Peter Heller’s The Painter, Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son, David Joy’s The Line That Held Us and Where All Light Tends to Go, and Harry Crews’ Scar Lover. All the protagonists seek, and some find, what Lawrence called a “bigger, more various, less finished self.” Zhao has said of the scene where Fern is walking among the rocks in the Badlands, that Fern is “exploring and lost at the same time.” She’s still sloughing off the old skin. The “new youth” is not yet at hand. With her singularly obsessive and narrowly focused determination, she must continue to be a stranger in wide open spaces. 

    Maybe she is not ready to stare into, and stare down, the grief of her husband Bo’s death. She goes back to Empire, knowing Bo and the neighbors are gone. After running her hand over the kitchen counter and looking at the view from the window, she drives on.  If this visit is her last, she may have been on the way to extirpating the “twisted sorrow” of homelessness. She drives across the badlands toward the mountain range she loved to stare at from her home’s kitchen window. Notably, she’s facing west, “somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.”  


    JAY A. GERTZMAN has written on the distribution and censorship of erotic literature, the publisher Samuel Roth’s unauthorized editions of Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Ulysses, the publishing history of Chatterley, and the crime novels of David Goodis. His Pulp According to David Goodis was nominated for a 2019 Anthony Award in the category Best Critical or Non-Fiction Work. He has published on Western crime fiction in Paperback Parade, Mystery Readers Journal, Tough (website), Down & Out Books Newsletter, and  

    Gertzman has recently published Beyond Twisted Sorrow, The Promise of Country Noir, which describes new directions in American noir crime fiction taken by writers such as Crews, Woodrell, Offutt, Post, Proulx, Johnson, and others who set their work in rural not urban settings. "It covers not only noirish works but expands to include the genre of the Western. He draws insightful parallels while also recognizing differences.”  “A much needed exploration of a literary niche harboring some today’s best writers.”

    Sunday, January 15, 2023


    , the most popular film noir festival in the world, celebrates its 20th anniversary in the Bay Area with a ten-day extravaganza featuring 24 films from the heart of Hollywood's noir movement, 1948. Every film on the schedule is celebrating its 75th anniversary, with several of the movies having never before been screened at NOIR CITY. 

    Join Film Noir Foundation founder and Turner Classic Movies host Eddie Muller and a slew of special guests for a swanky, sexy, and sinister excursion back in time. With the ongoing turmoil over the future of San Francisco's Castro Theatre, the festival's home for most of its existence, Muller opted to move NOIR CITY across the bay to Oakland, a decision that proved successful last spring when the Grand Lake Theatre was filled with appreciative fans for an abbreviated 4-night version of NOIR CITY 19. “The Grand Lake may be smaller in capacity than the Castro," said Muller, "but it's a jewel of a movie palace, and it intends to remain a movie house—so it's a great fit for what we do—which is to offer a contemporary equivalent of the classic movie-going experience for a new generation of fans.” 

    Purchase advance tickets through Brown Paper Tickets with any of the ticket links in the program guide above. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for evening shows; noon for matinées. 

    Purchase a NOIR CITY PassportSecure your spot for the 10-day/24-film festival with an all-access pass for $200—a $40 savings over the regular ticket price! The Grand Lake Theatre will have a Passholders' queue for early admittance. 

    All FNF proceeds from festival ticket sales aid the Foundation's mission of rescuing and restoring noir films. This is your chance to have a terrific time AND preserve a valuable art form. 

    Noir City Program 

    Saturday, January 14, 2023

    Mystery Readers Journal: Extreme Weather (32:2)

    Well, it's raining cats and dogs here in Northern California, so I thought I'd post the Table of Contents and links to a few articles to the Mystery Readers Journal Extreme Weather Mysteries issue (Volume 30:2; Summer 2014). This issue is available as a PDF Download and Hardcopy. Stay dry. Stay safe.

    Extreme Weather Mysteries

    Volume 30, No. 2, Summer 2014

    Extreme Weather Mysteries

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



    • A Hurricane in Paradise: Ruth Rendell’s The Crocodile Bird by Barbara Fass Leavy
    • A Few Heat Strokes by Maggie Topkis


    • Freezing, Blowing, Zapping by Glynn Marsh Alam
    • Extreme Weather at the Bottom of the Thermometer by Richard Anderson
    • Starlight Tours by Wayne Arthurson
    • Wilderness + Heavy Rain = Extreme Danger by Pamela Beason
    • The Foggy Dew by Lillian Stewart Carl
    • Hell With the Lid Blown Off by Donis Casey
    • Weather + “What if?” = Stories with Atmosphere by Bobbi A. Chukran
    • A Weathered Orchard by Sheila Connolly
    • And Did Those Feet? by Judith Cutler
    • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night by Vicki Delany
    • Flood, Drought and Wind Pair with Murder to Make Mystery by Lesley A. Diehl
    • What It’s Like to Visit an Active Volcano by Karen Dionne
    • Category Five by Philip Donlay
    • If the Avalanche Doesn’t Kill You… by Toni Dwiggins
    • Bring on the Weather by Allen Eskens
    • Where Vultures Circle and Silence Is Found by Tricia Fields
    • Let It Come Down by Timothy Hallinan
    • Snow by Sara J. Henry
    • After the Flood by Greg Herren
    • Storms by Russell Hill
    • Extreme Yooper Weather by James M. Jackson
    • Perils of a Wyoming Winter by Robert Kresge
    • When the “Killer” Is a Hurricane by James Lilliefors
    • Hebrides by Peter May
    • It’s a Dry Heat, Isn’t It? by Annette Mahon
    • Hurricane Fran and Storm Track by Margaret Maron
    • This Durn Weather by Jeanne Matthews
    • Watering the Muse by Archer Mayor
    • Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Blizzard by Jenny Milchman
    • My Black Hat by Rosemary Mild
    • Blizzards Abound by Becky Michael
    • Coming on to Rain by Christine Poulson
    • No Escape from a Blizzard by Mar Preston
    • Letter From Prison by K.M. Rockwood
    • Extreme Weather—Catskill Mountains Style by Carolyn J. Rose
    • From a Purr to a Stour by Marsali Taylor
    • Storm at Put-in-Bay by Louise Titchener
    • How I Use Weather by Rebecca Tope
    • Man, It Pours by Robert Weibezahl
    • When Storms Come In… by Lea Wait
    • Deep South and Snowbound by Tina Whittle
    • Winter in Egypt’s Western Desert by Betty Winkelman


    • Mystery in Retrospect: Reviews by Lesa Holstine, Gay Toltl Kinman, L.J. Roberts
    • Crossword: A Killing Climate by Verna Suit
    • Children’s Hour: Extreme Weather by Gay Toltl Kinman
    • From the Editor’s Desk by Janet Rudolph
    • Macavity Nominees