Friday, June 30, 2023


Now in their fourteenth season, the Ngaio Marsh Awards celebrate excellence in New Zealand crime, mystery, and thriller writing. They are named for Dame Ngaio Marsh, one of the Queens of Crime of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, who penned bestselling mysteries that entertained millions of global readers from her home in the Cashmere Hills. “I’d like to think Dame Ngaio would be proud of how our modern Kiwi storytellers are continuing her literary legacy, bringing fresh perspectives and a cool mix of fascinating tales to one of the world’s most popular storytelling forms,” says awards founder Craig Sisterson. “In recent years we seem to be going through our own golden age, with our local writers offering a treasure trove of terrific stories for readers at home and all over the world.”

The longlist for the 2023 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel includes a mix of past winners and finalists, several first-time entrants and new voices, and the long-awaited return of one of the leading lights of the early 2000s New Zealand literary scene. “In crime and thriller writing it’s natural for authors to make it really tough on their characters,” says Sisterson, “but our entrants made it tough on our judges too. This year’s longlist is a wonderful showcase of Kiwi creativity, with a great range of stories that explore some deep and very important issues in among the page-turning intrigue and thrills.”


The Ngaio Marsh Awards have celebrated the best New Zealand crime, mystery, thriller, and suspense writing since 2010. 

Longlist for Best Novel: 

  • TOO FAR FROM ANTIBES by Bede Scott (Penguin SEA)
  • EXIT .45 by Ben Sanders (Allen & Unwin)
  • REMEMBER ME by Charity Norman (Allen & Unwin)
  • BLUE HOTEL by Chad Taylor (Brio Books)
  • POOR PEOPLE WITH MONEY by Dominic Hoey (Penguin)
  • THE DARKEST SIN by DV Bishop (Macmillan)
  • THE DOCTOR’S WIFE by Fiona Sussman (Bateman Books)
  • MIRACLE by Jennifer Lane
  • BETTER THE BLOOD by Michael Bennett (Simon & Schuster)
  • IN HER BLOOD by Nikki Crutchley (HarperCollins)
  • THE PAIN TOURIST by Paul Cleave (Upstart Press)
  • BLOOD MATTERS by Renée (The Cuba Press)
  • THE SLOW ROLL by Simon Lendrum (Upstart Press)
  • PAPER CAGE by Tom Baragwanath (Text Publishing)

The longlist is currently being considered by an international judging panel of crime and thriller writing experts from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Finalists for Best Novel, Best First Novel, and Best Non-Fiction will be announced in August, with the finalists celebrated and the winners announced as part of a special event held in association with WORD Christchurch later in the year.

Thursday, June 29, 2023


The Fourth of July (Independence Day) is one of my favorite holidays, maybe because I was born in Philadelphia, the birthplace of the nation.

Fourth of July is the focus of this updated list of Fourth of July Crime Fiction. Even if you're not celebrating Independence Day, you can celebrate this great group of mysteries! Something for everyone's taste!

And don't miss my Summertime Mysteries List, Summer Sleuthing: Lazy, Hazy, Murderous Days of Summer

As always, let me know if I've missed any titles. This is an updated list.

Fourth of July Mysteries

The Fourth of July Wake by Harold Adams
Sweet Tea and Secrets by Joy Avon
Murder on Parade by Donald Bain (as Jessica Fletcher) 
Home of the Brave by Donna Ball

Bomb Pop Threat by Christy Barritt 
Hair of the Dog by Laurien Berenson 
Murder by Fireworks by Susan Bernhardt
Jealousy Filled Donuts by Ginger Bolton
Plot Boiler by Ali Brandon 
The Cat Who Went Underground by Lilian Jackson Braun
Rockets' Red Glare by Lynn Cahoon
The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up by JoAnna Carl

Gone with the Whisker by Laurie Cass
Dead on the 4th of July by Meg Chittenden
Someone to Watch Over Me by Jill Churchill
Independence Day by Anne-Marie Clark
Twanged by Carol Higgins Clark
Independene Day by Ben Coes
Oh Say Can You Fudge by Nancy Coco
Star Tangled Murder by Nancy Cohen
BlackBuried Pie by Lyndsey Cole
Murder Most Frothy by Cleo Coyle
The Carousel of Death by Elisabeth Crabtree
A Catered Fourth of July by Isis Crawford
Murder on the 4th of July by P. Creeden
Red, White, and Blue Murder by Bill Crider
Firework Fiasco; Fireworks in Paradise by Kathi Daley

Framed and Frosted by Kim Davis
Guilty as Charred by Devon Delaney
Blood Red, White and Blue by Kathleen Delaney
Dead on the Fourth of July by R. E. Derouin
Four Dog's Sake by Lia Farrell
Blackberry Burial by Sharon Farrow
One Fete in the Grave by Vickie Fee
Lemon Meringue Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke
Independence Slay by Shelley Freydont
Booneville Retribution by S. Furlong-Bollinger
Mistaken Identity by Patricia Gligor

Katelyn's Killer by John Gordon
Tool & Die, Triple Witch; Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake by Sarah Graves
Red, White and Blueberry Murder by Susan Gillard
Light my Firecracker by Carolyn Gregg
Act Of Darkness by Jane Haddam
Bowled Over by Victoria Hamilton
Yankee Doodle Dead; Dead, White and Blue by Carolyn Hart
Fourth of July Fatality by Kelly Hashway

Past Imperfect by Kathleen Hills
Death of a Cookbook Author by Lee Hollis
The Ghost Who Lied by Bobbie Holmes
The Falls: Fourth of July by George Jackson
Exit Wounds by J. A. Jance
Fourth of July Forgery by Tonya Kappes
The Fourth of July by J.D. Kincaid
4th of July in Sweetwater Country by Clara Knight
A Star-Spangled Mayfair by Kassandra Lamb
A Timely Vision; A Watery Death by Joyce and Jim Lavene
Silence of the Jams by Gayle Leeson
Die Like a Hero by Clyde Linsley
Knee High by the Fourth of July by Jess Lourey
Dahlias and Death by London Lovett
Death on Nantucket by Francine Mathews
Left Hanging by Patricia McLinn
Star Spangled Murder by Leslie Meier
Cold Hard News by Maureen Milliken

Flag Cake Felonies by Addison Moore
Manic in Christmas River; Mayhem in Christmas River; Mutts & Murder by Meg Muldoon
Bats and Bones Karen Musser Nortman
A Fifth for the 4th of July by Doug Olsen and Julie Gollan
Foal Play by Kathryn O'Sullivan 
Iron Ties by Ann Parker
4th of July by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
The Body in the Birches by Katherine Hall Page
4th of July by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

King Suckerman by George P. Pelecanos
Murder is No Picnic by Amy Pershing
Three Woofs for the Dead, White and Plus by Laura Quinn
Dead, White, and Blue by Amy M. Reade

Can't Never Tell by Cathy Pickens

Spilling the Spice by Sheri Richey
Firecrackered by Patricia Rockwell
Death by Deep Dish Pie by Sharon Short
The Dam Committee by Earl H. Smith
Killing Grounds by Dana Stabenow
And Four to Go ("Fourth of July Picnic") by Rex Stout
Independence Day Plague by Carla Lee Suson
Doggone Dead by Teresa Trent
Prepped for the Kill by A.E. H. Veenman
The 4th of July Can Be MURDER! by Dianne Warth Vereen
Thread and Gone by Lea Wait

A Medium's 4th of July by Chariss K. Walker and Marty Parker
Firework Kisses and Summertime Wishes by Linda West
Independence Day Murder by Linnea West
Kaboom by J.A. Whiting and Nell McCarthy
Some Welcome Home by Sharon Wildwind
Mrs. Morris and the Sorceress by Traci Wilton
Star Spangled Murder by Valerie Wolzien
Embarking on Murder by Sue Owens Wright

Short Stories:
Rex Stout's "Fourth of July Picnic" in Century of Great Suspense Stories, Edited by Jeff Deaver
S. Furlong-Bolliger's "Booneville Retribution: 4th of July Mystery Short Story" in Kings River Life.
A Sparrow Falls Fourth of July in A Sparrow Falls Holiday by Donna McLean

Children’s Mysteries
Fireworks at the FBI (Capital Mysteries Series #6) by Ron Roy, Timothy Bush (Illustrator)
Murder On The Fourth of July by Carolyn Keene
The Philly Fake by David E. Kelly
Calendar Mysteries: July Jitters by Ron Roy and John Steven Gurney

The Fourth of July Fiasco by Jim McNeal
The Case of the July 4th Jinx by Lewis B. Montgomery and Amy Wummer

True Crime:  
Death on the Fourth of July: The Story of a Killing, a Betrayal, and Hate Crime in America by David A. Neiwert

As always, I welcome additions and comments.

Have a great holiday!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2023


Some people are a bit confused about
D.I. RAY, Season 1 (4 episodes total). It has been available on PBS Passport and Prime Video Channel since January.  On July 9, though, it will be broadcast on PBS on 10 p.m. There will be a weekly broadcast after that. This, again, is Season 1. So if you've already seen Season 1, you'll have to wait for Season 2. The good news is that Season 2 has begun filming.

I enjoyed Season 1, and I'm looking forward to Season 2.

Parminder Nagar (“The Blacklist,” “Bend it Like Beckham”) stars in the police procedural series “DI RAY.” It premiered the U.S. 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.

D.I. Rachita Ray is a British Asian policewoman new to homicide. In the first series, she is assigned to investigate the suspected honor killing of a young Muslim man.

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. 

Parminder Nagar continues in the title role in Series 2.

Monday, June 26, 2023

MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! FALL LINE-UP & Masterpiece Mystery! Insider

Premiere dates for 3 returning series coming this Fall on PBS

September 3 at 9/8c: Unforgotten, Season 5 

September 3 at 10/9c: Van der Valk, Season 3

October 15 at 10/9c: Annika, Season 2
These join the previously announced fall premiere for World on Fire, Season 2 which begins on October 15 at 9/8c.


Plunge into the world of MASTERPIECE Mystery! when you sign up for our award-winning, free MASTERPIECE Mystery! Insider email newsletter.  Enjoy the full lineup that goes beyond the usual suspects: mystery series news; interviews with series cast, producers, and authors; trivia and quizzes, dives into mystery genres, looks back through the years of MASTERPIECE Mystery! and more. 


Sunday, June 25, 2023


Congratulations to Ann Parker who won the Western Writers of America 2023 Spur Award for Best Traditional Novel for The Secret in the Wall: A Silver Rush Mystery.

Western Writers of America
annually honors writers for distinguished writing about the American West with the Spur Awards. Since 1953 the Spur Awards have been considered one of the most prestigious awards in American literature. Spurs are given for the best western historical novel, best western traditional novel, best western contemporary novel, best short story, best short nonfiction. Also, best contemporary nonfiction, best biography, best history, best juvenile fiction and nonfiction, best drama, best documentary, best poem, best song, best children’s picture book and best first novel as well as best first nonfiction book.

For other Spur Award Winners and Finalists, go HERE

Cartoon of the Day: The Library


Saturday, June 24, 2023


The International Association of Crime Writers, North American Branch (IACW), announced the winner of the 2022 Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in Crime Writing:  Samantha Jayne Allen for Pay Dirt Road. Congratulations!

The novel  is described as follows: Friday Night Lights meets Mare of Easttown in this small-town mystery about an unlikely private investigator searching for a missing waitress. Pay Dirt Road is the mesmerizing debut from the 2019 Tony Hillerman Prize recipient Samantha Jayne Allen..

Annie McIntyre has a love/hate relationship with Garnett, Texas. Recently graduated from college and home waitressing, lacking not in ambition but certainly in direction, Annie is lured into the family business—a private investigation firm—by her supposed-to-be-retired grandfather, Leroy, despite the rest of the clan’s misgivings.

When a waitress at the café goes missing, Annie and Leroy begin an investigation that leads them down rural routes and haunted byways, to noxious-smelling oil fields and to the glowing neon of local honky-tonks. As Annie works to uncover the truth she finds herself identifying with the victim in increasing, unsettling ways, and realizes she must confront her own past—failed romances, a disturbing experience she’d rather forget, and the trick mirror of nostalgia itself—if she wants to survive this homecoming.

Cartoon of the Day: Cats

 Happy Caturday!

Friday, June 23, 2023


Today is National Typewriter Day: Writers and their Typewriters

Patricia Highsmith

Agatha Christie

Alfred Hitchcock

Gypsy Rose Lee

Elmore Leonard

Mickey Spillaine

Donald Westlake

Truman Capote

Harlan Ellison


In recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s writing, and with permission of the author’s estate, The Shirley Jackson Awards, Inc. has been established for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.

Nominees for the 2022 Shirley Jackson Awards


Beulah by Christi Nogle (Cemetery Gates Media)

The Dead Friends Society by Paul Gandersman and Peter Hall (Encyclopocalypse Publications)

The Devil Takes You Home by Gabino Iglesias (Mulholland Books)

Jackal by Erin E. Adams (Bantam)

Unwieldy Creatures by Addie Tsai (Jaded Ibis Press)

Where I End by Sophie White (Tramp Press)


The Bone Lantern by Angela Slatter (PS Publishing)

Bound Feet by Kelsea Yu (Cemetery Gates Media)

Catastrophe by Deirdre Danklin (Texas Review Press)

Lure by Tim McGregor (Tenebrous Press)

Pomegranates by Priya Sharma (PS Publishing)

The Wehrwolf by Alma Katsu (Amazon Original Stories)


Azeman or, the Testament of Quincey Morris by Lisa Moore (Black Shuck Books)

“Challawa” by Usman T. Malik (Dark Stars:  New Tales of Darkest Horror)

“Sweetbaby” by Thomas Ha (Clarkesworld, October 2022)

“This Place is Best Shunned” by David Erik Nelson (

What the Dead Know by Nghi Vo (Amazon Original Stories)


“Brother Maternitas” by Viktor Athelstan (Your Body is Not Your Body)

“The Church of Divine Electricity” by Emily Mitchell (The Southern Review)

“Dick Pig” by Ian Muneshwar (Nightmare Magazine, Issue 112)

“Halogen Sky” by Wendy N. Wagner (VASTARIEN:  A Literary Journal, vol. 5, issue 1)

“Pre-Simulation Consultation XF007867” by Kim Fu (Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century)


And At My Back I Always Hear by Scott Nicolay (Word Horde)

Breakable Things by Cassandra Khaw (Undertow Publications)

Hell Hath No Sorrow Like a Woman Haunted by RJ Joseph (The Seventh Terrace)

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century by Kim Fu (Tin House)

Splendid Anatomies by Allison Wyss (Veliz Books)

We Are Here to Hurt Each Other by Paula D. Ashe (Nictitating Books)


Chiral Mad 5, edited by Michael Bailey (Written Backwards)

The Hideous Book of Hidden Horrors, edited by Doug Murano (Bad Hand Books)

Other Terrors, edited by Vince A. Liaguno and Rena Mason (William Morrow)

Screams From the Dark:  29 Tales of Monsters and the Monstrous, edited by Ellen Datlow (Tor Nightfire)

Your Body is Not Your Body, edited by Alex Woodroe and Matt Blairstone (Tenebrous Press)


The 2022 Shirley Jackson Awards will be presented in-person on Saturday, July 15 at 8pm at Readercon 32, Conference on Imaginative Literature, in Quincy, Massachusetts. 

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Weird Working Habits of a Thriller-Writer: Guest Post by Sabine Durrant

I will do anything to put off writing, so I have to sort of slide into it. I like to set my laptop up in a place where it will look as if it has arrived by accident. In winter, it is by the woodburning stove in the kitchen, where I can pretend I am actually busy making dinner. There is a sofa there, and a stool on which the laptop can perch, and a dog is usually in residence and maybe a cat. At the moment, though, the laptop is on my bed, which is next to a window overlooking the garden. I can pretend I am about to have a small nap – which I sometimes also do.

My other trick is to pretend that I still work for a newspaper, which is where I spent many years of my career. I structure my day like a journalist: a huge amount of prevarication and coffee-drinking and biscuit-eating followed by a spurt of extreme activity. When I am writing a new book, as opposed to rewriting and editing, I force myself to write 1,000 words a day, and I have to convince myself I’m on daily deadline to do that, that my editor is standing by and, as the hours tick by, that the night staff is waiting for my column. I’m not precious – I tell myself it doesn’t have to be very good; I can make it better later. I just have to get it down. At the Independent, where I worked in the late 1980s, when you finished a piece you pressed a button called “H&J’ and another called ‘Send”, and I still like to end a day with an “H&J and Send”.
Journalism is good training is other ways, too. Newspaper articles need to be succinct. You have to fit as much information, or nuance, into as few words as possible. I used to write a weekly interview at the Guardian and every item of physical description had to earn its place; it had to tell you something interesting or intriguing about the person in question. A very successful writer once told me that if you plan a book in advance, it’s much easier to write because you can pretend you are simply describing something that has happened. You already know what details are relevant in the story. Over the years, I have written two and a half books that weren’t good enough to publish and in each case it was because when I started, I didn’t really what the book was about. I spent far too much time and energy on ‘writing’ for writing’s sake. 
Other possibly eccentric working habits:

1)  I often have a bath at 2 p.m. 
2)  I listen to music loudly with noise-cancelling headphones. When I first started writing this was Mozart’s Requiem on a loop (Herbert von Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic, 1961). Then, one wonderful day, I realised I could in certain cases also write to jazz, or pop or rock. It had to be a track I knew but was not yet bored of. I’m currently listening to Lizzie McAlpine. For the book before it was Elvis Costello. 
3)  I email bits of my writing to myself to try and see it with fresh eyes.
4)  I don’t read my reviews.
5)  I remember every nice thing anyone has ever said about anything I have ever written.
6)  I lie awake at night remembering the bad.


Sabine Durrant is a former assistant editor of The Guardian and a former literary editor of the Sunday Times whose feature writing has appeared in numerous British national newspapers and magazines. She has been a magazine profile writer for the Sunday Telegraph and a contributor to The Guardian’s family section. She is the author of several books, including Under Your SkinLie With Me, and Finders, Keepers, and her latest Sun Damage. She lives in south London with her husband, the writer Giles Smith, and their three children.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

2023 Eleanor Taylor Bland Award Winners

Sisters in Crime (SinC), an inclusive international community for all who write and love crime fiction, has announced the winner of the annual Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color.

The winner of the 2023 Award is Nicole Prewitt of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her winning submission, Harts Divided, follows Neema Hart, a black, bisexual thief-turned-P.I., who owns a detective agency and therapy office with her estranged wife, Genie Hart. When what should be a bread-and-butter infidelity case results in unsuspecting women getting burned, in more ways than one. The Harts are pushed to prove their commitment to their clients, their community, and each other.

“I’m honestly so excited that opportunities like this exist and feel incredibly honored to have received the 2023 Eleanor Taylor Bland Award,” says Prewitt. “Writing a novel can be such a long process, and this has provided me with encouragement to see it through to the end.”

Established in 2014, The Eleanor Taylor Bland Award is strongly aligned with SinC’s mission to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of current and prospective members and intends to support a recipient at the beginning of their crime writing career. The grantee may choose to apply the grant toward workshops, seminars, conferences, retreats, online courses, and research activities to assist in completion of their work. Prewitt’s story was selected from over 60 submissions by 2023 judges Shizuka Otake — winner of the award in 2022 — plus novelists R. Franklin James and Andrea J. Johnson

“We couldn’t have asked for a more talented group of participants,” says Johnson. “It was an absolute pleasure to experience the captivating ways these writers have chosen to broaden and reinvent the crime genre.

Judge Shizuka Otake agrees. “Reading the entries reminded me that there are so many different voices and stories. And they can all be compelling.”

In addition to Prewitt’s 2023 achievement, SinC has also awarded five runners-up a year-long membership to the organization. Recipients were Josette Covington (Wilmington, Delaware), Ann Harris (Atlanta, Georgia), Kathryn Harrison (Bingham Farms, Michigan), Karabi Mitra (Toronto, Ontario), and Deena Short (Stonecrest, Georgia).

About Eleanor Taylor Bland:
Eleanor Taylor Bland (1944-2010) paved the way for fresh voices in crime fiction by showcasing complex characters that had previously been peripheral to or simply missing from the genre. Dead Time (1992), the first in her series of novels, introduced African-American police detective Marti MacAlister, an enduring and beloved heroine who overturned stereotypes that had been perpetuated in much of American popular culture. Bland also published more than 50 works of short crime fiction and edited the 2004 collection, Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African-American Authors.

About Sisters in Crime:
Sisters in Crime (SinC) was founded in 1986 to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers. Today, the organization boasts 4,000 members and 59 chapters worldwide and its initiatives also include other scholarships, grants for academic research into the roles of women and underserved voices in crime fiction; cash awards to libraries and bookstores; and surveys and monitoring projects which determine visibility and representation of women and diverse voices in the genre and across the marketplace.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Hobbies & Crafts in Mysteries: Mystery Readers Journal

Hobbies and Crafts

Mystery Readers Journal: Hobbies & Crafts in Mysteries (39:2) is now available as a PDF and HardcopyWe had one other issue of Hobbies & Craft Mysteries, and it is still available as a PDF download: Hobbies & Crafts & Special Interests in Mysteries (26:4) 2010.

If you're a PDF subscriber, you should have received download instructions (let me know if you haven't). Hard copy subscription copies should be received this weekInternational subscribers will receive their issues within two weeks. PDF Contributor copies will go out today or tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this amazing issue.

Hobbies & Crafts in Mysteries

Volume 39, No. 2, Summer 2023

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



  • A Kaleidoscope of Quilting Mysteries by Aubrey Nye Hamilton
  • Miss Silver: Baby Bootees and Murder by Aubrey Nye Hamilton


  • How My Sewing Patterns Help Me Write by Anne Louise Bannon
  • The Unexpected Sleuth by Connie Berry
  • Hobbies and Crafts in Mysteries: More than a Clever Hook by Mollie Cox Bryan
  • It Runs in the Family by Peggy Ehrhart
  • Pulling Strings by Elizabeth Elwood
  • I Love Making Fairy Gardens! by Daryl Wood Gerber
  • From Granny Fitzgerald to Skeins of Cashmere Yarn… and Murder by Sally Goldenbaum
  • Everyday Alchemy by Elle Hartford
  • Constructing Crossword Puzzles by Parnell Hall
  • Squared to Death by Betty Hechtman
  • My Crafty Characters Outshine Me by Mary Ellen Hughes
  • Vintage Photos Develop into a Mystery by Russell Hill
  • Yes, Syda, You Are a Crafter by Nancy Lynn Jarvis
  • A Stitch in Crime: Unraveling the Cozy Craft & Hobby Mystery Craze by Tonya Kappes
  • Cold Hobby Case: The Chilled Chess Champ by Ron Katz
  • Blending My Love of Crafts and Cozies by Sybil Johnson
  • Theme Mystery Book Groups by Maggie King
  • Killer Crafts: Crafting in Mysteries by Jenn McKinlay
  • A Small World After All by Camille Minichino
  • How Bird Watching Will Enrich Your Writing by Margaret Morse
  • The Brooklyn North Murder by Erica Obey
  • Hobby Me This by Janis Patterson
  • Two Careers, One Brain: Confessions of an Author/Artist by Janice Peacock
  • Vintage Trailers and Boxing: A Deadly Combo by Karen A. Phillips
  • A Hobby That Can Get You in Trouble by Neil S. Plakcy
  • You Are What You Write by Amber Royer
  • The Art of Craft in Mysteries by Joanna Campbell Slan
  • Not Quite a Rule Follower by Lois Winston


  • Mystery in Retrospect: Reviews by Lesa Holstine and Jay Gertzman
  • Children’s Hour: Hobbies in Mysteries by Gay Toltl Kinman
  • The Family Tree Detectives by Cathy Pickens
  • Crime Seen: My Hobby Is Mystery by Kate Derie
  • Miss Silver’s Knitting Journal by Aubrey Nye Hamilton
  • From the Editor’s Desk by Janet A. Rudolph


Cartoon of the Day: Kindergarten Teachers at Home

Monday, June 19, 2023


Today is National Martini Day, and perhaps the most iconic Martini is that of James Bond aka 007! The Vodka Martini is as synonymous with 007 as the Walther PPK and the Aston Martin DB5. James Bond first ordered his trademark drink in Ian Fleming's debut novel Casino Royale (1953):

'A dry martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne goblet.'
'Oui, monsieur.'
'Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?'
'Certainly, monsieur.' The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
'Gosh, that's certainly a drink,' said Leiter.
Bond laughed. 'When I'm . . . er . . . concentrating,' he explained, 'I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I can think of a good name.'
Having invented his own signature drink for Bond, Fleming left the reader hanging for the name for the drink until Vesper Lynd entered the novel. Bond thought her name was perfect for his preferred drink:

'Vesper,' she said. 'Vesper Lynd.'... She smiled. 'Some people like it, others don't. I'm just used to it.'
'I think it's a fine name,' said Bond. An idea struck him. 'Can I borrow it?'
He explained about the special martini he had invented and his search for a name for it. 'The Vesper,' he said.
'It sounds perfect and it's very appropriate to the violet hour when my cocktail will now be drunk all over the world. Can I have it?'
'So long as I can try one first,' she promised. 'It sounds a drink to be proud of.'

The 'Vesper' Martini created by Bond in Casino Royale and liked by Fleming:

Add 3 measures Gordon's Gin
Add 1/2 measure Vodka
Add 1 measure blond Lillet vermouth
Shake very well until it's ice cold
Garnish with a slice of lemon peel

The medium-dry Vodka Martini preferred by James Bond in the films:

4 measures Vodka (use a tbsp or an oz as a measure to fill one cocktail glass)
Add 1 measure dry Vermouth
Shake with ice. Do not stir. (Shaking gives the misty effect and extra chill preferred by Bond)
Add 1 green olive ( James Bond prefers olives)
Garnish with a thin slice of lemon peel
Serve in a cocktail glass

Thanks to for the citations

Sunday, June 18, 2023


The shortlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2023, produced by Harrogate International Festivals, has been announced today, with six bestselling authors competing to win the UK’s most wanted crime writing prize. The public is now invited to vote for the winner here.

This award celebrates excellence, originality, and the very best in crime fiction from UK and Irish authors. Awarded annually as part of Harrogate International Festivals’ Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, the winner of the most wanted accolade in crime fiction receives a cheque for £3000, and an engraved oak beer cask, hand-carved by one of Britain’s last coopers from Theakstons Brewery. 


• The Botanist by M.W. Craven (Little, Brown Book Group; Constable)
• Into The Dark by Fiona Cummins (Pan Macmillan; Macmillan/Pan)
• The Locked Room by Elly Griffiths (Quercus)
• Black Hearts by Doug Johnstone (Orenda Books)
• Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister (Penguin Random House; Michael Joseph)
 The It Girl by Ruth Ware (Simon & Schuster)

Saturday, June 17, 2023


The final season (season 9) of Endeavour  premieres tomorrow,  Sunday, June 18, 2023 on Masterpiece at 
9/8c on PBS and across streaming platforms. There will be 3 episodes (alas!)
The spinoff series inspired by Inspector Morse comes to a brilliant end as Shaun Evans as the young Morse and Roger Allam as his superior officer face baffling new crimes and an unsolved case from the past. With characters from former seasons popping up in a grand finale, Morse must resolve his professional and romantic future. The London Times praised the final episodes as “classy, poignant.” 

Plus: Endeavour documentary—Right now, prior to Endeavour’s premiere, fans can watch an hour-long documentary, Morse and The Last Endeavour, which looks back at the nine seasons of the prequel and the history of the Inspector Morse character. The documentary airs at 9/8c on June 11 and features interviews with Shaun Evans, Abigail Thaw, Kevin Whately, and many more. It's available on PBS Passport. SPOILER ALERT: You may want to watch the final season first.

Morse and The Last Endeavour will remind audiences of what made EndeavourInspector Morse, and Inspector Lewis so special in the world of television mysteries.