Monday, January 29, 2024

"Rough Cider" in the Making by Peter Lovesey

This article appeared in the Mystery Readers Journal: Murder in Wartime (33:2), Summer 2017. Check out the Table of Contents for this and other articles focusing on Murder in Wartime. Rough Cider is one of Peter Lovesey's favorite books...and mine! 
Buy this back issue! Available in hardcopy or as a downloadable PDF.

Rough Cider in the Making by Peter Lovesey

The book of mine closest to my own experience is Rough Cider, written over thirty years ago in 1986. It has remained in print and is often mentioned by readers as a personal favourite, a non-series ‘one-off’ written in the first person as if by a university lecturer, who is persuaded or compelled to recall traumatic events from 1943 in rural England during World War II. Much of it drew on my own memories of being made homeless and moved from suburban London to a farm in the West Country.

In 1944 my home was destroyed by a V-1 rocket, one of those pilotless planes that Hitler sent over from France. Miraculously, all my family survived while everyone in the other half of the semi-detached house was killed. My mother had gone shopping when the air-raid siren sounded. She had left two of her three sons in the house. I was at school nearby and our father was away in the army. Mother had told my brother John, who was 14, to make sure that if the warning came he took my younger brother, Andrew, who was 3, under the Morrison shelter—a cast-iron table that had been offered by the government to all houses within range of the rockets. The table held up under the weight of the rubble and the two boys were dug out alive.

Being homeless, we slept for a few nights on the vicar’s living-room floor until arrangements were made to send us to a temporary home out of London. So my mother and her three sons took a long train journey to Cornwall in the West Country and were found accommodation on an isolated farm. The farmer and his wife and grown-up son had no choice but to accept this family from miles away. We were ‘billeted’—to use the terminology of the time. With hindsight I can understand how our hosts must have felt to have a woman in a state of shock and three noisy kids foisted on them at harvest time, but for us it was difficult to understand why we were not more welcome. The farmhouse was dark inside and lit by oil-lamps, and had curtains across all the doors to keep draughts to a minimum. As an 8-year-old, I found it spooky. Good thing I wasn’t without my family, as many so-called evacuees had found themselves earlier in the war when they were sent to the country for their own safety.

We didn’t remain there long—perhaps as little as a month. My father, on compassionate leave, found us a temporary house back in London, and we returned, much relieved, to the bomb-infested suburbs. But the memory of that time is still vivid in my mind. When I came to write Rough Cider forty years later, it was easy to get back into the thought process of a child, watching events unfold without fully understanding them. I began the book with a sentence that plunges the reader straight into that world:

“When I was nine, I fell in love with a girl of twenty called Barbara, who killed herself.”

Of course, the writer’s imagination moves on from remembered things to events that didn’t happen in reality. There was no suicide on the farm, no murder and no cider that I can recall. But the novel is centered around a plot involving an American soldier posted to England, and as a boy I did get to meet GIs at the local American Army base. After our return to London, we Lovesey boys were invited to a party put on specially by the GIs for ‘bombed-out’ kids—and it was wonderful. I can still remember the silent films they projected onto a screen for us—Buster Keaton and Chaplin—and the magician, and the food! Food we didn’t know existed. I was one of the first British children to taste a Hershey Bar and chewing gum. No wonder I can understand how the boy Theo came to idolize the soldier called Duke.
So there it is. I mustn’t give away more of the plot. Rough Cider remains a personal favorite for reasons you will now understand.

Peter Lovesey has several series, including historical mysteries, as well as short stories, and stand-alone crime fiction. His books are fabulous reads.. all of them. 

Awards: Macmillan/Panther First Crime Novel Award, 1970, for Wobble to Death; Crime Writers Association Silver Dagger Award, 1977, 1995, and 1996, Gold Dagger Award, 1983, for The False Inspector Dew; Veuve Clicquot/Crime Writers Association Short Story Award, 1985; Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere, 1985; Prix du Roman d'Aventures, 1987; finalist for Best Novel award, Mystery Writers of America, 1988, for Rough Cider, and 1996, for The Summons; Ellery Queen Readers award, 1991; Anthony Award for best novel, 1992, for The Last Detective; Mystery Writers of America Golden Mysteries Short Story Prize, 1995; Crime Writers Association Macavity Award for Best Novel, 1997, for Bloodhounds, and 2004, for The House Sitter; Crime Writers Association Cartier Diamond Dagger Award, 2000, for lifetime Achievement.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024


Just a heads up in case you missed it:

Father Brown, Season 11, is now on Britbox (U.S.) with 2 episodes. 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, January 23, 2024


The Crime Writers Association
awarded the Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Contribution to Crime Writing to two authors for the first time.

Lynda La Plante and James Lee Burke are the joint recipients of this year’s award.

“By an extraordinary quirk of fate, due to our new voting process, this year’s Diamond Dagger is, for the first time in seven decades, being awarded to two authors,” said Maxim Jakubowski, chair of the CWA Daggers’ committee. “If the Booker prize can do it, so can we!”

La Plante is best known for writing Prime Suspect and Widows television and novel series. Her other series include Lorraine Page, Anna Travis and Trial And Retribution. In 2008, she received a CBE for services to literature, drama and charity. Her memoir is expected to be released later this year.

James Lee Burke’s series about detective Dave Robicheaux spans more than 20 novels. Burke said he was “honoured and humbled” to receive his award. “It is also an honour to have my name among the best mystery and crime writers in the world,” he added.

Khan said: “James Lee Burke’s lyrical depiction of the American south transcends crime fiction – his prose is often considered among the best to have graced the genre. For many, Dave Robicheaux is the very embodiment of the dogged, morally incorruptible detective beset by personal demons – a beautifully rendered character.”

Better than a Homicide Detective by Richard Osman - Mystery Readers Journal: Senior Sleuths (36:3)

Richard Osman's Author! Author!essay appeared in Mystery Readers Journal: Senior Sleuths (Volume 36: No. 3, Fall 2020). Since then Richard Osman has published several more mysteries in his delightful Thursday Murder Club series. The Senior Sleuth issue of Mystery Readers Journal is still available in PDF and print format. Check out the Table of Contents.  Buy this back issue! Available in hardcopy or as a downloadable PDF.


Richard Osman: Better than a Homicide Detective

The detectives in my novel The Thursday Murder Club are four very unlikely friends, all in their seventies. Elizabeth, a former spy; Joyce, a former nurse; Ibrahim, still a psychiatrist; and Ron, a once-infamous labour activist.

I have been asked time and again why I chose older people as my sleuths. And the answer is simple. Because of my Mum.

My Mum, Brenda, is 78 years old and, in all honesty, I would trust her to solve a murder far more than I would trust anyone else. To explain why, I thought I should write you a little list. My list is entitled…

The Top 3 Reasons My Mum Would Be Better at Solving a Murder Than an Experienced Homicide Detective

My mum has an awful lot of time on her hands.

My Mum spent a lifetime as an elementary school teacher, and raised two sons single-handedly. So I want to make it clear that she has always been a hard worker. However, it is fair to say that, these days, my Mum has a pretty nice schedule. I mean, really, what is she doing all day? She gets up whenever she wants, she hangs out with her other 78-year-old mates, watches a bit of daytime TV, has a couple of glasses of wine at lunchtime, maybe a quick snooze, and then kicks back and relaxes for the rest of the day.

Which means, of course, that if one of my Mum’s neighbours was murdered, she would have plenty of time to gather evidence, interview suspects, illegally interfere with the police investigation, and track down the killer. Which is exactly what Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron do in the book.

My mum always knows who the murderer is on any TV programme or film I’ve ever watched with her.

Honestly, you’ll be 20 seconds into an episode of Murder She Wrote and my Mum will say ‘I bet the man in the orange jumper did it. He’s probably the ex-husband of the horse racing trainer, and he’s stolen some horse tranquiliser and slipped it into the drink of the local newspaper reporter.’ And we’ll watch to the end, and that’s exactly what will happen. As Jessica Fletcher leads the man in the orange jumper off to jail, I will look at my Mum and, once again, shake my head in wonder.

I should point out, however, that my Mum didn’t guess the killer in The Thursday Murder Club. So if you work out the solution you are even better than she is.

My mum is underestimated.

If you met my Mum (and it can be arranged, she loves visitors) you would leave thinking ‘what a lovely, kind, gentle woman.’ Don’t be fooled. My Mum is the cleverest person I know.

If you were a murderer (and I’m not accusing you, by the way, I’m just saying if), she would invite you round for a cup of tea and a slice of cake, you would have a lovely conversation about the weather, or the garden, and by the end of it, she will have worked out exactly how you did it. Minutes later, you would be in handcuffs.

This is Joyce’s skill in The Thursday Murder Club too. She is kind, thoughtful and polite, and she is always underestimated, and she is always overlooked. But she misses nothing.

We have got used to the people with the loudest voice and the strongest opinions running the world. My Mum, and Joyce, are a reminder that you should probably let the quiet people take charge once in a while.

My Mum would fit straight into The Thursday Murder Club. A gang of friends, from very different backgrounds, with very different experiences, who team up to solve whatever case you put in front of them.

They are clever and loyal, they have seen great happiness and great sadness, they are funny, they are unorthodox and they are old enough to not care too much for the rules. They are kind and ingenious, they value their friendship and they respect their differences. And—and this really can’t be stressed enough—they do have an awful lot of time on their hands.

The story is full of twists, full of dark misdeeds, full of mystery and full of suspects. But, at its heart, it’s about the brilliance of a generation of older people, who, we all know, can turn their hand to anything. They share my Mum’s heart and soul and intelligence.

So when people ask me why I have chosen a group of sleuths in their mid-seventies, my real answer is ‘why on Earth would I choose anyone else?’

Richard Osman has worked as an executive producer on numerous UK shows. Richard’s popularity and tremendous knowledge of trivia led to him presenting his own BBC quiz show and several others, as well as being the host of Pointless with 7 million views. He is also a regular on panel shows and writes a column for the Radio Times.

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

Thursday, January 18, 2024

2024 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominations

Mystery Writers of America
 announced the nominees for the 2024 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction and television published or produced in 2023. The 78th Annual Edgar® Awards will be presented on May 1, 2024, at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square.


Flags on the Bayou by James Lee Burke (Grove Atlantic – Atlantic Monthly Press)
All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron Books)
The Madwomen of Paris by Jennifer Cody Epstein (Penguin Random House – Ballantine Books)
Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll (Simon & Schuster – Simon Element – Marysue Rucci Books)
An Honest Man by Michael Koryta (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company – Mulholland Books)
The River We Remember by William Kent Krueger (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books)
Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead (Penguin Random House – Doubleday)

The Peacock and the Sparrow by I.S. Berry (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books)
The Golden Gate by Amy Chua (Macmillan Publishing – Minotaur Books)
Small Town Sins by Ken Jaworowski (Macmillan Publishing – Henry Holt and Co.)
The Last Russian Doll by Kristen Loesch (Penguin Random House - Berkley)
Murder by Degrees by Ritu Mukerji (Simon & Schuster)


Boomtown by A.F. Carter (Penzler Publishers - Mysterious Press)

Hide by Tracy Clark (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)

The Taken Ones by Jess Lourey (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto (Penguin Random House - Berkley)

Lowdown Road by Scott Von Doviak (Hard Case Crime)


In Light of All Darkness: Inside the Polly Klaas Kidnapping and the Search for America's Child by Kim Cross (Hachette Book Group – Grand Central Publishing)
Number Go Up: Inside Crypto's Wild Rise and Staggering Fall by Zeke Faux (Penguin Random House – Crown Currency)
Tangled Vines: Power, Privilege, and the Murdaugh Family Murders by John Glatt (Macmillan Publishers – St. Martin’s Press)
Crooked: The Roaring '20s Tale of a Corrupt Attorney General, a Crusading Senator, and the Birth of the American Political Scandal by Nathan Masters (Hachette Book Group – Hachette Books)
I Know Who You Are: How an Amateur DNA Sleuth Unmasked the Golden State Killer and Changed Crime Fighting Forever by Barbara Rae-Venter (Penguin Random House – Ballantine Books)
The Lost Sons of Omaha: Two Young Men in an American Tragedy by Joe Sexton (Simon & Schuster – Scribner)
Perplexing Plots: Popular Storytelling and the Poetics of Murder by David Bordwell
(Columbia University Press)
Spillane: King of Pulp Fiction by Max Allan Collins & James L. Traylor (Penzler Publishers – Mysterious Press)
A Mystery of Mysteries: The Death and Life of Edgar Allan Poe by Mark Dawidziak (Macmillan Publishing - St. Martin's Press)
Fallen Angel: The Life of Edgar Allan Poe by Robert Morgan (LSU Press)
Love Me Fierce in Danger - The Life of James Ellroy by Steven Powell (Bloomsbury Publishing - Bloomsbury Academic)

"Hallowed Ground," by Linda Castillo (Macmillan Publishers – Minotaur Books)
"Thriller," Thriller by Heather Graham (Blackstone Publishing)
"Miss Direction," Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, September-October 2023 by Rob Osler (Dell Magazines)
“The Rise," Amazon Original Stories by Ian Rankin (Amazon Publishing)
“Pigeon Tony’s Last Stand," Amazon Original Stories by Lisa Scottoline (Amazon Publishing)


Myrtle, Means, and Opportunity by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Hachette Book Group – Workman Publishing – Algonquin Young Readers)
The Ghosts of Rancho Espanto by Adrianna Cuevas (Macmillan Publishers – Farrar, Straus and Giroux BFYR)
Epic Ellisons: Cosmos Camp by Lamar Giles (HarperCollins Publishers - Versify)
Epic Ellisons: Cosmos Camp by Lamar Giles (HarperCollins Publishers - Versify)
The Jules Verne Prophecy by Larry Schwarz & Iva-Marie Palmer (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
What Happened to Rachel Riley? by Claire Swinarski (HarperCollins Publishers – Quill Tree Books)
Girl Forgotten by April Henry (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Star Splitter by Matthew J. Kirby (Penguin Young Readers – Dutton Books for Young Readers)
The Sharp Edge of Silence by Cameron Kelly Rosenblum (HarperCollins Publishers – Quill Tree Books)
My Flawless Life by Yvonne Woon (HarperCollins Publishers – Katherine Tegen Books)
Just Do This One Thing for Me by Laura Zimmerman (Penguin Young Readers – Dutton Books for Young Readers)


“Time of the Monkey" – Poker Face, Written by Wyatt Cain & Charlie Peppers (Peacock)
“I’m a Pretty Observant Guy” – Will Trent, Written by Liz Heldens (ABC)
“Dead Man’s Hand" – Poker Face, Written by Rian Johnson (Peacock)
“Hózhó Náhásdlii (Beauty is Restore)" – Dark Winds, Written by Graham Roland & John Wirth (AMC)
“Escape from Shit Mountain" – Poker Face, Written by Nora Zuckerman & Lilla Zuckerman (Peacock)

* * * 
ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD – Endowed by the family of Robert L. Fish.

"Errand for a Neighbor," Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, January-February 2023 by Bill Bassman (Dell Magazines)
“The Body in Cell Two,” Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, May-June 2023 by Kate Hohl (Dell Magazines)
“The Soiled Dove of Shallow Hollow,” Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, January-February 2023 by Sean McCluskey (Dell Magazines)
“It’s Half Your Fault,” Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, July-August 2023 by Meghan Leigh Paulk (Dell Magazines)
“Two Hours West of Nothing,” Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, September-October 2023 by Gabriela Stiteler (Dell Magazines) 
Presented on behalf of Simon & Schuster.
Play the Fool by Lina Chern (Penguin Random House - Bantam)
The Bones of the Story by Carol Goodman (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
Of Manners and Murder by Anastasia Hastings (Macmillan Publishers – Minotaur Books)
The Three Deaths of Willa Stannard by Kate Robards (Crooked Lane Books)
Murder in Postscript by Mary Winters (Penguin Random House - Berkley)
Presented on behalf of G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Hard Rain by Samantha Jayne Allen (Macmillan Publishers – Minotaur Books)
An Evil Heart by Linda Castillo (Macmillan Publishers – Minotaur Books)
Bad, Bad Seymour Brown by Susan Isaacs (Grove Atlantic – Atlantic Monthly Press)
Past Lying by Val McDermid (Grove Atlantic – Atlantic Monthly Press)
A Stolen Child by Sarah Stewart Taylor (Macmillan Publishers – Minotaur Books)

Endowed by the estate of Lilian Jackson Braun.
Glory Be by Danielle Arceneaux (Pegasus Books – Pegasus Crime)
Misfortune Cookie by Vivien Chien (Macmillan – St. Martin’s Paperbacks)
Hot Pot Murder by Jennifer J. Chow (Penguin Random House – Berkley)
Murder of an Amish Bridegroom by Patricia Johns (Crooked Lane Books)
The Body in the Back Garden by Mark Waddell (Crooked Lane Books)

Katherine Hall Page
R.L. Stine
Michaela Hamilton, Kensington Books

Monday, January 15, 2024

2024 Left Coast Crime “Lefty” Award Nominations

Left Coast Crime 2024 will be presenting four Lefty Awards at our 34th annual convention, to be held this April in Bellevue, Washington: Humorous, Historical, Debut, and Best
. The awards will be voted on at the convention and presented at a banquet on Saturday, April 13, at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue. 

The Lefty nominees have been selected by convention registrants, and LCC is delighted to announce the 2024 Lefty Award nominees for books published in 2023:

Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel. The nominees are:

 • Jennifer J. Chow, Hot Pot Murder (Berkley Prime Crime)
 • Lee Matthew Goldberg, The Great Gimmelmans (Level Best Books)
 • Leslie Karst, A Sense for Murder (Severn House)
 • Catriona McPherson, Hop Scot (Severn House)
 • Cindy Sample, Dying for a Decoration (Cindy Sample Books)
 • Wendall Thomas, Cheap Trills (‎Beyond the Page Books)

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel for books set before 1970 (The Bill Gottfried Memorial). The nominees are:

 • Cara Black, Night Flight to Paris (Soho Crime)
 • Bruce Borgos, The Bitter Past (Minotaur Books)
 • Susanna Calkins, Death Among the Ruins (Severn House)
 • Dianne Freeman, A Newlywed’s Guide to Fortune and Murder (Kensington)
 • Cheryl A. Head, Time’s Undoing (Dutton)
 • Naomi Hirahara, Evergreen (Soho Crime)

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel. The nominees are:

 • Lina Chern, Play the Fool (Bantam)
 • Margot Douaihy, Scorched Grace (Gillian Flynn Books)
 • Josh Pachter, Dutch Threat (Genius Book Publishing)
 • Ana Reyes, The House in the Pines (Dutton)
 • Nina Simon, Mother-Daughter Murder Night (William Morrow)

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel (not in other categories). The nominees are:

 • Tracy Clark, Hide (Thomas & Mercer)
 • S.A. Cosby, All the Sinners Bleed (Flatiron Books)
 • Matt Coyle, Odyssey’s End (Oceanview Publishing)
 • Jordan Harper, Everybody Knows (Mulholland Books)
 • James L’Etoile, Face of Greed (Oceanview Publishing)
 • Gigi Pandian, The Raven Thief (Minotaur Books)

The Left Coast Crime Convention is an annual event sponsored by mystery fans, both readers and authors. Held in the western half of North America, LCC’s intent is to host an event where readers, authors, critics, librarians, publishers, and other fans can gather in convivial surroundings to pursue their mutual interests. Lefty Awards have been given since 1996. 

In 2020, Left Coast Crime received the Raven Award from Mystery Writers of America, for “outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing.”

The 34th annual Left Coast Crime Convention will take place in Bellevue, Washington, April 11-14, 2024. This year’s Guests of Honor are authors Megan Abbott and Robert Dugoni. Fran Fuller is the Fan Guest of Honor, and author Wanda Morris will serve as Toastmaster.

Left Coast Crime is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation holding annual mystery conventions in the West. Each LCC convention raises money to support a local literary organization, and is staffed entirely by volunteers.

For more information on Left Coast Crime 2024, please visit
Lucinda Surber & Stan Ulrich, Lefty Awards Co-Chairs

Sunday, January 14, 2024


NOW STREAMING:  Monsieur Spade, a limited series starring Clive Owen as the iconic Dashiell Hammett PI Sam Spade,is now streaming on AMC, AMC+ and Acorn.  

Spade is a retired ex-pat in the 1960s. Monsieur Spade has six episodes, each running  40-60 minutes. It premieres  today, January 14, 2024 with new episodes streaming weekly on Sundays, at 9 pm ET/PT, on AMC, AMC+, and Acorn TV, until its finale on February 18, 2024.

Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade remains one of the most popular American sleuths of the 20th century. This famous private eye makes his first television appearance in AMC’s Monsieur Spade. Set in 1963, the plot follows the famous private detective during his retirement days in the tranquil French community of Bozouls. But the return of an old adversary and the murders of six nuns in the town spoils his serene life. 

Monsieur Spade is based on the detective created by Hammett and his novels. Monsieur Spade is created, written, and executive produced by Emmy-winning Scott Frank of The Queen’s Gambit fame and Tom Fontana from City on a HillMonsieur Spade was shot in France.

I haven't seen it yet. Stay tuned for a review, or let me know what you think. Make a comment below.

Friday, January 12, 2024

MWA 2024 Grand Master and Ellery Queen Award Recipients

Mystery Writers of America (MWA) announced the recipients of its special awards.  

Katherine Hall Page and R.L. Stine as the 2024 Grand Masters 

Michaela Hamilton of Kensington Publishing will receive the Ellery Queen Award. 

Awards will be given at the 78th Annual Edgar Awards Ceremony, which will be held May 1, 2024, at the Marriott Marquis Times Square in New York City.

“Mystery Writers of America is delighted to announce the recipients of our 2024 special awards. Our Grand Masters, Katherine Hall Page and R.L. Stine, have given so much to our genre—not just through their writing, but also through their generosity to other writers, their hard-working professionalism, and their boundless enthusiasm for the written word,” said MWA Executive Vice President Donna Andrews.
MWA’s Grand Master Award represents the pinnacle of achievement in mystery writing and was established to acknowledge important contributions to this genre, as well as for a body of work that is both significant and of consistent high quality. 
On being notified of the honor, Katherine Hall Page said, “I joined MWA in 1989, over a third of a century ago. In so doing I immediately felt a part of a supportive community and formed deep, long lasting friendships. And membership has also bestowed a link to MWA’s extraordinary past, beginning in 1945. The first Grand Master was Agatha Christie in 1955. I am stunned to be standing in her—and all the other’s—shoes. Thank you MWA for the thrill of a lifetime.”

Page wrote her first mystery, The Body in the Belfry, while living in France for year during her husband’s sabbatical from MIT. It was the 1991 Agatha Award winner for Best First Mystery Novel. The 15th in the series, The Body in the Snowdrift, won the 2006 Agatha Award for Best Mystery Novel. Page was also awarded the 2001 Agatha for Best Short Story for “The Would-Be Widower” in the Malice Domestic X collection and received three more Agatha nominations, including one for her series cookbook, Have Faith in Your Kitchen, in the nonfiction category, making her the first author to be nominated or win in four different Agatha categories. She was an Edgar nominee for her juvenile mystery, Christie & Company Down East.  The Body in the Lighthouse (2003) was one of three nominees for The Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award. The Body in the Boudoir was a finalist in the 2013 Maine Literary Awards. Page received the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from Malice Domestic and Crime Master for her work from the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. The Body in the Web is out now from William Morrow in hardcover, paperback, large print, E-book, and audio editions. 

R.L. Stine is one of the best-selling children’s authors in history. Goosebumps, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, has more than 400 million books in print in 32 languages. An all-new New York Times bestselling Goosebumps series, House of Shivers, debuted in September 2023, with two more books to be published in 2024.
The Goosebumps series made Stine a worldwide publishing celebrity (and Jeopardy answer). His other popular children’s book series include Fear Street, (recently revived as a feature film trilogy), The Garbage Pail Kids, Mostly Ghostly, The Nightmare Room, and Rotten School. Other titles include It's The First Day of School Forever, A Midsummer Night's Scream, Young Scrooge, Stinetinglers, and three picture books, with Marc Brown—The Little Shop of Monsters, Mary McScary, and Why Did the Monster Cross the Road (2023).
On learning of the honor, Stine said, “Tony Hillerman. Elmore Leonard. Mickey Spillane. Ruth Rendell: Those were the MWA Grand Masters when I first started attending the Edgar Awards over 30 years ago. If you had told me then I’d be on that list someday, would I have believed you? I don’t think so. I’m surprised and truly honored.” 
The Ellery Queen Award was established in 1983 to honor “outstanding writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry.” This year the Board chose to honor Michaela Hamilton, executive editor at Kensington and editor in chief of Citadel, which she joined after a 25-year career in publishing. Her importance in the discovery of new writers and emphasis on publishing traditional mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels cannot be underestimated. 

On learning she would receive the Ellery Queen Award, Hamilton said, “As a lifelong mystery fan, as well as a longtime supporter of MWA, I couldn’t be more tickled by this amazing recognition. When I think about previous recipients of the Ellery Queen Award, I feel quite humble. I’m just a bookworm who was lucky enough to spend the last 50-plus years working with authors I adore on books I love. Long live suspense fiction!” 

Hamilton acquires and edits commercial fiction and nonfiction including thrillers, true crime, and cozy mysteries. She has worked with authors including John Gilstrap, Gregg Olsen, M. William Phelps, Caitlin Rother, Barbara Allan, John Lutz, Lynn Cahoon, Nancy Coco, Rick Reed, and Leo J. Maloney. Her lifelong love of suspense fiction began in childhood, when she skipped the Nancy Drew mystery series in favor of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer novels, which she read clandestinely after finding her father’s copies in the bathroom. She likes her thrillers violent, her cozies amusing, and her beer well chilled. 
Previous Ellery Queen Award winners include The Strand Magazine, Juliet Grames, Reagan Arthur, Kelley Ragland, Linda Landrigan, Neil Nyren, Charles Ardai, and Janet Hutchings. “Michaela Hamilton has worked with dozens of new and seasoned writers over the decades,” Andrews said, “not only making Kensington a powerhouse in the mystery and thriller field, but also giving genre lovers hundreds of books—and thousands of hours of reading pleasure.”

Cartoon of the Day: The Trial


Thursday, January 11, 2024


Quarterly crime-fiction and mystery magazine
 The Stranannounced the winners of the annual Strand Magazine Critics AwardsRecognizing excellence in the field of mystery fiction and publishing, The Strand Critics Awards are judged by an ever-changing group of book critics and journalists. This year’s judges were chosen from The Boston GlobeNational Public RadioThe Washington PostUSA TODAYand The 
Associated Press. Congratulations to all!

Secret Identity Alex Segura (Flatiron Books)

Anywhere You Run by Wanda M. Morris (William Morrow)
Back to the Garden by Laurie R. King (Bantam)
Desert Star by Michael Connelly (Little Brown)
Her Last Affair by John Searles (Mariner Books)
A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny (Minotaur)


A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham (Minotaur)

Jackal by Erin E. Adams (Bantam)
Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz (Atria/Emily Bestler)
Don’t Know Tough by Eli Cranor (Soho)
Shutter by Ramona Emerson (Soho)
Strand Lifetime Achievement Awards: James Lee Burke and Lee Child 

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Cartoon of the Day: The Line Up



Reminder: Deadline is Looming - 4 day extension: January 19! Please contact me if you plan to write a review, articles, or Author Essay:  janet @ mysteryreaders . org

Call for Articles: Mystery Readers Journal (40:1): Mysteries set in Southern California

We're looking for articles, reviews, and Author essays about Mysteries set in Southern CaliforniaAuthor essays are first person, about yourself, your books, and the "SoCal" connection.

Author Essays: 500-100 words. Treat this as if you're chatting with friends and other writers in the bar or cafe (or on zoom) about your work and the Southern California setting in your mysteries. Be sure and cite specific titles, as well as how you use the Southern California setting in your books. Add title and 2-3 sentence bio. 

Reviews: 50-250 words. 

Articles: 500-1000 words.

Deadline for Mysteries in Southern California (40:1) articles, reviews, author essays: January 19, 2024:
 Send to: Janet Rudolph, Editor.  janet @ 
mysteryreaders . org

Please let us know if you're planning to send an article, review, or author essay!

SUBSCRIBE TO MYSTERY READERS JOURNAL for 2024: Mysteries set in Southern California; Murder Takes a Holiday (Mysteries that take place while on vacation); London Mysteries; and one more (info to come).

Historical Mysteries I: Available as PDF or Hardcopy.

Private Eyes I & Private Eyes II : Available as PDF or Hardcopy.

Extreme Weather Mysteries: Available as PDF or Hardcopy

Italian Mysteries:  Available as PDF or Hardcopy

Senior Sleuths: Available as PDF or Hardcopy.

Gardening Mysteries: Available as PDF or Hardcopy.
Have titles, articles, or suggestions for upcoming issues? Want to write an Author! Author! essay? contact:   janet @ mysteryreaders . org

Tuesday, January 9, 2024


Well, this is great news.
Slow Horses, based on my favorite espionage series by Mick Herron, will be renewed for a 5th season, on AppleTV+. This was confirmed by Variety, and everyone else! If you haven't seen Slow Horses, you have plenty of time and great streaming ahead of you. Seasons 1-3 are on AppleTV+ now. Season 4 will be released in November 2024, so it will be awhile before we get Season 5, but still, it's great it's being produced. I  encourage you to read Mick Herron's books in the meantime. 

From Variety:
Gary Oldman, who recently earned a Golden Globe nod for his performance in the show as irascible spook Jackson Lamb, will return alongside Kristin Scott Thomas, who plays MI5 second desk Diana Taverner, Jack Lowden as espionage nepo baby River Cartwright and Christopher Chung as cocky geek Roddy Ho.

“Everyone is suspicious when resident tech nerd Roddy Ho has a glamorous new girlfriend, but when a series of increasingly bizarre events occur across the city, it falls to the Slow Horses to work out how everything is connected,” reads the logline for Season 5. “After all, Jackson Lamb knows that in the world of espionage, ‘London Rules’ should always apply.”

Season 5 is set to be adapted from the fifth book in Herron’s series, “London Rules.” 


John F. "Jack" O'Connell
, author of noir crime novels set in the fictional New England city of Quinsigamond, died on January 1. Jack also wrote speculative fiction. He lived in Worcester, Massachusetts, with his wife, Nancy, and two children. He was a student, and taught, at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.  
O'Connell died on January 1, 2024, at the age of 64.

Read a tribute to Jack O'Connell's life and books on The Rap Sheet

HT: J. Kingston Pierce, The Rap Sheet

Monday, January 8, 2024

Moonflower Murders: A Sequel to Magpie Murders

MASTERPIECE PBS and Eleventh Hour Films announced that filming has completed on Moonflower Murders, a new television drama based on the best-selling novel by Anthony Horowitz, CBE. The six-part series is written by Horowitz.  Moonflower Murders is a sequel to the acclaimed Magpie Murders that aired on MASTERPIECE in 2022, for which Horowitz received an Edgar Award.

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 broadcast on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. No date yet, but I'll keep you posted.  

Can't wait? Read Anthony Horowitz's Moonflower Murders!!!

Returning in the lead roles they originated in Magpie Murders are Lesley Manville and Susan Ryeland and Timothy McMullan as famous literary detective Atticus Pünd.

Moonflower Murders is the second novel in Horowitz’s Susan Ryeland series, and once again uses the story within a story format. Published in 2020, it was lauded as “a richly plotted, head- spinning novel” by the New York Times and picks up where Magpie Murders left off.
Susan has left publishing and is living in Crete with her long-time boyfriend, Andreas. But her idyll is disturbed by the shadow of a murder committed at a British country hotel eight years ago. Alan Conway visited the hotel and wrote a novel based on what happened there. Cecily Treherne, the young woman who helps run the hotel, read the book and believed the wrong man had been arrested. Now she has disappeared.
Can Susan uncover the secret hidden in the book and find Cecily before it is too late?
Lesley Manville says: “I had an incredible time returning to the role of the smart and feisty Susan Ryeland. Anthony Horowitz has written another ingenious adaptation and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”

Horowitz says, “I’ve been watching the filming of Moonflower Murders with joy. We’re back with the same cast, including Lesley Manville, Tim McMullan and Danny Mays – but this time we’ve got a whole new box of tricks to present as literary editor Susan Ryeland untangles another book within a book and another series of unfathomable murders. I can’t wait to show it to our audience.” 

Filming on Moonflower Murders took place in Dublin and Crete.