Wednesday, 21 January 2015 04:01

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The awards season officially begins today.

The Mystery Writers of America announced this morning the nominees for the 2015 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction, and television published or produced in 2014.

The announcement coincides with the 206th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe.

The Edgar Awards will be presented to the winners during the 69th Gala Banquet, Wednesday, April 29, 2015, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.

There were a lot of excellent mystery novels and thrillers published last year—a testament, I think, to how the genre continues to evolve and get better each year.

Mystery Scene congratulates each of the nominees.
This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
Wolf by Mo Hayder (Grove/Atlantic/Atlantic Monthly Press)
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (Simon & Schuster/Scribner)
The Final Silence by Stuart Neville (Soho Press)
Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin (Hachette Book Group/Little, Brown)
Cop Town by Karin Slaughter (Penguin Randomhouse/Ballantine Books)

Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman (W.W. Norton)
Invisible City by Julia Dahl (Minotaur Books)
The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens (Prometheus Books/Seventh Street Books)
Bad Country by C.B. McKenzie (Minotaur Books)
Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh (Crown Publishers)
Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver (Minotaur Books)

The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Albani (Penguin Randomhouse/Penguin Books)
Stay With Me by Alison Gaylin (HarperCollins Publishers/William Morrow)
The Barkeep by William Lashner (Amazon Publishing/Thomas and Mercer)
The Day She Died by Catriona McPherson (Llewellyn Worldwide/ Midnight Ink)
The Gone Dead Train by Lisa Turner (HarperCollins Publishers/William Morrow)
World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters (Quirk Books)

Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America by Kevin Cook (W.W. Norton)
The Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art by Carl Hoffman (HarperCollins)
The Other Side: A Memoir by Lacy M. Johnson (Tin House Books)
Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William Mann (HarperCollins Publishers)
The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, the Model, and the Murder that Shook the Nation by Harold Schechter (Amazon Publishing)

The Figure of the Detective: A Literary History and Analysis by Charles Brownson (McFarland & Company)
James Ellroy: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction by Jim Mancall (Oxford University Press)
Kiss the Blood Off My Hands: Classic Film Noir by Robert Miklitsch (University of Illinois Press)
Judges & Justice & Lawyers & Law: Exploring the Legal Dimensions of Fiction and Film by Francis M. Nevins (Perfect Crime Books)
Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe by J.W. Ocker (W.W. Norton – Countryman Press)

“The Snow Angel” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Doug Allyn (Dell Magazines)
“200 Feet” – Strand Magazine by John Floyd (The Strand)
“What Do You Do?” – Rogues by Gillian Flynn (Penguin Randomhouse Publishing – Ballantine Books)
“Red Eye” – FaceOff  by Dennis Lehane vs. Michael Connelly (Simon & Schuster)
“Teddy” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Brian Tobin (Dell Magazines)

Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Greenglass House by Kate Milford (Clarion Books – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)
Nick and Tesla’s Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove by “Science Bob” Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith (Quirk Books)
Saving Kabul Corner by N.H. Senzai (Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)
Eddie Red, Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile by Marcia Wells (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)
The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano (Penguin Young Readers Group – Kathy Dawson Books)
Fake ID by Lamar Giles (HarperCollins Children’s Books - Amistad)
The Art of Secrets by James Klise (Algonquin Young Readers)
The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

“The Empty Hearse” – Sherlock, Teleplay by Mark Gatiss (Hartswood Films/Masterpiece)
“Unfinished Business” – Blue Bloods, Teleplay by Siobhan Byrne O’Connor (CBS)
“Episode 1” – Happy Valley, Teleplay by Sally Wainwright (Netflix)
“Dream Baby Dream” – The Killing, Teleplay by Sean Whitesell (Netflix)
“Episode 6” – The Game, Teleplay by Toby Whithouse (BBC America)

“Getaway Girl” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine By Zoë Z. Dean (Dell Magazines)

Lois Duncan
James Ellroy

Ruth & Jon Jordan, Crimespree Magazine
Kathryn Kennison, Magna Cum Murder

Charles Ardai, Editor & Founder, Hard Case Crime

(Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Tuesday, April 28, 2015)

A Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton (Minotaur Books)
The Stranger You Know by Jane Casey (Minotaur Books)
Invisible City by Julia Dahl (Minotaur Books)
Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller (Minotaur Books)
The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)

Saturday, 17 January 2015 09:01

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The years immediately after the World Wars were times of change for England with culture and social reform moving faster than many were prepared to accept.

The involving stories of Downton Abbey set in post WWI explore this.

Now the series Grantchester shows the aftermath of WWII on the English countryside. Grantchester airs at 10 p.m. Sundays from Jan. 18, 2015, through Feb. 22 on PBS. Of course, check your local listings.

And yes, in some markets, that means Grantchester follows Downton Abbey, which gives viewers double examples of how England recovered after these wars.

And Grantchester is definitely worth adding to your viewing schedule.

Grantchester is based on James Runcie's novel Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death, which has been called "the coziest of cozy murder mysteries."

Frankly, I disagree.

True, Grantchester is set in a time that many look back at as a simpler time.

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But there was nothing simpler about this era. Women and minorities had restrictions on their lives; being gay was illegal; the death penalty was enforced.

Yet Grantchester weaves in these social changes with a light approach and a sense of humor that works quite well.

This was a time when the local vicar was the pillar of the community.
But few communities had a vicar as worldly—and as easy on the eyes—as the Rev. Sidney Chambers, played so well by James Norton (Happy Valley, Death Comes to Pemberley).

Sidney is a war hero, and familiar with the human frailties of jealousy, passion, revenge, and prejudice as he has experienced each of these.

Part of the theme of Grantchester is Sidney trying to find solace in the religious life while not denying the secular world.

And of course there are the murders he helps solve, assisting local Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green, Wire in the Blood).

The two men eventually will work well together, as they become bound by respect and past experiences. People naturally confide in a vicar, so Sidney's involvement is organic to the story. Plus, "As a priest, isn't everything our business?" says Sidney.

Norton shows Sidney as a complicated man, yearning to help others as he finds his own salvation. Green elevates any role he is in and his return is most welcomed.

With Foyle's War in its last season, Grantchester's run is well timed, and it also soon becomes addictive viewing.


Photos: Top, James Norton; center, Robson Green and James Norton. PBS photos



Wednesday, 14 January 2015 01:01

Michael Connelly
’s plots are filled with gems as the author gives us insight into police work and the vagaries of life in Los Angeles.

Connelly’s latest, The Burning Room, looks at politics and how it can become a part of a police investigation, especially when a high-profile case is concerned.

Quoting from my review, “The Burning Room excels as a look at how power, prestige and the media can override the best intentions. Connelly also weaves in a bit of the immigrant experience that helped shape—and continues to mold—Los Angeles.”

And within this gem of a plot, Connelly also adds a couple of other smaller gems to his 19th novel about Harry Bosch.

While waiting for a plane to take off for a trip back to L.A. after interviewing a witness in Tulsa, Bosch passes the time by listening to the soundtrack from a documentary about saxophonist Frank Morgan.

Connelly knows a lot about the film, Sound of Redemption, about the late jazz saxophonist, Frank Morgan, as he was one of the producers. Connelly chronicled the filmmaking on its own Facebook page. Sound of Redemption was recently shown at the Palm Springs Film Festival.
“It’s a form of creativity I was not familiar with. It is a tribute to someone who inspired me and is a great story,” Connelly told me for a profile in Mystery Scene.

Connelly pays tribute to his journalism background by having reporter Jack McEvoy (The Poet) work for Fair Warning, an investigative website devoted to reporting and consumer protection investigations that is based in Los Angeles.

We’ll have to wait until the end of 2015 for another Connelly novel.

But the Amazon Original Series Bosch based on the Bosch series will be coming to Amazon Prime Instant Video. It will star Titus Welliver as Bosch, and co-star Annie Wersching and Jamie Hector. Connelly’s website has a couple of clips on this series.