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Salvation Boulevard

Holy sacred cows! The PI genre has been used like a literary shiv more than once to cut deep into the guts of an issue, but rarely has it been used with such cunning, wit and--believe it or not--diplomacy and fair-mindedness. In Salvation Boulevard, Larry Beinhart, the Edgar-winning author, best known for American Hero (filmed as Wag the Dog), sets sight on one of the most divisive issues of our time: faith.

Former boozer and cop turned private eye Carl Van Wagener is a born-again Christian, a member of the Cathedral of the Third Millennium, which is a huge fundamentalist church in an unnamed southwestern state; a clean-living man who's survived a gauntlet of addictions and broken marriages to finally find peace and happiness through Christ. He has a loving wife, a loving daughter and makes a decent living. And he attends church every Sunday. In other words--he's a believer. But what makes him so compelling--and so rare for this genre--is that he's not just a believer, but a believable believer. He's no slack-jawed drooler or squeaky-clean Bible thumper, but a fully-rounded character whose beliefs are as human as he is.

But then Ahmad Nazami, a young Muslim student, is arrested and charged with the murder of Nathaniel MacLeod, a professor at the local university and an avowed atheist. There's a signed confession, and things look decidedly bleak for Ahmad, until Manny Goldfarb, a high-flying Jewish defense lawyer comes riding to the rescue. And when the going gets tough, he hires his old friend Carl to look into things. It's just another case, Carl figures. This is what he does for a living.

But in post-9/11 America, the culture wars, both real and imagined, are raging. The bonds between Church and State have never been more passionately attacked or defended. In this increasingly polarized world, Carl and Manny's attempt to make a stand, to do the honorable and right thing and to see that justice is done, is both brave and heroic--and tragically na?

Super User
2010-04-25 16:15:22

Holy sacred cows! The PI genre has been used like a literary shiv more than once to cut deep into the guts of an issue, but rarely has it been used with such cunning, wit and--believe it or not--diplomacy and fair-mindedness. In Salvation Boulevard, Larry Beinhart, the Edgar-winning author, best known for American Hero (filmed as Wag the Dog), sets sight on one of the most divisive issues of our time: faith.

Former boozer and cop turned private eye Carl Van Wagener is a born-again Christian, a member of the Cathedral of the Third Millennium, which is a huge fundamentalist church in an unnamed southwestern state; a clean-living man who's survived a gauntlet of addictions and broken marriages to finally find peace and happiness through Christ. He has a loving wife, a loving daughter and makes a decent living. And he attends church every Sunday. In other words--he's a believer. But what makes him so compelling--and so rare for this genre--is that he's not just a believer, but a believable believer. He's no slack-jawed drooler or squeaky-clean Bible thumper, but a fully-rounded character whose beliefs are as human as he is.

But then Ahmad Nazami, a young Muslim student, is arrested and charged with the murder of Nathaniel MacLeod, a professor at the local university and an avowed atheist. There's a signed confession, and things look decidedly bleak for Ahmad, until Manny Goldfarb, a high-flying Jewish defense lawyer comes riding to the rescue. And when the going gets tough, he hires his old friend Carl to look into things. It's just another case, Carl figures. This is what he does for a living.

But in post-9/11 America, the culture wars, both real and imagined, are raging. The bonds between Church and State have never been more passionately attacked or defended. In this increasingly polarized world, Carl and Manny's attempt to make a stand, to do the honorable and right thing and to see that justice is done, is both brave and heroic--and tragically na?

The Organ Grinder

It's 1899 in New York City: a barrel organ grinder sings "La donna ?

Super User
2010-04-25 16:15:22

It's 1899 in New York City: a barrel organ grinder sings "La donna ?

The Salisbury Manuscript

Philip Gooden, currently the chair of the Crime Writers Association in the UK, is the author of several Elizabethan mysteries. In The Salisbury Manuscript he turns to the 19th century. The story is set in 1873 on Salisbury Plain, in the cathedral with its canons, vergers, and sextons, and in the town itself. The tale is reminiscent of Dickens with its shades of Nicholas Nickleby.

Lawyer Todd Ansell is sent from London to visit a client in Salisbury who wishes to entrust a memoir written by his father to the safe keeping of the law firm. When the client, a residentiary canon named Felix Slater, is murdered, the plot thickens. The pace is deliberate, but never dull. The settings are described in enough detail to create images of the time and place. The characters are convincing Victorians?

Super User
2010-04-25 16:15:22

Philip Gooden, currently the chair of the Crime Writers Association in the UK, is the author of several Elizabethan mysteries. In The Salisbury Manuscript he turns to the 19th century. The story is set in 1873 on Salisbury Plain, in the cathedral with its canons, vergers, and sextons, and in the town itself. The tale is reminiscent of Dickens with its shades of Nicholas Nickleby.

Lawyer Todd Ansell is sent from London to visit a client in Salisbury who wishes to entrust a memoir written by his father to the safe keeping of the law firm. When the client, a residentiary canon named Felix Slater, is murdered, the plot thickens. The pace is deliberate, but never dull. The settings are described in enough detail to create images of the time and place. The characters are convincing Victorians?

At the Scene, Spring Issue #114
Kate Stine

Mystery Scene Spring Issue #114Hi everyone!

Of the hundreds of books that arrive in our office every season only a few inspire mad, hair-pulling scrambles—and Lisa Lutz’s Spellman mysteries are among the most hotly contested. Funny, hip, unpredictable, with a trace of melancholy beneath all the wisecracking—these books are true pleasures. And as Cheryl Solimini’s profile reveals, Lisa Lutz is just as much fun as her chaotic family of private eyes.

Brian and I are planning a trip to Europe this fall. Originally we were going to Amsterdam but after reading Tom Nolan’s interview with Cara Black, we’re seriously considering Paris instead. Take a look and maybe we’ll see you in Paris, too!

Also in this issue, Ed Gorman talks with Karen Berger, the founder of the famed Vertigo line of graphic novels and Charles L.P. Silet picks terrific gangster movies for your next movie night at home.

In addition to being two of the most celebrated crime writers of their generation, Larry Block and Don Westlake were lifelong friends. In his latest column, Larry ponders the literary road Don didn’t take—and discusses the publication of a long lost manuscript that shows an unexpected facet of Don’s talent.

Here’s a hot tip for your summer reading list—Thrillers: 100 Must Reads, edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner, Oceanview Publishing, July 5, $27.95. This entertaining collection starts with Lee Child’s thoughts on Theseus and the Minotaur (1500 B.C.) and ends with Steve Berry’s take on Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code (2003). In between are some thought-provoking essays by contemporary stars of the thriller field. We’re reprinting one for you in this issue, Marcus Sakey’s appreciation of Lee Child’s Killing Floor, and we’ll have another one in the next issue. You’ll have to buy the book for the other 98 essays and, take my word for it, you should.

The New Mystery Scene Website

Brian and Teri have been slaving over the MS website—with spectacular results. It’s been months of hard work but we think you’ll enjoy all the new features and content online. For example: Tom Nolan’s article about Watchlist, the serial thriller collaboration by 21 big name authors such as Jeffery Deaver, Lisa Scottoline, Lee Child, Joseph Finder, S.J. Rozan, and Jim Fusilli.

Other articles are from sold-out back issues: “Trixie Belden: The Girl-Next-Door Sleuth” by Judith Sears; “No Escape: Jacques Futrelle and the Titanic” by Jeff Marks; “Charlie Chan: The Case of the Reviled Detective” by Jon L. Breen; and many more.

The 1,000+ Mystery Scene Reviews Database is at the new site as well. Of course, as massive as it is, this is only a small portion of the reviews we’ve published since 2002. Audiobooks, children’s books, small press titles, etc., are being added on an ongoing basis and there are some online original reviews in the mix as well.

The website has room for interesting stuff we couldn’t fit in the magazine, too. A case in point is a complete list of Crippen & Landru’s chapbooks. Many of these little booklets, created by C&L publisher Doug Greene as gifts, constitute the first publication of stories by major writers such as Tony Hillerman, Elizabeth Peters, Joe Gores, Peter Robinson, Nancy Pickard, and Margaret Maron. As such they are of great interest to fans and highly collectible to boot. (Oh, and all of Nate Pedersen’s articles on book collecting will be posted online, too.)

Are you reading electronically?

We’re not planning on abandoning print any time soon but we are curious to know how many of you are using a Kindle, iPad, or other electronic device for your crime fiction reading. Is it really the wave of the future? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your thoughts.

Kate Stine
Editor-in-chief

Teri Duerr
2010-04-25 16:42:27

Mystery Scene Spring Issue #114Hi everyone!

Of the hundreds of books that arrive in our office every season only a few inspire mad, hair-pulling scrambles—and Lisa Lutz’s Spellman mysteries are among the most hotly contested. Funny, hip, unpredictable, with a trace of melancholy beneath all the wisecracking—these books are true pleasures. And as Cheryl Solimini’s profile reveals, Lisa Lutz is just as much fun as her chaotic family of private eyes.

Brian and I are planning a trip to Europe this fall. Originally we were going to Amsterdam but after reading Tom Nolan’s interview with Cara Black, we’re seriously considering Paris instead. Take a look and maybe we’ll see you in Paris, too!

Also in this issue, Ed Gorman talks with Karen Berger, the founder of the famed Vertigo line of graphic novels and Charles L.P. Silet picks terrific gangster movies for your next movie night at home.

In addition to being two of the most celebrated crime writers of their generation, Larry Block and Don Westlake were lifelong friends. In his latest column, Larry ponders the literary road Don didn’t take—and discusses the publication of a long lost manuscript that shows an unexpected facet of Don’s talent.

Here’s a hot tip for your summer reading list—Thrillers: 100 Must Reads, edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner, Oceanview Publishing, July 5, $27.95. This entertaining collection starts with Lee Child’s thoughts on Theseus and the Minotaur (1500 B.C.) and ends with Steve Berry’s take on Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code (2003). In between are some thought-provoking essays by contemporary stars of the thriller field. We’re reprinting one for you in this issue, Marcus Sakey’s appreciation of Lee Child’s Killing Floor, and we’ll have another one in the next issue. You’ll have to buy the book for the other 98 essays and, take my word for it, you should.

The New Mystery Scene Website

Brian and Teri have been slaving over the MS website—with spectacular results. It’s been months of hard work but we think you’ll enjoy all the new features and content online. For example: Tom Nolan’s article about Watchlist, the serial thriller collaboration by 21 big name authors such as Jeffery Deaver, Lisa Scottoline, Lee Child, Joseph Finder, S.J. Rozan, and Jim Fusilli.

Other articles are from sold-out back issues: “Trixie Belden: The Girl-Next-Door Sleuth” by Judith Sears; “No Escape: Jacques Futrelle and the Titanic” by Jeff Marks; “Charlie Chan: The Case of the Reviled Detective” by Jon L. Breen; and many more.

The 1,000+ Mystery Scene Reviews Database is at the new site as well. Of course, as massive as it is, this is only a small portion of the reviews we’ve published since 2002. Audiobooks, children’s books, small press titles, etc., are being added on an ongoing basis and there are some online original reviews in the mix as well.

The website has room for interesting stuff we couldn’t fit in the magazine, too. A case in point is a complete list of Crippen & Landru’s chapbooks. Many of these little booklets, created by C&L publisher Doug Greene as gifts, constitute the first publication of stories by major writers such as Tony Hillerman, Elizabeth Peters, Joe Gores, Peter Robinson, Nancy Pickard, and Margaret Maron. As such they are of great interest to fans and highly collectible to boot. (Oh, and all of Nate Pedersen’s articles on book collecting will be posted online, too.)

Are you reading electronically?

We’re not planning on abandoning print any time soon but we are curious to know how many of you are using a Kindle, iPad, or other electronic device for your crime fiction reading. Is it really the wave of the future? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your thoughts.

Kate Stine
Editor-in-chief

Book Review Search

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2010-04-25 22:29:17

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2010-04-25 22:29:17
 
2010 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominations

The MWA’s 2010 Edgar Allan Poe Awards honors the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2009. The Edgar Awards will be presented at the 64th Gala Banquet, April 29, 2010, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.

THE 2010 NOMINEES

BEST NOVEL
The Missing by Tim Gautreaux (Random House – Alfred A. Knopf)
The Odds by Kathleen George (Minotaur Books)
The Last Child by John Hart (Minotaur Books)
Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston (Random House – Ballantine Books)
Nemesis by Jo Nesbø, translated by Don Bartlett (HarperCollins)
A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books)

BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano (Grand Central Publishing)
Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley (Simon & Schuster – Touchstone)
The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf (MIRA Books)
A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield (Minotaur Books – Thomas Dunne Books)
Black Water Rising by Attica Locke (HarperCollins)
In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff (Minotaur Books)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott (Simon & Schuster)
Havana Lunar by Robert Arellano (Akashic Books)
The Lord God Bird by Russell Hill (Pleasure Boat Studio – Caravel Books)
Body Blows by Marc Strange (Dundurn Press – Castle Street Mysteries)
The Herring-Seller’s Apprentice by L.C. Tyler (Felony & Mayhem Press)

BEST FACT CRIME
Columbine by Dave Cullen (Hachette Book Group – Twelve)
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn (Simon & Schuster)
The Fence: A Police Cover-Up Along Boston’s Racial Divide by Dick Lehr (HarperCollins)
Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo (The Penguin Press)
Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R.A. Scotti (Random House – Alfred A. Knopf)

BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL
Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James (Random House – Alfred A. Knopf)
The Lineup: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives edited by Otto Penzler (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company)
Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King by Lisa Rogak (Thomas Dunne Books)
The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by Joan Schenkar (St. Martin’s Press)
The Stephen King Illustrated Companion by Bev Vincent (Fall River Press)

BEST SHORT STORY
“Last Fair Deal Gone Down” – Crossroad Blues by Ace Atkins (Busted Flush Press)
“Femme Sole” – Boston Noir by Dana Cameron (Akashic Books)
“Digby, Attorney at Law” – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Jim Fusilli (Dell Magazines)
“Animal Rescue” – Boston Noir by Dennis Lehane (Akashic Books
“Amapola” – Phoenix Noir by Luis Alberto Urrea (Akashic Books)

BEST JUVENILE
The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour by Michael D. Beil (Random House Children’s Books – Alfred A. Knopf)
Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Books)
Creepy Crawly Crime by Aaron Reynolds (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)
The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer (Penguin Young Readers Group – Philomel Books)

BEST YOUNG ADULT
Reality Check by Peter Abrahams (HarperCollins Children’s Books – HarperTeen)
If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney (Random House Children’s Books – Delacorte Press)
The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford (Penguin Young Readers Group – Viking Children’s Books)
Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone by Dene Low (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Books)
Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell (Random House Children’s Books – Delacorte Press)

BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY
“Place of Execution,” Teleplay by Patrick Harbinson (PBS/WGBH Boston)
“Strike Three” – The Closer, Teleplay by Steven Kane (Warner Bros TV for TNT)
“Look What He Dug Up This Time” – Damages, Teleplay by Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler & Daniel Zelman (FX Networks)
“Grilled” – Breaking Bad, Teleplay by George Mastras (AMC/Sony)
“Living the Dream” – Dexter, Teleplay by Clyde Phillips (Showtime)

ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD
“A Dreadful Day” – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Dan Warthman (Dell Magazines)

GRAND MASTER
Dorothy Gilman

RAVEN AWARDS
Mystery Lovers Bookshop, Oakmont, Pennsylvania
Zev Buffman, International Mystery Writers’ Festival

ELLERY QUEEN AWARD
Poisoned Pen Press (Barbara Peters & Robert Rosenwald)

THE SIMON & SCHUSTER – MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
(Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Wednesday, April 28, 2010)

Awakening by S.J. Bolton (Minotaur Books)
Cat Sitter on a Hot Tin Roof by Blaize Clement (Minotaur Books)
Never Tell a Lie by Hallie Ephron (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
Lethal Vintage by Nadia Gordon (Chronicle Books)
Dial H for Hitchcock by Susan Kandel (HarperCollins

Admin
2010-04-26 20:35:16

The MWA’s 2010 Edgar Allan Poe Awards honors the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2009. The Edgar Awards will be presented at the 64th Gala Banquet, April 29, 2010, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.

THE 2010 NOMINEES

BEST NOVEL
The Missing by Tim Gautreaux (Random House – Alfred A. Knopf)
The Odds by Kathleen George (Minotaur Books)
The Last Child by John Hart (Minotaur Books)
Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston (Random House – Ballantine Books)
Nemesis by Jo Nesbø, translated by Don Bartlett (HarperCollins)
A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books)

BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano (Grand Central Publishing)
Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley (Simon & Schuster – Touchstone)
The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf (MIRA Books)
A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield (Minotaur Books – Thomas Dunne Books)
Black Water Rising by Attica Locke (HarperCollins)
In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff (Minotaur Books)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott (Simon & Schuster)
Havana Lunar by Robert Arellano (Akashic Books)
The Lord God Bird by Russell Hill (Pleasure Boat Studio – Caravel Books)
Body Blows by Marc Strange (Dundurn Press – Castle Street Mysteries)
The Herring-Seller’s Apprentice by L.C. Tyler (Felony & Mayhem Press)

BEST FACT CRIME
Columbine by Dave Cullen (Hachette Book Group – Twelve)
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn (Simon & Schuster)
The Fence: A Police Cover-Up Along Boston’s Racial Divide by Dick Lehr (HarperCollins)
Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo (The Penguin Press)
Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R.A. Scotti (Random House – Alfred A. Knopf)

BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL
Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James (Random House – Alfred A. Knopf)
The Lineup: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives edited by Otto Penzler (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company)
Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King by Lisa Rogak (Thomas Dunne Books)
The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by Joan Schenkar (St. Martin’s Press)
The Stephen King Illustrated Companion by Bev Vincent (Fall River Press)

BEST SHORT STORY
“Last Fair Deal Gone Down” – Crossroad Blues by Ace Atkins (Busted Flush Press)
“Femme Sole” – Boston Noir by Dana Cameron (Akashic Books)
“Digby, Attorney at Law” – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Jim Fusilli (Dell Magazines)
“Animal Rescue” – Boston Noir by Dennis Lehane (Akashic Books
“Amapola” – Phoenix Noir by Luis Alberto Urrea (Akashic Books)

BEST JUVENILE
The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour by Michael D. Beil (Random House Children’s Books – Alfred A. Knopf)
Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Books)
Creepy Crawly Crime by Aaron Reynolds (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)
The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer (Penguin Young Readers Group – Philomel Books)

BEST YOUNG ADULT
Reality Check by Peter Abrahams (HarperCollins Children’s Books – HarperTeen)
If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney (Random House Children’s Books – Delacorte Press)
The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford (Penguin Young Readers Group – Viking Children’s Books)
Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone by Dene Low (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Books)
Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell (Random House Children’s Books – Delacorte Press)

BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY
“Place of Execution,” Teleplay by Patrick Harbinson (PBS/WGBH Boston)
“Strike Three” – The Closer, Teleplay by Steven Kane (Warner Bros TV for TNT)
“Look What He Dug Up This Time” – Damages, Teleplay by Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler & Daniel Zelman (FX Networks)
“Grilled” – Breaking Bad, Teleplay by George Mastras (AMC/Sony)
“Living the Dream” – Dexter, Teleplay by Clyde Phillips (Showtime)

ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD
“A Dreadful Day” – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Dan Warthman (Dell Magazines)

GRAND MASTER
Dorothy Gilman

RAVEN AWARDS
Mystery Lovers Bookshop, Oakmont, Pennsylvania
Zev Buffman, International Mystery Writers’ Festival

ELLERY QUEEN AWARD
Poisoned Pen Press (Barbara Peters & Robert Rosenwald)

THE SIMON & SCHUSTER – MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
(Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Wednesday, April 28, 2010)

Awakening by S.J. Bolton (Minotaur Books)
Cat Sitter on a Hot Tin Roof by Blaize Clement (Minotaur Books)
Never Tell a Lie by Hallie Ephron (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
Lethal Vintage by Nadia Gordon (Chronicle Books)
Dial H for Hitchcock by Susan Kandel (HarperCollins

Haunted Heart: the Life and Times of Stephen King
Jon L. Breen

This Edgar-nominee is highly readable, efficiently organized, and most welcome as the first book-length King biography. Besides being a formidable writer paradoxically underrated as a result of his success and productivity (plus his identification with the horror genre), King emerges as an admirable human being: philanthropist, family man, and generous supporter and advocate of fellow writers. That said, wife Tabitha King, herself an accomplished novelist, comes across as a saint, possessing extraordinary patience and wisdom to deal with his quirks and excesses.

Among the interesting details are the jaw-dropping extent of his alcoholism and cocaine addiction, both finally defeated, and his incredibly draconian contract with Doubleday, which he was able to break only by letting them publish a book he hated, Pet Sematary. Though little critical commentary is provided, King’s various bestsellers are described and placed in the context of the events of his life. The subject, who was not interviewed for the book, neither authorized nor obstructed it. The author interviewed many friends and associates and quotes frequently from King’s published writings and interviews. Occasional repetition and internal contradiction prove minor annoyances. Careless editing allowed a whole sentence (“Steve and Tabby had fallen into a comfortable rhythm of spending half the year in Maine and the other half in Florida”) to turn up on both pages 219 and 226. Eight pages of photographs are interesting but limited, lacking a single shot of his wife or children.

The Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Award to Stephen King was controversial in some quarters. Anyone who doubts he’s a mystery writer might consider that Ed McBain and John D. MacDonald were among his earliest influences and (per Otto Penzler) his taste in detective fiction extends to P.D. James.

Teri Duerr
2010-04-28 00:16:08

This Edgar-nominee is highly readable, efficiently organized, and most welcome.

Blood on the Stage, 1925-1950: Milestone Plays of Crime, Mystery, and Detection: an Annotated Repertoire
Jon L. Breen

The previous volume of this landmark reference, covering 1900 to 1925 and reviewed here in issue #106, was less than half the length. This one covers 150 more plays, each with at least one English-language production, with plot summaries, production histories, author biographies, and other notes of interest. Playwrights again include both mystery specialists (e.g., Agatha Christie, Rufus King, Edgar Wallace, Dorothy L. Sayers) and writers not normally associated with crime fiction (e.g., Maxwell Anderson, Eugene O’Neill, Elmer Rice, Lillian Hellman). Special subjects treated in the appendices, often extending outside the stated chronological parameters, include on-stage poison, courtroom and jury room drama, death-house depictions, imperiled children, and Lizzie Borden.

No reference so rich in names, dates, and facts could be free of error, and I noted occasional typos and minor misstatements. In a note on the play Keeper of the Keys, Kabatchnik overstates the contribution of Philip MacDonald to the Charlie Chan films: the British novelist wrote the screenplay for Charlie Chan in London and the original story for Charlie Chan in Paris but was not involved in the Honolulu sleuth’s later globetrotting.

Occasional quibbles apart, Kabatchnik is making an extraordinary contribution to mystery scholarship. The first volume didn’t get the Edgar nomination I predicted for it; maybe this one will.

Teri Duerr
2010-04-28 00:29:28

kabatchnik_bloodonthestageThe second volume of a landmark reference series, this one covering 150 of the most murderous plays from 1900-1925.

John Dickson Carr in Paperback: an English Language Bibliography
Jon L. Breen

Despite the British origin of this chapbook, most of the paperbacks noted are American, publishers ranging from Ace to Zebra. Carr’s books are arranged alphabetically by US title, with cross-references from British variants, listing paperback editions chronologically, giving publisher, identifying number, year of publication, cover artist where known, and information as alternate titles, authors of introductory material, and cover size variations. Notes call attention to typographical errors, presence or absence of dedications, and other textual differences. Eight pages reproduce covers in color, four to a page. Carr’s books are also listed chronologically, from 1930 (It Walks by Night) to 2008 (To the Gallows, a collection of plays, some written with Val Gielgud). Appendices list Carr’s publications in pamphlet form, appearances of his novels in magazines and newspapers, and paperback editions that Keirans believes exist but has not been able to track down. This is a fine addition to the Carr reference shelf.

(Order from Geoff Bradley, 9 Vicarage Hill, South Benfleet, Essex, SS7 1PA, UK.)

Teri Duerr
2010-04-28 00:35:09

Despite the British origin of this chapbook, most of the paperbacks noted are American, publishers ranging from Ace to Zebra. Carr’s books are arranged alphabetically by US title, with cross-references from British variants, listing paperback editions chronologically, giving publisher, identifying number, year of publication, cover artist where known, and information as alternate titles, authors of introductory material, and cover size variations. Notes call attention to typographical errors, presence or absence of dedications, and other textual differences. Eight pages reproduce covers in color, four to a page. Carr’s books are also listed chronologically, from 1930 (It Walks by Night) to 2008 (To the Gallows, a collection of plays, some written with Val Gielgud). Appendices list Carr’s publications in pamphlet form, appearances of his novels in magazines and newspapers, and paperback editions that Keirans believes exist but has not been able to track down. This is a fine addition to the Carr reference shelf.

(Order from Geoff Bradley, 9 Vicarage Hill, South Benfleet, Essex, SS7 1PA, UK.)

Sherlock Holmes Handbook, 2nd Edition
Jon L. Breen

It’s hard to imagine a better-written or more thorough single-volume Sherlockian reference than this one, including summaries of all the books and stories in the canon, profiles of the major continuing characters, notes on publishing histories, the biography of Arthur Conan Doyle, the Victorian milieu, Doyle’s notable contemporaries, British law and police work, Holmes in pastiche and parody; stage, film, radio, and TV adaptations; the history of Sherlockian fandom, including notable public and private library collections; tourist attractions, and academic scholarship. In his introduction, Redmond notes that the biggest difference from the 1993 first edition is the proliferation of Internet resources.

A section on the general history of detective fiction may raise reader hackles, both for its dismissive opinions (Christie’s novels “enjoyable but forgettable”? the Perry Mason novels “interchangeable”?) and factual misstatements (the character Ellery Queen does not appear in The Glass Village, and the hardboiled school was well underway before the 1940s).

Teri Duerr
2010-04-28 00:42:10

redmond_sherlockholmeshandbookLong one of the best and most thorough single-volume Sherlockian references available, Christopher Redmond's handbook gets an update for the Internet age.

The Secret of the Bradford House
Roberta Rogow

In Albert A. Bell, Jr.’s The Secret of the Bradford House Steve and Kendra, two preteens spending the summer in Kentucky’s Land Between the Lakes, go ghost hunting. A large family has moved into the area, right next to the spooky old Bradford house that is being turned into a bed-and-breakfast by the relatives of the old woman who was the last direct heir of the Bradford family. Rachel, the newcomer, insists she’s seen lights in the supposedly empty building. Kendra is just as sure there’s a rational explanation for the lights, noises and other spectral phenomena. Steve is caught between the feuding females, as the three of them explore local lore at the library and do some hands-on sleuthing at the house. Baseball cards, the First World War, and a very current problem afflicting returning soldiers, all play a part in solving the mystery and recovering a most unusual treasure. Notes at the end of the book explain some of the elements of the story that may be unfamiliar to younger readers, such as vaudeville, the 1918 influenza epidemic, and the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Once again, Bell provides a good mix of history, mystery, and very real relationships between young people.

Teri Duerr
2010-04-28 00:52:03

In Albert A. Bell, Jr.’s The Secret of the Bradford House Steve and Kendra, two preteens spending the summer in Kentucky’s Land Between the Lakes, go ghost hunting. A large family has moved into the area, right next to the spooky old Bradford house that is being turned into a bed-and-breakfast by the relatives of the old woman who was the last direct heir of the Bradford family. Rachel, the newcomer, insists she’s seen lights in the supposedly empty building. Kendra is just as sure there’s a rational explanation for the lights, noises and other spectral phenomena. Steve is caught between the feuding females, as the three of them explore local lore at the library and do some hands-on sleuthing at the house. Baseball cards, the First World War, and a very current problem afflicting returning soldiers, all play a part in solving the mystery and recovering a most unusual treasure. Notes at the end of the book explain some of the elements of the story that may be unfamiliar to younger readers, such as vaudeville, the 1918 influenza epidemic, and the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Once again, Bell provides a good mix of history, mystery, and very real relationships between young people.

The Sherlock Files: the Case That Time Forgot
Roberta Rogow

History is evoked in the latest installment of The Sherlock Files: The Case that Time Forgot by Tracy Barrett. Xander and Xena, descendants of Sherlock Holmes, are Americans in Britain, ready to solve two more mysteries. A thief is operating in their school, filching small items from student lockers, and the upstart Americans are challenged to find the culprit. At the same time, their friend Karim relates a fantastic tale of a magical Egyptian amulet with the power to stop time that’s gone missing. The two cases become one when a vital clue is stolen from Xander’s school locker. The trail leads across London, from Cleopatra’s Needle to Big Ben’s tower, to an obscure museum, where the treasure hunt reaches a surprising conclusion. There’s plenty of local color to add to the adventure, as the two Americans deal with British customs with aplomb and a dash of danger.

Teri Duerr
2010-04-28 00:57:56

History is evoked in the latest installment of The Sherlock Files: The Case that Time Forgot by Tracy Barrett. Xander and Xena, descendants of Sherlock Holmes, are Americans in Britain, ready to solve two more mysteries. A thief is operating in their school, filching small items from student lockers, and the upstart Americans are challenged to find the culprit. At the same time, their friend Karim relates a fantastic tale of a magical Egyptian amulet with the power to stop time that’s gone missing. The two cases become one when a vital clue is stolen from Xander’s school locker. The trail leads across London, from Cleopatra’s Needle to Big Ben’s tower, to an obscure museum, where the treasure hunt reaches a surprising conclusion. There’s plenty of local color to add to the adventure, as the two Americans deal with British customs with aplomb and a dash of danger.

Griff Carver, Hallway Patrol
Roberta Rogow

Jim Krieg’s Griff Carver, Hallway Patrol skewers the tough cop subgenre by bringing it to the suburbs. Rampart Middle School may have the reputation of being the safest school in town, but Griff Carver knows better. He’s been on the job since kindergarten, and he sees beneath the shiny surface to the slimy stuff below, a world where gangs rule and everything is for sale, including test answers, term papers, and fake bathroom passes. Characters include: Griff, the hall-wise cop, who enforces the law on his own terms; the head of the Hallway Patrol, caught between the principal’s office and his own sense of justice; the naive, by-the-book partner, who learns the truth the hard way; the savvy reporter, out to get a story any way she can; and the forensics geeks of the Omicron Science Club, who provide the vital evidence that nails the perps. Alas, even as in the adult world, criminals do not always pay for their misdeeds, but fear not! With Griff Carver on patrol, it’s only a matter of time before justice will be served. Young readers may not get the parody aspects of this revelation of urban evil, but adults will relish the echoes of Wambaugh and McBain as the sixth-grade Serpico fights corruption and nails his man.

Teri Duerr
2010-04-28 01:03:10

krieg_griffcarver A winning grade school Serpico serving up justice in the halls of middle school.

Missing Grace
Roberta Rogow

Missing Grace by Elizabeth McDavid Jones involves would-be reporter Kit in a case of dog-napping and possible pedigree fraud when her basset hound, Grace, is stolen right off the back porch. Kit enlists the help of her friends, Stirling and Ruthie, to track down the fiends. Using her reporter’s skills, Kit goes from the local hobo jungle to the mansions of the wealthy, as she uncovers the evidence that will nab a crafty swindler and retrieves her beloved pet. “A Peek into the Past” explains how dog shows provided entertainment during the lean years of the Great Depression.

Teri Duerr
2010-04-28 01:12:05

Missing Grace by Elizabeth McDavid Jones involves would-be reporter Kit in a case of dog-napping and possible pedigree fraud when her basset hound, Grace, is stolen right off the back porch. Kit enlists the help of her friends, Stirling and Ruthie, to track down the fiends. Using her reporter’s skills, Kit goes from the local hobo jungle to the mansions of the wealthy, as she uncovers the evidence that will nab a crafty swindler and retrieves her beloved pet. “A Peek into the Past” explains how dog shows provided entertainment during the lean years of the Great Depression.

Secrets at Camp Nokomis
Roberta Rogow

In an earlier era, immigrant girl Rebecca Rubin finds mysteries in Secrets at Camp Nokomis by Jacqueline Dembar Greene, when she escapes the polio epidemic raging in the tenements of New York City for a week at summer camp. At first all goes well, but there are strange things happening that spoil the fun. Why does Tina disappear from time to time, and what does she keep in her trunk? Why are the bunk-mates turning against Rebecca, and favoring red-headed Corky? And is there really a Windigo in the woods? Rebecca learns a lot more than woodcraft at summer camp, as all is revealed in a surprising conclusion. “A Peek into the Past” explains how city kids could get away from the city’s heat, smells, and sickness thanks to charitable organizations. The “Peek” also explains the impact of polio, before the general use of the vaccines that make this disease a thing of the past in the United States.

Teri Duerr
2010-04-28 01:17:11

It's 1916 and American Girl Rebecca escapes the polio epidemic in New York City for summer camp.

The Puzzle of the Paper Daughter
Roberta Rogow

In The Puzzle of the Paper Daughter by Kathryn Reiss, Julie Albright, the American Girl living in San Francisco in 1977, is drawn into a mystery that dates back some 50 years when she finds a scrap of paper with Chinese characters on it jammed into the lining of an old jacket. When she brings the paper to her Chinese friend’s family restaurant, Julie learns of the early days of Chinese immigration, and the “paper daughters” who had to memorize details of the lives of putative parents before they were allowed past Angel Island and into the United States. The mystery deepens when two dolls are stolen from the apartment over the restaurant. The trail leads from the old immigration center at Angel Island to Oakland, where old friends meet and a lost treasure is found. “A Peek into the Past” reveals the unhappy truths about Asian immigration in the early 20th century, and the fate of the Angel Island facility.

Teri Duerr
2010-04-28 01:21:16

reiss_puzzleofpaperdaughterAmerican Girl Julie Albright investigates a mystery centered on the early days of Chinese immigration, and the “paper daughters” who came through Angel Island on their way to the United States.

The Singer’s Gun
Betty Webb

Emily St. John Mandel’s The Singer’s Gun one of the most unique suspense novels to come along. Given its ease in combining post-9/11 anxiety with bucolic acceptance, and criminal cynicism with religious mysticism, it is also one of the most admirable.

This gorgeously-written book opens in New York City, where Alexandra Broden, a US government agent, is searching for Anton Walker, a young New York executive who has disappeared. In one of the novel’s many time/country/point-of-view jumps, we are swept to Ischia, a small island off the coast of Italy, where the before-disappearance Anton and Sophie, his fiancée, are about to marry. But Sophie has cold feet; she’s prone to that. As soon as we realize that this relationship is doomed, we travel farther backwards, returning to Manhattan, where increased security concerns at Anton’s office have revealed troubling blips in his resume. Although not exactly fired, Anton is slowly “nudged” away from his job, and in the process, loses his comfy office and Elena, his trusted secretary. As the book time-jumps and jitters along, we learn that although Anton has tried to distance himself from his family’s overtly criminal activities, he isn’t perfectly honest, either. One of his lapses from the straight and narrow returns to haunt him when his cousin Aria blackmails him into carrying out one last score.

The themes in The Singer’s Gun are complex but never baffling. Here we find a family so steeped in criminality that they turn a blind eye to the safety of their only son, who in turn is a man so indoctrinated in dishonesty that he commits a minor crime—one with fatal consequences—out of sheer laziness. But we also find a forgiving world where redemption is always possible and holiness can be found in a house pet or a woman’s sunhat. Big in concept, flawless in tone, The Singer’s Gun is a tender and astounding tour de force.

Teri Duerr
2010-04-28 01:25:03

Emily St. John Mandel’s The Singer’s Gun one of the most unique suspense novels to come along. Given its ease in combining post-9/11 anxiety with bucolic acceptance, and criminal cynicism with religious mysticism, it is also one of the most admirable.

This gorgeously-written book opens in New York City, where Alexandra Broden, a US government agent, is searching for Anton Walker, a young New York executive who has disappeared. In one of the novel’s many time/country/point-of-view jumps, we are swept to Ischia, a small island off the coast of Italy, where the before-disappearance Anton and Sophie, his fiancée, are about to marry. But Sophie has cold feet; she’s prone to that. As soon as we realize that this relationship is doomed, we travel farther backwards, returning to Manhattan, where increased security concerns at Anton’s office have revealed troubling blips in his resume. Although not exactly fired, Anton is slowly “nudged” away from his job, and in the process, loses his comfy office and Elena, his trusted secretary. As the book time-jumps and jitters along, we learn that although Anton has tried to distance himself from his family’s overtly criminal activities, he isn’t perfectly honest, either. One of his lapses from the straight and narrow returns to haunt him when his cousin Aria blackmails him into carrying out one last score.

The themes in The Singer’s Gun are complex but never baffling. Here we find a family so steeped in criminality that they turn a blind eye to the safety of their only son, who in turn is a man so indoctrinated in dishonesty that he commits a minor crime—one with fatal consequences—out of sheer laziness. But we also find a forgiving world where redemption is always possible and holiness can be found in a house pet or a woman’s sunhat. Big in concept, flawless in tone, The Singer’s Gun is a tender and astounding tour de force.

The Fall
Betty Webb

David Fulmer’s The Fall reminds us why we left home in the first place. Although his dreams of Broadway stardom fell flat, New Yorker Richard Zale has carved out a career acting in television commercials, and a comfortable personal life with his wife and two daughters. He’s a lucky man and he knows it. This minor Eden is shattered when he hears that Joey, his long-ago best friend, has fallen to his death from a high ledge. By all accounts, Joey was a failure, living in a run-down trailer, doing drugs and playing old Beatles tunes to numb the bleakness of his small town life. Feeling guilty that he’d let his friendship with Joey slide, Richard returns home to Pennsylvania merely to pay his respects to Joey’s sister, but instead, finds himself cast into a garbage pit of small town corruption and mangled lives. Richard soon realizes that the enemies he and Joey made in high school remain enemies, and the bullies they’d known continue to torment the helpless. Even more dangerously, Richard discovers that lost loves don’t necessarily remain lost. The road-not-taken material is handled so beautifully by Fulmer, winner of the 2002 Shamus Award, that we can glimpse bits of ourselves. As Richard burrows deeper into his past, we ourselves begin to examine the kind of person we’ve become—or the person we try to convince ourselves we’ve become.

Teri Duerr
2010-04-28 01:31:15

David Fulmer’s The Fall reminds us why we left home in the first place. Although his dreams of Broadway stardom fell flat, New Yorker Richard Zale has carved out a career acting in television commercials, and a comfortable personal life with his wife and two daughters. He’s a lucky man and he knows it. This minor Eden is shattered when he hears that Joey, his long-ago best friend, has fallen to his death from a high ledge. By all accounts, Joey was a failure, living in a run-down trailer, doing drugs and playing old Beatles tunes to numb the bleakness of his small town life. Feeling guilty that he’d let his friendship with Joey slide, Richard returns home to Pennsylvania merely to pay his respects to Joey’s sister, but instead, finds himself cast into a garbage pit of small town corruption and mangled lives. Richard soon realizes that the enemies he and Joey made in high school remain enemies, and the bullies they’d known continue to torment the helpless. Even more dangerously, Richard discovers that lost loves don’t necessarily remain lost. The road-not-taken material is handled so beautifully by Fulmer, winner of the 2002 Shamus Award, that we can glimpse bits of ourselves. As Richard burrows deeper into his past, we ourselves begin to examine the kind of person we’ve become—or the person we try to convince ourselves we’ve become.

The Fall Girl
Betty Webb

The attempt to escape one’s past is the theme of Kaye C. Hill’s The Fall Girl. Masquerading as an amateur investigator, Lexy Lomax is hiding out from her vicious husband in a seaside British cottage and gets sucked into a possible murder case when she’s hired by a local teenage girl. Rowana was trying to bring good luck to her financially-strapped father via a “magic” spell, causing—she believes—a distant family friend to die, leaving her fortune to the guilt-ridden girl. Pooh-poohing any possibility of magic, Lexy sets out to discover what really happened by temporarily moving into the dead woman’s house. Thus ensconced, Lexy learns about the legend of Old Shuck, a black ghost dog who roams the countryside, signaling evil events to come. Even spookier is the family of ex-circus performers who are attempting to take possession of the dead woman’s cottage—no matter the price. Playing pivotal roles in this madcap mystery are Kinky, Lexy’s nasty-tempered Chihuahua, and Milo, Lexy’s policeman friend. Sassy Lexy frequently acts with more guts than sense, but that’s why reading about her is so much fun. Screw-up though Lexy may be, she’s also courageous, good-hearted, and quick to clean up the messes she makes. Fans of British cozies will love Fall Girl, especially if they revel in Chihuahua-toting amateur detectives and evocative, I-want-to-live-there descriptions of the Suffolk sea coast.

Teri Duerr
2010-04-28 01:35:31

hill_fallgirlA madcap mystery featuring gutsy, amateur investigator Lexy Lomax and her Chihuahua named Kinky.

Law and Disorder: a Camilla Macphee Mystery
Betty Webb

Mary Jane Maffini’s Law and Disorder: A Camilla MacPhee Mystery, set in Ottawa, Canada, during the famed Dragon Boat Festival. A serial killer has been torturing and murdering Ottawa’s attorneys, first announcing his intentions by sending future victims letters containing lawyer jokes. (Example: Why did the chicken cross the road? To sue the chicken on the other side.) Victim’s advocate Camilla MacPhee becomes involved in the case when one of her friends, a “reformed” dyslexic burglar and his family, are also targeted by the killer, ostensibly because he knows more than he should. As the dragon boat races begin, dead lawyers’ bodies accumulate. In many ways, Camilla is an unlikely sleuth. Her household is untidy, with “temporary” pets and an astoundingly inept assistant who has no sense of personal boundaries. But she’s as smart as she is disorganized, and by the end of this frequently laugh-out-loud book, we know whodunit and the surprising reason why.

Teri Duerr
2010-04-28 01:40:14

Mary Jane Maffini’s Law and Disorder: A Camilla MacPhee Mystery, set in Ottawa, Canada, during the famed Dragon Boat Festival. A serial killer has been torturing and murdering Ottawa’s attorneys, first announcing his intentions by sending future victims letters containing lawyer jokes. (Example: Why did the chicken cross the road? To sue the chicken on the other side.) Victim’s advocate Camilla MacPhee becomes involved in the case when one of her friends, a “reformed” dyslexic burglar and his family, are also targeted by the killer, ostensibly because he knows more than he should. As the dragon boat races begin, dead lawyers’ bodies accumulate. In many ways, Camilla is an unlikely sleuth. Her household is untidy, with “temporary” pets and an astoundingly inept assistant who has no sense of personal boundaries. But she’s as smart as she is disorganized, and by the end of this frequently laugh-out-loud book, we know whodunit and the surprising reason why.

Midnight Fires
Betty Webb

At first glance, Nancy Means Wright’s Midnight Fires might come across as just another riff on the Jane Eyre tradition, but if you’re looking for a Gothic historical starring a naive but well-meaning governess threatened by unseen evil, look elsewhere. The governess here is Mary Wollstonecraft, based on the real-life mother of Frankenstein author, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly, and the setting is 1786 Ireland, a time when English landlords treated the Irish with horrific brutality. Upon her arrival at a grand Irish estate, Mary discovers that her new employers embody the worst traits of English landlords; Lord Kingsborough even sets the locals’ heads on fire to punish them for being “uppity.” Aghast at this treatment of the Irish, Mary sets out to make friends with them, clamoring to join an underground resistance movement called The Defenders. Meanwhile, back at the castle, she begins to feel affection for some of the Lord’s many children while maintaining her loathing for some others. And no wonder. The mother is a hysterical fool, the sons are skilled at getting local girls pregnant, and various younger siblings behave as if they are as mentally disturbed as they are spoiled. In short, Mary has signed on to be governess in a house of hell, where murder is deemed a common sense solution to any problem. While not a romantic take on the life of an English governess, Midnight Fires serves a different purpose: anyone who doesn’t understand Ireland’s centuries-old loathing for British rule would do well to read it.

Teri Duerr
2010-04-28 01:48:14

At first glance, Nancy Means Wright’s Midnight Fires might come across as just another riff on the Jane Eyre tradition, but if you’re looking for a Gothic historical starring a naive but well-meaning governess threatened by unseen evil, look elsewhere. The governess here is Mary Wollstonecraft, based on the real-life mother of Frankenstein author, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly, and the setting is 1786 Ireland, a time when English landlords treated the Irish with horrific brutality. Upon her arrival at a grand Irish estate, Mary discovers that her new employers embody the worst traits of English landlords; Lord Kingsborough even sets the locals’ heads on fire to punish them for being “uppity.” Aghast at this treatment of the Irish, Mary sets out to make friends with them, clamoring to join an underground resistance movement called The Defenders. Meanwhile, back at the castle, she begins to feel affection for some of the Lord’s many children while maintaining her loathing for some others. And no wonder. The mother is a hysterical fool, the sons are skilled at getting local girls pregnant, and various younger siblings behave as if they are as mentally disturbed as they are spoiled. In short, Mary has signed on to be governess in a house of hell, where murder is deemed a common sense solution to any problem. While not a romantic take on the life of an English governess, Midnight Fires serves a different purpose: anyone who doesn’t understand Ireland’s centuries-old loathing for British rule would do well to read it.

Cold Winter Nights
Betty Webb

Anne White’s Cold Winter Nights: A Lake George Mystery is set in fictional Emerald Point, on the other side of the lake from the very real Lake George Village. Mayor Loren Graham wishes to govern her town with as little fuss and red tape as possible, but when Denise, a nurse at the local hospital, is found dead, skeletons begin clattering out of numerous Emerald Point closets. It seems that Denise never met a man she didn’t like, and as word of her many affairs leak out, successful businessmen begin tiptoeing around the subject of adultery, leaving their wives to seethe in jealous rages. Everyone settles down temporarily when a homeless man dubbed “The Woodsman” is arrested, but when he is identified as Loren’s old childhood friend, the town turns its collective wrath on her. Along the way, we get hints about Loren’s unhappy childhood and the role The Woodsman played in it, but nothing more than hints. While spending time in the lakeside village of Emerald Point is always pleasurable, the ending of Nights is a bit abrupt this time out, in some ways leaving more questions than answers.

Teri Duerr
2010-04-28 01:52:27

Anne White’s Cold Winter Nights: A Lake George Mystery is set in fictional Emerald Point, on the other side of the lake from the very real Lake George Village. Mayor Loren Graham wishes to govern her town with as little fuss and red tape as possible, but when Denise, a nurse at the local hospital, is found dead, skeletons begin clattering out of numerous Emerald Point closets. It seems that Denise never met a man she didn’t like, and as word of her many affairs leak out, successful businessmen begin tiptoeing around the subject of adultery, leaving their wives to seethe in jealous rages. Everyone settles down temporarily when a homeless man dubbed “The Woodsman” is arrested, but when he is identified as Loren’s old childhood friend, the town turns its collective wrath on her. Along the way, we get hints about Loren’s unhappy childhood and the role The Woodsman played in it, but nothing more than hints. While spending time in the lakeside village of Emerald Point is always pleasurable, the ending of Nights is a bit abrupt this time out, in some ways leaving more questions than answers.

Pretty in Ink
Lynne F. Maxwell

To this reader, tattoos are the stuff of horror rather than mystery, but in Pretty in Ink, Karen E. Olson proves that they can be both. Following The Missing Ink, this is Olson’s second Tattoo Shop Mystery featuring Las Vegas tattoo shop owner and artist, Brett Kavanaugh. Having abandoned her native New Jersey for Sin City, Brett puts her degree in fine arts to fine use as she designs original tattoos for her many clients. In Pretty in Ink she doesn’t have much opportunity to exercise her artistry, though, because she is caught up investigating a bizarre scheme involving her employee Charlotte, a gaggle of drag queens, multiple murders, mounds of money and the deadly poison ricin. How does all of this fit together?

Well, let’s just agree that it’s complicated and can only be teased out by reading the book through to its whirlwind conclusion. Let me warn you, though, that there’s so much action here that I wish I’d taken Dramamine as I followed Brett and her rival tattoo shop owner (and, perhaps, future love interest?) Jeff Coleman on their quest to locate Charlotte and halt a deadly killer. Olson’s imagination here defies full description, but you can easily experience it firsthand as you share the adventures of Brett Kavanaugh, an amateur sleuth whose handiwork will be forever emblazoned upon your memory, much like a tattoo. While I’m still not inclined to get a tattoo, I’m now convinced that they can definitely add color to one’s life!

Teri Duerr
2010-04-28 01:59:08

To this reader, tattoos are the stuff of horror rather than mystery, but in Pretty in Ink, Karen E. Olson proves that they can be both. Following The Missing Ink, this is Olson’s second Tattoo Shop Mystery featuring Las Vegas tattoo shop owner and artist, Brett Kavanaugh. Having abandoned her native New Jersey for Sin City, Brett puts her degree in fine arts to fine use as she designs original tattoos for her many clients. In Pretty in Ink she doesn’t have much opportunity to exercise her artistry, though, because she is caught up investigating a bizarre scheme involving her employee Charlotte, a gaggle of drag queens, multiple murders, mounds of money and the deadly poison ricin. How does all of this fit together?

Well, let’s just agree that it’s complicated and can only be teased out by reading the book through to its whirlwind conclusion. Let me warn you, though, that there’s so much action here that I wish I’d taken Dramamine as I followed Brett and her rival tattoo shop owner (and, perhaps, future love interest?) Jeff Coleman on their quest to locate Charlotte and halt a deadly killer. Olson’s imagination here defies full description, but you can easily experience it firsthand as you share the adventures of Brett Kavanaugh, an amateur sleuth whose handiwork will be forever emblazoned upon your memory, much like a tattoo. While I’m still not inclined to get a tattoo, I’m now convinced that they can definitely add color to one’s life!