In Pursuit of Spenser: Mystery Writers on Robert B. Parker and the Creation of an American Hero
Jon L. Breen

A distinguished group of friends and colleagues address various aspects of Parker’s life and work, among them Dennis Lehane, Jeremiah Healy, Loren D. Estleman, Brendan DuBois, and Reed Farrel Coleman. Specialized topics include Lindsay Faye on Spenser the chef, Gary Phillips on Hawk, S.J. Rozan (appropriately ambivalent) on Susan Silverman, Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens on the TV series (with episode list), and Ed Gorman on the westerns. Parker’s mock interview “Spenser: A Profile” and a listing of his books close out the volume.

Even if you think editor Penzler and heir-to-Spenser Ace Atkins way over the top in bracketing Parker with the Hammett/Chandler/Ross Macdonald triumvirate, his work is worth celebrating. He wrote individual sentences worthy of framing and placing above the computer screens of fellow writers. Parnell Hall captures the key to Parker’s appeal: humor in dialogue and narrative. Lawrence Block’s assessment comes closest to my own: “I was never the Ideal Reader for Parker’s work…. But I did read almost all of the books, and not because of the stories he chose to tell or the characters who peopled them. I just kind of liked the way they sounded.”

Teri Duerr
2013-04-19 18:44:58

::cck::4380

Clues and Corpses: the Detective Fiction and Mystery Criticism of Todd Downing
Jon L. Breen

One-eighth Choctaw author Todd Downing (1902-1974) wrote nine classical detective novels, most set in Mexico, published between 1933 and 1941. Following a substantial biographical and critical summary by Curtis Evans, who is becoming the foremost contemporary scholar of Golden Age detective fiction, are nearly 300 mystery reviews Downing contributed to the Oklahoma City Daily Oklahoman between 1930 and 1937. Almost all have annotations, sometimes highlighting a point in the review but more often providing useful information about the subject authors, many unfamiliar today even to specialists. Downing was always readable and could make even books he didn’t especially like sound interesting to the right reader. Though a fairly gentle critic, he was a master of faint praise and could be very funny when he turned acerbic. His enthusiasm for Rufus King (whom he compared to Hammett at one point) and Mignon G. Eberhart may lead readers to rediscover them. He had a soft spot for Edgar Wallace, E. Phillips Oppenheim, and other thriller specialists of his formative years. Appendices include some non-mystery fiction reviews, an interview from 1934, a review of Howard Haycraft’s Murder for Pleasure, a 1943 essay on the mystery craft, articles about Downing in the Daily Oklahoman, an index to authors reviewed, and an addendum on a Harry Stephen Keeler novel. The book is an important addition to our knowledge, not just of an unfairly neglected writer but of the whole mystery scene in a misunderstood and often mischaracterized decade. Bill Pronzini provides a preface and is credited as a consultant on the annotations.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-19 18:52:49

One-eighth Choctaw author Todd Downing (1902-1974) wrote nine classical detective novels, most set in Mexico, published between 1933 and 1941. Following a substantial biographical and critical summary by Curtis Evans, who is becoming the foremost contemporary scholar of Golden Age detective fiction, are nearly 300 mystery reviews Downing contributed to the Oklahoma City Daily Oklahoman between 1930 and 1937. Almost all have annotations, sometimes highlighting a point in the review but more often providing useful information about the subject authors, many unfamiliar today even to specialists. Downing was always readable and could make even books he didn’t especially like sound interesting to the right reader. Though a fairly gentle critic, he was a master of faint praise and could be very funny when he turned acerbic. His enthusiasm for Rufus King (whom he compared to Hammett at one point) and Mignon G. Eberhart may lead readers to rediscover them. He had a soft spot for Edgar Wallace, E. Phillips Oppenheim, and other thriller specialists of his formative years. Appendices include some non-mystery fiction reviews, an interview from 1934, a review of Howard Haycraft’s Murder for Pleasure, a 1943 essay on the mystery craft, articles about Downing in the Daily Oklahoman, an index to authors reviewed, and an addendum on a Harry Stephen Keeler novel. The book is an important addition to our knowledge, not just of an unfairly neglected writer but of the whole mystery scene in a misunderstood and often mischaracterized decade. Bill Pronzini provides a preface and is credited as a consultant on the annotations.

Ellery Queen: the Art of Detection
Jon L. Breen

The author, whose pioneering Ellery Queen study Royal Bloodline appeared nearly 40 years ago, calls this an “everything book” about the team of Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee, along the lines of his Cornell Woolrich: First You Dream, Then You Die (1988). The comparison is apt. There is more biographical material on the Queen team than has appeared in print anywhere else, drawing on files of their correspondence, 12 pages of photographs, plus a full novel-by-novel, story-by-story critical survey. Also given full coverage are editorial work; film, radio, and television adaptations; and the ghost-written paperbacks of the 1960s. Appended are “EQMM: The Dannay Years” and “At Work and Play with Fred Dannay,” an account of Nevins’ personal relationship with Ellery Queen’s editorial half. A 35-page primary and secondary bibliography and 24-page index round out this meticulously researched, highly readable, and important book.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-19 18:57:49

The author, whose pioneering Ellery Queen study Royal Bloodline appeared nearly 40 years ago, calls this an “everything book” about the team of Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee, along the lines of his Cornell Woolrich: First You Dream, Then You Die (1988). The comparison is apt. There is more biographical material on the Queen team than has appeared in print anywhere else, drawing on files of their correspondence, 12 pages of photographs, plus a full novel-by-novel, story-by-story critical survey. Also given full coverage are editorial work; film, radio, and television adaptations; and the ghost-written paperbacks of the 1960s. Appended are “EQMM: The Dannay Years” and “At Work and Play with Fred Dannay,” an account of Nevins’ personal relationship with Ellery Queen’s editorial half. A 35-page primary and secondary bibliography and 24-page index round out this meticulously researched, highly readable, and important book.

Suspect
Dick Lochte

Robert Crais’ new standalone (or series debut?) clearly demonstrates the difference between concept and completed work. The idea of a lawman forced by circumstance to partner with a canine wasn’t exactly fresh when Tom Hanks buddied up with a slavering Hooch back in 1989. Senior citizens will remember the radio and early TV adventures of stalwart Sergeant Preston of the Yukon and his wonder dog King, characters that were themselves influenced by Jack London’s dog-centric fiction of the early 1900s. I could also reference the Jim Belushi movie K-9 and at least a half-dozen TV spinoffs (Rin Tin Tin: K-9 Cops, anybody?), but that would just be showing off. My point is that Crais has taken a hoary log line and turned it into a fresh, dramatic, totally satisfying contemporary crime novel that just might find a spot on next year’s Edgar short list. The leads are fully dimensional and strong—LAPD cop Scott James, the victim of unknown assailants, and the German shepherd Maggie, a wounded veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, both mending from severe physical and psychological damage. The supporting characters are quirky and memorable, particularly James’ two kennel supervisors. The plotting is as careful and maybe even a little more streamlined than the author’s previous books. The presumably authentic background material, involving psychology, dog-training, police procedure, etc., is smoothly integrated into the story. And Crais is smart enough to keep the man-and-beast buddyness compelling without giving way to sentimentality. He even provides a credible dog’s POV into some events as they unfold. That reader MacLeod Andrews is able to successfully create the aural equivalent to Maggie’s thoughts is an indication of his admirable contribution to this audio presentation. He’s equally on target in conveying James’ moods—from an initial fragility, complete with self-doubt, guilt, and resentment, to a determination to bring order to his life. Andrews also manages to match Crais’ description of the high-pitched coo that dog owners employ when speaking to their animals without sounding too goofy. His one tiny misspeak is his mispronunciation of the name “Petievich,” but one can hardly fault him for that.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-19 19:02:36

Robert Crais’ new standalone (or series debut?) clearly demonstrates the difference between concept and completed work. The idea of a lawman forced by circumstance to partner with a canine wasn’t exactly fresh when Tom Hanks buddied up with a slavering Hooch back in 1989. Senior citizens will remember the radio and early TV adventures of stalwart Sergeant Preston of the Yukon and his wonder dog King, characters that were themselves influenced by Jack London’s dog-centric fiction of the early 1900s. I could also reference the Jim Belushi movie K-9 and at least a half-dozen TV spinoffs (Rin Tin Tin: K-9 Cops, anybody?), but that would just be showing off. My point is that Crais has taken a hoary log line and turned it into a fresh, dramatic, totally satisfying contemporary crime novel that just might find a spot on next year’s Edgar short list. The leads are fully dimensional and strong—LAPD cop Scott James, the victim of unknown assailants, and the German shepherd Maggie, a wounded veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, both mending from severe physical and psychological damage. The supporting characters are quirky and memorable, particularly James’ two kennel supervisors. The plotting is as careful and maybe even a little more streamlined than the author’s previous books. The presumably authentic background material, involving psychology, dog-training, police procedure, etc., is smoothly integrated into the story. And Crais is smart enough to keep the man-and-beast buddyness compelling without giving way to sentimentality. He even provides a credible dog’s POV into some events as they unfold. That reader MacLeod Andrews is able to successfully create the aural equivalent to Maggie’s thoughts is an indication of his admirable contribution to this audio presentation. He’s equally on target in conveying James’ moods—from an initial fragility, complete with self-doubt, guilt, and resentment, to a determination to bring order to his life. Andrews also manages to match Crais’ description of the high-pitched coo that dog owners employ when speaking to their animals without sounding too goofy. His one tiny misspeak is his mispronunciation of the name “Petievich,” but one can hardly fault him for that.

The Third Bullet
Dick Lochte

Since, in the course of several audio versions of Stephen Hunter’s books, reader Buck Schirner has more or less perfected his vocal version of the author’s growly aging hero, retired Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger, it may save time to move along to the plot of what is arguably the series’ most ambitious entry. As the photos of John Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald on the box indicate, the novel is Hunter’s fictional (but not totally implausible) account of who actually fired the shot that killed the president and who organized the tragedy. Gun expert Swagger is lured into the world of conspiracy theorists by the widow of a writer whose research into JFK’s death prompted his own fatality in a hit-and-run “accident.” James Aptapton, a Baltimore journo-turned-hack-novelist “specializing in gunfights and their stoic heroes” (as Hunter describes him in what seems to be harsh but amusing self-appraisal) has found a new piece of evidence that intrigues stoic hero Swagger enough to see what he can uncover. What follows are reminders of the dark event, a whole lot of discussion (maybe too much) about gun technical data, several attempts on Swagger’s life, and, before the book’s halfway mark, the introduction of the man who planned the assassination, a wealthy, Yale-educated, retired, but still very influential, CIA spy guy named Hugh Meachum. Once we meet him, he very nearly takes over the book, frequently interrupting the objective account of Swagger’s progress with his often ironic secret memoirs detailing the arrangements for the murder in Dallas and the aftermath. Pitting good ol’ boy Bob Lee against a shrewd, ultra-sophisticated aristocratic gamesman is good casting and Hunter has given Meachum the depth and dimension (not to mention the unlimited funds) necessary to make it an exciting fight to the finish. Schirner does well by Meachum, too. With a deep, rumbling voice more suitable for heroic outdoor types like Swagger and William Kent Krueger’s Cork O’Connor, he manages a mature privileged accent that sounds almost as authentically post-Yalie as William Buckley’s.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-19 19:12:51

Since, in the course of several audio versions of Stephen Hunter’s books, reader Buck Schirner has more or less perfected his vocal version of the author’s growly aging hero, retired Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger, it may save time to move along to the plot of what is arguably the series’ most ambitious entry. As the photos of John Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald on the box indicate, the novel is Hunter’s fictional (but not totally implausible) account of who actually fired the shot that killed the president and who organized the tragedy. Gun expert Swagger is lured into the world of conspiracy theorists by the widow of a writer whose research into JFK’s death prompted his own fatality in a hit-and-run “accident.” James Aptapton, a Baltimore journo-turned-hack-novelist “specializing in gunfights and their stoic heroes” (as Hunter describes him in what seems to be harsh but amusing self-appraisal) has found a new piece of evidence that intrigues stoic hero Swagger enough to see what he can uncover. What follows are reminders of the dark event, a whole lot of discussion (maybe too much) about gun technical data, several attempts on Swagger’s life, and, before the book’s halfway mark, the introduction of the man who planned the assassination, a wealthy, Yale-educated, retired, but still very influential, CIA spy guy named Hugh Meachum. Once we meet him, he very nearly takes over the book, frequently interrupting the objective account of Swagger’s progress with his often ironic secret memoirs detailing the arrangements for the murder in Dallas and the aftermath. Pitting good ol’ boy Bob Lee against a shrewd, ultra-sophisticated aristocratic gamesman is good casting and Hunter has given Meachum the depth and dimension (not to mention the unlimited funds) necessary to make it an exciting fight to the finish. Schirner does well by Meachum, too. With a deep, rumbling voice more suitable for heroic outdoor types like Swagger and William Kent Krueger’s Cork O’Connor, he manages a mature privileged accent that sounds almost as authentically post-Yalie as William Buckley’s.

Three Blind Mice
Dick Lochte

Having recorded most of Ed McBain’s myriad police procedurals about the men of the 87th Precinct, Brilliance Audio has turned its microphones in the direction of the author’s Matthew Hope novels, a shorter and breezier series in which Florida-based lawyer Hope gets involved in crimes that mirror the events in famous childhood fables. McBain (the pen name used by Evan Hunter for his crime fiction) was as versatile as he was prolific and the Hopes are clever whodunits that, though dealing with some very twisted villains, seem lighter in tone than the cop cases, looser and, because of this, a little more entertaining. Reader Luke Daniels, a Brilliance stalwart, narrates the stories with just the right amount of amiable wit, insouciance, and lawyerly glibness. The quality is high on all of the entries, but if I had to pick just one, I’d go for Three Blind Mice, loosely based on Hawaii’s infamous 1932 Massie trials involving rape, racial bigotry, and murder. Three Blind Mice was adapted as a 2001 TV movie executive-produced by and starring Brian Dennehy, that, while watchable, isn’t as good as the book or this unabridged audio version.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-19 19:19:34

Having recorded most of Ed McBain’s myriad police procedurals about the men of the 87th Precinct, Brilliance Audio has turned its microphones in the direction of the author’s Matthew Hope novels, a shorter and breezier series in which Florida-based lawyer Hope gets involved in crimes that mirror the events in famous childhood fables. McBain (the pen name used by Evan Hunter for his crime fiction) was as versatile as he was prolific and the Hopes are clever whodunits that, though dealing with some very twisted villains, seem lighter in tone than the cop cases, looser and, because of this, a little more entertaining. Reader Luke Daniels, a Brilliance stalwart, narrates the stories with just the right amount of amiable wit, insouciance, and lawyerly glibness. The quality is high on all of the entries, but if I had to pick just one, I’d go for Three Blind Mice, loosely based on Hawaii’s infamous 1932 Massie trials involving rape, racial bigotry, and murder. Three Blind Mice was adapted as a 2001 TV movie executive-produced by and starring Brian Dennehy, that, while watchable, isn’t as good as the book or this unabridged audio version.

Philip Kerr, Wwii and Bernie Gunther
Oline Cogdill

kerrphilip_authorcreditphilwilkinson
Scottish author Philip Kerr is the author of eight novels about Bernie Gunther, a Berlin cop.

Set during WWII, Kerr looks at an honest cop trying to find order amid chaos and evil. The bestselling Field Gray was nominated for the 2012 Edgar Award for Best Novel. Kerr also is the author of A Quiet Flame and the fantasy series Children of the Lamp. He lives in London.

A Man Without Breath is the latest novel in the Bernie series. Kerr now is making a rare tour of the United States.

Mystery Scene caught up with Kerr before his tour.

Q: Most historical mysteries that take place during WWII are from the viewpoint of the Allied forces; why did you decide to take the reader deep into German society?
A:
I started this series so long ago it's hard to remember; but I was always interested in the cultural and philosophical roots of Nazism – ever since I did a post-grad degree in German law and philosophy. I think I just wanted to understand what life might have been like for an ordinary German. I wanted to walk the moral tightrope, as it were; and a cop seemed an interesting way of taking this walk. I wanted to see how deep I could immerse myself in this world. When you read Chandler you can really taste L.A.; I set myself the almost impossible task of trying to do the same with Berlin in 1936. It seems crazy now. But such is the ambition/arrogance of youth.

Q: There was a big gap between the third Bernie Gunther novel, A German Requim (1991) and the fourth novel, The One from the Other (2006). Why?
A:
I wrote a lot of other stuff. You see I always wanted to be a writer but I didn't want to write the same thing again and again; a lot of crime writing feels like you are on a treadmill: the author brings out one book a year featuring Inspector Bloggs; so I quit the character for a while to write other things. It's always a good thing to walk away from something successful. I think it separates one from the career novelist, so to speak. You could get away with that sort of thing then. Not so easy now. Three books seemed like a nice number. I think it was a good thing I did stop for a while. It meant that a lot of people were able to discover me, if you like. The first three were collected as a trilogy and they achieved a critical mass, which meant that when I came back to the character there were lots of people keen that I should do so. I learned a lot during that interregnum.

kerrphilip_manwithoutabreath
Q: Most of us think that Hitler allowed no opposition to his opinions but A Man Without Breath tells that the War Crimes Bureau was anti Nazi; how did this happen?
A:
They were quietly anti-Nazi; they would never have dreamed of opposing Hitler openly. By the German constitution Hitler was obliged to recognize the independence of the Wehrmacht, which effectively allowed many to sit in their offices at the High Command and quietly despise Hitler--but not when he was winning, of course. Their opposition to Hitler only really grew when he invaded the Soviet Union which most of the officer class regarded as the ultimate folie de grandeur. After the defeat of France in 1940 it is highly unlikely that any of these men were opposed to Hitler.

Q: You uncover so much detail about life in German during WWII, what is the strangest thing your research has brought you?
A:
I find strange things all the time. It's a period that is full of strange things. That's what makes it interesting. I remember a time many years ago when I went to a place called Wewelsburg, where Himmler bought a castle that was to be the “spiritual HQ” of the SS. It was also the smallest concentration camp in Germany. 800 Soviet POWs were worked to death in the place. It's now a Youth Hostel. I stayed there on my own one night. While I was there I discovered that the little village near the castle is still used for SS reunions; that was an uncomfortable revelation to me—that there are plenty of people for whom Nazism still means something important.


Q: The banality of evil has been used to describe how the German people allowed Hitler to execute the Jews and turn a blind eye to his atrocities. Bernie seems to combat that banality of evil every day. Could you comment on this? How does Bernie keep himself sane when dealing with the Nazis, for whom it is obvious he has little respect?
A:
Like most Berliners Bernie has a sharp, dark, bitter sense of humor. He is the embodiment of the kind of Berliner Hitler hated. Leftish, irreverent, sexually-incontinent, and ultimately anarchic. He keeps himself sane—to some degree (I think Bernie has deep issues)--with his bitter jokes. This is his only source of rebellion. It keeps him sane but more importantly it helps the reader (and the writer) get through what would otherwise be very bleak stories. Above all he is a survivor, although not always
comfortably so.

Q: Why are the Bernie novels written out of sequence?
A:
After three books and a long absence I didn't want to repeat myself; I wanted to create a modern version of a Flying Dutchman. Or a Flashman figure. He is also a bit of a Zelig. And above all an unreliable narrator. Like many Germans who were in the war you only have his word for what he actually did. Moving periods messes things up rather nicely. It means there is no one truth. There is nothing certain. Another reason is that there is so much more information available today than there was back when I first started writing these books. I couldn't have written several of these stories back in the day because we didn't know x or z or y. Since the mid-1980s when I first started writing the books so much has been published on the subject of the Third Reich. There were good stories that became available to me as a result - too good to walk away from.

Q: What is the status of the HBO movie? Any thoughts on who you would like to see play Bernie?
A:
Difficult question. These things take time. But perhaps we are now at the end of the beginning. As to who should play Bernie I very much like and admire Michael Fassbinder. He is part German, and a fantastically good actor. But when I first started I thought of Klaus Maria Brandauer. He had a cheeky grin and a twinkle in his eye and he was very very German. I am wary about saying who I don't want to play Bernie. I did a TV series back in the 1990s and they asked me who should play the part of the hero; and I named an actor who I said should under no circumstances play the part and that is who they cast. As it happens he did a fine job.

Photo: Philip Kerr photo by Phil Wilkinson; courtesy Putnam

Xav ID 577
2013-04-20 16:07:04

kerrphilip_authorcreditphilwilkinson
Scottish author Philip Kerr is the author of eight novels about Bernie Gunther, a Berlin cop.

Set during WWII, Kerr looks at an honest cop trying to find order amid chaos and evil. The bestselling Field Gray was nominated for the 2012 Edgar Award for Best Novel. Kerr also is the author of A Quiet Flame and the fantasy series Children of the Lamp. He lives in London.

A Man Without Breath is the latest novel in the Bernie series. Kerr now is making a rare tour of the United States.

Mystery Scene caught up with Kerr before his tour.

Q: Most historical mysteries that take place during WWII are from the viewpoint of the Allied forces; why did you decide to take the reader deep into German society?
A:
I started this series so long ago it's hard to remember; but I was always interested in the cultural and philosophical roots of Nazism – ever since I did a post-grad degree in German law and philosophy. I think I just wanted to understand what life might have been like for an ordinary German. I wanted to walk the moral tightrope, as it were; and a cop seemed an interesting way of taking this walk. I wanted to see how deep I could immerse myself in this world. When you read Chandler you can really taste L.A.; I set myself the almost impossible task of trying to do the same with Berlin in 1936. It seems crazy now. But such is the ambition/arrogance of youth.

Q: There was a big gap between the third Bernie Gunther novel, A German Requim (1991) and the fourth novel, The One from the Other (2006). Why?
A:
I wrote a lot of other stuff. You see I always wanted to be a writer but I didn't want to write the same thing again and again; a lot of crime writing feels like you are on a treadmill: the author brings out one book a year featuring Inspector Bloggs; so I quit the character for a while to write other things. It's always a good thing to walk away from something successful. I think it separates one from the career novelist, so to speak. You could get away with that sort of thing then. Not so easy now. Three books seemed like a nice number. I think it was a good thing I did stop for a while. It meant that a lot of people were able to discover me, if you like. The first three were collected as a trilogy and they achieved a critical mass, which meant that when I came back to the character there were lots of people keen that I should do so. I learned a lot during that interregnum.

kerrphilip_manwithoutabreath
Q: Most of us think that Hitler allowed no opposition to his opinions but A Man Without Breath tells that the War Crimes Bureau was anti Nazi; how did this happen?
A:
They were quietly anti-Nazi; they would never have dreamed of opposing Hitler openly. By the German constitution Hitler was obliged to recognize the independence of the Wehrmacht, which effectively allowed many to sit in their offices at the High Command and quietly despise Hitler--but not when he was winning, of course. Their opposition to Hitler only really grew when he invaded the Soviet Union which most of the officer class regarded as the ultimate folie de grandeur. After the defeat of France in 1940 it is highly unlikely that any of these men were opposed to Hitler.

Q: You uncover so much detail about life in German during WWII, what is the strangest thing your research has brought you?
A:
I find strange things all the time. It's a period that is full of strange things. That's what makes it interesting. I remember a time many years ago when I went to a place called Wewelsburg, where Himmler bought a castle that was to be the “spiritual HQ” of the SS. It was also the smallest concentration camp in Germany. 800 Soviet POWs were worked to death in the place. It's now a Youth Hostel. I stayed there on my own one night. While I was there I discovered that the little village near the castle is still used for SS reunions; that was an uncomfortable revelation to me—that there are plenty of people for whom Nazism still means something important.


Q: The banality of evil has been used to describe how the German people allowed Hitler to execute the Jews and turn a blind eye to his atrocities. Bernie seems to combat that banality of evil every day. Could you comment on this? How does Bernie keep himself sane when dealing with the Nazis, for whom it is obvious he has little respect?
A:
Like most Berliners Bernie has a sharp, dark, bitter sense of humor. He is the embodiment of the kind of Berliner Hitler hated. Leftish, irreverent, sexually-incontinent, and ultimately anarchic. He keeps himself sane—to some degree (I think Bernie has deep issues)--with his bitter jokes. This is his only source of rebellion. It keeps him sane but more importantly it helps the reader (and the writer) get through what would otherwise be very bleak stories. Above all he is a survivor, although not always
comfortably so.

Q: Why are the Bernie novels written out of sequence?
A:
After three books and a long absence I didn't want to repeat myself; I wanted to create a modern version of a Flying Dutchman. Or a Flashman figure. He is also a bit of a Zelig. And above all an unreliable narrator. Like many Germans who were in the war you only have his word for what he actually did. Moving periods messes things up rather nicely. It means there is no one truth. There is nothing certain. Another reason is that there is so much more information available today than there was back when I first started writing these books. I couldn't have written several of these stories back in the day because we didn't know x or z or y. Since the mid-1980s when I first started writing the books so much has been published on the subject of the Third Reich. There were good stories that became available to me as a result - too good to walk away from.

Q: What is the status of the HBO movie? Any thoughts on who you would like to see play Bernie?
A:
Difficult question. These things take time. But perhaps we are now at the end of the beginning. As to who should play Bernie I very much like and admire Michael Fassbinder. He is part German, and a fantastically good actor. But when I first started I thought of Klaus Maria Brandauer. He had a cheeky grin and a twinkle in his eye and he was very very German. I am wary about saying who I don't want to play Bernie. I did a TV series back in the 1990s and they asked me who should play the part of the hero; and I named an actor who I said should under no circumstances play the part and that is who they cast. As it happens he did a fine job.

Photo: Philip Kerr photo by Phil Wilkinson; courtesy Putnam

Margaret Maron: Grand Master
Oline Cogdill

maronmargaret_author
(Note: The 2013 Edgar Awards will be announced May 2 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. The Edgar Symposium is May 1 at the Lighthouse International Auditorium in New York. Today's blog is a closer look at Grand Master Margaret Maron. I'll take a closer look at Ken Follett, who shares the Grand Master honor, on Sunday April 28).

Margaret Maron’s 1992 novel Bootlegger’s Daughter changed the face of the regional mystery.

In this novel, Maron showed us how the changes in North Carolina had created a new state. Her novels have looked at problems of race, migrant labor, politics, and unstructured growth.

As Maron once said in an interview, “The mystery novel is the peg upon which I hang my love and concerns for North Carolina as the state transitions from agriculture to high tech, from a largely rural countryside to one increasingly under assault by housing developments and chain stores.”

Certainly the genre was filled with regional mysteries before, but Margaret set the stage for a deeper look at cities and states. She showed how place affects the characters and that small towns have a pull on its residents that is just as strong as major metro areas. The world didn’t have to revolve around New York or Los Angeles. And there was just as much crime and nastiness in small towns as any big city.

And she showed those regional changes through her heroine, Deborah Knott, a judge whose family’s long history is an asset and a problem. The youngest of 12 children, Deborah’s father Kezzie Knott is a notorious bootlegger, ex-con, and political player.

She is devoted to him.

Deborah’s massive family, their closeness and their differences gave readers an insight to their own lives.

I am an only child, but grew up surrounded by cousins, and I could relate to Knott’s family issues. Knott’s closeness to her father echoed my own close relationship with my now deceased parents.

Maron has written more than 26 novels, include another series about NYPD cop Sigrid Harald, and 2 collections of short stories. Her works have been translated into a dozen languages and are on the reading lists of many courses in contemporary Southern literature.

Bootlegger’s Daughter remains the only book to have won the Edgar, the Agatha, the Anthony and the Macavity for Best Novel.

Bootlegger's Daughter also is listed among the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century as selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

Among many other awards, Margaret has received the 2004 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for best North Carolina novel of the year. In 2008, she was honored with the North Carolina Award for Literature. (The North Carolina Award is the state’s highest civilian honor.)

Maron has been named one of this year’s Grand Masters by the Mystery Writers of America. During the Edgar Symposium, I will be interviewing her and Ken Follett, who is the other Grand Master honoree.

We’ll talk about North Carolina, her novels and how she remembers all Deborah’s brothers and nieces and nephews.

Xav ID 577
2013-04-24 10:45:03

maronmargaret_author
(Note: The 2013 Edgar Awards will be announced May 2 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. The Edgar Symposium is May 1 at the Lighthouse International Auditorium in New York. Today's blog is a closer look at Grand Master Margaret Maron. I'll take a closer look at Ken Follett, who shares the Grand Master honor, on Sunday April 28).

Margaret Maron’s 1992 novel Bootlegger’s Daughter changed the face of the regional mystery.

In this novel, Maron showed us how the changes in North Carolina had created a new state. Her novels have looked at problems of race, migrant labor, politics, and unstructured growth.

As Maron once said in an interview, “The mystery novel is the peg upon which I hang my love and concerns for North Carolina as the state transitions from agriculture to high tech, from a largely rural countryside to one increasingly under assault by housing developments and chain stores.”

Certainly the genre was filled with regional mysteries before, but Margaret set the stage for a deeper look at cities and states. She showed how place affects the characters and that small towns have a pull on its residents that is just as strong as major metro areas. The world didn’t have to revolve around New York or Los Angeles. And there was just as much crime and nastiness in small towns as any big city.

And she showed those regional changes through her heroine, Deborah Knott, a judge whose family’s long history is an asset and a problem. The youngest of 12 children, Deborah’s father Kezzie Knott is a notorious bootlegger, ex-con, and political player.

She is devoted to him.

Deborah’s massive family, their closeness and their differences gave readers an insight to their own lives.

I am an only child, but grew up surrounded by cousins, and I could relate to Knott’s family issues. Knott’s closeness to her father echoed my own close relationship with my now deceased parents.

Maron has written more than 26 novels, include another series about NYPD cop Sigrid Harald, and 2 collections of short stories. Her works have been translated into a dozen languages and are on the reading lists of many courses in contemporary Southern literature.

Bootlegger’s Daughter remains the only book to have won the Edgar, the Agatha, the Anthony and the Macavity for Best Novel.

Bootlegger's Daughter also is listed among the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century as selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

Among many other awards, Margaret has received the 2004 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for best North Carolina novel of the year. In 2008, she was honored with the North Carolina Award for Literature. (The North Carolina Award is the state’s highest civilian honor.)

Maron has been named one of this year’s Grand Masters by the Mystery Writers of America. During the Edgar Symposium, I will be interviewing her and Ken Follett, who is the other Grand Master honoree.

We’ll talk about North Carolina, her novels and how she remembers all Deborah’s brothers and nieces and nephews.

Grand Master Ken Follett
Oline Cogdill

follettken_follett
(Note: The 2013 Edgar Awards will be announced May 2 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. The Edgar Symposium is May 1 at the Lighthouse International Auditorium in New York. Today's blog looks at Grand Master Ken Follett. On April 24, we discussed Margaret Maron, who shares the Grand Master honor).

Through the years I have read thousands of books, most of them in the mystery/thriller genre. That is not an exaggeration, but rather something in which I take pride.

And while I don’t remember every book, certain ones do stand out.

For example, Ken Follett’s Eye of the Needle. What struck me when I was reading this 1978 novel set during WWII wasn’t the spy aspect, of which there is plenty, or the Nazis and the secret code. Rather, it was Follett’s well-developed portrait of a strong woman who rises above her own feelings and fears to prove her inner resolve.

In Eye of the Needle, an elaborate code is set up to confuse the Nazis on the Allies’ plans. Henry Faber, a Nazi spy and assassin who can crack that code, is marooned on a remote island, which is the home of Lucy, a young bride, and David, her husband, recently handicapped in an accident.

Lonely and stuck in what is now a loveless marriage, Lucy and Henry become involved. She doesn’t know he is a Nazi spy and that his expertise could change the outcome of WWII. When she discovers his plan, Lucy starts her own covert operation.

With Eye of the Needle, Follett, in my opinion, set the stage for the new thriller, to take that genre to different heights. While I hate the term “think outside the box,” that is exactly what Follett did with Eye of the Needle.

One critic has described Follett’s feature ongoing theme as “a heroine in the grip of violently seesawing passions and people fighting for their freedom.”

Eye of the Needle was Follett's breakout novel. It put him on the best-sellers lists and earned him the 1979 Edgar Award for Best Novel from the Mystery Writers of America.

Since then Follett has written 20 best sellers and sold more than 100 million books. His historical dramas include Pillars of the Earth, an epic about the building of a cathedral in the Middle Ages.

The fact that it received rave reviews is an understatement.

It also was voted the third greatest book ever written by in Germany, beaten only by The Lord of the Rings and the Bible. London readers placed it No. 2 in the 60 greatest novels of the last 60 years. To Kill a Mockingbird was No. 1.

Pillars of the Earth has also spawned a highly praised TV miniseries and three board games.

His current project is his most ambitious yet. The Century Trilogy tells the entire history of the 20th century, seen through the eyes of five ordinary linked families: one American, one English, one German, one Russian, and one Welsh.

In Fall of Giants, Winter of the World and Edge of Eternity, which will be published next year, Follett takes us through the wars, revolutions, and issues that defined the 20th century.

Follett has been named one of this year’s Grand Masters by the Mystery Writers of America. During the Edgar Symposium, I will be interviewing him and Margaret Maron, who is the other Grand Master honoree.

We will talk about his career and his life. I hope we have time to discuss his childhood and why his parents would not allow their children to watch television or go to the cinema, and he found his escape in books. Perhaps we will discuss his love of music and the fact that he plays bass guitar in a band called Damn Right I Got the Blues, and appears occasionally with the folk group Clog Iron playing a bass balalaika.

However the conversation goes, it is certain to be lively.

Xav ID 577
2013-04-28 10:04:21

follettken_follett
(Note: The 2013 Edgar Awards will be announced May 2 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. The Edgar Symposium is May 1 at the Lighthouse International Auditorium in New York. Today's blog looks at Grand Master Ken Follett. On April 24, we discussed Margaret Maron, who shares the Grand Master honor).

Through the years I have read thousands of books, most of them in the mystery/thriller genre. That is not an exaggeration, but rather something in which I take pride.

And while I don’t remember every book, certain ones do stand out.

For example, Ken Follett’s Eye of the Needle. What struck me when I was reading this 1978 novel set during WWII wasn’t the spy aspect, of which there is plenty, or the Nazis and the secret code. Rather, it was Follett’s well-developed portrait of a strong woman who rises above her own feelings and fears to prove her inner resolve.

In Eye of the Needle, an elaborate code is set up to confuse the Nazis on the Allies’ plans. Henry Faber, a Nazi spy and assassin who can crack that code, is marooned on a remote island, which is the home of Lucy, a young bride, and David, her husband, recently handicapped in an accident.

Lonely and stuck in what is now a loveless marriage, Lucy and Henry become involved. She doesn’t know he is a Nazi spy and that his expertise could change the outcome of WWII. When she discovers his plan, Lucy starts her own covert operation.

With Eye of the Needle, Follett, in my opinion, set the stage for the new thriller, to take that genre to different heights. While I hate the term “think outside the box,” that is exactly what Follett did with Eye of the Needle.

One critic has described Follett’s feature ongoing theme as “a heroine in the grip of violently seesawing passions and people fighting for their freedom.”

Eye of the Needle was Follett's breakout novel. It put him on the best-sellers lists and earned him the 1979 Edgar Award for Best Novel from the Mystery Writers of America.

Since then Follett has written 20 best sellers and sold more than 100 million books. His historical dramas include Pillars of the Earth, an epic about the building of a cathedral in the Middle Ages.

The fact that it received rave reviews is an understatement.

It also was voted the third greatest book ever written by in Germany, beaten only by The Lord of the Rings and the Bible. London readers placed it No. 2 in the 60 greatest novels of the last 60 years. To Kill a Mockingbird was No. 1.

Pillars of the Earth has also spawned a highly praised TV miniseries and three board games.

His current project is his most ambitious yet. The Century Trilogy tells the entire history of the 20th century, seen through the eyes of five ordinary linked families: one American, one English, one German, one Russian, and one Welsh.

In Fall of Giants, Winter of the World and Edge of Eternity, which will be published next year, Follett takes us through the wars, revolutions, and issues that defined the 20th century.

Follett has been named one of this year’s Grand Masters by the Mystery Writers of America. During the Edgar Symposium, I will be interviewing him and Margaret Maron, who is the other Grand Master honoree.

We will talk about his career and his life. I hope we have time to discuss his childhood and why his parents would not allow their children to watch television or go to the cinema, and he found his escape in books. Perhaps we will discuss his love of music and the fact that he plays bass guitar in a band called Damn Right I Got the Blues, and appears occasionally with the folk group Clog Iron playing a bass balalaika.

However the conversation goes, it is certain to be lively.

Owen Laukkanen’s Latest Enterprise
Oline Cogdill

Laukkanen_owen
Owen Laukkanen
’s debut, The Professionals, was my favorite of 2012. This tale of four newly graduated college friends who turn to kidnapping because they can’t find jobs was a vivid illustration of contemporary economics while exploring how a sense of entitlement and selfishness can shade people’s logic.

Laukkanen’s second novel, Criminal Enterprise, again taps into the economic downturn as a wealthy accountant turns to robbing banks when he is laid off. He finds that bank robbing brings him more job satisfaction than his regular job ever did.

Here’s my review that ran in the Sun Sentinel.

Laukkanen recently stopped at Murder on the Beach in Delray Beach, Florida, and here’s some bits and pieces from his appearance.

Like many authors, Laukkanen starts with the ever provocative “what if” to build his plots. For The Professionals, it was what if a gang of professional kidnappers were working in America, how would they pull it off?

For Criminal Enterprise, it was simply what if your next-door neighbor was a bank robber? What if a doctor lives in that house and a lawyer is in the one next to it and next to it is a guy who robs banks and goes off to work every day just like everyone else on the block.

laukkauenowen_criminalenterprise
Laukkanen prefers to devise villains who are not driven by malevolence or greed but by desperation and need. His villains are people readers can relate to, a kind of everyman. He finds the criminals who are most appealing are those who turn to crime by increments. Jaywalking today, stealing candy tomorrow, next week kidnapping.

In Criminal Enterprise, accountant Carter Tomlin thinks “he holds himself to a high-water mark. He rationalizes his actions and the danger it brings.”

For The Professionals, the kidnappers had to be nomadic so he just set them in Chicago because it is right in the middle of the country and it was a good starting point for the gang. “It was a blessing because I went there several times, got involved in a writers’ group and also rode along with a cop,” he said.

But Laukkanen doesn’t make his criminals the heroes of his novels. His series’ real heroes are FBI agent Carla Windermere and Minnesota state cop Kirk Stevens.

Although his novels are set in America and he writes evocatively about the U.S., Laukkanen is from Canada. He grew up in Windsor, Ontario, which is near Detroit. Why he writes about the U.S. instead of Canada is a question that comes up at nearly every book signing—“usually from the Canadians in the audience,” he said.

laukkanen_professionals
Being so close to Detroit, Laukkanen grew up with Detroit culture and the culture of America. “Windsor is as close to the U.S. as possible,” he added.

Also, setting a kidnapping gang in the U.S. made more sense because there are more major cities on this side of the border. His criminals could move from city to city without anyone knowing and could more easily pull off their heists. “Canadian cities are more in a straight line. The cops would be waiting in the next town for them to show up. We don’t have the large number of big cities as in the U.S.,” added Laukkanen who lives in Vancouver. “I’d love to write about Canada but I also like writing about America.”

Laukkanen spent three years reporting on professional poker players and wrote a thriller about the poker industry, which he says draws “the most intelligent and degenerate people. It’s a rich world.” But that novel is on hold as Laukkanen continues to work on his series.

Meanwhile, he has finished up his third novel, which is about a contract killer.

While Laukkanen frequently travels the United States for his settings, he has an inside track when it comes to forensics—his mother who is a former forensics pathologist. “Any time I have a question, I can just call up Mom,” he said. “She’s my best source for research.”

Admin
2013-05-19 09:29:29

Laukkanen_owen
Owen Laukkanen
’s debut, The Professionals, was my favorite of 2012. This tale of four newly graduated college friends who turn to kidnapping because they can’t find jobs was a vivid illustration of contemporary economics while exploring how a sense of entitlement and selfishness can shade people’s logic.

Laukkanen’s second novel, Criminal Enterprise, again taps into the economic downturn as a wealthy accountant turns to robbing banks when he is laid off. He finds that bank robbing brings him more job satisfaction than his regular job ever did.

Here’s my review that ran in the Sun Sentinel.

Laukkanen recently stopped at Murder on the Beach in Delray Beach, Florida, and here’s some bits and pieces from his appearance.

Like many authors, Laukkanen starts with the ever provocative “what if” to build his plots. For The Professionals, it was what if a gang of professional kidnappers were working in America, how would they pull it off?

For Criminal Enterprise, it was simply what if your next-door neighbor was a bank robber? What if a doctor lives in that house and a lawyer is in the one next to it and next to it is a guy who robs banks and goes off to work every day just like everyone else on the block.

laukkauenowen_criminalenterprise
Laukkanen prefers to devise villains who are not driven by malevolence or greed but by desperation and need. His villains are people readers can relate to, a kind of everyman. He finds the criminals who are most appealing are those who turn to crime by increments. Jaywalking today, stealing candy tomorrow, next week kidnapping.

In Criminal Enterprise, accountant Carter Tomlin thinks “he holds himself to a high-water mark. He rationalizes his actions and the danger it brings.”

For The Professionals, the kidnappers had to be nomadic so he just set them in Chicago because it is right in the middle of the country and it was a good starting point for the gang. “It was a blessing because I went there several times, got involved in a writers’ group and also rode along with a cop,” he said.

But Laukkanen doesn’t make his criminals the heroes of his novels. His series’ real heroes are FBI agent Carla Windermere and Minnesota state cop Kirk Stevens.

Although his novels are set in America and he writes evocatively about the U.S., Laukkanen is from Canada. He grew up in Windsor, Ontario, which is near Detroit. Why he writes about the U.S. instead of Canada is a question that comes up at nearly every book signing—“usually from the Canadians in the audience,” he said.

laukkanen_professionals
Being so close to Detroit, Laukkanen grew up with Detroit culture and the culture of America. “Windsor is as close to the U.S. as possible,” he added.

Also, setting a kidnapping gang in the U.S. made more sense because there are more major cities on this side of the border. His criminals could move from city to city without anyone knowing and could more easily pull off their heists. “Canadian cities are more in a straight line. The cops would be waiting in the next town for them to show up. We don’t have the large number of big cities as in the U.S.,” added Laukkanen who lives in Vancouver. “I’d love to write about Canada but I also like writing about America.”

Laukkanen spent three years reporting on professional poker players and wrote a thriller about the poker industry, which he says draws “the most intelligent and degenerate people. It’s a rich world.” But that novel is on hold as Laukkanen continues to work on his series.

Meanwhile, he has finished up his third novel, which is about a contract killer.

While Laukkanen frequently travels the United States for his settings, he has an inside track when it comes to forensics—his mother who is a former forensics pathologist. “Any time I have a question, I can just call up Mom,” he said. “She’s my best source for research.”

2013 Agatha Winners
Oline Cogdill

The Agatha Awards for novels published during 2012 were announced May 4, 2013, during the Malice Domestic convention.

Here are the winners in bold.

Congratulations to those who took home the Agatha and to the nominees.

Best Novel:

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise PennyThe Diva Digs Up the Dirt by Krista Davis
A Fatal Winter by G.M. Malliet
The Buzzard Table by Margaret Maron
The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Best First Novel:
Lowcountry Boil by Susan M. Boyer
Iced Chiffon by Duffy Brown
A Scrapbook of Secrets by Mollie Cox Bryan
A Killer Read by Erika Chase
Faithful Unto Death by Stephanie Jaye Evans

Best Non-fiction:
Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers on the World's Greatest Mystery Novels by John Connolly/Declan Burke
Blood Relations: The Selected Letters of Ellery Queen, 1947-1950 by Joseph Goodrich, Editor
More Forensics and Fiction: Crime Writers Morbidly Curious Questions Expertly Answered by D.P. Lyle
Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre
The Grand Tour: Around the World with the Queen of Mystery Agatha Christie by Mathew Prichard, Editor

Best Short Story:
"Mischief in Mesopotamia" (PDF) by Dana Cameron (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Nov. 2012)
"Kept in the Dark" by Sheila Connolly (Best New England Crime Stories 2013: Blood Moon Anthology)
"The Lord is My Shamus" by Barb Goffman (Chesapeake Crimes: This Job is Murder)
"Thea's First Husband" by B.K. Stevens (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, June 2012)
"When Duty Calls" by Art Taylor (Chesapeake Crimes: This Job is Murder)

Best Children's/Young Adult Novel:
The Code Busters Club, Case #2: The Haunted Lighthouse by Penny Warner
Seconds Away by Harlan Coben
The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Best Historical Novel:
Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for Murder by Catriona McPherson
The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen
Murder on Fifth Avenue by Victoria Thompson
An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd
Elegy for Eddie by Jacqueline Winspear

Oline Cogdill
2013-05-05 01:25:00

The Agatha Awards for novels published during 2012 were announced May 4, 2013, during the Malice Domestic convention.

Here are the winners in bold.

Congratulations to those who took home the Agatha and to the nominees.

Best Novel:

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise PennyThe Diva Digs Up the Dirt by Krista Davis
A Fatal Winter by G.M. Malliet
The Buzzard Table by Margaret Maron
The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Best First Novel:
Lowcountry Boil by Susan M. Boyer
Iced Chiffon by Duffy Brown
A Scrapbook of Secrets by Mollie Cox Bryan
A Killer Read by Erika Chase
Faithful Unto Death by Stephanie Jaye Evans

Best Non-fiction:
Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers on the World's Greatest Mystery Novels by John Connolly/Declan Burke
Blood Relations: The Selected Letters of Ellery Queen, 1947-1950 by Joseph Goodrich, Editor
More Forensics and Fiction: Crime Writers Morbidly Curious Questions Expertly Answered by D.P. Lyle
Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre
The Grand Tour: Around the World with the Queen of Mystery Agatha Christie by Mathew Prichard, Editor

Best Short Story:
"Mischief in Mesopotamia" (PDF) by Dana Cameron (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Nov. 2012)
"Kept in the Dark" by Sheila Connolly (Best New England Crime Stories 2013: Blood Moon Anthology)
"The Lord is My Shamus" by Barb Goffman (Chesapeake Crimes: This Job is Murder)
"Thea's First Husband" by B.K. Stevens (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, June 2012)
"When Duty Calls" by Art Taylor (Chesapeake Crimes: This Job is Murder)

Best Children's/Young Adult Novel:
The Code Busters Club, Case #2: The Haunted Lighthouse by Penny Warner
Seconds Away by Harlan Coben
The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Best Historical Novel:
Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for Murder by Catriona McPherson
The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen
Murder on Fifth Avenue by Victoria Thompson
An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd
Elegy for Eddie by Jacqueline Winspear

2013 Edgar Allan Poe Awards
Oline Cogdill

The Mystery Writers of America announced the winners of the 2013 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television, published or produced in 2012. The Edgar® Awards were given during the 67th gala banquet May 2, 2013.

Congratulations to all the winners.

(Winners are marked by an asterisk and are in bold)


BEST NOVEL

The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins (Penguin Group USA – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (Penguin Group USA – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn (Crown Publishers)

Potboiler by Jesse Kellerman (Penguin Group USA – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Sunset by Al Lamanda (Gale Cengage Learning – Five Star)

*Live by Night by Dennis Lehane (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)

All I Did Was Shoot My Man by Walter Mosley (Penguin Group USA – Riverhead Books)

BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay (Random House Publishing– Ballantine)

Don’t Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman (Minotaur Books - Thomas Dunne Books)

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal (Random House Publishing– Bantam Books)

*The Expats by Chris Pavone (Crown Publishers)

The 500 by Matthew Quirk (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company – Reagan Arthur)

Black Fridays by Michael Sears (Penguin Group USA – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

Complication by Isaac Adamson (Soft Skull Press)

Whiplash River by Lou Berney (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow Paperbacks)

Bloodland by Alan Glynn (Picador)

Blessed are the Dead by Malla Nunn (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books - Emily Bestler Books)

*The Last Policeman: A Novel by Ben H. Winters (Quirk Books)


BEST FACT CRIME


*Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China
by Paul French (Penguin Group USA – Penguin Books)

Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper)

More Forensics and Fiction: Crime Writers' Morbidly Curious Questions Expertly Answered by D.P. Lyle, MD (Medallion Press)

Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre (Crown Publishers)

The People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo – and the Evil that Swallowed Her Up by Richard Lloyd Parry (Farrar Straus & Giroux Originals)

BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL

Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe: The Hard-Boiled Detective Transformed by John Paul Athanasourelis (McFarland and Company)

Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers on the World's Greatest Mystery Novels edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books – Emily Bestler Books)

*The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics by James O’Brien (Oxford University Press)

In Pursuit of Spenser: Mystery Writers on Robert B. Parker and the Creation of an American Hero edited by Otto Penzler (Smart Pop)

BEST SHORT STORY

"Iphigenia in Aulis" – An Apple for the Creature by Mike Carey (Penguin Group USA – Ace Books)

"Hot Sugar Blues" – Mystery Writers of America Presents: Vengeance by Steve Liskow (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company – Mulholland Books)

"The Void it Often Brings With It” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Tom Piccirilli (Dell Magazines)

*"The Unremarkable Heart" – Mystery Writers of America Presents: Vengeance by Karin Slaughter (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company – Mulholland Books)

"Still Life No. 41" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Teresa Solana (Dell Magazines)

BEST JUVENILE

Fake Mustache: Or, How Jodie O’Rodeo and Her Wonder Horse (and Some Nerdy Kid) Saved the U.S. Presidential Election from a Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind by Tom Angleberger (Abrams – Amulet Books)

13 Hangmen by Art Corriveau (Abrams – Amulet Books)

*The Quick Fix by Jack D. Ferraiolo (Abrams – Amulet Books)

Spy School by Stuart Gibbs (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage (Penguin Young Readers Group – Dial Books for Young Readers)

BEST YOUNG ADULT

Emily’s Dress and Other Missing Things by Kathryn Burak (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group – Roaring Brook Press)

The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George (Penguin Young Readers Group – Viking)

Crusher by Niall Leonard (Random House Children’s Books – Delacorte BFYR)

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield (Penguin Young Readers Group – Dutton Children’s Books)

*Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Disney Publishing Worldwide - Hyperion)

BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY

“Pilot” – Longmire, Teleplay by Hunt Baldwin & John Coveny (A&E/Warner Horizon Television)

“Child Predator” – elemeNtarY, Teleplay by Peter Blake (CBS Productions)

“Slaughterhouse” – Justified, Teleplay by Fred Golan (Sony Pictures Television/FX Productions)

*“A Scandal in Belgravia” – Sherlock, Teleplay by Steven Moffat (BBC/Masterpiece)

“New Car Smell” – Homeland, Teleplay by Meredith Stiehm (Showtime/Fox21)

ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD
"When They Are Done With Us" – Staten Island Noir by Patricia Smith (Akashic Books)

GRAND MASTER
Ken Follett
Margaret Maron

RAVEN AWARDS
*Oline Cogdill (yes, that is me!)
*Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, San Diego & Redondo Beach, CA

ELLERY QUEEN AWARD
*Akashic Books

THE SIMON & SCHUSTER - MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
(Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Wednesday, May 1, 2013)

*The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)

Dead Scared by S.J. Bolton (Minotaur Books)

A City of Broken Glass by Rebecca Cantrell (Forge Books)

The Reckoning by Jane Casey (Minotaur Books)

Sleepwalker by Wendy Corsi Staub (HarperCollins Publishers - Harper)

Oline Cogdill
2013-05-03 05:00:00

The Mystery Writers of America announced the winners of the 2013 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television, published or produced in 2012. The Edgar® Awards were given during the 67th gala banquet May 2, 2013.

Congratulations to all the winners.

(Winners are marked by an asterisk and are in bold)


BEST NOVEL

The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins (Penguin Group USA – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (Penguin Group USA – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn (Crown Publishers)

Potboiler by Jesse Kellerman (Penguin Group USA – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Sunset by Al Lamanda (Gale Cengage Learning – Five Star)

*Live by Night by Dennis Lehane (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)

All I Did Was Shoot My Man by Walter Mosley (Penguin Group USA – Riverhead Books)

BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay (Random House Publishing– Ballantine)

Don’t Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman (Minotaur Books - Thomas Dunne Books)

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal (Random House Publishing– Bantam Books)

*The Expats by Chris Pavone (Crown Publishers)

The 500 by Matthew Quirk (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company – Reagan Arthur)

Black Fridays by Michael Sears (Penguin Group USA – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

Complication by Isaac Adamson (Soft Skull Press)

Whiplash River by Lou Berney (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow Paperbacks)

Bloodland by Alan Glynn (Picador)

Blessed are the Dead by Malla Nunn (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books - Emily Bestler Books)

*The Last Policeman: A Novel by Ben H. Winters (Quirk Books)


BEST FACT CRIME


*Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China
by Paul French (Penguin Group USA – Penguin Books)

Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper)

More Forensics and Fiction: Crime Writers' Morbidly Curious Questions Expertly Answered by D.P. Lyle, MD (Medallion Press)

Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre (Crown Publishers)

The People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo – and the Evil that Swallowed Her Up by Richard Lloyd Parry (Farrar Straus & Giroux Originals)

BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL

Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe: The Hard-Boiled Detective Transformed by John Paul Athanasourelis (McFarland and Company)

Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers on the World's Greatest Mystery Novels edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books – Emily Bestler Books)

*The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics by James O’Brien (Oxford University Press)

In Pursuit of Spenser: Mystery Writers on Robert B. Parker and the Creation of an American Hero edited by Otto Penzler (Smart Pop)

BEST SHORT STORY

"Iphigenia in Aulis" – An Apple for the Creature by Mike Carey (Penguin Group USA – Ace Books)

"Hot Sugar Blues" – Mystery Writers of America Presents: Vengeance by Steve Liskow (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company – Mulholland Books)

"The Void it Often Brings With It” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Tom Piccirilli (Dell Magazines)

*"The Unremarkable Heart" – Mystery Writers of America Presents: Vengeance by Karin Slaughter (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company – Mulholland Books)

"Still Life No. 41" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Teresa Solana (Dell Magazines)

BEST JUVENILE

Fake Mustache: Or, How Jodie O’Rodeo and Her Wonder Horse (and Some Nerdy Kid) Saved the U.S. Presidential Election from a Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind by Tom Angleberger (Abrams – Amulet Books)

13 Hangmen by Art Corriveau (Abrams – Amulet Books)

*The Quick Fix by Jack D. Ferraiolo (Abrams – Amulet Books)

Spy School by Stuart Gibbs (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage (Penguin Young Readers Group – Dial Books for Young Readers)

BEST YOUNG ADULT

Emily’s Dress and Other Missing Things by Kathryn Burak (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group – Roaring Brook Press)

The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George (Penguin Young Readers Group – Viking)

Crusher by Niall Leonard (Random House Children’s Books – Delacorte BFYR)

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield (Penguin Young Readers Group – Dutton Children’s Books)

*Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Disney Publishing Worldwide - Hyperion)

BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY

“Pilot” – Longmire, Teleplay by Hunt Baldwin & John Coveny (A&E/Warner Horizon Television)

“Child Predator” – elemeNtarY, Teleplay by Peter Blake (CBS Productions)

“Slaughterhouse” – Justified, Teleplay by Fred Golan (Sony Pictures Television/FX Productions)

*“A Scandal in Belgravia” – Sherlock, Teleplay by Steven Moffat (BBC/Masterpiece)

“New Car Smell” – Homeland, Teleplay by Meredith Stiehm (Showtime/Fox21)

ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD
"When They Are Done With Us" – Staten Island Noir by Patricia Smith (Akashic Books)

GRAND MASTER
Ken Follett
Margaret Maron

RAVEN AWARDS
*Oline Cogdill (yes, that is me!)
*Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, San Diego & Redondo Beach, CA

ELLERY QUEEN AWARD
*Akashic Books

THE SIMON & SCHUSTER - MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
(Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Wednesday, May 1, 2013)

*The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)

Dead Scared by S.J. Bolton (Minotaur Books)

A City of Broken Glass by Rebecca Cantrell (Forge Books)

The Reckoning by Jane Casey (Minotaur Books)

Sleepwalker by Wendy Corsi Staub (HarperCollins Publishers - Harper)

25 Years of Malice Domestic
Oline Cogdill

king_laurie_r_small
The mystery genre produces the social novel of our times. That is not exactly a revelation as I have said it so many times.

Mysteries look at our society, the issues that are part of our lives, and how we deal with crime and punishment.

Mysteries also deal with relationships and family issues.

You’ll find these themes both in the hard-boiled novels and the traditional mysteries.

One of the best things about the genre is wide range of choices it offers.

There is room for authors who produce the grittiest of stories and for those who prefer the light touch.

Readers often embrace both. And I am one of those readers who enjoy the hard-boiled novels as well as the traditional mysteries, and the amateur sleuths who give us a window to a profession and, sometimes, make us laugh.

Today, I want to celebrate the traditional mystery and the Malice Domestic convention, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Malice is May 3-5, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bethesda, MD. And it is a sold-out conference, showing how popular the traditional msytery is.

This year’s Malice honorees reflect the wide range of stories the genre offers.

Guest of Honor Laurie R. King, left, and International Guest of Honor Peter Robinson, below right, both give us stories that show the depth of human emotions and experiences.

King’s Mary Russell novels appeal to a diverse demographic, including young girls.

In an interview for a profile in Mystery Scene, King said: “One of the earliest interviewers wrote that Mary Russell was for all the girls who came to the end of the Sherlock Holmes stories and realized, ‘They didn’t need me.’ At a certain point, you realize that they are more boys’ stories. But wouldn’t you have loved to have had Mary Russell around when you were 14 or so? And because she gets the better of Sherlock, that adds to the fun.” King said she’s proud The Beekeeper’s Apprentice is listed as a Notable Young Adult Book and an Outstanding Book for the College Bound from the American Library Association. Sherlockians also have jumped on the Russell bandwagon. She and Leslie S. Klinger, who edited The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, often do events together.

robinson_peterRobinson’s evocative series about Yorkshire detective Alan Banks continues to inject contemporary issues and nuanced character studies into carefully plotted police procedurals. (Peter Robinson is at right.)

Toastmaster Laura Lippman knows how to illustrate the depths of the emotional mine fields that challenge girls who will become women and how the fragility of memory affects our lives.

Malice also introduces many debuting authors and Mystery Scene does its part by co-sponsoring the New Authors Breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. on Sunday, May 5. This will jumpstart your day so you can enjoy the many panels scheduled that day. The host will be Cindy Silberblatt, who is the fan guest of honor at this year’s Malice. Mystery Scene editors Kate Stine and Brian Skupin will be at the breakfast.

Breakfast is served buffet (beginning at 7 a.m.) and the room is set in rounds of ten. Each author will be at a different table so they get to meet some readers who might not know their work and each reader gets a chance to sit with an author.

The intros begin between 7 and 7:30. Cindy will do a short interview with each author about his or her book.

I’ve been to this New Authors Breakfast before and it is a lot of fun. Think of it like speed dating with readers.

Admin
2013-05-01 08:00:16

king_laurie_r_small
The mystery genre produces the social novel of our times. That is not exactly a revelation as I have said it so many times.

Mysteries look at our society, the issues that are part of our lives, and how we deal with crime and punishment.

Mysteries also deal with relationships and family issues.

You’ll find these themes both in the hard-boiled novels and the traditional mysteries.

One of the best things about the genre is wide range of choices it offers.

There is room for authors who produce the grittiest of stories and for those who prefer the light touch.

Readers often embrace both. And I am one of those readers who enjoy the hard-boiled novels as well as the traditional mysteries, and the amateur sleuths who give us a window to a profession and, sometimes, make us laugh.

Today, I want to celebrate the traditional mystery and the Malice Domestic convention, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Malice is May 3-5, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bethesda, MD. And it is a sold-out conference, showing how popular the traditional msytery is.

This year’s Malice honorees reflect the wide range of stories the genre offers.

Guest of Honor Laurie R. King, left, and International Guest of Honor Peter Robinson, below right, both give us stories that show the depth of human emotions and experiences.

King’s Mary Russell novels appeal to a diverse demographic, including young girls.

In an interview for a profile in Mystery Scene, King said: “One of the earliest interviewers wrote that Mary Russell was for all the girls who came to the end of the Sherlock Holmes stories and realized, ‘They didn’t need me.’ At a certain point, you realize that they are more boys’ stories. But wouldn’t you have loved to have had Mary Russell around when you were 14 or so? And because she gets the better of Sherlock, that adds to the fun.” King said she’s proud The Beekeeper’s Apprentice is listed as a Notable Young Adult Book and an Outstanding Book for the College Bound from the American Library Association. Sherlockians also have jumped on the Russell bandwagon. She and Leslie S. Klinger, who edited The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, often do events together.

robinson_peterRobinson’s evocative series about Yorkshire detective Alan Banks continues to inject contemporary issues and nuanced character studies into carefully plotted police procedurals. (Peter Robinson is at right.)

Toastmaster Laura Lippman knows how to illustrate the depths of the emotional mine fields that challenge girls who will become women and how the fragility of memory affects our lives.

Malice also introduces many debuting authors and Mystery Scene does its part by co-sponsoring the New Authors Breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. on Sunday, May 5. This will jumpstart your day so you can enjoy the many panels scheduled that day. The host will be Cindy Silberblatt, who is the fan guest of honor at this year’s Malice. Mystery Scene editors Kate Stine and Brian Skupin will be at the breakfast.

Breakfast is served buffet (beginning at 7 a.m.) and the room is set in rounds of ten. Each author will be at a different table so they get to meet some readers who might not know their work and each reader gets a chance to sit with an author.

The intros begin between 7 and 7:30. Cindy will do a short interview with each author about his or her book.

I’ve been to this New Authors Breakfast before and it is a lot of fun. Think of it like speed dating with readers.

At the Scene, Spring Issue #129
Kate Stine

129cover250Hi Everyone,

Wyoming is the least populous state in the US, but I would bet that C.J. Box’s novels have set more than a few mystery readers daydreaming of a new life out west. Our talk with this articulate and ardent proponent of Wyoming will only fan the flames—westward, ho!

Other treats in this issue include Kevin Burton Smith’s ode to the “Hot Rides of Private Eyes Past,” Martin Edward’s examination of Dorothy L. Sayers’ real-life detective skills, and a talk with former journalist-turned-novelist Brad Parks. Lynn Kaczmarek chats with Erin Hart about her atmospheric mysteries set in Ireland, and Brian Skupin catches up with Linda Barnes, who is making a welcome return to crime writing after ending her Carlotta Carlyle series a few years back. Old Time Radio fans will be interested in Michael Mallory’s tribute to the Inner Sanctum Mystery program.

Every issue of Mystery Scene celebrates the work of crime writers. But to do that, an- other sort of writer is required—a critic. Critics seldom get the plaudits they routinely hand out to others, but we’re happy to re-port that Oline H. Cogdill will be receiving the 2013 Raven Award from the Mystery Writers of America at this year’s Edgar Awards Banquet. Oline always brings a discerning eye and a love of the genre to her work, whether she’s writing for Mystery Scene or for her nationally syndicated review column. Well done, Oline!

Don’t miss Betty Webb’s wide-ranging conversation with Oline in this issue about the ins-and-outs of a literary critic’s life.

Kate Stine
Editor-in-chief

Teri Duerr
2011-03-04 16:14:15

129cover250C.J. Box on the "Way of the West," Dorothy L. Sayers, PIs and their cars, a look at Old Time Radio, an interview with Linda Barnes, and Lisa Scottoline on Robert B. Parker

Spring Issue #129 Contents
Mystery Scene

129cover250

Features

Wild, Wild West

Wyoming is the heart and soul of C.J. Box’s atmospheric novels.
by Oline H. Cogdill

Ink in His Blood

Brad Parks brings his journalism chops to his award-winning novels.
by Oline H. Cogdill

Dorothy L. Sayers, Detective

While her reputation rests on her fiction, Sayers herself had a flair for real-life mysteries.
by Martin Edwards

Eyewitness: Chicks Dig the Car

Could the dearth of good private eye TV be due to a lack of cool cars?
by Kevin Burton Smith

Erin Hart

Like her detective character, Hart is an American enthralled by Ireland.
by Lynn Kaczmarek

The Inner Sanctum

One of classic radio’s most influential and successful hits.
by Michael Mallory

Linda Barnes

After a hiatus, this ground- breaking author makes a welcome return.
by Brian Skupin

Oline H. Cogdill: A Critic’s Eye

An award-winning mystery fiction critic discusses her career and calling in a wide-ranging chat.
by Betty Webb

On Reading Robert B. Parker

What he left out of his books was just as important as what he put in.
by Lisa Scottoline

“How Did the Victim Die?” Mystery Crossword

by Verna Suit

Departments


At the Scene

by Kate Stine

Mystery Miscellany

by Louis Phillips

The Hook

First Lines That Caught Our Attention

Hints & Allegations

Edgar Award nominations, 2013 Grand Master Awards, Every Picture Tells a Story, Dilys Award nominations, Nero Wolfe Awards

New Books

La Dolce Vita
by Katherine Hall Page

Night Terrors
by Dennis Palumbo


Reviews


Small Press Reviews: Covering the Independents

by Betty Webb & Sharon Magee

Very Original: Paperback Originals Reviewed

by Lynne Maxwell & Hank Wagner

What About Murder? Reference Books Reviewed

by Jon L. Breen

Sounds of Suspense: Audiobooks Reviewed

by Dick Lochte

Short & Sweet: Short Stories Considered

by Bill Crider

Mystery Scene Reviews

Miscellaneous


The Docket

Letters

Our Readers Recommend

MS Online

Advertiser Info

Admin
2010-04-06 02:39:02

129cover250

Features

Wild, Wild West

Wyoming is the heart and soul of C.J. Box’s atmospheric novels.
by Oline H. Cogdill

Ink in His Blood

Brad Parks brings his journalism chops to his award-winning novels.
by Oline H. Cogdill

Dorothy L. Sayers, Detective

While her reputation rests on her fiction, Sayers herself had a flair for real-life mysteries.
by Martin Edwards

Eyewitness: Chicks Dig the Car

Could the dearth of good private eye TV be due to a lack of cool cars?
by Kevin Burton Smith

Erin Hart

Like her detective character, Hart is an American enthralled by Ireland.
by Lynn Kaczmarek

The Inner Sanctum

One of classic radio’s most influential and successful hits.
by Michael Mallory

Linda Barnes

After a hiatus, this ground- breaking author makes a welcome return.
by Brian Skupin

Oline H. Cogdill: A Critic’s Eye

An award-winning mystery fiction critic discusses her career and calling in a wide-ranging chat.
by Betty Webb

On Reading Robert B. Parker

What he left out of his books was just as important as what he put in.
by Lisa Scottoline

“How Did the Victim Die?” Mystery Crossword

by Verna Suit

Departments


At the Scene

by Kate Stine

Mystery Miscellany

by Louis Phillips

The Hook

First Lines That Caught Our Attention

Hints & Allegations

Edgar Award nominations, 2013 Grand Master Awards, Every Picture Tells a Story, Dilys Award nominations, Nero Wolfe Awards

New Books

La Dolce Vita
by Katherine Hall Page

Night Terrors
by Dennis Palumbo


Reviews


Small Press Reviews: Covering the Independents

by Betty Webb & Sharon Magee

Very Original: Paperback Originals Reviewed

by Lynne Maxwell & Hank Wagner

What About Murder? Reference Books Reviewed

by Jon L. Breen

Sounds of Suspense: Audiobooks Reviewed

by Dick Lochte

Short & Sweet: Short Stories Considered

by Bill Crider

Mystery Scene Reviews

Miscellaneous


The Docket

Letters

Our Readers Recommend

MS Online

Advertiser Info

Murder as a Fine Art
Hank Wagner

David Morrell’s latest is set in the dank, dirty streets of 1854 London. Apparently inspired by the Ratcliffe Highway mass murders of 1811, and by their detailed fictional recreation in Thomas De Quincey’s notorious essay “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts,” a brutal and efficient killer has taken several innocent lives, and terrorized the city. Desperate to seem on top of the case, the police roust the controversial De Quincey, considering him a suspect despite his advanced age, frail condition, and laudanum addiction. Always intrigued by an intellectual puzzle, and finding it to be in his self-interest, the Victorian author, accompanied by his daughter, the estimable Emily, matches wits with the killer, trying to uncover his identity before he can wreak further havoc.

Although aptly compared to books such as Dan Simmons’ Drood and Matthew Pearl’s The Dante Club, the book that came to my mind while enjoying the mayhem within was Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City, due to Morrell’s happy ability to marry fact and fiction, convincingly evoking both 19th century London and the fascinating personage of the “Opium-Eater” himself, Thomas De Quincey. Besides being treated to a first-rate historical thriller, which the author dubs in his fascinating afterword, “my version of a nineteenth century novel,” readers can learn about, among other things, the origins of London’s police department, the history of the drug laudanum, and the derivation of the word “bloomers.” Morrell accomplishes this feat through the use of the third-person omniscient viewpoint, a welcome nod to the novels of that time, which allows the narrator to step forward to provide necessary background information.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-22 17:38:12

morrell_murderasafineartA historical novel inspired by opium dreams and set in the dank, dirty streets of 1854 London.

The Great Detective: His Further Adventures
Bill Crider

One thing that gets my attention is a new Sherlock Holmes anthology like The Great Detective: His Further Adventures, edited by Gary Lovisi. It contains 12 stories, nine of them previously unpublished. One that I noticed right away was Lovisi’s own “Sherlock Holmes—Stymied!” I’m not a golfer, but I do know the origin of the word stymie. And sure enough, this is a golfing story, and a clever one, too. Lovisi also provides a short introduction to the volume.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-22 18:26:36

One thing that gets my attention is a new Sherlock Holmes anthology like The Great Detective: His Further Adventures, edited by Gary Lovisi. It contains 12 stories, nine of them previously unpublished. One that I noticed right away was Lovisi’s own “Sherlock Holmes—Stymied!” I’m not a golfer, but I do know the origin of the word stymie. And sure enough, this is a golfing story, and a clever one, too. Lovisi also provides a short introduction to the volume.

Death Before Compline
Bill Crider

Sharan Newman writes novels and stories set in 12th-century France. Seven of the stories have been collected in Death Before Compline. If you’re not familiar with her work, don’t worry. Newman provides an introduction with summaries of each of her novels that gives an insight into her setting and her characters, two of whom are the protagonists of these stories. There’s also an introduction to each individual story, telling how it came to be written and giving the idea behind it. And there are even “somewhat medieval recipes” included. One of them is for candles, for those who’d rather do something crafty.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-22 18:33:28

Sharan Newman writes novels and stories set in 12th-century France. Seven of the stories have been collected in Death Before Compline. If you’re not familiar with her work, don’t worry. Newman provides an introduction with summaries of each of her novels that gives an insight into her setting and her characters, two of whom are the protagonists of these stories. There’s also an introduction to each individual story, telling how it came to be written and giving the idea behind it. And there are even “somewhat medieval recipes” included. One of them is for candles, for those who’d rather do something crafty.

The Legend of Judgment Rock and Other Mystery Stories
Bill Crider

Sharon Love Cook’s The Legend of Judgment Rock and Other Mystery Stories collects ten stories and one nonfiction tale, “The Ghost of Winthrop Hall.” I was partial to “Murder at the Senior Center,” in which the center is described as being “much like high school...with dentures.” Four of the stories are reprints, and all are good reading.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-22 18:40:37

Sharon Love Cook’s The Legend of Judgment Rock and Other Mystery Stories collects ten stories and one nonfiction tale, “The Ghost of Winthrop Hall.” I was partial to “Murder at the Senior Center,” in which the center is described as being “much like high school...with dentures.” Four of the stories are reprints, and all are good reading.

Evil in All Its Disguises
Sue Emmons

Travel writer Lily Moore returns for her third dangerous adventure in this mystery set in tropical Acapulco, Mexico, where intrigue abounds in a remote, opulent hotel. When Lily arrives, she immediately runs into a very distraught Skye McDermott, a fellow travel writer who confides she is working on an explosive exposé centered on duplicity and venality in the hotel industry. She also expresses her grief over a love affair gone awry—a situation Lily is only too familiar with. And then she disappears. When Lily implores hotel staffers to contact authorities about her missing friend, they refuse to do so, seemingly unconcerned over Skye’s absence.

And then, despite being surrounded by luxury and treated to luscious meals by attentive (occasionally over-attentive) hosts, Lily discovers that she and her fellow journalists on this junket are virtually captives. When she tries to escape the confines of this golden cage she is thwarted and threatened.

What’s a veteran journalist to do? She takes over the investigation started by Skye and discovers a plethora of illegal activities, not the least of which is murder. Soon Lily is all too aware that other lives are at stake and that she has become bait in a dangerous game. The winding plot, with its bevy of subplots aimed at vengeance, offers many red herrings to delight the reader, and the book’s finale is a clever shocker.

Hilary Davidson, herself a travel writer for many years, won an Anthony Award for her first Lily Moore mystery, The Damage Done, which was also a finalist for Arthur Ellis and Macavity awards in 2011.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-22 18:51:52

Travel writer Lily Moore returns for her third dangerous adventure in this mystery set in tropical Acapulco, Mexico, where intrigue abounds in a remote, opulent hotel. When Lily arrives, she immediately runs into a very distraught Skye McDermott, a fellow travel writer who confides she is working on an explosive exposé centered on duplicity and venality in the hotel industry. She also expresses her grief over a love affair gone awry—a situation Lily is only too familiar with. And then she disappears. When Lily implores hotel staffers to contact authorities about her missing friend, they refuse to do so, seemingly unconcerned over Skye’s absence.

And then, despite being surrounded by luxury and treated to luscious meals by attentive (occasionally over-attentive) hosts, Lily discovers that she and her fellow journalists on this junket are virtually captives. When she tries to escape the confines of this golden cage she is thwarted and threatened.

What’s a veteran journalist to do? She takes over the investigation started by Skye and discovers a plethora of illegal activities, not the least of which is murder. Soon Lily is all too aware that other lives are at stake and that she has become bait in a dangerous game. The winding plot, with its bevy of subplots aimed at vengeance, offers many red herrings to delight the reader, and the book’s finale is a clever shocker.

Hilary Davidson, herself a travel writer for many years, won an Anthony Award for her first Lily Moore mystery, The Damage Done, which was also a finalist for Arthur Ellis and Macavity awards in 2011.

Blood Makes Noise
Hank Wagner

Gregory Widen’s clever debut relates the untold story of how, why, and where the celebrated Eva Peron’s well-preserved corpse went missing, from 1956 to 1971. It’s a strangely poignant tale, tinged with the macabre, and a winning yarn with special focus on espionage, hero worship, and personal tragedy.

Widen fills in gaps in the historical record with the fictional story of CIA operative Michael Suslov. Stationed in post-World War II Argentina, Michael is a non-entity in the organization until a well-placed Argentine military man begins feeding him useful intelligence. The information proves costly, however, as, after several months, the source seeks a boon, asking Michael to spirit Eva Peron’s body out of politically unstable country. Michael is successful, but only at great personal cost. Broken by his experiences, he sleepwalks through life for several years, until he is asked to return Eva’s body to its homeland. It’s by no means an easy task, as several disparate groups desiring access to the corpse for political and financial reasons have been waiting for him to make such a move, and will kill to possess her.

Although it lags a bit in its opening chapters, the book makes up for its initial clumsiness later on, especially after Michael seeks personal redemption by bringing Eva home. It’s then that the book gains momentum, as Widen delivers a cascade of winning, action-packed set pieces. Throughout, the author examines Eva’s charisma and cult of personality from several intriguing angles, allowing readers to appreciate her achievements, both positive and negative, and her enduring historical legacy.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-22 18:58:42

Gregory Widen’s clever debut relates the untold story of how, why, and where the celebrated Eva Peron’s well-preserved corpse went missing, from 1956 to 1971. It’s a strangely poignant tale, tinged with the macabre, and a winning yarn with special focus on espionage, hero worship, and personal tragedy.

Widen fills in gaps in the historical record with the fictional story of CIA operative Michael Suslov. Stationed in post-World War II Argentina, Michael is a non-entity in the organization until a well-placed Argentine military man begins feeding him useful intelligence. The information proves costly, however, as, after several months, the source seeks a boon, asking Michael to spirit Eva Peron’s body out of politically unstable country. Michael is successful, but only at great personal cost. Broken by his experiences, he sleepwalks through life for several years, until he is asked to return Eva’s body to its homeland. It’s by no means an easy task, as several disparate groups desiring access to the corpse for political and financial reasons have been waiting for him to make such a move, and will kill to possess her.

Although it lags a bit in its opening chapters, the book makes up for its initial clumsiness later on, especially after Michael seeks personal redemption by bringing Eva home. It’s then that the book gains momentum, as Widen delivers a cascade of winning, action-packed set pieces. Throughout, the author examines Eva’s charisma and cult of personality from several intriguing angles, allowing readers to appreciate her achievements, both positive and negative, and her enduring historical legacy.

The Caretaker
Robin Agnew

Here’s an interesting setup to a suspenseful and fun debut: the main character, a former Indian Army soldier forced far from home, Ranjit Singh, finds himself on Martha’s Vineyard working as a landscaper, trying to support his wife and a young daughter. The opening sequence establishes that Ranjit has worked for, or knows, Anna, the wife of a senator who summers on the Vineyard. Her powerful presence averts a bad situation for Ranjit early on, though it sets in motion the tension that builds through the rest of the narrative.

As the summer draws to a close, Ranjit is offered a winter caretaker position at the senator’s summer house and for several other wealthy neighbors. As Ranjit becomes accustomed to his caretaking rounds and a more regular income, he takes the step of secretly moving his family into the senator’s house, and all sorts of trouble follows. The scenario is thick with tension. You’re uncomfortable as a reader because you know Ranjit and his family don’t belong in the house, and then doubly uncomfortable as a series of island wide break-ins culminate with one at the senator’s home.

There are some thoughts on class, race and ethnicity (the senator and his family are African American, and Ranjit is Sikh), and money in this book, but mostly this is a terrific story with an original main character and an interesting set of circumstances. You’re invested in what will happen to him and his family (an unhappy wife who feels isolated and misses India, and a nine-yearold daughter who loves America and wants to stay). A former elite soldier, Ranjit is plagued with bad memories and visions, which are interspersed throughout the narrative and explain some of his situation and behavior. His ex-military background, paired with Ranjit’s status as a lowly employee in a wealthy community, makes for a very interesting dynamic and a memorable read.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-22 19:10:53

Here’s an interesting setup to a suspenseful and fun debut: the main character, a former Indian Army soldier forced far from home, Ranjit Singh, finds himself on Martha’s Vineyard working as a landscaper, trying to support his wife and a young daughter. The opening sequence establishes that Ranjit has worked for, or knows, Anna, the wife of a senator who summers on the Vineyard. Her powerful presence averts a bad situation for Ranjit early on, though it sets in motion the tension that builds through the rest of the narrative.

As the summer draws to a close, Ranjit is offered a winter caretaker position at the senator’s summer house and for several other wealthy neighbors. As Ranjit becomes accustomed to his caretaking rounds and a more regular income, he takes the step of secretly moving his family into the senator’s house, and all sorts of trouble follows. The scenario is thick with tension. You’re uncomfortable as a reader because you know Ranjit and his family don’t belong in the house, and then doubly uncomfortable as a series of island wide break-ins culminate with one at the senator’s home.

There are some thoughts on class, race and ethnicity (the senator and his family are African American, and Ranjit is Sikh), and money in this book, but mostly this is a terrific story with an original main character and an interesting set of circumstances. You’re invested in what will happen to him and his family (an unhappy wife who feels isolated and misses India, and a nine-yearold daughter who loves America and wants to stay). A former elite soldier, Ranjit is plagued with bad memories and visions, which are interspersed throughout the narrative and explain some of his situation and behavior. His ex-military background, paired with Ranjit’s status as a lowly employee in a wealthy community, makes for a very interesting dynamic and a memorable read.

Smarty Bones
Kristin Centorcelli

A historian with the unlikely name of Olive Twist is in Zinnia, Mississippi, stirring up trouble with claims that a mysterious, mummified woman known as the “Lady in Red” had something to do with Abe Lincoln’s assassination and that she may even be a relative of one of Zinnia’s most respected families. PI Sarah Booth Delaney has been asked, as a favor, to look into the matter; and as soon as Sarah meets Dr. Twist, it’s immediately evident that Twist isn’t going to give up her research without a fight.

Dr. Twist is described as being tall and skinny, with the face of an angel and feet so big they could give clown shoes a run for their money. Too bad she has the attitude of a demon, and treats her poor assistant like trash. While Sarah and her PI partner Tinkie investigate Zinnia’s history, they assume the worst that can happen is a case of hurt feelings, but when someone throws a Molotov cocktail through the window of Dr. Twist’s hotel room, things start to get very serious indeed. And when a dead body is found, it’s a certainty that more than hurt feelings and tarnished reputations are at stake. Sarah and her friends plan to find out the truth before anyone else dies. Little does Sarah know, things are about to get very personal.

Smarty Bones is the 13th installment in the Sarah Booth Delaney series, and it’s told in Sarah’s wry, witty voice. If you’re a newcomer to the series, that’s okay, because plenty of hints are dropped throughout concerning previous events that serve to seamlessly draw new readers into the close-knit Southern setting of Zinnia, Mississippi. Hope, friendship, and acceptance are strong themes in the book, but the author isn’t afraid to head into darker territory, including the discovery by Sarah of a potentially violent local group.

There’s plenty of Southern charm packed into this book (especially the ghost of a former slave, Jitty, who revels in appearing to Sarah as famous cartoon characters), and even a few twists that I actually didn’t see coming. Although Olive Twist is a larger-than-life adversary, things never get too over the top. I’ll admit, I was anxious to see her get her comeuppance for her dastardly deeds. If you enjoy mysteries with rich Southern settings, fascinating history, and quirky characters, you’ll devour this one quicker than a plate full of buttermilk biscuits.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-22 19:18:00

haines_smartybonesMississippi PI Sarah Booth Delaney is back at it with her wry wit and sleuthing skills in Haines' 13th installment.

Evidence of Life
Lourdes Venard

When does a mystery hit close to the heart? When a loved one is involved, of course. In Evidence of Life, Barbara Taylor Sissel melds mystery and relationship issues into a page-turner that is part psychological thriller and part family drama.

Torrential rains have swept through the Texas Hill Country, killing dozens of people. Abby Bennett’s husband, Nick, and their teenage daughter, Lindsey, who were on a camping trip, have disappeared. Abby refuses to believe they are dead. A final phone call from Lindsey, strange and tearful, was cut off in the middle, leaving Abby to believe they are still alive but in trouble.

Abby begins her own search, following Nick and Lindsey’s path, searching through Nick’s office, talking to others in his law office. But it only raises more questions about Nick, who police suspect may have helped a friend embezzle money, and about Abby’s marriage to him. Could Nick have bolted, taking Lindsey with him?

Meanwhile, Abby’s mother, her college-age son, and her friends worry about her mental state. Abby tells them that she’s found lights on in rooms she doesn’t use and windows cracked open. She reports strange calls, and is sure that it’s Lindsey, trying to reach her. Abby, in turn, begins to think her own son and friends are keeping secrets from her.

Evidence of Life is a strong psychological thriller that pulls you into Abby’s grief, a sorrow that is almost crippling at times. At other times, Abby rises above it, fueled by anger and a need to know the truth. Coming from a Harlequin imprint, it’s not surprising that there is a budding attraction with the sheriff investigating her husband’s disappearance, but this, fortunately, is kept low-key. As Abby works through her grief, readers are confronted with questions of their own: Just how well do we know those closest to us? And to what lengths would we go to uncover their secrets?

Teri Duerr
2013-04-22 19:22:47

When does a mystery hit close to the heart? When a loved one is involved, of course. In Evidence of Life, Barbara Taylor Sissel melds mystery and relationship issues into a page-turner that is part psychological thriller and part family drama.

Torrential rains have swept through the Texas Hill Country, killing dozens of people. Abby Bennett’s husband, Nick, and their teenage daughter, Lindsey, who were on a camping trip, have disappeared. Abby refuses to believe they are dead. A final phone call from Lindsey, strange and tearful, was cut off in the middle, leaving Abby to believe they are still alive but in trouble.

Abby begins her own search, following Nick and Lindsey’s path, searching through Nick’s office, talking to others in his law office. But it only raises more questions about Nick, who police suspect may have helped a friend embezzle money, and about Abby’s marriage to him. Could Nick have bolted, taking Lindsey with him?

Meanwhile, Abby’s mother, her college-age son, and her friends worry about her mental state. Abby tells them that she’s found lights on in rooms she doesn’t use and windows cracked open. She reports strange calls, and is sure that it’s Lindsey, trying to reach her. Abby, in turn, begins to think her own son and friends are keeping secrets from her.

Evidence of Life is a strong psychological thriller that pulls you into Abby’s grief, a sorrow that is almost crippling at times. At other times, Abby rises above it, fueled by anger and a need to know the truth. Coming from a Harlequin imprint, it’s not surprising that there is a budding attraction with the sheriff investigating her husband’s disappearance, but this, fortunately, is kept low-key. As Abby works through her grief, readers are confronted with questions of their own: Just how well do we know those closest to us? And to what lengths would we go to uncover their secrets?

Every Contact Leaves a Trace
Hilary Daninhirsch

A well-known principle of forensics is “every contact leaves a trace,” also known as Locard’s exchange principle after the criminologist Edmond Locard who formulated it. The theory states that every criminal leaves a trace of himself at the scene of the crime, and every criminal takes some evidence away from the scene of the crime. Locard developed this principle in the early 1900s, long before modern technology has made that all too true.

In Dymott’s dark literary thriller, that principle is used metaphorically. Alex is a British lawyer who reconnects with a college love, Rachel, and marries her. But their happiness is short-lived when, during a visit to Worcester College, their alma mater in Oxford, Rachel is found murdered on the lawn.

Beside himself with grief, Alex investigates on his own by interviewing Rachel’s former professors, guardian, and roommates—and he makes some disturbing discoveries about his late wife.

The time frame of the story jumps around a bit in flashback form, sometimes confusingly, while the author peels back layer after layer of mystery surrounding the circumstances of Rachel’s life and death—and how every contact does, indeed, leave a trace, especially a psychological and emotional one.

While the latter half of the book is fairly slow-paced, as it is primarily a conversation in which Rachel’s old professor tells Alex some things that he didn’t know about his wife, the author still manages to maintain the reader’s attention by gradually doling out tidbits and clues.

The book is intelligently written, with an emphasis on love and loss; it should appeal to folks who prefer mysteries that unfold in small stages rather than in one fell swoop.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-22 19:26:08

dymott_everycontactleavesatraceA man's wife is murdered, and his search to understand why is detailed in this dark, literary novel.