Iris Johansen & Roy Johansen on Their Favorite Childhood Books
Iris Johansen & Roy Johansen

Johansen_IrisandRoy

The mother-and-son team look back on memorable reading experiences.

Iris Johansen: Just a few weeks ago, my son (and frequent collaborator) Roy and I were discussing how much we continue to be influenced by the books we loved when we were children. I remember toting books back and forth from the St. Louis Public Library, stuffing my tattered canvas bag full of mystery, romance, and adventure. One of the first books I remember reading was Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar. I don’t remember the particulars of that story, but I immediately read all of the other Tarzan books. I imagined myself in the jungles of Africa, joining Tarzan and Jane in their tales of lost cities and hidden treasures.

Roy Johansen: My first memorable reading experience was The Happy Hollisters and the Haunted House Mystery by Jerry West. It was one of over 30 mystery books featuring the Hollister family: five kids ranging in age from four to 12, plus an extremely accommodating mom and dad. They solved mysteries together. I loved those books, but I could never find them in bookstores or libraries. Mom joined a book club that had them delivered to me, two hardcover editions each month. I would devour them in just a few days, so it was a long wait until the next two arrived!

burnett_thesecretgardenAs I grew older, I fell in love with books like The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. I think the “Stallion” books are why I’m still such an animal lover today. I was also a fan of Elswyth Thane, who isn’t well-remembered these days. Thane had a beautiful way of weaving romance, history, and paranormal elements into the most wonderful stories. I still get emotional when I think about her book Tryst.

I loved juvenile mysteries such as Robert Arthur’s Three Investigators series and Donald J. Sobol’s Encyclopedia Brown stories, but I was just wild about James B. Garfield’s Follow My Leader, a story of an 11-year-old boy who becomes blind and reconnects with the world through his guide dog. I read that book over and over. When I was 12, I discovered Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories and read them all in a matter of weeks. I re-read them in my twenties and was amazed at how different my perceptions were of Holmes; the character’s arrogance had flown right past me as a child. I discovered a layer of humor I had completely missed, and the stories were suddenly even richer and more entertaining. I’m now reading them again in Leslie Klinger’s amazing new annotated editions.

Those favorite books of my childhood have certainly influenced my writing. Many of my books show my love of adventure, romance, and mystery, with a generous helping of paranormal elements. Animals also play a big part in several of my thrillers. I’ve continued to be an avid reader as an adult, but there’s something very powerful about those books we first encountered as children.

west_happyhollistershauntedhouseThere’s definitely a direct line from those books of my youth to the fiction I’m writing today. Only now do I consciously realize that the The Happy Hollisters and the Haunted House Mystery, most of the Three Investigators books, and even The Hound of the Baskervilles explore the mystery subgenre of a supposedly supernatural crime being exposed by the forces of logic and reason. My books Beyond Belief and Deadly Visions tread the same ground. And our Kendra Michaels character (featured in the just-released Sight Unseen) certainly shares some traits with Sherlock Holmes, although she is a much more emotional being. We’re all products of our environment, even if that environment was partially created by authors in their wonderful books. We’d be thrilled if we could cast the same spell over readers who enter the worlds we create.

IRIS JOHANSEN is The New York Times bestselling author of Live to See Tomorrow, Silencing Eve, What Doesn't Kill You, Chasing The Night, Fatal Tide, Dead Aim, No One To Trust and more.

ROY JOHANSEN is an Edgar Award winning author and the son of Iris Johansen. He has written many well-received mysteries, including Deadly Visions, Beyond Belief and The Answer Man. Iris and Roy together have written Close Your Eyes, Shadow Zone, Storm Cycle, and Silent Thunder. Their book, Sight Unseen is out July 15, 2014.

This "Writers on Reading" essay was originally published in "At the Scene" eNews July 2014 as a first-look exclusive to our enewsletter subscribers. For more special content available first to our enewsletter subscribers, sign up here.

Teri Duerr
2014-06-30 14:49:39

Johansen_IrisandRoycropThe mother-and-son team look back on memorable reading experiences.

Summer Issue #135 Contents
Mystery Scene

135cover_250

Features

The Detections of Lillian de la Torre

A look at the historical mystery writer who put Dr. Sam Johnson on the case in witty short stories.
by Michael Mallory

Gormania

Katherine Hall Page discusses her Faith Fairchild series, favorite authors, the writing life, and her new collection of short stories.
by Ed Gorman

Ben H. Winters: World of Trouble

It’s six months before an asteroid destroys Earth and detective Hank Palace continues his lone crusade to bring order to the apocalypse in the final book of this highly praised trilogy.
by Oline H. Cogdill

Paul Doiron: A Light in the Forest

It’s law and order Maine-style with Game Warden Mike Bowditch.
by Lynn Kaczmarek

Justified

This Elmore Leonard-inspired show has always had big ambitions —and the payoff is on the way.
by Jake Hinkson

Dorothy Salisbury Davis

A star in the 1950s to ’70s, Davis had a rich understanding of the human condition.
by Sarah Weinman

“Killer Wedding” Crossword

by Verna Suit

Departments

At the Scene

by Kate Stine

Mystery Miscellany

by Louis Phillips

Hints & Allegations

2014 Anthony Award nominations, Edgar Awards, Agatha Awards, Audie Awards, Lambda Awards, Arthur Ellis Awards

New Books

Catnapped!
by Elaine Viets

Storytelling Through Totem Poles
by R.J. Harlick

The Hook

First lines that caught our attention

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

Advertiser Info

Admin
2010-04-06 02:39:02

135cover_250

Features

The Detections of Lillian de la Torre

A look at the historical mystery writer who put Dr. Sam Johnson on the case in witty short stories.
by Michael Mallory

Gormania

Katherine Hall Page discusses her Faith Fairchild series, favorite authors, the writing life, and her new collection of short stories.
by Ed Gorman

Ben H. Winters: World of Trouble

It’s six months before an asteroid destroys Earth and detective Hank Palace continues his lone crusade to bring order to the apocalypse in the final book of this highly praised trilogy.
by KOline H. Cogdill

Paul Doiron: A Light in the Forest

It’s law and order Maine-style with Game Warden Mike Bowditch.
by Lynn Kaczmarek

Justified

This Elmore Leonard-inspired show has always had big ambitions —and the payoff is on the way.
by Jake Hinkson

Dorothy Salisbury Davis

A star in the 1950s to ’70s, Davis had a rich understanding of the human condition.
by Sarah Weinman

“Killer Wedding” Crossword

by Verna Suit

Departments

At the Scene

by Kate Stine

Mystery Miscellany

by Louis Phillips

Hints & Allegations

2014 Anthony Award nominations, Edgar Awards, Agatha Awards, Audie Awards, Lambda Awards, Arthur Ellis Awards

New Books

Catnapped!
by Elaine Viets

Storytelling Through Totem Poles
by R.J. Harlick

The Hook

First lines that caught our attention

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

Advertiser Info

Raymond Chandler to Get a Star
Oline Cogdill

chandler_raymond1

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is one of those iconic must-sees for anyone visiting Hollywood.

Who hasn’t seen either in person or in the movies those bright pink stars against the grey background on the sidewalk that stretches on both sides of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street?

These stars are permanent tributes to those in the entertainment business. Certainly a number of actors, musicians, directors and producers are among the stars, as well as a few fictional characters such as Kermit, the Frog. (oh, please…you thought he was real?)

The Walk of Fame also has found its way into several novels of crime fiction. Michael Connelly used Frank Sinatra’s star as a meeting place in his Angels Flight.

Authors also are represented among these stars with Raymond Chandler, above, slated to receive his spot in 2015, along with actors Will Ferrell, Julianna Margulies, and Daniel Radcliffe.

Chandler will join an exclusive club of authors with stars on this walk that include Ray Bradbury, Dr. Seuss, Adela Rogers St. Johns, and Ogden Nash.

It’s about time that Chandler was honored. His private detective Philip Marlowe remains one of the touchstones of the genre, and influenced generations of mystery writers, including Michael Connelly.

And Marlowe was not stranger to Hollywood. The character appeared in several film adaptations of Chandler’s work, as well as radio adaptations.

Actors who portrayed the private detective include Dick Powell (Murder, My Sweet, 1944); Humphrey Bogart (The Big Sleep, 1946); Robert Montgomery (Lady in the Lake, 1947); James Gardner (Marlowe, 1969, which was an adaptation of The Little Sister); Elliott Gould (The Long Goodbye, 1973); and Robert Mitchum (Farewell My Lovely, 1975, and The Big Sleep, 1978).

Chandler never adapted any of his novels to the screen, but he became a fixture in Hollywood.

Chandler worked with directors and screenwriters on adapting other novelists’ works. These screenplays include James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity, which he co-wrote with Billy Wilder and which was nominated for an Oscar, and Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train on which he collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock.

Chandler’s only original screenplay that actually was made into a film was The Blue Dahlia (1946). According to biographies, including one on producer John Houseman, Chandler hadn’t written an ending. Chandler agreed to finish the script, but insisted he could only do it drunk. That must have been some powerful drink because The Blue Dahlia brought Chandler’s second Oscar nod for screenplay.

Chandler did have one small role in a film, so small it was uncredited.

And this makes for a great Jeopardy! question:

Which noir novelist is seen sitting outside Keyes’ office in Double Indemnity?

Answer: Who is Raymond Chandler.

You have to look quick to spot Chandler in that scene, but Chandler’s Walk of Fame star will be easy to spot.

As for future crime fiction authors who should also have a Walk of Fame star—I nominate Michael Connelly and Robert Crais.

Oline Cogdill
2014-07-06 02:12:01

chandler_raymond1

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is one of those iconic must-sees for anyone visiting Hollywood.

Who hasn’t seen either in person or in the movies those bright pink stars against the grey background on the sidewalk that stretches on both sides of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street?

These stars are permanent tributes to those in the entertainment business. Certainly a number of actors, musicians, directors and producers are among the stars, as well as a few fictional characters such as Kermit, the Frog. (oh, please…you thought he was real?)

The Walk of Fame also has found its way into several novels of crime fiction. Michael Connelly used Frank Sinatra’s star as a meeting place in his Angels Flight.

Authors also are represented among these stars with Raymond Chandler, above, slated to receive his spot in 2015, along with actors Will Ferrell, Julianna Margulies, and Daniel Radcliffe.

Chandler will join an exclusive club of authors with stars on this walk that include Ray Bradbury, Dr. Seuss, Adela Rogers St. Johns, and Ogden Nash.

It’s about time that Chandler was honored. His private detective Philip Marlowe remains one of the touchstones of the genre, and influenced generations of mystery writers, including Michael Connelly.

And Marlowe was not stranger to Hollywood. The character appeared in several film adaptations of Chandler’s work, as well as radio adaptations.

Actors who portrayed the private detective include Dick Powell (Murder, My Sweet, 1944); Humphrey Bogart (The Big Sleep, 1946); Robert Montgomery (Lady in the Lake, 1947); James Gardner (Marlowe, 1969, which was an adaptation of The Little Sister); Elliott Gould (The Long Goodbye, 1973); and Robert Mitchum (Farewell My Lovely, 1975, and The Big Sleep, 1978).

Chandler never adapted any of his novels to the screen, but he became a fixture in Hollywood.

Chandler worked with directors and screenwriters on adapting other novelists’ works. These screenplays include James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity, which he co-wrote with Billy Wilder and which was nominated for an Oscar, and Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train on which he collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock.

Chandler’s only original screenplay that actually was made into a film was The Blue Dahlia (1946). According to biographies, including one on producer John Houseman, Chandler hadn’t written an ending. Chandler agreed to finish the script, but insisted he could only do it drunk. That must have been some powerful drink because The Blue Dahlia brought Chandler’s second Oscar nod for screenplay.

Chandler did have one small role in a film, so small it was uncredited.

And this makes for a great Jeopardy! question:

Which noir novelist is seen sitting outside Keyes’ office in Double Indemnity?

Answer: Who is Raymond Chandler.

You have to look quick to spot Chandler in that scene, but Chandler’s Walk of Fame star will be easy to spot.

As for future crime fiction authors who should also have a Walk of Fame star—I nominate Michael Connelly and Robert Crais.

The Case of the Missing Endnotes
Jon L. Breen

magnifying_glass_books_istockphoto

A noted critic raises concerns about a troubling new trend in publishing.

A sinister trend is afoot in nonfiction publishing. It seems to affect a particular kind of book: one with both scholarly authority and commercial appeal. Two examples have come my way in the past year, both of them coincidentally with a common subject: the Pinkerton detective agency and its crime writing founder Allan Pinkerton.

Early in 2013, I reviewed in these pages Daniel Stashower’s The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War (Minotaur), since nominated for a true-crime Edgar Award. It struck me as the superb job I’d expect from the author, but something was missing. While there was a six-page bibliography of primary and secondary sources, there were no notes to identify exactly where quotations and little-known facts came from. At the end of the bibliography, the reader is referred to the author’s website, where the source notes can be found. (The link to the notes appears in the bottom left corner of the author’s homepage at www.stashower.com.)

I didn’t remember having come across this practice before, and maybe I should have been on alert later in the year when I came to review Beau Riffenburgh’s Pinkerton’s Great Detective: The Amazing Life and Times of James McParland (Viking), another excellent book. Note numbers were sprinkled throughout the text of my advance reading copy, but there was nowhere to look them up. I asked the publisher for a copy of the notes and received almost a hundred pages, including not just source citations but appendices, maps, bibliography, and considerable added information included with the notes, the sort of material that was an integral part of the book and indispensable to any reader with a more than casual interest in the subject. I wrote my review on the reasonable, but (as it turned out) premature assumption that all this material would be included in the finished book. When I received a hardbound copy, I saw that it was not. A note between preface and introduction referred the reader to two websites: www.susannagregory.com and www.penguin.com.

How widespread is this alarming phenomenon? Admittedly, it’s too early to pronounce it an epidemic. Two nonfiction books I received for Christmas are in that scholarly-and-commercial category, and both of them had their extensive notes intact: Doris Kearns Goodwin’s bestseller The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism (Simon and Schuster), and Ethan Mordden’s Anything Goes: A History of American Musical Theatre (Oxford University Press). (Though when this malady starts afflicting prestigious university presses, we really will be in trouble!) A quick-and-dirty survey of the new nonfiction shelves at my favorite public library turned up no additional examples. Could it be this publishing atrocity is limited to history books about the Pinkertons? Not quite.

In the October 4, 2013 Washington Post, Douglas Brinkley gave the most scathing pan imaginable to Bill Bryson’s One Summer: America, 1927 (Doubleday). In a subsequent letter to the editor published November 8, Bryson granted Brinkley’s right to a wrongheaded opinion on his literary merits, but heatedly disputed the claim that his book was “devoid of footnotes” and involved “no primary research (except for scanning websites).” On the contrary, wrote Bryson, readers are directed to “a 119-page appendix available online that contains some 1,200 annotated source notes....” Another book that has important ancillary content online rather than in the book is Jared Diamond’s The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies? (Viking, 2012), with chapter-by-chapter Further Readings found only on the publisher’s website.

Obviously, this is an economic decision of the publishers. To keep the price affordable to the target audience, the page count has to be limited. Just about everybody has Internet access, and the information is readily available to those who want it. Most casual readers, the thinking might go, won’t even miss the notes. And if they do, they can get the ebook version, where the page count is not an issue and these omitted notes can be included.

So why is this such a big deal? Several reasons.

To begin with, it’s an inconvenience to the reader, who pays a handsome price for a physical book but then has to go somewhere out in the clouds for the basic documentation that makes it complete. And believe it or not, not everyone loves using computers or the Internet. As for getting the ebook, why should the lover of real physical books with pages and print have to pay twice to get the whole book?

Second, what about the effect on the author? I can’t imagine any responsible scholar not wanting the documentation to be available or being happy with giving the reader extra hurdles to clear. If the choice comes down to making unacceptable cuts in the text or farming out the notes, the latter is clearly the lesser of two evils, but still an evil. Harm to the author’s reputation can also result. If you check the Amazon.com reviews for Stashower’s and Riffenburgh’s books, you’ll find both have been criticized for the lack of notes, either by those who resented having to go online to find them or (worse yet) by those who missed the cross-reference and assumed the author had provided no documentation at all.

Third is the biggest problem of all in my view: the dubious permanence of the scholarly documentation. Nothing in cyberspace is as certain of survival as a physical object. Much as I value and exploit the Internet, I can never believe a given online item will be around as long as a printed book. Those source notes are available to check online now, but what assurance is there they will still be there in a year, five years, ten years, fifty years? And though I’ve filled my iPad with hundreds of ebooks and reveled in the convenience of space saving and portability, the permanence question applies equally to them.

Readers with an interest in the integrity of the book must resist this intellectual virus. I’m not sure how, but being aware of it is a start.

Teri Duerr
2014-07-08 20:34:47

magnifying_glass_books_istockphotoA noted critic raises concerns about a troubling new trend in publishing.

Swedish Author Camilla Lackberg
Oline Cogdill

lackberg_hiddenchild
The Hidden Child
is a massive novel by Swedish author Camilla Läckberg that looks at how Sweden was affected by WWII and the contemporay reverberations of that war.

But The Hidden Child (Pegasus Crime) also is the story of a family—how a new mother deals with her child; how a vibrant teenager grows into a cold, emotionless mother and how this affects her own children; how two brothers copy with a devastating 60-year-old secret.

Here’s a quick interview with Camilla Läckberg, left.

At the heart of The Hidden Child is a woman learning about the girl her mother was; you show the options and opportunities that Erica Falck has are vastly different than the choices her mother, Elsy had. Could you comment on that?
A lot of things has change between the two different generations, not the least to say regarding women’s rights. In the story I also can also compare their challenges and opportunities being mothers in two different moments in time.

lackberg_camilla
Have you always wanted to write?
I have loved crime fiction since I can remember.

Does your background is as an economist ever enter into your writing?
I use my personal experience as much as I can, and whenever I mention an accountant or business man/woman I guess I share some of my acquired skills.

Tell us a bit about your personal life; married, children?
I have three wonderful kids who are my greatest live. I am divorced but have a very strong relationship with the children’s fathers. I call my family a star family and I’m so happy to have such a great relationship with my exes and their new girlfriends.

What character in The Hidden Child are you most proud?
Every character brings something unique to the story. However, I love the way I got to explore Erica’s courage in The Hidden Child. It feels that I got closer to her somehow.

Oline Cogdill
2014-07-12 17:38:25

lackberg_hiddenchild
The Hidden Child
is a massive novel by Swedish author Camilla Läckberg that looks at how Sweden was affected by WWII and the contemporay reverberations of that war.

But The Hidden Child (Pegasus Crime) also is the story of a family—how a new mother deals with her child; how a vibrant teenager grows into a cold, emotionless mother and how this affects her own children; how two brothers copy with a devastating 60-year-old secret.

Here’s a quick interview with Camilla Läckberg, left.

At the heart of The Hidden Child is a woman learning about the girl her mother was; you show the options and opportunities that Erica Falck has are vastly different than the choices her mother, Elsy had. Could you comment on that?
A lot of things has change between the two different generations, not the least to say regarding women’s rights. In the story I also can also compare their challenges and opportunities being mothers in two different moments in time.

lackberg_camilla
Have you always wanted to write?
I have loved crime fiction since I can remember.

Does your background is as an economist ever enter into your writing?
I use my personal experience as much as I can, and whenever I mention an accountant or business man/woman I guess I share some of my acquired skills.

Tell us a bit about your personal life; married, children?
I have three wonderful kids who are my greatest live. I am divorced but have a very strong relationship with the children’s fathers. I call my family a star family and I’m so happy to have such a great relationship with my exes and their new girlfriends.

What character in The Hidden Child are you most proud?
Every character brings something unique to the story. However, I love the way I got to explore Erica’s courage in The Hidden Child. It feels that I got closer to her somehow.

‘Judge’ David Ellis and James Patterson

pattersonellis_invisible
David Ellis’ pattern of involving stories was set in his first book, Line of Vision, which won the Edgar Award for best first novel.

Line of Vision wasn’t just a solid legal thriller, it was a poignant character study and a morality tale.

And Ellis isn’t just another attorney turned novelist. He’s about to be a judge.

He received the Democratic nomination for the Illinois Appellate Court, First Judicial District. He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary on March 18, 2014. He will be unopposed in the general election on November 4, 2014, after which he will become a judge.

Ellis’ last novel in his Jason Kolarich series was The Last Alibi, which came out last year.

Meanwhile, judge-to-be Ellis has become one of James Patterson’s co-authors. Their latest collaboration Invisible hit the ground running with spots on several best-sellers lists.

Invisible revolves around former FBI researcher Emmy Dockery who is obsessed with showing a link between hundreds of rapes, kidnappings and murders.

Invisible is the third time Ellis and Patterson have teamed up.

Oline Cogdill
2014-07-16 16:39:53

pattersonellis_invisible
David Ellis’ pattern of involving stories was set in his first book, Line of Vision, which won the Edgar Award for best first novel.

Line of Vision wasn’t just a solid legal thriller, it was a poignant character study and a morality tale.

And Ellis isn’t just another attorney turned novelist. He’s about to be a judge.

He received the Democratic nomination for the Illinois Appellate Court, First Judicial District. He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary on March 18, 2014. He will be unopposed in the general election on November 4, 2014, after which he will become a judge.

Ellis’ last novel in his Jason Kolarich series was The Last Alibi, which came out last year.

Meanwhile, judge-to-be Ellis has become one of James Patterson’s co-authors. Their latest collaboration Invisible hit the ground running with spots on several best-sellers lists.

Invisible revolves around former FBI researcher Emmy Dockery who is obsessed with showing a link between hundreds of rapes, kidnappings and murders.

Invisible is the third time Ellis and Patterson have teamed up.

Holiday Issue #132
Brian Skupin
2013-12-10 17:56:54
Front Page Reviews
Xav ID 577
2013-12-11 16:45:12
Front Page Articles
Xav ID 577
2013-12-11 17:26:50
Destroyer Angel

Remember those tacky days when horror movies stationed uniformed nurses in theater lobbies to treat anyone who fainted when the monster showed up? That was all hype, of course, but several times during Destroyer Angel I felt my heart racing so fast that I feared I needed medical assistance.

Yes, Nevada Barr’s 18th Anna Pigeon novel is that scary, but its monsters are human. While camping with two female friends and their young daughters in northern Minnesota’s Iron Range, Anna‚ who has been out canoeing on a nearby river, arrives back on shore just in time to overhear the other women being taken hostage by a group of heavily armed hired killers. Although an ex- perienced park ranger, Anna has no weapons of any kind. She isn’t even wearing heavy enough clothing to weather the approach- ing night. Still, Anna, being the brave and resourceful soul she is, decides to track the men and their hostages through the deep woods, hoping to somehow free her friends.

Heath is a gritty paraplegic and mother of 15-year-old Elizabeth, an unusually ma- ture young woman. The other adult is Leah, a brilliant scientist who designed the paraplegic camping equipment the trip was supposed to be testing. Leah, whose withdrawn manner suggests Asperger’s, is also the mother of beautiful 13-year-old Kate, a spoiled, self-centered brat. Kate’s be- havior would normally be only an annoyance, but her very immaturity has attracted the atten- tion of one of the group’s captors—a convicted child rapist.

As Anna tracks the group of thugs and their hostages, she begins to suspect that once they arrive at their unknown destination, the women will be killed. Watching Anna admit to herself that she might die in the attempt to save her friends is heart-wrenching. Watching her make tools and weapons of items salvaged from campfires and the forest floor is a revelation. Although the annals of crime fiction are filled with brave and resourceful women, few of them have matched the challenges Anna faces in De- stroyer Angel. Yet she isn’t the only hero in this story. During that long, terrifying trek through the woods, the hostages also display uncommon bravery: the mothers, to protect their daughters; the daughters, to protect their mothers. The tension in De- stroyer Angel may be almost unbearable (cue that uniformed nurse), but this tale of survival of the morally fittest is nothing short of a revelation. Barr, a superb novel- ist, has never delivered anything other than a good book‚ and here she’s written a magnificent one.

Teri Duerr
2014-04-30 16:40:32
Spring Issue # 134
Brian Skupin
2014-05-13 11:20:48
Front Page Home
Brian Skupin
2014-05-13 11:27:58
Test Article With Video
Xav ID 577
2014-06-03 07:17:07

Test article with video

Summer Issue #135
Xav ID 577
2014-07-15 12:05:21
Site Architecture
  1. Introduction

    • This site runs on Joomla 3.3.1 as at 07/16/2014. This is the most recent version of Joomla to date. No hacks whatsoever to the core of Joomla.

    • It was originally developed with Joomla 3.0 and upgraded several times without issues between the early stages of development and go live.

    • As at 07/16/2014 all extensions installed on the site are also up-to-date.
  2. Components

    • Seblod: Seblod is a CCK (Content Construction Kit) that allows to define capture forms for content on both the front and back-office UIs. It also allows to define multi criteria searches and layouts for content. Most content is displayed on this site using Seblod

    • Akeeba Backup: The most popular backup tool for Joomla sites. Allows to easily backup the full content of the site and restore it to a different server or directory in minutes. It is recommended to run regular backups. The restoration process has been tested during the very launch of the site to transfer it from the development to the production server.

    • FlexBanners: Used to manage the display of advertising on the site, including the top banner and the two square ads in the right columns.

    • Ninja RSS Syndicator: Was used previously in the Joomla 1.5 site to display the "Latest From The Mystery Scene Blog" module at the bottom of the home page. However when we started developing the Joomla 3.3 site it was not availlable. Only a beta version was available. It's therefore been decided to use Seblod instead to display that information

    • J2XML: component that allows to transfer users, categories and articles from one Joomla site to another. It has been used to transfer users and categories from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 3. However articles have been transferred manually by running SQL queries in order to also populate the Seblod specific fields.

    • JCE Editor: Wysiwyg editor used to edit content

    • No Number ReReplacer: Allows to replace (or remove) text in the Joomla content for display. Can be useful for instance when a name is misspelled across multiple pages. Was installed originally to remove the Seblod tags from the RSS Feeds. Since Ninja RSS is eventually not used it's not used any more.

    • All other components are standard Joomla components.

  3. Modules

    • FlexBanners Module: 3 instances are used to display the top banner and in the right column, two square ads.

    • Latest Tweets by Joomla Works: used to display the 3 latest tweets in the right column. The module fetches the tweets from the Mysteryscene Mag Twitter account.

    • Seblod List: 3 instances to display the "Current Issue" and "Most Popular" in the right column as well as the "Latest Form The Mystery Scene Blog" below the main content on the Home page.

    • Blog Newsfeed: Used to display an RSS feed on content pages. Not displayed on any pages currently.
    • All other modules are standard Joomla modules

  4. Plugins

    • Too many to list them all. Most of them are standard plugins related to Seblod.

    • Worth mentioning, however, are a couple of Seblod commercial plugins called SD fieldconcat, SD Databaser, and Select Dynamic Cascade which are used to customize the Seblod displayin multiple forms and content displays.

  5. Template

    • The template used on this site is called "mysteryscene" and is a customization of the "protostar" template that ships with Joomla 3.3.

    • Protostar was duplicated in order to avoid losing the customizations during upgrades. Upgrades of Joomla are therefore possible and safe.

    • The template is responsive.

    • The main customizations are specific css rules to replicate the look and feel of the previous Joomla site and javascript mostly to resize dynamically some areas.

    • The only customized file is index.php, mostly to include the specific css and javascript files.

    • The additional files are /css/mysteryscene.css, /css/mysterysceneresponsive.css and /js/mysteryscene.js

    • The positions are standard protostar positions, thus left column is position-8, right column is position-7, position-0 for search, position-3 above the main content, position-2 below the main content.

Xav ID 577
2014-07-16 10:53:44

Description of the main components used in this implementation of Joomla and their puspose

Seblod Content Types

Article

Review

Front Page

Issue

Website User Manual Document

Xav ID 577
2014-07-16 12:16:38

Describes the different types of content that can be captured when in the content manager and hitting "New"

How to Create a New Blog Entry
  1. Introduction

    • Blog entries are accessed from the site using the Blog menu

    • The 3 latest blog entries are also displayed in an abbreviated version at the bottom of the Home page. 

    • Blog entries belong to a subcategory of the main Blog category

  2. Steps

    1. Go to the Joomla Back-Office and login with your credentials. 

    2. Go to the Article Manager

    3. Click the green button labeled "New" in the top left area. 

    4. Select "Article" in the pop-up window. 

    5. Populate the relevant fields in all tabs. Guidelines on how to populate fields can be found here.

 

Xav ID 577
2014-07-16 12:23:27

Describes the steps to create a new blog entry.

How to Populate Article Fields
  • The articles fields are organized into a number of tabs.
  • The most important ones are to the left of the screen.
  • Some values are populated by default or generated from other fields and you probably don't have to change them.

Details

  • Title: Title of the article. Conventions (uppercase/lowercase for instance) should be followed to ensure consistency across the site.
  • Alias: Generated automatically from the title. You can leave it as is. It might however be a good idea to empty it (it will be regenerated) if you make a substantial change the title after saving the article in order to keep the alias in synch with the title.
  • Status: Published by default. Should be left as is except if for some reason you want to unpublish the article. If you want to make the article visible at a later date you can still leave it as Published here but use the Publish Up and Publish Down dates in the Publishing tab.

Article Introduction (Teaser)

  • Only one field, wysiwyg editor.
  • This filed is optional for blog entries.
  • In General should include ONLY an introduction and one image.
  • For blog entries it is NO LONGER acceptable to have everything in this tab as it was resulting in empty search results.
  • The full text of the article should be populated in the Article Full Text tab.
  • Will be displayed at the top of the "Home", "Articles", "Reviews" pages.
  • No styling necessary, therefore none should be added. The site template will add the styling.
  • If you include external links to other sites they should include the full path without "http://" such as "www.indiebound.org/book/9781939474681"
  • If you include internal links they should include only the part of the url after your domain name preceded by "../" for instance instead of http://www.mysteryscenemag.com/article?id=3674:the-paris-lawyer capture only "../article?id=3674:the-paris-lawyer", this makes running the site from a separate server (for tests for instance) easier.

Article Full Text

  • Only one field, wysiwyg editor.
  • EVERY Article (including Blog) should have a full text.
  • Contains all the text and images, sans the intro which was already captured in the previous tab.
  • Will be displayed when clicking on an article title in full view mode.
  • Styling ONLY through the style toolbar. The site template will add the styling. Adding additional styling will clutter the text with unwanted and unnecessary markup.
  • Before using the stye toolbar, check the display on the site. The template might have taken care of some of the styling arleady.
  • For links the same guidelines as for the Introduction apply.

Book Details

  • Populate this tab is the article is about a book.
  • Title: Title of the book. Good practice to capitalize the first letter of each word.
  • Publisher: Publisher of the book. Good practice to capitalize the first letter of each word.
  • Publish Date: publish date of the book. Format should be Month Year. (e.g.June 2014)
  • Price: Price of the book without the $ sign, It will be added automatically by the template.
  • Jacket Image: Upload the Jacket image of the book if available. It will be published in the left column of the full article view.
  • ISBN: Capture only the ISBN. It is use to generate automatically the Amazon and Indie Books links.

Author Details

  • Populate this tab is the article is about a book.
  • Author Image: Upload a picture of the author.
  • First Name: Main author first name. Good practice to capitalize the first letter.
  • Last Name: Main author last name. Good practice to capitalize the first letter.
  • Co-Author First Name: Second author first name, if any. Good practice to capitalize the first letter.
  • Co-Author Last Name: Second author last name, if any. Good practice to capitalize the first letter.

Publishing

  • Created By: Populated automatically. By default populated with currently logged in user.
  • Created By Alias: By default same value as previous field. Can be changed if a user wants to publish articles under a different name. It will show on the site.
  • Created Date: by default current date when article is created.
  • Start Publishing: by default current date when article is created can be changed to a future date if you want the article to only appear on the site later.
  • Finish Publishing: by default empty, which means the article will never be depublshed. Can be populated to a future date if you want the article to disappear from the site at a given time.
  • Revisions: Number of versions of this article
  • Hits: Number of views of this articles. Used to populate "Most Popular". Can be reset if you want to "decrease" the popularity of an article.
  • All other fields are options provided by Joomla that should be left as is.

Metadata

  • Technical fields that for the most part can be ignored except the following.
  • Meta Description: Description that appears on the Google search results. It can be a good way to do some free marketing for your article. It should be article specific.
  • Meta Keywords: words that can be used to link articles together wiht the Joomla "Related Articles" module. This module is not currently used but could be in the future.

Media

  • Not currently used but could be used to capture links and images related to an article in a structured way.

Xav ID 577
2014-07-16 12:49:29
How to Create a Review
Xav ID 577
2014-07-16 14:29:18
Echoes From a Great War: a Conversation With Jacqueline Winspear
Cheryl Solimini

winspear jacqueline smPhoto: Barry Zeman

As the world looks to the outbreak of WWI in the summer of 1914, we are re-running this interview with Jacqueline Winspear, author of the bestselling Maisie Dobbs series which deals with the aftermath of that great conflict.

Soho Press has recently re-issued this classic novel with a new afterworld by the author.

As Jacqueline Winspear tells it, Maisie Dobbs appeared unbidden, emerging from London’s Warren Street tube station one spring day in 1929. Winspear saw her stop to chat with a newspaper vendor before pulling out a set of keys and entering a somewhat rundown Georgian building on Fitzroy Square. The surprise: This sighting actually occurred in spring 2000, as Winspear was stuck at a stoplight in bumper-to-bumper traffic on her way to her job in the San Francisco Bay area.

“It was like watching a movie,” Winspear says of that first “mind’s eye” vision of her imaginary investigator, who she has since taken through three post-World War I cases, including Pardonable Lies (Henry Holt), published this August. “It sounds rather like meeting the apparition on the Road to Damascus. But I call it my moment of artistic grace,” says the author, who has also worked as a creativity coach. By the time the light changed, Winspear had the details of a first chapter in her head and couldn’t wait to get home to record the history of Maisie Dobbs, her housemaid turned scholar turned sleuth.

winspear Maisie-Dobbs 10th annivThough that beginning remained virtually unchanged, Winspear didn’t get around to finishing the book until more than a year later, when she had come to another standstill—literally. An avid horsewoman, Winspear suffered a horrible riding accident that crushed her right shoulder and landed her in orthopedic “scaffolding” for a month. “My writing buddy said, ‘Well, now you can finish the book.’ I protested, ‘I can’t use my right hand!’ And she said, ‘You still have the left.’” Winspear laughs. She now credits the frustration of one-handed typing with improving her mobility. “I did my physical-therapy exercises religiously! My doctor predicted I might have 75 percent recovery, but I had 85 percent within a year.” It only took two of those 12 months, however, to complete Maisie Dobbs (Soho Press, 2003), which went on to win the Macavity Award, the Edgar Award for Best Novel, and the Agatha Award for First Novel that year.

Even more unpredictable for Winspear was that she was writing fiction. Though she had spent years in academic publishing, she had recently been employed in marketing, in her spare time composing personal essays, articles on international education, and some travel pieces. Going on adventures with a made-up heroine had not been on her agenda.

But perhaps it was not quite as unexpected that her protagonist would inhabit the years following 1914 to 1918. Born and raised in England, Winspear, like many of her generation, was fascinated by what happened during and after that era, when millions of her countrymen had been killed or severely wounded. “I read a comment that the British are obsessed with World World I, which for us has more in common with the devastation during the American Civil War,” she explains. “When I was a kid, your parents might have been involved in World War II, but without exception, everyone’s grandparents had been affected by ‘The Great War.’ Just those words had tremendous impact. Everyone had known immense levels of grief.” To this day, on the date and time the armistice went into effect—November 11 at 11 o’clock—British life comes to a standstill, Winspear notes. “Buses pull over, service stops in the Safeway so that everyone can observe the two minutes of silence on Remembrance Day.”

During the Second World War, Winspear’s mother had been buried under the rubble of a bombed building in London and so, after her parents marriage in 1949, they chose to start their family in a “safe” place, away from the city. Though the rural county of Kent was not far from London, Winspear saw her grandparents only a few times a year. Still she witnessed the scars her own family carried from the First War. Her maternal grandmother was left partially blind by an explosion at the munitions plant where she worked and where others alongside her died. Her paternal grandfather had returned from the Battle of the Somme, fought in the French river valley in July 1916, shell-shocked and wounded. Until he died at age 77, he was still removing splinters of shrapnel from his legs that worked their way to the surface of his skin. “They didn’t really talk about it—the attitude was, ‘You just go on with it,’” Winspear says. But she did learn that, during her father’s boyhood, her grandfather occasionally would be taken by ambulance to a seaside convalescent home for a month at a time to ease the breathing from his gas-damaged lungs.

Nurses WWI VAD posterGrowing up, Winspear read WWI poets such as Wilfred Owen and in the country towns saw the markers listing the war dead, with long groups of names often from the same family. In some cases, all of the men from one place had been killed. Winspear found out that this was the result of a government recruitment scheme as the war raged on. “”It was great marketing,” she notes ruefully. “They realized no one would give their life for their country, but they would for their friends and family. They encouraged men to join as a village, as fellow factory workers or bootmakers. Five members of a family would often die on the same day. It was a shock to the community.” Winspear later made this theme the backbone of her second Maisie Dobbs novel, Birds of a Feather (Soho Press, 2004), another Agatha Award winner.

Winspear was always particularly interested in the lives of the women from that era. “More than 60,000 women were involved in war-related activities, and nearly 500,000 more stepped into the jobs men left behind for the battlefield,” she reports. “The post-war period heralded enormous social changes.” She notes that the 1921 British census showed two million “surplus” women—those who had lost sweethearts or other marriage prospects and thus had to make their own way in the world.

“Yet women thrived on that independence, and many women writers really emerged in that time,” Winspear says. She tells of listening to one recollection on an archival recording available at London’s Imperial War Museum. “The lady said, ‘Once they opened the stable door, we bolted and never went back.’ Until then their idea of life had been so narrow; and that one war made everything different. You had to support yourself.”

That’s where the story of the very independent and determined Maisie begins, more than a decade after the Armistice, as she is opening her new business, “M. Dobbs, Trade and Personal Investigations,” in Fitzroy Square. “The mystery genre offered an interesting way of exploring the time and its people,” the author says.

Maisie’s background, detailed in that first novel, mirrors much of the wartime upheaval. Like Winspear’s grandfather, Maisie’s father was a costermonger, selling fresh fruit and vegetables to London households from his horse-drawn cart. After his wife dies, Frankie Dobbs puts 13-year-old Maisie “into service” with the aristocratic Comptons. When her late-night visits to the family’s library brings her to the attention of Lady Rowan, a passionate suffragette, Maisie is put under the tutelage of Maurice Blanche who is often called upon by the European elite for private investigations. A Renaissance man of sorts, Blanche schools Maisie not just in the usual subjects but also in logic, psychology and Eastern philosophy. Sponsored by the Comptons, Maisie later wins a place at Girton College, Cambridge. When war breaks out, she interrupts her education to become a nurse at a casualty clearing station in France. After she herself is wounded and sent home to recover, she resumes her studies and becomes Blanche’s assistant, continuing her mentor’s work when he retires in 1929.

English nurses WWIMaisie’s use of psychology, yoga and mind-body techniques may seem ahead of her time, but Winspear points out that Freud and Jung had already published and “The British had a great deal of interest and fascination with India and the Raj.” Readers may even recognize mention of a fitness regimen that’s hot in health clubs today. “Los Angeles thinks it discovered Pilates,” laughs Winspear, “but [the German-born] Joseph Pilates taught these exercises while held at an internment camp in England during the war.” Pilates later became a nurse and developed apparatus and routines used to help rehabilitate veterans.

While the cases that come Maisie’s way seem the usual stuff of crime fiction—a wayward spouse, a runaway heiress, a young girl accused of murder—the underlying motivations and emotions show the aftershocks of war still reverberating in these character’s lives. She must deal with the disfigured and disabled, drug addiction, spiritualists who claim to be able to contact the dead, even those who lost their minds through the horrors they experienced. (Winspear is currently reading Forgotten Lunatics of the Great War, by Peter Barham.) In the latest novel, Maisie also returns to France for the first time, confronting her own suffering.

“Maisie is as shell-shocked as anyone,” explains Winspear. “She is most at home in her professional life; she thinks the way to get over her own heartache is to busy yourself in your work.”

The tentativeness of Maisie’s relationship with a young doctor in Pardonable Lies also shows how keenly aware she is of losing her new-found independence and the status gained from earning her own living. “She still has that lack of confidence from coming from the lower class,” notes Winspear. “She feels she must use the opportunities she’s been given. Yet the tools in her professional kit don’t help in her personal life.” Her creator calls Maisie “a dark horse—she keeps a lot to herself.” Winspear says she herself is more akin to Priscilla Evernden Partridge, Maisie’s former college roommate and close friend. “I’d be telling Maisie she had to get out more, get her nose out of that book!” she laughs.

winspear pardonable liesThough Winspear often returns to the UK for research and family visits, she has lived and worked in California since 1990, and feels that is an advantage. “I’m not distracted by England in the present and can detach, like an astronaut looking back at Earth. I can more readily immerse in that earlier time.”

Ironically, Winspear says she was in London on July 21 when the Warren Street station was the target of a terrorist group; luckily, the minor explosion did not cause the devastation of similar bombings a few weeks before. That’s a poignant reminder that perhaps the tragic lessons from what was once called “the war to end all wars” have yet to be learned.

In her next novel, Messenger of Truth, Winspear has Maisie investigating the death of a painter whose controversial depictions of war may have led to his murder. As Maisie delves into London’s galleries and an isolated artist’s colony on the windswept beaches of Dungeness, Winspear will again explore issues of class and culture, gender and gentility that were detonated by the Great War.

For this emerging crime writer, it isn’t the generals and battles that compel her to keep writing about a turbulent era. “I am drawn to what happens to ordinary people’s lives in extraordinary circumstances,” she says. “Their wounds remain embedded.” And in Maisie Dobbs, she’s given contemporary readers an extraordinary guide into the past.

THE MAISIE DOBBS NOVELS
by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs (2003)
Birds of a Feather (2004)
Pardonable Lies (2005)
Messenger of Truth (2006)
An Incomplete Revenge (2008)
Among the Mad (2009)
The Mapping of Love and Death (2010)
A Lesson in Secrets (2011)
Elegy for Eddie (2012)
Leaving Everything Most Loved (2013)

CHERYL SOLIMINI is a former features editor of Mary Higgins Clark Mystery Magazine and a writer for other national publications. She is a consulting editor for Mystery Scene as well as a frequent contributor. Solimini’s debut mystery novel, Across the River, won Deadly Ink’s first Best Unpublished Mystery Award in 2007, and was published by Deadly Ink Press in June 2008.

Teri Duerr
2014-07-17 02:40:57

winspear Maisie-Dobbs 10th annivAn interview with author of the bestselling Maisie Dobbs series. Soho Press has recently re-issued this classic novel with a new afterword by the author.

Echoes From a Great War

As Jacqueline Winspear tells it, Maisie Dobbs appeared unbidden, emerging from London’s Warren Street tube station one spring day in 1929. Winspear saw her stop to chat with a newspaper vendor before pulling out a set of keys and entering a somewhat rundown Georgian building on Fitzroy Square. The surprise: This sighting actually occurred in Spring 2000, as Winspear was stuck at a stoplight in bumper-to-bumper traffic on her way to her job in the San Francisco Bay area.

Teri Duerr
2014-07-17 20:17:53

Turbulent post-World War I England comes alive in the Maisie Dobbs novels.

How to Update Featured Articles

Introduction

  • The Home, Articles and Reviews menus make use of a specific Seblod content type called "Front Page" to display the introduction of 3 to 6 featured articles in a staggered 1-2-1-2 layout.
  • Three "Front Page" articles have been created and each of them allows to select the featured articles (3 or 6) via a drop down list.

Steps

  • To find these articles go to Joomla Administration User Interface and to Content > Article Manager. Use the search box and type "Front Page" . The three articles are named "Front Page Home" (ID: 4566) "Front Page Articles" (ID: 4562) and "Front Page Reviews" (ID:4561).
  • Edit each article and select in the drop down lists the articles you want to feature on their respective page. You can type the beginning of the title of an article to automatically scroll to that article.
  • Once you have selected 3 or 6 articles, save and check the results. If you want only 3 articles displayed just leave the articles 4 to 6 un-populated.

Troubleshooting

  • If you have no content or no picture displayed for a specific article, check that the "Introduction (teaser)" tab for that article is populated.
  • If the content is not formatted properly, check that there is NO formatting in the text of your article. The formatting is achieved via a template and there should be no formatting in the articles themselves or this could create conflict with the template. If you copy and paste content from other sources (pdf, email, word documents) it's good practice to paste it to notepad first to make sure only text is present and then copy from notepad to the article editor in Joomla.
  • If the text shown is too long, the article probably has no "Full Text" and all the content is in the "Introduction (teaser)". To fix this copy the content from the "Introduction (teaser)" tab to the "Full Text" tab and adjust (by removing) what you don't want to appear in the introduction.
  • If there is no text shown when clicking on the title of the article, there is no "Full Text" for that article. See previous steps to fix it.
Xav ID 577
2014-07-25 11:42:31

This article describes how to update the featured articles shown on the top middle section of the Home, Articles and Reviews menus.

2014-07-28-15-32-28
Oline Cogdill
2014-07-28 15:32:28