Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bringing a Hero to Life: David Khara

Today I welcome David Khara, author of The Bleiberg Project, an amazing conspiracy thriller based on World War II and its consequences in today’s world. This fast-pace novel is the first in the Consortium Thriller series. The book was an instant success in France, catapulting the author to the ranks of France’s top thriller writers. Today marks the launch in English by Le French Book, a digital-first publisher specializing in best-selling mysteries and thrillers from France. 

David Khara:
Bringing a Hero to Life

How do you bring a hero to life? I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been asked that question. And when I answer, most people seem surprised. Imagine for a second a six-foot-six bald giant, survivor of the death camps becomes a war criminal killer. Now, think about that character being inspired by a woman.

 Eytan, the real hero of the Consortium thriller series came to me after reading and watching testimonials of Simone Lagrange, who survived the death camps. For a long time, I chose not to talk about it. I did so out of respect, because I wrote an entertaining series, and I didn’t want to make any profit on people’s misery and pain. But, behind the entertainment, The Bleiberg Project, and the whole series, pays tribute to the victims of World War II, be they members of the resistance, or of course, victims of the Shoah. During my research, I found amazing, incredible stories, lived by ordinary, mostly anonymous heroes. Believe me, after spending three years digging into madness and cruelty, you really need those heroes if you want to keep believing in mankind.

If there is one thing The Bleiberg Project’s success makes me proud of, it is that I now have the opportunity to really talk about these real-life heroes. And Simone Lagrange is one of them.

To survive and to resist 

She was 13 when the Gestapo arrested her. She was questioned and tortured by the war criminal Klaus Barbie. Then she was sent to Auschwitz’s hell. But she survived, and she came back. I won’t tell you the whole story, she wrote a magnificent book (Coupable d’être née, or Guilty of Being Born). If it hasn’t been translated, it is worth learning French to read it!

In 1972, a French journalist named Ladislas de Hoyos interviewed a man in Argentina who was thought to be Klaus Barbie. The man denied being the war criminal. But Simone Lagrange saw the interview, and she recognized him. In 1987, she testified during Barbie’s trial in Lyon, revealing, certainly for the first time, that her father had been shot in front of her. Eventually, Barbie was sentenced to life imprisonment and died in jail four years later. To find out more about this trial, I strongly recommend you read this NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/1987/08/02/magazine/voices-from-the-barbie-trial.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Hope and laughter 

Once again, I told you the short story. But the journey it tells is of the utmost importance. Simone Lagrange had survived and she lived to see her torturer brought to justice. And now, she testifies in front of children and cameras. In a world that lacks memory, she brings memory. But she doesn’t speak of vengeance; she doesn’t scream her hatred. With amazing energy, Simone tells us of hope and laughter, even in the most unexpected and most cruel moments. She tells us of survival and of the value of life itself.

Simone Lagrange also said, “I didn’t become what they would have wanted me to be.” That’s what resistance to barbarism is about. That’s the sentence from which Eytan was born. I hope at some points in the series, the man he is pays a little tribute to this extraordinary woman and to those who, like her, fought for their right to live. At least, because of the book, some of you will now know about Simone Lagrange. And as a writer and a man, this is more than reward enough.

2013 Dagger in the Library Longlist

The British Crime Writers' Association announced the Longlist for the 2013 Dagger in the Library Award. This Dagger is given “not for an individual book but for the author’s body of work.” A shortlist of finalists will be selected and announced on May 31 during CrimeFest in Bristol, England. The winner will be announced at the CWA Daggers Gala Dinner July 15.


• Belinda Bauer
• Alison Bruce
• S.J. Bolton
• Peter May
• Gordon Ferris
• Tania Carver
• Elly Griffiths
• Christopher Fowler
• Michael Ridpath
• Jane Casey
• Phil Rickman
• Alex Gray
• Frances Brody

HT: The Rap Sheet

Monday, April 29, 2013

Naomi Hirahara: Literary Salon 5/5

Join Mystery Readers Norcal for a Literary Salon in Berkeley, CA on Sunday, May 5, 7 p.m. with Award Winning Author Naomi Hirahara, author of the Mas Arai Mystery Series.  

Please leave your email address in comments below for directions and to RSVP.

Summer of the Big Bachi (Bantam/Delta, March 30, 2004) was Naomi's first mystery. The book, a finalist for Barbara Kingsolver's Bellwether Prize, was also nominated for a Macavity mystery award. This was followed by Gasa-Gasa GirlSnakeskin Shamisen, the third in the series, was released in May 2006 and won an Edgar Allan Poe award in the category of Best Paperback Original. The fourth Mas Arai mystery, Blood Hina, was published in hardcover March 2010 by St. Martin's/Thomas Dunne Books. Trade paperback and new ebook version will be released later in 2013 by Prospect Park Books, the publisher of the fifth installment, Strawberry Yellow has just been published. Hirahara has short stories published in a number of anthologies, including Los Angeles Noir (Akashic, May 2007), A Hell of a Woman: An Anthology of Female Noir (Busted Flush Press, December 2007), and The Darker Mask (TOR, January 2008). Naomi's new mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime, featuring a 22-year-old LAPD bicycle cop, will be released in 2014.

In the summer of 2008 her first middle-grade book, 1001 Cranes, was released by Random House's Delacorte imprint in hardback and came out as a Yearling trade paperback in June 2009. It was recognized with an Honorable Mention award in Youth Literature by the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association.

She edited Green Makers: Japanese American Gardeners in Southern California (2000), published by the Southern California Gardeners' Federation and partially funded by the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program. She also authored two biographies for the Japanese American National Museum, An American Son: The Story of George Aratani, Founder of Mikasa and Kenwood (2000) and A Taste for Strawberries: The Independent Journey of Nisei Farmer Manabi Hirasaki (2003). She also compiled a reference book, Distinguished Asian American Business Leaders (2003), for Greenwood Press and with Dr. Gwenn M. Jensen co-authored the book, Silent Scars of Healing Hands: Oral Histories of Japanese American Doctors in World War II Detention Camps (2004) for the Japanese American Medical Association. Under her own small press, Midori Books, she has created a book for the Southern California Flower Growers, Inc., A Scent of Flowers: The History of the Southern California Flower Market (2004). Other upcoming Midori Books projects include Fighting Spirit: Judo in Southern California, 1930-1941 (co-authored by Ansho Mas Uchima and Larry Akira Kobayashi, 2006). 

Naomi Hirahara was born in Pasadena, California. Her father, Isamu (known as "Sam"), was also born in California, but was taken to Hiroshima, Japan, as an infant. He was only miles away from the epicenter of the atomic-bombing in 1945, yet survived. Naomi's mother, Mayumi, or "May," was born in Hiroshima and lost her father in the blast. Shortly after the end of World War II, Sam returned to California and eventually established himself in the gardening and landscaping trade in the Los Angeles area. After Sam married May in Hiroshima in 1960, the couple made their new home in Altadena and then South Pasadena, where Naomi and her younger brother Jimmy grew up and attended secondary school.

Naomi received her bachelor's degree in international relations from Stanford University and studied at the Inter-University Center for Advanced Japanese Language Studies in Tokyo. She also spent three months as a volunteer work camper in Ghana, West Africa.

She was a reporter and editor of The Rafu Shimpo during the culmination of the redress and reparations movement for Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed from their homes during World War II. During her tenure as editor, the newspaper published a highly-acclaimed inter-ethnic relations series after the L.A. riots.

Naomi left the newspaper in 1996 to serve as a Milton Center Fellow in creative writing at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas.

After returning to Southern California in 1997, she began to edit, publish, and write books.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cartoon of the Day: Genre

The 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly: Gerald So

Today I welcome Gerald So, poetry and crime fiction fan!


April is National Poetry Month, established by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, As a poet and crime fiction fan, I created The 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly, and join in this month's festivities with 30 Days of The 5-2.

The 5-2 presents an original, crime-themed poem each Monday in text and audio/video. Every day this month, contributors and fans are discussing 5-2 poetry on their blogs and websites. I've published crime poetry for five years -- four as co-editor of The Lineup chapbook series -- and I'm still asked, "What is crime poetry? What purpose does it serve?"

I find poetry lets us react to crime honestly, powerfully, and differently from crime fiction. Even the most innovative fiction follows narrative convention. Poetry, not bound by narrative, can more immediately convey emotion, such as our shock at the Boston Marathon bombing.

In almost two years at The 5-2, I've published all kinds of poems. All have surprised me to some degree as the "crime" guideline is open to poets' interpretation. With a few days left of April, I invite you to sample crime poetry for yourself. Thanks to Janet for inviting me.

Gerald said I should post about my favorite poem, but reallty they're all so great, how could I choose? Which do you like best? Or which touches you the most? and in what way? Be sure and check back to The 5-2 for the rest of the month's posts! :-)

04-01-13 - Monday - 5-2 Poem of the Week: "Criminal Foolishness" by Jerry House
04-02-13 - Tuesday - Jim Winter at Edged in Blue
04-03-13 - Wednesday - Kathleen A. Ryan at Women of Mystery
04-03-13 - Wednesday - Bill Cameron at Thinking With My Skin
04-04-13 - Thursday - Michael A. Arnzen at Gorelets.com
04-05-13 - Friday - Alison Dasho
04-06-13 - Saturday - Deborah Lacy at Mystery Playground
04-07-13 - Sunday - Clare Toohey at Criminal Element
04-08-13 - Monday - 5-2 Poem of the Week: "Clandestine" by William Anderson
04-08-13 - Monday - Marian Allen
04-09-13 - Tuesday - Bill Cameron at Thinking With My Skin
04-09-13 - Tuesday - Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
04-10-13 - Wednesday - Keith Rawson at Bloody Knuckles, Callused Fingertips
04-11-13 - Thursday - John DuMond at Nobody Move!
04-12-13 - Friday - Aja Beech at Process Press
04-13-13 - Saturday - Scott Emerson at Brain Nuggets
04-14-13 - Sunday - Deshant Paul at FocusChaos
04-15-13 - Monday - 5-2 Poem of the Week: "A Close Call" by Matthew Wilson
04-15-13 - Monday - Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine
04-16-13 - Tuesday - Peter Rozovsky at Detectives Beyond Borders
04-17-13 - Wednesday - Kathleen A. Ryan at From Cop to Mom & the Words Between
04-18-13 - Thursday - Clare Toohey at Women of Mystery
04-19-13 - Friday - Charles Rammelkamp
04-20-13 - Saturday - Alec Cizak at No Moral Center
04-21-13 - Sunday - Patricia Abbott at pattinase
04-22-13 - Monday - 5-2 Poem of the Week: "Christine" by Aig'ner Wilson
04-23-13 - Tuesday - B.V. Lawson at In Reference to Murder
04-24-13 - Wednesday - Ian Khadan
04-25-13 - Thursday - Jay Stringer at Do Some Damage
04-26-13 - Friday - Elizabeth A. White
04-27-13 - Saturday - John Ricotta
04-28-13 - Sunday - Kieran Shea
04-29-13 - Monday - 5-2 Poem of the Week: "Swine" by Ruth Sabath Rosenthal
04-30-13 - Tuesday - Donora Hillard

Friday, April 26, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Today marks the launch of DARK SECRETS by Hans Rosenfeldt and Michael Hjorth (Grand Central Publishing's first crime in translation novel) here in the U.S., but Dark Secrets spent more than eight months on Sweden’s bestseller list and sold over 200,000 copies when it was published in 2010. 

Touted as “the best Swedish crime export of the year” by Die Welt (Germany), DARK SECRETS introduces psychological profiler Sebastian Bergman, an arrogant and narcissistic womanizer recovering from a traumatic personal loss. In Sebastian the authors have created a character who is both fascinating and deeply flawed. 

I'm a sucker for Swedish crime fiction, and when I saw that two people wrote this book together, I knew I had to ask for a guest post for the Partners in Crime series here on Mystery Fanfare. The authors obliged, and to make it easier on them, I volunteered a Swedish translator: Sue Trowbridge. Sue was born in Sweden, raised in the U.S. A former journalist, she is a web designer and Fan Guest of Honor at Left Coast Crime 2014. Thanks, Sue! Great job! Sue suggested I attach the original Swedish article.. scroll down to the end of the post, if you want to read this in Swedish.

MICHAEL HJORTH was born in 1963 in Visby. He has always loved movies and books and is one of Scandinavia's most accomplished screenwriters and producers today. He is one of the founders of the production company Tre Vänner which, among other things, is behind Sweden's first highly successful sitcom, Svensson Svensson, as well as the movie Snabba cash / Easy Money.
Michael Hjorth likes to work in all genres and has written everything from comedy to horror, drama and crime.

HANS ROSENFELDT was born in 1964 in Borås. He worked as a sea lion keeper, a driver, a teacher and an actor until 1992 when he began writing for television. He has written screenplays for approximately twenty drama series and has hosted both radio and television shows. He loves to write, play videogames and spend time with his wife and three children.

GIVEAWAY: Make a comment below to win a copy of Dark Secrets. (U.S./Canada only). Be sure and leave your email address.


Nothing inspires creativity like a deadline!

Seriously. If we hadn’t had clients who were waiting at the other end of our email, we would probably never have been able to sit down long enough to get anything out..

Not that we don’t love to write; it isn’t that.

But sometimes it's hard. To sit there. In front of the blank screen and make things up. Without a deadline, every word can be a battle. With a deadline, each word is a necessity. That is the difference. We know; it's not very romantic.

We sometimes read about writers who testify to the necessity of writing, how they disappear into a vacuum and neither eat nor sleep, totally obsessed with creating. Authors who are not whole people if they do not get to tell their story. Authors who suffer through every word, every sentence, every page.

That is not us.

We do not like suffering.

We like pleasure.

We have lived on the proceeds of our writing for most of our adult lives. One may be led to believe that it was part of a plan. A carefully mapped-out career. But the truth is that it was pure chance that brought us here.

Micke’s dream was to become a director.

Hans’s dream was to become an actor.

Neither of us got very far with either of those dreams.

So we started writing for television. We love TV. It gave us a good education. The best education. We were both lucky enough to be part of the heyday of Swedish drama. Much was produced. It was creative. It was pleasurable. And we both realized, in our own ways, that we love to tell stories.

We are good at telling stories.

Our goal has always been to entertain. Sometimes, a bit more. Never less.

But it was not a plan. Nor was it an inner compulsion. It was luck. Chance. And a certain amount of talent…

Now we have had the privilege to do other things as well.

Mike was able to direct.

 Hans got to be in front of the cameras.

But there is one thing we always return to. Writing.

One day, we got the idea to try something new. See if what we learned in the TV industry could be put to use elsewhere. See if we could turn our dramatic imaginations, scenes, characters and stories into a book.

Into a suspense novel. A mystery.

Now we have done just that. It has been some of the most fun we have had in many years.

Fun, but difficult. The differences between TV and a book are more than we could ever have imagined. The possibilities are endless. Characters are so much more important. And time. The time you have to tell your story. You can go into greater depth. You can afford to digress. The inner voice can come closer.

What a luxury.

When we put the first Post-It note up on the wall in Micke's office and started groping our way forward in the story, we worked as if we were doing a TV movie. A long TV movie... We forced ourselves to talk about chapters instead of scenes, but on the whole, the process was the same.

What will happen in the plot? What will happen to our characters? And when?

After a few weeks, what would eventually become Dark Secrets was up on the wall, and we each grabbed a handful of Post-It notes, sat down in front of blank pages on our computer screens, and started writing. Each of us. In different directions. We never write together in the sense that we are sitting next to each other in the same room. We write, send drafts to each other, make changes and comment on each other's work, and send it back. Back and forth. We call each other when we come up with a new idea. When we want to change something. Diverge from the path which is marked by the colorful Post-It notes. But we almost never get together in person during the actual writing process. When we have converted the Post-It notes into manuscript pages, we go back to the wall and pluck a few more. We write, we e-mail back and forth, we call each other, we make changes, change it back, write something new... So it goes. Until we are ready. Or, we are not quite ready, but there is a body of work. 300 pages or more. That is when we meet. We sit side by side, two people, one screen. We go through the manuscript together. We are two authors, and although we have the same points of reference, we’ve discussed the plot and characters, kept in touch during the writing process, it is apparent that the book was written by two different people. That will not do. So then Hans reads through the manuscript one last time - along with our editor and publisher - and makes sure that the language, pace and shape are the same.

Why is it Hans and not Micke, one may wonder. The answer is simple. Hans is an infinitely bigger control freak than Micke.

It's one of the reasons we work so well together. We are different. We have different strengths, different weaknesses. We are devoted to different characters in our books, have an easier time understanding them, writing them. Micke knows exactly who Ursula is, Hans doesn’t quite understand her... Hans loves Thomas Haraldsson, a secondary character who was never meant to be in more than the early part of the book, but who dug in his heels and grew until he even turned up in book number two.

We write differently, have different temperaments. Micke wants the text to flow, to write a lot, write at length, keep going, build up volume. Hans stays up late to read, repeat, read again, rewrite. He begins his day by reading what he wrote the day before, and he goes through it again ...

But the biggest benefit of being a pair is that when the day comes when it feels sluggish, not to say impossible, to go any further, then we can call each other, push on and, in the best case, send over a few pages so that it feels again like we’re getting somewhere. Being a pair is, in our case, a prerequisite for getting the job done.

Well, that and deadlines. 

The original text in Swedish: 


Det finns inget som är så bra för kreativiteten som en deadline!
Allvarligt. Om inte vi haft uppdragsgivare som väntade i andra ändan av våra mejlprogram hade vi antagligen aldrig lyckats sätta oss ner länge nog för att få ur oss någonting.
Inte så att vi inte älskar att skriva, det är inte det.
Men ibland är det svårt. Att sitta där. Framför den tomma skärmen och hitta på. Utan en deadline kan varje ord vara en strid. Med en deadline är varje ord en nödvändighet. Det är skillnaden. Vi vet, det är inte särskilt romantiskt.
Vi läser ibland om författare som vittnar om det livsnödvändiga i att skriva, hur de går in i ett vakuum och varken äter eller sover, helt besatta av att skapa. Författare som inte är hela som människor om de inte får berätta sin historia. Författare som lider fram varje ord, varje mening, varje sida.
Det är inte vi.
Vi tycker inte om lidandet.
Vi tycker om lusten.
Vi har levt på att skriva stora delar av våra vuxna liv. Man kan förledas att tro att det varit en del av en plan. En noga utstakad karriär. Men sanningen är att det var slumpen som tog oss hit.
Micke ville egentligen regissera.
Hans ville egentligen skådespela.
Ingen av oss kom särskilt långt med något av det.
Så vi började skriva för TV. Vi älskar TV. Det var en bra skola. Den bästa skolan. Vi hade båda turen att få vara med under svensk dramas storhetstid. Det producerades massor. Det var kreativt. Det var lustfyllt. Och vi insåg båda två, på varsitt håll, att vi älskar att berätta historier.
Vi är bra på att berätta historier.
Vårt mål har alltid varit att underhålla. Någon gång mer. Aldrig mindre.
Men det var inte en plan. Inte ett inre tvång. Det var tur. Slumpen. Och en viss begåvning...
Nu har vi haft förmånen att få göra annat också.
Micke fick regissera.
Hans stå framför kameran.
Men det finns något vi alltid återkommer till. Skrivandet.
Så en dag fick vi för oss att prova på något nytt. Se om det vi lärt oss i tv-branschen kunde användas någon annanstans. Se om vi kunde förflytta vårt dramatiska tänkande, scenerna, karaktärerna och historierna  in i en bok.
In i en spänningsroman. En deckare.
Det har vi gjort nu. Det har varit bland det roligaste vi gjort på många år.
Roligt, men svårt. Skillnaden mellan TV och en bok är större än vi anade. Möjligheterna så många fler. Karaktärerna blir så mycket viktigare. Och tiden. Tiden som man har på sig att berätta. Fördjupningarna man kan göra. Utvikningarna man kan kosta på sig. Den inre rösten som kan komma nära.
Vilken lyx.
När vi satte upp den första post-it lappen på väggen i Mickes kontor och började treva oss fram i historien jobbade vi som om vi gjorde en tv-film. En lång tv-film... Vi tvingade oss själva att prata om kapitel istället för scener, men på det stora hela var processen den samma.
Vad händer i historien? Vad händer våra karaktärer? Och när?
Efter några veckor satt det som så småningom skulle bli Dark Secrets på väggen och vi tog ner några stycken lappar var, satte oss vid den tomma sidan i våra datorer och började skriva. Var för sig. På olika håll. Vi skriver aldrig tillsammans i den meningen att vi sitter bredvid varandra i samma rum. Vi skriver, skickar till varandra, ändrar och har synpunkter på varandras texter och skickar tillbaka. Fram och tillbaka. Vi ringer varandra när vi kommer på något nytt. När vi vill ändra något. Gå ifrån vägen som är utstakad av de färgglada post-it lapparna, men vi träffas nästan aldrig under själva skrivandet. När vi har gjort boksidor av de post-it lappar vi plockade med oss, går vi tillbaka till väggen och hämtar några till. Skriver, mejlar, ringer, ändrar, ändrar tillbaka, skriver nytt... Så håller det på. Tills vi är klara. Eller, klara är vi ju inte, men det finns en kropp. 300 sidor eller mer. Då träffas vi. Sitter sida vid sida, två personer, en skärm. Går igenom texten tillsammans. Vi är två författare och även om vi har samma referenser, pratat igenom plot och karaktärer, hållit kontakt under skrivandet, så märks det att det är två personer som skrivit texten. Det ska det ju inte göra. Så då går Hans igenom texten en sista gång – tillsammans med vår redaktör och förläggare – och ser till att språket, tempot och formen blir den samma.
Varför gör Hans det och inte Micke, kan man undra. Svaret är enkelt. Hans kontrollbehov är så oändligt mycket större än Mickes.
Det är en av anledningarna att vi fungerar så bra ihop. Vi är olika. Har olika styrkor, olika svagheter. Vi fäster oss vid olika karaktärer i våra böcker, har lättare för att förstå dem, att skriva dem. Micke vet precis vem Ursula är, Hans förstår henne inte riktigt... Hans älskar Thomas Haraldsson, en bikaraktär som från början inte var tänkt att vara med mer än i början av handlingen, men som bet sig kvar och växte till han till och med kom med i bok nummer två.
Vi skriver olika, har olika temperament. Micke vill få ett flöde i texten, skriva mycket och länge, jobba framåt, få volym. Hans stannar upp och läser, gör om, läser igen, gör om igen. Börjar dagen med att läsa det han gjorde igår och gå igenom det igen...
Men den största vinsten av att vara två är att när den dagen infinner sig då det känns trögt, för att inte säga omöjligt, att går vidare, då kan vi ringa varandra, pusha på och i bästa fall skicka över några sidor så att det återigen känns som vi kommit någonvart. Att vara två är i vårt fall en förutsättning för att få jobbet gjort.
Det och deadlines.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day: Reservoir Noir

Celebrate Earth Day! The latest issue of the Mystery Readers Journal focuses on the Environment (Volume 29:1). Great reviews, articles and author! author! essays perfect for today and every day. Have a look at the Table of Contents.

Instead of repeating last year's list of Environmental Mysteries, here's a link to the 2012 Environmental Crime Fiction List.

Following is the updated Reservoir Noir list.

Reservoir Noir
Books that deal with intentional flooding of towns and villages because of building dams and reservoirs for water supply, irrigation, power and other reasons--a sad addition to the environmental crime fiction list.

Alan Dipper's Drowning Day
Eileen Dunlop's Valley of the Deer (YA)
Lee Harris's Christening Day Murder
Reginald Hill's On Beulah Height
Donald James' Walking the Shadows
James D. Landis' The Talking (Artist of the Beautiful)
Jane Langton's Emily Dickenson is Dead
Julia Wallis Martin's A Likeness in Stone
Sharyn McCrumb's Zombies of the Gene Pool
Michael Miano's The Dead of Summer
Michael Radburn's Reservoir Noir! Drowned Towns in Mysteries
Ron Rash's One Foot in Eden
Rick Riordan's The Devil Went Down to Austin
Peter Robinson's In a Dry Season
Lisa See's Dragon Bones
Paul Somers' Broken Jigsaw
Julia Spencer-Fleming's Out of the Deep I Cry
Donald Westlake's Drowned Hopes
John Morgan Wilson's Rhapsody in Blood
Stuart Woods' Under the Lake

Let me know any titles you think should be included.

Be kind to the Earth. It's the only one we have.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Los Angeles Times Book Prizes

Tana French's Broken Harbor won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the Mystery/Thriller category.

Other Nominees:
Angelmaker, by Nick Harkaway (Knopf)
The Thief, by Fuminori Nakamura (Soho Crime)
The Expats, by Chris Pavone (Crown)
The Twenty-Year Death, by Ariel S. Winter (Hard Case Crime)

For the complete list LA Times Book Prize Winners, go here.

Concealed Weapons Fashion Show: Left Coast Crime

Concealed Weapons Fashion Show from Left Coast Crime, Colorado. This is a full 11 minutes and fun but shaky camera.. don't miss the finale of this Runway Show with Twist Phelan and her new husband in wedding attire. Twist is wearing Vera Wang.. and 'carrying':

Saturday, April 20, 2013

E. L. Konigsburg: R.I.P.

Sad news. I just saw that one of my favorite children's authors passed away today. E.L. Konigsburg was the author and illustrator of From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. She was 83. From the Mixed-Up Files features a 12 year old girl and her younger brother who runaway and move into New York's Metropolitan Museum. I've read that book so many times. The Metropolitan is one of my favorite museums, and every time I visit I find new rooms, paintings and sculpture. Quite the magical place! Who wouldn't want to run away there?

Konigsburg won the Newberry Medal in 1968 for From the Mixed Up Files. She won another Newberry Medal for The View from Saturday (29 years later). She was the author of many more children's and adult books, as well as the illustrator.

Cartoon of the Day


The latest issue of the Mystery Readers (Volume 29:1) focuses on Environmental Mysteries. Kenneth Wishnia, one of the contributors, appeared at a Literary Salon the other night at my home in Berkeley. With Earth Day right around the corner (shouldn't every day be Earth Day?), I decided to post his Author!Author! essay here.


Nobody wants to read a political tract disguised as a novel, especially a crime novel.

But one of the major reasons I was attracted to the crime genre in the first place is its long history of social commentary, going back to Hammett in the 1920s. (One of my favorite quotes from Red Harvest: “The room was as dark as an honest politician’s prospects.”)

So when I started writing 23 Shades of Black, the first novel in my Edgar-nominated series featuring Ecuadorian-American detective, Filomena Buscarsela, the toxic legacy of the Reagan Administration and his Secretary of the Interior, James "We will mine more, drill more, cut more timber" Watt, was still fresh in my mind.

Environmental crime features prominently in the series because, obviously, I’m genuinely concerned about rampant environmental destruction. But what makes this type of crime particularly fertile ground for noirish mystery novels is the hardboiled nature of the offense: unlike so many formula-driven mysteries in which an individual kills someone to protect a dirty family secret or some such motive, environmental pollution is usually committed by faceless corporations (or a major branch of government, like the Navy) in ways that make it nearly impossible to isolate a single, guilty perpetrator in time for a nice neat dénouement.

That’s because it’s hard to draw a definite causal link between, say, the toxic PCBs that were dumped in the Hudson River in the 1950s and the cancer clusters that emerged in the surrounding population twenty years later, because it’s easy for the potentially responsible party to claim that other factors could have caused those cancers.

In some ways, that’s my definition of hardboiled: in many traditional mysteries, the guilty party is an individual who no longer pose a threat to society once their guilt is revealed, and we can all rest assured that we are now safe from their depravities (this is why they’re called “cozies,” after all). Whereas in the hardboiled world, guilt and corruption are rampant, and it’s impossible to clean up the whole mess. In such a world, people (and corporations) can and do get away with murder.

And so my mole at the US EPA has been especially useful in providing material for my novels. (That’s right, I’ve got a mole at the EPA. Bwah-ha-ha!) We met in biology class way back in ninth grade and, as members of the Bio-Ecology Club, went on a month-long field trip in July 1975 that stretched from Cadillac Mountain, Maine to Key West, Florida. (Looking back, my heart goes out to the hapless teacher-chaperones who agreed to haul a couple of minivans full of 14-year-olds on a thousand-mile field trip. We sure owe them a debt, I’ll say that much.)

In 23 Shades of Black, my detective acts pretty much on her own against the corporate criminals, with decidedly mixed results. In Soft Money, second in the series, she starts working for a non-profit environmental organization, which allowed me to introduce Gina Lucchese, regional investigator for the EPA, who helps Filomena get to the bottom of some very dirty crimes.

I got access to mounds of EPA documents, which are available, in theory, through the Freedom of Information Act. But it might take a regular citizen months or even years to see them. I got them right away. Of course I had to change the names of the entities involved, but the chemical names and environmental statistics are all taken right from the public record. No need to invent any nasty threats when reality itself is already so frightening.

In The Glass Factory, third in the series, I took on the classic motif of setting the story in a seemingly idyllic American town that turns out to be rotten to the core, both symbolically--with the usual rampant corruption--and literally, when my detective visits her latino cousins, who live in a poor neighborhood across the street from the foul-smelling factory of the title.

In Red House, fourth in the series, I took a case straight from the EPA’s files about an abandoned industrial space that was remodeled for residential purposes, leading to disastrous results due to... well, you get the idea.

Blood Lake, fifth in the series, takes place in Ecuador, and even though there’s no EPA presence in the novel, there’s plenty of environmental damage. I lived in Ecuador for three years and witnessed the devastation first hand--from an earthquake that damaged the country’s sole oil pipeline, spilling untold quantities of crude into the jungle, to floods, hyperinflation and attendant food shortages.

In fact, people who read Red House, which takes place in Queens, often say that the craziness in that novel must be real because it’s so New York, when I actually made most of it up; and people who read Blood Lake say that I must have made all that up because the craziness is so over-the-top, when in fact most of it is true. The damage to the environment and the indigenous communities caused by oil drilling in the Amazon jungle has been carried out in a way that would never be permitted in the continental US.

But it’s not all gloom and doom, of course. My series has been recognized for its humor as well, even if it’s usually cynical, smartass New York-style humor (no surprise there, I suppose). Because once again, no one wants to read a political tract disguised as a novel. But it is our job as authors to write about what makes us laugh and cry, about what thrills us, and above all what makes us angry: What fresh outrages has man created to feed his bottomless greed? This is the stuff of great novels, not just great crime novels. And so we must bear in mind what George Orwell, surely one of the great political novelists of the 20th century, said in his 1947 essay, “Why I Write”:

Looking back through my work, I see that it is invariably     where I lacked a political purpose that I wrote lifeless     books and was betrayed into purple passages, sentences     without meaning, decorative adjectives and humbug     generally.” [emphasis in original]

Tell it, George.

Now, did you ever hear the one about the...?

Kenneth Wishnia has been nominated for the Edgar, the Anthony, and the Macavity Awards. He is thrilled that PM Press is reprinting the complete Filomena Buscarsela series, in revised and expanded editions, ending with Blood Lake in 2014.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cartoon of the Day: National Library Week

Arthur Ellis Awards Nominees

The Crime Writers of Canada announced the nominees for the 2013 Arthur Ellis Awards.

Best First Novel:
• The Beggar’s Opera, by Peggy Blair (Penguin Canada)
• Confined Space, by Deryn Collier (Simon & Schuster)
• The Dead of Winter, by Peter Kirby (Linda Leith)
• A Private Man, by Chris Laing (Seraphim)
• The Haunting of Maddy Clare, by Simone St. James (NAL)

Best Novel:
• Trust Your Eyes, by Linwood Barclay (Doubleday Canada)
• Until the Night, by Giles Blunt (Random House Canada)
• The Trinity Game, by Sean Chercover (Thomas & Mercer)
• The Messenger, by Stephen Miller (Delacorte Press)
• Niceville, by Carsten Stroud (Knopf)

Best Novella:
• Contingency Plan, by Lou Allin (Orca Rapid Reads)
• A Winter Kill, by Vicki Delany (Orca Rapid Reads)
• Evil Behind that Door, by Barbara Fradkin (Orca Rapid Reads)
• Reunion, by Christopher G. Moore (from Phnom Penh Noir, edited by Christopher G. Moore; Heaven Lake Press)

Best Short Story:
• “Life without George,” by Melodie Campbell (Over My Dead Body!, August 2012)
• “Sins of the Fathers,” by Sandy Conrad (from Daughters and Other Strangers, The Brucedale Press)
• “Cruel Coast,” by Scott MacKay (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, July 2012)
• “Mad Dog,” Jas R. Petrin (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, October 2012)
• “Spring-blade Knife,” by Yasuko Thanh (from Floating Like the Dead, McClelland & Stewart)

Best Non-fiction:
• Bloody Justice: The Truth behind the Bandidos Massacre at Shedden, by Anita Arvast (John Wiley)
• Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market, and Wall Street’s Wildest Con, by Guy Lawson (Crown/Random House)
• The Devil’s Cinema: The Untold Story behind Mark Twitchell’s Kill Room, by Steve Lillebuen (McClelland & Stewart)
• Thieves of Bay Street: How Banks, Brokerages and the Wealthy Steal Billions from Canadians, by Bruce Livesey (Random House Canada)

Best Juvenile/Young Adult:
• Live to Tell, by Lisa Harrington (Cormorant Books)
• The Agency: The Traitor in the Tunnel, by Y.S. Lee (Candlewick Press)
• Crush Candy Corpse, by Sylvia McNicoll (James Lorimer)
• Becoming Holmes, by Shane Peacock (Tundra)
• The Lynching of Louie Sam, by Elizabeth Stewart (Annick Press)

Best Crime Book in French:
• La Nuit des albinos: Sur les traces de Max O’Brien, by Mario Bolduc (Libre Expression)
• De pierres et de sang, by André Jacques (Druide)
• L’homme du jeudi, by Jean Lemieux (La courte échelle)
• Je me souviens, by Martin Michaud (Goélette)
• L’inaveu, by Richard Ste Marie (Alire)

Best Unpublished First Crime Novel (“The Unhanged Arthur”):
• Cold Black Tide, by William Hall
• The Raffle Baby, by Ilonka Halsband
• Sins Revisited, by Coleen Steele

Winners will be announced on May 30 during a ceremony at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto.

HT: The Rap Sheet

Thursday, April 18, 2013

National Library Week: Children's Book

Love this Vintage Children's Book. I'm not sure I wanted to be a Librarian, but I am sure I wanted to go to the Library as much as possible. In order to get a library card, my library insisted that the patron be able to write his/her name. Since I read before I could write, I asked my big sister to teach me to write my name. I practiced until I got it right, and I was able to get my library card when I was four. I was already reading, but mostly the books my sister chose or books she owned. How exciting to have my own card that opened the world of books to me. My plan was to start at "A" and work my way through the alphabet. I was too young to know that was futile, but for some reason I'm still trying.....

RT Reviewers' Choice Awards

I've posted piecemeal some of the winners of the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Awards, but here you have their Mystery, Suspense and Thriller awards in one place. Hat Tip to Criminal Element. As you can see, Romantic Times reviews much more than romance. Winner in Bold.

  • The House at Sea's End by Elly Griffiths
  • Available Dark by Elizabeth Hand
  • Dead Scared by S.J. Bolton
  • Cop to Corpse by Peter Lovesey
  • The Sleeping and the Dead by Jeff Crook
  • When Maidens Mourn by C.S. Harris
  • The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd
  • A Dark Anatomy by Robin Blake
  • The Yard by Alex Grecian
  • The Incense Game by Laura Joh Rowland
  • A Sunless Sea by Anne Perry
  • The Anatomist's Apprentice by Tessa Harris
  • Viral by James Lilliefors
  • The Deep Zone by James M. Tabor
  • Hush Money by Chuck Greaves
  • Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
  • Catch Me by Lisa Gardner
  • And She Was by Alison Gaylin
  • A Deeper Darkness by J.T. Ellison
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • The Line Between Here and Gone by Andrea Kane
  • The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan
  • Gem of a Ghost by Sue Ann Jaffarian
  • Blood, Bath and Beyond by Michelle Rowen
  • Bad Little Falls by Paul Doiron
  • Popped Off by Jeffrey Allen
  • Postcards from the Dead by Laura Childs
  • The Twelve Clues of Chrismas by Rhys Bowen
  • Sleepwalker by Karen Robards
  • Last Man Standing by Cindy Gerard
  • The Witness by Nora Roberts
  • Betrayal by Christina Dodd
  • Beautiful Sacrifice by Elizabeth Lowell
  • Against the Sun by Kat Martin

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

National Bookmobile Day: Vintage Photos

As you may know this is National Library Week (April 14-20). And, today is National Bookmobile Day! What a great source of library outreach. I've posted several photos of Bookmobiles before, but thought in honor of the day, I'd post a few more!

Environmental Mysteries: Mystery Readers Journal

Just in time for Earth Day, Mystery Readers Journal's first issue of 2013 (Volume 29:1) focuses on Environmental Mysteries. Can't believe we're in our 29th year of publication! This issue is available in PDF or hardcopy. Thanks to Kate Derie and all the authors and contributors to this great issue!

  • Environmental Mysteries: On the Cutting Edge of Sustainable by Christine Goff
  • Moonscape to Paradise? by Lou Allin
  • One Mysterious Mama by Sandi Ault
  • Accidental Environmentalist by Shannon Baker
  • The Blind Traveler's World by Robert P. Bennett
  • Looking for Snow Leopards by Lisa Brackmann
  • The Surest Poison Is Time by Chester Campbell
  • Beetlemania by Sheila Connolly
  • Banking on a Novel by Dawn Corrigan
  • One Chance Encounter by Lindsay Crane
  • I Think That I Shall Never See... by Mary Daheim
  • I Am Not a Scientist. So Why Do I Write Science Thrillers? by Karen Dionne
  • The Mystery of the Sound in the Canyon by Toni Dwiggins
  • High Stakes in a Great Lake by Kathleen Ernst
  • My World and Welcome to It by Kate Fellowes
  • Call It What You Will by Bill Fitzhugh
  • The Death of the Gecko by Mary Flodin
  • When Fiction Meets Fact by Jamie Freveletti
  • From Sitting in a Banyan Tree to Bumping Off a Tree Sitter by Sara Hoskinson Frommer
  • Adjusting to the Natural World by Christine Goff
  • Making Waves by Beth Groundwater
  • Environmental Mysteries: Science Can Be Fun! by Karen E. Hall
  • "A Big Hell in the Ground" by Paul Johnston
  • Going Mysteriously Green in North Queensland by Sylvia Kelso
  • Environmental Mysteries: Plot Before Polemic by Stephen Legault
  • GMOs and Thrillers: An (Un)Natural Combination by Jon McGoran
  • My Blogging, Tweeting Birds by Rosemary Mild
  • What Could Be More Than Dead? by Penny Mickelbury
  • Don't Let Message Overpower Mystery by Carolyn J. Rose
  • The Environmental Disaster as Portal by Leonard Rosen
  • Eco-Terrorism and Eugene by L.J. Sellers
  • Mysteries of a Ghost Town by Orest Stelmach
  • You Don't Need to Preach by Mark Stevens
  • Desert Sky Mysteries by David Sundstrand
  • The Vanishing Desert by Betty Webb
  • 23 Shades of Eco-Crime by Kenneth Wishnia
  • For Love of the Lake by Sue Owens Wright
  • Myth, Murder, and the Moon by E.J. Wagner
  • Mystery in Retrospect: Reviews by Alma T.C. Boykin, Lesa Holstine, L.J. Roberts
  • In Short: Blame It on Travis McGee by Marv Lachman
  • Children's Hour: Growing Up Green by Gay Toltl Kinman
  • Stranger Than Fiction: The Real World of Environmental Mysteries by Cathy Pickens
  • From the Editor's Desk by Janet Rudolph

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tokyo Bookstore Boasts Roof Apiary

From Japan Times. How cool is this? Definitely part of the environmental movement. B & B: Books and Bees!

Major construction firm Kajima Corp. has started beekeeping in Tokyo jointly with bookstore chain Yaesu Book Center in a project to help raise awareness of environmental protection.
Some 20,000 western honeybees are being kept on the rooftop of the bookstore chain’s eight-story building near Tokyo Station. Yaesu Book Center is an affiliate of Kajima.

“We’d like to use this bee project, which is under way in front of Tokyo Station, to spur discussion regarding city development that can sustain biodiversity,” Yoriyuki Yamada, deputy general manager of Kajima’s environment division, said Tuesday.

The bees are supposed to fly to such places as Ueno Park and the Imperial Palace, located within 4 km of the rooftop, to hunt for nectar from plant life ranging from tulip trees to cherry blossoms, Yamada said, adding the firm expects to harvest 2 kg to 5 kg of honey per week.

The Yaesu Book Center near Tokyo Station plans to give away the honey to the first 100 customers who buy ¥3,000 or more worth of books on April 23, which is World Book Day. The store also plans to offer the harvest at a cafe inside the store.

Kajima started keeping bees in 2009 at its company dormitory in Tokyo, and this is the fourth such project.

Hat Tip: Book Patrol

Dennis Lehane: "So Proud to Be a Bostonian Tonight"

From Mystery Author Dennis Lehane's Facebook Page:

I still haven’t processed today, but some stray observations—

Every thought and every prayer goes out to the victims and their families and loved ones. What a senseless act of waste and violence.

This wasn't about Boston. This was about a global gathering of the finest runners in the world on a gorgeous spring day celebrating nothing but athleticism and a love of life itself.

It’s hard to imagine any people more inspiring than all those people who dashed across Boylston Street within seconds of the first explosion, and rushed to the aid of the injured. Didn't give their own safety a thought. Made me proud to be a member of the human race, which I think was the exact opposite of the effect the bomber was hoping for.

Great job by my buddy, Dave Robichaud, questioning the official assumption that the fire at JFK Library was part of the attack. He cut down on a lot of public hysteria in one fell swoop with solid, effective journalism.

When I watch the footage of the first explosion, I look at the Boston Public Library Main Branch across the street, and I think no matter who they turn out to be--Islamic jihadists, home grown militia, neo-Nazis, something else--what really scares them, what they truly hate, is the access to knowledge that building exemplifies.

Lisa Hughes of WBZ 4 has been a rock throughout the coverage all day and into the night--empathetic but level-headed, humane and so sharp.

Youngest victim is 8. Sigh. What can you do with that? If your "CAUSE" involves the death of kids, it's not a cause, it's a pestilence.

So proud to be a Bostonian tonight. So brokenhearted to be one, too.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

2013 Scribe Awards Nominees

The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers announced its nominees for the 2013 Scribe Awards “for excellence in media tie-in writing.”

Original Novel Nominees:
• Star Trek: The Rings of Time, by Greg Cox (Pocket)
• Star Trek: Cold Equations: The Persistence of Memory, by David Mack (Pocket)
• Pathfinder Tales: City of the Fallen Sky, by Tim Pratt (Paizo)
• Dungeons and Dragons Online: Skein of Shadow, by Marsheila Rockwell (Wizards of the Coast)
• Darksiders: The Abomination Vault, by Ari Marmell (Del Rey)
• Lady, Go Die!, by Mikey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (Titan)
• Tannhäuser: Rising Sun, Falling Shadows, by Robert Jeschonek (Fantasy Flight Games)

Adapted Novel Nominees:
• Batman: The Dark Knight Legend, by Stacia Deutsch (HarperFestival)
• Clockwork Angels, by Kevin J. Anderson (ECW Press)
• Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, by Greg Cox (Titan)
• Poptropica: Astroknights Island, by Tracey West (Poptropica)

Audio Nominees:
• Dark Shadows: The Eternal Actress, by Nev Fountain
(Big Finish Productions
• Dark Shadows: Dress Me in Dark Dreams, by Marty Ross
(Big Finish Productions)
• Doctor Who Companion Chronicles: Project Nirvana, by Cavan Scott (Big Finish Productions)

The winners in each category will be announced during a ceremony at San Diego’s Comic-Con International, July 18-21.

Hat Tip: The Rap Sheet

Friday, April 12, 2013

Death and Taxes: Tax Day Mysteries

A few years ago I did a post about Tax Day Mysteries. There weren't  a lot of mysteries on that list. I found several that dealt with Finance, and high finance at that, but not many about the average Joe filing his taxes on April 15. Surely it's enough to commit murder. So here are a few mysteries that deal specifically with Tax Day.. and at the end of this post, a list of several accounting/accountant mysteries. If you're not rushing to complete your taxes by April 15, you'll want to read a few of these over the weekend.

The most well known Tax Day Mystery is David Dodge's Death and Taxes--an oldie but goodie (1941) that was recently reissued. Read Librarian and editor Randal Brandt's posts on David Dodge HERE and HERE.

San Francisco tax accountant James “Whit” Whitney is summoned home from a vacation in Santa Cruz to help his partner, George MacLeod, recover a hefty tax refund for a beautiful blonde client named Marian Wolff. When he returns to his office, Whit finds MacLeod dead in the firm’s vault, “with a small hole in the bridge of his nose.” In order to complete the tax return and uncover the murderer, Whit becomes a reluctant detective and nearly gets himself killed in the process. To prevent Whit’s murder, if possible, the SFPD assigns him a bodyguard named Swede Larson. Whit and Swede tangle with ex-bootleggers and Telegraph Hill gangsters in their efforts to unravel the mystery, which climaxes with a shootout in the Mission District and a dramatic car chase across the Bay Bridge. Along the way, Whit resists the advances of Marian Wolff and begins a romance with Kitty MacLeod, George’s widow.

Before becoming a novelist, David Dodge worked as a Certified Public Accountant. No wonder his first fictional hero was also a tax man. A notable aspect of the Whitney novels is the volume of information about taxes and finances that Dodge effortlessly weaves into his plots. To read more about David Dodge, go HERE.

Sue Dunlap's 7th Jill Smith mystery is also entitled Death and Taxes

Until someone put a poisoned needle in his bicycle seat, Phil Drem was the meanest, most nit-picking IRS agent in Berkeley, California.

But when Detective Jill Smith began searching Berkeley's backwaters for the tax man's killer, she found a different picture of Drem: a caring Drem, whose once-beautiful wife was "allergic to the world" and whose friends and enemies, old hippies and would-be entrepreneurs, enjoyed a ghoulish pastime called The Death Game. Did the Death Game KO Drem? Was someone's schedule a motive for murder? And what about a CPA who drove a red Lotus ruthlessly and guaranteed his clients they'd never be audited?

Only one thing is for sure, —somewhere in Berkeley's backwaters, a killer is still on the loose. And for a detective who loves her city, doubts her lover, and has a knack for solving the toughest of crimes, finding the truth is about as inevitable as...Death And Taxes.

A continued search revealed one other title: A Little Rebellion: April 15 Surprise by Rodney Sexton published by Writers Club Press (2000) an iUniverse book. Not having read it, I thought I'd post the Editorial Review:

After a client’s suicide and an unprecedented IRS attack on his tax practice, Certified Public Accountant Karl Mendel plans what he hopes will be the final solution to an income tax system out of control.

Assisted by close friends and professional associates, Mendel uses a personal tragedy and his belief in American freedom to fuel his war on what he refers to as the American KGB. With flying skills honed as a Marine pilot in the Vietnam War Mendel takes to the air in his planned assault on the U.S. income tax system. Help from Beatrice Gimble, a former IRS programmer and current CPA partner of his best friend, Terry Garcia, leads Karl inside the main computer facility run by the IRS. Unaware that he is being watched by powers beyond the IRS, his “forced” dealings with a Russian “mole” leads Karl and his partners into dangers they had not considered and threatens the woman he loves more than life itself.

About the Author: Rod Sexton is a practicing Certified Public Accountant living near Houston, Texas with his wife. While in Vietnam, Sexton was attached to the First Marine Air Wing. After active duty, he earned his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Taxation degrees. A Little Rebellion is his first work of fiction.

Sure sounds like this fits the bill!  Anyone read it? Any comments?

A further search for other mysteries uncovered a few other titles maybe a bit further afield but with an accounting theme, so in honor of the coming Tax Day, I thought I'd post a few Accounting-Accountant crime fiction titles.


Paul Anthony: Old Accountants Never Die
Paul Bennett: Due Diligence, Collateral Damage, False Profits, The Money Race
Ann Bridge: The Numbered Account 
David Dodge --in addition to Death and Taxes, he wrote three more novels about San Francisco tax accountant James "Whit" Whitney: Shear the Black Sheep, Bullets for the Bridegroom and It Ain't Hay.
Marjorie Eccles: Account Rendered and other Stories
Gail Farrelly: Beaned in Boston
Dick Francis: Risk
Kate Gallison: Unbalanced Accounts
John Grisham: Skipping Christmas
Ian Hamilton: The Water Rat of Wanchai
Carolyn Hart: A Settling of Accounts 
Marshall Jevons: Murder at the Margin, The Fatal Equilibrium, A Deadly Indifference
Emma Lathen: Accounting for Murder
Linda Lovely: Final Accounting
Peter Robinson: Final Account
Karen Hanson Stuyck: Held Accountable
William C. Whitbeck: To Account for Murder

Anyone have a favorite crime fiction novel with a Tax Day theme?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Kenneth Wishnia: Lit Salon April 18

Join Mystery Readers NorCal for an evening with mystery author Kenneth Wishnia in Berkeley, CA on Thursday, April 18, at 7 p.m. To receive address info and to RSVP, please include your email address in a comment below.

Kenneth Wishnia’s novels include 23 Shades of Black, an Edgar and Anthony Award finalist; Soft Money, a Library Journal Best Mystery of the Year; and Red House, a Washington Post Book World “Rave” Book of the Year. His short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen, Alfred Hitchcock, Queens Noir, Politics Noir, and elsewhere. His latest novel, The Fifth Servant, has been nominated for the “Premio Letterario Adei-Wizo” by the Italian chapter of the Woman’s International Zionist Organization. 

From Ken's Website:

Kenneth Wishnia was born in Hanover, NH  to a roving band of traveling academics. He earned a B.A. from Brown University (1982) and a Ph.D. in comparative literature from SUNY Stony Brook (1996). He teaches writing, literature and other deviant forms of thought at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood, Long Island, where he is a professor of English.

Ken’s novels have been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, and Macavity Awards, and have made Best Mystery of the Year lists at Booklist, Library Journal, and The Washington Post. His short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Murder in Vegas, Long Island Noir, Queens Noir, Politics Noir, Send My Love and a Molotov Cocktail, and elsewhere.

His most recent novel, The Fifth Servant, was an Indie Notable selection, one of the “Best Jewish Books of 2010” according to the Association of Jewish Libraries, a finalist for the Sue Feder Memorial Historical Mystery Award, and winner of a Premio Letterario ADEI-WIZO, a literary prize awarded by the Associazione Donne Ebree d’Italia, the Italian branch of the Women’s International Zionist Organization.

He is married to a wonderful Catholic woman from Ecuador, and they have two children who are completely insane.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cartoon of the Day: Dog

BURY YOUR DEAD: Guided Walking Tour

Louise Penny announced today on her Facebook page that starting in June 2013 there will be Guided Bury Your Dead Walking Tours of Quebec City.

Based on Louise Penny’s best-selling mystery novel Bury Your Dead, this two-hour tour follows the trail of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he investigates the murder of a local amateur archeologist, whose body was found in the cellar of the Québec Literary and Historical Society. Explore Old Québec City’s narrow streets with our guide and see with your own eyes the places where life and work bring Armand Gamache.

The Bury Your Dead Tour starts at the Quebec Tourist Information Centre (12, Sainte-Anne Street). It stops at the Notre-Dame Basilica, the Literary and Historical Society (Morrin Centre) and the Petit Coin Latin restaurant where participants enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and a slice of sugar pie. It then goes to the Jeanne d'Arc Garden through the Plains of Abraham, ending at the Montcalm monument, on Grande Allée Street.

Find out more, HERE.

Louise Penny will be International Guest of Honor at Left Coast Crime in Monterey, CA, March 20-23, 2014. Register now!

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Library for your Garden: San Francisco Seed Library

This is so my kind of library. Got this email from TastingTable today. You can get seeds for free at the San Francisco Seed Library.

Visit the Potrero branch of the San Francisco Public Library, and you’ll spot a display with rows of little yellow envelopes: the San Francisco Seed Library. Created in 2011, the exchange offers free seeds for the taking. Most come from donations and volunteers’ gardens.

Come harvest time, the organizers hope the recipients will return good seeds from the plants they grow to keep the library's collection expanding. The mission is for participants to collectively discover the vegetable, legume and grain varieties that will flourish in San Francisco's 'quirky' climate.

Harvesting seeds to return to the fledgeling seed library is not as straightforward as it might seem. To learn more, the Berkeley-based Bay Area Seed Interchange Library is offering a seed-saving class on Saturday, April 13. Urban-agriculture activist Antonio Roman-Alcalá will be teaching several classes at the Potrero library in June. (Check the branch’s online event listings in a month or so for times.)

And, of course, you can check out all kinds of gardening books, while you're at the library.. Or Gardening Mysteries! Lots of plant lore in these.

Peter Workman: R.I.P.

Workman Publishing Company founder, Peter Workman, 74, died of cancer yesterday, Sunday, April 7 at his home in New York. In addition to Workman's six imprints are Workman, Artisan, Algonquin, Black Dog & Leventhan, Highbridge, Storey, and Timber Press.

Workman was founder, president and CEO of one of the largest independent publishers of nonfiction trade books and calendars. Titles include favorites such as the boxed Page-A-Day Calendar, "The Official Preppy Handbook" and "The Silver Palate Cookbook."

A Long Island native, Workman was a Yale University graduate. After a job in the sales department of Dell Publishing, he founded Workman in 1967 as a book packager. Within two years, its inaugural list led with Richard Hittleman's "Yoga 28-Day Exercise Plan," which is still in print.

Workman bestsellers also include are B. Kliban's "Cat," Sandra Boynton's children's books, and "1,000 Places To See Before You Die." Artisan published chef Thomas Keller's "The French Laundry Cookbook."

He is survived by his widow, Carolan Raskin Workman, their two daughters and four grandchildren.

Decoding Murder: The Bletchley Circle

Just a reminder-- You won't want to miss the totally riveting PBS 3-part mystery series, THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE. Mark your calendar! It will be shown Sundays, April 21-May 5, 2013, 10:00-11:00 p.m. on PBS. Check local listings.

Storyline: Almost 10 years after working undercover during World War II, Susan, Millie, Lucy and Jean work to catch a serial killer using their astute decryption skills. These 'ordinary' women secretly track patterns of a complex killer targeting young women in London. They do this on their own, with no help from Scotland Yard.

What's so interesting, of course, to mystery fans, is that these women,  Susan, Millie, Lucy and Jean, have the extraordinary ability to break codes, a skill honed during World War II when they worked undercover at Bletchley Park, site of the UK’s main decryption establishment. Now, in 1952, the four have returned to civilian life, keeping their intelligence work secret from all (they signed the Secrets Act), including family and friends. A series of terrible murders targeting women, however, reunites the team as they set out to decode the pattern behind the crimes.

Two-time BAFTA award-winner Anna Maxwell Martin (“South Riding,” “Bleak House”) stars as Susan, now a housewife with two children, who has collected data on a series of murders and tried, unsuccessfully, to convince the police that another is imminent. Rachael Stirling (“Women in Love,” “Boy Meets Girl”) is Millie, the feistiest of the bunch, conversant in 14 languages, worldly and street smart. RADA graduate Sophie Rundle plays Lucy, a young woman equipped with a photographic memory. Julie Graham (“Lapland,” “Doc Martin”), oldest of the four, is the former head of the Bletchley Park unit.

Initially unaware of the Bletchley background, the police don’t take Susan’s theory about the crimes seriously. She quickly realizes she can crack the murders and bring the culprit to justice only with the help of her former colleagues. “He’s making a pattern, and he doesn’t realize he’s doing it,” Susan tells her friends. “If we can crack it, we’ll be able to see what his next move will be. Just like knowing where the German army will be in three days’ time. We can get ahead of him and stop him before he kills again.”

“THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE combines a vivid portrait of post-war Britain with a taut and original code-breaking mystery that is equal parts thriller and whodunit,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. “We think American audiences are going to love the story and the characters. The production is exceptionally vivid, capturing London of the 1950s fully. In addition, the journey home for these women, from war intelligence to 1950s domesticity, is highly complicated, further emphasizing the importance of their bond and friendship.”

I loved this production. There are a few gaps, but you can fill them in. Watch or set your DVR. As with many PBS productions, you'll be able to watch the program on your computer/iPad for a week or two after airing.