Saturday, June 29, 2013

NOIR CITY: Chicago

Listen up, Chicago! NOIR CITY: Chicago arrives at the Music Box Theatre August 23–29, offering an astounding lineup of classic films noir—including the Windy City premieres of the FNF's latest preservation projects: Try and Get Me! (1950), Repeat Performance (1949), and High Tide (1948).

NOIR CITY features both celebrated classics and wonderful rarities, some freshly rescued from extinction and screened in glorious new film prints, others shown for the first time in gorgeous digital restorations. This is a week long noir extravaganza celebrating its 5th anniversary in Chi Town.

Eddie Muller will host the opening weekend. Film historians Alan K. Rode and Foster Hirsch will present films during the rest of the festival.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Inspector Lewis: Twitter Chat & Kevin Whately Video on Lewis/Hobson relationship

Join me and PBS's Masterpiece Mystery! for a Twitter Chat as we watch together the Inspector Lewis S6 finale "Intelligent Design" this Sunday, June 30, 9 p.m EDT, on PBS. 


Check out this New Inspector Lewis Video: Kevin Whately on the Lewis/Hobson relationship!

Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference

July 25-28, 2013 - Corte Madera, CA: 20th Annual Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference. Mystery writers learn all the clues to a successful writing career. Editors, agents, and publishers share with participants what they need to know to get published. Authors offer classes on setting, dialogue, suspense and point of view. Panels of detectives, forensic experts, and other crime-fighting professionals provide invaluable information that allows writers to put realism into their work.

The four-day Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference has a strong tradition of great authors and teachers. It covers everything mystery writers need—from developing ideas and writing skills to finding a publisher. Students work closely with mystery writers, agents, editors, and publishers as well as investigators and crime-fighting professionals. The collegial atmosphere of this four-day conference attracts students and faculty from all over the country, many for repeat visits. Opportunities abound for faculty and students to talk, laugh, and exchange ideas in classes, workshops, panels, and informal lunches. There are optional writing workshops taught by David Corbett and Hallie Ephron, on Thursday afternoon just prior to the Conference. They are available to participants for an additional fee. The Mystery Writers Conference is chaired by mystery writers Sheldon Siegel and Jacqueline Winspear.

2013 Faculty
Isabelle Allende, Matt Bayan, Cara Black, Rhys Bowen, Hallie Ephron, Elizabeth George and many more. 


For more information or to register, contact Kathryn Petrocelli at 800-999-7909, ext. 239, or email

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Carolyn Hart: Escape from Paris

Today I welcome Award Winning author Carolyn Hart.

Hart writes the Death on Demand series set in a mystery bookstore on a South Carolina sea island and the Bailey Ruth Raeburn series featuring a lively redheaded ghost. She is also the author of several WWII novels, including ESCAPE FROM PARIS which is now available from Seventh Street Books. Letter from Home, a WWII novel set on the home front, received the Agatha Award for Best Mystery of 2003. It was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers. Hart was one of 10 mystery authors featured at the National Book Festival on the Mall in Washington, DC, in 2003 for Letter from Home and again in 2007 for Set Sail for Murder, 7th in the Henrie O series. Hart has been nominated 9 times for the Agatha Award for Best Novel and has won 3 times. In 2007 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at Malice Domestic. She was the International Guest of Honor at Bloody Words in Toronto in 2008. Hart is a native of Oklahoma City, a journalism graduate of the University of Oklahoma, and a former president of Sisters in Crime. She is also a member of Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, the International Association of Crime Writers, and American Crime Writers League.

Today Carolyn Hart guest posts about Escape from Paris. Her original publication of Escape from Paris was cut from 95,000 words to 55,000. Now, this novel has been republished as it was written.

From: Escape from Paris
Linda handed her papers to the sergeant. Her hands shook a little but he didn’t seem to notice. Perhaps he was used to shaking hands. 
   He read the passes which permitted her to drive, to purchase 10 gallons of gasoline a week and to visit hospitals in a 75-mile radius of Paris on behalf of the Foyer du Soldat. 
   Linda was ready to explain why it was she and not her sister Eleanor making the visit today, but he didn’t ask. He merely nodded, handed the papers back and said, in his heavily accented French, “You may proceed, Mademoiselle.” 
   The sentry pacing back and forth between the hospital gate posts stood aside for the little car to enter.
   Linda slowly drove around the side of the hospital, trying, if she would admit it, to put off for another few minutes her entry into the hospital. She had not wanted to come. It was Eleanor who visited hospitals daily, taking Red Cross packages to wounded soldiers and airmen. Eleanor kept hoping, of course, that she would find some trace of her husband, Andre, who had been missing since Dunkirk. 

   Today’s visit to Douellens had been set up for a week or more so. When Eleanor was up all night with a tooth ache, Linda volunteered to go in her place. Linda hated sickness – and wounds – and hospitals – and she was dreadfully afraid of the Germans.

Carolyn Hart: 
A Long and Winding Road

Escape from Paris is the story of Linda Rossiter and Eleanor Masson, American sisters who risk their lives in Nazi-Occupied Paris to save British fliers from arrest. The Gestapo sets a trap and on the bleak Christmas Eve of 1940, death is only a step behind.

I was a child during WWII and the war dominated our lives. Family members served in the Army or Navy. We followed the faraway course of the fighting in huge black newspaper headlines. We depended upon newspapers and radio for information. One of my earliest memories was of huge black headlines reporting the invasion of France in 1944. Food and gasoline were rationed. Everything was spoken about for the duration. I was an adult before I realized that for the duration meant for the duration of the war. To a child, for the  duration was yesterday, now, and forever.

The war remained vivid in my memory and, as an adult, I wrote several WWII suspense novels. Brave Hearts is set in the Philippines after it fell to the Japanese and will be reissued in August by Seventh Street Books. Star-crossed lovers flee after the Japanese invasion, refusing to surrender. A Settling of Accounts is newly available from Oconee Spirit Press. Kay Emory returns to London some years after the war but her past as an undercover agent draws her into danger. Letter from Home reflects the summer of 1944 on the home front in a small Oklahoma town..

When I wrote Escape from Paris, the original title was Nineteen Forty as the book gives a sense of a world at war in a series of vignettes. I was unable to find a publisher in the United States. Finally. I agreed to cut the book from 93,000 to 55,000 words to see it to a small house in England. That version was published in 1982 and 1983.

I am thrilled that now the full, unabridged book just as I originally wrote will be easily available to readers, thanks to Seventh Street Books. I hope readers will share the struggles of brave men and women who defied the Gestapo during the bitter winter of 1940. They knew fear, found love, grieved loss. Their lives and deaths remind us that freedom survives only when the free are brave.

In 1940, England awaited invasion and the Nazis devoured Europe. I believe this book will appeal especially to book club readers, highly intelligent women often of a certain age, who will bring their own memories or memories of their parents into play. I hope Escape from Paris will be read by young adults who do not know WWII even as a distant memory.

Our world today once again faces the forces of evil and perhaps we can all take courage from the memory of those who dared to do what was right despite fear, hunger, despair, and heartbreak in the bleak year of 1940..

The Blóðdropinn ( Blood Drop) Award

Reykjavik City Library announced The Blóðdropinn ( Blood Drop) Award honoring the best crime novel of the year: Húsið (The House) by Stefán Máni.

The winner will represent Iceland in the Glass Key competition for the best Nordic crime novel.

HT: The Rap Sheet via Omnimystery News

Monday, June 24, 2013

Grand prix de Littérature policière finalists

The 65th Grand prix de Littérature policière (Crime Fiction). Winners will be announced September 17.

Les romans francais (French Novels)
AYERDHAL: Rainbow Warriors -Au Diable Vauvert
BRONNEC, Thomas: La fille du Hahn Hoa - Rivages/Noir
BUSSI, Michel: Ne lâche pas ma main - Presses de la Cité,
CARLIER, Christophe: L’assassin à la pomme verte - Serge Safran
COLIZE, Paul: Un long moment de silence - Manufacture de livres
COLLETTE, Sandrine: Des nœuds d’acier, Denoël (Sueurs froides),
DEAMBROSIS, Mercedes: Le dernier des treize, Ed. La Branche
DENIGER, Alix: I Cursini, Gallimard (Série noire)
MARPEAU, Elsa: L’expatriée, Gallimard (Série noire)
NATHAN, Tobie: Les nuits de Patience, Rivages (Rivages/Thriller)
POSTEL, Alexandre: Un homme effacé, Gallimard (La Blanche)
THIRIET, Pascal: J’ai fait comme elle a dit, Jigal (Polar)
TRUC, Olivier: Le dernier lapon, Métailié (Métailié noir)

Les romans étrangers (Foreign Novels):
GUTTENTAG, Bill: Boulevard, Gallimard (Série noire)
HAYES, Samantha: Les mères, Le Cherche Midi (Thriller)
JAMES, Bill: Lettres de Carthage, Rivages (Rivages/Thriller),
JOHNSON, Craig: Dark Horse, Gallmeister (Noire)
KING, Stephen: 22/11/63, Albin Michel (Romans étrangers),
LINNA, Martti: Le royaume des perches, Gaïa (Polar)
LITTELL, Robert : Une belle saloperie, Baker Street
MACKAY, Malcolm: Il faut tuer Lewis Winter, Liana Levi (Policier)
NISBET, Jim: Traversée vent debout, Rivages (Rivages/Thriller)
SALLIS, James: Le tueur se meurt, Rivages (Rivages/Thriller),
ST JOHN MANDEL, Emily: Dernière nuit à Montréal, Rivages/Thriller,
STONE, Nick: Cuba libre, Gallimard (Série noire)
VANN, David: Impurs, Gallmeister (Nature writting)
WAGNER, Jan Costin: Lumière dans une maison obscure, Ed.J.Chambon
WHITMER, Benjamin: Pike, Gallmeister (Noire)

Hat Tip: Jim Nisbet.. Congrats, Jim!!


From io9:

Richard Matheson passed yesterday at the age of 87, after a long illness. Best known for his seminal work I Am Legend, he leaves not just a legacy of great science fiction, but an indelible mark on American pop culture.

Along with I Am Legend, Matheson wrote What Dreams May Come, A Stir of Echoes, and The Shrinking Man, all of which became Hollywood movies (in the case of I Am Legend, more than a few times). He was also one of the original Twilight Zone's greatest screenwriters, penned the classic William Shatner-starring episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet." His Twilight Zone episode "Steel" became the basis for Real Steel, starring Hugh Jackman.

But Matheson was hardly just a Hollywood idea factory. Matheson's dark, existentialist style influenced science fiction in every medium. His prose was humanist, but it was also bleak and ambiguous in a way that science fiction hadn't been before, revealing the way the ambiguities of human nature play into stories of the fantastic.

Ray Bradbury called him "one of the most important writers of the 20th century," and Stephen King credited Matheson as "the author who influenced me most as a writer." 


PRIVATE EYE WRITERS OF AMERICA SHAMUS AWARD FINALISTS 2013 for works published in 2012: The winner will be announced at the PWA Banquet at Bouchercon in Albany, New York, on  Friday, September 20.

Robert B. Parker's Lullaby by Ace Atkins
Taken by Robert Crais
Hunting Sweetie Rose by Jack Fredrickson
Blues in the Night by Dick Lochte
The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Hush Money by Chuck Greaves
Murder Unscripted by Clive Rosengren
Black Fridays by Michael Sears
Racing the Devil by Jaden Terrell
The Twenty-Year Death by Ariel S. Winter

Death Warmed Over by Kevin J. Anderson
And She Was by Alison Gaylin
Archie Meets Nero Wolfe by Robert Goldsborough
False Negative by Joseph Koenig
Pulse by John Lutz

"The Sequel" by Jeffrey Deaver in The Strand
"After Cana" by Terence Faherty in EQMM
"O'Nelligan and the Lost Fates" by Michael Nethercott in AHMM
"Illegitimati Non Carborundum" by Stephen D. Rogers in Crimespree
"Ghost Negligence" by John Shepphird in AHMM

Stranger in Town by Cheryl Bradshaw
Enamorted by O'Neil De Noux
One-Eyed Jack by Christopher J. Lynch
White Heat by Paul Marks
Devil May Care by James Mullaney

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Aleing Authors

This was a student design project

Aleing Authors is an assortment of craft beers inspired by influential authors of the 19th and 20th centuries. References to the six authors are incorporated on each bottle. The beer name and ingredients relate to each author as well as their literary works. To flesh out the beer's identity, famous quotes and iconic imagery from their novels are incorporated on the front label, so the beer tells the story itself.
The connection between an author's success and troubled life is explored through these beers. The six authors chosen all embody this archetype, Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Mary Shelley, Oscar Wilde, and Edgar Allan Poe.
Incorporated are aesthetic styles from the time period of the authors. Design from the 19th and 20th centuries is explored, especially through the ornate typography and decorative Victorian-esque borders on the bottles.
These designs were part of a student project. Another project dealt with Posters for the individual beers. Here's the Edgar Allan Poe poster:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Little Free Library

I belong to a group on Facebook called Picture This. Every day each of the members posts a photo from a daily prompt. This week one of the prompts was "STREET"...

Loved this photo by Ann Coolidge of "Little Free Library" on a STREET in Decatur, Georgia. Posted with permission by Ann.

I think it's wonderful, both the photo and the concept! Thanks, Ann.

Photo: Ann Coolidge

Friday, June 21, 2013

Ice Cream Man: The Story of Gelato in Florence by M.L. Longworth

Today is the Solstice or Midsummer. Take your pick, but it's the longest day of the year. It's also my favorite day of the year, and I treasure every moment. So for the guest post of the day, M.L. Longworth sent me this great article she wrote about The Story of Gelato in Florence! What could be better? I love Gelato!!

I'm a fan of M.L. Longworth, and her books remind me of those lazy days in France, drinking wine, sitting in the sun, eating bread and chocolate, mostly.. I was a student then. If you haven't read her mysteries, you'll want to. Death in the Vines is the third in her Verlaque and Bonnet Provencal mystery series (Penguin).

Although her mysteries are set in Provence, you'll get a sense of her writing and interest in food by reading this guest post "The Story of Gelato in Florence: Ice Cream Man." Florence is another wonderful summer location for me, since I was there for the summer solstice many, many years ago. I remember the day well because on June 20 so many years ago, I received a telegram. The woman that delivered it to my room at the Tourno Buonaroti (Sarah Lawrence College dorm at that time, now a 4 star hotel) was wringing her hands with worry. Telegrams obviously implied disaster. Not so this time, and in my stumbling Italian, I calmed her fears. Uno bambino! Mia sorella.. uno bambino!  My first nephew was born!  I promptly went out to celebrate with Gelato!  

So here's a fascinating post from M.L. Longworth on The Story of Gelato in Florence. Perhaps Verlaque or Bonnet will need to taste Gelato in Florence in her next mystery?

M.L. Longworth
Ice Cream Man The Story of Gelato in Florence 

Sometime in the late 16th century the Grand Duke of Florence, Cosimo I de'Medici, wanted to hold an opulent banquet to impress visiting Spanish delegates. Cosimo I was one of the first Italians to eat potatoes and tomatoes--Florentines loved them fried--whereas in the rest of Italy they were still being used as decorations. Roast meats would have been offered, perhaps even duck à l'orange, not invented by the French, but in Florence. The dense Tuscan bread soup--ribollita--could have been a first course, for it was enjoyed by peasants and nobles alike. But for this dinner Cosimo wanted something new. He called upon an artist who had been working for the Medici since he was a young boy: Bernardo Buontalenti.

Buontalenti was fortunate: he studied sculpture under Michelangelo, and architecture with Giorgio Vasari. He was a fine miniaturist, and excellent mathematician, but it was his architecture that brought him fame: from fortifications, villas and gardens, and even plans for the new city of Livorno. He was a clever machinist, and somewhat of a pyromaniac: his love of designing and producing fireworks displays earned him the nickname delle Girandole.

For Cosimo's feast, Buontalenti set to work, using another of his engineering passions, this one cooler than fire--ice conservation--to create a dessert made with ice, salt (to lower the temperature), lemon, sugar, egg, honey, milk and a drop of wine. He flavored it with orange and bergamot, and it was a hit. Gelato was born.

There are signs of this Renaissance man all over Florence, but they're more hidden than the reminders of Michelangelo, or Brunelleschi. I think of Buontalenti as I eat a dark gray gelato, sesame nero. What would he think of this nutty-tasting, odd-looking gelato? Or olive oil gelato? or saffron? Or buffalo milk ricotta? All of these flavors, and the more classic ones, can be tasted during the five-day gelato festival in the city's finest piazzas from May 25 to 29. Three separate gelato villages will teach visitors, helping non-experts distinguish between artisan and industrial gelato (I realize that my sole requisite is that the pistachio is brown and not bright green; I could use some teaching).

Bernardo Buontalenti was born in Florence in 1531. I can't find where exactly, but I know that he lived, when he was already well known, at number 37 via Maggio, south of the Arno. The bright yellow building, judging by the names on the door's buzzer, has has been cut up into apartments. Elizabeth Barrett Browning lived (and died) around the corner, in the Casa Guidi, from 1847 to 1861. When Eton boys are not using the house, some of its rooms can be rented from the Landmark Trust.

A block up is the Palazzo Pitti, whose elaborate grotto in the Boboli Gardens Buontalenti designed between 1583-93. I wait in line, which mercifully moves quickly, and buy a combined ticket for the gardens and the Pitti's costume museum. Florence is so busy that it's a joy to wander in the gardens, far from the crowds. At the top of the garden’s principle hill is a porcelain museum and I do a quick tour before taking in the view, across olive orchards, up a hill opposite to San Miniato al Monte, Florence’s Romanesque gem. It reminds me of the great picnic scene from A Room with a View. There are a few villas splattered about on the hills, and I think, how lucky.

On the way down I find the grotto, a riot of carvings--the Mannerist artist's version of cave stalactites. Here are replicas of Michelangelo’s slaves, trying to break free of the rock. The more interesting figures to me are the animals--sheep and goats--expertly carved to blend in with the rough rocky surface. There's so much going on that it leaves the realm of tacky and becomes inspiring, somewhat like Watts Towers in Los Angeles, or Gaudi’s creations in Barcelona.

Hungry after the walk in the park, I crossed the wide slopping piazza and went into a small wine bar on the square, Pitti Gola e Cantina. There are marble-topped tables outside, but it was cold and so I ate in the tiny snug interior, surrounded by bottles of Tuscan wine. I asked for a glass of wine from the Tuscan region of Bolgheri and the sommelier looked shocked. Thinking that I had mispronounced it, I repeated Bolgheri, and he explained that Gola only serves traditional Tuscan wines. "But it is Tuscan," I said. "Yes, but it's only been made for the last thirty years, in a Bordeaux style," he replied, and shivered. So instead I had a white--a heavenly golden Trebbiano made near Florence, and a generous plate of local salamis and cheeses. Perfect.

Buontalenti's first known work, the Palazzo di Bianca Cappello, is also on the via Maggio, near his house, and just behind the wine bar. Most of the palazzo's allure comes from its sumptuously decorated facade, perhaps the finest in all of Florence, completed in 1579 by Bernadino Poccetti. But Buontalenti designed the palace, and his signature--a bat with outspread wings--can be seen under the ground floor windows. He would have known its famous resident, since he lived down the street and worked for Cosimo I, her future father-in-law. Bianca Cappello was a noble Venetian, but at 15 years of age she eloped with an impoverished young Florentine and the couple fled to his native city. Cosimo I was impressed by her stubbornness and turned a blind eye to her family's requests that she return to Venice (the couple were also legally married). But Cosimo's eldest son, Francesco, became infatuated with Bianca, who, in the hilarious words of the French philosopher Montaigne, (he lived near Florence for a year), had ' agreeable and imposing face, and large breasts, the way they like them here...'.

Luckily for Francesco--and perhaps under his orders-- Bianca's young husband was mysteriously stabbed to death, and when Francesco's wife, Joanna of Austria, died in 1579, he promptly married the widowed Bianca. She moved to the house in the via Maggio to be close to Francesco, who played at work in the Palazzo Pitti (a terrible administrator, he shied away from human contact). Cosimo, distraught by the early deaths of his wife Eleonora da Toledo and two of their younger sons (they had eleven children), passed the reigns to Francesco, and the beautiful and buxom Bianca became Duchess of Tuscany.

 Buontalenti was a talented military engineer and his designs, many of them executed under Francesco's reign, can be seen today in the fortifications of Livorno, and in the city walls of Grosseto, Pistoia (near Florence), Portoferraio (Elba), and Naples. He perfected designs for cannons, and devised a new type of incendiary grenade. But all was not war and violence: During the winter of 1585-1586 he built a great court stage in the Uffizi Palace, and extravagant spectacles were held under his production. He designed the costumes, too: actors were dressed as mythological gods and goddesses, or planets.

The costume museum in the Pitti palace is small, but a room designed to hold remnants of Cosimo I de'Medici's burial clothes, and those of Eleonora's, is breathtaking. It took preservationists ten years to recreate the clothes, much of which had disintegrated. The room is climate controlled, and kept dark, and the information panels are interesting and illuminating (rare, I find, in Italy). Only every second or third snap on the back of Eleonora's dress was fastened: she died of fever, possibly malaria, and those who buried her were frightened and in a hurry.

In 1587 Francesco and Bianca died within hours of each other, allegedly from fever, like Eleonora. Francesco's younger brother Ferdinand, who would inherit the title, became suspect number one. Over 400 years later their bodies were exhumed and the mystery was solved: they had indeed died of natural causes. Ferdinand was an excellent and beloved administrator, like his father, Cosimo, who had retired to his villa outside of Florence and went on to father three more children, dying in 1574.

I declined dessert at the wine bar; gelato called, and since I was on my way to the north side of the Arno, stopped at the Gelateria Santa Trinita. The flavor of the day was honey with figs, and I ate it on the bridge, standing in the sun. I thought of Bernardo Buontalenti, Renaissance man par excellence, and silently thanked him for his icy experiments. He died penniless in 1608.

After moving to Aix-en-Provence in 1997, I began writing articles about the region. I couldn’t get enough of Provence. But after a few years I began to grow restless; not with the area, but with the restrictions of writing non-fiction. I began having conversations in my head and realized that if I wrote fiction then my characters could live in, and experience, Provence as I do. Aix is a law town—it has been since the Middle Ages—which seemed to me a good place to situate a mystery, and I imagined my protagonists involved in the law profession.

But above all, I really want the reader to experience Aix-en-Provence the way I do, as if they were beside me.

I hope you enjoy reading these mysteries.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lit Salon: Juliet Blackwell, Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames, Kate Carlisle

Join Mystery Readers NorCal for an evening with Mystery authors Juliet Blackwell, Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames, and Kate Carlisle.

Wednesday, June 26, 7 p.m.
Berkeley, CA
RSVP for Directions (leave a comment below with email)
Potluck Sweets or Savories

Juliet Blackwell (aka Julie Goodson-Lawes, aka Hailey Lind)
Blackwell is the author of the Witchcraft Mystery series, which features a misfit witch with a vintage clothing store in San Francisco's Haight Ashbury neighborhood. The series includes Secondhand Spirits, A Cast-off Coven, Hexes and Hemlines, In a Witch's Wardrobe, and Tarnished and Torn

The Haunted Home Renovation series --in which Mel Turner, a restorer of historic homes, finds ghosts behind the walls-- includes If Walls Could Talk, Dead Bolt, and Murder on the House.

Under the pseudonym Hailey Lind, Juliet penned the Art Lover's Mystery series with her sister Carolyn--including the Agatha-nominated Feint of Art. Arsenic and Old Paint is the latest in the series.

A former anthropologist and social worker, Juliet has worked and studied in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, the Philippines, and France. She now lives in a happily haunted house in Oakland, California, where she is a muralist and portrait painter. She served two terms as president of Northern California Sisters in Crime, and sat on the board of Northern California Mystery Writers of America.

Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames
Daryl's latest mystery is Final Sentence, the first in  A COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERY series, is just out by Penguin (Berkley Prime Crime). Daryl is the real name of nationally bestselling, Agatha Award-winning author Avery Aames, who writes A CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY series tht inclue The Long Quiche Goodbye, To Brie or not To Brie, Clobbered by Camembert and Lost and Fondue.

Daryl also writes short stories. Her short story, "Palace by the Lake" from Fish Tales, has been nominated for numerous awards, including Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity.  Daryl also created the format for the popular TV sit-com, "Out of this World," and she has won awards for her screenplays.

Both Avery and Daryl like to read, cook, and garden.

Avery & Daryl blog at Mystery Lovers Kitchen - a blog for foodies who love mysteries.
And some of their characters show up at the Killer Characters blog

Kate Carlisle 
Bestselling author Kate Carlisle spent over twenty years working in television production as an Associate Director for game and variety shows, including The Midnight Special, Solid Gold and The Gong Show. She traveled the world as a Dating Game chaperone and performed strange acts of silliness on The Gong Show. She also studied acting and singing, toiled in vineyards, collected books, joined a commune, sold fried chicken, modeled spring fashions and worked for a cruise ship line, but it was the year she spent in law school that finally drove her to begin writing fiction. It seemed the safest way to kill off her professors. Those professors are breathing easier now that Kate spends most of her time writing near the beach in Southern California where she lives with her perfect husband.

A lifelong love of old books and an appreciation of the art of bookbinding led Kate to create the Bibliophile Mysteries, featuring rare book expert Brooklyn Wainwright, whose bookbinding and restoration skills invariably uncover old secrets, treachery and murder.  Her latest mystery is A Cookbook Conspiracy. Kate is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America. She loves to drink good wine and watch other people cook.

ICELAND NOIR: A New Conference

Iceland Noir: This sounds like great fun! A new Crime Fiction Conference. The Nordic House, Reykjavik, Iceland. Weekend of November 22-23, 2013

Featured AUTHORS

ANN CLEEVES Bestselling and award winning British author of the Vera Stanhope crime series and the Shetland crime series, both of which have recently been filmed for British television.

JOHN CURRAN Award winning Irish author of Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks and Agatha Christie’s Murder in the Making, and leading authority on the works of Agatha Christie.

YRSA SIGURÐARDÓTTIR Bestselling Icelandic author of the Thóra mystery series and Glass Key nominated crime/horror novel “I Remember You”, which is being turned into a Hollywood film.

QUENTIN BATES British author of the “superior crime fiction” (The Times) Iceland-set Officer Gunnhildur crime novels. RAGNAR JONASSON Icelandic author of a crime series set in and around the northernmost town in Iceland, in the process of being developed as a TV series.

VIKTOR ARNAR INGÓLFSSON Icelandic Glass Key nominated author of The Flatey Enigma, House of Evidence and Daybreak.

Friday: Scheduled tours which may include:
Northern lights tour
Blue lagoon tour
Geysir / gullfoss tour

Saturday: The Nordic House, Full day of panels and author interviews

Saturday Evening: Dinner at an Icelandic Restaurant.

Sunday: Scheduled Tours

Registration Required. No Registration Fee. Tours and dining are additional.

To Register, go HERE.

HT: Ann Cleeves

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

James Gandolfini: R.I.P.

James Gandolfini passed away today at the age of 51. Way too young.

Deadline reports that Gandolfini was in Italy when he died after suffering a massive heart attack on Wednesday (June 19). The actor was in the Mediterranean to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily, where he was due to take part in a festival event over the weekend with Italian director Gabriele Muccino.

Gandolfini became a Hollywood legend after winning the role of Tony Soprano in the hit HBO series in 1999. The role won him three Emmy awards during the show's six-season run. Gandolfini was also in Get Shorty and other TV shows and films.

The actor is survived by wife Deborah Lin, their 8 month old daughter and his teenage son from a previous marriage.

R.I.P., Tony!


This sad news just in. Thriller author Vince Flynn has died at the age of 47. Diagnosed with Stage III metastatic prostate cancer in 2010, Flynn succumbed.

The Mitch Rapp story begins with American Assassin, followed by Kill Shot, Transfer of Power, The Third Option, Separation of Power, Executive Power, Memorial Day, Consent to Kill, Act of Treason, Protect and Defend, Extreme Measures, Pursuit of Honor and The Last Man.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mystery to Me: New Madison, WI Mystery Bookstore

A new bookstore, Mystery to Me, Madison, WI, opened last weekend. Joanne Berg bought Booked for Murder's inventory and shelving last February. According to The Isthmus,  "Mystery to Me won't be quite as odd and esoteric as Booked, but by sleuthing some of the challenges the old shop faced, Berg may have uncovered the key to independent bookselling in Madison."

According to ShelfAwareness:

Mystery to Me features bright-green paint, which "makes the store feel more sleek and less kooky than the cheerfully messy Booked for Murder," the paper wrote. "Whereas Booked featured a faux-antique radio set playing big-band music, Mystery to Me has a flat-screen TV mounted on a wall. Berg plans to use it to connect with authors over Skype."

Mystery to Me will partner with the nearby public library branch, which may hold events at the store.

Mystery to Me is adding sections for young and YA readers. For adults, the inventory is now arranged alphabetically, with separate sections only for new arrivals and signed copies.

Mystery to Me will order any book, mystery or not, and for a time, each purchase at the store comes with a free "mystery book" wrapped in white paper.

Read more about Joanne Berg and her ideas for the new bookstore HERE.

Facebook page for Mystery and Me

Monday, June 17, 2013

Lea Wait: Cape Cod and other June Weddings

Continuing the June Wedding guest posts, today I welcome Mystery Author Lea Wait, whose latest mystery, Shadows on a Cape Cod Wedding, is so pertinent to this theme!

Maine author Lea Wait, who really does believe in traditions of most sorts, writes both the Agatha-finalist Shadows Antique Print Mystery Series and historical novels for ages 8-14 set in 19th century Maine. She also blogs at with other Maine mystery writers, and invites you to friend her on FB.


Like most little girls, I grew up designing wedding dresses for my paper dolls and (being old enough to be pre-Barbie) Ginny dolls. When Ginny got big sister named Jill, I saved an entire summer so I could buy her – and then, of course, started saving for her wedding dress.

She never got one. I was eleven by then, and when I went back to school, books and friends became more important than dolls.

Ten years later my younger sister got married. Chapel, white dress, flowers. I was maid of honor. Her marriage lasted 5 months. I was a bridesmaid for a couple of my college classmates. My childhood fantasies about bridal dresses and weddings were fading quickly.

By the time I started planning my own wedding, I was 25. I’d been a child of the sixties. I lived in Greenwich Village. When I called my parents to ask if the guy I’d been living with and I could be married at their home, they basically asked, “Why?” But we’d decided to buy a house in the mountains and I was old-fashioned enough to want to be married before our closing date. Which was one month away.

So I bought my groom a suit (under protest). And I went shopping for a dress. I was dismayed to discover you needed to order them months in advance. Besides - white did nothing for my pale skin and hair. When I called my mother and told her I looked much better in red, she, who was trying desperately to be flexible (I’d already nixed a church wedding and was writing my own ceremony), put down her foot.

 “Any color, Lea. ANY color is all right. EXCEPT RED.” I got the message.

I was married after work, on Friday night of Memorial Day weekend, at my parents’ home, in a navy blue and white print and bare feet. The wedding was short: a family dinner and a champagne party for friends afterward. I went back to work directing a corporate TV program Sunday. The marriage was short-lived, but I have some great pictures of the wedding taken by the guy I’m married to now.

Later I helped organize other weddings. Some years later my youngest sister was married (also in blue) in my home about a month before her daughter was born. (Same photographer) Three of my four daughters married – one of them in that same home, one in a church in New Jersey with the reception at home, and one in a Maine chapel. All three daughters wore lovely, long, white, traditional gowns.

Me? When the man I love, that long-ago photographer and friend, and I finally decided to get married, ten years ago, we thought through a lot of options. Then we grinned and hugged and got a license. We’re still children of the 60s. We both wore jeans. I wore a red turtleneck; he wore a blue shirt. Two neighbors and their daughter dressed up a bit and were witnesses. And we were married by the Town Clerk of Wiscasset, Maine, on her lunch hour.

Each time I plan the next book in my Shadows Antique Print Mystery series I plan two (or sometimes three) different “event tracks.” First, of course, is the murder, or murders. Who did it? Why? How? What is their connection to my protagonist, antique print dealer Maggie Summer? And how is Maggie going to solve the puzzle? Of course, I also include a few other suspects, some red herrings, and a few twists that I hope will make the book fun to read.

The second track is Maggie’s own life. Maggie’s beau is Will Brewer. Readers of my series know that after the previous book in the series, Shadows of a Down East Summer, Will moved to move to Maine to care for his aging Aunt Nettie and Maggie wasn’t too comfortable with how that would affect their relationship. And Maggie has been wanting to adopt a child; Will doesn’t want to be a father. What steps in the new book, backward or forward, will be taken in the relationship dance? I have fans rooting for Maggie to drop Will and go and adopt several children; I have others who tell me she should move to Maine and hold on to him. Or maybe there are other options …

Third, there has to be a frame of reference for the book. What is bringing all the characters together this time around?

In the most recent book in the series, Shadows on a Cape Cod Wedding, the reason for the book is, of course, a wedding. Not Maggie and Will’s wedding … the wedding of Maggie’s closest friend. Weddings are wonderful settings for dramas – family gatherings bring out the best and worst in everyone. I sprinkled mine with a southern mother-in-law, Victorian wedding customs, and a young woman in search of family … and then bring all three plot lines together. Complications, complications. Luckily, most wedding complications don’t include guns, hurricanes, bodies, and the F.B.I.

But – a minor spoiler here – yes, despite all – Gussie does get married. She doesn’t wear a long white dress, but it isn’t red, either. She does believe in traditional New England weddings. She’s a beautiful bride.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Mysteries: Father's Day Crime Fiction

Father's Day. My father passed away over 10 years ago, but I still think about him every day. He encouraged and supported me throughout my various careers and educational pursuits, and he always told me I could accomplish anything and succeed in whatever I did.

My father was the ultimate reader. His idea of a good vacation was sitting in a chair, reading a good mystery. It never mattered where he was, the book took him to other places.

My father and I shared a love of mysteries. Over the years my taste in mysteries has changed. I now read more hardboiled, darker mysteries. So many times when I finish a book, I say to myself, "I have to send this to Dad. He'll love it." Sadly, he's no longer here. My father engendered my love of mysteries through his collection of mystery novels and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazines. I like to think he's up there somewhere in a chair reading mysteries.

Here's to you, Dad, on Father's Day!


Father’s Day by John Calvin Batchelor
Father’s Day by Rudolph Engelman
Father’s Day Keith Gilman
Dear Old Dead by Jane Haddam
The Father’s Day Murder by Lee Harris
Day of Reckoning by Kathy Herman
Dead Water by Victoria Houston
Father’s Day Murder by Leslie Meier
Father’s Day by Alan Trustman

Murder for Father, edited by Martin Greenberg (short stories)
"Father's Day" by Patti Abbott --short story at Spinetingler
Collateral Damage: A Do Some Damage Collection  e-book of Father's Day themed short stories.

Let me know if I missed any titles. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

2013 Nero Award Finalists

The Nero Award is presented each year to an author for the best mystery written in the tradition of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe stories. It is presented at the Black Orchid Banquet, traditionally held on the first Saturday in December in New York City. The Nero Award celebrates literary excellence in the mystery genre.

Antiques Disposal, Barbara Allan
Truth of All Things, Kieran Shields
Burning Midnight, Loren D. Estleman
Dead Anyway, Chris Knopf

The Wolfe Pack, the literary society that celebrates all things Nero Wolfe, also presents the Black Orchid Novella Award (BONA) in partnership with Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine to celebrate the Novella format popularized by Rex Stout. The BONA is also announced at the Black Orchid Banquet in December.

About the Wolfe Pack

The Wolfe Pack, founded in 1977, is a forum to discuss, explore, and enjoy the 72 Nero Wolfe books and novellas written by Rex Stout. The organization promotes fellowship and extends friendship to those who enjoy these great literary works of mystery through a series of events, book discussions, and a journal devoted to the study of the genius detective, Nero Wolfe, and his intrepid assistant, Archie Goodwin. The organization has more than 500members worldwide.

To learn more, visit

Friday, June 14, 2013

PBS Masterpiece Mystery! Inspector Lewis: Watch and Comment 6/17

Join me and MASTERPIECE Presents "Inspector Lewis: Down Among the Fearful" -- A Full Episode Screening!

Join fellow MASTERPIECE Mystery! fans, along with MASTERPIECE series insiders for a special screening of the premiere episode of the new season of Inspector Lewis. Share your own sleuthing prowess and comments on the show as we celebrate the return of Lewis and Hathaway.

Monday, June 17, 8 p.m. EDT

Scheduled panelists for this screening:

Erin Delaney, Producer, MASTERPIECE, for 19 years, managing the creative, logistical, and technical details involved in bringing the series to public television.

And ME, Janet Rudolph!  
Of course you can watch it on Sunday night, but it would be great fun to watch together on Monday night... commenting together as we go... It will be great!

Before you get started in OVEE:

1. Make sure you are using the most current version of your favorite browser:
2. Check that you are using the current version of the Flash player, unless you are using an iPad.

3. Run a test to make sure OVEE works properly on your computer.

Please let me know if you have any problems before this "Meeting of Mystery Minds"

Joan Parker: R.I.P.

Philanthropist and writer Joan Parker, widow of mystery writer Robert B. Parker, died Tuesday.

Joan Parker, said to be the model for Spenser's girlfriend, psychologist Susan Silverman, collaborated with Robert B. Parker on teleplays for the “Spenser: For Hire” and “A Man Called Hawk” series, which ran on the ABC network in 1985–88 and 1989, respectively.

Read At Home with Joan Parker, Death and the Private Eye in the NYT: profile by Joyce Wadler after Robert Parker’s death at 77 in January 2010 described the Parkers’ “unconventional marriage” arrived at as a solution after a two-year separation:
They lived together, but separately, he on the ground floor of their Victorian house, she on the second floor. They had separate kitchens and bathrooms and, to a great extent, led separate lives. She was at charity functions most weeknights; he preferred staying in and watching baseball …
After Mr. Parker died this winter at his desk, following a heart attack, there were those who told Ms. Parker she was luckier than most, that the separate accommodations were a rehearsal for widowhood. They were partly right, Ms. Parker says. She does not have to adjust, say, to not seeing her husband puttering about the kitchen because she had her own kitchen.
Materials from throughout the Parkers’ life are stored in The Robert B. And Joan H. Parker Collection at The Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dorothy L. Sayers!

Happy 120th Birthday, Dorothy L. Sayers. You live on in your writing.

Silent Hitchcock: The Hitchcock 9

San Franciscans will have a rare opportunity to see the British Film Institute's loving restoration of the master of suspense's earliest surviving films. The San Francisco Silent Film Festival will present The Hitchcock 9 June 14-16 at the historic Castro Theatre.

This is a chance to see the development of Hitchcock's directorial style from his first film, The Pleasure Garden (1925), to the one he considered "the first true Hitchcock picture", The Lodger (1926). Full program and ticket information is available on the SFSFF's website.

The series will also play at the BAMcinematek at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, June 29-July 5 and at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles (dates to be announced).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Getaffe Negro: Madrid Crime Fiction Festival: October 17-27, 2013. France is the guest country.

For the complete press release in Spanish, go Here. 

More to come!

Info from The Game's Afoot. HT: Margot Kinberg

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sara Hoskinson Frommer: Not All Weddings Happen in June

June is known as Wedding Month, and it got me thinking how many crimes take place during weddings? Lots!!! So, it's only fitting that I will be putting together a list of Wedding Mysteries. Thanks to Meredith Phillips of Perseverance Press for all her recommendations. I've asked several mystery authors to guest blog about their "wedding mysteries,"  and I'll be posting them this week. First up: Sara Hoskinson Frommer. The wedding in The Brother's Keeper does not take place in June. :-)

Sara Hoskinson Frommer, author of the Joan Spencer mysteries, lives with her husband in Bloomington, Indiana. They have two adult sons. Her seventh Joan Spencer mystery, Her Brother’s Keeper, is just out from Perseverance Press. Visit her website:

Sara Hoskinson Frommer:
Not All Weddings Happen in June

Ours did. Fresh out of college, my birthday a week earlier the only thing keeping me from being a child bride, I married the man I’m still married to many years and two sons later.

But when I was ready to marry off Joan Spencer’s daughter in Her Brother’s Keeper, it was December in their lives. And I’d never had a daughter, much less married one off. So I had to wing it.

My first attempt, written years ago, was a flop. Once I got over the shock, I had to agree with the editor who’d turned it down. I no longer have the manuscript or even the vaguest memory of the plot. The next two books in the series were published, but they left poor Rebecca waiting her turn while her mother married Fred Lundquist, the cop she met way back in the first book. Now, in book seven, (fortunately, characters don’t have to age as fast as writers), Rebecca’s finally marrying Bruce Graham, the violinist to whom she announced her engagement in book three, The Vanishing Violinist. What can possibly go wrong?

A December wedding means Joan can put up family members in the bed-and-breakfast usually filled by the Oliver College football crowd. But Rebecca’s worried that her family will be seriously outnumbered by the groom’s. At her urging, Joan invites the brother she’s hardly heard from for many years.

The trouble starts when he accepts. Joan, who never expected him to come, is flummoxed. Nothing to do but warn Ellen Putnam, who runs the b&b in her home.

"I came to throw myself on your mercy." 
Ellen waited. 
Why was this so hard? "It’s my brother," Joan said. 
"Yes?" "He’s decided to come to the wedding. He wants to stay with us, but he just can’t, not with Rebecca in the one spare room I have." 
"We still have space." 
"But you don’t want Dave Zimmerman!" 
"What is he, an ax murderer?" Ellen’s dimples showed. 
 Joan suddenly felt silly. "Not that bad. At least, not that I’ve ever heard. And maybe he’s matured. But when he was still living at home, he got into one scrape after another. Underage drinking, pot, reckless driving, gambling, even got picked up once for shoplifting. I’m sure I didn’t hear all of it--I was younger, probably too young to tell. But sometimes I heard my parents talking when they thought I wasn’t listening. I haven’t seen him for years. I don’t know what kind of thing he’d pull now, but I wouldn’t want to cause you any trouble." 
"Don’t give it a thought, Joan. He can’t be any worse than some of the people who stay here. I didn’t repaint the walls because I changed my mind about the color, you know. You should have seen the stuff the last bunch threw at them." 

So Joan lets herself relax, and Dave shows up. He comes a week early and turns out to have been in prison, which he confesses immediately. He’s also enough of a ladies man to charm the grouchy conductor of the Oliver Civic Symphony, not to mention the old ladies at the senior citizens center that is Joan’s day job. Still leery about what he might do, she begins to remember the sweet big-brother things he did when she was small and he was in high school.

Even before Dave arrives, Rebecca’s mother-in-law-to-be barges in on Joan at the senior center. Joan enjoys Fred’s mother. Helga Lundquist’s mind may be failing badly, but her heart is in the right place. Elizabeth Graham is focused only on herself. She tries to run everything about the wedding–never mind what the couple themselves want–and looks down her nose at anything this small Indiana college town might provide.

"It is difficult, when we’re all so spread out," Joan said as sympathetically as she could manage. "And Bruce and Rebecca have such definite ideas." Thank goodness. 
 "They certainly do," Elizabeth said. "But they don’t know what they’re doing. You and I have to set them straight."

She lays out her ideas for a wedding far beyond Joan’s means, but says Bruce and Rebecca won’t even let her check on the availability of the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis.

"Well." Joan’s admiration for Bruce rose another couple of notches. Whatever Rebecca faced in dealing with this woman, her husband would stand up to his mother. 
"They want to have the ceremony and the reception all in that church. Can you imagine--a wedding reception in the church basement? Nothing but wedding cake and little sandwiches, they said. You can’t treat people like that!" 
 Joan smiled, remembering that she and Fred not only had treated their guests like that, but that those very guests had decorated the room and baked the wedding cake as a surprise gift. 

Elizabeth wasn’t in my first try at writing the wedding book. Bruce had some namby pamby mother I’ve managed to forget. Now that I’ve met his real mother, I’m so grateful to her for showing up. Joan stands up on her own hind legs, and the conflict continues till the end of the book. In the middle of the wedding rehearsal, Fred gets a call about his mother and has to leave. (Elizabeth finds that unforgivable, of course.) It turns out that Helga, in town for the wedding, is on the scene of a bloody murder. Worse yet, she’s holding the bloody murder weapon. And we’re off and running.

Monday, June 10, 2013

David Suchet in Agatha Christie's "Dead Man's Folly"

Great news! Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot mystery series has another production underway--Dead Man's Folly--which will be filmed at Greenway, Agatha Christie's home, which is now owned by the National Trust.

David Suchet will again star as Hercule Poirot in "Dead Man's Folly." Zoë Wanamaker plays another of Christie's detectives, mystery writer Ariadne Oliver. Oliver asks Poirot to join in a "murder-hunt" party at Nasse House in Devon. During the game, the "pretend" murder suddenly becomes alarmingly real.
"Dead Man's Folly" features in the 13th and final Poirot TV series which will include five Agatha Christie adaptations, "Labours of Hercules," "The Big Four," "Elephants Can Remember" and "Curtain".

The BBC says that with the July 2013 conclusion of the current ITV series, David Suchet will have appeared in a depiction of each novel Christie wrote about Poirot – over 65 television programs. Suchet began his portrayal of Poirot in 1989.

Hat Tip: Carol Thomas,

Cartoon of the Day: Books

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Sad News. Author Iain Banks, 59,  has died, two months after announcing he had terminal cancer. He was best known for his novels The Wasp Factory, The Crow Road and Complicity.

In a statement, his publisher said he was "an irreplaceable part of the literary world".

Read Iain Banks April statement about his cancer HERE.

Cynthia Riggs: Nuptials

You probably already know this, but in case you missed it, here's a happy report! Mystery author Cynthia Riggs was married in May to Howard Attebery. The twist: Riggs, 81, and Howard Attebery, 91, reconnected about a year and a half ago, after 60 years.

They married in the West Tisbury Congregational Church, Martha's Vineyard. West Tisbury has been home to Ms. Riggs's family for more than two centuries. Riggs' mysteries are all set on the Vineyard and feature a 92 year old sleuth.

From the Vineyard Gazette: 

“They say the marriage of two lives overcomes whatever obstacles life may bring,” Reverend Bodge said in a ceremony marked by laughter and light moments. “I would love to say this is a perfect testimony to that.”

The bride wore a blush lilac beaded dress with matching jacket that was bought at a second hand store in Falmouth for the occasion. She was given away in marriage by her son Robert Harris-Stoertz. The matron of honor was her daughter Ann Ricchiazzi; granddaughter Skye Willow Harris-Stoertz was the flower girl. Members of the bridal party wore floral crowns.

The bride read a poem written by her late mother Dionis Coffin Riggs titled Silver Anniversary.

The church was decorated with lilacs, wisteria and rhododendrun. A linoleum block print of the church carved by the bride’s late father Dr. Sidney Riggs in 1930 decorated the cover of the program.

The couple first met in the summer of 1950 while working at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. Ms. Riggs was 18; Mr. Attebery was 28. Working at the laboratory sorting and counting plankton, they became friends and passed secret messages to each other through cryptograms.

Ms. Riggs returned to Antioch College in Ohio that fall and the two fell out of touch for the next 60 years. Both married and had children. Ms. Riggs later divorced and returned to the Vineyard to live at the Cleaveland House, her family homestead. Mr. Attebery stayed in the San Diego area; his wife later died.

They reconnected in January 2012 when Ms. Riggs received a package in the mail with no return address. Inside was a stack of the secret messages they used to pass to one another. There was also a new message. “I have never stopped loving you,” it said.

The story first came to light at a summer storytelling performance held at Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs for the Moth Radio Hour last year. At the time, Ms. Riggs had bought her tickets to California but had not yet met Mr. Attebery in person. The two told their completed story together in New York city this year on Valentine’s Day.

In a 2012 interview with the Gazette, Ms. Riggs offered her personal lesson from the heart:

“Oh man, life is just amazing. Don’t give up hope. This is not what I expected at all. I’m 81 years old and he’s going to be 91 when he gets here. Really, how much time do we have? But you know, it really makes that amount of time precious.”

Best Wishes, Cynthia!!

Library Poster

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Body in the Garden: Crime & Garden Writers' Festival

The Body in the Garden: South Australian Crime & Garden Writers' Festival. 

Swedish crime writer Hakan Nesser will be a guest at a new festival called The Body in the Garden to be held in the Botanic Garden, Adelaide, Australia, during the weekend of October 25 to 27.

Festival organizers Rose Wight and Penelope Curtin have assembled a line-up of 22+ writers from Australia and overseas.

"Adelaide, the ideal festival city because of its convenience and compact size, also boasts one of the oldest botanic gardens in Australia - an idyllic and apt location for this festival," they said on Monday.

They were delighted when Nesser, winner of the European Crime Fiction Star Award and three-time winner of the Best Swedish Crime Novel Award, accepted their festival invitation.

One of the UK's leading authorities in garden history and design, Toby Musgrave, will also be a guest, as will crime writer Anne Cleeves.

BOB RANDISI wins 2013 President's Award, Read West Foundation

2013 President's Award: ReadWest Foundation--Robert J. Randisi

The ReadWest Foundation, Inc., presents four annual awards: the President's Award, which recognizes a major career contribution to excellence in Western literature; and three (3) Featured Author awards, which recognizes authors with current publications that clearly represent excellence in Western literature. Featured Author awards are given to authors of fiction and nonfiction.

Robert J. Randisi is the author of over 600 novels, many of them Westerns, and is the creator of the popular Gunsmith series of adult Western novels. More than 15 million copies of that series alone have sold. One of the most successful Western writers of our time, Randisi has written a book a month since 1982. All of these accomplishments made him an easy pick for this year's ReadWest President's Award.

Read an interview with Bob Randisi:

HT: Ed Gorman

Cartoon of the Day: Her Majesty's Secret Service

From Hilary Price's Rhymes with Orange:

Friday, June 7, 2013

A.S.A. Harrison: R.I.P.

I read and ARC of A.S.A. Harrison's debut thriller The Silent Wife (Penguin) this past December. It gripped me from page one, and I couldn't put it down. I ended up reading it in one sitting. What a terrific novel of suspense-- a great psychological thriller. At the time, I told all my friends and family about it, but with the caveat that they'd have to wait until June when it launches in the U.S. I, like so many other readers of the ARC anticipated many more dynamic novels from Harrison. Alas, that will not happen now. A.S.A. Harrison passed away in April. What sad news.

A.S.A. Harrison is a deft and skillful writer. In The Silent Wife, she leads the reader through the world of killer and victim. The Silent Wife is an emotionally charged psychological thriller about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept. The Silent Wife will be translated into five languages.

A.S.A. Harrison's obituary from the Toronto Star.

Toronto non-fiction author and editor Susan (A.S.A.) Harrison died Sunday, as her first novel, the psychological thriller The Silent Wife, was garnering advance kudos and rave reviews.

“There is sadness about missing what is about to happen with the launch of her novel,” Harrison’s husband of 30 years, renowned visual artist John Massey, told the Star.

“However, she did see its success in terms of the numerous countries that have bought publishing rights and, as well, she was very happy about the very positive endorsements from other authors the novel had been receiving.”

Harrison was 65. The cause of death was cancer, Massey said. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

International Latino Book Awards

The International Latino Book Awards, now in it’s 15th year, were presented last week by Latino Literacy Now in partnership with Las Comadres para las Americas and the Instituto Cervantes.

In 2012 Latinos in the USA spent over $500 million on books. The Awards were sponsored this year by Premium Sponsor Libros Publishing and Gold Sponsor Scholastic. Bronze Sponsors are Atria/Simon Schuster and Vaso Roto Ediciones. Additional support comes from the University of Arizona Press and Arte Público Press.

Best Novel--Adventure or Drama: Missing in Machu Picchu by Cecilia Velastegui (Libros Publishing)

Best Novel--Mystery: The Land Grant by Carlos Cisneros (Arte Publico Press)

For the Complete list, go Here.

Read an interview with Cecilia Velastegui

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Literary Salon 6/11: Catriona McPherson

Join Mystery Readers NorCal for a Literary Salon with Award-winning Author Catriona McPherson on Tuesday, June 11, at 7 p.m. in Berkeley, CA.

Macavity & Agatha Award-winning author Catriona McPherson debuts a modern-day stand-alone set against the gritty backdrop of Leeds, England, in As She Left It (Midnight Ink). She is also the author of the Dandy Gilver historical mystery series (Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books).

McPherson's bio from her webpage:

I was born in Edinburgh, in south-east Scotland and lived there, in Ayrshire, in Dumfriesshsire and in Galloway before moving to California in 2010. I was also born married (just about) to a scientist who paints, writes poetry, makes furniture and plays bass guitar and double bass. It's annoying to be a full-time fiction writer and yet not be the artiest person in your house. Past jobs have included banking (hopeless), library work in local studies and fine art (marvellous), and a short burst of academia (miserable). When not writing, I'm reading, gardening, cooking and baking, getting to grips with this outlandish and enormous country (20 states visited so far) and practising an extreme form of Scotch thrift, from eating home-grown food to dumpster-diving for major appliances. 

To attend this Literary Salon, please leave your email in a comment below.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Lambda Literary Award Winners 2013

The 25th Annual Lambda Literary Award Winners were announced last night at a sold-out gala ceremony hosted by Kate Clinton at the Great Hall at Cooper Union. The following are in the Mystery category. For all the Winners, go HERE.

Lake on the Mountain: A Dan Sharp Mystery by Jeffrey Round (Dundurn)

Ill Will by J.M. Redmann (Bold Strokes Books)

My 2000th Post: The BookBar

It's very apt that my 2000th post on Mystery Fanfare is a short report on a new independent bookstore: The Book Bar. This bookshop bills itself as "A Book Shop for Wine Lovers. A Wine Bar for Book Shoppers." Wish this bookstore was in my neighborhood! Actually it's in the "Berkeley" district of Denver. Love the idea of wine and books!


On Memorial Day, Nicole Sullivan opened the doors to BookBar, a bookstore and bar located at 4280 Tennyson Street, in a space that previously housed another bookstore, minus the bar part. The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day with the hope of attracting patrons from the neighborhood and those seeking a place to summon their book clubs.

Sullivan dreamt of a gathering space for those who love reading and she wanted to create an atmosphere where they would feel at home. That is how this highly-curated bookstore found its food and beverage wing. BookBar features an inventory of brand new books, focused on those that are most current and mostly highly regarded by bookworms everywhere. And there's a small menu of food and drinks available to go along with the good reads.

  The decor is simple featuring exposed brick, high wooden ceilings, dark book shelves and couches, and warm-colored wood floors. A long bar sits at the right of the space with a small lounge space where an accordion door will be added to bring a small indoor-outdoor area. Several tables with tops made from recycled wine crates provide additional seating. To the left of the space is a small area where couches and chairs are available for those wanting to read or browse books and just past that are several rows of book shelves.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Kaye Wilkinson Barley on Self-Publishing

Today I welcome back Kaye Wilkinson Barley.

WHIMSEY is Kaye Wilkinson Barley's first novel. She lives with her husband, Don, in the North Carolina mountains along with Harley Doodle Barley, the Wonder Corgi. Kaye is Blog Mistress of Meanderings and Muses. She also steps in as "Oh, Kaye!" the first Sunday of every month at Jungle Red Writers. Kaye was also a contributor to two regional Western North Carolina anthologies - - - "Clothes Lines," and "Women's Spaces Women's Places," both edited by Celia H. Miles and Nancy Dillingham. Upcoming events include her participation as an exhibiting author in The High Country Festival of the Book in June, and she will be doing a wine and cheese book signing on September 13th at Quarter Moon Books on Topsail Island, North Carolina.


People have asked why I decided to self-publish my book, WHIMSEY: A NOVEL. Granted, self-publishing is not for everyone, I would never presume to say that.

While I was in the midst of making final revisions, and a great deal of soul searching and pondering I decided to forego the agent querying thing and go for self-publishing.

I learned a lot about myself during the novel writing. I loved writing it. Loved it! I hate rewriting and revisions. I know a lot of people love it. Not me. And the more I do it, the more I tend to not want to do it, which has shown me in bright brilliant lights that I am not one of those "I HAVE to write every single day!" writers.

Many of you know how I feel about writers - they're my rock stars. I admire and respect them greatly. I'm not one of them. I'm just not and I know it. I don't possess the talent or the pure need and stamina to write as well as my friends Louise Penny, Margaret Maron, Judy Greber, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Deborah Crombie and so many others.

That's not meant as false modesty - I do think I'm a fairly decent writer. And the success I'm seeing with my WHIMSEY backs that up a bit, which thrills me to the moon and back.

So now all these questions are beginning to run through my mind again. And clouding everything up. A few months ago I wrote at Meanderings and Muses that I had no desire to be a career writer. Now? Who knows. Some days I do, some days I don't. This isn't as earth shattering for me as it may sound since I'm a person known for changing her mind (a lot) and eating her words ( a lot).

I wrote the novel I wanted to write. It's not everyone's cup of tea and that's okay. It has magic and best girlfriends. There's pretty clothes and great food. There's laughter and love. Art and a perfect gallery on a lovely little idyllic island in the Lowcountry. There's a ghost or two and a pixie named Earlene who happens to be partial to Christian Louboutins. It's impossible to put a tag on - kinda like the most interesting people I know who refuse to be placed in a single category. Eccentric and flawed. And fun.

But here's the really fun part. Turns out it is a lot of people's cup of tea. And I have no words for how exciting its been to learn that.

Truthfully - I expected some friends and family to buy the book and to tell me they liked it. Some of them might have actually meant it. Instead, I'm hearing from total strangers who have fallen in love with The Wicked Women of Whimsey, and most especially - with Earlene. They love the way life is on Whimsey - the simplicity, and the magic. And I learned that I'm not the only person who loves the thought of magic in my life.

So. I'm working on the second book in what I hope will be a series taking place on Whimsey, which will tell each woman's story.

Will I continue to self-publish or will I decide to try the traditional approach?

You know, I just don't know . . . .

And whatever I were to say here may not be the same thing I would say in a year, so I guess I'll have to stick with that. I just don't know. But I hope you'll stay tuned and we'll probably find out the answer together. Wish me luck for whichever way it goes, please!