Monday, March 31, 2014

Book'em Mysteries to Close

BOOK'em Mysteries, South Pasadena, CA, will close April 30 after 24 years in business. The Star-News described co-owners Mary Riley and Barry Martin as "loath to leave. However, they said it's time to say goodbye."

"I think it's time. You reach a point in your life when you feel you've accomplished something," said Martin. "We are heartened by our customers who have supported us over the years. Many are more than customers. They're friends."

"We've always considered this a people business," Riley added. "We went into it and did it so we could be around people and improve the lives of people somehow."

Martin hopes the store will be remembered for what it truly was: "A sense of community; a place where you can go and not be judged; a place where you can go and have a conversation outside of politics or whatever is going on. A place where people can come and talk about books. Our emphasis has always been books and people."

-- From ShelfAwareness

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Teapot House for Sale

If you know me, then you know whenever I look at properties, especially country properties in Sonoma County, I always want a second 'little' house on the  property. I'm a major tea drinker, sowouldn't this Teapot House be ideal? It would go with all the quirky stuff I have in my garden. Of course, transporting it from Scotland is another matter! 

This Teapot House is on sale, near the village of Lilliesleaf in Scotland for £10,000. Designed by sculptor and artist Ian Hunter, the house measures just 21 feet in diameter and has two levels, the lower of which is accessed through a drop-down door in the spout, and the upper by steps inside the handle. The teapot lid can be opened to allow light in, and the entire building can be easily dismantled into sections and rebuilt in a different location. 

Tony Perriam, of estate agent Rettie and Co, says “It would be ideal for a quirky summer house, or as a fishing hut for an imaginative river bank proprietor on the Tweed. "It’s highly adaptable, and its substantial construction means that power water supplies and drainage could readily be connected, depending on its final destination." 

-- From The Telegraph

HT: The Great British Tea Party 

Cartoon of the Day: eReader

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rosemary Harris: April 3 in Berkeley

Join Mystery Readers NorCal for an evening with award winning author and master gardener Rosemary Harris on Thursday, April 3, 7 p.m., in Berkeley. 

Rosemary Harris was born in Brooklyn New York and now she, her husband and their golden retriever Max, split their time between Manhattan’s East Side and Fairfield County, Connecticut.

After several careers in book retailing (Waldenbooks), publishing (Crown Publishers), direct marketing (American Express Travel Related Services), and video/television/public television (WNET, ABC, Kultur, Winstar) she traded in her pumps for a yellow legal pad and a stack of pencils and started writing.

A small item in the New York Times about a mummified body piqued her interest and subsequent research led to her first book, the Agatha and Anthony-nominated, Pushing Up Daisies, the first title in the Dirty Business mystery series from Minotaur Books. Daisies was followed by The Big Dirt Nap, Dead Head and Slugfest.
rosemary harris 
“I love my heroine, Paula Holliday. People always ask how much of me is in Paula – some, but of course she’s the younger, thinner, more adventurous version of me. And she’s single…she can have more romances than I can!”

Rosemary's latest book The Bitches of Brooklyn is the first in a new series.

When she’s not writing or gardening, Rosemary finds time for kayaking and hiking; at last count she’s visited over 70 national parks, monuments, and recreation areas, but her favorites are Yosemite, Glacier and Canyonlands.

Something else that’s near and dear to her heart is Habitat for Humanity. Habitat’s goal is to improve substandard housing for people all over the world. If you are not familiar with them, please visit the Habitat for Humanity Web site. As of this writing, Rosemary has been on six Habitat builds, including China, Tanzania, El Salvador, two trips to Mexico, and two trips to post-Katrina New Orleans. She encourages everyone to support this amazing organization, both financially and through volunteering.

Inspired by her Habitat experiences, Rosemary and her husband Bruce have undertaken another very exciting project, building a library in central Tanzania. Visit the Chalula Library Page on her website to learn more about it.

Rosemary is a member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America, CAPA, Ct Authors and publishers Association and CMGA (Connecticut Master Gardeners Association), and is past president of MWA/NY and past president of Sisters in Crime, New England.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Don't miss the 2014 Hitchcock Film Festival this coming weekend in Bodega Bay!

Friday, March 28, 6:30PM:
Film Fest Gala at the Bodega Harbour Yacht Club.  Red Carpet, Paparazzi, Live Music, Hors d'oeuvres, Cocktails, Photo Booth fun, Popcorn and "The Birds"

Saturday, March 29, All Day: 
Screening three Hitchcock films at The Bodega Bay Grange
"The Birds" - 12:00PM
"Shadow of a Doubt" - 3:30PM
"Psycho" - 7:00PM
$10 per movie or $25 for all three.
Tickets only available at


Left Coast Crime: More Photos!

What a fabulous convention! Left Coast Crime is truly the premier convention! Hats Off to the co-chairs, Stan Ulrich, Lucinda Surber, Toby & Bill Gottfried, and all the other volunteers! I've heard nothing but kudos from the attendees. And, it didn't hurt that this convention was held in beautiful Monterey, CA!

Just a few more photos from Left Coast Crime.

Charles Todd (Caroline)

International Guest of Honor Louise Penny interviews US Guest of Honor Cara Black
David Corbett and Fan Guest of Honor Sue Trowbridge
The Writing Duo: Sparkle Abbey!
Keith Raffel
Janet Dawson
Jacqueline Winspear, Twist Phelan, Harley Jane Kozak, Maddee James

The Big Squids: Lucinda Surber & Stan Ulrich

Sunday, March 23, 2014


 Left Coast Crime Awards

The Lefty: Best humorous mystery novel
Brad Parks, The Good Cop (Minotaur Books)

The Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award: Best historical mystery novel covering events before 1960
Catriona McPherson, Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses (Minotaur Books)

The Squid: Best mystery set within the United States
William Kent Krueger, Ordinary Grace (Atria Books)

The Calamari: Best mystery set anywhere else in the world
Louise Penny, How the Light Gets In (Minotaur Books)

Congratulations to all

Friday, March 21, 2014

Left Coast Crime 2014: Calamari Crime

What a terrific convention! The 24th Left Coast Crime Convention is being held in beautiful Monterey, CA this year! The weather is beautiful, the panels and interviews are exciting, and the  people are great!

I decided to post photos today!  I'll post a summary when I get back...or if I find any time while I'm here!

Monterey Bay
Seagull waiting to Register for LCC
Authors Catriona McPherson & Rhys Bowen

Award Nominees: Louise Penny, Catriona McPherson, Jeff Siger, Lisa Brackmann
Authors Tim Hallinan & Lisa Brackmann

Award winner William Kent Krueger
G is for Guest: Sue Grafton
Sunrise on another day at Left Coast Crime!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Strand Magazine Critics Awards

The Strand Magazine announced the nominees for its 2013 Critics Awards for Best Mystery Novel and Best First Mystery Novel.

Best Novel:
 The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes (Mulholland)
 Solo, by William Boyd (Harper)
 Sandrine’s Case, by Thomas H. Cook (Mysterious Press)
 A Serpent’s Tooth, by Craig Johnson (Viking)
 Ratlines, by Stuart Neville (Soho Press)
 The Double, by George Pelecanos (Little, Brown)

Best First Novel:
 Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly (Grove Press)
 Ghostman, by Roger Hobbs (Knopf)
 A Killing at Cotton Hill, by Terry Shames (Seventh Street)
 Walking Into the Ocean, by David Whellams (ECW Press)
 Norwegian by Night, by Derek Miller (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Also, Peter Lovesey and R.L. Stine have been named as the recipients of The Strand’s Lifetime Achievement Award “for excellence in crime and thriller writing.”

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kilmoon, A County Clare Mystery: Guest post by Lisa Alber

Today I welcome Lisa Alber whose debut novel Kilmoon, A County Clare Mystery, launches tomorrow. How perfect for St Patrick's Day!

Travels to Ireland, or, Bah, I Scoff at “Write What You Know” 

There’s an old writing adage that states, “Write what you know.” I never took it seriously and thank goodness for that, because if I had, I wouldn’t be here to tell you about Kilmoon, my debut novel.

The story of Kilmoon’s birth began with what I call my drawer novel, a tale filled with druids and lost manuscripts. (Quite the tale, yes.) I chose to set Drawer Novel in Ireland for many reasons, chief of which was my odd and unlikely fascination with an ecological anomaly called The Burren.

I wrote Drawer Novel in a state of heady cluelessness. If I’d listened to the naysayers who insisted I write what I knew, I wouldn’t have written the novel in the first place, much less traipsed off to Ireland for after-the-fact research that led me to stumble on the inspirations for Kilmoon.

Having never been to Ireland, I chose a B&B near The Burren pretty much at random. And let me tell you, cosmic forces must have been on my side, because I chose a B&B that landed me right in the heart of a novel not yet born, not yet dreamed of, not yet fathomed.

I ended up in Lisdoonvarna village, County Clare. It’s not a quaint village, more like a pub stop on the way to the coast. However, I couldn’t help but notice a pub with an odd name, Matchmaker Pub. The pub owner told me all about the annual matchmaking festival.

Whoa, I thought, wouldn’t a happily-ever-after atmosphere be a cool backdrop for a darker story?

Just a thought, in and out and forgotten for many moons because I was preoccupied with Drawer Novel.

The B&B itself was located a few miles outside the village proper. Talk about atmospheric Ireland! The landscape was downright moody at times, the way the leaden clouds whisked by overhead, casting shadows over drystone walls that slithered over the hills in every direction.

That said, I was disappointed by my B&B choice—too isolated—until I discovered an old church down the lane from the B&B. Twilight had hit the Celtic crosses just right. I stopped to snap some photos and was amazed to discover that I was standing in a thousand-year-old early Christian churchyard with only a tiny fingerpost to mark it.

Don’t ask me why I fell in love with Kilmoon Church, but I did. It really is a tiny, falling-apart place, but it sits peacefully on its plot, crumbling in the sea winds, brooding over its gravestones.

In fact, the sense of Kilmoon as a thing that can brood never left me, and in the novel it turned into: Kilmoon Church stood in genteel isolation, open air to the night as if shrugging off its Christian ties and embracing a more benevolent lunar goddess. The church seemed to watch us, indulging us our frail humanity and our unseemly trespass. We strolled around the site, taking in the uneven stones and skinny windows, the crumbling gravestones and tall Celtic crosses. 

When I eventually set Drawer Novel aside, I found a matchmaking festival (and by association, a matchmaker) and Kilmoon Church waiting for me. On one hand I had what’s on the surface—happily-ever-afters—and on the other, secrets long buried. I love a good juxtaposition!

So I wrote Kilmoon, a story about a Californian named Merrit who travels to Ireland to meet her long-lost father, a celebrated matchmaker with a dark past. And I planned another after-the-fact research trip. After all, what’s not to love about traveling to Ireland for novel research? That’s all the reason I need not to write what I know.

Cartoon of the Day: St Patrick's Date!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

St Patrick's Day Crime Fiction/St Patrick's Day Mysteries

Erin - Go- bragh! St. Patrick's Day figures in several mysteries, so here's my updated St. Patrick's Day Crime Fiction list. Irish aka Emerald Noir is very popular right now, so you can always add titles to your TBR pile from the many Irish crime writers available, although they may not take place specifically during St. Patrick's Day. Declan Burke has a great post on his blog CrimeAlwaysPays -- Irish writers: The St. Patrick's Day Massacre. Mystery Readers Journal had an issue that focused on Irish Mysteries. It's available as PDF or hardcopy.

As always, I welcome comments and additions to this list. 


S. Furlong-Bollinger: Paddy Whacked
Isis Crawford: A Catered St. Patrick's Day
Nelson Demille: Cathedral
Andrew Greeley: Irish Gold
Jane Haddam: A Great Day for the Deadly
Lyn Hamilton: The Celtic Riddle
Lee Harris: The St. Patrick's Day Murder
Jonathan Harrington: A Great Day for Dying
Amanda Lee: The Long Stitch Good Night
Wendi Lee: The Good Daughter
Dan Mahoney: Once in, Never Out
Leslie Meier: St. Patrick's Day Murder
Sister Carol Anne O’Marie: Death Takes Up A Collection
Ralph M. McInerny: Lack of the Irish
Janet Elaine Smith: In St. Patrick's Custody
JJ Toner: St. Patrick's Day Special
Kathy Hogan Trochek: Irish Eyes
Noreen Wald: Death Never Takes a Holiday

Check out Dublin Noir, a collection of short stories edited by Ken Bruen, published by Akashic Books in the US and Brandon in Ireland and the UK.

Read Val McDermid's take on the Popularity of Irish Crime Fiction.

Who are your favorite Irish authors?

And, if you want something CHOCOLATE to go along with your stout, have a look at my DyingforChocolate blog for some Killer St. Patrick's Day Recipes including:

Bailey's Irish Cream Truffles
Guinness Chocolate Silk Pie
Chocolate Guinness Cake
Chocolate Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Ice Cream
Bailey's Chocolate Trifle
You Make Me Want to Stout Cupcakes (Scharffen Berger)
Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Penguin Classics: 'On the Beach' Penguin Sweater

This is so fabulous! Shared from Books + Publishing. Congratulations to Denise Franklin, runner-up in the Phillip Island Penguin Foundation's jumper knitting competition for her Penguin Classic ‘On the Beach’ design.

HT: Jane Fricker

Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy Valley: a new Sally Wainwright Crime Drama

This sounds great. Hope we get this crime series in the U.S.  This six-part Sally Wainwright production  Happy Valley will be set in West Yorkshire.

Radio Times reports:

Sarah Lancashire (Last Tango in Halifax) will star alongside Steve Pemberton (The League of Gentlemen) and Siobhan Finneran (Downton Abbey) in Happy Valley – a new Sally Wainwright crime drama, which has begun filming in West Yorkshire.

“I’m pleased that we’re filming Happy Valley right in the heart of Calderdale in West Yorkshire,” explained Wainwright. “It’s going to be hard work, but on screen it will look stunning”.
The dark, humorous thriller will follow a police sergeant named Catherine (played by Lancashire) in rural Calderdale, who investigates after a staged kidnapping goes very, very wrong.

Sarah Lancashire said: “Happy Valley is a dark, funny, multi-layered thriller revolving around the personal and professional life of Catherine, a dedicated, experienced, hard-working copper. She is also a bereaved mother who looks after her orphaned grandchild. It’s an emotional, complex, challenging role. I’m terrified, exhausted and freezing cold but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

George Costigan (Unforgiven, Calendar Girls), Joe Armstrong (The Village, Robin Hood) and James Norton (Rush, Death Comes to Pemberley) will also star in the new drama. As will Adam Long (Spike Island, Waterloo Road), Karl Davies (Emmerdale, Game of Thrones), Ramon Tikaram (Casualty, Eastenders) and Charlie Murphy (Love/Hate, The Village). 

Happy Valley will air on BBC1 in 2014.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Why Crime Fiction? Guest post by D.A. Mishani

Today I welcome award winning Israeli crime fiction author D.A. Mishani. Dror A. Mishani (born in 1975) is an Israeli crime writer, translator and literary scholar, specializing in the history of detective fiction. His detective series, featuring police inspector Avraham Avraham, was first published in Hebrew in 2011 and has been translated to many languages. The first novel in the series, The Missing File, was shortlisted for the 2013 CWA international dagger award and won the Martin Beck award, for the best translated crime novel in Sweden.

D. A. Mishani:
Why Crime Fiction?

I write crime fiction mainly because I love reading it; I once had a teacher who told me, “Write the books you want to read”. In Israeli literature, crime fiction used to be quite rare. Good home-grown crime writers, such as Raymond Chandler or Dennis Lehane, Ed McBain or Henning Mankell, were very difficult to find. So I read what I could in translation and then in the original English or French, all the while asking myself why can't there be good, realistic crime fiction that takes place in the streets of Holon, where I was born and raised, or in Tel Aviv, where I live now, and why can't we have our own detectives, who speak Hebrew and wander our own local dark alleys, of which we have plenty?

The argument is that crime fiction isn't very popular in Israel because we already live in an almost constant state of war, and when we read fiction we want to read about something less bloody. I don’t think that’s true at all. The problem is that too often Hebrew writers think that they need to deal with major national issues in order to be important or taken seriously, and that a good work of literature has to give an answer to questions such as “The Jewish People: where do we go from here?” or “Who exactly are we now?” and crime fiction is rarely about that.

Crime fiction, since its origins in the 19th century, has never been about national or religious identities (this is probably why it is the most global of all genres), but rather about civic issues, like as controlling modern societies, urban violence and alienation, or the psychology of crime and criminals. It has taken some time, but I think readers around the world now understand that, because of this, crime fiction is very serious and very important, even if it's also fun to read. At its best, it's not at all escapist but rather an exercise in looking our deepest fears and dangers, our most painful losses, straight in the eye.

This is why I think encouraging good crime fiction is extremely important to Israeli culture. In his introduction to Trouble is My Business, Raymond Chandler writes about how noir fiction took American literature to the streets, representing how people really talk, and live, and die. And this is what crime fiction can do, and needs to do, for Hebrew literature: to take it out of its usual symbolic spaces (once again the Sacred Jerusalem, the location of our holy past, or the Secular Tel Aviv, the location of our modern present, or the Ideological Kibbutz or our Military Melting-Pot), and bring it to the streets where people in Israel really live and love, make a fortune or starve, steal or get lost or sometimes even murder. Because despite what readers around the world might think, in Israel most people don’t die in wars but rather in their homes, and their murderers are usually not terrorists but their business partners or husbands or wives.

When I wrote my first crime novel, The Missing File, I wasn't sure how it would be received in Israel. The investigation in the novel begins with a 16 year-old boy going missing. He clearly hasn’t been kidnapped by Arabs, and his disappearance doesn’t have to do with the army or the Kibbutz. He's just an ordinary boy living in a suburb of Tel Aviv and his life is quite plain until he vanishes. The investigation doesn't take my detective, Inspector Avraham Avraham, to a settlement in the occupied territories or force him to confront a religious sect, but brings him to a normal suburban high school and to ordinary-looking apartments, exactly like mine and yours. While writing his story, the boy -- Ofer is his name -- was constantly asking me, “Do you really think people would want to read about me? Do you really think that despite the fact that my story has no national implications, people would still care?”

I hoped they would and fortunately I think I was right. This, of course, doesn't necessarily mean Ofer has a happy ending. But you already know crime stories rarely have those.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A.J. (Bill) Hayes: R.I.P.

A.J. (Bill) Hayes, a master of noir, passed away this weekend from lung cancer. 

Read a tribute at Thrillers, Killers 'N' Chillers

Read "Dark Genesis" HERE.

2103 Ellery Queen Readers Choice Awards

2013 Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Readers Choice Awards

First Place: “Archie Solves the Case,” by Dave Zeltserman
Second Place: “Borrowed Time,” by Doug Allyn
Third Place: “The Wickedest Town in the West,” by Marilyn Todd
Fourth Place: “Sob Sisters,” by Kris Nelscott
Fifth Place: “Jack and the Devil,” by David Dean
Sixth Place: “Cemetery Man,” by Bill Pronzini
Seventh Place: “The Care and Feeding of Houseplants,” by Art Taylor
Eighth Place: “In a Dark Manner,” by David Dean
Ninth Place: “Darkness in the City of Light,” by Hilary Davidson
Tenth Place: “Ghost Writer,” by Val McDermid

 Hat Tip: The Rap Sheet

Cartoon of the Day: Cats

What happens when a cat owner goes to work...

(shared from Crown Publishing Group)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Coming to Left Coast Crime? Monterey Area Bookstores

Coming to Monterey for Left Coast Crime? There will be a great Bookroom at the Convention, but if you come early, stay late, or just have some extra time on your hands, check out this article on Monterey area bookstores in today's SF Chronicle special Monterey section.

Bookstores Carry On Monterey's Literary Tradition 
by Christine Delsol

For those of us who prefer reading on paper rather than an LED screen, the Monterey Peninsula is an oasis, a refuge from a world rushing to drive the printed word into extinction. Maybe it's the area's heritage, studded with such literary lights as Robert Louis Stevenson, Jack London, Henry Miller, Sinclair Lewis and John Steinbeck. Or maybe it's the dramatic landscape calling to the artist-within.
Whatever the explanation, the region is blessed with a cadre of booksellers who are trying to ensure that books, old and new, live on. Anyone who loves reading, history and feeling a sense of place will find that, in their own way, these repositories rival the region's ravishing scenery and outdoor thrills.


Type Write Satchel

My friend Kaye Wilkinson Barley shared this "Type Write Satchel" on Facebook. Love it! Available at the Literary Gift Company!

Left Coast Crime 101 Information

Coming to Left Coast Crime in Monterey, CA, Next Week? LCC is sold out, but there will be a limited number of Day Passes. Here's some info you need to know if you're attending. Not found your answer? Come to the LCC101 panel, Thursday, March 20, 10:45. To see all the programming, go HERE.


Registration: Early registration will open on Wednesday from 3:00–6:00 PM. The registration table will be open beginning at 8:00 AM on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and remain open for most of the day for registration and to answer any questions.

Materials: When you register you will receive an envelope with your name tag, LCC Awards ballot, and your banquet ticket. In addition, you'll receive a book bag with a Name Tag Holder, the Program, a Pocket Program that will fit inside your Name Tag Holder, and of course several books. Please wear your Name Tag at all times during the convention. It is your ticket into all the events and helps us all get to know each other.

Exchange Table: Outside the Book Room you will find an Exchange Table. If you receive a book or magazine in your bookbag--or have a book you've finished on the plane-- please place it on the Exchange Table and help yourself to anything you find there!

Promotional Materials Table: Outside the Book Room you will find a table to place bookmarks, postcards, or other promotional materials.

LCC 101 Panel: Come to the Left Coast Crime 101 panel on Thursday at 10:45 in De Anza 1 for more tips about enjoying the convention from Janet Rudolph (LCC founding member), Bill Gottfried (Calamari Crime Co-Chair), Toby Gottfried (Calamari Crime Co-Chair), and Brad Parks (Calamari Crime Toastmaster).

Volunteer: This is a great way to get to know your fellow mystery fans.

Don’t be shy! Introduce yourself to those sitting next to you at a panel, standing in line to get a book signed, browsing in the Book Room, drinking in the bar, or enjoying a cup of coffee in the Hospitality Room and share your passion for the mystery/thriller genre!

There are many official and 'unofficial' events inside and outside. Be sure and come to the Opening Reception, movie night, Guest of Honor talks, panels, and a few other 'noir-ish' events.

O.K. and here's the hashtag #lcc2014. Be sure and tweet!