May Day!

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Here’s the old e-mail computer from the shop set up on JB’s dining room table to send out that blast about the newzine. Dedication and Dr Pepper!

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2018 Edgar Awards Winners Announced

Best Novel: Attica Locke, Bluebird, Bluebird

Best First Novel by an American: Jordan Harper, She Rides Shotgun

Best Paperback Original: Anna Mazzola, The Unseeing

Here’s the full list of winners. Congratulations to all.

Tryin’ Something New

Since the shop closed, we’ve been stymied about author events and signed copies. Maybe you’ve felt that, too… So we’re going to try (TRY) to keep track of what authors are coming into the PNW and when they’ll be signing. The trick is there is no centralized listing anymore. The papers have let it go and we’re out of the circle, so this may not work. But we’ll try ’cause we’d like to know who is coming around as well. If you’re interested in anyone who is listed, its up to you to make the moves to go see the author or order from that particular bookshop:

May 8th, Amanda Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz), Third Place Books, 7pm

May 16th, Nicola Griffith, Elliot Bay, 7pm

May 17th, Sam Wiebe in conversation with Brian Thornton, Third Place Books, 7pm

May 22nd, Nicola Griffith, Powells, 7:30

Word Of The Month

fuller (n): “one who fulls cloth,” Old English fullere “fuller” (Mark ix.3), from Latin fullo “fuller” (see foil (v.)). The native word is walker. Fuller’s earth (silicate of alumina) is recorded by 1520s; so called because it was used in cleansing cloth.

Something Serious Now

Help with a cold case: Will new sketches lead to killer of Canadian couple, slain during trip to Seattle in 1987?

This is new to us but there’s a new type of mass murderer – the “family annihilator”. Not surprisingly, most are men. But women are catching up. A recent instance is this story of an Oregon family. Deadly Hart crash stands out for experts who study family annihilators

How, we often wonder, has the human race survived this long?

Links of Interest

The Independent, March 2nd: Why Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca is Still Popular 80 Years On

The Oregonian, March 8th: ‘The Godfather’ at 49: The vendettas, tirades and real Mob threats behind the classic novel, movie

New York Times, March 30th: Ernie Cline ~ By the Book

The Daily Beast, March 31st: Strippers, Cocaine and Murder: The Crazy (True) Story of Two Crooks’ Pursuit of a Soviet Submarine

The Guardian, April 1st: Macbeth by Jo Nesbø review – something noirish this way comes

BBC, April 3rd: Has London’s murder rate overtaken New York’s?

BBC, April 5: The History Detective

New York Times, April 6th: A Traffic Jam Changed Her Life (interview with Jacqueline Winspear)

Politico, April 7th: How Trump is Shaking Up the Book Industry (read this while remembering the people wringing their hands are the same ones who for decades sneered at crime and mystery novels as mere “genre fiction”)

Vox, April 7th: Apparently There’s a Longstanding and Vicious Feud Between Architects and Librarians 

The Guardian, April 10th: There’s No Female Conspiracy in Publishing ~ Your Book Just Might Not Be Good

BBC, April 12th : New Tolkien Work To Be Published

NY Times, April 12th: By the Book – James Comey

The Guardian, April 12th: : It’s no mystery that crime is the biggest-selling genre in books

Seattle Times, April 13th: Chagall stolen in 1988 New York heist turns up after aging criminal wants to clear his conscience

The Guardian, April 14th: Packing My Library by Alberto Manguel

The Guardian, April 14th: The Perfect Crime: Why Thrillers are Leaving Other Books for Dead

The Guardian, April 20: Al Pacino on Scarface 35 Years Later

The Daily Beast, April 21st: The Crazy (True) Story of One Man’s Hunt for $2 Million in Buried Cocaine Treasure

The Oregonian, April 23rd: Conservative author Brad Thor calls Donald Trump ‘unfit to serve,’ launches 2020 primary challenge

Daily Beast, April 25th: Golden State Killer, Joseph DeAngelo, Arrested After 40-Year Hunt, Authorities Say

Independent, April 27th: How Spider-Man creator Stan Lee got caught up in a web of strife

The Guardian, April 28th: Top [UK] Writers Choose Their Perfect Crime – Crime fiction is now the UK’s bestselling genre. So which crime novels should everyone read? We asked the writers who know …

Daily Beast, April 28th: Whatever Happened to the Book Herman Wrote After Moby Dick?

The Atlantic, April 30th: Artificial Intelligence Is Cracking Open the Vatican’s Secret Archives

RIP

BBC, April 1st: Hill Street Blues creator Steven Bochco dies aged 74

BBC, April 15th: Full Metal Jacket actor R. Lee Ermey dies at age 74

BBC: April 30th: Twin Peaks Actress Pamela Gidley dies at age 52

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

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Murder Has A Motive & Murder For Christmas by Francis Duncan

Mordecai Euripides Tremaine

One of the best detective names I’ve seen…I think ever. He’s a sixty-something, retired tobacconist who has a secret weakness for the serials in Romantic Stories (think romance novels doled out in weekly bite-sized portions). His other hobby? Murder.

While occupying his place behind the counter of his tobacco shop, he’d refined his eye for detailed observation. The summing up of the people around him without giving them the smallest hint he was the least bit interested in them is a skill he painstakingly taught himself. Couple this skill with an inoffensive look? It’s a lethal combination, for the criminal element.

While only an amateur, Mordecai’s keen eye has come to the attention of certain members of Scotland Yard – who are more than willing (and slightly embarrassed) to use him as their “man on the inside” when needed. Much to Mordecai’s delight.

Originally both these mysteries were printed in the late 1940’s – but with the recent spat of reprints, Francis Duncan’s unique detective has found a second life on bookstore shelves. Both titles feature an English country house style of mystery which the author executes in grand style. Each character is well written, and the mysteries are engaging. And while Mordecai may have a romantic heart, it never interferes with his ability to solve whatever crime presents itself.

I reading both Murder Has A Motive & Murder For Christmas. Perhaps not as literary as Elizabeth Daly or as quick a read as an Agatha Christie, I find Francis Duncan’s more playful than either of the other great ladies. These books feel like Duncan liked her detective and the murder he was solving.

I would recommend these books to anyone who enjoys reading an excellent classic English mystery in a similar vein as Georgette Heyer, Elizabeth Daly or Agatha Christie.

 

IMG_7910Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

Set in the same world as one of my favorite books, Written In Red, it features a whole new cast of characters, locations, and dangers.

In Vicki DeVine’s divorce settlement she was awarded the gently decaying resort called The Jumble located on the shores of Lake Silence. Newly renovated, but still rustic, Vicki is making a real go at running her own business, which hits a bump when she finds her only guest reheating an eyeball in the wave cooker. Why? It would be too squishy to eat otherwise.

When Vicki calls the police, after confiscating the eyeball, it sets in motion a series of events which might find the resort and the small town of Sproing wiped off the map, because the Elders won’t stand for human machinations.

Lake Silence is lighter than any of the books in the first series of The Others. However, don’t let that fool you. While being smart and sassy, Bishop still keeps that dark edge hovering just under the surface of the mystery. Written in alternating perspectives of the main cast of charecters, it moves along at a breakneck pace, and I couldn’t put it down.

You don’t need to have read her first series, just knowing they exist is enough (well that and the fact that The Others have zero problem eating humans that try anything devious with them). Bishop mentions a few of the old guard, but they never make an on page cameo in the book. Otherwise, this reads more like a stand-alone mystery which just happens to be set down the road from the events of Written In Red.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading urban fantasy mysteries.

(Added bonus? You get to meet Sproingers. And no I won’t tell you what/who they are – you have to read the book!

Fran

It’s been interesting to see how real crime plays out. I’ve read a LOT of police reports in my new job, and there are some interesting people out there. Fortunately, I’ve discovered that murder is much less common than mystery and thriller writers would have  us believe (whew!), but drug usage is as commonplace as toilet paper.

I’ve also become accustomed to the sound of tasers being tested, something I never thought would be commonplace for me. I work with good folks, and so far things have been running smoothly in my little section of the Department of Corrections, and I’m pleased for that.

For the longest time after the shop closed, I couldn’t read mysteries, but Mike Lawson got me out of that by presenting me with a signed copy of his new Joe DeMarco book, HOUSE WITNESS, and of course I couldn’t resist. The twelfth in such an excellent series, it was the perfect re-introduction.

I’m not going to say much about the plot except to say that one of Mahoney’s past encounters has left him with a son whom Mary Pat knows nothing about. When Mahoney’s son is killed in what seems to be a random act of violence, Mahoney is compelled to find out why, and he sends DeMarco to figure it out.

But what should be an open-and-shut case becomes something completely different, and DeMarco finds himself chasing what may be an illusion. Or it may be something much more complicated and dark.

If HOUSE WITNESS doesn’t read quite like a typical Mike Lawson book, it’s because it started off being a stand-alone, with a completely different perspective – the story was told from the bad guy’s perspective. But Mike’s publishers wanted it to be a DeMarco book, and I’m so glad they did! Still, you’re going to find that the antagonist in HOUSE WITNESS is stunningly conceived and disturbingly real.

On a side note, Mike told me he’s working on a project that is not at all a mystery or thriller, but more of a comedy. I hope – oh man, I hope! – that comes to something and we get to read it! Mike Lawson has a great deal of talent, and spreading his wings can only be good for us, his fans!

Truly Devious

Fran here, again.

Remember those days when you’d walk in or call and I’d come toward you with that kind of crazy light in my eyes and a book in my hands, thrust the book at you and say, “Trust me, you want this!”?

Yeah. I’m doing that again. It’s a straight-up mystery, nothing otherworldly about it, and yes, it’s being marketed as a Young Adult book, but I don’t care, you need to read this. The only drawback is that it’s the first of a trilogy and the other two aren’t written yet.

Read it anyway.

Maureen Johnson’s newest book, TRULY DEVIOUS, is amazing, but you’ve probably already figured out I think that, and I do – to the point where I’ve given away two copies, have one for myself, and will be giving away another copy soon.

I LOVE THIS BOOK! You may have picked up on that.

It starts with a riddle, a threatening poem, really, and the story alternates between events that happened in the 1930s and today. Ellingham Academy is a school that is free to those who meet admittance criteria, and Stevie Bell has been offered a place there. She’s curious and bright and comes from a bohemian background, and she has a passion for true crime. And back in the 30s, there was a kidnapping and murder which no one has ever solved, so that’s Stevie’s goal – to figure out who did it and what happened.

She meets other eccentric types at the school – actors and singers and a writer suffering from serious writer’s block, and those are just the students. The faculty is equally unique.

You’ll bounce between what is actually happening in both timelines, seeing how the kidnapping took place, along with modern day crimes that do result in another murder. So now Stevie has two crimes to solve, if she can handle it. It’s one thing to think about historical crime, and quite another to actually be a part of it.

This is a brilliant bit of writing and an homage to a lot of the Golden Age writers, especially the Golden Age ladies who wrote, not just Agatha Christie but many of the others Amber has mentioned in the past, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

So yes, I’m coming across the shop floor with this book in my hands saying, “Trust me, you want this book. You really do!”

JB

Here’s a summation of the books that I’ve read since the shop closed. You’ll note that there’s not much crime or mystery included. I guess it’s natural that I’ve shied away from those books:

Stephen King’s It: Hadn’t read it in a couple of decades and thought I’d do it now after having seen the latest movie. Still a great, epic read.

Bill James and Rachel McCarthy James, The Man from the Train: James is the baseball writer who single-handedly revolutionized statistics in the game but he’s also a true crime aficionado. His Popular Crime is just as entertaining as his Baseball Abstract. His co-author and daughter traced a couple of famous lurid murders into something much larger, something unconnected by the police of 100 years ago.

Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century: She meant the mirror to reflect on the 20th C., but it reflects awfully well on the 21st, too. “Havoc in a given period does not cover all of the people of the time, and though its effect is cumulative, the decline it drags behind takes time before it is recognized.”

Michael  Isikoff and David Corn, Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump: A clear and detailed account of Russia’s attack – on-going if reports are to be believed – from the start of their undeclared war to the time the book was released. By two, top-flight investigative journalists, sure to make your blood boil.

Malcolm Nance, The Plot to Hack America: A fuller, more infuriating explanation of the Rooskie’s attack on America and her allies. Nance is from the world of intelligence and is a smooth writer.

Mike Lawson, House Witness: Ingenious, smooth, assured, witty, smart, clean – just some of the ways to characterize Mike’s writing. His latest DeMarco is a perfect example of that. I consumed it over my last weekend and wish it had been longer to have given me more time in his words.

 

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