Agatha Award Winners

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This year’s Agatha Awards winners have been announced! Grats to all the winners!

Best Contemporary Novel

Mardi Gras Murder – Ellen Byron 
Beyond the Truth – Bruce Robert Coffin
Cry Wolf – Annette Dashofy
Kingdom of the Blind – Louise Penny
Trust Me – Hank Phillippi Ryan

Best Historical Novel

Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding – Rhys Bowen
The Gold Pawn – LA Chandlar
The Widows of Malabar Hill – Sujata Massey 
Turning the Tide – Edith Maxwell
Murder on Union Square – Victoria Thompson

Best First Novel – This year there was a tie!

A Ladies Guide to Etiquette and Murder – Dianne Freeman 
Little Comfort – Edwin Hill
What Doesn’t Kill You – Aimee Hix
Deadly Solution – Keenan Powell
Curses Boiled Again – Shari Randall 

Best Short Story – This year there was a tie!

“All God’s Sparrows” – Leslie Budewitz 
“A Postcard for the Dead” – Susanna Calkins in Florida Happens
“Bug Appetit” – Barb Goffman
“The Case of the Vanishing Professor” – Tara Laskowski 
“English 398: Fiction Workshop” – Art Taylor

Best Young Adult Mystery

Potion Problems (Just Add Magic) – Cindy Callaghan 
Winterhouse – Ben Guterson
A Side of Sabotage – C.M. Surrisi

Best Nonfiction

Mastering Plot Twists – Jane Cleland
Writing the Cozy Mystery – Nancy J Cohen
Conan Doyle for the Defense – Margalit Fox
Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life – Laura Thompson
Wicked Women of Ohio – Jane Ann Turzillo

Need A Mother’s Day Gift Idea?

      Amber Here

Do you have a mother who enjoyed playing Lego’s with you as a kid?

Or a mom with a sense of humor, who appreciates you gifting her with a set to reminisce over – i.e. stepping on your missing brick, with bare feet, in the middle of the night?

I have just the set for you – a Pop-Up Book!

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Complete with two different stories – Little Red Riding Hood or Jack And The Bean Stalk! (Jack’s not pictured here. I like Red better.)

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Will Red save Grandma from the Wolf? Depends on the story!

(They didn’t include a Huntsman or his knife – perhaps Lego felt it was a bit to bloody?)

      Review

This is a way easy build (so long as Mom follows the instructions) by comparison to the other buildings I’ve shared with you! I finished in a hour or two watching MLS soccer a few Saturdays ago, so it shouldn’t eat up to much time out of your Mom’s day – especially if you build it together.

The final fairytale tome fits easily on a bookshelf (it’s about the size of a hefty hardback). The only downside is the Red, Grandma and the Wolf  don’t fit inside when the book is closed. So there’s a slight risk of them getting loose and straying under her foot…again.

But that will bring back fond memories of your youth and remind her how much you’ve grown and what a fine job she did raising you…Right? Definitely won’t have her cursing your name…

      P.S.

Don’t forget to check out my other blog: Finder of Lost Things!

This week Wood and Phoebe get confused by a conversational wizard!

May Newzine

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This came to our attention through a posting by Kat Richardson:

Column: Sure, you could buy that book online for $15. But here’s what that book really costs us.

It still resonates with us even though the shop has been long closed. The echoes, we assume, come from the many posts we put up about the economics of bookselling, from 2011 through 2017. Here’s where we started (scroll down to the bottom) and you can move forward clicking on the tiny arrows at the bottom of the pages.

At that time, we still hoped against hope that we could make a difference and save the shop…


Two former Amazon employees open a Seattle bookstore. The tiny new Madison Books will be powered by personal connections.

Want to save small businesses? Fix WA’s tax code

      Odds N Ends

The 2019 Thriller Award Nominations are out. Here are the nominees for all categories. The winners will be announced on July 13, 2019 at the annual convention.

From the Washington Post, a podcast about Frank Hamer, the former Texas Ranger who lead the hunt for Bonnie & Clyde. At just shy of 7 minutes, it isn’t a big commitment.

From LA: Working as a librarian gave me post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms 

You can buy advance tickets online to the bigger Spy Museum, which opens May 12 

‘Killing Eve’ asks women what they want in a crime drama — or who they want to see killed


Part spy thriller, part Game of Thrones with footnotes: A book critic reviews the Mueller report as literature.

A Book Critic’s Take on the Mueller Report


      Words for the Month

collusion (n.): “secret agreement for fraudulent or harmful purposes,” late 14th C., from Old French collusion and directly from Latin collusionem (nominative collusio) “act of colluding,” from colludere, from assimilated form of com “with, together” (see com-) + ludere “to play” (see ludicrous). “The notion of fraud or underhandedness is essential to collusion” [Fowler].

ludicrous (adj.): From the 1610s, “pertaining to play or sport” (a sense now obsolete), from Latin ludicrus “sportive” (source of Old French ludicre), from ludicrum “amusement, game, toy, source of amusement, joke,” from ludere “to play.”

This verb, along with Latin ludus “a game, play,” is from the Proto-Indo-Eurpean root *leid- or *loid “to play,” perhaps literally “to let go frequently” [de Vaan], which is the source also of Middle Irish laidid “impels;” Greek lindesthai “to contend,” lizei “plays;” Albanian lind “gives birth,” lindet “is born;” Old Lithuanian leidmi “I let,” Lithuanian leisti “to let,” laidyti “to throw,” Latvian laist “let, publish, set in motion.”

Sense of “ridiculous, apt to evoke ridicule or jest” is attested from 1782.

(thanks to etymonline.com)

      Author Events

May 4: Seanan McGuire, Third Place/LFP, 6pm

May 6: May 4: Seanan McGuire, Powells,6pm

May 7: Patricia Briggs, University Books, 7pm

May 14: Jeffery Deaver, Powell’s, 7pm

      Links of Interest

March 25: Harlan Coben on why even bestselling authors get those self-loathing writer blues

March 26: Waterstones says it can’t pay living wage, as 1,300 authors support staff appeal

March 26: The Yorkshire Ripper Files ~ a Very British Crime Story review: A strong case for why the 1970s police force failed

March 31: When America’s most famous actor went on trial for a San Francisco cop’s murder By David Curran

April 1: Justice for the Lyon Sisters ~ How a determined squad of detectives finally solved a notorious crime after 40 years

April 1: DNA Is Solving Dozens of Cold Cases. Sometimes It’s Too Late for Justice.

April 1: ‘My mission to make news less sad’

April 1: Harry Potter books burned by Polish priests alarmed by magic

April 2: What’s the new weapon against money laundering gangsters?

April 3: Malory Towers play: Why we give a fig for boarding school stories

April 3: Boy, 8, found after leaving home to ‘travel the world’

April 3: “Coffee Snobs” Who Don’t Live In Seattle…

April 4: The Cold-War Drink That Rivals Cola

April 4: Microsoft’s eBook store: When this closes, your books disappear too

April 5: Corpse found at Oregon home of missing Disney Mouseketeer

April 6: WW2 codebreaking machine reconstructed

April 9: How Accurate Is ‘The Highwaymen’? The Historical Netflix Film Doesn’t Glamorize Bonnie & Clyde

April 9: Belgian twins freed by court amid confusion over identity

April 10: Archaeological dig of early whisky distillery

April 11: Computer Analysis Says ‘Beowulf’ Is the Work of a Single Author

April 11: “Book of Lost Books Discovered in Danish Archive. The index is part of the Libro de los Epítomes, an effort by Christopher Columbus’ illegitimate son to create a searchable index of the world’s knowledge”

April 12: The Battle For SPECTRE – The Rights War That Complicated James Bond For Decades

April 12: Why is brown snow falling in the US Midwest?

April 12: Ai Weiwei unveils Lego portraits of missing Mexico students

April 12: Dozier School for Boys: Dozens more suspected graves found

April 13: Shakespeare home in London, where he wrote ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ found by historian

April 14: GCHQ cracks Frank Sidebottom’s secret codes

April 15: The Beatles in New York: Police logs detail band’s first US visit

April 15: Dog rescued 220km from Thai coast by rig workers

April 15: Crime fiction: Revisiting the tale of Lizzie Borden

April 16: Pulitzers: Capital Gazette wins for coverage of newsroom massacre

April 16: What would Florence Nightingale make of big data?

April 17: Notre-Dame fire: Booksellers urge Hunchback publishers to donate

April 17: Why I write fake online reviews’

April 17: George Lucas names Jar Jar Binks as his favorite character

April 17: Charlotte Brontë’s hair found in ring on Antiques Roadshow, say experts

April 18: Spider named after The Very Hungry Caterpillar author Eric Carle

April 18: ‘Giant lion’ fossil found in Kenya museum drawer

April 18: A tale of 2 bookstores that proves Portland isn’t going away

April 18: Poems by Daphne du Maurier Found in Photograph Frame

April 20: CIA warns Britain over Huawei spying

April 20: CIA spy Virginia Hall is about to become everyone’s next favorite historical hero

April 20: Helvetica, The Iconic Font Both Loved And Loathed, Gets Its 1st Redesign In 36 Years

April 22: Lost’ book of exquisite scientific drawings rediscovered after 190 years

April 22: The Making of the White City Devil: How H.H. Holmes Became a Serial Killer Legend

April 23: del Toro and DiCaprio will team to remake Film Noir Classic, “Nightmare Alley”

April 24: Hollywood Cops ~ On Sunset Boulevard, a lunch break isn’t much of one at all

April 25: Robert Durst’s HBO confession wasn’t what it seemed

April 25 : A Horrorshow Find: – ‘Clockwork Orange’ Follow-up Surfaces After Decades Unseen

April 25: Nora Roberts files ‘multi-plagiarism’ lawsuit alleging writer copied more than 40 authors

April 25: Australia’s Daily Telegraph prints rival’s pages by mistake

April 26: The Story of Writing in 12 Objects

April 27: 18 Bookcases That Make Us Feel All Warm And Fuzzy Inside

April 27: Denise Mina: ‘I don’t think there’s any such thing as an apolitical writer’

April 29: Fraudster poses as Jason Statham to steal victim’s money

April 29: In Classic Children’s Books, a Window to Childhood in Past Centuries

April 30: Writer Jonathan Metzl on the moment Neo-Nazis invaded his booksigning and discussion of “whiteness”

      Words for the Month

hilding (n): A mean, worthless person; a base, menial wretch. Cowardly; spiritless; base: as, a hilding fellow. (thanks to wordnik.com)

      RIP

April 1: Tania Mallet, Goldfinger actress, dies aged 77

April 5: So not exactly a mysterious but…Dan Robbins: Paint-by-numbers inventor dies 

April 9: Seymour Cassel: Character actor dies aged 84

April 10: Charles Van Doren, a Quiz Show Whiz Who Wasn’t, Dies at 93

April 16: Georgia Engel: Mary Tyler Moore Show actress dies aged 70

April 16: Warren Adler, who examined family dysfunction in ‘The War of the Roses,’ dies at 91

April 18: “James W. McCord Jr., a security expert who led a band of burglars into the shambles of the Watergate scandal and was the first to expose the White House crimes and cover-ups that precipitated the downfall of the Nixon administration in 1974, died on June 15, 2017, at his home in Douglassville, Pa. He was 93.

The death went unreported by local and national news organizations at the time. It was apparently first reported by the London-based writer and filmmaker Shane O’Sullivan in his book “Dirty Tricks: Nixon, Watergate, and the CIA,” published last year. The news of the death surfaced again on March 31 on the website Kennedys and King.”

April 21: David Picker, Studio Chief Who Acquired James Bond Novels for UA, Dies at 87

April 24: Dallas TV star Ken Kercheval dies aged 83

April 29: John Singleton: A Cinematic Gunfighter

      Words for the Month

baffoon (n): From the 1540s, “type of pantomime dance;” 1580s, “professional comic fool;” 1590s in the general sense “a clown, a joker;” from Middle French bouffon (16th C.), from Italian buffone “jester,” from buffa “joke, jest, pleasantry,” from buffare “to puff out the cheeks,” a comic gesture, of echoic origin. (thanks to etymonline.com)

      What We’ve Been Doing

   Amber

Don’t Forget to check out my blog – Finder of Lost Things!

Last week Phoebe ended up in the doghouse for trying to run up Pumpkin Mountain….This Friday she encounters morning people before her first cup of coffee!

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Death Wears A Mask & A Most Novel Revenge – Ashley Weaver

Have I told you about the Amory Ames Mysteries yet?

They are absolutely fantastic! Death Wears A Mask starts with a small, simple theft of a broach which quickly escalates into a high profile murder. A Most Novel Revenge finds Amory’s embroiled in a murder mystery rooted in another death seven years prior. A murder in retrospect you might say, a very Christie kind of plot, and yet Weaver still managed to surprise me in the end!

Both of these mysteries feature very classic English country house mystery themes, and yet Weaver still manages to breath new life into them. Weaver’s reworking of the plots accompanied by interesting details and a clever heroine all help to make these well-loved plots regain some of their luster.

But the best part of these books is the backdrop of Amory’s marriage to Milo. Unlike most duos, due to Milo’s infidelity, Amory has some serious trust issues with her partner (to the point she accused him of committing murder). However, these marital problems rather than distracting from the mystery (which is the point of the book) adds to the narrative. These problems make Amory relatable, never sounds whiny.

The unfolding of these problems and the slow evolution of Milo and Amory’s relationship help add an element of growth to these books as they are never in precisely the same spot (so far) in each story. Which helps add depth to the plot.

I would recommend this series to anyone looking for a new 1930’s historical mystery (it’s set between WWI and WWII as I’ve read so far). I cannot say how much I’ve enjoyed reading them so far and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book!

   Fran

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“What made the Little Crocodiles different was their founder Professor Geoffrey Wheatcroft, DD, DPhil, FSW, and fully qualified wizard. The FSW is the giveaway. It stands for Fellow of the Society of the Wise, otherwise known as The Folly – the official home of British wizardry since 1775. And if this is coming as a shock you might want to consider doing some background reading before you continue.”

This is the warning Peter Grant (as written by Ben Aaronovitch in the latest of the “Rivers of London” series, Lies Sleeping, hardback only at this point) given at the beginning of his latest adventure, and he’s serious. I figured, since I’ve read the previous 6 books at least three times now, I’d be fine just jumping in.

Nope. Not even a little. So I went back, snagged Midnight Riot, and went through them all again. And, as I have from the beginning, I picked up something new in each book. Ben Aaronovitch is just that good. Believe Peter and believe me, a refresher doesn’t hurt, and the series is great anyway.

All I’m going to say plot-wise is that this book is simply jam-packed with all kinds of interesting people, including a River we haven’t met before, and you’re gonna love Foxglove. You get the feeling all the way through this is going to be the showdown between Nightingale and the Faceless Man, and there are certainly fireworks. Let’s just say that Peter’s habit of damage to the structure of London continues unabated. And there are all kinds of incredibly funny observations and asides, and I’m absolutely positive some of the pop culture references went right over my head. I’m okay with that.

It’s a must read if you’re into this series, which is wickedly intelligent, funny as hell, and a minor treatise on architecture and history that I fin fascinating. My only grump – and it’s a fairly major one – is that if I’m paying for a hardback, then I bloody well want a proofreader to have done more than smile at it. There are egregious typos in there that drove me nuts. Seriously, DAW, step up your game here!

Otherwise, start with Midnight Riot, and when you’ve finished Lies Sleeping, let’s talk. I wanna know what you think is coming next!

   JB

I should’ve been doing this all along but I don’t know that anyone else would care.

Since the shop closed, I’ve been having regular dreams about the shop. No real surprise since it was a central part of my life for nearly thirty years. I’ve often related them to Amber and Fran. Sometimes they’re about moving the shop, sometimes they’re about re-opening the shop (one was about Amber and Fran reopening it without me, and it had a grand circular staircase from the area of library tables in the basement to the sales floor – they did a very nice job on the place!), sometimes they’re in new spaces, one was that we’d decided to reopen it but 117 Cherry was no longer vacant… So it goes.

In early April I had one in which I was trying to teach two new people how to triage books for a signing. [That’s the term we borrowed from medical emergencies to mean culling through a shipment to find the hardcovers in the best condition for collectors, the copies that were fine for readers, and to see if any were damaged beyond putting out for sale.] Neither Fran or Amber were in the dream, which is why I was trying to teach it to others. I couldn’t get the guy to understand what was and was not a copy for a collector and it was so important to get it right as this was going to be a big signing, and our last, so I had to keep going back over the piles of books to find the best copies…

I’ll try to note future shop dreams. They’re always strange, vivid, and somewhat sad.


Support Individuality, Neighborhoods & People

Shop Small Businesses…


 

Edgar Award Winners!

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Congrats to last night’s winner!

Best Novel

The Liar’s Girl – Catherine Ryan Howard
House Witness – Mike Lawson
A Gambler’s Jury – Victor Methos
Down the River Unto the Sea – Walter Mosley
Only to Sleep – Lawrence Osborne
A Treacherous Curse – Deanna Raybourn

Best First Novel

A Knife in the Fog – Bradley Harper
The Captives – Debra Jo Immergut
The Last Equation of Isaac Severy – Nova Jacobs
Bearskin – James A. McLaughlin
Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens

Best Paperback Original

If I Die Tonight – Alison Gaylin
Hiroshima Boy – Naomi Hirahara
Under a Dark Sky – Lori Rader-Day
The Perfect Nanny – Leila Slimani
Under My Skin – Lisa Unger

Best Fact Crime

Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation by Robert W. Fieseler

Best Critical/Biographical

Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s by Leslie S. Klinger

Mary Higgins Clark

The Widows of Malabar Hill – Sujata Massey

The G.P. Putnam’s Sons Sue Grafton Memorial Awards

 Shell Game – Sara Paretsky

For the Full List Click Here!

Crime In Bricktown….

      Amber Here

Remember way back in December when I posted pictures of the seedier side of Lego’s “Modular Building Sets” (I dubbed it Bricktown just now as it’s easier to type)? The main attraction for SMB was the fact it had a Private Detective’s Agency on the second floor!

As it turns out there was a bit more intrigue to be found next door to the PI’s Office…

(Which of course is a separate build….)

The Brick Bank located next door to the PI’s office is getting robbed!

(Which incidentally is why my brother bought the set for me, he thought it was hilarious and the perfect compliment to my first set!)

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Here’s our Bank Robber preparing to enter the air duct which is conveniently is bereft of security features.

No one in the building suspects that a heist is happing right now! Not the staffer sitting next to the air shaft; nor the lady in the laundromat on the other side of the vault; even the bank teller is unaware of what’s happening a few short paces away!

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Our thief is positively giddy at the sight of his new found loot! All he needs to do now is make a clean get away – thru the secret passage way of the barbershop next door…

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Unfortunately our sleuth missed his opportunity to catch the thief in the act, as he was solving another puzzle (The Case of the Missing Tuna Sandwich).

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But he’ll be hot on the thief’s trail soon…

      Review

This build was perhaps a bit easier than the PI’s Office. Due to the fact you weren’t required to build so many secret nooks, exits and hidden holes. And while those made the PI’s office more difficult to build – it also made it more entertaining.

The Bank build was more straight forward. It contained a complicated aspects, such as the chandelier and the working vault door, it did grab me the same way the previous or my next build has.

(Though, to clarify it is still an Expert build – kids who are either veteran Lego build masters or kids able to follow step by step instructions without frustration or a combo of kids/older kids/adults working together to complete – should tackle this build.)

However, it does complete a great story and for that I found The Brick Bank build worth my time!

      P.S.

Don’t forget to check out my other blog: Finder Of Lost Things!

I promise it has nothing to do with Legos! And everything to do with murder.

Though in tomorrow’s episode Phoebe will enter Wood’s doghouse after a disturbing idea strikes her!

April Newzine

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      Odds ‘N’ Ends

This Week in True-Crime Podcasts: Going Deeper on Netflix’s The Keepers


JB stumbled on this site in early March. There are interesting articles going back months. This’ll be a site we’ll keep an eye on for future links. Under “Culture”, he found this:

March 1st: Fingerprinting: How Studying These Unique Patterns Forever Changed History ~A cousin of evolution theorist Charles Darwin created the first fingerprint classification system.

Next, under “Action”, then “Crime”, he found a long list of interesting pieces, from the Lufthansa Heist to the strange story of Sir Henry Whitecliffe. Lots to poke through!


Here’s a new one for us. We’ve all heard scathing reviews by critics of movies before they open. But have you ever heard a scathing review of a movie poster before the movie opens? Here’s your chance: NPR’s Ailsa Chang talks with film critic William Bibbiani about the role movie posters play today, following the release of the poster for Quentin Tarantino’s, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

      Words of the Month

fossick: From 1850–55; compare dial. fossick troublesome person, fussick to bustle about, apparently fuss + -ick, variant of -ock. As a verb (used without object): Mining , to undermine another’s digging; search for waste gold in relinquished workings, washing places, etc., to search for any object by which to make gain: to fossick for clients. As a verb (used with object), to hunt; seek; ferret out.(thanks to dictionary.com)

      Book Events

April 1: Dana Haynes, Powell’s, 7pm

April 2: Jeffrey Siger, Third Place Books/LFP 7pm

April 8: Harlan Coben, Third Place Books/LFP 7pm

April 9: J.A. Jance, Third Place Books/LFP 7pm

April 9: Jacqueline Winspear, Elliot Bay 7pm

April 11: Mary Daheim & Candace Robb, Third Place Books, 7pm (postponed from Feb due to SNOW)

April 13: J.A. Jance, Village Books, 7pm

April 17: J.A. Jance, University Books, 7pm

April 18: Alafair Burke, Powell’s 7:30

      Links of Interest

March 1: Hallie Rubenhold: ‘Jack the Ripper’s victims have just become corpses. Can’t we do better?’

March 2: How the N.Y. Public Library Fills Its Shelves (and Why Some Books Don’t Make the Cut)

March 5: Nobel prize in literature to be awarded twice this year

March 5: The Who’s Pete Townshend announces debut novel, The Age of Anxiety

March 5: Crusader skull stolen from Dublin church recovered

March 6: The boldness factor: Here’s how to distinguish a psychopath from a ‘shy-chopath’

March 7: By the Book: Donna Leon

March 7: World Book Day features Welsh-language titles in Braille

March 7: Meet the Real Estate Appraiser of the World’s Most Gruesome Murder Sites

March 7: Penn and Teller and Mischief Theatre to produce Magic Goes Wrong

March 8: 5 New International Series Visit 5 Far-Flung Crime Scenes

March 9: Mobster Carmine Persico dies after serving 33 of 139-year sentence

March 10: 3 Billboards In Baltimore: How One Woman Is Trying To Find Her Sister’s Killer

March 10: Great Escape hero’s journal of getaway plot uncovered

March 11: Will Seattle save WA’s only Black-Owned Bookstore?

March 12: Nurse from Cornwall told of own death in pension letter

March 12: Wild goats flock into town in bad weather

March 13: Chickens ‘gang up’ to kill intruder

March 14: Crime author: Life and death on Bradford’s ‘forgotten’ streets

March 14: Stolen masterpiece was switched with fake in police sting

March 14: Frank Cali, of New York’s Gambino family, is shot dead in New York

March 15: The Wild Story of the Real-Life Mobster Who Starred in ‘The Godfather’

March 16: Charles Manson, Rose Bird, Caryl Chessman and California’s wrenching death penalty debate

March 17: An app called Citizen promises “awareness” of nearby danger. What it provides is more complicated.

March 18: What Not to Do After Robbing a Bank: Put the Money Right Back

March 20: Edible Book Festivals Are for Pun and Food Lovers

March 21: The police sex scandal that ‘rocked’ 1929 Portland – and might be tied to a notorious unsolved murder

March 21: Mount Everest: Melting glaciers expose dead bodies

March 22: How a bookshop wolf handles awkward customers

March 25: The amateur sleuth who searched for a body – and found one

March 26: A Dutchman known as the “Indiana Jones of the art world” has found a Picasso painting that was stolen 20 years ago.

March 26: Vatican women editors resign from women’s magazine

March 26: Paul McCartney’s school book sold for £46k after bidding war

March 26: Sir Edward Elgar manuscript found in autograph book

March 27: Egyptian coffin art in ‘pop-up’ show in pub

March 27: Could A Novel Lead Someone To Kill? ‘Murder By The Book’ Explores The Notion

March 28: Garfield phones beach mystery finally solved after 35 years

March 28: ‘Fake’ Botticelli painting is from artist’s studio

March 28: Super-rare Harry Potter book with title misspelling sells at auction

      Words of the Month

claque (n.): A “band of subservient followers,” 1860, from French claque “band of claqueurs” (a set of men distributed through an audience and hired to applaud the performance or the actors), agent noun from claquer “to clap” (16c.), echoic (compare clap (v.)). Modern sense of “band of political followers” is transferred from that of “organized applause at theater.” Claqueur “audience member who gives pre-arranged responses in a theater performance” is in English from 1837.

This method of aiding the success of public performances is very ancient; but it first became a permanent system, openly organized and controlled by the claquers themselves, in Paris at the beginning of the nineteenth century. [Century Dictionary]

Thanks to Says You!, episode #134

      R.I.P.

February 10 – (but no one knew until March) Jan-Michael Vincent, star of Airwolf and The Winds of War, dies at 74

March 1: Charles McCarry, master of American espionage fiction, died at 88. “There is simply no other way to say it,” Otto Penzler, a leading expert on crime and espionage fiction, wrote in the New York Sun in 2004. “Just the straightforward, inarguable truth: Charles McCarry is the greatest espionage writer that America has ever produced.”

March 4: Luke Perry of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Riverdale dies at 52

      Words of the Month

toady (n.): A “servile parasite,” from 1826, apparently shortened from toad-eater “fawning flatterer” (1742), originally (1620s) “the assistant of a charlatan,” who ate a toad (believed to be poisonous) to enable his master to display his skill in expelling the poison. The verb is recorded from 1827. Related: Toadied; toadying.

      What We’ve Been Doing

    Amber

Don’t forget! Check out my mystery blog!  Finder Of Lost Things

This week we discover Beatrice has an arch nemesis…much to everyone’s amusement!

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Deanna Raybourn – A Dangerous Collaboration

Veronica Speedwell is back! Woot! After the last fantastic installment, A Treacherous Curse, Victoria was left with a bit of a conundrum, i.e., her feelings for Stoker.

So what does she do? The only sensible thing…run away!

When she finally returns, six months later, she barely has time to unpack her bags before Stoker’s brother Lorde Templeton-Vane whisks her off to a remote island in Cornwell. Where nothing is exactly as it seems…

I don’t know how Deanna Raybourn does it – but the Veronica Speedwell Mysteries get better and better with every installment! And I’m not the only one who thinks so, as she is in the current class of Edgar Award nominees – for Best Novel. Not Best Historical Mystery – but Best Novel – the bluest of blue ribbons of the Edgars.

Somehow in this book, she manages to take a traditional country house mystery and gently twist it into something far more interesting than the original cloth it’s cut from. From changing up the setting from a manor house to a creaky old castle (with its own poison garden) to altering the typical countryside setting to a windswept island (full of superstition) each of the traditional features were there – but so artfully arranged that it wasn’t until I finished the book that I realized the style Rayborn had chosen.

And I read a lot of country house mysteries.

However, what Raybourn deftly handles in this book are the tangled feelings Veronica holds for Stoker (and vice versa). Never once did I roll my eyes or skip ahead because the words written on the page we so syrupy sweet or maudlin that they pushed the bounds of credulity. Raybourn did a seriously good job layering them into the narrative in just the right amount!

While this particular style, is usually bloodless, Raybourn is able to add a tremendous sense of urgency & horror in the solution, never fear. Even better? She plays by The Rules! Everything the reader needs to solve the mystery along with Veronica & Stoker is laid out before you. However, in true author form, you aren’t quite sure you’re correct until the crucial moment, which is a wonderful feeling!

If you can’t tell, I loved this book! It was an exciting and fast-paced read which didn’t disappoint!

Now you don’t have to read the rest of the books to read this one – but I highly suggest you at least read A Treacherous Curse first – as there will be large swaths which won’t make as much sense without knowledge of Veronica, Stokers and Lord Templeton-Vane’s backstories. (But seriously all the books are great and well worth your time – and they’re in paperback now – so why not give one a go?)

If you enjoy historical mysteries, you will not find this book or series wanting!

    Fran

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I took a quick break in my Christine Feehan binge because the new Anne Bishop “Others” novel is out, and, well…Anne Bishop. The Others. They’re my Kryptonite. Okay, one of many, but still.

If you haven’t read them, you absolutely have to start with Written in Red. The world she’s created is only somewhat similar to ours, so you need your feet firmly under you before you tackle Wild Country (Ace). You most especially need to have the fifth in the “Lakeside Courtyard” series, Etched in Bone, firmly in your mind before you tackle this one.

Wild Country takes place not long after the Great Predation, when everything is still very much in flux between the Others and the humans. The formerly human controlled town of Bennett is beginning a mixed species experiment, to see if this time it can work if the Others are in charge instead of the humans.

Bennett is very much an Old West frontier-type town, a boom town as long as humans remember who surrounds them, not just in the wild country but their neighbors. Anyone with any power is Other. Humans can build their businesses, as long as the Others – in this case the Sanguinati – approve.

But, as with our Old West, where there’s boomtown, there’s trouble.

I re-read Lake Silence, the first of the Others novels that wasn’t a Lakeside Courtyard novel, just to remind myself of the world. Lake Silence is a much lighter-hearted book. Not that what happens to Vicki isn’t dark, but between the Sproingers and Yorick’s Vigorous Appendage, Lake Silence was a fun read.

Wild Country hearkens back to Written in Red in many ways. It’s very dark, bad things happen to good people with no one able to stop it, and honestly, I think it’s some of Anne Bishop’s finest writing. But you have to have your feet firmly entrenched in the events that happen in Etched in Bone, not only to understand the severity of what happens, but also because some of the Lakeside Courtyard folks are involved in this story.

I was up until 3:44 in the morning finishing this.  And I think I’ll have to go back and re-read it, because I was tearing through to find out what happened so quickly that I’m sure I missed bits.

What an amazing series. In fact, I may just go back and re-read the whole thing, but reverse the order of the last two books, so that I get that hard one-two punch, followed by life in Sproing, which is decidedly less dramatic, despite the eyeball in the wave-cooker.

Woof. I’m exhausted. But in a really good way. Thank you, Ms. Bishop!

    JB

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Magnificent, stunning, a massive and major work, an epic journey into our contemporary heart of darkness.

 

 

 

 

 

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I have to believe that this really is the end of the saga due to the way the story arcs across the three books. Winslow said that he was done after The Power of the Dog.

 

 

 

 

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Then he swore he was done after the sequel, The Cartel.

But The Border really must be it – or he continues with secondary characters… which he is capable of doing.

If you are at all interested in his new book, you must start with Power of the Dog. The Cartel begins soon afterward, as then does The Border. These are not really three books, these are three sections of one massive story.

 

Its a commitment, yes. It would be a marathon, yes. But if we’re in a time in which folks will binge hours upon hours of a TV series, it is nothing to commit to binging this set of books.

So do it.


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