Saturday, October 21, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: The Big Decision

The Woman in White: New BBC Production

Ben Hardy is starring as Walter Hartright in a new BBC One production of Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White. The upcoming period thriller is a new adaptation of the classic novel, and also features Olivia Vinall as Laura Fairlie.

Viewed by many as the first psychological thriller novel, The Woman in White will follow Hardy's Walter as he's drawn into a mysterious and disturbing world after encountering a woman dressed all in white on a moonlit road.

Still no info on when it will reach the TV screen--or the U.S.!

Thursday, October 19, 2017


Happy Halloween! Halloween so lends itself to crime fiction! Here's my updated 2017 list of Halloween Mysteries. Let me know if I've missed any titles. I'd like to have this list as complete as possible. Boo!!


Behind Chocolate Bars by Kathie Aarons
The Root of All Evil by Ellery Adams
The Pumpkin Killer by Stacey Alabaster
Green Water Ghost by Glynn Marsh Alam
Witches Bane by Susan Wittig Albert
Antiques Maul by Barbara Allan
In Charm's Way by Madelyn Alt
Lord of the Wings by Donna Andrews
Strange Brew by Mary Kay Andrews
A Roux of Revenge by Connie Archer
Far to Go by May Louise Aswell
Killing Time by Amy Beth Arkaway
Ghouls Just Want to Have Fun, Calamity Jayne and the Haunted Homecoming by Kathleen Bacus 
A Haunting Homicide: Halloween Cozy by Kathy Bacus and Sally J. Smith   
Trick or Treachery: A Murder She Wrote Mystery by Donald Bain and Jessica Fletcher
The Ghost and Mrs Fletcher by Donald Bain, Renee Paley-Bain, & "Jessica Fletcher"
Punked by the Pumpkin by Constance Barker
In the Spirit of Murder by Laura Belgrave 
The Long Good Boy by Carol Lea Benjamin
Spackled and Spooked by Jennie Bentley 
Watchdog by Laurien Berenson
The Ginseng Conspiracy by Susan Bernhardt
A Haunting is Brewing by Juliet Blackwell
Dial Meow for Murder by Bethany Blake
Ghost of a Potion by Heather Blake (aka Heather Webber)
The Scent of Murder by Barbara Block
Under an English Heaven by Alice K. Boatwright
Witches of Floxglove Corners by Dorothy Bodoin 
Night of the Living Thread by Janet Bolin  
Death of a Trickster by Kate Borden 
Post-Mortem Effects by Thomas Boyle
A Graveyard for Lunatics, The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
Rebel without a Cake by Jacklyn Brady
The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts by Lilian Jackson Braun
Death Overdue by Allison Brook
The Hunt Ball, The Litter of the Law by Rita Mae Brown
Death on All Hallowe'en by Leo Bruce
The Big Chili by Julia Buckley
Halloween by Leslie Burgess
Death Goes Shopping by Jessica Burton
Wycliffe and the Scapegoat by W.J. Burley
Death Goes Shopping by Jessica Burton
Scrapbook of the Dead by Mollie Cox Bryan
Wolf in Sheep's Clothing by Ann Campbell
The Wizard of La-La Land by R. Wright Campbell
The Charm Stone by Lillian Stewart Carl
The Murders at Astaire Castle by Lauren Carr
The Halloween Murders by John Newton Chance 
Death with an Ocean View by Nora Charles 
Frill Kill, Tragic Magic, Photo Finished, Bedeviled Eggs The Jasmine Moon Murder, Fiber and Brimstone, Bedeviled Eggs, Frill Kill, Gossamer Ghost, Ming Tea Murder by Laura Childs
Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie
Haunted Hair Nights by Nancy J. Cohen
PoisonBuried Punch by Lyndsey Cole 
A Holiday Sampler by Christine E. Collier
Lost Souls by Michael Collins
A Gala Event; Search for the Dead by Sheila Connolly (aka Sarah Atwell)
Under the Hill by Sheila Connolly
Not in My Backyard by Susan Rogers Cooper
Night of the Living Deed by E.J. Copperman
Deadly Magic by Elisabeth Crabtree
Trick or Treat by Caroline Crane
A Catered Halloween by Isis Crawford
Newly Crimsoned Reliquary by Donna Fletcher Crow
Silver Scream, Bantam of the Opera, The Alpine Uproar by Mary Daheim
Halloween Hijinks, Pumpkins in Paradise, Haunted Hamlet, Legend of Tabby Hallow, Ghostly Graveyard, Costume Catastrope, Count Catula; Trick or Treason,  by Kathi Daley by Kathi Daley
The Dracula Murders by Philip Daniels
The Diva Haunts the House, The Ghost and Mrs Mewer by Krista Davis
Fatal Undertaking by Mark de Castrique
Farmcall Fatality by Abby Deuel
Throw Darts at a Cheesecake by Denise Dietz
Trick or Treat, The Halloween Murder by Doris Miles Disney
A Map of the Dark by John Dixon
Ghostly Murders by P. C. Doherty
Died to Match by Deborah Donnelly
Cat with an Emerald Eye by Carole Nelson Douglas
Cupcakes, Bats, and Scare-dy Cats by Pamela DuMond
Not Exactly a Brahmin by Susan Dunlap 
Vampires, Bones and Treacle Scones by Kaitlyn Dunnett 
A Ghost to Die For by Elizabeth Eagan-Cox
Be Careful What You Witch For by Dawn Eastman 
The Bowl of Night by Rosemary Edghill 
The Frozen Shroud by Martin Edwards
Ghost Story by K.J. Emrick
Death by Pumpkin Spice by Alex Erickson
Door of Death by John Esteven 
The Witchfinder by Loren D. Estleman 
Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich 
Dead Ends by Anne C. Fallon 
Sympathy For The Devil by Jerrilyn Farmer
Dead in the Pumpkin Patch by Connie Feddersen 
It's Your Party Die if You Want To by Vickie Fee  
Blackwork, Hanging by a Thread, Blackwork by Monica Ferris
Scary Stuff by Sharon Fiffer
The Lawyer Who Died Trying by Honora Finkelstein 
Trick or Treachery by "Jessica Fletcher" and Donald Bain
The Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke
Halloween Murder, Foul Play at the Fair, Trick or Deceit by Shelley Freydont
Broke by Kaye George
Stirring the Plot by Daryl Wood Gerber
Trick or Treat by Leslie Glaister
Mommy and the Murder by Nancy Gladstone
Haunted by Jeanne Glidewell 
Blood & Broomsticks by Jean G. Goodhind (aka J.G. Goodhind)  
A Few Dying Words by Paula Gosling
The Black Heart Crypt by Chris Grabenstein (YA)
Monster in Miniature by Margaret Grace  
Hell for the Holidays by Chris Gravenstein 
Nail Biter by Sarah Graves 
Deadly Harvest by Heather Graham 
Trick or Treat by Kerry Greenwood 
Halloween by Ben Greer 
The Snafued Snatch by Jackie Griffey 
Quoth the Raven, Skeleton Key by Jane Haddam
A Crime of Poison by Nancy Haddock
Hallowed Bones, Bone to Be Wild by Carolyn Haines
Muffin but Murder by Victoria Hamilton
Delicious Mischief by Marianne Harde
Southern Ghost, Ghost at Work by Carolyn Hart 
Sweet Poison by Ellen Hart
Hide in the Dark by Frances Noyes Hart 
Revenge of the Cootie Girls by Sparkle Hayter
Town in a Pumpkin Bash by B.B. Haywood
Asking for the Moon by Reginald Hill  (SS)
The Fallen Man, The Wailing Wind by Tony Hillerman 
Death of a Pumpkin Carver by Lee Hollis
The Color of Blood by Declan Hughes  
Murder on the Ghost Walk by Ellen Elizabeth Hunter 
From Bad to Wurst by Maddie Hunter  
Already Dead by Charlie Huston
Long Time No See by Susan Isaacs
Murder on Old Main Street, Dirty Tricks, Dying Wishes by Judith K. Ivie
The Pumpkin Thief, The Great Pumpkin Caper by Melanie Jackson
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Murder Among Us by Jonnie Jacobs
A Murder Made in Stitches by Pamela James
The Devil's Cat, Cat's Eye, Cat's Cradle, The Devil's Kiss, The Devil's Heart, The Devil's Touch by William W. Johnstone  
The Violet Hour by Daniel Judson
Muffins & Murder by Heather Justesen
A Charming Voodoo by Tonya Kappes
The Sacrifice by Karin Kaufman
Day of Atonement by Faye Kellerman
Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry by Harry Kemelman
Wed and Buried, The Skeleton Haunts a House by Toni L.P. Kelner
Verse of the Vampyre by Diana Killian
Pumpkin Roll by Josi S. Kilpack 
The Animal Hour by Andrew Klavan 
Paws for Murder by Annie Knox
Murder in the Neighborhood by Janis Lane 
Ghastly Glass by Joyce and Jim Lavene 
The Stitching Hour by Amanda Lee (aka Gayle Trent)  
Death of a Neighborhood Witch by Laura Levine 
Death Knocks Twice by James H. Lilley
The Legend of Sleepy Harlow by Kylie Logan (aka Miranda Bliss & Casey Daniels)
Smoke Screen by Marianne MacDonald
Pumpkin Pied; Deadly Brew by Karen MacInerney 
Poisoned by Elaine Macko 
Halloween Flight 77 by Debbie Madison
The Haunted Season by G.M. Malliet  
Baby Doll Games by Margaret Maron
Satan's Silence by Alex Matthews 
Tricks: an 87th Precinct Mystery by Ed McBain 
Poisoned Tarts by G.A. McKevett 
Death on All Hallows by Allen Campbell McLean
A Sparrow Falls Holiday by Donna McLean
Witch of the Palo Duro by Mardi Oakley Medawar  
Trick or Treat Murder, Wicked Witch Murder, Candy Corn Murder by Leslie Meier 
Dancing Floor, Prince of Darkness by Barbara Michaels
Monster in Miniature by Camille Minichino 
The Violet Hour by Richard Montanari
A Biscuit, a Casket by Liz Mugavero
Send in the Crows by Julie Mulhern
Bread of the Dead by Ann Myers 
Dead End by Helen R. Myers
Nightmare in Shining Armor by Tamar Myers 
Hatchet Job by J.E. Neighbors
Oink by Judith Newton
What Doesn't Kill Here by Carla Norton
Retribution by Patrick J. O'Brien
Deadly Places by Terry Odell
Halloween House by Ed Okonowicz
The Body in the Moonlight by Katherine Hall Page 
Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge
Caught Dead Handed; Grave Errors by Carol J. Perry
The Skeleton Haunts a House by Leigh Perry
Flight of a Witch by Ellis Peters 
Twilight by Nancy Pickard
Pumpkin Spice Murder by Summer Prescott  
Murder at Witches Bluff by Silver Ravenwolf
Poltergeist by Kat Richardson 
Death Notice by Todd Ritter 
Spook Night by David Robbins 
A Hole in Juan by Gillian Roberts
Murder in a Nice Neighborhood by Lora Roberts
Magnolias, Moonlight, and Murder by Sara Rosett
Scared Stiff by Annelise Ryan
Death of Halloween by Kim Sauke
Mighty Old Bones by Mary Saums 
Murder Ole! by Corinne Holt Sawyer
Tracking Magic by Maria E. Schneider
The Tenor Wore Tapshoes by Mark Schweizer
Phantoms Can be Murder by Connie Shelton
A Killer Maize by Paige Shelton
Dance of the Scarecrows by Ray Sipherd
The Sterling Inheritance by Michael Siverling
The Lawyer Who Died Trying by Susan Smily
Recipe for Murder by Janet Elaine Smith
Town Haunts by Cathy Spencer
Carbs and Cadavers by J.B. Stanley
In the Blink of an Eye, Halloween Party by Wendy Corsi Staub
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
Ripping Abigail by Barbara Sullivan
Murder of a Royal Pain by Denise Swanson
Mourning Shift by Kathleen Taylor
Halloween Homicide by Lee Thayer
Inked Up by Terri Thayer
Charlie's Web by L.L. Thrasher
Gods of the Nowhere by James Tipper
Death in the Cotswolds by Rebecca Tope
A Room with a Brew by Joyce Tremel
A Dash of Murder by Teresa Trent
Strange Brew by Kathy Hogan Trochek
Bitter Harvest by Wendy Tyson
Masking for Trouble by Diane Vallere
Pineapple Mystery Box by Amy Vansant
I Will Fear No Evil by Debbie ViguiƩ
Dangling by a Threat by Lea Wait
How to Party with a Killer Vampire by Penny Warner
Murder by the Slice, Trick or Deadly Treat by Livia J. Washburn 
Five-Minute Halloween Mysteries by Ken Weber
The Scarecrow Murders by Mary V. Welk
Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner  
Killer Mousse by Melinda Wells
Ghoul of My Dreams by Richard F. West 
All Hallow's Eve by Charles Williams
Mayhem, Marriage, and Murderous Mystery Manuscripts by J.L. Wilson
A Stitch to Die For by Lois Winston
Killer See, Killer Do by Jonathan Wolfe
All Hallow's Evil by Valerie Wolzien

And here's a list of Halloween Mystery Short Story anthologies:

Homicidal Holidays: Fourteen Tales of Murder and Merriment, edited by Donna Andrews, Barb Goffman, & Marcia Talley
Deadly Treats: Halloween Tales of Mystery, Magic and Mayhem, Edited by Anne Frasier 
Trick and Treats edited by Joe Gores & Bill Pronzini
Asking for the Moon (includes "Pascoe's Ghost" and "Dalziel's Ghost") by Reginald Hill
Murder for Halloween by Cynthia Manson
The Haunted Hour, edited by Cynthia Manson & Constance Scarborough
Murder for Halloween: Tales of Suspense, edited by Michele Slung & Roland Hartman.
Mystery for Halloween (an anthology), edited by Donald Westlake
Halloween Horrors, edited by Alan Ryan
All Hallows' Evil, edited by Sarah E. Glenn
Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays, edited by Donna Andrews, Barb Goffman and Marcia Talley
Halloween Thirteen-a Collection of Mysteriously Macabre Tales, by Bobbi Chukran
Happy Homicides 4: Falling into Crime, edited by Joanna Campbell Slan et al.

Want some Chocolate Treats to accompany your reading? Head on over to my Chocolate Blog

Sara Blaedel's Louise Rick Crime Novels to be TV series

Deadline reports that Sara Blaedel's Louise Rick crime novels will be a TV series.

Bron Studios’ TV group has acquired rights to Danish author Sara Blaedel’s bestselling crime fiction book series centered on police detective Louise Rick. The plan is to adapt the novels as a TV series, with the first published Rick book The Forgotten Girls to serve as the backdrop for Season 1.

The plot of that 2015 book from Grand Central Publishing kicks off when fresh corpse of an unidentified woman with a large scar on her face is discovered in the woods. Rick, the new Commander of the Missing Persons Department, and her partner set out to find her identity and killer. This leads them on a journey to uncover a de­cades-long unsolved mystery tied to a mental asylum. In all her books have been published in  more than 30 countries.

“It has been a longtime dream to see Louise Rick on the screen, and I couldn’t imagine working with a more dynamic and creative team than Bron to realize this,” Blaedel said. “Louise is a tenacious and relentless investigator, but also deeply human and imperfect. Simultaneously tough and charming, watching her stories come alive on the screen will be enthralling.”
Added Reardon: The Forgotten Girls is a spellbinding beginning to the suspenseful and addictive Louise Rick book series. 

We are thrilled to be working with Sara Blaedel to bring the character Louise Rick and her brilliantly brutal murder mysteries to television.”

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Cats

On Writing a Long Running Series: Guest Post by Archer Mayor

Archer Mayor is the author of the highly acclaimed Vermont-based series featuring detective Joe Gunther, which the Chicago Tribune describes as “the best police procedurals being written in America.” His 28th book, TRACE, is now in stores (Sept. 2017 – Minotaur/St. Martin’s Press).  He is a past winner of the New England Independent Booksellers Association Award for Best Fiction—the first time a writer of crime literature has been so honored. In 2011, Mayor’s 22nd Joe Gunther novel, TAG MAN, earned a place on The New York Times bestseller list for hardback fiction. Read more here.

On Writing a Long Running Series

28 books in a single series? Ain’t ya running out of ideas? Ain’t ya getting bored? Ain’t ya tired of hangin’ with the same old characters?


Those’re questions I sometimes get at signings and author events, but in fact, I’m no more tired of my writing than I am of leading my life, keeping company with my family and friends, or waking up every morning and dealing with life’s (occasionally) gentle chaos.

And the comparison is apt.

The Joe Gunther series may have begun as a means to an end: a job writing books told with compassion, skill, and care, in the effort to become a professional, full-time writer. Over time, though, they’ve become an expression of my discoveries about human nature, a way to sort through and share a few of the foibles and complexities we humans all think are ours alone (and aren’t,) indulge in the English language as a painter does with colors, and have some fun along the way.

There are a lot of mysteries out there featuring dead guys, bad guys, good guys, and car chases. Mine do all that—if you allow the word “guys” to stand for all genders.

But what I’ve found most compelling over time—and what I hope infuses my series with freshness and a sense of reality—is that the series is as much about such “guys” as are a newspaper’s daily articles about everyday life.

That’s why I’m not running out of steam or groping for new ideas. I write about real places, real problems, and composites of real people. And my plots are rarely that far removed from what occurs across the country on a regular basis. Women killing each other because their daughters are competing for a cheerleading squad? Men shooting each other over a parking place? We are quite a species, and that’s old news!

So there’s the true spinal cord of the series: the reason they’re more why-dun-its than who-dun-its. But what about those car chases, which I’ll expand to include all the gizmos that’ve become a feature of modern fiction? DNA, electronics, money manipulations, guns, forensic science, and the like? I LOVE poking my nose into that stuff—especially the things I know little about.

The latest book is entitled, TRACE. It’s got a lot going on—actually three separate investigations being conducted simultaneously. But in its midst, it has a scene where the police are tracking an armed fugitive at night using a rotation of dog teams.

Ever wonder how they do that? REALLY do that? I did. All those TV shows and movies, with the dogs in the background and some breathless person saying, “The dogs got a scent, Sarge!”

But how?

So I reached out to a pal of mine with forty years experience running scent dogs for the police. He introduced me to Brio, his own dog, and we went out on the job. I’m still a cop, if semi-retired, so access was pretty simple. But the experience? Wow! I wrote an eleven-page scene in which the above mentioned search is launched and runs to its successful conclusion, and then I sent it to Chris, my dog handler pal, for editing. “The dog’s nose would be up at this point in the search,” he would write back. Or, “By now, she (the handler) would’ve taken him off the leash.” “Don’t use that flashlight then—ruins night vision,” was another, and, “Protect your dog! It knows its job, but it’ll sacrifice its life if you let it.”

Cool stuff. Interesting stuff. Stuff readers love, it turns out.

Am I about to run out of gas? Not hardly. Nor am I going to get tired of holding hands with my wife, stepping into the woodworking shop for a project, or riding to the store on my motorcycle. The advertisement said, “Life’s a mess. Clean it up?”

Or write about it, learn from it, and enjoy!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Crime Does Not Pay.. .Enough! MWA NorCal, Yesterday and Today

Wednesday, October 18
6-8 PM
Crime Does Not Pay… Enough! MWA NorCal, Yesterday and Today
Morrison Library (UC Berkeley)
Berkeley, CA
Randal Brandt, Laurie R. King, Sheldon Siegel & Kelli Stanley
RSVP if you’re thinking of attending, here.

Sunday, October 15, 2017



The Anthony Awards were given out at the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention in Toronto, Canada today.


Best Novel
A Great Reckoning – Louise Penny [Minotaur]

Best First Novel
IQ – Joe Ide [Mulholland]

Best Paperback Original
Heart of Stone – James W. Ziskin [Seventh Street]

Best Short Story
"Oxford Girl" – Megan Abbott, Mississippi Noir [Akashic]

Best Critical Nonfiction Work
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life – Ruth Franklin [Liveright]

Best Children’s/YA Novel
The Girl I Used to Be – April Henry [Henry Holt] 

Best Anthology
Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon Anthology 2016 – Greg Herren, ed. [Down & Out]

Best Novella (8,000-40,000 words)
The Last Blue Glass – B.K. Stevens, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, April 2016 [Dell]


About the Anthony Awards
The Anthony Award is named for the late Anthony Boucher (William Anthony Parker White), well-known writer and critic from the New York Times, who helped found the Mystery Writers of America. Anthony Award Categories. 

About Bouchercon: 
Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, is an annual convention where readers, writers, fans, publishers, editors, agents, booksellers, and other lovers of crime fiction gather for a 4-day weekend of education, entertainment, and fun! It is the world’s premiere event bringing together all parts of the mystery and crime fiction community, and is pronounced [bough’·chur·con]. 

Friday, October 13, 2017


Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine announced the winners of the 2017 Barry Awards last night at the opening session at Bouchercon. Congratulations to all!

Best Novel:
• A Great Reckoning, by Louise Penny (Minotaur)

Best First Novel:
• The Drifter, by Nicholas Petrie (Putnam)

Best Paperback Original:
• Rain Dogs, by Adrian McKinty (Seventh Street)

Best Thriller:
• Guilty Minds, by Joseph Finder (Dutton)

Thursday, October 12, 2017


The Macavity Award Winners 2017

The Macavity Awards are nominated by members of Mystery Readers International, subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal and friends of MRI. The winners were announced tonight at opening ceremonies at Bouchercon in Toronto. Congratulations to all.

Best Novel
• A Great Reckoning, by Louise Penny (Minotaur)

Best First Novel
• IQ, by Joe Ide (Mulholland Books)

Best Short Story
• “Parallel Play,” by Art Taylor (Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning, Wildside Press)

Sue Feder Memorial Award for Best Historical Novel
• Heart of Stone, by James W. Ziskin (Seventh Street Books)

Best Nonfiction
• Sara Paretsky: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction, Margaret Kinsman (McFarland)

Cartoon of the Day: Editor

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Meet the Author

Tana French's The Dublin Murders: BBC

From In Reference to Murder:

BBC One has given the greenlight to an eight-part crime drama The Dublin Murders, based on Tana French’s award-winning series of mysteries. Sarah Phelps, who recently re-imagined several Agatha Christie novels for the BBC, will adapt the first two books about the fictional Dublin Murder Squad, drawn from French’s In The Woods and The Likeness. Blending psychological mystery and darkness, each novel is led by a different detective or detectives from the same Dublin squad.

Maybe we'll find out what happened in the Woods!!!??

Monday, October 9, 2017

Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive

Mark your calendars for this film on PBS: Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive. Premieres October 30. Perfect for Halloween! Check your local listing. Scroll down for a preview.

After his death, writer Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) became a global icon of modern literature and a pop culture brand. Best known for his Gothic horror tales and narrative poem “The Raven,” Poe’s stories are the basis of countless films and TV episodes, and have inspired even more, as has his name and image.

At least four American cities claim this literary legend as their own – Baltimore, Richmond, Philadelphia and New York: an NFL football team is named after one of his poems, and his image appears on everything from the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover to lunchboxes, bobbleheads and socks.

Written and directed by Eric Stange, the new documentary American Masters-Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive draws on Poe’s evocative imagery and sharply drawn plots to tell the real story of the notorious author. The film premieres nationwide Monday, October 30 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) and will be available to stream the following day, Halloween, via and PBS OTT apps.

Starring Tony Award-winning and Emmy-nominated actor Denis O’Hare and narrated by Oscar- and Tony-nominated, two-time Golden Globe-winner Kathleen Turner, American Masters – Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive explores the misrepresentations of Poe as a drug-addled madman akin to the narrators of his horror stories.

This caricature is thanks, in large part, to a high-profile obituary filled with falsehoods, written by his literary rival Rufus W. Griswold. Determined to re-invent American literature, Poe was an influential – and brutally honest – literary critic and magazine editor, who also invented the detective protagonist with his character C. Auguste Dupin, refined the science fiction genre and popularized short stories, actually writing more comedies than horror.

An orphan in search of family, love and literary fame, Poe struggled with alcoholism and was also a product of early 19th century American urban life: depressed from the era’s culture of death due to the high mortality rate and the struggles of living in poverty. Poe famously died under mysterious circumstances and his cause of death remains unknown.

“The mystery around Poe’s death is the least of it,” said filmmaker Eric Stange. “The real question at the heart of this film is why Edgar Allan Poe continues to be one of the most popular writers in the history of Western literature – and one of the most misunderstood.”

Filmed in Boston Harbor’s historic Fort Independence at Castle Island, Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive combines dramatized re-enactments with O’Hare of key moments in Poe’s life, readings from Poe’s works by O’Hare, Oscar-nominated actor Chris Sarandon (The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Princess Bride, Dog Day Afternoon) and actor Ben Schnetzer (Snowden, Goat, Pride) and interviews with authors including Marilynne Robinson (Gilead), Matthew Pearl (The Poe Shadow), Jeffrey Meyers (Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy) and Zach Dundas (The Great Detective), director Roger Corman (Poe film cycle including House of Usher) and others to reveal how Poe tapped into what it means to be human in a modern and sometimes frightening world.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Hammett Prize Winner

The North American Branch of the International Association of Crime Writers announced last night the winner of theannual HAMMETT PRIZE -- for a work of literary excellence in the field of crime writing by a US or Canadian author.

The White Devil, by Domenic Stansberry (Molotov Editions)

Other Books nominated for the 2016 Hammett Prize:
The Second Life of Nick Mason, by Steve Hamilton (G.P. Putnam's Sons) 
The Drifter, by Nicholas Petrie (G.P. Putnam's Sons)
Revolver, by Duane Swierczynki (Mulholland Books) 
The Big Nothing, by Bob Truluck (Murmur House Press)

The organization named the HAMMETT PRIZE winner, during the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association’s (NAIBA) Fall Conference, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, last night. The winner received a bronze trophy, designed by sculptor Peter Boiger.

The Darker Side of Oz: Guest Post by Guy Bolton

Guy Bolton is a novelist and screenwriter; he lives in London. The Pictures (Oneworld/Point Blank) is his first novel, a noir thriller about a detective who investigates the mysterious death of one of the producers of The Wizard of Oz. It has been shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger Award

Guy Bolton
The Darker Side of Oz

Movies about movies are common. From recent hits The Artist and Hail Caesar! to classics Singin’ In The Rain and Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood loves to interrogate and applaud itself. And yet oddly, I’ve not read or come across many novels about Hollywood, at least not many about the Hollywood Golden Age.

Those years roughly between ‘30s and 50s produced thousands of movies. Television was very much in its infancy so the movie theater was the center of people’s social lives. In fact, most people in the US went once or twice a week, with a new movie released on average every single day.

And despite marking the beginning of World War II, 1939 is widely considered to be the greatest year in cinema history. In no other year has there been such a string of great films that people still watch and talk about today: Stagecoach, Gone With The Wind, Babes in Arms, Goodbye Mister Chips and of course, The Wizard of Oz, the centerpiece of my crime fiction novel The Pictures.

But whilst the 1939 setting seemed apt, many people have asked me why I decided to write a noir about the making of a musical. As genres go, musicals and films noir are arguably at different ends of the spectrum. Darkness versus color. Cynicism versus optimism. Singing versus… well, killing.

I’ve always thought that the two have a lot in common. In The Wizard of Oz, a young girl is dragged into a dangerous world where she has to navigate a series of terrors and a psychopathic matriarch before she can return home. Cast a different light on it and it could be straight out of a James M. Cain novel.

Besides, it’s pretty remarkable that a film that’s over 75 years old is still being watched by people the world over, let alone an icon of American popular culture. It’s a testament to the unique characters and world, to the memorable songs and simple and heart-warming message that “there’s no place like home.”

And what many people don’t realize is that the making of The Wizard of Oz is in itself an incredible story, with a series of unusual and almost unbelievable events that seem too outrageous to be true: the first time they painted the yellow brick road it showed up as green in early Technicolor tests; Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch received second degree burns on her hands and face in an on-set accident; the actor who originally played the Tin Man had to be replaced because he suffered an allergic reaction to the aluminum powder in his make-up.

And then there were the Munchkins; MGM scoured the Western world for little people who could play the cutesy Lullaby League and Lollipop Guild who send Dorothy off on the yellow brick road. But many of the Munchkin actors had never met another little person before. Tales of debauchery are rife, with rumours of gambling, prostitution and drunken orgies that many – including Judy Garland – swore were true.

But perhaps, the thing that surprises me the most: “Over the Rainbow,” one of the most celebrated songs of the last century, was almost cut from the picture entirely. Louis Mayer thought it slowed the pacing down and was worried about how people would accept one of his stars singing in a barnyard. Only producer Arthur Freed fought for it to stay in. It could have all been so different.

There’s some pathos too when you watch The Wizard Of Oz with the benefit of hindsight. Sadly, at sixteen, Garland was well on her way to being a drug addict, with the studio giving her amphetamines to control her weight and keep her buoyant for the hectic filming schedule and barbiturates to bring her down and get her to sleep at night. Less than ten years later Garland had a nervous breakdown and placed in a psychiatric ward after attempting suicide. She was dead at 47.

The Wizard of Oz is endlessly quotable. But my favourite line has always been “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain”. Because sometimes, behind the curtain is where the true drama lies.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: How to Train Your Cat

Happy Caturday!

Librarian Mystery Writers

You'll want to read this great post "The Librarian Murder Mysteries" by Robert Lopresti on SleuthSayers. He focuses on mystery writers, past and present, who happen to be librarians. (He limits this to fiction writers with MLS degrees). As a list maker, I covet this list! Be sure and read the comments.

Read the article HERE. Quite a few surprises.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Sherlock Holmes

NOIReland International Crime Festival

Here's a new Crime Festival: NOIRELAND. October 27-29: Europa Hotel, Belfast. Sounds fabulous!

It's a weekend full of interviews, discussions and ebates with great crime writers. Adrian McKinty, Liz Nugent, Benjamin Black, Robert Crais, Sophie Hannah, Ruth Ware, Stuart Neville, Arne Dahla and more.

Check out the program here

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Fantasy Congress

From the New Yorker:

The Exorcist author William Peter Blatty's House for Sale

I love when 'famous' houses go on the market. For me, these are usually connected to authors, artists, historical people, or popular culture folk. Here's a new one that just came on the market: Exorcist author William Peter Blatty's house is on sale, just in time for Halloween.

From the LA Times:

Just in time for Halloween, the Maryland house where “The Exorcist” author William Peter Blatty lived for 16 years is on the market. And it could be yours for just $3.2 million.

The six-bedroom Georgian Colonial in the Burning Tree neighborhood in Bethesda was home to 

Blatty and his wife, actress and former Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Julie Blatty, from 2001 until the author's death in January.

William Peter Blatty was a prolific novelist and screenwriter best known for his 1971 novel The Exorcist, about two priests determined to chase away a demon that has possessed a 12-year-old girl in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C. The book has sold more than 13 million copies.

Read More here:

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Ghostwriter

Free Jeffery Deaver story Download: New MWA Presents Anthology

To launch its new e-book program of classic MWA anthologies, Mystery Writers of America Presents, is the e-book release of 2003’s bestselling A HOT AND SULTRY NIGHT FOR CRIME, edited by MWA president Jeffery Deaver.  This month Jeff’s own story is available free, to members and non-members alike.

Go HERE for a free download of Jeffery Deaver's story.

This anthology contains the following award-winning or nominated stories: "Lady on Ice" by Loren D. Estleman, winner of the 2003 Shamus Award for Best Short Story; "Green Heat" by Angela Zeman, selected for The Best American Mystery Short Stories 2004, edited by Nelson DeMille and Otto Penzler; "War Crimes" by G. Miki Hayden and "Child Support" by Ronnie Klaskin were both nominated for the Best Short Story Macavity Award.

Contributing authors are David Bart, Gary Brandner, Sinclair Browning, Alan Cook, Mat Coward, Jeffery Deaver, Loren D. Estleman, Robert Lee Hall, David Handler, G. Miki Hayden, Jeremiah Healy, Suzanne C. Johnson, Toni L.P. Kelner, Ronnie Klaskin, John Lutz, Tim Myers, Ana Rainwater, Marilyn Wallace, Carolyn Wheat, and Angela Zeman.

To purchase the anthology:

Monday, October 2, 2017

How to Organize Book Shelves with a LOT of Books

If you're like me you have books everywhere - on shelves, in stacks, out and about. I understand my own order, but I doubt others could. Part of my problem is lack of space and not enough shelving, but it's also because of my penchant for buying and collecting books. Even when I do organize, the shelving is completely changing all the time.

How do you organize your book shelves?

Here's an interesting article on How to Organize Bookshelves with A LOT OF Books from BookRiot.

Tracy Shapley gives the pros and cons of organizing:

By Genre
By Color (No!!)
Other tips for extreme book hoarding!

Leave a comment about your own preference for organizing your shelves!