• Congratulations to Jen Forbus on the fifth anniversary of the launch of her crime-fiction-oriented blog, Jen’s Book Thoughts. To commemorate this occasion, Ohio resident Forbus is hosting a small giveaway contest. Entries must be submitted by January 31.
• I was sorry to read that British mystery writer Gwendoline Butler
died on January 5 at age 90. Butler penned more than two dozen novels featuring
Inspector John Coffin (beginning with 1958’s Receipt for Murder, in which the character was introduced playing second fiddle to another detective, Inspector Winter). She also concocted a series of women’s police procedurals under the pseudonym Jennie
Melville. Butler won the Crime Writers’ Association’s Silver Dagger Award
in 1973 for her novel A Coffin for
• A belated note, too, about the demise, at age 98, of Jim Benét, “a former San Francisco Chronicle and KQED reporter who covered higher
education in a tumultuous period in California” and produced two mystery novels, A Private Killing in 1949 and The Knife Behind You in 1950. His
obituary in the Santa Rosa, California, Press Democrat mentions that Benét was investigated by the notorious House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) in 1970 and that he was a friend of Dashiell Hammett. A bit more info on Benét is available at the Golden Gate Mysteries Web site. (Hat tip to Peter Hegarty.)
• San Mateo, California, bookstore proprietor Ed Kaufman was included in The Rap Sheet’s list of crime-fiction notables who died in 2012. But author David Corbett has a few additional things to say about Kaufman in this post for Murderati.
• As Bill Crider notes in his blog, U.S. publisher Random House has commenced reissuing all of John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee detective novels in trade paperback and e-book versions. The first installment of that series, 1964’s The Deep Blue Good-by, can be purchased online here. Better yet, order this and the other MacDonald reprints from your nearest independent bookstore.
• Plan B, a new short-fiction magazine specializing in “all things mysterious, criminal, thrilling, and suspenseful,” is preparing to debut this coming March. Editor Darusha Wehm says, “we intend to post one
story per week, available to read online for free. Quarterly e-book anthologies
will be made available to purchase, as well as an annual e-book subscription.”
She adds that “Plan B is currently running a fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo to support
becoming a paying market for short mystery fiction. E-books, subscriptions, and
other special rewards are available as part of the pre-sale IndieGoGo campaign.” Meanwhile, the mag is accepting
• Ah, to be in London this season, where the British Library is preparing to host a succession of mystery-fiction-oriented events.
• UK writer Karen Charlton, the author of two novels featuring 19th-century Northumberland Detective Stephen Lavender, is the subject of J. Sydney Jones’ latest interview in Scene of the Crime.
• And it has nothing to do with mysteries, but I was intrigued to read, in a recent
interview with historian Doris Kearns Goodwin in The Christian Science Monitor, that her next book--her first since the justly acclaimed Team of Rivals--will look at “[President] Theodore Roosevelt’s ability to use the bully pulpit and [William Howard] Taft’s corresponding difficulty with it, even
though they were such great friends and shared much of the ideology together.
Until they split apart.” She added that “I’ve always been interested in the Progressive Era. Then
when I read about [Roosevelt’s] friendship with Taft and knowing it had broken
apart when they ran against each other in 1912, that became an angle. So it
could be a different look at the era.” Goodwin’s book could go on sale as early as this coming fall.