Saturday, October 01, 2022

Sunday Series Samplers

With little more than a couple of weeks to go now before these two PBS-TV offerings debut on Sunday, October 16, new video trailers have been issued to promote both the Masterpiece mini-series Magpie Murders and Season 2 of Masterpiece Mystery!’s Miss Scarlet and the Duke. Magpie, of course, is based on Anthony Horowitz’s 2017 whodunit of that same title, shot from a screenplay by the author himself. It stars Lesley Manville and Tim McMullan. Miss Scarlet is a spirited, late-19th-century London mystery that had its first-season premiere in 2020, and features Kate Phillips and Stuart Martin.

Their respective previews can be enjoyed below.

READ MORE: “What’s in Store for Miss Scarlet and The Duke,
Season 2” (Masterpiece).

A Friendly Reminder

It’s the first day of October—time to check again on The Rap Sheet’s extensive list of fall 2022 crime-fiction releases. I’ve expanded the collection greatly since it was posted originally at the start of September. You’ll want to see what’s new, as well as what books you missed before and should be reading over the next three months.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Hand It to the Fingerprint Champs

This year’s Capital Crime Festival began in London yesterday, September 29, and will continue into tomorrow, October 1. But already news has been made with the announcement of which books and authors have won the festival’s inaugural Fingerprint Awards.

Crime Book of the Year:
The Sanatorium, by Sarah Pearse (Transworld)

Also nominated: 1979, by Val McDermid (Little, Brown); The Appeal, by Janice Hallett (Viper); Girls Who Lie, by Eva Björg Ægisdottir (Orenda); and Slough House, by Mick Herron (John Murray Press)

Thriller Book of the Year:
Razorblade Tears, by S.A. Cosby (Headline)

Also nominated: A Slow Fire Burning, by Paula Hawkins (Transworld); Dead Ground, by M.W. Craven (Little, Brown); The Night She Disappeared, by Lisa Jewell (Cornerstone); and Last Thing to Burn, by Will Dean (Hodder & Stoughton)

Historical Crime Book of the Year:
The Shape of Darkness, by Laura Purcell (Bloomsbury)

Also nominated: A Net for Small Fishes, by Lucy Jago (Bloomsbury); Daughters of Night, by Laura-Shepherd Robinson (Pan Macmillan); The Shadows of Men, by Abir Mukherjee (Vintage); and A Comedy of Terrors, by Lindsay Davis (Hodder & Stoughton)

Debut Book of the Year:
Girl A, by Abigail Dean (HarperCollins)

Also nominated: Greenwich Park, by Katherine Faulkner (Bloomsbury); Welcome to Cooper, by Tariq Ashkanani (Thomas & Mercer); How to Kidnap the Rich, by Rahul Raina (Little, Brown); and Edge of the Grave, by Robbie Morrison (Pan Macmillan)

Genre-Busting Book of the Year:
The Burning Girls, by C.J. Tudor Penguin)

Also nominated: The Other Black Girl, by Zakiya Dalila Harris (Bloomsbury); How to Kill Your Family, by Bella Mackie (HarperCollins); Eight Detectives, by Alex Pavesi (Penguin); and What Abigail Did That Summer, by Ben Aaronovitch (Orion)

Audiobook of the Year: The Girl Who Died, by Ragnar Jónasson, narrated by Amanda Redman (Orenda)

Also nominated: People Like Her, by Ellery Lloyd (Pan Macmillan); True Crime Story, by Joseph Knox (Transworld); A Line to Kill, by Anthony Horowitz (Cornerstone); and I Know What I Saw, by Imran Mahmood (Bloomsbury)

Industry Award of the Year: HarperCollins for Girl A, by Abigail Dean

Lifetime Achievement Award (Posthumous): Thalia Proctor

Books eligible for the Fingerprints were all published in Great Britain in 2021. English actor and author Paul Clayton revealed this year’s winners during a special event on Thursday night.

(Hat tip to Promoting Crime Fiction.)

Thursday, September 29, 2022

A Rip-roaring Iberian Puzzler

If you aren’t already watching A Private Affair—which debuted on September 23—you really should give that new, eight-part Prime Video series a try. The Spanish murder mystery (dubbed in English) is set in Galicia in 1948, and stars enchanting Aura Garrido as Marina Quiroga, the upper-class daughter of a highly respected but deceased police commissioner, who—thanks to her father’s years of mentoring—is no slouch when it comes to investigating. She’d probably make an extraordinary police detective … if she weren’t a woman and therefore unqualified to join the local constabulary.

(Left) Garrido and Reno in A Private Affair.

Now, after witnessing the violent stabbing death of a woman on the docks, she resolves—much against the wishes of her overprotective elder brother, Arturo (played by Pablo Molinero), who has himself recently been inaugurated as police commissioner—to identify and capture the killer. In this enterprise, she enlists the assistance of her family’s longtime butler, Héctor Hugo (acclaimed French film star Jean Reno). He is reluctant to undertake such a dangerous venture, but does so in order to improve the odds of Marina’s survival. (“You essentially want to turn me into Watson,” he complains early on in the story. To which she responds, with a small smile: “You’re more a Poirot.”)

Granted, Marina is sometimes too daring for her own good. Brown-haired, slim, 5 feet 4 inches tall, with green eyes, and probably in her early 30s (like the actress who plays her), she is frequently the target of admiring male gazes, yet has demonstrated profound disinterest in settling down. (A society journalist describes her, with feigned regard, as one of “the 10 most beautiful spinsters in the city.”) At the same time, Marina is an athletic combatant, able to incapacitate a man larger than herself, and proficient with a handgun to boot. I think of her as part Nancy Drew (a perceptive, dogged amateur sleuth) and part Batman (given her flowing capes and skirts, and her attic lair full of bulletin boards, scientific equipment, and criminology magazines), with a bit of Perils of Pauline heedlessness thrown in. She can be sexy and flirtatious when useful, but doesn’t shy from humbling a misogynist with her hard-won intelligence.

Marina must bring all of her skills to bear if she’s to subdue a serial killer who carves a fleur-de-lis into the décolletage of each of his female victims, and who may have been active off and on for many years. Arturo Quiroga is slow to acknowledge these predatory patterns and muster the manpower needed to curtail this killer’s latest spree. In the meantime, Marina and Héctor, with some backing from a pair of very different cops—the good-hearted Pablo Zarco (Gorka Otxoa), another of Marina’s father’s prize students, and Andrés Castaño (Álex García), a Lothario of dubious honesty and rapacious manner—track the murderer across the northwestern corner of Spain, from a moonlit monument to a gaudy performance hall, a grandiose party for libertines, and a remote mental institution. At every turn, it seems, Marina finds a fresh way to put her life at risk, whether by tumbling from a speeding train, crashing to earth in a flaming seaplane, scampering across tiled rooftops and leaping between buildings, or careening down streets in a red-and-white Hudson Hornet (an anachronism, as that car model didn’t debut till 1951).

Combining whodunit and adventure elements with humor and feminism, A Private Affair is an energetic, beautifully photographed series that, for all its retro vibes, feels quite modern.

(Above) A thrilling teaser for A Private Affair (or Un Asunto Privado in Spanish). (Below) The show’s opening title sequence changes with every episode, previewing plot twists to come. This example is drawn from the first installment, “Fleur de lis.”

Aura Garrido reportedly based her portrayal of the confident, courageous Marina Quiroga “on the roles of Maureen O’Hara, the indomitable pirate queen of classic cinema.” “She created characters who were, at least in my childhood vision, a little more interesting, who had strength, who were brave,” Garrido explained to the press. “I thought a lot about her to create Marina.” However, there’s another aspect to Marina, one bent around her relationshops. She lives constantly with the sorrow of having lost her father three years ago—and with him a determined advocate for her dream of becoming more than simply a wife and parent. Marina’s mother, Doña Asunción (Ángela Molina), is an adoring but demanding eccentric, over-fond of absinthe, who wants to see Marina wed, and finds her daughter’s crime-solving escapades embarrassing to their family. Although both Zarco and Castaño appear romantically intrigued by our heroine, the bond Marina values most is the one she shares with Héctor, who she has lived around long enough to value his insights, recognize his “tells” (including his tendency to pull on an earlobe when lying), and want to protect him as much as he strives to keep her safe.

The series’ gorgeous setting adds still further to its appeal.

I’ve spent some time on the Iberian Peninsula, but never been to Galicia, so I appreciated the introduction this series offered to that ancient land, once part of the Roman Empire. According to its entry in Wikipedia, A Private Affair was originally supposed to have been shot (in 2020 and 2021) around the central Spanish capital of Madrid, as well as in the northern metropolis of Bilbao. But the COVID-19 pandemic altered those plans. Instead, filming took place “around Vigo, Pontevedra, Lérez, and other locations in the Rías Baixas.”

A final note: This program is the result of a production deal between Amazon Prime and the Spanish TV company Bambú Producciones (which was also responsible for the Netflix period dramas Cable Girls and High Seas). The Private Affair cast uttered their lines in Spanish, of course, but they’ve been dubbed for American audiences. Which is fine, except that the subtitles you can engage through Prime occasionally disagree greatly with the dubbing. My advice? Turn off the subtitles and simply listen to the English translation.

That’s what I shall do if and when this delightful show wins a sophomore season. There were ample unresolved questions left at the end of Episode 8. We can only hope Amazon allows Marina and Héctor to demonstrate more of their snooping talents soon.

Rewarding Marginalized Storytellers

Here’s yet another incentive for writers wanting to break into the crime- and thriller-fiction field: Penguin Michael Joseph, a British imprint of Penguin Random House, has launched a new award for undiscovered writers from underrepresented backgrounds.

Shotsmag Confidential blogger Ayo Onatade explains that “The inaugural prize (2022/2023) focuses on the crime and thriller genre, with budding writers being invited to submit tales of mysteries, crimes, jeopardy, action or adventure.“ Participants must be over 18 years of age and reside in the UK or Republic of Ireland. The judges are in search of writers “who are from a background that’s currently underrepresented in publishing—that would include but is not limited to writers from a socio-economically marginalized background, Black, Asian and minority ethnic writers, LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) writers or disabled writers.”

The Michael Joseph Web site states clearly that to enter the competition, “you will need to submit a 200-word synopsis and 2,000-word extract from the beginning of your book.” Applications should be tendered via this Web page between September 30 and November 30 of this year. The winner is to be announced in August 2023.

For more information, click here.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Bullet Points: Kicking Off Autumn Edition

• Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and country singer Dolly Parton have all claimed authorship of crime or thriller novels over the last few years, so why not James Comey? The ex-U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and onetime FBI director was bluntly fired from that latter post in 2017 by Donald Trump amid the worsening scandal over Russian influence on Trump’s 2016 presidential bid. Comey has since delivered speeches and written op-ed pieces for newspapers, but those endeavors were apparently not satisfying enough. So now he has signed with The Mysterious Press, an imprint of Penzler Publishers, to produce a pair of crime novels. As explained this week in a press release,
Central Park West, the first book of a planned series, features an assistant U.S. Attorney whose case against a high-profile mobster is derailed when a shocking turn of events reveals possible ties between the Mafia and the headline-making murder of a local politician. Drawing from the author’s personal experience, this high-stakes legal thriller reveals the detective work, backdoor dealings, and tradecraft involved as the FBI and Department of Justice attempt to build a case against an elusive member of one of the oldest criminal organizations in the world.
“I’m excited to take readers inside fascinating worlds I’ve come to know from my time in government and the private sector,” Comey is quoted as saying. “These stories are fiction, but, inspired by real work I’ve done, they will offer a rarely-seen view of interesting people and institutions. And I’m honored to be doing it with a legendary publisher.” Central Park West is scheduled for release in late spring 2023. There’s no word yet on the plot of book two.

• Literary Hub managing editor Emily Temple surveyed 25 reading lists for this fall season from 22 notable outlets (newspapers, magazines, and some Web sites) in order to come up with a tally of the 72 most-recommended books, fiction and non-fiction. Of those dozens of choices, I believe only two novels—Deanna Raybourn’s Killers of a Certain Age and Richard Osman’s The Bullet That Missed—can unquestionably be defined as crime or mystery fiction.

• The annual Irish crime-writing festival Murder One was launched only in 2018, and for the last two years—ever since the COVID-19 pandemic struck—it has had to be presented exclusively online. Not this year, though. From October 4 to 9, Murder One is scheduling events to take place at the DLR LexIcon Library and Cultural Centre in Dún Laoghaire, just south of Dublin. Among 2022’s scheduled guests will be U.S. novelists Laura Lippman and Jean Hanff Korelitz, English fictionists Ann Cleeves and Mick Herron, Irish writers Catherine Ryan Howard and Brian McGilloway, and Agatha Christie biographer/TV presenter Lucy Worsley. Many of the in-person events will also be live-streamed online. For booking details, click here.

• In Reference to Murder reports that actor Shaun Sipos (Outer Range) “has been tapped as a major lead opposite Alan Ritchson in the upcoming second season of Reacher. From writer and showrunner Nick Santora and based on the novels by Lee Child, the series follows Jack Reacher (Ritchson), a veteran military police investigator who has just recently entered civilian life. In a one-year deal, Sipos will play David O’Donnell, who served with Reacher in the Army’s unit of special investigators and is like a brother to Reacher. While Season 1 was based on the first book in Child’s Jack Reacher series, Ritchson revealed in May on Instagram that Season 2 will follow the eleventh book in Child’s series, Bad Luck and Trouble. David O’Donnell is a prominent character in that book, the only novel in the series he is featured in, which explains Sipos’ one-season deal.”

• Congratulations to the Sisters in Crime organization for 35 years spent “fighting the patriarchy.”

• How does Peter Falk’s Lieutenant Columbo compare with the great Sherlock Holmes? “Despite being a very different character, and harking from an entirely different time and space,” The Columbophile blog opines, “Columbo may be the closest to Holmes of all their peers in terms of mental dexterity. But how much do these men really have in common when making a detailed comparison? Well, despite one being an upper-crust, cynical and occasionally drug-dependent Victorian-era Brit, and the other being from humble Italian-American stock, a grafter who has worked harder than others to get ahead, there is much to connect the two detectives—and those similarities expand way beyond a mutual love of tobacco.” Enjoy the whole story here.

• So much for that dream... In answer to the question, “At what point in human history were there too many (English) books to be able to read them all in one lifetime?,” Randall Munroe, the author of What If? 2, estimates the threshold was passed “sometime before the population of active English writers reached a few hundred,” which would have been right around the year 1500.

• Sadly, my book radar sometimes fails me. For instance, I entirely missed noticing this last July’s release of The Blood Ogre, the latest novel from Craig McDonald, best known for his pulpish Hector Lassiter series. Steven Powell offers this description:
The story revolves around the reputation of two remarkably prolific writers, Lester Dent and Walter B. Gibson. Dent suffered a nervous breakdown and early death in 1959, perhaps brought on by the impossible schedule of churning out Doc Savage novels by the dozen and averaging two million words a year on his typewriter. In his final days, Dent had hallucinations in which he would see and interact with Doc Savage characters. In 1965, Doc Savage and The Shadow novels are enjoying renewed popularity. The Shadow author Walter B. Gibson has a knack for publicity rooted in his parallel career as a magician. People start witnessing a black-clad figure looming around the Greenwich Village house where Gibson penned the final Shadow novel in 1949. Gibson claims it is a ‘living mind-projection’ of The Shadow. But if a hero can rise from the pages of an authors literary output, then what other, more sinister, characters will follow him?
Powell calls The Blood Ogre “devilishly good” and “an affectionate tribute to a bygone era.” Frankly, it’s meta-fictional conceit reminds me rather too much of Paul Malmont’s The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril (2006), a novel I was unable to finish. Nonetheless, I’ve enjoyed McDonald’s books in the past, so will likely look this one up, too.

• Not long before he starred in the high-tech NBC-TV private eye drama Search, actor Tony Franciosa appeared in an unsold pilot for the same network called The Catcher. The weekly program would’ve starred Michael Witney as Noah Hendrix, a former agent with the Seattle Bureau of Missing Persons, who now operates as an investigator chasing runaways and fugitives. I’ve never seen the full pilot, but I did discover a four-minute clip on YouTube that features Franciosa, Witney, Jan-Michael Vincent as Hendrix’s associate Sam Callende, and blues musician Piano Red. See it while you can!

• My, how times—and budgets—have changed! Back in 1968, it was considered extravagant for NBC to fork out $400,000 for every 90-minute episode of the crime-drama “wheel series” The Name of the Game. Compare that with some of today’s most expensive small-screen shows. According to the Internet research company VPN Overview, the Amazon Prime production Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power costs $60 million per installment. The Disney+ programs Hawkeye (2021), The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021), WandaVision (2021), Loki (2021), and Obi Wan Kenobi (2022) each budgeted $25,000,000 per episode, while Netflix spends $13,000,000 per episode on The Crown (2016-).

• Have you ever wanted to watch the first, black-and-white, half-hour episode of Jack Webb’s police drama, Dragnet, dating back to December 14, 1951? Well, here’s your chance.

• I didn’t realize, when I applauded the recent revival of The Washington Post’s Sunday Book World section after a dozen years, that its return would coincide with the end of another Sunday Post component I have come to appreciate immensely: the nearly 68-year-old Outlook section of commentary and news analysis. “The decision to retire the Outlook section,” Robert G. Kaiser and Steve Luxenberg explained in its last edition, on September 16, “and to consolidate the paper’s opinion journalism in the editorial department, is a measure of how dramatically the newspaper business has changed in its march from print to digital publication.” Outlook was one of the models I used when I created a four-page editorials section for my college newspaper, and I’ve enjoyed reading it whenever I have been in D.C. since, or have picked up the Sunday Post from a newsstand. Rolling its variety of contents into the Opinions pages is not an unreasonable solution, but it’s also not a happy one for those of us who once traveled directly from the front section of the Post to Outlook.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Revue of Reviewers: 9-20-22

Critiquing some of the most interesting recent crime, mystery, and thriller releases. Click on the individual covers to read more.

The Strand Selects Its Stars

I wasn’t available to watch last evening, when The Strand Magazine’s 2022 Critics Award winners were announced on Zoom. But Mystery Fanfare carried the news this morning. It seems fortune was determined to shine fondly once again on Virginia author S.A. Cosby, whose 2021 tale, Razorblade Tears, recently also picked up the Anthony Award for Best Novel, plus the Barry and Macavity awards for Best Mystery Novel. Below are this year’s Strand critics’ picks.

Best Mystery Debut: Bullet Train, by Kōtarō Isaka;
translated by Sam Malissa (Abrams)

Also nominated: Who Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews (Little, Brown); The Other Black Girl, by Zakiya Dalila Harris (Atria); Lightseekers, by Femi Kayode (Mulholland); Velvet Was the Night, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey); and All Her Little Secrets, by Wanda M. Morris (Morrow)

Best Mystery Novel: Razorblade Tears, by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron)

Also nominated: The Dark Hours, by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown); The Low Desert, by Tod Goldberg (Counterpoint); These Toxic Things, by Rachel Howzell Hall (Thomas & Mercer); Dream Girl, by Laura Lippman (Morrow); and 1979, by Val McDermid (Atlantic Monthly)

Publisher of the Year: Morgan Entrekin, president and publisher of Grove/Atlantic in New York City

Lifetime Achievement Awards: Sandra Brown and Nelson DeMille

Congratulations to every one of the 2022 nominees!

Monday, September 19, 2022

An Onscreen Revival of NoirCon

NoirCon is a biennial convention that won’t take place this year—online, rather than in person—until the end of next month. But already, the recipients of its three 2022 prizes have been announced. Those honors will be given out during the October 21-23 virtual event, together with three prizes that were not presented in 2018, due to that year’s convention in Philadelphia being cancelled. (There was no 2020 NoirCon, either, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The six prizeinners are listed below.

2018 Awards
David Goodis Award: Walter Mosley
Anne Friedberg Award for Contributions to Noir and its Preservation: Dana Polan
Kogan Award For Excellence: Geoffrey O’Brien and Max Rudin

2022 Awards
David Goodis Award: Megan Abbott
Anne Friedberg Award for Contributions to Noir and its Preservation: Sarah Weinman
Kogan Award For Excellence: Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini

According to the NoirCon Web site, this year's three-day symposium will celebrate noir “in all its artistic incarnations with live and pre-recorded events, including panel discussions, award ceremonies, author talks, art exhibitions, movie screenings, and more.” It adds that 2022 sessions “will be held on the Accelevents platform. An all-access pass covering the entire conference is $36. Registration includes access to the Accelevents platform for 30 days after the event, so attendees can re-watch events or catch up on panels they missed.” For more information, click here.

(Hat tip to The Gumshoe Site.)

Friday, September 16, 2022

Bullet Points: Hope and Hype Edition

• I first read about the possible shutting down of Mystery Scene magazine in Janet Rudolph’s Mystery Fanfare blog. Then came a bit more information in Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine editor George Easter’s post-Bouchercon round-up. There seems no escaping the truth of this matter: the Winter 2022 (mid-November) issue of Mystery Scene will be the last one produced by editor-in-chief Kate Stine (a veteran of the still-lamented Armchair Detective) and her husband, Brian Skupin, who acquired the publication in 2002 from previous owners Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg. That’s 20 years of success, marked in part by their winning an Anthony Award for Best Mystery Magazine in 2004 and, in 2006, an Ellery Queen Award for contributions to mystery publishing. But can this really be the end of Mystery Scene, a periodical so many of us have come to rely on for news, reviews, interviews, and features about the genre’s history? Stine tells me in an e-mail message that she and Skupin are definitely quitting as publishers. However, she adds, they are “putting the word out to anyone interested that the magazine is available [for sale]. We would be willing to work closely with new owners.” Anybody who could rescue this important asset to the mystery-fiction community is encouraged to contact Stine at “So, we’ll have to wait and see if the magazine ends with us or carries on,” says Stine. “We’re planning on keeping the Web site and the monthly newsletter going through the end of the year.”

• Because I was a big fan of Louis Bayard’s 2006 historical whodunit, The Pale Blue Eye, I have been following closely news about that book’s adaptation as a forthcoming Netflix film. The streaming company recently released “a first-look image” of actor Christian Bale in the role of Augustus “Gus” Landor, a lonely, alcoholic New York City detective, who—with help from cadet Edgar Allan Poe—investigates the vicious murder of another cadet at the West Point military academy in 1830. In addition, it was announced that this version of The Pale Blue Eye “will arrive on Netflix on January 6, after a limited awards-qualifying theatrical run that begins on December 23.” Harry Melling (The Queen’s Gambit) will play the young Poe, with Gillian Anderson, Toby Jones, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and the ever-lovely Lucy Boynton (Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?) helping to round out the cast.

• Meanwhile, word has spread that Enola Holmes 2, the quite unimaginatively titled sequel to Millie Bobby Brown’s enjoyable 2020 Netflix movie, Enola Holmes, is being readied for its small-screen premiere on November 4. “Enola’s newest adventure,” says Entertainment Weekly, “begins after a young girl working in a match factory hires her to locate her missing sister. Before long, Enola finds herself drawn into a high-stakes chase across London, journeying from the city’s seedy industrial underbelly to the glitzy galas of high society. In other words, the game is most certainly afoot.” Henry Cavill will again portray Enola’s elder sibling, Sherlock Holmes, with Helena Bonham Carter returning as Eudoria Holmes, and Adeel Akhtar slipping into the shoes of Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Lestrade.

• The broadcast news source Radio Times reports that Professor T., the humorous ITV-TV crime drama based on a Belgian program of the same name, will return to UK boob tubes with fresh episodes, beginning tonight. “Starring [Ben] Miller as Jasper Tempest and Harry Potter star Frances de la Tour as his mother Adelaide,” the magazine’s Web site explains, “the story will once again be set in Cambridge as the Professor continues to help the police solve unusual crimes. Season 2 may finally see the Professor get the help he needs as he embarks on therapy, which unearths more secrets from his troubled childhood.” There’s no word on when Season 2 might reach U.S. screens.

• Having concluded its run in the UK, Season 7 of Shetland premiered this week on BritBox in the States, bringing viewers the first of six final episodes to star Douglas Henshall as Shetland Islands Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, a character created by Ann Cleeves. The plot line this time out finds Perez being cleared, after a year’s uneasy suspension, of any wrongdoing in the shocking suicide of terminally ill patient Donna Killick. He then moves on quickly to investigate the disappearance and subsequent demise of a “sensitive” young graphic novelist, Connor Cairns. The Killing Times offers recaps of this week’s episode, plus the five others to come, though you may wish to exercise caution in reading, as spoilers are on offer.

• The Killing Times also brings news that filming has begun on the third season of Grace, the ITV-TV series starring John Simm and based on Peter James’ novels about Brighton-based Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. Like Season 2 (which I watched only last week), that upcoming series will comprise three episodes. I only hope Zoë Tapper returns as forensic pathologist Cleo Moray, whose relationship with the DSU helped flesh out his character and soften his intensity.

• And with James’ 18th Grace novel, Picture You Dead, due for release on this side of the Atlantic in late September, it’s worth looking over an interview he did with The Guardian a while back. In it, the author talks about how he learned a few pointers on techniques of art forgery—a major component of this new book’s story.

• Nobody should be surprised by news that I’m a huge fan of newspaper book-review sections, so I was pleased to read this in The Complete Review: “The Washington Post’s old stand-alone Book World section was discontinued in 2009 but, as former editor Ron Charles now reports: ‘The Washington Post’s stand-alone print book section is coming back!’—on 25 September. This is certainly good to hear. With the Canadian The Globe & Mail apparently also re-making their Arts & Books section as a stand-alone (on 10 September), this almost looks like a trend … Who will be next?”

• At the end of last month, I mentioned on this page that the anonymous author of The Columbophile Blog would soon welcome into the world his new book, The Columbo Companion, 1968-78: Investigating Every Detail of All 45 ‘Classic Era’ Columbo Adventures (Bonaventure Press). Back then, there were no ordering links online, but now I see it’s at least available from Amazon.

• While we’re talking about The Columbophile Blog, let me draw your attention to a trio of posts there that deserve your notice. Two of them finally identify the mysterious actresses behind memorable minor characters in Peter Falk’s original series—the nude model from “Suitable for Framing” and the “snooty” Tricon Industries from “An Exercise in Fatality”—while the third explains the “gargantuan” task of casting Columbo. (Included are many performers who never quite made it onto that rotating NBC Mystery Movie drama.)

From In Reference to Murder: “Writing for The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik profiled Georges Simenon and ‘The Mysterious Case of Inspector Maigret.’ He concluded that the Maigret books, seventy-five in all, seem more likely to be remembered than [Simenon’s] romans durs, the ‘hard books’ often set outside Paris and meant ‘as works of more self-conscious art.’” Time will tell. Andrew Nette looked back at those romans durs earlier this year in a fine CrimeReads piece.

In its tweet touting “James Bond Day” on October 5, Ian Fleming Publications teased the coming of a major—though unspecified—announcement. Rumors are now rife that there will be a new Bond continuation novel, to follow the last three by Anthony Horowitz.

• Former James Bond portrayer George Lazenby may want to amend some of his moral positions before again seeking public attention.

• In a long, thoughtful piece for The Conversation, a news and analysis site, writers Stewart King, Alistair Rolls, and Jesper Gulddal consider “how crime fiction went global, embracing themes from decolonisation to climate change.”

• With two months or so yet to go before a winner is pronounced, Karen Meek writes in the Euro Crime blog that “31 of the 34 titles that were eligible for the 2022 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year have been entered by the publishers.” Among them are works by Anders de la Motte, Lilja Sigurðardóttir, Arnaldur Indridason, Antti Tuomainen, and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir.

• Believe it or not, there’s a certifiable whodunit on this year’s longlist of 10 National Book Award nominees in the Fiction category. It’s Shutter, by Ramona Emerson, released in early August by Soho Crime. Here’s the plot synopsis from Amazon:
Rita Todacheene is a forensic photographer working for the Albuquerque police force. Her excellent photography skills have cracked many cases—she is almost supernaturally good at capturing details. In fact, Rita has been hiding a secret: she sees the ghosts of crime victims who point her toward the clues that other investigators overlook.

As a lone portal back to the living for traumatized spirits, Rita is terrorized by nagging ghosts who won’t let her sleep and who sabotage her personal life. Her taboo and psychologically harrowing ability was what drove her away from the Navajo reservation, where she was raised by her grandmother. It has isolated her from friends and gotten her in trouble with the law.

And now it might be what gets her killed.
The competition for this annual prize is likely to be fierce, and Shutter may not triumph in the end. Still, it’s nice to see a work of crime fiction recognized for its literary excellence.

• I won’t argue with this assessment, in the blog Paperback Warrior, of Alistair MacLean’s already much-praised 1957 novel: “The Guns of Navarone is an absolute masterpiece of high-adventure, and I give it the highest recommendation. You won’t be disappointed with the story, plot development, or characters. MacLean deserved the heaps of praise his early and mid-career novels received. He was a master craftsman and you owe it to yourself to read one of his best. Whether this one is as good, or better, than Where Eagles Dare [1966] is up for debate. I love them both equally.”

• R.I.P., Elizabeth Gunn, “author of the Detective Jake Hines series and the Sarah Burke series,” and best-selling American horror writer Peter Straub (Ghost Story). Also gone is Williams Reynolds, who starred as Special Agent Tom Colby on 161 episodes of The F.B.I.

• Finally, the death last week of Queen Elizabeth II led publications worldwide to reflect not only on the real-life, 70-year career of that British monarch, but also on her numerous appearances—without her express permission, of course—in works of fiction. An Associated Press piece, for instance, recalled the queen’s role in the plots of various films and TV shows, and observed that author S.J. Bennett has turned her into a sleuth in two novels thus far, with another (Murder Most Royal) due out in November. The article might also have noted Canadian author Douglas Whiteway’s three novels, penned under the pseudonym C.C. Benison, about a fictional royal housemaid, one Jane Bee, who is infrequently called upon by Her Majesty to solve crimes at the Queen’s estates; that series’ opening installment was Death at Buckingham Palace (1996). And what of Susan Elia MacNeal’s 2021 mystery, Princess Elizabeth's Spy, in which MI5 agent-in-training Maggie Hope safeguards the young future soverign and her sister from possible Nazi provocateurs at Windsor Castle? Or William F. Buckley’s Saving the Queen (1976)? Although that first Blackford Oakes espionage novel, set in 1952, finds the undercover CIA agent in Britain protecting (and eventually bedding) a young “Queen Caroline,” that character is unquestionably based on Elizabeth, who ascended to the thrown in 1952 after the demise of her father, King George VI.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

“Forgive” Not So Easy to Forget

Less than a week after publicizing the shortlist of contenders for the 2022 McIlvanney Prize, organizers of this year’s Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival—which began today in Stirling, Scotland, and will continue into Sunday—have identified the winner of that competition: May God Forgive, by Alan Parks (Canongate).

Released in the States this last spring, May God Forgive is the fifth installment in Parks’ series starring too-often self-abusive but nonetheless determined Glasgow police detective Harry McCoy. A Publishers Weekly review says the story “finds McCoy just out of hospital after a four-week stay to rest a perforated ulcer. Subsisting on a diet of Pepto-Bismol and alcohol, he fumbles around the edges of a fire-bombing case that killed five women and children in a hairdressing salon. Three young men are charged with the crime. Their subsequent kidnapping from the van driving them to prison raises the stakes. McCoy pulls at loose threads until connections to other murders—and to a longtime gangster friend of his—appear. Throughout the unrelenting violence and the pathos of abject mid-city poverty, Parks keeps the focus on McCoy. Deeply flawed and battered by life, he doggedly persists in the hope things will turn out well for him, though the reader realizes they likely won’t.” PW ends by stating that May God Forgive “ranks with the best of Ian Rankin and Stuart MacBride.”

Parks’ latest tale came out on top in this contest against four worthy challengers: The Heretic, by Liam McIlvanney (HarperCollins); A Corruption of Blood, by Ambrose Parry (Canongate); and The Second Cut, by Louise Welsh (Canongate).

The annual McIlvanney Prize, named in honor of writer William McIlvanney, who died in 2015, celebrates “the best Scottish crime book of the year.” Previous recipients include Hyde, by Craig Russell; Pine, by Francine Too; and A Treachery of Spies, by Manda Scott.

In addition to news of Parks’ victory, it was announced today that Tariq Ashkanani has won the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize for his Nebraska-set yarn, Welcome to Cooper (Thomas & Mercer), described as an “explosive thriller of bad choices and dark crimes.” Arusa Qureshi, chair of the Debut Prize judges, called the novel “well-structured, bleak and just the right amount of disturbing,” adding: “I found myself going back and re-reading once I’d finished to make sure I had every detail right, which I think is the mark of a really clever and riveting story.”

For more information about these awards, click here.

We Certainly Know Bublitz’s Name Now

Something unusual happened in New Zealand during last night’s presentation of the 2022 Ngaio Marsh Awards for crime fiction: the same book, Jacqueline Bublitz’s Before You Knew My Name (Allen & Unwin), scooped up both Best Novel and Best First Novel honors.

“Ngaio Marsh Awards founder Craig Sisterson noted,” according to a news release, “that while a few excellent debuts have been shortlisted for both categories over the past several years, Before You Knew My Name is the first book to ever win two Ngaio Marsh Awards. [Taranaki author] Bublitz also joins Christchurch author and international bestseller Paul Cleave, a three-time Best Novel winner, as the only Kiwi storytellers with multiple Ngaios. So far.” That same press alert goes on to mention that “The two Ngaio Marsh Awards add to a list of accolades for Bublitz’s debut that include winning General Fiction Book of the Year at the ABIA Awards, being shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger in the UK, and winning the Debut Crime and Readers’ Choice prizes at the Davitt Awards of Sisters in Crime Australia.”

So what does Bublitz’s yarn entail? Here’s the synopsis: “While Before You Knew My Name shares an inciting incident familiar to any viewer of U.S. cop shows—a jogger in New York City finds the body of a young woman—in her debut Bublitz flips the script by taking readers deep into the lives of Alice and Ruby, the victim and the jogger, rather than the detectives.” The book was first published in May 2021, but an American edition won’t reach stores until November 1.

Although Bubitz’s tale grabs today’s headlines, let us recognize as well the other works pitted against Before You Knew My Name. Also nominated in the Best Novel category were The Devils You Know, by Ben Sanders (Allen & Unwin); She’s a Killer, by Kirsten McDougall (Te Herenga Waka University Press); Quiet in Her Bones, by Nalini Singh (Hachette); The Quiet People, by Paul Cleave (Upstart Press); and Nancy Business, by R.W.R. McDonald (Allen & Unwin). Contending, too, for Best First Novel recognition were Isobar Precinct, by Angelique Kasmara (Cuba Press); Waking the Tiger, by Mark Wightman (Hobeck); Small Mouth Demon, by Matt Zwartz (Poetry in Motion); and Shadow Over Edmund Street, by Suzanne Frankham (Journeys to Words).

Congratulations to all of this year’s Ngaio Marsh nominees!

Monday, September 12, 2022

PaperBack: “Secret Session”

Part of a series honoring the late author and blogger Bill Crider.

Secret Session, by “Jason Hytes,” aka John Plunkett (Midwood, 1965). The blog Pulp International says this “psychotherapy sleazer … was originally published in 1962 as The Doctor and the Dike, so you can probably figure out the plot yourself just based on the titles. Basically, a high-priced headshrinker's roster of female patients heat up his sessions, but it’s his lesbian receptionist who really sparks a more-than-professional interest. In mid-century fiction every lesbian is just a man-hungry freak in waiting.”

Cover illustration by Paul Rader.

Best Showings in Blighty

I’m a bit tardy in reporting this, but I only just happened upon the news (in The Bookseller) that “Northumberland-based author Jacqueline Auld has won the [2022] Lindisfarne Prize for Crime Fiction, an award which celebrates the outstanding crime and thriller storytelling of those who are from, or whose work celebrates, north-east England.” The Lindisfarne is given annually to a work that has not yet been published in any form.

The Bookseller goes on to explain that “Auld’s submission, The Children of Gaia, was selected by the prize’s panel of judges, featuring crime writer Nicky Black, founder of Newcastle Noir festival Dr. Jacky Collins, last year’s winner of the prize Robert Scragg, and [the prize’s founder, author L.J.] Ross,” whose publishing imprint, Dark Skies Publishing, sponsors this honor together with the Newcastle Noir Crime Writing Festival and Newcastle Libraries. Auld is slated to be given £2,500 in prize money “to support the completion of her work, and funding towards a year’s membership of the Society of Authors and the Alliance of Independent Authors.”

As I noted in August, there were four rivals for this commendation: Clare Sewell’s Can't Hide, Duncan Robb’s Sharp Focus, Katherine Graham’s Salted Earth, and Ramona Slusarczyk’s The Taste of Iron.

Learn more about Auld and the Lindisfarne Prize here.

* * *

Meanwhile, today’s e-mail brings the announcement, from London’s Goldsboro Books, that TV journalist and author Elodie Harper has won the 2022 Glass Bell Award for The Wolf Den, “the first novel in a new trilogy re-imagining the lives of the forgotten women of Pompeii’s brothels, published by Head of Zeus.” As this year’s victor, Harper has received £2,000 and “a beautiful, handmade glass bell.”

There were five other contenders for the Glass Bell this year: We Are All Birds of Uganda, by Hafsa Zayyan (Merky); Sistersong, by Lucy Holland (Macmillan); Ariadne, by Jennifer Saint (Wildfire); Mrs. March, by Virginia Feito (Fourth Estate); and Daughters of Night, by Laura Shepherd Robinson (Mantle). Of those, only Daughters of the Night (one of my favorite books of 2021) can be deemed a crime/mystery novel. But the Glass Bell covers broader ground. As press materials explain, it is “awarded annually to a compelling novel, of any genre—from romance and thrillers, to historical, speculative and literary fiction—with brilliant characterisation and a distinct voice that is confidently written and assuredly realized.”

The Glass Bell Award was created in 2017 by Goldsboro Books co-founder David Headley. Last year’s winner was Clare Whitfield’s People of Abandoned Character (Head of Zeus), which provided an unusual perspective on the 19th-century’s Jack the Ripper slayings.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

“The Uncles” Are Both Back

This is great news! I hope the Bouchercon attendees now in Minnesota’s Twin Cities will avail themselves of the opportunity to visit this resurrected enterprise. From Shelf Awareness:
Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore in Minneapolis, Minn., which was burned down in May 2020 during the unrest following the murder of George Floyd, has fully reopened in its new location, CBS News reported.

Owner Don Blyly has moved the science fiction bookstore, along with its mystery-focused counterpart Uncle Edgar’s, to a building at 2716 E. 31st St. It is across the street from Minneapolis indie Moon Palace Books and roughly two miles from the building that burned in May 2020.

The new store opened to the public on a limited basis on August 14, and on Tuesday opened with regular hours. Blyly told CBS that he lost some 200,000 books in the fire and is still rebuilding the inventory. Most of the store’s new inventory has arrived, and about 95% of the store’s used book inventory has come from his own personal collection.

The new space is about 20% smaller than the previous location, and as a result Uncle Hugo's will cut down some categories of used books, including paranormal romance, submarine adventure novels and a lot of true crime books. The store has resumed buying used books, and it will host its first author event in more than two years on Saturday, with Mike Kupari (
Trouble Walked In).
You can read more about the shop’s long-awaited reopening here.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Cosby’s Southern Noir Triumphs Up North

Bouchercon 2022 has shaped up as a most favorable convention for Gloucester, Virginia​, author S.A. Cosby, so far as prize wins go. Not only did his book Razorblade Tears receive the Barry and Macavity awards for Best Mystery Novel, but it has also now collected the Anthony Award for Best Novel. In addition, Cosby picked up the latest Anthony for Best Short Story. Below is the full complement of this year’s Anthony champs.

Best Novel:
Razorblade Tears, by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron)

Also nominated: Runner, by Tracy Clark (Kensington); The Collective, by Alison Gaylin (Morrow); Clark and Division, by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Crime); and These Toxic Things, by Rachel Howzell Hall (Thomas & Mercer)

Best First Novel:
Arsenic and Adobo, by Mia P. Manansala (Berkley Prime Crime)

Also nominated: Her Name Is Knight, by Yasmin Angoe (Thomas & Mercer); The Other Black Girl, by Zakiya Dalila Harris (Atria); Walking Through Needles, by Heather Levy (Polis); and All Her Little Secrets, by Wanda M. Morris (Morrow)

Best Short Story:
“Not My Cross to Bear,” by S.A. Cosby (from Trouble No More: Crime Fiction Inspired by Southern Rock and the Blues, edited by Mark Westmoreland; Down & Out)

Also nominated: “The Search for Eric Garcia,” by E.A. Aymar (from Midnight Hour: A Chilling Anthology of Crime Fiction from 20 Authors of Color, edited by Abby L. Vandiver; Crooked Lane); “The Vermeer Conspiracy,” by V.M. Burns (from Midnight Hour); “Lucky Thirteen,” by Tracy Clark (from Midnight Hour); “Doc’s at Midnight,” by Richie Narvaez (from Midnight Hour); “The Locked Room Library,” by Gigi Pandian (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, July/August 2021); and “Burnt Ends,” by Gabriel Valjan (from This Time for Sure: Bouchercon Anthology 2021, edited by Hank Phillippi Ryan; Down & Out)

Best Children’s/YA:
I Play One on TV, by Alan Orloff (Down & Out)

Also nominated: Cold-Blooded Myrtle, by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Algonquin Young Readers); Bury Me in Shadows, by Greg Herren (Bold Strokes); The Forest of Stolen Girls, by June Hur (Feiwel & Friends); and Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche, by Nancy Springer (Wednesday)

Best Anthology:
This Time for Sure: Bouchercon Anthology 2021, edited by Hank Phillippi Ryan
(Down & Out)

Also nominated: Under the Thumb: Stories of Police Oppression, edited by S.A. Cosby (Rock & A Hard Place Press); Midnight Hour: A Chilling Anthology of Crime Fiction from 20 Authors of Color, edited by Abby L. Vandiver (Crooked Lane); Trouble No More: Crime Fiction Inspired by Southern Rock and the Blues, edited by Mark Westmoreland (Down & Out); and When a Stranger Comes to Town, edited by Michael Koryta (Hanover Square Press)

Best Paperback/EBook/AudioBook (paperback publishers listed):
Bloodline, by Jess Lourey (Thomas & Mercer)

Also nominated: The Ninja Betrayed, by Tori Eldridge (Agora); Warn Me When It’s Time, by Cheryl A. Head (Bywater); Bury Me in Shadows, by Greg Herren (Bold Strokes); and The Mother Next Door, by Tara Laskowski (Graydon House)

Best Critical/Non-fiction:
How to Write a Mystery: A Handbook from Mystery Writers of America, edited by Lee Child and Laurie R. King (Simon & Schuster)

Also nominated: The Combat Zone: Murder, Race, and Boston’s Struggle for Justice, by Jan Brogan (Bright Leaf Press); Murder Book: A Graphic Memoir of a True Crime Obsession, by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell (Andrews McMeel); Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York, by Elon Green (Celadon); and The Haunting of Alma Fielding: A True Ghost Story, by Kate Summerscale (Penguin Press)

Lifetime Achievement Award: Ellen Hart

International Lifetime Achievement Award: Alexander McCall Smith

This year’s Bouchercon concludes early tomorrow afternoon. The 2023 convention, “Murder at the Marina,” is slated to take place in San Diego, California, from next August 30 to September 3.

READ MORE:The State of the Crime Novel: A Roundtable Discussion with Crime Authors,” by Molly Odintz (CrimeReads).

Twice the Honors in the Twin Cities

This week’s Bouchercon convention, being held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has already brought the announcement of two different sets of crime-fiction awards, with more prizes to come.

* * *

First up are the Barry Awards, presented annually by Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine, and named in honor of Barry W. Gardner, a longtime crime-fiction fan and book reviewer, who passed away in 1996.

Best Mystery/Crime Novel:
Razorblade Tears, by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron)

Also nominated: The Dark Hours, by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown); Last Redemption, by Matt Coyle (Oceanview); Clark and Division, by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Crime); Billy Summers, by Stephen King (Scribner); and We Begin at the End, by Chris Whitaker (Henry Holt)

Best First Mystery/Crime Novel:
Sleeping Bear, by Connor Sullivan (Emily Bestler/Atria)

Also nominated: Who Is Maude Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews (Little, Brown); Girl A, by Abigail Dean (Viking); Down Range, by Taylor Moore (Morrow); Falling, by T.J. Newman (Simon & Schuster); and Steel Fear, by Brandon Webb and John David Mann (Bantam)

Best Paperback Original:
The Good Turn, by Dervla McTiernan (Blackstone)

Also nominated: The Hunted, by Gabriel Bergmoser (HarperCollins); Arsenic and Adobo, by Mia P. Manansala (Berkley); Black Coral, by Andrew Mayne (Thomas & Mercer); Search for Her, by Rick Mofina (Mira); and Bound, by Vanda Symon (Orenda)

Best Thriller:
Five Decembers, by James Kestrel (HardCase Crime)

Also nominated: The Devil’s Hand, by Jack Carr (Emily Bestler/Atria); The Nameless Ones, by John Connolly (Emily Bestler/Atria); Dead by Dawn, by Paul Doiron (Minotaur); Relentless, by Mark Greaney (Berkley); and Slough House, by Mick Herron (Soho Crime)

* * *

Next come the Macavity Awards, named for T.S. Eliot’s “mystery cat” (in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats), with winners selected by members of Mystery Readers International.

Best Mystery Novel:
Razorblade Tears, by S. A. Cosby (Flatiron)

Also nominated: The Dark Hours, by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown); 1979, by Val McDermid (Atlantic Monthly Press); Bobby March Will Live Forever, by Alan Parks (World Noir); We Begin at the End, by Chris Whitaker (Henry Holt); and Harlem Shuffle, by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)

Best First Mystery Novel:
Arsenic and Adobo, by Mia P. Manansala (Berkley)

Also nominated: Who is Maude Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews (Little, Brown); Girl A, by Abigail Dean (Viking); Deer Season, by Erin Flanagan (University of Nebraska Press); and All Her Little Secrets, by Wanda M. Morris (Morrow)

Best Mystery Short Story:
“Sweeps Week,” by Richard Helms (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine [EQMM], July/August 2021)

Also nominated: “Lucky Thirteen,” by Tracy Clark (from Midnight Hour, edited by Abby L. Vandiver; Crooked Lane); “Curious Incidents,” by Steve Hockensmith (EQMM, January/February 2021); “The Road to Hana,” by R.T. Lawton (Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, May/June 2021); “The White Star,” by G.M. Malliet (EQMM, July/August 2021); “The Locked Room Library,” by Gigi Pandian (EQMM, July/August 2021); and “Julius Katz and the Two Cousins,” by Dave Zeltserman (EQMM, July/August 2021)

Best Non-fiction/Critical:
How to Write a Mystery: A Handbook from Mystery Writers of America, edited by Lee Child with Laurie R. King (Scribner)

Also nominated: Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World, by Mark Aldridge (HarperCollins); The Confidence Men: How Two Prisoners of War Engineered the Most Remarkable Escape in History, by Margalit Fox (Random House); The Unquiet Englishman: A Life of Graham Greene, by Richard Greene (Norton); Tony Hillerman: A Life, by James McGrath Morris (University of Oklahoma); The Reason for the Darkness of the Night: Edgar Allan Poe and the Forging of American Science, by John Tresch (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); and The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock: An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense, by Edward White (Norton)

Sue Feder Memorial Award for Best Historical Mystery:
Clark and Division, by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Crime)

Also nominated: The Venice Sketchbook, by Rhys Bowen (Lake Union); The Hollywood Spy, by Susan Elia MacNeal (Bantam); The Bombay Prince, by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime); Velvet Was the Night, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey); and Death at Greenway, by Lori Rader-Day (Morrow)

A hearty congratulations to double prize recipient S.A. Cosby and all the rest of this year’s Barry and Macavity nominees!

Awaiting a Stirling Performance

When you’re operating what is at least partly a news site, there’s never a good time to go on vacation. But this week proved to be even less opportune than I expected. Not only did Queen Elizabeth II die (an event that scored worldwide front-page newspaper coverage, and even hit the James Bond-oriented Spy Command blog), but the latest Bouchercon is currently in progress in Minneapolis, Minnesota (more on that shortly), and the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival chose this last Tuesday to announce its finalists for the 2022 McIlvanney Prize for “best Scottish crime book of the year.”

Let’s deal with that last development first. Three months after Bloody Scotland organizers released their longlist of 10 candidates for the McIlvanney (named in honor of William McIlvanney, who passed away in 2015), they’re back with a shortlist of just four contenders:

The Heretic, by Liam McIlvanney (HarperCollins)
May God Forgive, by Alan Parks (Canongate)
A Corruption of Blood, by Ambrose Parry (Canongate)
The Second Cut, by Louise Welsh (Canongate)

The judges will reveal their newest McIlvanney award winner—plus the recipient of this year’s Bloody Scotland Debut Prize—on Thursday, September 15, as part of the festivities surrounding the opening of the 2022 Bloody Scotland festival in Stirling, Scotland.

Thursday, September 08, 2022

Revue of Reviewers: 9-8-22

Critiquing some of the most interesting recent crime, mystery, and thriller releases. Click on the individual covers to read more.