3rd Degree (Discussion)


  1. This page is for free-for-all mystery talk. We hope our visitors will drop in and chat with us about what books they're reading and anything else mystery-related that strikes the fancy.

    I just started G. M. Malliet's Wicked Autumn, the first in a new series featuring former MI-5 agent Max Tudor, now an Anglican priest. The book is proving that the traditional English village mystery isn't dead, even if the F-bomb is thrown in.

  2. I'm reading Karin Slaughter's FALLEN. I really like Will Trent, and Slaughter has merged him with Sara Linton. Interesting dynamics, if you're a Slaughter fan.

    Not getting very far with Jo Nesbo. Have tried two of his novels. DNF. I guess I'm too AMerican.

  3. Hi Libby, it's very good to see you!

    I've never tried Karin Slaughter. She's on my list of authors I need to get around to reading.

    I'm surprised that you don't like Jo Nesbø. I would have thought his Harry Hole books would be right up your alley. Do you have specific objections? I've read his THE REDBREAST, NEMESIS, and THE DEVIL'S STAR and enjoyed them. Hype that makes him out to be the successor to Stieg Larsson misses the mark; it's like saying that any American thriller writer is another Stephen King.

  4. Hi Libby and thanks for coming to see us.

    Are you making it a mission to dislike everybody I like? First Louise Penny and now Jo Nesbø? Though I have to say I wasn't crazy about his most recent book, The Leopard.

    I haven't read Karin Slaughter either. Yet another "too many books, too little time" problem.

  5. Hi, all. Was just turned onto the site via Libby's Facebook post. I've been reading mysteries for ages -- my grandmother used to loan me hers, therefore turning me on to every series SHE was a fan of. Later on, I worked in a bookstore and used my employee discount to expand into new reading territories!

    I'm a big fan of UK crime fiction for some odd reason. I love the tone and the style. Mo Hayder is one of my favorites and I've recently added Kate Atkinson to the list. Also love psychological thrillers a la Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters.

    I've read Nesbo's Redbreast and liked it enough to move on to more titles (though have yet to get to them) and have read two of Penny's books. I loved A Brutal Telling (my first by her) but didn't enjoy Still Life as much. I consider myself a fan, though, and have the others in the series in my To Be Read pile.

    I read a ton of different genres, but have to admit that most of them include some sort of mystery or crime element. I'm currently reading Carol Goodman's The Drowning Tree.

  6. Becky LeJeune, we're happy to meet you. Your post made me laugh. I can relate to your being turned on to certain books by an older member of your family. My dad was heavily into the Russians, and I spent many happy reading hours slogging through Siberia and in St. Petersburg as a kid.

    I can't imagine working in a bookstore. Either my head would explode or I'd have no money to pay for food. I hope our friend Jane, who once owned a bookstore, will be joining us in the 3rd Degree. She's directed me to some great Irish fiction and mysteries.

    I agree, the UK has been churning out great crime fiction for decades. I'm a fan of British writers from the Golden Age up to the present. Cyril Hare, Michael Gilbert, Dorothy Sayers, Nicholas Blake, Margery Allingham, Michael Innes. Espionage writers like John LeCarré, Eric Ambler, Len Deighton. I like Kate Atkinson, whose writing lets your mind kinda wander around with her thought processes. P. D. James, Reginald Hill. Mo Hayder is great; she can be disturbing. I love psychological suspense, too. Ruth Rendell, especially writing as Barbara Vine. Minette Walters.

    Do you like P. G. Wodehouse, Becky?

    Are you enjoying the Goodman book? I haven't read it, but it sounds very interesting. I've read some mixed reviews. Some readers don't seem to like the present tense.

  7. I'm actually reading Libby Fischer Helmann's new book, TOXICITY. It is a prequel to the Georgia Davis series. As does all of Libby's books, it hooked me right away!

  8. Aww, Kathy... you know how to make a girl smile.

    I need to read Mo Hayder. Everyone talks about her. Thanks for the reminder, Becky. Glad you found your way over.

    I will try Nesbo again, but I have THREE SECONDS to read first. DId you read that, Sister?

  9. I've not yet read any Wodehouse, though I know I should.

    I'm enjoying the Goodman book. I've read her before, so I know I like the way she lets her stories play out. I also like all of the thought and research that goes into her books.

  10. Libby, I keep starting THREE SECONDS but then get into something else. I don't know what's wrong with me! And since there is so much time between picking it up, I always have to start at the beginning!

  11. Libby, I haven't read THREE SECONDS. I'm kind of off the Nordics at the moment. Not in the mood for all that brooding. Maybe as the days get short that will change.

    Becky, thanks for posting. I love all the British writers you posted about, except I draw the line at psychological suspense. I couldn't even stay in the room when The Twilight Zone was on, so Mo Hayder and the like are definitely out for me. Other British writers I really like are John Lawton, Philip Kerr, Barry Maitland, Robert Barnard, Peter Lovesey and Stephen Booth.

    The first Louise Penny I read was STILL LIFE and I thought it was OK, but it didn't do much for me. I picked up her second book at a book sale and it sat on my shelf for a year. Once I read it, I tore through the rest and since then I've waited impatiently for every new title in the series.

  12. Something happened last night while I was sleeping. Somehow my brain was drained of all lubricating fluids and I can barely think. Is it the changing seasons?

    Sister, winter is the perfect time for reading the Nordics or books from any country with hard winters. When I'm shivering in a heavy sweater a book set in the scorching heat can make me feel sorry for myself. Henning Mankell's Wallander can be pretty gloomy but his pessimistic mood feels right when it's snowing. Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö's lefty slant on society and Janwillem Van de Wetering's Zen-ish outlook are perfect with a cuppa tea. Give me Boris Akunin, Martin Cruz Smith, Tom Rob Smith, Stuart Kaminsky and a small glass of vodka when the wind starts screaming and I am in Russia. Arnaldur Indridason and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and bingo I'm in Iceland. It's good to know I'm not the only one in the world chilled to the bone.

    It's good having you here, Becky. Bibliophiles of the World Unite! Maybe your New Year's resolution should be to read a Wodehouse. Those books are a must. As are the Horace Rumpole books by John Mortimer. I'll faint dead away if you tell me you haven't cracked one of those open.

    Libby, I'd like to hear what you're working on now.

    Georgette, no one who knows you can imagine you WORKING in a bookstore. Your nose would be glued to a book when you weren't talking to the customers.

  13. Kathy, please tell us about Libby Fischer Hellmann's TOXICITY when you're finished. I'm one of her fans. Her SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE is a vivid reconstruction of the days of protest in Chicago. Books set in that city are a perfect by-the-fire read. Even if the book is set during the summer, knowing how horrible Chicago winters are makes me feel comparatively lucky.

  14. Della, don't you know we don't allow visitors from November through the end of March in Chicago. It's the only way to preserve our reputation. Such as it is.

    What I'm working on? Hmm... the nice way to put it is that I'm "writing my way around the genre." The actual truth is that I'm a bit scattered these days.

    As you know, I just released TOXICITY, which is a prequel to the Georgia series. I'm currently revising A BITTER VEIL (although my publisher tells me she'd like to change the title), which is a crime thriller that takes place mostly in Iran during the revolution of 1979. Short version: a young woman marries an Iranian, moves to Tehran, and the revolution happens around them. He's killed half way through the book, and she's accused of the murder. It will be coming out next spring, and I'm very excited about it.

    I'm also 2/3 done with a multi-generational thriller that's set in Cuba. I need to finish it. And yes, while I didnt go to Iran, I'm going to Cuba in February.

    THen I'm going back to the 3rd Georgia Davis book. I left her on page 60, and she's beginning to complain.

    Thanks for asking!

  15. Dell, your mental gears have been making alarming squeaking and scraping noises for weeks. I prescribe a few hours in a comfy chair with a non-mentally taxing book. Wodehouse or John Mortimer. Or, since you say you've been enjoying legal mysteries, and I know you like Paul Levine's humorous Jake Lassiter books and his Solomon vs. Lord series set in Florida, how about some Henry Cecil? British humor and law. Try Cecil's Roger Thursby trilogy (BROTHERS IN LAW, FRIENDS AT COURT, and SOBER AS A JUDGE). The best reference book on legal mysteries is the amazing NOVEL VERDICTS by Jon L. Breen. Breen gives synopses/critical remarks about 790 books. It's a diamond mine of information, and I like reading it as much as the books Breen discusses.

    If you're looking for a book set in the bitter cold to make you feel comparatively warm, get Dan Simmons's THE TERROR. It's historical fiction/suspense/gothic horror about Captain Sir John Franklin's lost expedition to the Arctic in the 1800s. I guarantee you'll never feel cold again. Or, how about a book by one of our northern neighbors? Canadian Giles Blunt writes an excellent police procedural series featuring John Cardinal. Start with FORTY WORDS FOR SORROW. You'll taste the snow flakes on your tongue.

  16. Hi All,

    Congratulations Material Witnesses for creating one of the most interesting and entertaining mystery reader websites I've seen, I could get lost here for hours.

    Hi Libby,

    How are you?

    I can't help commenting on the books you're planning to read and hope you don't mind if I change the order you read them in, lol.
    I suggest reading Mo Hayder's books first, Roslund & Helstrom's Box 21 and The Beast next, anything by Nesbo, maybe The Snowman first and Three Seconds last.

    I'm looking forward to seeing you at Bouchercon next week and hope you have time to sign a few books for me and Jane Britt.


  17. Hi Susie,

    You really know your Nordic authors, but I never thought the day would come when you would post with out a wee mention of Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander. Before as well as after the publication of Stieg Larsson trilogy He is one author who has been held up as an example of the ideal Nordic writer of mysteries. His Wallander series begins with FACELESS KILLERS and his non-series books are individual gems.

  18. Hi Maltese Condor,

    I think I've exhausted myself, finally, raving about my first Nordic love, Henning Mankell and my second, Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo.

    Stieg Larsson is another story, I've been listening to The Millennium Trilogy for months. I'm afraid that's about to change next week.

    I asked Maine to recommend some audiobooks for my road trip to St. Louis. She thought I would enjoy CITY OF THIEVES, I think she said it was the best book she's read this year. I'm also taking A TRICK OF THE LIGHT, the new Three Pines Mystery by Louise Penny, a series she's recommended before.


  19. Hi Kathy,

    There's nothing wrong with you!

    THREE SECONDS starts very slow, it takes off halfway through the story.
    Maybe you should start at the middle. I couldn't get past the first 100 pages of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and listening to it was just as bad. I was so desperate to read it, starting at the middle got me through it.

  20. I had to stop by the library today to pick up a reference book and, as usual, despite the fact that I have over 100 books on my to-be-read shelf, I looked at the new books. I couldn't resist these:

    Amor Towles: Rules of Civility

    Catriona McPherson: Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Blood Stains (Part of a series I haven't read, called a "subtle detonation of the cosy genre" and its heroine a mix of Dorothy Parker and Miss Marple.)

    Paul Malmont: The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown. How could I resist a book in which Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and others join forces in 1943 to beat the Nazis?

    Has anybody read these?

  21. I have read the first three Dandy Gilver novels and have sound them interesting and amusing. There is a good sense of time and place with a feeling of nostalgia for an era long gone. Dandy is living in a decade of rapid and substantial changes in most of the aspects of British country life. Her relationship with her husband, who appears mostly to be a monosyllabic country gent, is an interesting study of a very unromantic marriage. This works in Gilver's favor when she needs to go a sleuthing.

  22. MC, thanks for telling me about the Dandy Gilver books. My husband swiped the Paul Malmont book, so Dandy Gilver might be next for me, after I finish my current book.

  23. Hi everyone,
    this is my second attempt to say "I'm here". Seems my first comment 'got lost'. It happens.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading this blog and getting ideas on good books (ebooks included).

  24. Hi cave76, glad you could make it! In spite of groaning TBR shelves, I think we all look forward to good book recommendations. Right now, though, I have to go balance my checkbook. A mystery, but not one I'd recommend.

  25. I'm nearing the end of TOXICITY. At Chapter 39 I became very angry with one of the characters, and he hasn't redeemed himself yet.
    I promise to report when I'm finished!
    (Isn't that the mark of good writing? When the reader cares enough about the characters to get angry with one?)

  26. Sister, Sister, Sister. You're one of my dearest book friends, but your statement, that you have to go balance your checkbook, reminds me how different we are. My checkbook might faint if I tried to do that.

    We're happy you're here, cave76. Thank you for refusing to admit defeat when your previous post wandered away. What kind of books do you like? Who are your favorite authors? Genres besides crime fiction that you read? There's nothing we like better than giving suggestions to people who are looking for books similar to the ones they've liked or who would enjoy trying something different.

    Given how many good books and undiscovered great authors we don't know about, we love hearing recommendations from our blog readers, too. We'd love to have everyone join us on the 3rd Degree. We have blog readers from all over the world, and I'm thinking, "What is that person who lives in Barbados reading? That person in New Zealand? All these Americans?" Please don't be shy. Nobody has read all the good books. And what I think is good may not be what you think. Let us know your thoughts.

    As we get closer to the end of 2011, I guarantee that Sister Mary will ask people to list their favorite reads of the year. She calls list making, junk drawer straightening, and closet cleaning enjoyable activities. I dread making lists, but I love reading other people's lists. It's a wonderful resource for finding new books.

    Here are a few books I like, and maybe you'd like them, too.

    Historical fiction? How about Rebecca C. Pawel's atmospheric DEATH OF A NATIONALIST, set in post-Civil War Spain, and full of memorable characters. Or Max Allan Collins's 20th-century historical fiction series featuring PI Nate Heller. In the first, TRUE DETECTIVE, the World's Fair is coming up, and the mayor decides he better clean up his Mob-controlled city.

    Past crimes with long fingers that reach into the present, Thomas H. Cook's RED LEAVES, THE CHATHAM SCHOOL AFFAIR, and BREAKHEART HILL. Lovely writing about a gradually revealed truth.

    BRUNO, CHIEF OF POLICE by Martin Walker. An entertaining book set in a small town in the Dordognere region of France. Really, what more needs to be said?

    A naughty, but fun murder by Judith Viorst (author of the children's book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day): MURDERING MR. MONTI. In this book, advice-columnist and over-controlling mother Brenda Kovner experiences a mid-life crisis that leads her to plan a murder.

    Carlos Ruiz Zafón's THE SHADOW OF THE WIND, a pot-boiler / gothic / adventure / romance / detective story set in 1950s Barcelona, Spain.

    For a great noir book/movie combo, Kenneth Fearing's 1946 book THE BIG CLOCK, made into the 1948 movie of the same name starring Ray Milland, and later remade into 1987's NO WAY OUT, starring Kevin Costner and Gene Hackman. Or Ethel Lina White's THE WHEEL SPINS, which inspired Alfred Hitchcock's THE LADY VANISHES.

    Thorne Smith's TOPPER, not a mystery, but a 1926 book that defines the word "charming," for people who love movies like BRINGING UP BABY and IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT.

    Susie, I have David Benioff's CITY OF THIEVES in my pile of books to read. I'll be very curious to hear what you think of it. I was on a kick, reading about sieges, and this one sounds very good. I know you'll have a good time at Bouchercon, and we want to hear all about it.

  27. You better believe I'll be asking for top reads lists in December.

    Georgette, did you go off your siege kick before reading CITY OF THIEVES???? That would be a HUGE mistake.

  28. I finished reading Libby Fischer Hellmann's TOXICITY this evening! Remember, this described by Libby as a prequel to the Georgia Davis series.

    A new neighborhood, a promise of a bright future in a new home. But the children are getting sick. Why?

    Seemingly unconnected individuals are being poisoned in a mysterious manner. Why?

    A loving couple find themselves torn apart. Why?

    TOXICITY is an engaging story that will haunt you on many levels. The characters are developed; the reader becomes invested. I found myself furious with every character at one time or another while reading this book which just goes to show how well written this story is. (I don't want to tell you why so as not to spoil the story for you. Just let it be said that by the end of Chapter 39, I had some not-so-nice things to say to one of the characters. By the next couple of chapters I was cussing at another character. By the end, I had a few more words to say!)

    Plan to get emotionally involved while reading TOXICITY. Plan to enjoy reading TOXICITY. Why? Because it is anything but toxic!

  29. Kathy, Libby:


    Got to read an advanced copy last year (thanks to Susie) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Here's the review I wrote about it:

    FACTS: Sweden is a nation of laws and rights. Criminal organizations profit from illegal trade -- drug distribution being one. Swedish prisons are underfunded, understaffed. Drugged inmates are easier -- cheaper -- to control. Police supervisory authority believes conventional intelligence methods are insufficient to combat organized crime. To infiltrate criminal organizations, the police need spies. Swedish police cannot engage in criminal activity. Only real criminals can pose as criminals.

    How far will criminal organizations go to kill a snitch?

    How far will police authority go to deny it employs criminals?

    What must a man -- caught in the middle -- do to survive, to "not die yet"?

    THREE SECONDS provides the explosive answers in a taut human drama set in the limbo of Swedish law versus Swedish need.

    A relentless nerve-wracking police thriller right up there with DAY OF THE JACKAL and THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. One of the best books I've read.

  30. REC, I'm very happy to see you. Thanks very much for posting your review of Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström's THREE SECONDS. You're always reading something interesting. What is it right now?

    Kathy, Libby's characters have a tendency to haunt a reader. I'm still visited by the young Georgian woman from her AN IMAGE OF DEATH. The question, what will a person do to survive, echoes throughout that book.

    Sister, no, I'm still engaging in sieges, occupations and mauraderings, thank you. I'm reading a bunch of books at the same time. It's a little disconcerting to be in the chaos and misery of war, put the book down, pick up another and be at a faculty party. I'm going to enjoy Benioff's CITY OF THIEVES, I think. I know you loved it. Have you finished Jane Gardam's OLD FILTH?

  31. Hi Georgette,

    I'm anxious to listen to CITY OF THIEVES and hope I have it in time for the ride to St. Louis.

    TOPPER is an all time favorite of mine along with It Happened One Night and Bringing Up Baby.

    I'm reading Jo Nesbo's latest book, HEADHUNTERS. It's an interesting change from the Harry Hole police procedural series, it's very good so far.


  32. Georgette, I did finish Jane Gardam's OLD FILTH. Not a mystery, but the story of the end of British Hong Kong and the Empire encapsulated in one man's life. I need to read its companion, THE MAN IN THE WOODEN HAT.

    At the moment, I'm reading Nikolai Grozni's WUNDERKIND, which is a racketing story of a young piano genius in a Bulgarian music academy as the repressive Communist regime totters to its end.

    I just finished Colum McCann's LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN on audio and next I'm going to start listening to Chad Harbaugh's THE ART OF FIELDING. I can't believe I'm going to read a baseball book, but something about the book description and the reviews has grabbed me hard.

    It's nice to hear that Jo Nesbø's HEADHUNTERS is good. Much as I like Harry Hole, I'm looking forward to a change of characters for a bit.

  33. Not a list of books that I like, but here are some of the authors that I follow and even re-read:

    Michael Connelly
    P.D. James
    Martha Grimes
    Reginald Hill
    Arthur Upfield
    Elizabeth George
    Tony Hillerman
    Michael McGarrity
    Ian Rankin
    Quinton Jardine
    Kathy Reich (but only her early books.)
    Catherine Aird

    I have so many more that I could add, and will later on. I have a fairly eclectric taste in mysteries but shy away from what are too 'sweet' for my tastes. (No offense to people who like them, I hope).

    I do like some cozy's but with the same caveat as above.

    What I really like are books about serial killers!

  34. Genres I like:
    Police Procedural
    Serial Killer
    Locked room mystery
    (Those can probably be all called Mystery)

    NOVELS ABOUT WORLD WAR TWO and/or the years preceding it. Not so much the actual fighting (but how could that be eliminated?) but ----- I can't find the words to describe what I look for.

    For instance The Balkan Trilogy and it's 'sequel' the Levant Trilogy by Olivia Manning. They're known collectively as The Fortunes of War.

    Some ENGLISH COZY novels.

    I'm 'picky' about BIOGRAPHY'S. Blanche Weisen Cook's 2 volume bio about Eleanor Roosevelt is due for a re-read by me.

    Two books that defy the 'genre' nomenclature but that I'll re-read again soon:

    Edwin Newman's STRICTLY SPEAKING (non fiction)


    "Tea" defies description. Read it and tell me if you liked it. It's delightful and a very quick read.

    Oh, yeah----'archy and mehitabel'. (No capitals in the name, for reasons you'll find out if you read it). By Don Marquis

    I do not like Bodice Rippers. (grin)

  35. Oh, forgot to add, as part of my introduction, I've never mastered the apostrophe as you probably have already noticed (grin)

    After years of trying to figure out when to apply or not apply I've decided to just scatter them about, willy nilly, in my writing. Sorta like tossing sprinkles on your ice cream cone.

  36. cave76, on my computer, the apostrophe key is stuck. I have to pound it with a pile driver to get it to work. Don't worry about apostrophes; we understand you perfectly well.

    I love your lists, but before I say anything more about them, I need to warn you that obviously Sister Mary hasn't seen them. WWII is one of her great big passions, and she can (and will) give you pages upon PAGES of books she likes about that period. She's working on a series of blogs that I'm sure you'll be interested in.

    Have you read DRINK TO YESTERDAY (1940) and the sequel A TOAST TO TOMORROW (1941) by Manning Coles? The first book features a young English spy and his older mentor, undercover behind enemy lines in WWI. The books are not only very enjoyable reading about two gallant English spies and the confusion they feel living among Germans they grow to like, they provide an interesting look at British classism and the problems of returning to civilian life after wartime service. The second book takes up where the first lets off and involves the rise of Nazism in Germany.

    I recently saw the movie based on Michael Connelly's THE LINCOLN LAWYER. I didn't think Matthew McConaughey would be good as Mickey Haller (sure enough, McConaughey appears in a scene sans shirt), but I was surprised. Connelly's police procedurals with Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch are great.

    The serial killer book that made the biggest impact on my daily life is T. Jefferson Parker's THE BLUE HOUR, the first in his Merci Rayborn series. Read it, and you'll see why. It features a May/September romance between two cops who are trying to apprehend a killer who preys on beautiful young women. Despite Edgars for CALIFORNIA GIRL (saga of the Becker boys, who grow up to investigate the murder of a childhood friend, Janelle Vonn) and SILENT JOE (an incredible character portrait), Parker isn't as well known as he should be. If you like Connelly, you'll probably like Parker, whose books are set in southern California.

    Do you like Dennis Lehane? George Pelecanos?

    Have you read Caroline Graham? Her Tom Barnaby books are a hybrid of traditional mystery and police procedural, very appealing. (The first is THE KILLINGS AT BADGER'S DRIFT.) If you like both P. D. James and Martha Grimes, I think you'd really like her. Readers who like James and George usually like S. T. Haymon's beautifully written books, set in Norfolk, and Batya Gur, whose books are set in Jerusalem. Gur's pacing can become plodding in spots, but the quality of her writing is so good, one can excuse her for her lagging. She evokes Israel very clearly.

    I prefer Hill's Dalziel/Pascoe to his Joe Sixsmith, but I'll read anything he's written, including his standalones and books under the pen name Patrick Ruell. Do you have any favorites? For me, it's impossible to pick one; this is an author whose books I also re-read. DEADHEADS and PICTURES OF PERFECTION are a little change of pace in the series.

    I haven't read any Michael McGarrity or Quentin Jardine, so I appreciate your mentioning them. It's always intriguing to find new names on a list that contains authors you already love. I haven't read Edwin Newman's book, which I have no doubt is terrific. I miss that man.

  37. cave76, I feel like Columbo, although I'm not wearing a shabby raincoat. Mine is hanging in the closet.

    I couldn't leave until I mention a couple of American writers because if you like Michael McGarrity, you might want to check out Patrick McManus, who sets his Sheriff Bo Tully books in fictional Blight County, Idaho, and Peter Bowen, whose Gabriel Du Pré series is set in Montana. There are many excellent series set all over the States, and I'm working on a blog about them.

  38. Love this blog! I can already tell that my "to read" list is going to grow tremendously. Yay! I just bought Laura Lippman's latest, and I'm looking forward to it.

  39. Hey Anonymous, I'm thrilled you love our blog.

    Ooo, Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan in a Rear Window homage, The Girl in the Green Raincoat. I saw Rear Window a long time ago but nobody can forget that movie once seen. Please share your thoughts after you read it.

  40. cave76,

    I am very glad to see that others enjoy Arthur Upfield as much I do. His Inspector Bonaparte series began in 1929 with THE BARRAKEE MYSTERY. I have never found a copy of this. It was republished in 1965 under THE LURE OF THE BUSH, maybe I should look for that. His last Boney mystery was in 1963. I liked the style of the earlier books better but his stories were always unusual.

  41. cave76, that's a first for me: somebody's whose loves include cozies and serial killers! I think you and I might be in the same place on cozies. I like traditional mysteries, but the crafty kinds of cozies aren't for me. Maybe it's because I can just barely sew on a button.

    You made me go and look up TEA WITH THE BLACK DRAGON. Hmm, fantasy/mystery/love story. Looks different and interesting.

    I'm going to try to hold in my excitement about meeting another WW2 reading fan. I thinks that's another area where our specific likes might be the same. I don't have much interest in books about military strategy. I like social and political history and novels and memoirs that take us into the lives of those who went through that time. I've only read the first book in Olivia Manning's Balkan Trilogy, and I have the Levant Trilogy on my shelves. Did you ever see the movie with Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh. I haven't, but it's been on my watch list for a long time.

    I'm definitely going to be blogging about WW2-era mysteries, probably starting with books set in the 1930s.

    Lisa Alber, hi. I was looking at your blog and see that you went to the mystery writing workshop at the Book Passage in Corte Madera (CA), one of my favorite bookstores. What an experience that must have been!

  42. Good morning Sister, Cave 76,

    I also have a love for cozies and serial killers. I'm a huge fan of Martha Grime's Richard Jury series and Mo Hayder's Jack Caffery series.

    I started TRICK OF THE LIGHT audiobook and have a feeling it's a book better for reading than listening to.

    I switched to NEVER KNOWING by Chevy Steven's, I wasn't happy with the tone the narrator tells the story. I read STILL MISSING, the tone in my head was menacing, I wanted NEVER KNOWING to feel the same.

    The CITY OF THIEVES audiobook was delivered yesterday. I started it and I'm happy. I like the narrator a lot and in a very short time I was drawn in.

    I expect to be pleasantly entertained during my six hour trek to St. Louis tomorrow.


  43. I'm not working this morning. I could tackle the messy house now but it won't be going anywhere. Something both annoying and comforting about that. I'm sitting here with my tea and oatmeal bagel and talking about books instead.

    Georgette's fortune cookie method for book selection qualifies as a wacky invention itself but I'm going to give it a try.

    I poked a finger at the screen and fate rewarded me. "A cheerful greeting is on its way."

    Where do I go with this? An old friend or family member's visit precipitates a murder? The good news of an unexpected inheritance or winning lottery ticket causes a series of deaths?

    Three ideas, one of which I'll go with:

    A cheerful greeting, the longing to communicate or reunite with the dead. I love Hitchcock's movie Family Plot but I've never read the book that inspired it, Victor Canning's THE RAINBIRD PATTERN. I've also wanted to read the noir classic NIGHTMARE ALLEY by William Lindsay Gresham since seeing the old movie with Tyrone Power. It's about a con man who begins with a mind-reading act in a traveling carnival and moves on to a communicating-with-the-dead nightclub act as "The Great Stanton."

    A cheerful greeting and its opposite, the anonymous letter. I recently read Muriel Spark's A FAR CRY FROM KENSINGTON. What a pleasure to meet her character Mrs. Hawkins! She's brimming over with practical advice and a wonderful person. When her boarding house neighbor receives an anonymous letter, Mrs. Hawkins puts her mind to its authorship.

    So, anonymous letters. I read A LITTLE LOCAL MURDER by Robert Barnard, which involves a poison pen campaign in Twythching when Radio Broadwich proposes a documentary on the village. I also read P.D. James's The Skull Beneath the Skin, in which Clarissa Lisle hires Cordelia Gray to investigate a series of upsetting messages. One could use this fortune as a chance to read Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man because a disappearance involves a mysterious letter but I've already read it. I've also read Reginald Hill's BONES AND SILENCE, which features suicidal messages left for Supt. Andy Dalziel.

    A cheerful greeting, from a murderer. How about a book that features a letter from a murderer to a newspaperman or the cops? Like Simon Wood's PAYING THE PIPER. Can somebody supply the names of others?

    Waiting around for another "cheerful" communication from a serial killer? From a kidnapper? There are some good books with these themes. Fate has handed me even more indecision in finding a book!

    Susie, have a fun and safe drive to Bouchercon and don't forget to tell us about it.

  44. "THE FORTUNES OF WAR" (the first trilogy) is on Netflix (I don't own stock). PBS presented it in 1987 and now on Netflix in two discs.

    I saw it just after I'd read the first three books and, if memory serves, wasn't disappointed in it's depiction. Of course, with Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh----- how could it miss?

    A note to those 'of a certain age'----- I now have to rely on captioning for watching movies and The Fortunes of War doesn't have them. I live in an apartment so I can't turn the sound up high. That's just one of the advantages books have.

    THE LINCOLN LAWYER----- I enjoyed both the book and the movie. And there's nothing wrong with seeing a 'hunk' display his pects, I say! (grin)

    @Sister----- I await with impatience for your suggestions and/or blogs on WW2d era. I've started so many 'lists' on my computer about books to read----- that it's a mess now! I'm going to have to consolidate them in some way. Sigh.

    @GS------ Ooog! I'd forgotten about Dennis Lehane and his Kenzie/Gennaro duo. I read them and loved them. And a quick peek at Wiki reminded me also that he wrote MYSTIC RIVER! And SHUTTER ISLAND, which I found a little 'noir' but good. (I didn't like the movie of Shutter Island at all. Go figure. But have watched Mystic River a couple of times on top of reading the book and enjoyed them both--- a lot.)

    George Pelacanos----- a new name (to me) and I just ordered THE NIGHT GARDENER with my Kindle gift card. I didn't know that he did the screen writing for THE WIRE, an excellent series on TV which I loved.

    I'm going to close this for now, for I tend to ramble on and on. I'll try to get back to the other comments later---- just know that I'm really enjoying this blog and will read everything and try to digest everything.

  45. @ Susie----

    St Louis---- what a treat. I hope you have time to go to the Arch. AND get some of the best bagels west of New Yawk! How I miss them. (I was born and raised in a suburb of St Louis.)

  46. Sistah!

    Surprised to see my name here, especially because I accidentally posted as "anonymous." Thanks for checking who I be!

    Love Book Passage! Funny thing is that I grew up in Marin, but Book Passage wasn't around, or it wasn't the entity it is now. Had never visited it before. I always went to The Upstart Crow in Mill Valley.

    Great conference too. Met a very nice agent there who is interested in my novel (crime fiction, of course!). I wish the manuscript luck with her! Which is to say that I look forward to novel-improving feedback from her and continued interest!

    Speaking of conferences, the ultimate for writers and readers alike is Bouchercon. Wish I were there now!

  47. Della: I've not ready any John Mortimer either, lots of reading in store!

  48. I just visited 'Piffle' on this site ---and thanks for leading me even further astray from what I 'should' be doing. :)

    Would it be possible for another site to visit be posted?

    For anyone interested in museums and art it's an astounding experience. I can get close up to look at actual brushstrokes or 'take a tour of some of the worlds great museums, virtually.


  49. Lisa, all best wishes with the novel. Don't we ALL wish we were going to Bouchercon? There's always next year. They start taking hotel reservations November 1. See you in Cleveland?

    Also, Lisa, my husband and I used to live in Mill Valley. 1988-2003. Great town.

    cave76, that's a great website for Piffle. I'll definitely add it. If anybody wants to give us more suggestions, please feel free.

  50. To everyone traveling to St. Louis today for Bouchercon, have a safe trip. I hope you'll come back here and let us know all about what you're up to.

  51. Maltese Condor-

    Not only is LURE OF THE BUSH another title for The Barrakee Mystery but here's another one:

    ***BUSHRANGER OF THE SKIES (aka Lure of the Bush)
    Upfield, Arthur W.****
    It's at Abebooks.com

    Amazon sells Lure of the Bush but both of these titles are a little costly (neighborhood of $20) I imagine because it's gone into 'collector' status.

    They may both be paperbacks, I don't remember

    Now I'm going to have to go back and re-read all of them---- not too onerous a task. :)

  52. @GS:

    Historical fiction---- My favorite of all time is a civil war novel THE KILLER ANGELS by Michael Shaara. I would recommend this highly.

    "Amazon.com Review
    This novel reveals more about the Battle of Gettysburg than any piece of learned nonfiction on the same subject. Michael Shaara's account of the three most important days of the Civil War features deft characterizations of all of the main actors, including Lee, Longstreet, Pickett, Buford, and Hancock. The most inspiring figure in the book, however, is Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, whose 20th Maine regiment of volunteers held the Union's left flank on the second day of the battle. This unit's bravery at Little Round Top helped turned the tide of the war against the rebels. There are also plenty of maps, which convey a complete sense of what happened July 1-3, 1863."

    That review sounds so bland! It's more than history and it's more than fiction.

    Michael Shaara's son Jeff, after his father's death, when on to write two books that bracketed THE KILLER ANGELS in time.
    Another trilogy. :)

    The Civil War Trilogy: Gods and Generals / The Killer Angels / The Last Full Measure

    Jeff obviously inherited his father love of civil war history and his writing talents.

  53. Uh oh, cave76, you mentioned S-H-U-T-T-E-R I-S-L-A-N-D by Dennis Lehane. When Jane reads that, she'll raise the argument that that book is about redemption. I read it when it came out 8 years ago and would need to read it again before discussing that point. A friend borrowed my copy, and I haven't seen it since. I must make a phone call. Don't you love it when you have to track your books down?

    I was very happy to see your mention of Shaara's THE KILLER ANGELS. There's a reason that book won the Pulitzer Prize; it's great. I had to come up with a list of some of my favorite fiction for another discussion, and that book was on it. Thanks for the recommendation of GODS AND GENERALS and THE LAST FULL MEASURE!

    Some other not-to-be-missed war novels, or maybe I should call them anti-war novels, are Stephen Crane's THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE (hard to believe Crane was never on the battlefield himself), Erich Maria Remarque's ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, Joseph Heller's CATCH-22, and JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN by Dalton Trumbo.

    Before I forget, a terrific 770-page book that combines historical fiction and satire is THE SOT-WEED FACTOR by John Barth. It's written in the style of 17th-century literature, narrated by poet Ebenezer Cooke, and set in London and the new colony of Maryland. It's a digressive, dense book to read but very funny and rewarding.

    I love trilogies and other multi-volume works. I don't like saying goodbye to characters whom I grow to love. If you haven't read Anthony Powell's 12-volume masterpiece DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME (it's divided into four movements), you might want to check it out. It follows a group of friends who step in and out of each others' lives in 20th-century England. I read it quite a few years ago, and Sister Mary finished it recently and loved it. Proust's REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST is lovely.

    I like Arthur Upfield's Detective Inspector Bony, too. He's a colorful and unique character, and his way of solving crimes, through close observation of the natural world, is fascinating.

    Becky, you have some good hours of satirical reading ahead of you with John Mortimer's Horace Rumpole of the Old Bailey books and P. G. Wodehouse. They're perfect for the end of a hard day when you want to go to bed early and read. Another good time for these is when you're sitting in the dentist's waiting room and some gloom should be extracted from the air.

    I'll be at Bouchercon next year, too, Sister Mary. We'll have to get together with Read Me Deadly-ites and some of our author friends.

    Susie, looking forward to hearing from you about Bouchercon and Benioff's THE CITY OF THIEVES.

  54. Didn't I read on the first post in this forum, by Sister, "This page is for free-for-all mystery talk."

    Well, I'm going to take her at her word. (grin)

    What I don't want my books or movies to be is anything that can be described by one of these three words.


    Now that I've playfully (but truthfully) thrown my hat in the free-for-all ring I'll start ducking and running. :)

    I want my books to entertain.

    Synonyms of entertain:

    absorb, beguile, captivate, charm, cheer, comfort, crack up, delight, distract, divert, ecstasize, elate, engross, enliven, enthrall, gladden, grab, gratify, humor, indulge, inspire, inspirit, interest, knock dead, make merry, occupy, pique, please, recreate, regale, relax, satisfy, slay, solace, stimulate, tickle.

    Well, obviously a few of those don't fit, especially 'tickle'. (grin)

  55. If you like Lehane and Connelly I think you'll like Pelecanos, cave76. I finished his first Derek Stange book (RIGHT AS RAIN) and really liked it. It's set in a working class neighborhood of Washington DC and involves drugs, racism and corruption. Pelecanos puts a lot of cultural references to movies, music, fashion and cars into his book. It isn't a cozy, it's a hard-boiled book.

    Anybody read some nominees for the upcoming Bouchercon Anthony Awards? Wow, we have some Read Me Deadly-ites with nominated work:

    Simon Wood for "The Frame Maker," in Best Short Story
    Hank Phillippi Ryan for DRIVE TIME in Best Paperback Original

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed for these nominees!

  56. cave76, now now, you're making me crack up. I think a book or movie with themes that include redemption can be entertaining. I love Lehane but SHUTTER ISLAND the book didn't ring bells for me (I can't say why without spoiling it for people who haven't read it) and I couldn't get into the movie. I couldn't forget Leonardo DiCaprio was in The Titanic and What's Eating Gilbert Grape while I was watching it. Sturm und drang.

    You like serial killers, Lehane and Connelly. That's hardly a menu for a light lunch or the kiddies. It seems to me that a theme in a lot of Lehane and Connelly books is redemption. Not the only theme but a theme.

    Oh I meant to ask you, why Catherine Aird? I haven't read much of her. What have you liked that she's written?

  57. Why Catherine Aird? Because her novels are 'witty, literate, and deftly plotted novels straddle the "cozy" and "police procedural" genres and are somewhat similar in flavor to those of Martha Grimes, Caroline Graham, M C Beaton, Margaret Yorke, and Pauline Bell."

    Yeah, I snagged that from Wiki, but it's exactly what I would have said if I could verbalize better. :)

    I read most of my Aird books over a couple of decades ago so I can't remember exactly which ones I've read----- but MANY. Probably more her earlier books. Just now I'm re-reading The Religious Body. I like books that insert literary or scholarly or historical tidbits in the conversations but don't really explain them. It's as if they expect the reader to know.

    (There's always Google and Wiki)

    Yes, sez crotchety cave----- books that include redemption CAN be entertaining. But I don't like being told that's what it's about. I've said my piece and I'm standing by it. LOL

    If redemption is atoning for sins----- I don't want to admit I've been sinful cuz most of my 'sin' was a lot of fun. :)

  58. I too recently started rereading Catherine Aird. The Rue Morgue Press released several of her earlier works. THE RELIGIOUS BODY was her first Inspector Sloan mystery . It might have been one of the books that gathered me back to the genre after a long hiatus. Her books were definitely what lead me to the British mystery scene and the British cop.

  59. I see there are more additions to the Piffle Page. (Perfect Piffle Page. Perfectly Precious Piffle Page)

    Anyway, I'd like to submit another one, if the authors of this blog don't mind. Since the sub-title is Killer Clothes and Fine Cuisine, perhaps it will fit in.

    This site: http://luxirare.com/ has THE most decadent recipes I've ever seen in one place. Of course, you'd have to be rich and have nothing else to do------

    The pictures are Decandently Delicious and will have you slavering all over your computer screen. Keep a screen cleaner handy.

    The clothes don't fit my baggy sweat pants style or my budget! But they're easily scrolled by.

  60. Cave76, that is a fabulous site! Gorgeous photography. I voted in the poll for the Anthony winners, but having read only two of them, used the methods suggested by Condo and Georgette earlier this week.

  61. Has anyone read DEATH OF THE MANTIS by Michael Stanley?

    I found this title in The Skinny ('blogs we like' and then "Murder by Type".)

    " The body of a game ranger is found in the Kalahari desert in Botswana"

    Sounds like something I'd like. Evidently Stanley has written other mysteries set in that area.

    @Periphera------ glad you enjoyed looking at that site. I can gain weight just by looking at the pictures!

  62. cave76, the Material Witnesses are all confirmed pifflers, and we're pleased you are, too. Any suggestion for a Piffle addition is welcome. That website you suggested borders on the illegal it is so tempting. Thanks very much.

    Michael Stanley, as I'm sure you know since you looked at Murder Is Everywhere, is actually two men, Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. All of the writers on that blog site are well worth reading and are interesting people. We have Leighton Gage and Jeffrey Siger lined up for future guest interviews, and we hope we can rope the rest of them in for guest spots, too.

    Michael Stanley's Bengu series, set in Botswana, is excellent, and the third in the series, DEATH OF THE MANTIS, might be their best yet. Bengu is a very appealing sleuth, and Botswana, a fascinating country. Let us know what you think of the book if you read it.

  63. Sister, All,


    Thank you so much for recommending TCOT. My only complaint is it was much too short.

    You could describe Beniof's (sp) writing far more articulately than I can, but I'll give it a try.

    I thought his sentences were beautifully constructed. He described a simple thing like taking a step as a 'foot fall. His descriptions of the sky, snow, hunger, fear, etc., struck me as poetic, emotional, picturesque, you could see and feel everything Liev did, it was like walking in his shoes. There's a scattering of humor that made me laugh out loud and thought was perfectly timed.

    I was so moved by the narration, I'm not so sure the story would have had the same impact on me if I had read it. There's a scattering of humor that made me laugh out loud and thought was perfectly timed.

    TCOT is one of the most moving books I've read in a long time.

    cave 76,

    You were right, the bagels were awesome in St. Louis. Being from Chicago I couldn't imagine I wasn't already getting the best bagels, I was wrong. :)


  64. Susie,
    "Told You So" LOL

    I'm envious. I now live in a city/town that is the Great American Cuisine Desert,
    After having lived next door to San Francisco for decades----- I'm in hell! (Although the city/town is great in many other ways!)

  65. Susie, I'm so glad you liked CITY OF THIEVES so much. It was definitely one of my top-10 reads of last year. Coincidentally, one of my best friends just read the book last week and she loved it too.

    For anybody who might be interested, it's the story of two young Russian men who are arrested by the army during the siege of Leningrad and given the choice between execution and a probably suicidal quest. It's fully of adventure, humor and sadness.

    I was watching the Emmy Awards last night when they announced David Benioff's name as one of the writers of the Game of Thrones series on HBO. I Googled to see if it was the same guy and, sure enough, it is. This guy is amazing. He wrote the screenplays of Troy, The Kite Runner and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Stay and The 25th Hour.

  66. Sister,

    CITY OF THIEVES is really special.

    I think my Millennium Trilogy cycle has officially been broken, I'm listening to COT again. I'm not sure it's possible but I think I'm enjoying it more the second time around.

    Cave 76,

    I'm sorry you're in a bad spot for good food now.
    If you're stuck for good pan pizza, Lou Malanatti's delivers all over. Maybe somebody ships bagels too.

    I don't know if I mentioned finding an Italian legal series written by Gianrico Carofiglio, Publisher Weekly compares him to Grisham and Michael Connelly.
    I'd never heard of this author before and was in the middle of reading the first book, INVOLUNTARY WITNESS, when I got to St. Louis.
    I was shocked when I saw he was on the first panel discussion I went to. This could have been the author's first Bouchercon convention.

    I think Carofiglio was the sexiest most handsome man there, add an Italian accent to that and I was in love!


  67. I'm just finishing my second 'mystery/romance' novel

    The Vanishing Man by R. Austin (Richard Austin) Freeman

    I bought them free, for Kindle, because they were catagorized mystery.

    I have enjoyed both of them but have to admit the 'romance' part I sorta skimmed through. Those sections were probably very much apropos when the books were written but a little too much male angst when his love went awry. (That's strictly MY fault, not the authors)

    I really enjoyed the bit by bit explanations of how mysteries were solved from a medico-legal standpoint. (That too was a little ponderous but I enjoyed it completely!)

    If you're looking for a 'quick read' these may not be for you. But they may be.

  68. It has been so long since I read Austin Freeman that your description tempts me. I think I might enjoy a little male angst, sometimes it's good for me. I've run across too much female angst in some of my recent reads.

    In Murder on the Chesapeake there are plenty of females in a private school setting and a murder being solved by a hot air-ballooning, gliding grandmother. This was written by David Osborn so the angst you get is feminine as seen through a man's eyes.

    In A Death at St. Anselm's we have a psychologist, pastor, mother, widow doing the anguishing while she is being suspected of murder and worrying about her daughter with mental problems and blood on her blouse.More blues than clues but of course the case is solved by the nice NYPD with her help.

    My next read will be Peter Lovesy's The Vault. Peter Diamond has one thing on his agenda, solving murders.

  69. Susie, I'm glad to hear you loved David Benioff's CITY OF THIEVES enough to be weaned from Larsson's trilogy. That's quite a statement about how good it is.

    I enjoyed reading about your trip to Bouchercon. I need to go next year so we can finally meet.

    What are you going to read once you finish your second round of CITY OF THIEVES? Don't tell me you'll listen to it a third time! Didn't you return home from Bouchercon with a bunch of books?

    I'm reading a bunch of books now, including CITY OF THIEVES. Which I read at a particular time depends on my mood. Arthur Koestler's DARKNESS AT NOON, Erin Morgenstern's THE NIGHT CIRCUS, Daniel Woodrell's TOMATO RED and THE BAYOU TRILOGY (have you read this guy's books? He wrote WINTER'S BONE and he's wonderful), and MONKEY by Wu Ch'eng-en. I'm enjoying all of them.

  70. Well, let's hope the third time is a charm and this post won't once again by munched in cyberspace.

    Re: British mystery writers, we shouldn't forget Josephine Tey, who sadly didn't live long enough to give us very MANY books, but the ones she did write were mostly stunners.

    Share love for Boney and hoping some enterprising Oz publisher will be turning them to e soon. A pleasant surprise was finding James McClure's old Kramer/Zondi books slowly appearing on Kindle.

    And speaking of Murder is Everywhere, I'm totally in love with Tim Hallinan's Poke Rafferty, though I've also a soft spot for Dr. Siri by Colin Cotterill.

    So glad Julie Smith turned us DLers on to this blog. I already love it here!

  71. Bonnie, it's great to have you here. We're so grateful to Julie Smith and Libby Fischer Hellman for telling so many people about us.

    I LOVE Josephine Tey. I've been thinking it's time for a re-read. Have you read the Nicola Upson books featuring Josephine Tey as a protagonist? I just noticed a new one was published last month called Two For Sorrow.

    I hope we'll be hearing a lot more from you.

  72. No, this is the first I've heard of it. Funny, I never thought about Josephine Tey as a character; only knew her real name was Elizabeth Macintosh and practically everyone in her family was a writer. Will have to check these out!

  73. I mentioned a while back in one of the posts that I was going to be starting Jussi Adler-Olsen's Keeper of Lost Causes, and then started Sorry by Zoran Drvenkar instead (both are new translated mystery/thrillers that were in my TBR stack). Well, I've finally gotten to Keeper and I have to report that it is fantastic! The character is a bit of an unlikeable fellow, but somehow that makes him even more appealing!

    It's also a great translation. So often I find that translated works come across a bit dry and I'm never sure if it's due to the translation itself or the particular style of the author. Translations on the whole are greatly appealing to me because they open up more reading possibilities, so I'm always willing to give them a shot and am especially pleased when they turn out to be this good.

    For anyone unfamiliar with the book, it's a new mystery release about a cop who's returned to work after being shot during the course of an investigation. He's lost his drive and is kind of a jerk, so they promote him and have him head up the newly formed Department Q (to get him out of their hair and to reap the monetary benefits of having the department in place). His job at Dept Q is to investigate cold cases and the first he chooses is the disappearance of a local politician, eventually deemed to be a suicide.

    The kicker is that the reader knows from the get go (thanks to the cover copy -- so I'm not the spoiler) that the politician is not actually dead, even though she's been missing for 5 years.

    I've still got a bit left to go, but unless it just goes terribly downhill, this is going to be a great one!

  74. Becky, by the time I reached the end of your post I was laughing out loud. The protagonist is unlikable so he's more appealing; he's a jerk and lost his drive so his superiors promote him; you're almost finished, but, of course, the book might go terribly downhill.... Thanks very much for telling us about Jussi Adler-Olsen's KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES. I'm looking forward to reading it.

    What did you think of SORRY by Zoran Drvenkar? One of my friends was put off by the use of second-person narration (the use of "you" point of view) in parts of the book; she also dislikes the use of present-tense narration in other books ("He moves slowly over to the dresser and opens the drawer"). If a book is well-written, I don't find these techniques distracting.

    Bonnie, I'm glad to meet you. Thanks for your kind words about RMD. I enjoyed Julie Smith's books, and I'm discovering she's also a good person.

    I like Josephine Tey. I read her books long ago, and it's about time for a re-read. If someone hasn't read her THE DAUGHTER OF TIME, a book in which CID investigator Alan Grant investigates the complicity of Richard III in the deaths of the two princes in the Tower of London, he or she should drop everything and head out the door to get it. Which of Tey's books did you particularly like?

    I'm leery of series re-incarnations by other writers after being disappointed with the Nero Wolfe books by Robert Goldsborough (after the death of Rex Stout), and the idea of well-known authors employed as sleuths in mystery fiction is a little flabbergasting to me. I'd be very curious to see Emily Dickinson or Josephine Tey appear in a mystery, hot on the heels of a killer.

    I also enjoyed James McClure's Kramer/Zondi books set in South Africa and am glad to hear they're now available on the Kindle. I share your liking for Tim Hallinan's series and the Siri Palboun books by Colin Cotterill.

    What are you reading now, Bonnie?

    Sometimes my mood for a particular book depends on my appetite for food and drink. It's a few minutes after noon, and I'm working up a desire for pasta. A mystery set in Italy might be hard for me to resist tonight. Susie recently mentioned Gianrico Carofiglio. Some other good ones are Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen, Donna Leon's Guido Brunetti, Carlo Lucarelli's De Luca (gritty), Magdalen Nabb's Salvatore Guarnaccia, David Hewson's Nic Costa (thrillers), Grace Brophy's Alessandro Cenni.

    cave76, Lisa, Susie, what are you going to read next?

  75. @Georgette: What am I reading now? Unusually for me, it's actually multiple books. Currently (my lunch hour) it's SHUT YOUR EYES TIGHT by John Verdon, whose first Dave Gurney book was THINK OF A NUMBER. I enjoyed that book very much; it started off with an unusual premise and the side-story of the retired cop trying to reconcile his and his wife's very different expectations lent it depth.

    I'm almost finished with SHARDS of HONOR (not a mystery though possibly a thriller) by Lois McMaster Bujold, the 2nd-ish of the Vorkosigan saga. I'm not really a SciFi gal, much, but have read some Ursula LeGuin and also enjoyed the YA-oriented DRAGONS/PERN stories and novels by Anne McCaffrey, as well as of course LOTR and His Dark Materials. Twice in the last 10 days I also read NEW YORK TO DALLAS--J.D. Robb's crossover into "futuristic" police procedural sort of qualifies the series as SciFi, though I would say it's "soft" SciFi.

    On audio I'm listening to BLINDSPOT, which is probably categorized as a historical romance but has some detection in it.

    Also trying to work my way through VIOLENCE Reflections on a National Epidemic by James Gilligan, M.D. This was a recommendation of the prof who is teaching a night class on Writing Fiction that I am taking--his point is you need to understand the root causes of violence to write convincing villains.

    Then, again not typical for me, I'm reading a book called BREAD GIVERS by Anzia Yezierska depicting the hard-scrabble life of Jewish immigrants to New York, particularly the daughters and the hardships of their lives under the tyranny of a selfish and indolent but ostensibly pious father. This is NOT a mystery, but if it were my story we would be investigating a parricide soon!

    Recently discovered authors I've really like (as in can't wait for the next book and will get on library list ASAP when I learned from the Bloodstained Bookshelf that a new one is out) are Inger Ash Wolfe (THE CALLING, THE TAKEN) and the Ruth Galloway books by Elly Griffiths.

    Also completely addicted to David Hewson's Nic Costa series.

    Favorite Josephine Tey? Apart from DAUGHTER OF TIME, which stands alone, I'm torn between FRANCHISE AFFAIR, which is just so perfectly constructed, and BRAT FARRAR, which really grabs you emotionally.

    Will be picking up A LESSON IN SECRETS from the library tomorrow; saw Jacqueline Winspear speak for about 40 minutes about the MAPPING OF LOVE AND DEATH at a Walnut Creek library function two weeks ago. Very interesting and certainly completely different IRL from my mental picture of the author of Maisie Dobbs!

    Other faves I've not seen mentioned here yet: Steven Havill's Posadas County mysteries, and likewise Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire.

    Was also recently introduced, via Tim Hallinan's blog, to author Zoë Sharp, whose protag Charlie Fox is a kick-ass female who still retains some conscience and sensitivity. Good news: her harder-to-find out-of-print books are being re-e-published. And speaking of kick-ass women, has anyone else read THE INFORMATIONIST yet?

    Guess I've blathered long enough...time to go back to work. Glad to have found a place where some folks hang who share my passions!

    P.S. I have KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES on hold at the library.

  76. Bonnie, thanks for mentioning The Bloodstained Bookshelf. This was new to me and I have added it to our The Skinny page.

  77. Georgette, I've been bitten by great starts and authors who can't finish well! Fortunately, that was not the case with KEEPER. I finished it this afternoon and it was well worth the read. I'm very much looking forward to more of this series (and noticed my big old typo there, but the main character and his assistant are both very likable).

    As for SORRY, the change up in narration was jarring at first because it switched so often, but once I got into the flow of the story it wasn't an issue. I don't generally have much of a preference in POV and found it an interesting element here. I have to say the subject matter is pretty disturbing, though (KEEPER a little less so).

    In both cases, KEEPER and SORRY, I thought the translations were excellent.

  78. Susie, thanks for the compliment about the picture of the couple in bed with their dog attached to my blog about reading in bed. I liked it too. I'm wondering if you've read anything by Erin Kelly, THE POISON TREE or SICK ROSE. I haven't but I'm considering it.

    Becky, I know exactly what you mean when you say you've been bitten by authors whose books start with a big bang and then end with a little bitty fizzle when the denouement is a bust or go kinda whimpering off into the sunset. There are other books that start so slowly you wonder if they're ever going to ignite. Reminds me of a car we had when my husband and I were first married. I think Libby Fischer Hellmann said one time she only gives the author the first 10 pages to gain her interest. I'm not that merciless but I don't give a book an infinite amount of time, either.

    I just finished Tom Franklin's CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER. It's set in rural Mississippi and is one of those books containing characters who are already haunted by a crime from the past when something happens to conjure up the ghosts again. Anyone else read it?

    I'm glad you found us, Bonnie. Maybe the whole subject of lost and found means I'm meant to begin Morag Joss's AMONG THE MISSING soon. It's about the aftermath of a collapsed bridge in the Scottish Highlands. Some people are taking advantage of this event to disappear while others wait in sorrow for their own missing loved ones to reappear. I like Joss.

  79. @Della Wow, Morag Joss, that rings a bell. Fruitful Bodies, Bath, a cellist? Must go back and look.

    I read CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER a couple weeks ago as part of a quest to read all the nominees for Edgar, Macavity, etc. I didn't think it was all that, though it was good enough. And I never got a handle on why the character who was silent about you know what never spoke up and let you know who suffer for so long.

    "Becky, I know exactly what you mean when you say you've been bitten by authors whose books start with a big bang and then end with a little bitty fizzle when the denouement is a bust or go kinda whimpering off into the sunset."

    This is why I stopped after two Robert Ludlums. I felt a bit that way about SMILLA's SENSE OF SNOW, too.

    "Janwillem Van de Wetering's Zen-ish outlook" reminds me: has anyone read INSPECTOR SAITO's SMALL SATORI? Delightful short stories...hmmm, wonder if there's an e-version yet. The Amsterdam detective stories are coming out on Kindle, I noticed.

    Speaking of Kindle, got The Silent Girl on the TBR pile, on e-loan from my library.

  80. Hi Ladies,

    There's so much going on here!

    I also read KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES a/k/a MERCY and SORRY, I thought they were both very good too. I'm looking forward to more books to be translated in the Dept Q series (Jussi Adler-Olsen).

    I just finished reading the third book in Carofiglio's legal thriller series. I don't think thriller accurately describes the kind of books he writes, but that's how they're described. I enjoyed them all very much and am looking forward to reading more.

    Next up for me is Norway's Jorn Lier Horst's book DREGS. DREG'S is his first novel to be translated into English. He made his debut in Norway in 2004 and has five other novels. '....Jorn Lier Horst has once more written a well-founded and tense crime novel, with space for both the expected and downright surprising. At his best, the author is both a sociologist and a philosopher.' AftenPosten, Norway
    This is a police procedural, the protag is Chief Inspector of Police William Wisting and I can't wait to meet him.

    Next is CELL 8 by Roslund & Helstrom. It's due to be released in the US 1/12, I think it's available now in the UK. I happened to be in the right place at the right time and not too proud to beg. I got the display ARC at B'con.

    I'm also going to read Simon Wood's PAYING THE PIPER. Ken Bruen said he writes like a demented angel. Some of the best books I've read have blurbs by Ken Bruen. Simon's books have won awards and have 4 and 5 star ratings. Meeting him inspired me to move him up my TBR pile.

    more later.....

  81. Hi Ladies,

    I started Dregs and I'm so disappointed.

    After reading about the book I was certain Horst was going to be just as good as Henning Mankell, maybe in his own language he is. I'm sure it's the translation that ruined the book, IMO.

    Most of the books I read are translated and I've never seen anything like this. It's a shame, we're missing what I think would be another great Swedish police procedural.

    I'm going to complain to the publisher.

    I gave DREGS 94 pages and quit. I'm reading CELL 8 now and it's off to a good start, way better than Three Seconds.


  82. Hi Susie, I'm disappointed to hear that you weren't thrilled by Jorn Lier Horst's DREGS.

    I like Simon Wood and I'd like to meet him one of these days. He's a former race car driver and he races his dachshund at dog shows. I guess racing is in his blood because he has a brand new series (DID NOT FINISH is book 1) about an English race car driver named Aidy Westlake that received very good reviews by Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus. Both reviewers said his series should appeal to Dick Francis fans, which sounds kinda funny but true.

    We've been having a heat wave, weather close to 90 degrees. Last night I had a glass of cold white wine that reminded me of something Peter Bowen said: "It tasted like it leaked out of a sick bull." Sometimes you read a line that sticks in your mind and there it is right when you need it.

  83. Bonnie, did you run across any great books in your reading of those award nominees?

    I agree with you about Franklin's CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER.

    Morag Joss is the author of the Sara Selkirk series. She wrote a couple of standalones and I'm enjoying AMONG THE MISSING.

    I like Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire. Have you read C. J. Box's Joe Pickett books? They're also set in Wyoming.

    cave76, are you still reading romantic suspense?

  84. Hi Della,

    Thank you, fortunately I've got a nice a little stack of books I'm anxious to read. I hope you have better wine to drink, lol.

    I didn't know Simon was a race car driver, wow, that guy is full of surprises! I hope you do get an opportunity to meet him, he's great company, he's very funny and does an outstanding impression of Mike Meyers. Come to think of it, he's also a very good storyteller.

    Back to Cell 8.....


  85. Have a used (but working) Kindle you want to give awayhttp://tinyurl.com/42o3e4k?

    Donate a Kindle to the troops

    The instructions are there. ( A few limitations)

    Also-----an oncology department in a GA hospital offers to give them to patients and families that have to sit for hours for infusions etc.

    A search among the hospitals near you might also do the same.

  86. cave76, what a great suggestion for used Kindles.

    I just got a tip from Susie that P.D. James has written DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY, a murder mystery based on the PRIDE AND PREJUDICE characters. Can you guess who the victim is? The book is scheduled to be published November 3 in the UK, but I don't know the US date. Here's a news story about the book:


  87. Della,

    I'm not 'into' romantic suspense much but there have been some that I liked---- titles elude me right now, of course.

    I'm reading a Reacher (Lee Childs) mystery on my Kindle right now and enjoying it although it seems that some people thought there was too little 'action'.

  88. I'm contemplating buying an iPad.
    Can a person download books from the library to an iPad like the Kindle is now able to do?
    If so----- where can I find explicit instructions on how to do that?

  89. Hi cave76, when the iPad 2 came out, I got a very cheap first-generation iPad and I've been surprised how much I like it as an e-reader. I like the flexibility of being able to read books in Nook, Kindle and other formats and, most of all, I like the larger screen. The backlighting is hard on the eyes if you read for hours at a time, but it's not bothersome otherwise.

    Yes, you can download library books to it. For most public libraries, you'll need to download an the Overdrive app. On the iPad, you'll go to the app store and search for Overdrive and you'll soon find the app. If I recall correctly, I think you may also need to download the app for Adobe Digital Editions.

    The absolute best place to get all set up to do this is at the library. They really know their stuff on this.

  90. SMM------THANK YOU. Now I'm about ready to buy that iPad. I love technology!

  91. Georgette,

    I'm a new fan of Simon Wood.

    I just finished Paying the Piper and have never been so on edge through an entire book before, the guy is relentless, that's the only word I could use to describe him.

    I noticed you read a few of his books last year. I guess his gift is to make people feel as though they're riding on an out of control roller coaster.

    I should have known he had something up his sleeve when I met him, he has mischievous twinkle in his eyes.

    I'm planning to read TERMINATED next, what do you think?


  92. Hi, Susie. I agree, "relentless" is a good word to describe Simon Wood's plots. I like thrillers in which an ordinary person finds him- or herself placed in extraordinary circumstances, and he does a great job with tales like that. I think you'll like TERMINATED. I'm looking forward to reading the first in his new series, DID NOT FINISH.

  93. Hi Georgette,

    Right now I'm reading Hakan Nesser's UNLUCKY LOTTERY, I think it's more engaging than his last book, The Inspector and Silence. While Van Veeteren is off on sabbatical an Inspector Munster is heading the murder investigation of one, possibly two elderly men. VV is there in spirit through Munster's musings. Munster's character is equal to VV's.

    TERMINATED is one of the top 3 books on my stack of TBR's.

    I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of Simon's new series. He's pretty young to have written so many books.


  94. I just downloaded PAYING THE PIPER for Kindle. Can't wait to start reading it.

    Does anyone have a comment on Simon Wood's book ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN?

    The Amazon reviews were all over the place.

  95. cave76, ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN is Simon Wood's earliest thriller. Some writers do their first book, and it's downhill from there because they've run out of things to say; others are just warming up. This author is one of the latter. He's barely over 40. I'd say read PAYING THE PIPER and his later thrillers.

    If you like short stories, be sure to look for his. When it comes time for mystery award nominations in that category, people say, "Okay, Wood is on the list, and who else do we put down?" We'll have him as a guest blogger soon.

  96. Cave 76,

    I noticed you downloaded Paying the Piper last week. Have you had a chance to read it yet?
    I'd love to know what you think of it.


  97. Susie, I'm not Cave76, but read and loved Paying the Piper. I enjoyed it so much that I immediately downloaded his We All Fall Down, which turned out to be a real turkey. Is his writing pretty variable, or did I happen to snag his best and worst?

  98. cave76, the other thing that's great on iPad is watching movies and TV shows. I watch Netflix Watch Instantly stuff when I'm on the treadmill and love it. For the last week, I've been watching a British police procedural TV series called Murder in Suburbia. It stars two women police detectives, one of whom, Detective Inspector Kate Ashworth, is played by Catherine Catz, who also plays Louisa on Doc Martin.

    It's so nice to be able to read a book or watch a movie on the treadmill. You almost don't notice you're getting exercise. (Not really, but it helps.)

  99. I haven't read PAYING THE PIPER yet. I finally finished the HUNGER GAMES trilogy on Kindle and will say that through all three books I was thoroughly captivated.

    The last half of the last book MOCKINGJAY was gory enough for me to wonder if young(er) children should read it.

    SSM---- I just looked up Murder in Suburbia (Netflix) and sadly there's no closed captions or subtitles. I miss many movies (esp. older ones) because of no captioning. But the ADA advocates are working on that although there are many reasons why all movies won't or can't be captioned.

    Streaming isn't up to speed with captioning yet.

    Sorry I got off track a bit with my 'editorial'. :)

  100. Took you up on the suggestion to head over here and say what we've been up to. I finished several:

    Vowell's Assassination Vacation--funky, okay
    Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao--not an easy book but a rewarding one

    I'm now reading Bazell's Beat the Reaper based on the TGIF from a few weeks ago--the opposite of a snoozefest

    About time fpr another TGIF tomorrow? Kev

  101. cave76, sorry about the lack of captioning for Murder in Suburbia. I did read somewhere recently that the streaming video with captioning is getting more frequent.

    Hi Kev, I hope you like Beat the Reaper. I guess it's not for everybody. My neighbor liked it at first but then got tired of it. I love Sarah Vowell! I've read most of her books and she's a riot on talk shows.

    TGIF for tomorrow? Hmm, I don't know yet.

  102. Hi Periphera,

    I've only read Paying the Piper so far. I asked him what I should read next and he suggested TERMINATED.

    He's written so many books, I think they're all stand alone stories, it's hard to know what to expect.

    Have you read any books by Mark Billingham?

    I just started reading BLOODLINE, it's a Tom Thorne book. I'm surprised I haven't read this series before now. There's something about Thorne that reminds me of Harry Hole which I like. I'm looking forward to reading the first book in the series next.

    I'll let you know what I think of Terminated when I get to it.


  103. Susie, thanks, I'll try TERMINATED.

  104. Good morning,

    I just finished reading BLOODLINE by Mark Billingham and started BURNED, both are books from his Tom Thorne series.

    I just mentioned on another thread that I think Billingham's police procedural series is as good as Mankell's or Nesbo's.

    I'm thrilled there's 8 or so books in the series, I don't have to wait a year between books.

    If you like police procedurals, you'll like this one.

    Mark Billingham is also stand-up comedian which you would never know from reading his books.


  105. I just finished reading PAYING THE PIPER by Simon Wood.

    While it keep me reading it until the last page, I 'knew' who the villain was after the villain's first couple of appearances! Or at least the major villain.

    I have to give this book a cool 'B'. But I'll try more by by him to see if I like his other novels more.

    Thinking on it----- the book seemed to be really good then really not so good in spurts.
    Probably me!

  106. It's been 16 years since Margaret Maron's last Sigrid Harald of the NYPD novel. I really liked the Sigrid Harald series and even though the Deborah Knott series is good, it never grabbed me the same way.

    The exciting news is that the new Deborah Knott book, THREE-DAY TOWN, that comes out on November 21, is also a Sigrid Harald book! Here's the premise, from the book description:

    "Judge Deborah Knott and Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant are on a train to New York, finally on a honeymoon after a year of marriage. January in New York might not be the perfect time to visit, but they'll take it. The trip is a Christmas present from Dwight's sister-in-law, who arranged for them to stay in an Upper West Side apartment for one week. While in New York, Deborah has been asked to deliver a package to Lt. Sigrid Harald of the NYPD. Sigrid offers to swing by the apartment to pick up the box, but when they reach the apartment, they discover that it is missing and the doorman has been murdered. Despite their best efforts to enjoy a blissful getaway, Deborah and Dwight soon find that they've teamed up with Sigrid and her team to catch the killer before he strikes again."

    I'm looking forward to this.

  107. Oh dear----- am I the only nit-picker on this blog? (grin)

    Now I can't make a 'comment' under the latest entry by SMM "Casting the Detectives'?

    Me, my computer or what?

  108. Hi cave76, I checked to be sure the post was set up to take comments and it is. Could you please recheck to see if you can post a comment? At the end of the post, is there nothing that says "0 comments"? It should be there, and if you click on it, you should be able to post a comment.

    If there is a nit to be picked, please let me know and I'll fix whatever needs fixing if I can! Or is the nit the fact that you can't comment?

  109. In my internet perambulations this morning, I picked up several newsy bits that might interest some of you. In Louise Penny's November newsletter, she says has agreed to TV films of her first two books. The scripts haven't even been written yet, so it'll be quite some time before we get to see who plays Armand Gamache. We'll have to wait less time to read #8 in her Armand Gamache/Three Pines series. She says she's already editing the book, which will be titled THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY.

    On the new author front, Penny talked about a new writer who sounds interesting named Peggy Blair. She's a lawyer who lives in Ottawa and her debut mystery, THE BEGGAR'S OPERA, was shortlisted for a Debut Dagger in 2010. It will be published here in February, 2012. It's set in Havana and Peggy Blair says she found Havana to be the most interesting place she's ever been. If you want to visit Peggy Blair's blog, it's at peggyblair.wordpress.com. Here's a description of the book:

    "In beautiful, crumbling Old Havana, Canadian detective Mike Ellis hopes the sun and sand will help save his troubled marriage. He doesn’t yet know that it’s dead in the water – much like the little Cuban boy last seen begging the Canadian couple for a few pesos. For Inspector Ricardo Ramirez, finding his prime suspect isn’t a problem – Cuban law is. He has only seventy-two hours to secure an indictment and prevent a vicious killer from leaving the island. But Ramirez also has his own troubles to worry about. He’s dying of the same dementia that killed his grandmother, an incurable disease that makes him see the ghosts of victims of unsolved murders. As he races against time, the dead haunt his every step…"

    The Euro Crime blog says the big buzz at this year's Frankfurt book fair was a book called THE ANDALUCIAN FRIEND, by a Swedish writer named Alexander Soderberg. This is the first book in a trilogy about a nurse and single mother named Sophie, who becomes trapped in a conflict between crime syndicates and a group of corrupt police officers. Publishers Weekly reports that currently only about 100 pages of the first book have been translated into English, but that from those pages, it appears the book is very cinematic and filled with explosive action. The first title is due to be published in the US in 2013. I hope this is actually a good book/series and not just more people chasing after the next Stieg Larsson.

  110. Powell's Books (www.powells.com) is having a "Really Good Paperback Sale." This is one of of the best bookstores known to humankind. Read what Powell's says below:

    They're paperbacks. They're good. And, if you buy two, you get a third free. It's the Really Good Paperback Sale! What else do you need to know? Are we really all alone in a vast and empty universe? Hmmm... Define "we."
    Offer good on new (not used) copies in the specific edition featured. Discount applies to lowest-priced book.

  111. I just looked at the Piffle pages again and saw the link to "disused stations on London's Underground".

    Then I went to Wiki

    and found a list of novels that used underground stations as an element in a mystery novel, but I don't know if those books are about the disused stations.

    If there are any---I thought that might be a good topic for one of the RMD contributors.

  112. Wow, that is so cool! Thanks so much for the link. I've bookmarked the page and put it in my stash of things to think about for future posts.

  113. What a good idea, cave76. I hope the creative bloggers on this website will take up this suggestion for the London Underground as a setting. I'd love to see a blog about books set in the London Blitz. Nikki

  114. @SMM and Nikki,

    Thanks for seconding this idea. I hope to read about it someday here.

    The Blitz----- I haven't looked for a blog about the time of the blitz but this site has books/audio books/kindle eBooks etc on that subject.


    For some reason I can't copy the url to the +/- entries on the blitz----- but go to that tiny url above and then filter/refine by using the word 'blitz' in the search box on the left.

    Unless you're already on it, Amazon discussion forums have a Mystery forum with a sub-entry of mysteries set in WW2.


  115. Cave76, thanks for this new URL.

    I've contributed to the WW2 mystery thread on Amazon quite a few times.

  116. @Nikki----- these aren't about 'books about the blitz' but........

    For a 'data blog' (whatever that is)---- rather dry but interesting.

    London Blitz 1940: the first day's bomb attacks listed in full

    London's Blitz is recorded in meticulous detail by London Fire Brigade records.

    See - for the first time online - how they showed September 7, 1940, the first 24 hours of attacks


    For some photos of 'bomb incidents' (!!)

    Volunteers and students have worked exceptionally hard researching civil defence records held at Westminster City Archives in order to give you a picture of what life was like in the West End during the War.


    [I wonder if 221B Baker Street would be in those pictures ----if that address even existed :)]

    "These excerpts are not the entirety of what is published in print and kindle. Ruby Alice Side Thompson was born in England in 1884. Ruby grew up during a time when education was just beginning to be encouraged for both upper and middle class women. Women were seeking new opportunities and equality. During the late 1890's Ruby explored many radical political ideas of London, England. She met many famous people including the writers George Bernard Shaw and William Butler Yeats. The moth and the star : a biography of Virginia Woolf was written by Ruby's sister Aileen Pippett. Ruby loved to read and always dreamed of writing famous novels. Ruby was not able to express her opinions or feelings about either the war or her marriage except in the privacy of her diary. Being able to do so was her saving grace. Many of the things she says in today's world would be considered politically incorrect. Our children today have no idea what life was like then and what opportunities they have that would never have been possible 70 years ago. World War ll London Blitz Diary is being published on Amazon in 4 volumes. The 1st and 2nd volumes are published."

    [I just bought the 1st volumn for .99 cents for my Kindle. It should be interesting---- at least the parts that speak of incidents involving day to day life during/about the blitz. There seems to be too much of Breakfast at the Bickerson's on some entries! (grin)]

  117. Here are three lists of good 2011 books from Publishers Weekly:







  118. Can someone direct me to a web site that explains what is displayed on the (don't know the name for it) page that shows the editions of a book etc. Especially the numbers at the bottom which go something like this:

    10 11 12 WBC/RRD 20 19 etc.

    I'm as curious as a magpie!

  119. cave76, I worked at a book distributors one summer, and I learned that line is the printer's key. It's usually on the back of the title page, at the bottom of the copyright page.

    The printer's key appears in various forms, such as numbers or letters. You find the edition elsewhere on the page, and you determine the print run from the lowest number or letter present in the printer's key. So, if you see 1 2 3 4 5 6 etc., it means it's the first printing of the book's edition. If the line is 3 4 5 6 etc., it's the third printing of that book's edition.

    Sometimes other information is given along with the print run. In the example below, the year of the print run is given, too:

    2 3 4 85 84 83 (this means the book is the 2nd printing in the year 1983).

    At each subsequent print run, the printer removes a number (or letter) from the printer's key.

    If the book's publisher contracts out the printing to a printer, the acronym of the printer can appear as letters in the printer's key. That's what the WBC/RRD probably is in the printer's key above.

  120. WHEW!!! Thanks for trying to explain this. I went to Wiki and found a bit more.

    Now, I have to shake the cobwebs out! Do you think that a lot of the 'rules' are tradition or do they really make sense?

  121. cave76, once you know what the printer's key means, it actually makes sense even though the format is a tradition. It's easier to remove something that's already there rather than to start from scratch and add it.

  122. For you quiz lovers, there's a terrific vintage mystery quiz here:


  123. Hi All,

    Wishing you all a very happy holiday season and a great year of reading ahead.


  124. I just finished BLUFFING MR CHURCHILL by John Lawton.

    From Amazon:
    "With his Frederick Troy series, John Lawton has been compared to such top historical espionage writers as John le Carré and Len Deighton. Now, in this prequel to Black Out, Lawton transports readers to 1941 London during the German Blitz, brilliantly re-creating the era of ration tickets, air raids, and bomb shelters."

    I can't wait to read more John Lawton (and Frederick Troy). The sense of being there was spot on, even though I hadn't 'been there'.
    A bit of history (only very slightly amended) with dashes of sly humor and professional writing makes this book stand out.

  125. cave76, I'm so glad you liked Lawton. I'm a huge fan of his. Have you read any others? The sort-of paired books of SECOND VIOLIN and A LILY OF THE FIELD may be my favorites. But I've enjoyed them all. He does have a sly humor, doesn't he?

  126. I was thrilled to learn that Carlos Ruiz Zafón has a new book out in his Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. It's called THE PRISONER OF HEAVEN and was published in Spain in November. The English-language version will be available in June 2012. Here's what his website says: "The Prisoner of Heaven returns to the world of The Cemetery of Forgotten Books and the Sempere & Sons bookshop. It begins one year after the close of The Shadow of the Wind when a mysterious stranger enters the shop, looking for a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo."

    The first book in the series, THE SHADOW OF THE WIND, is immensely readable. A potboiler in the funnest sense of the word. I loved it.

  127. Oh , I'm so glad about THE PRISONER OF HEAVEN. I really enjoyed his first two.

  128. SMM---- I just downloaded SECOND VIOLIN to my Kindle. Thanks for the recommendation. Evidently even though published later than BLACK OUT, it's a prequel to it.

  129. Great! I hope you like it. Lawton's books are all over the map, time-wise. At some point, I tried to make a chronological list, but I've read them in publication order and it's not a problem.

  130. I'm reading my first Inspector Montalbano mystery by Andrea Camilleri (EXCURSION TO TINDARI) and enjoying it so far. Food enters the plot sometimes and one description of pappanozza caught my eye. That dish may not please everyone--- but what can I say? I love Bubble and Squeak!.

    But looking into the Internet I found a site that has a section devoted to food that is mentioned in novels. Not all are from mysteries, but some are, so this might be another entry for Piffle for people who love to eat and love to read recipes.

    Novel Food

  131. Mmmmm, the pictures! Should not have looked at that before dinner. Now everything looks just not good enough.

  132. Update on my opinion of EXCURSION TO TINDARI. I'm probably in the minority, according to Amazon's reviews------ but after the first third to half of the book I found myself reading it just to find out whodunit. Not a good sign. Even the ending was disappointing and seemed as if it had been tacked on at the last minute.

    The farcical language used by the lead's co-workers were painful to read. Maybe it just had something to do with translation? The book didn't seem to know if it was a comedy or a mystery.

  133. Sorry to hear the Camilleri didn't go well. I see that's the fifth in the series. Have you read any others? I still haven't read any, though I have four on my shelves. (Not TINDARI)

  134. Reginald Hill, British author of the Dalziel/Pascoe series and more than 30 other nonseries novels, died on Thursday. I love his books and am very saddened by his death. Here's his obituary in the Guardian:


  135. That's so sad about Reginald Hill. I've read all of the Dalziel/Pascoe books I think. He had a brain tumor, so the article said----- and I hope that he didn't suffer at the end. Time for me to go back and re-read all the D/P books.

    SMM I haven't read any other Camilleri books and probably won't. But there are many who do like his books and as I said I'm probably in the minority.

  136. The DCI Charlie Woodend series set in Lancashire by Sally Spencer came to mind when Sister Mary talked about characters' personal lives getting in the way of the plot. It's not that the characters in this series don't have personal lives. Spencer doesn't focus on them. Some books I've liked are The Red Herring, set during the Cuban missile crisis. DCI Woodend thinks higher ups don't want him to solve the case of a murdered teacher and missing student. A Death Left Hanging is about a 30 years old murder case that ended with the conviction of the wife for her husband's murder. She was hanged and now her powerful lawyer daughter wants the investigation re-opened. DCI Woodend's superiors feel he needs to be punished, as usual, so he gets the case. Maybe you'd like this series, Sister M. Nikki

  137. Nikki, this series really does sound just like my kind of thing. Thanks for the recommendation!

  138. This morning I read an article in the Washington Post written by a former CIA agent.


    There are some interesting points in this article. Psychologists aren't able to come up with a set of questions that best select field agents. Today's young spies have a limited attention span and need quick rewards.

    When it boils down to it, perfect spies are trying to unravel the mysteries of their childhoods. Oy.

  139. While surfing today I came across this site:

    "Authors and Writings of the East Midlands"

    Perhaps others might enjoy it.

  140. Anybody else surprised that there was no Pulitzer Prize for Fiction this year? The finalists were SWAMPLANDIA by Karen Russell, TRAIN DREAMS by Denis Johnson, and THE PALE KING by David Foster Wallace. I haven't yet read the Russell book, but I enjoyed the books by Johnson and Wallace. Here's a website address for an interesting interview about it with Ann Patchett and Lev Grossman:


  141. Beth, at Murder by Type (http://murderbytype.wordpress.com), mentions that Lenny Kleinfeld's SHOOTERS & CHASERS is available at Amazon for $3.99 for the Kindle. This is a very entertaining police procedural set in Chicago and LA, and I highly recommend it.

  142. Our Library of Congress has launched a multi-year celebration of books by creating a list of books that shaped America. The LOC's James H. Billington says: “This list is a starting point. It is not a register of the ‘best’ American books – although many of them fit that description. Rather, the list is intended to spark a national conversation on books written by Americans that have influenced our lives, whether they appear on this initial list or not.”

    Here's the list:


    1. Interesting list. I need to think about it. I've at least heard of most of them.

    2. Sheryl, isn't it a great list to think about? I like the way it's set up because you can click on a title and a pop up gives a book synopsis and explains why it's on the list.


  143. Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving!


  144. Would you ladies be interested in a guest blog post focused on South Africa? After re-reading almost all of the old James McClures (now out in Kindle, with Song Dog, the last, coming out on Tuesday April 2), I've been turned on to Jassy Mackenzie and Deon Meyer in the last 12 months or so, as well as a couple of older writers who use SA, ancient and modern, as their backdrop. +

    1. Of course! Please email Read Me Deadly at materialwitnesses@gmail.com. Thanks, Bonnie.

  145. The 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, awarded "for distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life," was given to Adam Johnson for THE ORPHAN MASTER'S SON. Sister Mary Murderous reviews this book here: http://www.readmedeadly.com/2012/08/book-review-of-adam-johnsons-orphan.html

  146. I'm in Portland, Oregon this weekend. Powell's, the wonderful Portland bookstore that occupies a city block, is having a 20% off sale on Japanese fiction and poetry. Here's the website link:


  147. Fun website. I found Read Me Deadly by coming in the back door from a "Maine Colonel" Amazon Vine review of Smith's book "Maine." I was so, so happy finally to read a review that disliked the book as much as I did. We certainly are in the minority! As a budding novelist I'm hesitant to say negative things about others' work - Smith certainly has a lot of talent, but I wasn't in love with this book, and it was great to read such an intelligent statement about why.

    Why no postings in this Discussion section since May 18 and here it is October 25? I'm hoping all's well with your site overall but maybe the Discussion section just isn't attracting people. Or for you folks it's too much work for not enough reward (however you define it). I started a blog in April 2011 but in the last few months haven't posted nearly as often, finding more ways to post to my Facebook page (Yours.in.books) and Twitter. Still, the blog has its uses and I don't plan to abandon it.

    Hope all's well with you all.

  148. Hi Meredith, I'm glad you stopped by. Everything's great with the main part of our site, but the Discussion section just doesn't seem to have worked for people. We are exploring the idea of starting up a separate mystery discussion forum with all the bells and whistles.

    I went by your blog, yoursinbooks.com and enjoyed it a lot. You're a Stephen Fry fan! He's a real favorite of mine and it's so painful to read him talk about his emotional struggles.

    I like the variety in your blog entries. My mind is like an attic, so I appreciate seeing a lot of different topics in other people's thinking.

    Ugh, that Courtney J. Sullivan book, Maine. Don't remind me! She has a new book out, or just coming out, and I just move on quickly when I see it mentioned.

  149. Just found your site, and it's very interesting. I am surprised no one has posted a reply in over a year. Books, and interesting people, sounds like a good discussion to me. If any of you are still replying to this thread I would be happy to participate.

  150. Hi. We do get some comments on the individual blog posts, but we haven't been successful getting this discussion section to stay active. We are very seriously considering setting up a separate mystery discussion forum. If and when we get that up and running, we'll announce it here. I hope you'll stay tuned.

  151. Thanks ! I will be checking if it's announced here. I read anything from P.D. James to Deborah Crombie. Also love historical mystery's from ancient times, WW I - WW 2.
    My favorites are British Mysteries.

  152. Hi, Anonymous. We're happy you found us. As Sister Mary mentioned, we're investigating the possibility of a separate mystery discussion forum for our Read Me Deadly readers, and we'll post notice here of its existence.

    I love British mysteries, too, whether they're the Golden Age variety or more modern. I miss new Reginald Hill, Caroline Graham, and P.D. James books, but I comforted myself a few weeks ago with Ruth Rendell's new Reg Wexford title, No Man's Nightingale. Wexford is retired, but he was called in as a consultant for the investigation of murder at the vicarage. Have you read it?

    1. Hi, Georgette, Glad to be here, thanks for the welcome by you & Sister.

      I haven't read "No Man's Nightingale" by Ruth Rendell yet, but I have read "Babe's in the Woods" & "Harm Done" by Rendell. I thought both were very good. I like her writing style, very clever. I also have "Road Rage" in my TBR pile. I do plan on reading more books by Ruth Rendell., "No Mans Nightingale " looks good too.

      I haven't read all of P.D. James yet, but I plan to read them all. My favorite so far is " The Murder Room".

      I am presently reading Philip Kerrs's " A Man Without Breath" This is the first book I have read by this author. So far very interesting.

  153. Oh, you're so lucky to still have more P.D. James and Rendell books to go! Have you read any books Ruth Rendell has written under the pen name Barbara Vine? Dark psychological suspense.

    I'd be hard pressed to name my favorite P.D. James. If I had to re-read one tonight, it might be SHROUD FOR A NIGHTINGALE. Great setting, memorable characters, and perfect for a blustery evening's read.

    Sister Mary loved Kerr's A MAN WITHOUT BREATH. I haven't read that one yet, but the Bernie Gunther series is excellent.

  154. I thought SHROUD FOR A NIGHTINGALE was very atmospheric, just the right amount of creepiness to keep the reader with their night lights on. I also liked PRIVATE PATIENT for the same reason. Old rambling buildings set away from view. Perfect !

    I haven't read any Barbara Vine yet, but I intend too, in the future. I also like Imogen Robertson's ISLAND OF BONES. I will read more of her series. A new author I really like is Annelie Wendeberge and have read her first 2 books in her (Kronberg Crimes series. Have you read them ? Part of the New Sherlock Holmes genre.

  155. Anonymous, I haven't read anything by Imogen Robertson, although that series looks very interesting. I'm also unfamiliar with Annelie Wendeberge. Hearing about other people's great reads is one of the reasons I love discussing books in addition to blogging.

    I'm a Sherlock Holmes fan. I like fiction set in other times, and Victorian-Age London was a fascinating place. Neither Sister Mary nor I was crazy about Alex Grecian's THE YARD, but Della Streetwise and I both liked David Morrell's MURDER AS A FINE ART. Morrell is coming out with a sequel in February 2015. Another good one is Marie Belloc Lowndes's THE LODGER, written in 1913. It's a classic tale about a retired couple, the Buntings, who rent their upstairs room to a reclusive lodger. Mrs. Bunting begins to wonder if their lodger is the serial killer terrorizing London.

    At the library, I just picked up BELLE CORA by Phillip Margulies (I've heard good things about this fictional memoir of a woman who became a wealthy San Francisco madame during the Gold Rush era) and Gene Kerrigan's DARK TIMES IN THE CITY, in which Danny Callaghan finds himself in trouble from all sides when he saves the life of a petty criminal in a Dublin pub.

    Are you a Kate Atkinson fan? I love her meandering style and complex characters.

    1. I love hearing about what other's are reading too. It's how I find new authors to try. I am still reading, The Man Without Breath, by Philip Kerr. It's fantastic ! I already want to read all his books ! So glad Sister Mary liked it too.

      Annelie Wendeberg 's THE DEVILS GRIN, was really good. Dr. Kronberg poses as a male DR. to work in her field of medicine. Sherlock Holmes meets her for the first time at a investigation. Of course he knows she is a woman. She is terrified he will turn her in as an impostor, but she soon realizes he is intrigued by her disguise and her Professional knowledge as a Dr. She is a female version of him, and together they are a force, lots of tension as she is a woman who must put on an elaborate disguise just because she can't practice medicine legally in England at that time in history. I really felt the author got it right, how hard it must have been born a brilliant woman in the Victorian Age. In the second book THE FALL , Dr. Kronberg is kidnapped by Professor Moriarty, to make anthrax for him. This book really surprised me by the intense psychological impact that Dr. Kronberg goes through as a captive. Stockholm syndrome ? or is she pretending ? I thought I knew and then I was completely blown away. I liked the second book, it really showed how the author can lead the reader into depths far more complected than just an interesting plot. This is in a level I haven't read before in this genre. Can't wait for the third book !

      I do have MURDER AS A FINE ART. It's on my TBR pile and I am glad to hear you & Della liked it. I am looking forward to reading it.

      I read a sample of the YARD and was on the fence with it too.

      THE LODGER & BELLA CORA , DARK TIMES IN THE CITY all look interesting.

      I haven't read any Kate Atkinson yet, but I have seen her shows on PBS. I liked them a lot, great sense of humor ! Intelligent plots. I will read one in the future.

  156. I enjoyed your comments about Wendeberg's THE DEVIL'S GRIN. I'll have to read it, even though I'm a Sherlock Holmes purist and Nicholas Meyer's THE SEVEN-PER-CENT SOLUTION made me gnash my teeth. Have you read Laurie R. King's THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE? The idea of Holmes being married makes me feel faint, and I haven't read it. Sister Mary liked it, though.

    I've started reading British writer Liz Jensen's THE NINTH LIFE OF LOUIS DRAX. It's an unusual thriller written in 2004 that I never got around to reading. Louis Drax has had eight mysterious life-threatening accidents. On his ninth birthday, he falls off a cliff, and his father disappears. Now in a deep coma, Louis is being treated by Dr. Pascal Dannachet in his unorthodox clinic in Provence. Dannachet, who is falling for Louis's manipulative mother, Natalie, is determined to find out what happened and bring Louis back to life; Louis isn't so sure he wants to come back. The narration is shared by Louis and Dannachet. It's reminding me of Mark Haddon's THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME.

  157. I think you would enjoy Wendenberg's DEVIL'S GRIN. I should have mentioned that Dr. Watson is in these books also. Dr. Kronberg does not replace him which I was i was glad. Sherlock & Watson are the same with the addition of Dr. Kronberg.

    That does sound like a good book, THE NINTH LIFE OF LOUIS DRAX..

    I have also started reading a new author to me R.C.Bridgestock's SNOW KILLS. It's a series and so far I am enjoying it. About a British Inspector and his team trying to find a missing woman who was stuck in a blizzard and never came home. Very real to life suspects and one real weirdo. The team and the Inspector's home life make for interesting story.

  158. I forgot to say that I have not read any Laurie R King's books yet. The BEEKEEPERS APPRENTICE, looks interesting. I have the same thoughts about Holmes being married. I will read one in the future.

    I have just started MURDER AS A FINE ART. by David Morrell. So far it's really good.

  159. Della reviewed Murder As a Fine Art here awhile back. If you want to look at her review, just click on Morrell's name in the "labels" column on the far right.

    The Beekeeper's Apprentice is on my top-20 mystery list, so I hope you enjoy it. The first four or five books in the series were really good, but I think it slides downhill after that.

    The Yard. Wow, that was pretty bad. I really liked the characters, but the plot was a big mess.

    I just finished Harry Bingham's Talking to the Dead, first in a new series featuring Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths. She's a very entertaining new protagonist, and Bingham has a lively and witty writing style.

  160. Thanks Sister Mary, I will read Della's review on Murder as a fine Art. I really like how this book has real events in it, the the" Opium Eater's Book ". It reminds me of Erik Larson's style of writing in THUNDER STRUCK. I like the blending of real figures in history with the fictional characters.

    I am looking forward to The Beekeeper's Apprentice. She does have quite a few of them out now. I know what you mean when the first couple in a series were good and then not quite as good after. I felt the same way with Elly Griffiths books, I loved THE JANUS STONE the first book of the series. I really like that the main character Ruth, was an archaeology Professor who knew about ancient periods of the Celts, and would be called in for forensic I.D. in modern day cases. By the time I read the third book in this series Room Full Of Bones. I had thought the series wasn't as good as the first two. Too bad. But I am always looking for books like that.

    Taking to the Dead, looks good too !

  161. Maybe a better comparison of Erik Larson's would be THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY. I liked that book just as much as THUNDER STRUCK. I just saw Della's review it was great !

  162. Terri the Banana Bender, QLD, AustraliaJanuary 29, 2015 at 4:50 AM

    Have just stumbled onto this site and I am WOWED. Didn't realise that my obsession with Golden Age crime was actually a diagnosable condition. Love the genre and buy whole series of ebooks whenever I discover a new author. Right now reading the Pennyfoot series, Daisy Dalrymple, Angela Marchmont, and re-reading Miss Silver. Actually own EVERY Agatha written in paperback and have been reading since my mother introduced me to them as a child. One of my favourites, although only a short series is M M Kaye's "Death in........". Been obsessed with visiting the Andaman Islands and Zanzibar since my teenage years. Will keep my eye on this site! ��

  163. Welcome Terri! This particular section of our site isn't very active, unfortunately. But it's great to hear you like reading the posts. And you can comment on a post anytime you want.

    That's the great thing about the Golden Age stuff, isn't it, that you can just go right out and read a whole series once you discover an author. I find so much great stuff at library book sales. I love picking up Golden Age books in hardcovers from the 1930s-1950s especially.

    I've been listening to audiobooks of the Miss Silver series off an on for the last year. I read the paperbacks many years ago and I still have them, but they work really well in audio and I'm enjoying them a lot.

    My brother-in-law reads the Daisy Dalrymple series, but I haven't gotten around to that one yet. I should check it out. I don't know Angela Marchmont, either, so you've given me another one to look into.

    Thanks for visiting and I hope you'll be a regular.

  164. Hi Terri, it's great to see you here! After your comments about Golden Age mysteries, I felt compelled to head up to the attic and rummage through my book boxes. Time for a re-read of Margery Allingham's The Tiger in the Smoke. I also read Christie growing up, and I'm impressed by your collection. Do you prefer the Poirot or Miss Marple books?

    Sometimes nothing hits the spot after a long day at work like a Golden Age mystery (hence the Allingham book), and I've found that to be particularly true during the winter. We don't get any snow where I live in California, and the bad weather in a book such as Cyril Hare's An English Murder, Michael Innes's Lament for a Maker, and Nicholas Blake's The Corpse in the Snowman is a great incentive to curl up in bed with a cup of tea and read.

    Right now I'm enjoying Minae Mizumura's 900-pager, A True Novel (translated from the Japanese by Juliet Winters Carpenter and Ann Sherif), which everybody is calling a Wuthering Heights set in post-WWII Japan, although it's much more complicated than a simple re-telling of Brontë's book. Lovely writing, great story.