Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Agatha Nominees Announced

Best Historical Novel

Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
Death in the Time of Ice by Kaye George (Untreed Reads Publishing)
A Friendly Game of Murder by JJ Murphy (Signet)
Murder in Chelsea by Victoria Thompson (Berkley Prime Crime)
A Question of Honor by Charles Todd (William Morrow)

Best Children's/YA Nominations

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (HMH Books for Young Readers)
Traitor in the Shipyard: A Caroline Mystery by Kathleen Ernst (American Girl Mysteries)
Andi Unexpected by Amanda Flower (Zonderkidz)
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein (Random House Books)
Code Busters Club: Mystery of the Pirate's Treasure by Penny Warner (Edgmont USA)

Best Contemporary Novel

Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Minotaur Books)
Pagan Spring by G.M. Malliet (Minotaur Books)
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
Clammed Up by Barbara Ross (Kensington Books)
The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)

Best Nonfiction

Georgette Heyer by Jennifer Kloester (Source Books Inc.)
Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova (Viking Penguin)
Not Everyone's Cup of Tea: An Interesting & Entertaining History of Malice Domestic's First 25 Years by Verena Rose and Rita Owen (editors) (Wildside Press)
The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower (Minotaur Books)

Best First Novel

Death Al Dente by Leslie Budewitz (Berkley Prime Crime)
You Cannoli Die Once by Shelley Costa (Pocket Books)
Board Stiff by Kendel Lynn (Henery Press)
Kneading to Die by Liz Mugavero (Kensington)
Front Page Fatality by LynDee Walker (Henery Press)

Best Short Story

"Evil Little Girl" in Don't Get Mad, Get Even by Barb Goffman (Wildside Press)
"Nightmare" in Don't Get Mad, Get Even by Barb Goffman (Wildside Press)
"The Hindi Houdini" in Fish Nets by Gigi Pandian (Wildside Press)
"Bread Baby" in Best new England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold by Barbara Ross (Level Best Books)
"The Care and Feeding of House Plants" by Art Taylor (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)

My congratulations to all the nominees - See you at Malice!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Left Coast Crime Award Nominations Announced

2014 Left Coast Crime Award Nominations Announced
January 27, 2014 — Monterey, CA — Left Coast Crime 2014, “Calamari Crime,” will be giving four awards at the 24th annual LCC convention, to be held in Monterey. The awards will be voted on at the convention and presented at a banquet on Saturday, March 22, at the Portola Hotel & Spa. The award nominees have been selected by convention registrants. The nomination period has just concluded, and LCC is delighted to announce the nominees for books published in 2013:

The Lefty: Best humorous mystery novel
  • Donna Andrews, The Hen of the Baskervilles (Minotaur Books)
  • Timothy Hallinan, The Fame Thief (Soho Crime)
  • Lisa Lutz, The Last Word (Simon & Schuster)
  • Brad Parks, The Good Cop (Minotaur Books)
  • Cindy Sample, Dying for a Daiquiri (Cindy Sample Books)

The Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award: Best historical mystery novel covering events before 1960
  • Rhys Bowen, Heirs and Graces (Berkley Prime Crime)
  • Susan Elia MacNeal, His Majesty’s Hope (Bantam)
  • Catriona McPherson, Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses (Minotaur Books)
  • David Morrell, Murder as a Fine Art (Mulholland Books)
  • Priscilla Royal, Covenant with Hell (Poisoned Pen Press)
  • Jacqueline Winspear, Leaving Everything Most Loved (HarperCollins)

The Squid: Best mystery set within the United States
  • Sue Grafton, W Is for Wasted (Putnam, Marian Wood Books)
  • Darrell James, Purgatory Key (Midnight Ink)
  • William Kent Krueger, Ordinary Grace (Atria Books)
  • Hank Phillippi Ryan, The Wrong Girl (Forge)
  • Terry Shames, A Killing at Cotton Hill (Seventh Street Books)

The Calamari: Best mystery set anywhere else in the world
  • Cara Black, Murder Below Montparnasse (Soho Crime)
  • Lisa Brackmann, Hour of the Rat (Soho Crime)
  • Catriona McPherson, As She Left It (Midnight Ink)
  • Louise Penny, How the Light Gets In (Minotaur Books)
  • Jeffrey Siger, Mykonos After Midnight (Poisoned Pen Press)

The Left Coast Crime Convention is an annual event sponsored by fans of mystery literature for fans of mystery literature, including both readers and authors. Usually held in the western half of North America, LCC’s intent is to provide an event where mystery fans can gather in convivial surroundings to pursue their mutual interests.

The 24th annual Left Coast Crime Convention will take place in Monterey, CA, March 20–23, 2014. This year’s Guests of Honor are authors Cara Black and Louise Penny. Sue Grafton is a Special Guest. Sue Trowbridge is the Fan Guests of Honor. Author Brad Parks will serve as Toastmaster. Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini will receive Left Coast Crime Lifetime Achievement Awards.

For more information on Left Coast Crime 2014, please visit

My congratulations to all the nominees!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

High Country Festival of the Book February Event

Race to Civility: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

Author Presentation, Lunch and Panel Discussion
Featuring Authors Deborah Johnson and Ed Williams 

Moderated by Dr. Michael G. Wade, ASU

Saturday, February 8th, 10:00AM – 3:00PM
Room 421, Belk Library, ASU Campus (free garage parking)

Ticket Price $10, advance purchase only, includes lunch

Purchase tickets at Watauga County Public Library

Lunch catered by F.A.R.M. Café

Call 828-264-8784 for Information.

10:00 AM—Noon Author presentations
Noon – 1:30 PM Lunch
1:30 PM – 3:00 PM Panel Discussion

*Books will be available for purchase and signing*

Sponsored by Friends of the Watauga Public Library, Junaluska Heritage Association, and Richard T. Barker Friends of the
University Library.

Writer Deborah Johnson currently lives is Columbus, Mississippi. Her new book, The Secret of Magic is a multilayered novel about race relations and justice in post-WWII Mississippi. She is the re-cipient of the Mississippi Library Association Award for Fiction for her book The Air Between Us.

Ed Williams is a retired Charlotte, NC journalist and Mississippi native. His columns and editorials were part of the Charlotte Observer projects that won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Services in 1981 and 1988. His book, Liberating Dixie: An Editor’s Life from Ole Miss to Obama will be released in March

Monday, January 20, 2014

What Would Martin Luther King, Jr. Say?

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- - - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- - - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- - - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

- - - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- - - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- - - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- - - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- - - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- - - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- - - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- - - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- - - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The 2014 Edgar Nominees are Announced

Best Novel

Sandrine's Case by Thomas H. Cook (Grove Atlantic – The Mysterious Press)
The Humans by Matt Haig (Simon & Schuster)
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books)
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
Standing in Another Man's Grave by Ian Rankin (Hachette Book Group – Reagan Arthur Books)
Until She Comes Home by Lori Roy (Penguin Group USA – Dutton Books)

Best First Novel

The Resurrectionist by Matthew Guinn (W.W. Norton)
Ghostman by Roger Hobbs (Alfred A. Knopf)
Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman (Minotaur Books)
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews (Simon & Schuster - Scribner)
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (HarperCollins Publishers)

Best Paperback Original

The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow Paperbacks)
Almost Criminal by E. R. Brown (Dundurn)
Joe Victim by Paul Cleave (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books)
Joyland by Stephen King (Hard Case Crime)
The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood (Penguin Group USA - Penguin Books)
Brilliance by Marcus Sakey (Amazon Publishing – Thomas and Mercer)

Best Fact Crime

Duel with the Devil: The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed Up to Take on America's First Sensational Murder Mysteryby Paul Collins (Crown Trade Group)
Mortal Sins: Sex, Crime, and the Era of Catholic Scandal 
by Michael D'Antonio (Thomas Dunne Books)
The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness and Murder
by Charles Graeber (Grand Central Publishing – Twelve)
The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and the Medics Behind Nazi Lines
by Cate Lineberry (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company)
The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War 
by Daniel Stashower (Minotaur Books)

Best Critical/Biographical

Maigret, Simenon and France: Social Dimensions of the Novels and Stories 
by Bill Alder (McFarland & Company)
America is Elsewhere: The Noir Tradition in the Age of Consumer Culture 
by Erik Dussere (Oxford University Press)
Pimping Fictions: African American Crime Literature and the Untold 
Story of Black Pulp Publishing by Justin Gifford (Temple University Press)
Ian Fleming by Andrew Lycett (St. Martin's Press)
Middlebrow Feminism in Classic British Detective Fiction 
by Melissa Schaub (Palgrave Macmillan)

Best Short Story

"The Terminal" – Kwik Krimes by Reed Farrel Coleman (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
"So Long, Chief" – Strand Magazine
by Max Allan Collins & Mickey Spillane (The Strand)
"The Caxton Private Lending Library and Book Depository" – Bibliomysteries
by John Connolly (Mysterious)
"There are Roads in the Water" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
by Tina Corey (Dell Magazines)
"Where That Morning Sun Does Down" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
by Tim L. Williams (Dell Magazines)

Best Juvenile

Strike Three, You're Dead by Josh Berk (Random House Children's Books – Alfred A. Knopf BFYR)
Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking by Erin Dionne (Penguin Young Readers Group – Dial)
P.K. Pinkerton and the Petrified Man by Caroline Lawrence
 (Penguin Young Readers Group – Putnam Juvenile)
Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud 
(Disney Publishing Worldwide – Disney-Hyperion)
One Came Home by Amy Timberlake (Random House Children's Books – Alfred A. Knopf BFYR)

Young Adult

 All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry
(Penguin Young Readers Group – Viking Juvenile)
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal (Random House Children's Books – Alfred A. Knopf BFYR)
Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy (Simon & Schuster – Simon Pulse)
How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller 
(Penguin Young Readers Group – Razorbill)
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

TV Episode Teleplay
"Episode 3" – LutherTeleplay by Neil Cross (BBC Worldwide)
"Episode 1" – The Fall, Teleplay by Allan Cubitt (Netflix)
"Legitimate Rape" – Law & Order: SVU, Teleplay by Kevin Fox & Peter Blauner (NBC Universal)
 "Variations Under Domestication" – Orphan Black, Teleplay by Will Pascoe (BBC Worldwide)
"Pilot" – The Following Teleplay by Kevin Williamson (Fox/Warner Bros. Television)

Robert L. Fish Memorial
"The Wentworth Letter" – Criminal Element's Malfeasance Occasional
by Jeff Soloway (St. Martin's Press)

Mary Higgins Clark

There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
Fear of Beauty by Susan Froetschel (Prometheus – Seventh Street Books)
The Money Kill by Katia Lief (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper)
Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman (Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine Books)
The Sixth Station by Linda Stasi (Forge Books)

Grand Master
Robert Crais
Carolyn Hart

Aunt Agatha's Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Michigan


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Murder in the Magic City Mystery Convention

So. The Magnificent Margaret Fenton , Mistress of the Marvelous Murder in the Magic City Mystery Convention emailed me my panel assignment today. I'll be moderating "Murder: In Four Courses, with Cocktails." Much to my merriment, the other panel members are Kathleen Delaney, Don Bruns and Mike Orenduff. As most of you know, this is my first panel ever. Soooooo, it's obviously my first moderating gig. I'm soliciting hints, tips, suggestions and possible questions from all you smart folks.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

One Character - Two Views by Mary Jane and Victoria Maffini aka Victoria Abbott

Pen M won the Walter the Pug tote.

That shadowy figure known as Victoria Abbott is a collaboration between the always very funny and creative artist, photographer and short story author, Victoria Maffini and her mother, Mary Jane Maffini, award-winning author of three mystery series and two dozen short stories. Their first book in the series, The Christie Curse, has received excellent reviews and the second, The Sayers Swindle, hit the shelves in December. They are hard at work on the third installment: The Wolfe Widow(September 2014) and haven’t killed each other yet.

You can keep up with their characters on the thirtieth of the month over at www.killercharacters.comand their culinary adventures at www.mysteryloverskitchen.comor by signing up for their newsletter at or MJ also blogs at

One character – two views

By Mary Jane and Victoria Maffini

                First let us say how glad we are to visit Meanderings and Muses today. Thanks so much, Kaye, for inviting us. Now, we’ll segue into our little ‘situation’. Perhaps you can help us out.

                We are at the end of book three in the book collector mysteries, our mother-daughter collaboration using the name Victoria Abbott.  With The Christie Curse and The Sayers Swindle already on the shelves and doing well, you’d think we really knew what we were doing. People keep asking us about our process.  They want to know how we write together.  We try not to stare at them blankly or to make things up, such as, an alien told us what to write or we write in our sleep. The truth is that we’re not entirely sure how it all comes together, as we seem to be using different approaches in each book. Still we usually sing from the same hymn book. We talk, we plot, we discuss.  Sometimes we compromise.  We love what we’ve created with our young protagonist, Jordan Bingham, a grad student and the first person in her very large family to go straight. We agree on everything about her curmudgeonly employer, Vera Van Alst, the most hated woman in Harrison Falls, NY. We cherish the world of book collecting we’ve created for them, the stately old home and the quirky folks who inhabit it. We both love the classics from The Golden Age of Detection (Christie, Sayers, and Stout) that we draw on for our stories. We are equally fond of Walter the Pug and Cobain the whatever.

                However, every now and then, we realize that Victoria Abbott is not a single entity and we can have very different views of the same character.

                This came to our attention when we were reworking a scene in The Wolfe Widow (book three) just as Jordan saw her Uncle Kev show up bringing chaos and danger in his wake, as he so often does.

                One of us added ‘his pudgy face’ to the narrative. 

                The other gasped. “Pudgy? What pudgy? He has cheekbones that could cut glass and he has a chiseled jaw.”



                “No, listen to me, definitely pudgy.”

                “What? Pudgy? This is the man that all women seem to fall for despite the fact he’s a disaster in the making. Only chiseled could explain that.”

                “I’m pretty sure his face is pudgy. Nothing’s going to change my mind.”

                “Seriously, Victoria?”

                “Really, Mum, really?

                And so it went.

                The thing is, neither of us owns Uncle Kev or any of the other characters in the series. Nor does either one have the right to tell the other what to do, write or think.  Occasionally, the mother finds this a bit hard, but never mind.

                So what did we do?

                We considered possibilities: pudgy in one book and chiseled in the next? Pudgy on one side and chiseled on the other? Pudgy cheeks, chiseled chin? Obviously, no solutions there.

                It was a bit tricky as Uncle Kev had already appeared (and caused quite a bit of trouble) in The Sayers Swindle. Was he pudgy or chiseled?  We’d have to go with whatever we’d said, despite our different visions and memories of Kev. Apparently, there was a bit of pudginess and some chiseled as well in The Sayers Swindle, but neither was connected to Kev’s face.

                At least we agreed on the ginger hair and wild eyebrows that all the Kellys attribute to their Viking ancestor, Olaf, who washed up in Dublin sometime in the ninth century and made his own kind of trouble. But we digress.  

                So, now we have to decide. And soon.

                How about you?  Given Kev’s appeal— his ginger hair and wild eyebrows, not to mention the frenetic disposition and attention deficit thingie—which would you vote for?

                We may need you to break the tie.  Or we could just see who does the ultimate set of edits …

                Of course, you’ll have to wait until September to find out. Maybe we will too.

In the meantime, leave a comment here and we’ll put your name in the draw for a Walter the Pug tote bag.  At least we all agree on Walter.

                If you had fun with us today, please visit us at or to sign up for our newsletter!