St. Patrick’s Day will be here soon! For those of you that focus your reading on holiday/cultural themed books, the list below features Irish writers and/or mysteries set in Ireland. Some are modern classics, some are newbies, but all are entertaining reads. You’re sure to find a title in the list of 30 Irish Mysteries that you will want to read again and again.
Lisa Alber: “Whispers in the Mist”
S. Furlong-Bollinger: “Paddy Whacked”
Sheila Connolly: "Cruel Winter"
Kathi Daley: “Shamrock Shenanigans”
Frank Delaney: "Shannon"
Nelson Demille: “Cathedral”
Tana French: “Faithful Place”
Alexia Gordon: “Murder in G Major”
Andrew Greeley: “Irish Tweed”
Jane Haddam: “A Great Day for the Deadly”
Lyn Hamilton: “The Celtic Riddle”
Lee Harris: “The St. Patrick's Day Murder”
Erin Hart: “Haunted Ground” review here
Jonathan Harrington: “A Great Day for Dying”
Mary Anne Kelly: “Twillyweed”
Amanda Lee: “The Long Stitch Good Night”
Wendi Lee: “The Good Daughter”
Dan Mahoney: “Once in, Never Out”
Brian McGilloway: “Little Girl Lost”
Ralph M. McInerny: “Lack of the Irish”
Leslie Meier: “St. Patrick's Day Murder”
Stuart Neville: "Ghosts of Belfast”
Carlene O'Connor: "Murder at an Irish Wedding"
Sister Carol Anne O’Marie: “Death Takes Up A Collection”
Helen Page: "Equal of God"
Louise Phillips: “The Doll’s House”
Janet Elaine Smith: “In St. Patrick's Custody”
JJ Toner: “St. Patrick's Day Special”
Peter Tremayne: “The Devil’s Seal”
Kathy Hogan Trochek: “Irish Eyes”
If your favorite Irish Mysteries are not on the list, let me know in the comments below and I’ll add them!
Happy choosing and reading!
The nominees for the Agatha Awards for 2016 (named for Agatha Christie) have been announced. The awards are bestowed upon mystery and crime writers at the annual Malice Domestic conference in late April, 2017. The nominated books were first published in the United States by a living author between January 1 and December 31, 2016.
The Agatha Awards recognize the "traditional mystery," meaning that there is no graphic sex and no excessive violence in the writing. Thrillers or hard-boiled detectives cannot be found here, but instead, picture Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot at work.
Click on the author’s name for more information about the book and the rest of the author’s work. Congratulations to all the nominees!
Best Contemporary Novel
Best Historical Novel
“Whispers Beyond the Veil” by Jessica Estevao
“Get Me to the Grave on Time” by D.E. Ireland
“Delivering the Truth” by Edith Maxwell
“The Reek of Red Herrings” by Catriona McPherson
“Murder in Morningside Heights” by Victoria Thompson
Best First Novel
Best Short Story
"Double Jinx: A Bellissimo Casino Crime Caper Short Story" by Gretchen Archer
"The Best-Laid Plans" by Barb Goffman in Malice Domestic 11: Murder Most Conventional
"The Mayor and the Midwife" by Edith Maxwell in Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon Anthology 2016
"The Last Blue Glass" by B.K. Stevens in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine
"Parallel Play" by Art Taylor in Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning
Please visit www.malicedomestic.org for the nominations in the Non-Fiction and Children/YA categories for the Agatha Awards-2016.
Time to get reading. Enjoy!
Each year the Mystery Writers of America (MWA) awards the Edgar Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television, published or produced in 2016. The Edgar® Awards will be presented at the annual banquet on April 27, 2017, in New York City. Congratulations to all the nominees!
Click on the authors’ names for more information.
BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
“Under the Harrow” by Flynn Berry
“Dodgers” by Bill Beverly
“IQ” by Joe Ide
“The Drifter” by Nicholas Petrie
“Dancing with the Tiger” by Lili Wright
“The Lost Girls” by Heather Young
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
“Shot in Detroit” by Patricia Abbott
“Come Twilight” by Tyler Dilts
“The 7th Canon” by Robert Dugoni
“Rain Dogs” by Adrian McKinty
“A Brilliant Death” by Robin Yocum
“Heart of Stone” by James W. Ziskin
BEST FACT CRIME
“Morgue: A Life in Death” by Dr. Vincent DiMaio & Ron Franscell
“The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle that Brought Down the Klan” by Laurence Leamer
“Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane: A True Story of Victorian Law and Disorder: The Unsolved Murder That Shocked Victorian England” by Paul Thomas Murphy
“While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man’s Descent into Madness” by Eli Sanders
“The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer” by Kate Summerscale
BEST SHORT STORY
“Oxford Girl” – Mississippi Noir by Megan Abbott
“A Paler Shade of Death” – St. Louis Noir by Laura Benedict
“Autumn at the Automat” – In Sunlight or in Shadow by Lawrence Block
“The Music Room” – In Sunlight or in Shadow by Stephen King
“The Crawl Space” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Joyce Carol Oates
BEST YOUNG ADULT
“Three Truths and a Lie” by Brent Hartinger
“The Girl I Used to Be” by April Henry
“Girl in the Blue Coat” by Monica Hesse
“My Sister Rosa” by Justine Larbalestier
“Thieving Weasels” by Billy Taylor
Dru Ann Love
THE SIMON & SCHUSTER – MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
“The Other Sister” by Dianne Dixon
“Quiet Neighbors” by Catriona McPherson
“Say No More” by Hank Phillippi Ryan
“Blue Moon” by Wendy Corsi Staub
“The Shattered Tree” by Charles Todd
Please visit www.theedgars.com for the Edgar Awards-2017 nominations in the Juvenile, Critical/Biographical, and TV Episode Teleplay categories.
*Photo credit: Mystery Writers of America
The first four years of Nightstand Book Reviews delivered a wide range of books to my doorstep and to my email inbox. Right from the beginning, I have received more than 100 requests a month (once over 400) from writers and publicists and friends of writers and publicists to review the latest book they had to offer.
It has been a fun problem to have. The strategy was (and remains) to choose great reads to chat about and share with the thousands of Nightstand Book Reviews followers around the world. The books on the site are by and large fiction, and tell a well-plotted story involving nicely developed characters. The authors are a mix of bestselling writers of longstanding, and newbies to the field when I first met them. Traditionally published or ebook only? Both happily co-exist on NBR. Occasionally I highlight biographies, great cookbooks, and helpful gardening books. A new feature in 2016 was Author Profiles. You’ll see more of those in 2017.
Below is the list of Top 10 books reviewed on Nightstand Book Reviews over the last four years, listed in ABC order by author. These were the books that garnered the most interest on NBR from the worldwide audience during the four years. Six books on the list were the debut novels from those authors. Some powerhouse writers (long, successful careers with great popularity) mixed in with newbies? A good book is a good book.
All of these authors now have multiple books out. Click on the book title to read the review.
Lee Child – “The Killing Floor”
Robert Dugoni – “My Sister’s Grave”
Robert Dugoni – “The Conviction”
Sherry Harris – “Tagged for Death”
Sue Harrison – “Mother Earth, Father Sky”
Erin Hart – “Haunted Ground”
Tami Hoag – “Alibi Man”
Craig Johnson – “The Cold Dish”
Leigh Perry – “A Skeleton in the Family”
Andy Weir – “The Martian”
Have you read any of the titles on the list? Wildly different books to be sure, with thrillers, sci-fi, traditional mysteries, and cozies in the group.
And soooo much fun to read.
Thank you all, kind readers, for being part of the Nightstand Book Reviews community during the first four years. Your comments and participation make me smile as I search for the next great read to share with you.
“The mission of the National Book Foundation and the National Book Awards is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.” *
The National Book Award is an American literary prize administered by the National Book Foundation. There are twenty judges for the competition, five in each of the categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry and Young People’s Literature. The judges are a mix of writers, librarians and booksellers. This year, American publishers submitted books published between December 1, 2015 and November 30, 2016, written by American authors. The winners were announced on November 16, 2016. Each Winner will receive a prize of $10,000 each. Each Finalist will receive a prize of $1,000 each.
The winners are indicated in red. Click on the authors’ names to discover information about the books.
- Chris Bachelder, The Throwback Special
- Paulette Jiles, News of the World
- Karan Mahajan, The Association of Small Bombs
- Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad
- Jacqueline Woodson, Another Brooklyn
- Arlie Russell Hochschild, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right
- Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
- Viet Thanh Nguyen, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War
- Andrés Reséndez, The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America
- Heather Ann Thompson, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy
- Daniel Borzutzky, The Performance of Becoming Human
- Rita Dove, Collected Poems 1974 – 2004
- Peter Gizzi, Archeophonics
- Jay Hopler, The Abridged History of Rainfall
- Solmaz Sharif, Look
Young People's Literature Finalists:
- Kate DiCamillo, Raymie Nightingale
- John Lewis, Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell (Artist), March: Book Three
- Grace Lin, When the Sea Turned to Silver
- Jason Reynolds, Ghost
- Nicola Yoon, The Sun Is Also a Star
Congratulations to all the finalists and winners!
Halloween will be here before you know it and if you’d like to pick up a fun read with a seasonal theme, here are forty-two titles in our updated 2016 Halloween Mystery List.
Some have been around for ages, but others have recently been published or re-published. There are dozens more books with a Halloween theme, so if your favorite is not on the list, please let us know the title and author in the comments.
Click on the bold titles to read more about the individual books.
Stacey Alabaster – The Pumpkin Killer
Susan Wittig Albert – Witches' Bane
Ritter Ames and 8 others – Midnight Mysteries: Nine Cozy Tales
Susan Bernhardt – The Ginseng Conspiracy
Susan Boles – Death of a Wolfman
Lilian Jackson Braun – Cat Who Talked to Ghosts
Rita Mae Brown – The Litter of the Law
Anna Celeste Burke – All Hallows’ Eve Heist
Jessica Burton – Death Goes Shopping
Nora Charles – Death with an Ocean View
Laura Childs – Frill Kill
Agatha Christie – The Hallowe'en Party
Susan Rogers Cooper – Not in My Backyard
E.J. Copperman – Night of the Living Deed
Carole Nelson Douglas – Cat with an Emerald Eye
Janet Evanovich – Plum Spooky
Connie Feddersen – Dead in the Pumpkin Patch
Vickie Fee – It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To
Honora Finkelstein – The Lawyer Who Died Trying
‘Jessica Fletcher’ & Donald Bain – Trick or Treachery
Daryl Wood Gerber (aka Avery Aames) – Stirring the Plot
Sarah Graves – Nail Biter
Carolyn Haines – Hallowed Bones
Ellen Hart – Sweet Poison
Lee Hollis – Death of a Pumpkin Carver
Carolyn Q. Hunter – Pumpkin Pie Waffle
Ellen Elizabeth Hunter – Murder on the Ghost Walk
Daniel Judson – The Violet Hour
Heather Justesen – Muffins & Murder
Andrew Klavan – The Animal Hour
Joyce & Jim Lavene – Ghastly Glass
James Lilley – Death Knocks Twice
Ed McBain – Tricks: an 87th Precinct Mystery
G.A. McKevett – Poisoned Tarts
Leslie Meier – Wicked Witch Murder
Liz Mugavero – A Biscuit, a Casket
Julie Mulhern – Send in the Clowns
Leigh Perry – The Skeleton Haunts a House
Rebecca Tope – Death in the Cotswolds
Diane Vallere – Masking for Trouble
If you've read any books in the Halloween Mystery List for 2016, please let us know what you thought.
Happy Spooky Reading!
Ruth Clagan’s grandfather, a clockmaker, dies during a robbery in “Just Killing Time” and leaves his Massachusetts clock shop, the Cog & Sprocket, to her. A rift between them caused by her ex has kept her away from the Berkshires for five years and now she has been robbed of a chance to reconnect. Why would anyone do this to a lifelong member of the community?
To complicate matters, the business is a puzzle, the shop is a mess and Ruth must deal with the oddly massive inventory as well as her grandfather’s widow. It makes sense to sell the Cog & Sprocket and get on with her life, but does Ruth really want to? Why did her grandfather have so much inventory? Could it be the reason he was killed?
“Just Killing Time” is complete with small town politics, reunions with old friends, and beautifully written dialogue that makes you feel as if you could join the conversation and fit right in. The wonderfully diverse cast of characters made me yearn for the days of small towns and friendly neighborhoods, where everybody knows your name. There is a real connection to the past with Orchard’s grandfather clocks and clock towers and small businesses on Main Street. Ahhh… life as it used to be outside the metropolitan areas of the country, before big box stores and fast food joints.
I connected immediately with Ruth, a fellow coffee addict. 😉 Julianne Holmes’ richly drawn Clagan clicks as a character trying to begin again, sorting through her life’s complications, but adapting as she sees alternate paths to follow. How many of us are given the opportunity to go back home to something familiar when life has taken an unexpected turn? And this clockmaker is always late? A giggle of a quirk.
We learn a great deal about the fascinating world of clocks – how they function and what makes the business model succeed in a time where digital seems to rule our lives. Grandfather’s repair specialty was clock towers, which require a tremendous amount of skill to maintain. Coincidentally, I saw a TV show about Big Ben (the clock tower in London) at the time I had started reading “Just Killing Time.” There’s more to its operation than climbing the steps to wind the clock or replace the parts. Wind can catch at the hands, pulling at them and slowing down the time. Minute changes in the atmosphere can affect the clock time. When I picked up “Just Killing Time” again, I found that it wove technical information in with the clever plot, giving us a clear understanding of why the Clagans love the business they’re in.
The layered storyline in this Agatha nominated debut novel involves possible fraud, people with hidden agendas, a tug-of-war between those that want a more modern town and those who wish to create an historic district. Happily, there is the potential for a little romance with a suitably hunky barber. “Just Killing Time” also includes some deviously nasty characters who will do anything to get what they want, including murder.
The second book in the series, “Clock and Dagger,” has recently been released and you should make time to read both.
Please visit www.jahennrikus.com for more information about Julianne Holmes and her alter ego, J.A. Hennrikus.