Mystery

2019 Hammett Prize

 

The Hammett Prize is bestowed by The International Association of Crime Writers (North American Branch). The award will be given later this year for a 2018 work of literary excellence in the field of crime writing by an American or Canadian author. The prize is the famous ‘Thin Man’ bronze trophy, and bragging rights.  🙂
 

Please click on the nominated book titles to find out more about the novels.  The nominees are as follows: 

 

"November Road"  by Lou Berney
 

"The Lonely Witness"  by William Boyle
 

"Paris in the Dark"  by Robert Olen Butler
 

"Under My Skin"  by Lisa Unger
 

"Cut You Down"  by Sam Wiebe

 

Congratulations to all the nominees!  🙂

 

 

 

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Book List: Author Barbara Ross

 

Author Barbara Ross’ Maine Clambake Mysteries series is thoroughly entertaining with terrific writing, an engaging cast of core characters, intriguing murders, and the Maine setting that is a personality in itself. It is no wonder that the series has been nominated so often for top mystery awards. Our own NBR readers chose “Clammed Up” as a Top Ten read for that year. I have tried several of the delicious recipes in the books and can report that they are tasty and easy to make.

 

Click on the titles and check out the books:

 

Clammed Up”   (review here)

Boiled Over

Musseled Out”  (review here)

Fogged Inn”     (review here)

Iced Under

Stowed Away

Steamed Open” (review here)

 

 

Nogged Off” – part of the Christmas collection, “Eggnog Murder”

Logged On” – novella in the Christmas collection, “Yule Log Murder”

 

The Death of an Ambitious Woman”  (Not part of the Clambake Mysteries)

 

“Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody” (new series coming in June, 2019)

“Hallowed Out” – novella in the Halloween collection, “Haunted House Murder” (coming August, 2019)

“Sealed Off” (new title in the Maine Clambake Mysteries coming in October, 2019)

 

Enjoy!  🙂

 

 

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“Poisons Can Be Deadly” Book List

 

On occasion www.kerriansnotebook.com crosses into the Nightstand Book Reviews realm. Many of you have shown a great interest in the various poisons used as a method of dispatching the victim(s) on the Kerrian’s Notebook site, so I thought you might like to have a list of 29 books with poison as the primary cause of death here on NBR. The authors and their fans provided the titles. The books were written/published after 2015, so there are no classics in the list, just relatively new ones to add to your TBR pile. Any post-2015 titles missing? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Listed in alphabetical order by author, the list also includes links to the book 'buy' pages. Click on the titles to find out more.

 

Mary Angela  “An Act of Murder

Juliet Blackwell  “Toxic Trousseau

Laura Bradford  “The Silence of the Flans

Becky Clark “Fiction can be Murder

Brenda Donelan  “Murder to Go

 

Jan Edwards “In Her Defense

Maggie Foster “The Arms of Death

Daryl Wood Gerber  “Wreath Between the Lines

Debra H. Goldstein  “One Taste Too Many

John Hazen “Zyklon

 

Katherine Bolger Hyde  “Arsenic with Austen” and “Cyanide with Christie

Maureen Klovers  “The Secret Poison Garden

Jim & Joyce Lavene  “Killing Weeds

Meg London  “Laced with Poison

 

Edith Maxwell  “Mulch Ado About Murder,” “Murder Most Fowl,” and “Farmed and Dangerous.”

Donna Blanchard McNicol  “Barely a Spark

Britni Patterson   “A Thousand Deadly Kisses

 

Alec Peche  “Murder at The Podium,” and “Crescent City Murder

Karen Pullen “Cold Feet” 

Nancy Cole Silverman  “Shadow of Doubt                                     

Fran Stewart  “Pink as a Peony

 

Joyce Tremel  “Tangled Up in Brew

Kathleen Valenti  "As Directed"

Nancy G. West  "River City Dead," and "The Plunge."

 

Have fun choosing several books from this wickedly entertaining list!  🙂

 

 

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“Steamed Open” by Barbara Ross

 

Julia Snowden is back in “Steamed Open,” the seventh book in Barbara Ross’ Agatha nominated Maine Clambake mystery series. Julia has worked hard to bring the family Clambake business back from the brink of financial disaster, but a new threat challenges her problem-solving ability – the clams she needs for the Clambakes may no longer be readily available. This isn’t a matter of refinancing or getting a backer to underwrite a cash-strapped, seasonal business. The very character of the business itself is vulnerable to the baffling decision of one man.

 

The problem? Public entry to a prime clamming beach and the parking lot near it have been fenced off after local philanthropist, Lou (Heloise) Herrickson, passes away. Her heir, Bartholomew Frick, a very unpleasant distant relative of Lou’s, is not at all interested in the impact that decision has on the community – both tourists and business owners alike. He is only interested in selling the beachfront house and all its contents as quickly as possible. The professional clammers can’t dig up the clams and the dwindling supply is threatening to remove clam dishes from all the area seafood restaurants.

 

Frick winds up dead, killed with a clam rake, and Julia was the last person to see him alive – except for the killer. Who did it? Was it a frustrated local resident, a disgruntled neighbor, or an annoyed vacationer? Who will inherit the estate now since Frick died before a will could be written? Ross provides us with plenty of motives as well as a few feisty suspects and a complex side-plot that moves front and center as the story evolves.

 

Julia bends the rules a bit while looking for someone who would inherit the estate and return the beach access to what had gone before. She has a personal stake in the outcome, since every day without access to the beach creates difficulties for the business and her entire family. “Steamed Open” revisits the point that summer tourist businesses have a limited four- month window in which to earn the money to live on for the year. Not an easy place to exist, let alone thrive.

 

I spent many summers at beach towns on the USA East Coast and as Ross discusses in her book, public beach access is flatly denied in some oceanside communities and in some places, day passes can only be purchased at the police station. Regulations vary from town to town where the debate rages with loud, angry exchanges at the public and private meetings. It’s a choice between a source of revenue for the town and owners that don’t want their expensive beach fronts crowded with strangers that litter the sand and destroy the dunes. Compromises between the groups are hard to achieve in real life.

 

Julia’s relationship with her boyfriend, Chris, gets complicated in “Steamed Open.” He has his own secrets and while they have given each other plenty of space before, she now feels that if the two are going to continue to complement each other in business and as a couple, there has to be more openness. What Chris reveals will break your heart.

 

“Steamed Open” is a study in the necessity to get answers quickly before time runs out and everybody loses. A murder and a search for an heir that affects the entire community? High stakes investigations indeed and a great read, with Ross delivering a clever multi-layered plot, well-crafted continuing (and a few new) characters, and as always, wonderful recipes and that fabulous coastal Maine setting.

 

Click here to read Ross’ Author Profile.

 

Please visit http://www.maineclambakemysteries.com/ for more information about Ross, her appearances, and her other work.


 

 

 

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“Mardi Gras Murder” by Ellen Byron

 

“Mardi Gras Murder,” the fourth entry in the Cajun Country Mystery Series, stars independent Magnolia Marie (Maggie) Crozat, an artist/B&B owner whose family has lived in Pelican, Louisiana for generations. In the weeks before Mardi Gras, a torrential rain hits St. Pierre Parish, flooding all the towns and bayous in it, submerging houses and pushing everyone’s junk along as the water rises to find release at the Gulf of Mexico. The rainwater finally settles and wreckage is left behind, but so is the body of a stranger, found at the back of the Crozat property.

 

“Mardi Gras Murder” is enriched by its inclusion of how natural disasters bring neighbors together, whether to haul away debris or provide temporary housing to the newly displaced. This is no ordinary town, but a tight-knit community steeped in tradition that shouts to the world: “Mardi Gras will go on. Peli-CAN!” despite the flooding, the damage, and the dead body.

 

Maggie’s Gran comes down with pneumonia, so to carry on family tradition, Maggie is pushed to judge the beauty pageant in her stead. For a sick senior citizen, Gran wields an awful lot of power from that sickbed, a delightful plot nod that embraces older kinfolks as respected contributors to society. Maggie conforms to some of the Pageant rules to keep the peace, but shows us a different approach to showcasing young women, not with their lineage, but by demonstrating talent, brains, and showing them encouragement when needed.

 

Many interesting characters inhabit the pages of “Mardi Gras Murder,” and Bo Durand, a Pelican police detective and Maggie’s hunky boyfriend, fits nicely into Maggie’s circle. In a real-world subplot, the tension and misunderstandings between them deliver a nuanced look at how couples and blended families cope with difficult issues.

 

In this entertaining Cajun mystery, gumbo pots are sacred and locked in safes along with secret recipes. Maggie suspects she was second place to her dad’s black pot during each year’s preamble to Mardi Gras. Even the winner of the Pelican Mardi Gras Gumbo Queen Pageant wears a crown that includes a rhinestone gumbo pot in its design.

 

Happily, because of the internal Crozat family competition for the top gumbo prize, there are several cooking scenes. I could taste the fabulous seafood gumbo while it simmered on the stove, although I was pleased to see that Bo planned to enter his chicken and sausage version into the competition. There are as many kinds of gumbo as there are cooks to debate their choices, and Byron cleverly included that banter in the book.

 

Complete with yummy sounding recipes, there is lots happening in “Mardi Gras Murder.” It engages and informs us with local history and dialect while supplying us with more than one mystery to solve, more than one body, and more than one plausible suspect to investigate. Great fun!
 

“Mardi Gras Murder” has recently been nominated for this year’s Left Coast Crime Award (the Lefty) and the Agatha Award.  🙂

 

Please visit www.ellenbyron.com for information about her other books in the award-winning series.

 

 

 

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The Agatha Awards for 2018 books

 

The nominees for the Agatha Awards for 2018 Books (named for Agatha Christie) have been announced. The awards will be given to mystery and crime writers at the annual Malice Domestic conference in early May, 2019. The nominated books were first published in the United States by a living author between January 1 and December 31, 2018.


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.


Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!  🙂


Best Contemporary Novel 
“Mardi Gras Murder” by Ellen Byron
“Beyond the Truth” by Bruce Robert Coffin
“Cry Wolf” by Annette Dashofy
“Kingdom of the Blind” by Louise Penny
“Trust Me” by Hank Phillippi Ryan


Best Historical Novel 
“Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding” by Rhys Bowen
“The Gold Pawn” by LA Chandlar
“The Widows of Malabar Hill” by Sujata Massey
“Turning the Tide” by Edith Maxwell
“Murder on Union Square” by Victoria Thompson


Best First Novel 
“A Ladies Guide to Etiquette and Murder” by Dianne Freeman
“Little Comfort” by Edwin Hill
“What Doesn't Kill You” by Aimee Hix
“Deadly Solution” by Keenan Powell
“Curses Boiled Again” by Shari Randall


Best Short Story (Click on the titles to read the short stories)
"All God's Sparrows" by Leslie Budewitz (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)
"A Postcard for the Dead" by Susanna Calkins (in Florida Happens)
"Bug Appetit" by Barb Goffman (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
"The Case of the Vanishing Professor" by Tara Laskowski (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)

"English 398: Fiction Workshop" by Art Taylor (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)


Best Young Adult Mystery 
“Potion Problems” by Cindy Callaghan
“Winterhouse” by Ben Guterson
“A Side of Sabotage” by C.M. Surrisi


Best Nonfiction 
“Mastering Plot Twists” by Jane Cleland
“Writing the Cozy Mystery” by Nancy J Cohen
“Conan Doyle for the Defense” by Margalit Fox
“Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life” by Laura Thompson
“Wicked Women of Ohio” by Jane Ann Turzillo

Happy Reading!!!  🙂

 

 

 

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Mystery Writers of America – Edgar Awards 2019

 

MWA Edgar statuettes

Each year, the Mystery Writers of America honors the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, and television, published or produced the previous year. This year, on the 210th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, the winners of The Edgar Awards–2019 will be announced at the Gala Banquet held in New York City, on April 25, 2019.

                

Congratulations to all the nominees for the prestigious Edgars!  🙂

 
BEST NOVEL
“The Liars Girl” by Catherine Ryan Howard
“House Witness” by Mike Lawson
“A Gamblers Jury” by Victor Methos
“Down the River Unto the Sea” by Walter Mosley
“Only to Sleep” by Lawrence Osborne
“A Treacherous Curse” by Deanna Raybourn
 

BEST FIRST NOVEL by an American Author
“A Knife in the Fog” by Bradley Harper
“The Captives” by Debra Jo Immergut
“The Last Equation of Isaac Severy” by Nova Jacobs
“Bearskin” by James A. McLaughlin
“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

 

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
“If I Die Tonight” by Alison Gaylin
“Hiroshima Boy” by Naomi Hirahara
“Under a Dark Sky” by Lori Rader-Day
“The Perfect Nanny” by Leila Slimani
“Under My Skin” by Lisa Unger

 

BEST FACT CRIME
“Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge First and the Rise of Gay Liberation” by Robert W. Fieseler
“Sex Money Murder: A Story of Crack, Blood, and Betrayal” by Jonathan Green
“The Last Wild Men of Borneo: A True Story of Death and Treasure” by Carl Hoffman
“The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century” by Kirk Wallace Johnson
“I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer” by Michelle McNamara
“The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World's Most Powerful Mafia” by Alex Perry

 
 
BEST SHORT STORY
Rabid A Mike Bowditch Short Story by Paul Doiron
Paranoid Enough for Two The Honorable Traitors by John Lutz
Ancient and Modern Bloody Scotland by Val McDermid
English 398: Fiction Workshop Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Art Taylor
The Sleep Tight Motel Dark Corners Collection by Lisa Unger 
 

 

BEST YOUNG ADULT
“Contagion” by Erin Bowman
“Blink” by Sasha Dawn
“After the Fire” by Will Hill
“A Room Away From the Wolves” by Nova Ren Suma
“Sadie” by Courtney Summers

 


THE SIMON & SCHUSTER MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
“A Death of No Importance” by Mariah Fredericks
“A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder” by Dianne Freeman
“Bone on Bone” by Julia Keller
“The Widows of Malabar Hill” by Sujata Massey
“A Borrowing of Bones” by Paula Munier

 

Please visit www.theedgars.com/nominees for nominees in the categories of BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL, BEST JUVENILE, BEST TELEVISION TELEPLAY, as well as the recipients of other specialty awards.

If you start now, you can read all the books before the Awards ceremony. Can you pick the winners?  🙂

 

 

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