mystery

CrimeFest 2019

 

CrimeFest Awards began as a variation of the USA’s Left Coast Crime Awards and has become one of the best crime fiction conferences in Europe. In most cases, eligible titles for the various awards were submitted by publishers, and a team of British crime fiction reviewers voted to establish the shortlist and the winning title. The 2019 awards for 2018 books/titles were presented at a dinner held on Saturday, May 11th.


Congratulations to all the nominees and winners (indicated in red). Click on the book titles to discover more about the nominees and winners.


The Audible Sounds of Crime Award is for the best unabridged crime audiobook first published in the UK in 2018 in both printed and audio formats.
– Ben Aaronovitch for Lies Sleeping, read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
– Louise Candlish for Our House, read by Deni Francis & Paul Panting
– Bill Clinton & James Patterson for The President Is Missing, read by Dennis Quaid, January LaVoy, Peter Ganim, Jeremy Davidson, Mozhan Marnò and Bill Clinton
– Robert Galbraith for Lethal White, read by Robert Glenister
– Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen for The Wife Between Us, read by Julia Whelan
– Stephen King for The Outsider, read by Will Patton
– Clare Mackintosh for Let Me Lie, read by Gemma Whelan & Clare Mackintosh
– Peter May for I’ll Keep You Safe, read by Anna Murray & Peter Forbes
– Ian Rankin for In a House of Lies, read by James MacPherson
– Sarah Vaughan for Anatomy of a Scandal, read by Julie Teal, Luke Thompson, Esther Wane and Sarah Feathers


eDUNNIT AWARD is for the best crime fiction ebook published in both hardcopy and in electronic format.
– Leye Adenle for When Trouble Sleeps
– Steve Cavanagh for Thirteen
– Martin Edwards for Gallows Court
– Laura Lippman for Sunburn
– Khurrum Rahman for Homegrown Hero
– Andrew Taylor for The Fire Court
– Sarah Ward for The Shrouded Path


LAST LAUGH AWARD is for the best humorous crime novel.
– Simon Brett for A Deadly Habit
– Christopher Fowler for Bryant & May – Hall of Mirrors
– Mario Giordano for Auntie Poldi and the Fruits of the Lord
– Mick Herron for London Rules
– Khurrum Rahman for Homegrown Hero
– Lynne Truss for A Shot in the Dark
– Antti Tuomainen for Palm Beach Finland
– Olga Wojtas for Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Golden Samovar


H.R.F. KEATING AWARD is for the best biographical or critical book related to crime fiction.
– Nils Clausson for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Art of Fiction
– Brian Cliff for Irish Crime Fiction
– Glen S. Close for Female Corpses in Crime Fiction
– Laura Joyce & Henry Sutton for Domestic Noir
– Barry Forshaw for Historical Noir
– Steven Powell for The Big Somewhere: Essays on James Ellroy’s Noir World
– James Sallis for Difficult Lives – Hitching Rides


BEST CRIME NOVEL FOR CHILDREN nominees:
– P.G. Bell for The Train to Impossible Places
– Fleur Hitchcock for Murder At Twilight
– S.A. Patrick for A Darkness of Dragons
– Dave Shelton for The Book Case: An Emily Lime Mystery
– Lauren St. John for Kat Wolfe Investigates
– Nicki Thornton for The Last Chance Hotel


BEST CRIME NOVEL FOR YOUNG ADULTS nominees:
– David Almond for The Colour of the Sun
– Mel Darbon for Rosie Loves Jack
– Julia Gray for Little Liar
– Tom Pollock for White Rabbit, Red Wolf
– Nikesh Shukla for Run, Riot
– Neal & Jarrod Shusterman for Dry


THE PETRONA AWARD celebrates the best of Scandinavian crime fiction. The winner this year is Norwegian writer, Jorn Lier Horst, for “The Katharina Code.”
 

Happy Reading!

 

 

“Dying on Edisto” by C. Hope Clark

 

Carolina Slade trips over a body while checking out seagrass for a hat-making class and her vacation suddenly gets interesting. Slade and Largo are a few hours from home, staying at a beach cottage near Indigo Plantation on Edisto Island. Largo, a federal agent and Slade’s significant other, has been known to assist Slade on a case or two. This time, in “Dying on Edisto,” she unhappily babysits the body while he reports the death.

 

But, this is Edisto Island, Callie Morgan’s neighborhood. Callie is the Police Chief in Edisto Beach, just a few minutes down the road. Morgan just happens to be at Indigo, the new resort/B&B on the island, doing a meet and greet with the manager. But the meet and greet is interrupted before it really gets underway when Largo reports the body and Morgan and her deputy have to check it out. And we wonder…whose book is this – Slade’s or Morgan’s?

 

What ensues is an entertaining mashup between C. Hope Clark’s two successful mystery series, Carolina Slade Mysteries and Edisto Island Mysteries. The backgrounds of both women tie the two series together as Clark skillfully compares their stories and personalities through dialogue and internal thoughts. 

 

Morgan is inexplicably assigned to run the murder investigation (which is outside her own jurisdiction), raising eyebrows in the Edisto Beach town council and causing her problems all around. The reason? That would be telling. 😉

 

The colorful cast of characters in “Dying on Edisto” includes a self-proclaimed pirate, an unpleasant travel blogger, an overbearing officer from the Sheriff’s department, a protective family, and Callie’s yoga teacher pal, but Callie Morgan’s efficient staff is also on hand at the Edisto Beach station, with her deputy supportive/protective as always. Clark takes time to develop intriguing subplots, so when we discover the reasons behind the behavior of some of the main characters, the pieces of the story fall neatly into place. 

 

The setting itself, the coastal South Carolina hot weather environment surrounding the Indigo Plantation, is an additional, fully fleshed out, vivid character in “Dying on Edisto.” Between the sudden storms, the treks through the mud and dark water, the bugs in the woods, and the sticky humidity, the book will give you an authentic insider’s look at life in the South during the summer.

 

With an interesting storyline, two strong women at the helm, and a surprise ending, “Dying on Edisto” will more than satisfy fans of both series.

 

For more information about C. Hope Clark’s award-winning work in fiction and non-fiction, please visit www.chopeclark.com    

 

             

Book List: Author Edith Maxwell

 

Edith Maxwell is a prolific writer of absorbing, wonderful mysteries. Each of her series feature strong, independent women, with true-to-life intelligent, sometimes challenging, families and an always intriguing boyfriend. The stories are layered, the characters are complex, and the mysteries are well drawn. Click on the book titles and fall into a great read.      


as Edith Maxwell:

Quaker Midwife Mysteries  The Agatha-nominated historical series features unconventional Quaker midwife Rose Carroll in late 1880s Amesbury, Massachusetts.
 

Delivering the Truth”   review here

Called to Justice

Turning the Tide” 

Charity’s Burden

 

The Local Foods Mysteries feature novice organic farmer Cameron Flaherty and take place in the town of Westbury, Massachusetts.

 

A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die”  review here

’Til Dirt Do Us Part

Farmed and Dangerous

Murder Most Fowl

Mulch Ado About Murder

 

as Maddie Day:

The Country Store Mysteries feature Robbie Jordan and Pans ‘N Pancakes, her country store/ restaurant in fictional South Lick, Indiana.
 

Flipped for Murder

Grilled for Murder”    review here

When the Grits Hit the Fan

Biscuits and Slashed Browns

Death over Easy

“Strangled Eggs and Ham” – coming 6/19

 

Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries are set on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and feature Mackenzie Almeida and her sleuthing book club members.

 

Murder on Cape Cod”  review here – recently released.

 

 

as Tace Baker: 

The Lauren Rousseau Mysteries feature Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau, a self-reliant, multi-talented woman who finds herself involved in college politics, local Massachusetts intrigue, and bodies.

Speaking of Murder”  review here

Bluffing is Murder”  review here

 

Short Fiction

The following stories of "murderous revenge and other crimes" were originally published in anthologies or magazines. Many have been republished as standalone short stories.

“An Ominous Silence” appears in Snowbound: Best New England Crime Stories

“The Unfortunate Death of Mrs. Edna Fogg” in Malice Domestic 12: Mystery Most Historical 

 “Murder in the Summer Kitchen” in Murder Among Friends: Mysteries Inspired by the Life and Works of John Greenleaf Whittier. 

“The Mayor and the Midwife” in Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon Anthology 2016 

“Adam and Eva,” – free read on Kings River Life Magazine

“A Questionable Death” was originally published in the History and Mystery, Oh My! anthology and is a free read over at Kings River Life Magazine.

“Just Desserts for Johnny”

“Pickled” in That Mysterious Woman

“A Fire in Carriagetown” first appeared as “Breaking the Silence” in Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold 

“The Stonecutter,” first appeared in Fish Nets: the Second Guppy Anthology

“Reduction in Force” was first published in Thin Ice: Crime Stories by New England Writers 

“Yatsuhashi for Lance” was originally published as “Obake for Lance” in Riptide: Crime Stories by New England Writers.

“An Idea for Murder,” first appeared (written as Tace Baker) in the Burning Bridges: A Renegade Fiction Anthology.

“The Importance of Blood”

“A Divination of Death” appears in Malice Domestic 13: Mystery Most Geographical.

“Sushi Lessons” appears in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible.

“An Intolerable Intrusion” appears in Edgar Allen Cozy.

 

For more information about Edith and her writing life, read the Author Profile (first published two years ago this week)  here.

 

Happy Reading!  🙂

 

 

“Murder on Cape Cod” by Maddie Day

 

 

“Murder on Cape Cod” is the first title in a new series by Maddie Day (aka Edith Maxwell), Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery. Mac (MacKenzie) Almeida belongs to a cozy book club in fictional Westham on Cape Cod, that gathers at different houses to discuss the book of the week. After a meeting one night, she trips over a body on her way home – not quite the same as reading about the fictional bodies on the page.

 

To make matters worse, Mac knew the dead man, an often unpleasant, frequently unreliable handyman, with surprising connections to several members of the community. Why was he killed and by whom? The evidence left at the scene implicates only one person, but how could that be? The prime suspect goes missing, confusing matters for everyone. Guilty people don’t flee, do they?

 

Mac is a bike shop owner and is in a unique position to see lots of people pass by the window every day. She can recognize anyone out of place and since there is absolutely nothing impersonal about a small town, plausible suspects keep popping up.

 

One of the several interesting plotlines cleverly intertwines employee difficulties at the bike shop with the murder. Day uses the real-world challenges of small business ownership to complicate matters for Mac – getting workers to show up on time, dealing with impatient customers, honoring ‘the customer is always right’ credo. I felt as if I was right there in the store.

 

“Murder on Cape Cod” contains plenty of local food discussions at mealtimes. It’s especially fun to read that Mac loves good food, but does a lot of take-out. In Real Life, Day is a talented amateur chef, a personal detail that shines through her descriptions of various dishes in her other series Country Store Mysteries as well as those in this new series. Yummy sounding recipes are included in the back of the book. Cozy readers will also be delighted at the way Day inserts titles of actual cozy mysteries and their characters into the conversations.

 

Day’s writing is crisp in “Murder on Cape Cod” and her multi-layered plot features a cast of characters both diverse and perfectly suited for life in the ebb and flow of a tourist town. Mac’s caring and reliable boyfriend has his own business and Day shows us a rock-solid couple, enjoying each other and their time together, without being joined at the hip. Mac’s father is a pastor, and his wife’s interest in astrology plays a role in the story. Mac’s errant brother and her main employee? There are surprising reveals. And it has to be said: a huge round of applause to Maddie Day for writing a refreshing octogenarian grandmother who is feisty and quite capable of managing her own life.

 

“Murder on the Cape” is a solid page-turner, with a strong new female character, who can’t help herself when wanting to discover the truth. I look forward to the rest of the series.  🙂

 

Please visit www.edithmaxwell.com for more information about the Cozy Capers Book Group.

 

 

 

 

 

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!  🙂

 

 

 

“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.


 

 

 

“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.  🙂 This just in: "Mardi Gras Murder" won the Agatha last night for Best Contemporary Novel. Bravo!  🙂

 

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