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Nancy Moskowitz's blog

Mystery Monday

Last month I discussed the incredible story of Stieg Larsson, the Swedish author who wrote the Millenium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest).  It is no exaggeration to say that they have become a publishing  sensation, selling 35 million copies worldwide.  Those of you who have read and enjoyed the trilogy might be pining for some more Nordic noir, and those who are waiting to read them might want to try something else in the meantime. Luckily, there is no shortage of atmospheric Scandinavian mysteries, and I have compiled a list of some terrific authors who may inspire you to put on a big pot of coffee and cool off with an icy mystery.

Henning Mankell--One of the most successful Swedish authors, he is best known for the highly-regarded Kurt Wallander series.  Wallander, also called the Swedish Morse, is a middle-aged police inspector with a load of personal problems and a gloomy outlook on society, but the books are justifably popular.

New Mysteries June 2010

Pull of the Moon by Diane Janes
Photo Snap Shot by Joanna Campbell Slan
Storm Prey by John Sandford
Hangman's Row Inquiry by Ann Purser
Moon Spinners by Sally Goldenbaum
Through the Cracks by Barbara Fister
Wanna Get Lucky by Deborah Coonts
Death Threads by Elizabeth Lynn Casey
Death of a Trophy Wife by Laura Levine
Killing Resurrected by Frank Smith
Rolling Thunder by Chris Grabenstein
Blue-Eyed Devil by Robert B. Parker
61 Hours by Lee Child
Big Bang by Mickey Spillane
Question of Belief by Donna Leon
Deadline Man by Jon Talton
Half-Price Homicide by Elaine Viets
Death Watch by Jim Kelly
Skein of the Crime by Maggie Sefton
Deliver Us From Evil by Peter Turnbull

Mystery Monday

Imagine you are the author of three international blockbuster novels.  Acclaimed throughout the world, you have achieved critical and financial success beyond your wildest imagination. Now imagine that you never see the rewards of your labor because you die, suddenly, before your books are published.  How cruel is that?  Well, it did happen just that way to Swedish author Stieg Larsson, who was felled by a fatal heart attack just months before the publishing date of his first book. He never lived to see any of his books, (The Millenium Trilogy featuring The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire and the forthcoming The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest) in print. Next week, the final volume of the trilogy will be published in the U.S. and will undoubtedly join its predecessors on the best-seller list.

New Mysteries May 2010

Mercy Killing by Stephen Solomita
Wheel of Fate by Kate Sedley
Wrecked by Carol Higgins Clark
Shadow of Your Smile by Mary Higgins Clark
Crimes by Moonlight edited by Charlaine Harris
False Pretences by Veronica Heley
Silent Intruder by Gerald Hammond
Midnight Fires by Nancy Means Wright
Silent Auction by Jane K. Cleland
Off Track by Clare Curzon
Sham Rock by Ralph Mcinerny
Only a Game by J.M. Gregson
Glazed Murder by Jessica Beck
Mint Juleps, Mayhem and Murder by Sara Rosett
House to Die for by Vicki Doudera
Inheritance by Simon Tolkien
This Body of Death by Elizabeth George
Six Mile Creek by Richard Helms
Ring of Death by Sally Spencer
Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green

Mystery Monday

"I can't believe this library!  You have no copies  of James Patterson, John Grisham, and Nelson DeMille!  What kind of library is this?"  These words came from an extremely upset woman who came to the reference desk understandably dismayed that we did not carry her favorite authors.  Where had she looked?  In the mystery section, of course.  Isn't that where these authors would be?  Well, actually, no.  We do, indeed, collect books by these authors, but they are found in regular fiction, not mystery, because they are considered thrillers or suspense.  What is the difference between a mystery and a thriller/suspense title?  Basically, a mystery is a puzzle, a game of whodunit.  A crime has occurred, which we usually don't see happen, and the protoganist (police detective, amateur sleuth, etc.) must uncover the truth and bring the perpetrator to justice.  On the other hand, a suspense/thriller novel works with an imminent fear of danger.  A roller coaster of heart pounding thrills ensues and we hang on for the death defying ride. 

New Mysteries for April 2010

Deception by Jonathan Kellerman
Naked Moon by Dominic Stansberry
Random Violence by Jassy Mackenzie
Devil in the Detail by Clare Curzon
Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear
Last Illusion by Rhys Bowen
Dogs of Rome by Conor Fitzgerald
False Mermaid by Erin Hart
Tooth and Claw by Nigel McCrery
Freeze Frame by Peter May
Highly Effective Detective Plays the Fool by Richard Yancey
Capitol Betrayal by William Bernhardt
Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke
Still Midnight by Denise Mina
Invisible Boy by Cornelia Read
Drink the Tea by Thomas Kaufman
On Deadly Ground by Michael Norman
Devil's Star by Jo Nesbo
212 by Alafair Burke

Mystery Monday

Who doesn't enjoy award shows?  Whether its the Oscars, the Grammys, or the Emmys, they all generate their own brand of excitement and glamour. While lacking in the celebrity quotient,the mystery writers have their own prestigious awards, too.  So all of you award junkies, don't despair, because there are plenty of award winners to celebrate.  Mysteries are so varied that they are categorized into their own sub-genres. For example, there are awards for most humorous mysteries, for best LA noir, best historical and any other kind of mysteries you can imagine.  I have listed below some of the latest award winners. See if some of your favorites have been nominated, or better yet, pick up a new favorite.

Left Coast Crime Awards presents the Lefty for most humorous mystery.
 The nominees are:
Swan for the Money by Donna Andrews
Living With Your Kids is Murder by Mike Befeler
Strangle a Loaf of Italian Bread by Denise Dietz
High Crimes on the Magical Plane by Kris Neri
And the winner is:
Getting Old is a Disaster by Rita Lakin

New Mysteries March 2010

Aunt Dimity Down Under by Nancy Atherton
From the Ground Up by Sandra Balzo
Sherlock Holmes: the American Years edited by Michael Kurland
Spies of Sobeck by P.C. Doherty
Man From Beijing by Henning Mankell
Split Image by Robert B. Parker
Fantasy in Death by J.D. Robb
Night too Dark by Dana Stabenow
Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia
Death Without Tenure by Joanne Dobson
Corpse on the Cob by Sue Ann Jaffarian
Falconer's Trial by Ian Morson
City of Dragons by Kelli Stanley
Bellfield Hall by Anna Dean
Corpus Delecti by Keith McCarthy
Hasta la Vista, Lola by Misa Ramirez

Mystery Monday: Dick Francis Gallops Away

Over the week-end came the sad news that noted mystery writer Dick Francis had passed away at the age of 89. Mr. Francis, a championship jockey turned successful crime novelist was one of the most prolific writers in the mystery field. He wrote 42 novels, all revolving around horse racing. Even people who were not particularly interested in horse racing praised these books.  With virtually no sex or bad language (in deference to the Queen Mother who was his biggest fan) Mr. Francis told compelling stories, adored the world over. One of the biggest mysteries involving Mr. Francis was, who actually wrote the novels.  Although he freely gave collaborative credit to his beloved wife, Mary, skeptics felt that an uneducated jockey was incapable of writing such fine work, and ascribed the authorship to the better educated Mary.  After Mary's death in 2000, he announced that there would be no more books, perhaps giving credence to this theory. However, he did produce four more splendid novels albeit working with his son Felix.

New Mysteries February 2010

Merry Wives of Maggody by Joan Hess
Blacklands by Belinda Bauer
Wild Penace by Sandi Ault
Snow Angels by James Thompson
Doors Open by Ian Rankin
Thereby Hangs a Tail by Spencer Quinn
Butter Safe Than Sorry by Tamar Myers
Mist Over the Water by Alys Clare
Fourth Assassin by Matt Beynon Rees
Assassins of Athens by Jeffrey Siger
Gone 'til November by Wallace Stroby
No Mercy by Lori Armstrong
Death of a Valentine by M.C. Beaton
Parisian Prodigal by Alan Gordon
Whisper to the Living by Stuart Kaminsky
Paganini's ghost by Paul Adam
Treasure Hunt by John Lescroart
Unbearable Lightness of Scones by Alexander MCall Smith
Double Black by Wendy Clinch
Raining Cat Sitters and Dogs by Blaize Clement
Wings of Sphinx by Andrea Camilleri
Death by the Book by Lenny Bartulin
Wicked Craving by G.A. McKevett
Butterflies of Grand Canyon by Margaret Erhart
Silencer by James W. Hall

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