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Nancy Moskowitz's blog

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

Mystery Monday

Pity the poor first time author!  After years of painstaking writing and re-writing, possibly years of rejections, somehow a book is published.  It will be reviewed, publicized, and ordered by bookstores and libraries.  Now what?  Does it remain hopefully on the shelf, while its better known brethren (yes, you Janet Evanovich and Mary Higgins Clark) are eagerly snatched up?  Is the author's creation doomed to languish on the shelf, unread, ignored, and eventually discarded?  As the librarian who orders the mysteries, I struggle between satisfying enormous popular demand for bestsellers, and purchasing the quiet, well-reviewed gems which the public may not even notice.  To rectify this situation, I want to take this opportunity to introduce some authors who have just published their first mysteries and deserve a wide readership. Try one today!

New Mysteries January 2010

Writ in Stone by Cora Harrison

Crawlspace by Sarah Graves

Art of Deception by Elizabeth Ironside

Poisoning in the Pub by Simon Brett

Desert Lost by Betty Webb

Fell Purpose by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

Improving the Silence by Peter Turnbull

Red Velvet Turnshoe by Cassandra Clark

Faces of the Gone by Brad Parks

Tragedy at Two by Ann Purser

Mrs. Malory and Any Man's Death by Hazel Holt

Sew Far, So Good by Monica Ferris

Sting of Justice by Cora Harrison

Faces in the Pool by Jonathan Gash

Catered Birthday Party by Isis Crawford

Full of Money by Bill James

Mystery Monday

Have yourself a merry little...murder?

No matter what holiday we celebrate we all have our special traditions.  Decorating the tree, frying latkes, wearing gaudy holiday sweaters, baking Christmas cookies, lighting a unity candle, endless shopping and family get togethers all help to make this time of year meaningful.   Ideally, the holidays are a time to reflect on the year gone by and a time to cherish friends and relatives. But even if your family reunions are strained, no one really wants a grisly murder to occur right before the turkey is served.  However, you may want to read about one and if you don’t mind a little blood with your egg nog, here are just a few mystery holiday favorites:

December Mysteries

Stuff to Die for by Don Bruns

Mirror and the Mask by Ellen Hart

Winter of Secrets by Vicki Delany

Rumpole Christmas by John Mortimer

Dial H for Hitchcock by Susan Kandel

Red. Green or Murder by Steven Havill

Village of the Ghost Bears by Stan Jones

Council of the Cursed by Peter Tremayne

Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle

What Remains of Heaven by C.S. Harris

Dead Hand of History by Sally Spencer

Morning Show Murders by Al Roker

Bryant and Mays on the Loose by Christopher Fowler

Mrs. Jeffries and the Yuletide Weddings by Emily Brightwell

Mystery Monday

Why do we read mysteries?  If you are reading this blog, it can be assumed that you like mysteries.  An interesting thread on Librarything discussed why people read mysteries, and there were some interesting theories.

1. We love to see people being punished for their evil deeds, and generally, mysteries accomplish this with the guilty being punished, or at least, arrested.

2. We love puzzles, figuring thngs out, and mysteries certainly contain puzzles.

3. Many mystery writers are superb at characterization, as well as plotting, and are just some of the best writers around.

4. In a long running series we become invested in our favorite characters like Stephanie Plum, Peter Decker and Alan Banks.

5. Mysteries explore the mind and actions of people who do terrible things and it satisfies our need to understand the human condition.

Do any of these reasons resonate with you?  Maybe you just like to settle in with any engrossing book and here are a few you mignt want to check out.

Monster in the Box by Ruth Rendell.  Inspector Wexford returns and we get some intriguing looks into his past.

New Mysteries for November

Loot the Moon by Mark Arsenault

Jigsaw Guilt by Jeffrey Ashford

Death Message by Mark Billingham

Where's Billie? by Judith Yates Borger

For Better, For Murder by Lisa Bork

Tower by Ken Bruen

Tragic Magic by Laura Childs

Rude Awakening by Susan Cooper Rogers

Sink Trap by Christy Evans

All the Lonely People by Geraldine Evans

Murder She Wrote: A Fatal Feast by Jessica Fletcher

Trick or Treat by Kerry Greenwood

Ninth Daughter by Barbara Hamilton

Fingers of One Foot by Gerald Hammond

Stuff to Spy For by Don Bruns

Wyatt's Revenge by H. Terrell Griffin

Dead Reckoning by Claire Lorrimer

Cadger's Curse by Diane Gilbert Madsen

Monster in the Box by Ruth Rendell

Fool There Was by Betty Rowlands

Killer Crab Cakes by Livia J. Washburn

Shades of Grey by Clea Simon

In the Blood by Fay Sampson

Criminal Tendencies edited by Lynne Patrick

Drunkard's Path by Claire O'Donohue

Price of Malice by Archer Mayor

Chinese Whispers by Peter May

Huckleberry Finished by Livia J. Washburn

Darkest Room by Johan Theorin

Mystery Monday

Prolific mystery author Stuart Kaminsky died last week at the age of 75.  While not a superstar of the publishing world, Mr. Kaminsky  (or rather Dr. Kaminsky, as he earned a Ph.D and was a film studies scholar) had a long and distinguished career.  Starting in 1977 and including this year, he wrote over 60 books.  The more astonishing fact is that he wrote not one, not two, but four different mystery series!  Some of you may have read his Chicago cop series featuring Abe Lieberman,  or his Russian Police Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov series.  Others may remember his Lew Foneseca, the depressive process server, or Toby Peters, the slightly seedy Hollywood P.I.  In 2006, Stuart Kaminsky was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, the organization's highest honor. Mystery fans everywhere mourn the passing of this very talented writer.

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