Monday, August 15, 2022

Writer Unboxed: Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time in Fall 2022 by Arthur Klepchukov

 Writer Unboxed: Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time in Fall 2022 by Arthur Klepchukov 

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Grouse Moor Murder (1934) by John Ferguson

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Grouse Moor Murder (1934) by John Ferguson: John Ferguson was a Scottish clergyman, playwright and novelist who wrote ten detective and thriller novels between 1918 and 1942 with half ...

Markets and Jobs for Writers for 8/15/2022

 Markets and Jobs for Writers for 8/15/2022

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 8/15/2022

 In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 8/15/2022

Aubrey Nye Hamilton Reviews: M, King's Bodyguard by Niall Leonard (Pantheon, 2021

King's Bodyguard by Niall Leonard (Pantheon, 2021) is based on the biography of William Melville by Andrew Cook (M: MI5's First Spymaster [Tempus, 2004]) and the autobiography of Gustav Steinhauer (Steinhauer The Kaiser's Master Spy [John Lane, 1930]). Melville was the founder of England’s MI5 and the model for Ian Fleming’s character called M. Steinhauer became the head of the British section of Germany’s Intelligence Service. At the time of this fictionalized account, Melville was head of Scotland Yard’s Special Branch and Steinhauer was the Kaiser's bodyguard.

It is January 1901 and the United Kingdom is undergoing cataclysmic change: Queen Victoria is dying. Ascending to the throne at the age of 18 in 1837, most people could not remember a time when she was not their queen. Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales, calls Melville to Osbourne House, where the family is gathered, to enlist his assistance for the arrival of Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, Victoria’s grandson and Albert’s nephew. There Melville meets Steinhauer.

Plans for the funeral have been in place for years. Melville’s job is to ensure the anarchists running rampant in Europe do not converge on London and assassinate any of the crowned heads paying their final respects. That many coveted targets in one highly visible location would be irresistible to any dissident worthy of the name, and Melville knows it. When he receives word of a credible plot to kill the Kaiser, his clueless supervisor declines to provide back-up staff so Melville enlists Steinhauer’s support instead. Locating and neutralizing a nameless radical revolutionary proved more challenging than Melville expected. The would-be killer leads Melville and Steinhauer on a chase across London from safe house to safe house, into a high-class bordello, through a muddy river, around the public gasworks, and down subway tunnels.

This fast-moving and action-filled narrative describes the people and the city of 1901 in exquisite detail, conveying authentic sights, sounds, and smells of a place from more than 100 years ago. Leonard certainly did his research; the book has a sense of immediacy I would not have expected in an historical account. I especially liked the description of Melville sailing through the air during an explosion. The writing is wonderful.

Hints of the war to come are evident even in 1901. While Melville is forced to rely on Steinhauer, he never really trusts him, aware of the underlying discord between the new King Edward and the Kaiser. Later on in their lives they become adversaries. The final pages of the book lay the groundwork for Melville’s career in what would become MI5 as well as for a sequel to this very fine historical thriller. I am looking forward to it.


·                     Publisher:  Pantheon (July 13, 2021)

·                     Language:  English

·                     Hardcover:  272 pages

·                     ISBN-10:  1524749052

·                     ISBN-13:  978-1524749057


Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2022

Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Dru's Book Musings New Releases: Week of August 14, 2022

 Dru's Book Musings New Releases: Week of August 14, 2022



Murder Books: 30 DAYS IN THE HOLE by James L’Etoile

 Murder Books: 30 DAYS IN THE HOLE by James L’Etoile

Guest Post: Architect of Courage by Victoria Weisfeld

Last month author Vicki Weisfeld came by with an excerpt from her new book, Architect of Courage. Please welcome her back to the blog as she shares more on the new book.


Thank you, Kevin, for your willingness to host a blog essay related to my new mystery/thriller Architect of Courage. In it, protagonist Archer Landis is a successful Manhattan architect whose orderly life falls into disarray when the woman he loves is murdered. That’s just the beginning of a summer of disastrous events that befall him, which put him and everyone around him in danger. Events that, ultimately, he has to try to sort out.

I’m pleased with the reader response, and one question people often ask is, what was it like to write a book from the male point-of-view? First, I never considered having a woman protagonist for this story, so I had a male firmly in mind from the get-go. I took into account that he is a successful businessman and a lot of the story’s action takes place in his office, not at home. His role as the leader of a prominent architectural firm is essential to who he is, and fits his “let’s get on with it” personality. You see this in his interactions with his staff, helping them move forward through a variety of difficulties.

In thinking about this post for you, Kevin, I realized that, in fact, most of the principal characters in this novel are men: Landis’s two principal associates, his lawyer, the police detectives, his right-hand when situations become dangerous. Many conversations occur among these characters, and in them, especially, I worked on the gender issue. Women (at least women of my generation) were socialized to express themselves tentatively, “It’s just a suggestion, but would you like a roast beef sandwich? Or, maybe . . . something else?” whereas a man would say, “Let’s have a roast beef sandwich” and be done with it. Of course I’m exaggerating. (See how I did that? Tried to get you to go along with my example by using the “of course.”)

I reviewed all the dialog numerous times to make sure the “weasel-words”—the things you say to minimize importance or weaken a statement—were removed, except in instances where the speaker was genuinely unsure. I don’t know, what do you think? (See?) A document search found every instance of the word “need,” which I usually replaced with “want.” There’s a subtle difference between “I need you to finish that floor plan” and “I want you to finish.” Once you go on the hunt for weasel-words, they’re everywhere!

By excising that fluff from the men’s conversation, the women’s voices became more distinctive. Yes, there are women in Architect of Courage! One character readers single out is Landis’s receptionist/assistant Deshondra. She’s young and a practitioner of upspeak? You know what I mean? It makes sense that her conversation would be kind of (there I go again) a counterpoint for the men’s because of her youth, inexperience, and gender.

All this focus on how Landis expresses himself provides a window into the more fundamental issues of how he thinks, analyzes problems, and reacts to situations. Even though he doesn’t talk about feelings a lot, his behavior reveals what’s going on inside.

I have a second novel that includes chapters in alternating points of view, female (my protagonist) and male (a police detective). Compared to Archer Landis, I find the female protagonist harder to write. There’s too much “me” in there. She’s not me; I need her to bring her own self to the project. What I want to avoid is a book in which the main character seems to be the author projecting, what I call wish fulfillment literature. Action heroes are prone to this.

Thank you again, Kevin, and I hope your audience members who read Architect of Courage will enjoy it!


Victoria Weisfeld ©2022 

Award-winning short story writer Vicki Weisfeld is a Midwesterner (Go Blue!) transplanted to New Jersey. Many of her mysteries are set in those places. Her mother’s Texas family inspired stories about Brianna Yamato, rookie reporter and expert investigator for the Sweetwater (Texas) Register. Vicki’s first thriller, Architect of Courage, out June 2022, is set in the summer of 2011. Everything goes from bad to worse to worst for Manhattan architect Archer Landis, who must find the courage first to survive, and then for redemption. Visit her blog at

Saturday, August 13, 2022

KRL: KRL This Week Update for 8/13/2022

Up on KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "Death by Bubble Tea" by Jennifer Chow along with a fun guest post by Jennifer where she shares some fun summer drink suggestions to go along with you reading 

And reviews and giveaways of more fun food mysteries for your summer reading-"A Catered Doggie Wedding": A Mystery with Recipes by Isis Crawford, "Donut Disturb": A Bakeshop Mystery by Ellie Alexander, and "Dairy, Dairy, Quite Contrary": A Sunflower CafĂ© Mystery by Amy Lillard


And a review and giveaway of "Too Mulch to Handle" by H.Y. Hanna


We also have a review and giveaway of "Death Plans a Perfect Trip" by Mary Jane Maffini along with an interesting interview with Mary Jane


And a mystery short story by Guy Belleranti


For those who prefer to listen to Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast directly on KRL you can find the player here for our latest episode which features the mystery short story "Bubbles Baubles" written by Elaine Faber and read by local actor Thomas Nance


We also have another local true crime story by Sarah Peterson-Camacho


During the week we posted another special midweek guest post, this one by mystery author Lucy Burdette about her latest book "A Dish to Die For" and why she doesn't write historical mysteries


And another special midweek guest post, this one by mystery author Thomas Kies where he talks about what he learned about apps during his research for his new book "Whisper Room." You can also enter to win a copy of the book


Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and giveaway of "Killers of a Feather" by TC LoTempio


And a review and giveaway of "Lies, Spies, and the Baker's Surprise" by Terry Ambrose 


And a review and ebook giveaway of "Tutus, Fries & Dead Guys" by Jennifer Fischetto

Happy reading,



Scott's Take: Black Hammer Vol 1: Secret Origins by Jeff Lemire

Black Hammer Vol 1: Secret Origins by Jeff Lemire is strange. A group of superheroes are stranded on a farm in a small town somewhere. They have been stranded for the last ten years and are unable to escape despite several attempts to do so. They work to keep their secrets from others while also trying to uncover why they are trapped here. This is a big getting to know the characters volume since they are all original characters inspired by various genres and characters elsewhere.

For example, there is a Martian warlord, there is a Shazam rip off, there is a robot, there is a science fiction 80s style hero called Colonel Weird, and others. This is a series that is fairly unique and kind of hard to explain. 

There is some flashback origins style action while most of it the pages are character drama contrasting who they were with who they are now. Most of the characters are not doing well, except for one. I have in my TBR pile the second volume called The Event.


My reading copy came via the Hoopla app and the Dallas Public Library System.


Scott A. Tipple ©2022

Friday, August 12, 2022

The Rap Sheet: British Boob-Tube Bits for 8/12/2022

 The Rap Sheet: British Boob-Tube Bits for 8/12/2022



August Issue of Gumshoe Review in online

 Gumshoe Review August 2022 now Online

Editorial License:
Just the Facts - August 2022 by Gayle Surrette

Bullseye #1: The Society of Crime by James Fleming

US Book Reviews:
Death at the Manor (Lily Adler) by Katharine Schellman
Front Page Murder by Joyce St. Anthony
Girls Without Tears by T.L. Finlay
Holy Chow (Andy Carpenter) by David Rosenfelt
House of a Thousand Lies by Cody Luke Davis
The It Girl by Ruth Ware
The Local by Joey Hartstone
The Lost (Mace Reid K-9) by Jeffrey B. Burton
Shutter by Ramona Emerson
Gayle Surrette
Brandywine, MD 20613

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: GENTRY AND THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE IS RELEASED!

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: GENTRY AND THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE IS RELEASED!: By Caroline Clemmons GENTRY AND THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE released today! This sweet, historical western romance is the first in my new Texas ...

Beneath the Stains of Time: Emergency Exit (1941) by Anthony Wynne

Beneath the Stains of Time: Emergency Exit (1941) by Anthony Wynne: Last week, I reviewed a short story by Anthony Wynne , entitled "Footsteps" (1926), which is one of thirty-some magazine stories ...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Revisited: The Big Lie and The Death of Nancy Drew

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Revisited: The Big L...:      Reviewed by Jeanne When a new author takes up established characters and puts a new spin on them, the results are usually either ad...

SleuthSayers: Time to go to the movies again by O'Neil De Noux

SleuthSayers: Time to go to the movies again: It's fun to make lists. Here are some movies lists. What does this have to do with writing? Movies have scripts, don't they? 1. Mov...

In Reference To Murder: Friday's "Forgotten" Books - The Slipper Point Mystery

 In Reference To Murder: Friday's "Forgotten" Books - The Slipper Point Mystery



FFB Review: The Bughouse Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini Reviewed by Barry Ergang

From the massively magnificent archive...


The year is 1894, the city is San Francisco, and Sabina Carpenter and John Quincannon, owners and operators of Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services, have been partnered for over three years. “When they had met by chance in Silver City, Idaho, he had been an operative of the United States Secret Service investigating a counterfeiting operation, and she had been a Pink Rose, one of the select handful of women employed as investigators by the Pinkerton International Detective Agency, at the time working undercover to expose a pyramid swindle involving mining company stock. Circumstances had led them to join forces to mutually satisfactory conclusions, and resulted in an alliance that had prompted Quincannon” to suggest the business partnership—an equal one—to which Sabina agreed.


In the case under consideration, Sabina has just been hired by the owner of the Haight Street Chutes Amusement Park to find and stop the activities of a pickpocket who has been plaguing the site’s customers. Quincannon, meanwhile, has been hired by the Great Western Insurance Company to find and stop the activities of a burglar who has already robbed the homes of three “prominent citizens,” all of whom are policy-holders. The company suspects that at least three other such citizens are targets.


When the detectives manage to identify the objects of their separate pursuits as pickpocket Clara Wilds and burglar “Dodger” Brown, they wonder if their cases have somehow converged because Clara and Dodger are known to be—or to have been—a romantic pairing. But then Sabina finds Clara dead, murdered, and Dodger immediately becomes a prime suspect.


Complicating the detectives’ lives, Quincannon’s in particular, is an Englishman who claims to be Sherlock Holmes. Ambrose Bierce has already surmised in his newspaper column that the man is an impostor because it is well known that Holmes died three years earlier in a plummet from a Swiss waterfall. Whether Holmes or not, he insinuates himself into Quincannon’s investigation, which becomes much more than the pursuit of Dodger Brown. It evolves into the investigation of an impossible crime when an attorney, Andrew Costain, requests a meeting with Quincannon at his home. The latter observes someone breaking into the home: “Up and over the railing there, briefly silhouetted: the same small figure dressed in dark cap and clothing. Across to the door, and at work there for just a few seconds. The door opened, closed again behind the burglar.” When Quincannon and Holmes, the Englishman having watched the house from a different direction, enter, they find Andrew Costain dead—both stabbed and shot—in a study whose doors and windows are locked from the inside. The two of them had previously taken precautions to effectively seal the house against exit or entry, yet their quarry managed to evade capture and vanish.


As Holmes, or pseudo-Holmes, sums up the conundrum to Quincannon: “…You are adept at solving seemingly impossible crimes. How then did the pannyman manage a double escape? Why was Andrew Costain shot as well as stabbed? Why was the pistol left in the locked study and the bloody stiletto taken away? And why was the study door bolted in the first place? A pretty puzzle, eh, Quincannon? One to challenge the deductive skills of even the cleverest sleuth.”


Count this reader as one who easily nailed down the identity of the murderer upon spotting a particular clue, but who did not come close to solving the locked room/sealed house aspects of the puzzle. The first in a series about the Carpenter/Quincannon partnership, this well-paced novel melds an enticing puzzle plot with humor, picturesque characters, and colorful descriptions, based on the authors’ research, of the San Francisco of the 1900s.


Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini are Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award-winners. The only other married couple to achieve that distinction was Margaret Millar and Ross Macdonald. As much as I recommend The Bughouse Affair, the meaning of whose title will become evident not long after one gets into the book, the authors’ reputations, separate and combined, recommend it far more.



Barry Ergang ©2016, 2022

Among his other works, Derringer Award-winner Barry Ergang’s locked-room novelette, The Play of Light and Shadow, can be found in e-book formats at and

Thursday, August 11, 2022

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 8/11/2022

 In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 8/11/2022

Lesa's Book Critiques: WHAT ARE YOU READING?

 Lesa's Book Critiques: WHAT ARE YOU READING?

Jeanne Reviews: The Trash Harem: Tempe Crabtree Mystery Series by Marilyn Meredith

Retired deputy Tempe Crabtree finds herself back investigating crime when she receives a call from friends who have moved to Temecula, California.  Jonathan and Samantha Reynolds had been settling in nicely in their new retirement community, with Jonathan helping out some of the neighborhood women with getting their garbage out for pickup.  When one of the women is found murdered, Jonathan becomes a prime suspect. Not only did he find the body, but he had a key to the house and his fingerprints are inside.

There’s also the matter of the will. . . .

I picked this one up in part because the jacket copy mentioned a tie-in with Erle Stanley Gardner, author of the Perry Mason books which I devoured in middle school, along with watching the re-runs of the TV show.  Gardner lived in Temecula until his death in 1970, and the Temecula Valley Museum has a permanent exhibition dedicated to him.  Gardner does play a sort of role in the book, and there is some information about him, but I confess I was somewhat disappointed. It seemed somewhat superficial, especially given the role Gardner or some image of him plays in the book. 

Native American religion also plays a role but the references seemed (to me, at least) to be pretty vague and rather generic.

The plot was well done and it was a good mystery.  I do like Tempe, and the solution was a surprise. Some of the supporting characters were very well done, too.

Other titles in the series include:

End of the Trail
Spirit Wind
A Cold Death
Seldom Traveled
Not as it Seems
River Spirits
Spirit Shapes
Raging Waters
Bears With Us
Invisible Path
Dispel the Mist
Kindred Spirits
Judgment Fire
Calling the Dead
Unequally Yoked
Deadly Omen
Deadly Trail

Wednesday, August 10, 2022



Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Horse, Tracy Flick Can't Win, Trashlands, Saints of Swallow Hill, Promise Girls

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Horse, Tracy Flick Can't Win, Trashland...:   Reported by Garry Horse by Geraldine Brooks is the latest from the best-selling author of Caleb’s Crossing , Year of Wonders , and many...

Do Some Damage: Old Man Rider - Cover Reveal and Interview with Beau Johnson

Do Some Damage: Old Man Rider - Cover Reveal and Interview with Be...: By Paul J. Garth You stick around crime fiction long enough, you come across these characters, these singular expressions of humanity that s...

Bitter Tea and Mystery: Short Story Wednesday: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Part 1

Bitter Tea and Mystery: Short Story Wednesday: The Adventures of Sherlock ...: The first book of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes short stories, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes , is on my Classics Club List a...

Little Big Crimes Review: Belle and Donna by Keith Brooke

Little Big Crimes: Belle and Donna, by Keith Brooke: "Belle and Donna," by Keith Brooke, in The Book of Extraordinary Femme Fatale Stories, edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Mango, 2022.   ...

George Kelly: WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #85: MINDS UNLEASHED Edited by Groff Conklin

George Kelly: WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #85: MINDS UNLEASHED Edited by Groff Conklin

Patti Abbott: Short Short Story Wednesday: THE STORY OF AN HOUR, Kate Chopin

 Patti Abbott: Short Short Story Wednesday: THE STORY OF AN HOUR, Kate Chopin

Short Story Wednesday Review: Thuglit: Issue 8 Edited by David Robinson (aka Big Daddy Thug)

After the positive response last week, I thought I would crack open the magnificently massive archive and remind you of yet another Thuglit issue today.


Thuglit: Issue 8 is the latest installment of the series and another hard hitting anthology of eight stories that portray life on the edges of society. If you want to feel good about humanity you should look elsewhere for your reading material. Or, read Thuglit: Issue  8 after donning a pair of rose tinted glasses and loading your favorite shotgun.


After a brief intro by Todd Robinson, the stories begin with “McFerrin and Black” by Buster Willoughby. Working at the retirement home is a hard job, but it has its perks. Like when sometimes one of the old folks lets slip some information about riches to be found.


A wrestler is looking for a payday and a way out in “The Rightful King of Wrestling” By Chad Dundas. He might have of found both if he takes that gig south of the border.


The work of Patti Abbott is always a treat and this issue is not exception. In “The Higher The Heels” Cara Willis is a realtor who knows how to move real estate. Her personal track record with men isn't so good, but maybe Joey Rinaldi will surprise her in good ways.


A day in the life of a teen selling crack in North Charleston, South Carolina during the summer of 2012 is found in “Cocaine Starlight” by Isaac Kirkman. The crack selling is just part of it in this tale packed with details and backstory.


Sure, Edmond ran her down with his car and busted her up a bit. Something similar has happened before so what are a few more scars in “Three Days Ahead.” by Caleb J. Ross. He may have run her down, but he also is hanging out at the hospital and spending time with her. Can't say that about her family. He also has a plan for the future and she can be a major part of it.


His girlfriend, Tammy, told Russell where to go past the old Shiloh cemetery so that he could score for them. As long as he plays it cool with the dealers in “Nothing to Lose” by David A. Summers everything should be fine.


It is the late 30's and movie serials are all the rage. Working as an extra is good in “Extras” by Mark Pruett, but the side job is where he makes the money. He identifies problems for people and, for the right price, quietly removes them. Eddie Ross has had all weekend to make a decision and now it is time to close the deal. 

Christmas Eve is not a happy evening for Max in “Not Even A Mouse” by Nolan Knight. A guy with the name of “Jello” is not doing any better. Max and Jello are on a collision course even if they don't know it just yet in the story that is the final one in the book.

Author bios bring the book to a close. 

The latest in the series, Thuglit: Issue 8, is another solidly good one. The tales are dark, for the most part, and feature people on the edge doing the best they can to cope with reality in their own ways. Some ways work, at least for a moment in time, while other ones don’t. 



Material was recently purchased for my use in an objective review.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2013, 2022

Tuesday, August 09, 2022



Mystery Fanfare: Val McDermid's Karen Pirie coming to the small screen!

Mystery Fanfare: Val McDermid's Karen Pirie coming to the small scr...: Great news! Val McDermid's Karen Pirie is being turned into a TV series. The first 3 feature-length episodes are adapted from the first...

Review: An Unforgiving Place: A National Park Mystery by Claire Kells

An Unforgiving Place: A National Park Mystery by Claire Kells picks up a few weeks after Vanishing Edge. On assignment in Denali National Park, Investigative Service Branch Special Agent Felicity Harland is sent to the Gates of the Artic National Park to investigate the discovery of two bodies. Search and rescue is active in another part of the park looking for two hikers that have been missing almost a month. Timothy and Kelsey Greer might be the deceased or they might still be alive and lost in the vast wilderness.

Before long Special Agents Felicity Harland and Ferdinand Huxley (who has made the jump to ISB from being a Park Ranger and is being pulled from doing training modules- much to his relief) are at the scene of the two bodies. Unlike in most cases, there has been little involvement by animals. No obvious cause of death and no signs of defensive wounds. It is clear that they are dead, but the signs of what caused it are not clear. There are also clear indications that something strange was going on before they died. One example are the faint marks on the wrists on both bodies that indicate some sort of ligatures were used on them in recent days.

Harland and Huxley are on the case and soon forced to work undercover to ferret out the truth. Humans are one threat. Nature itself is another. Either can kill you dead if you let your guard down.

A worthy and enjoyable sequel to Vanishing Edge, much is going on in this complicated and action filled read. Events and backstory regarding the first book come up here. Quite a lot from book one is referenced, so it is strongly recommended that readers start with Vanishing Edge first. You will enjoy this very good sequel a lot more if you do so.

While An Unforgiving Place: A National Park Mystery by Claire Kells is currently scheduled to be released on November 8th, I was able to read it now thanks to a digital ARC from Severn House via NetGalley.



Kevin R. Tipple ©2022