Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 41 Glorious Writing Conferences in June 2022

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 41 Glorious Writing Conferences in June 2022: June is bustin' out all over! This June there are more than three dozen writing conferences. Some conferences and workshops will be held...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Dancing Naked in the Mind Field by Kary Mullis

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Dancing Naked in the Mind Field by Kary Mullis:  Note: We do not have a Nevermore report for today, so instead we have a review from a former employee.  Nancy's reviews were legendary....

Beneath the Stains of Time: Ripples (2017) by Robert Innes

Beneath the Stains of Time: Ripples (2017) by Robert Innes: Over the past two-three months, I discussed only three good, notable locked room mystery novels and short stories, Theodore Roscoe's Z i...

Casual Debris: Casual Shorts: Jack Finney, Of Missing Persons (1955)

Casual Debris: Casual Shorts: Jack Finney, Of Missing Persons (1955): Finney, Jack. "Of Missing Persons." Good Housekeeping, March 1955. First published in Good Housekeeping , March 1955. A publicatio...

George Kelly: WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #74: THE GIRL WHO DREAMED ONLY GEESE AND OTHER STORIES OF THE FAR NORTH By Howard Norman

 George Kelly: WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #74: THE GIRL WHO DREAMED ONLY GEESE AND OTHER STORIES OF THE FAR NORTH By Howard Norman

Patti Abbott: Wednesday Short Stories" Nighthawks" Michael Connelly from In Sunshine or in Shadow, ed, Lawrence Block

 Patti Abbott: Wednesday Short Stories" Nighthawks" Michael Connelly from In Sunshine or in Shadow, ed, Lawrence Block

Bitter Tea and Mystery: Short Story Wednesday -- Catfantastic: Nine Lives and Fifteen Tales

Bitter Tea and Mystery: Short Story Wednesday -- Catfantastic: Nine Lives ...: Recently my son went through his paperback books for books to donate to the book sale. He offered me three short story anthologies in the Ca...

Jerry's House of Everything: SHORT STORY WEDNESDAY: THE VALLEY OF UNREST

Jerry's House of Everything: SHORT STORY WEDNESDAY: THE VALLEY OF UNREST:  'The Valley of Unrest:  A Book without a woman:  Edgar Allan Poe:  An Odd Oddity Paper" by Douglass Sherley first published in boo...

Little Big Crimes Review: Dreaming of Ella by Francelia Belton

Little Big Crimes: Dreaming of Ella, by Francelia Belton:   " Dreaming of Ella," by Francelia Belton , in  Denver Noir,  edited by Cynthia Swanson, Akashic Press, 2022. The publisher sent ...

Short Story Wednesday Review: Blood Moon: A Kate Burkholder Short Mystery by Linda Castillo


Blood Moon: A Kate Burkholder Short Mystery by Linda Castillo begins as more than one tale in the long running series has--- a buggy crash. In this case, Merle Beachy is on his way home from The Strawberry Festival and things are going wrong. He was already running late and had missed the evening meal. The thick fog certainly isn’t helping as the damp and cold settle in on man, beast, and every surface, including the roadway.

Things go way worse when a loud noise in the woods just after a bridge crossing causes his horse to spook and run flat out. The terrified horse plunges off the roadway, through a ditch, and towards the trees where it soon becomes clear that the buggy is not going to slide in between the trees. Merle is thrown clear of the damaged buggy only to be, within a couple of minutes, attacked by the creature that spooked the horse.

After fighting off the creature, which he thinks might be a bear, the injured man makes his way to a nearby farm. As it happens, that farm is Levi Miller’s place. Levi Miller and Kate Burkholder have known each other since they were kids, so when she learns his call is why dispatch is calling her, she knows that his request for her presence is legit and needed. Before long, Chief Burkholder and her partner, John Tomasetti, are in her unit and headed towards Miller’s farm.

Good thing too as there will be more incidents this foggy dark night. Something is in the woods and things are definitely rapidly escalating. What it is and how to deal with it are two of several questions in Blood Moon: A Kate Burkholder Short Mystery.

An interesting tale that is a bit of a change of pace from what goes on normally in this series. While billed as a “short mystery” this read is a novella and is action orientated with virtually no character development and very little backstory. It is just a fun short visit with some characters long known to readers and new folks.

Also included in the eBook is the opening chapters of the next novel in this long running series, The Hidden One.

 

 

I picked this up, pre-publication, using funds in my Amazon Associate account. 

Kevin R. Tipple ©2022

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The First Two Pages: “Riviera Red” by Sarah M. Chen

 The First Two Pages: “Riviera Red” by Sarah M. Chen

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune:   Reviewed by Jeanne Attorney Wallace Price is not a happy man.   He’s already had to fire one employee, a previously reliable woman w...

SleuthSayers: What Fired Me Up to Write a Fireworks Story by Barb Goffman

SleuthSayers: What Fired Me Up to Write a Fireworks Story: Shortly before July 4th last year, I posted this on my Facebook page: One day I am going to write a story in which someone who sets off fire...

Publication Day for Back Road Bobby and His Friends Editor Colin Conway


Today is publication day for the new anthology, Back Road Bobby and His Friends. Edited by Colin Conway and published in print and eBook formats, the new book includes my short story, “The Beetle’s Last Fifty Grand.” This is the first short story I have written since Sandi passed. She is always with me. There are pieces of her scattered throughout the tale.


If you read my story, I hope you like it. If you don’t, at least you have eleven other short stories to read so I am sure you will find ones you do like in Back Road Bobby and His Friends.


Monday, May 23, 2022

Coming Next Month

Noir at the Bar: Dallas returns to Wild Detectives with our headliner, Joe Lansdale!

Once again, yours truly will also be reading. Make sure to book the date. 



Submitted by Barry Ergang for Your Amusement: Bookstore Cartoon

 


Lesa's Book Critiques: BURIED IN A GOOD BOOK BY TAMARA BERRY

 Lesa's Book Critiques: BURIED IN A GOOD BOOK BY TAMARA BERRY

Bitter Tea and Mystery: Last Seen Wearing: Hillary Waugh

Bitter Tea and Mystery: Last Seen Wearing: Hillary Waugh: Last Seen Wearing by Hillary Waugh, published in 1952, is an early example of a true police procedural. I have wanted to read this book for...

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday for 5/23/2022

 In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday for 5/23/2022

SleuthSayers: Writing Outside the Outlines by Steve Liskow

SleuthSayers: Writing Outside the Outlines: Two weeks ago, I attended an interview with Don Winslow at which he was autographing his new novel. During the Q & A, someone asked abou...

Markets and Jobs for Writers for 5/23/2022

 Markets and Jobs for Writers for 5/23/2022

Aubrey Nye Hamilton Reviews: Skelton's Guide to Suitcase Murders by David Stafford


I seldom burble about books, having read too many to think that they are all exceptional, but I find myself burbling about the second book in the Skelton’s Casebook series by David Stafford. I cannot remember who was so ecstatic about the first book that I felt compelled to find the sequel but I located Skelton's Guide to Suitcase Murders (Allison & Busby, 2021) and was straightaway enthralled.

Set in 1929, this series follows the career of barrister Arthur Skelton, who had the reputation of salvaging the most hopeless of defenses. In this book a woman’s corpse is found in a suitcase and her husband, an Egyptian doctor, is accused of killing her. She was believed to have been straying from the marriage, and potentially incriminating materials are found in their home. There was no real evidence against the doctor and the condition of the corpse was such that identity could not be categorically proven. However, the doctor appeared to be on his way to the gallows from sheer xenophobia. Skelton and his clerk Edgar Hobbs are determined to do their best to save him.

In addition to this major homicide case, Skelton is defending a man accused of knowingly driving a truck full of stolen peacock feathers. He is also defending a young tearaway charged with burglarizing a factory and setting it on fire to cover up his depredations. His novel approaches to both cases are mesmerizing.

On the home front, Skelton has another set of challenges. His wife is determined to buy an airplane and fly it to Australia. His father is newly retired from his job and is at a loss as to what to do with himself. He is sad and depressed, sitting in his chair all day long.

This tale gently parodies the classic mysteries of the Golden Age while delivering a cracking good puzzle. The witty writing and deliciously eccentric characters are icing on the cake. The thread about a guinea pig named Primrose Moorfield is worth the price of the book all by itself.

Like the Bryant and May books, this mystery captures the flavor of the time beautifully. Again like Bryant and May, there are periodic data dumps of incredibly esoteric information. I now know more about peacock feathers than I ever thought possible. The tongue-in-cheek narrative has a spot-on sense of comedic timing, no doubt gathered from Stafford’s theatre experience.

This book is utterly delightful and I cannot recommend it highly enough.



·         Publisher:  Allison & Busby (September 23, 2021)

·         Language:  English

·         Paperback:  352 pages

·         ISBN-10:  0749026987

·         ISBN-13:  978-0749026981

 

Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2022

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

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Dru's Book Musings New Releases: Week of May 22, 2022

 Dru's Book Musings New Releases: Week of May 22, 2022 

Lesa's Book Critiques: SANDIE’S CORNER – LINDA CASTILLO’S GONE MISSING

 Lesa's Book Critiques: SANDIE’S CORNER – LINDA CASTILLO’S GONE MISSING

The Rap Sheet: Sixteen Candles

 The Rap Sheet: Sixteen Candles

Guest Post: Gilded Age Genre Blending: 3 keys to hist/myst/fantasy concoctions by Jayne Barnard


Please welcome author Jayne Barnard to the blog today.

 

 

 

Gilded Age Genre Blending: 3 keys to hist/myst/fantasy concoctions

 

by Jayne Barnard

 

After decades of ceding the historical costume drama to British television, it’s high time for American production to back some territory. HBO’s lavish new series, The Gilded Age, is a late-1800s drama rooted among the fabulously wealthy NYC families that used to crowd their debutante daughters into Mrs. Astor’s 400-person ballroom. The debs dancing at glittering balls were the Kardashians of their day: followed, photographed, and interviewed. Their lavish weddings and cutting-edge wardrobes were guaranteed to sell magazines, their lives the envy of millions. You don’t need to know all the political and social and geographical forces to enjoy the show; you need only see characters whose actions and motives are understandable to you despite that foreign-to-you context.

 

As well as villains and victims, mysteries need to show the reader sleuths, suspects, red herrings, and character development that builds credible motivation. On top of the basic year or era, historical fiction should include politics, social structures, setting, and appropriate technology. SFF demands questing characters, adventurous plotting, and often a world that differs startlingly from our own. Each element adds to the word count.

 

 Here are three keys to cutting word waste and blending genre elements smoothly:

 

  1. Don’t describe anything about the story-world except the bare essentials that readers will need to ground them in the unfolding action. Yes, we love our imaginary settings, but for blended genre stories we must concentrate on what’s different from the reader’s default contemporary mental image. Into the POV character’s thoughts, actions, and dialogue work in a few vital technological and geographic elements. Then trust readers to fill in that backdrop’s gaps for themselves. In my Maddie Hatter Adventures, my fashion reporter sleuth has a clockwork bird that can capture images and record conversations. Once the reader realizes the bird is a semi-sentient flying clockwork smartphone, they no longer need detailed explanations for other new technologies. They simply accept each one exists in that world.

 

  1. When introducing characters, focus on what makes the alien, orc, or historical personage different from the reader’s neighbour or coworker. Costume is key but so is the way they were raised, if different from contemporary American. Maddie Hatter grew up in a British ‘Steamlord’ family similar to the newly rich Vanderbilts of Gilded Age NYC, but her mother comes from an Old Nobility family in Britain and raised her as a young lady in that constrained mode. All this family complexity, more than her clothing or hair color, gives Maddie (and thus the reader) insight into the social hierarchies at play in GILDED GAUGE, a fantastical adventure set in an alternate 1899 NYC. Again, integrate. Don’t info-dump. You need to know it all to know which are the important bits; the reader doesn’t.

 

  1. Make one element of your mystery something that could only occur in that historical era or alternate reality. Two examples:

 

    1. In Nancy Springer’s delightful alternate-history detective tale, ENOLA HOLMES, the motive driving the young marquis could only work at that precise moment in English history: when a parliamentary battle was brewing over the future of the country. The marquis’s vote would decide whether the landed nobility continued to hold near-absolute power over the landless, and therefore voteless, workers, or whether workers would gain the right to be represented in Parliament. The novel and the later movie masterfully blend light fantasy & crime with a piece of real, impactful English history: the Third Reform Act (also known as the Representation of the People Act) was a real bill that passed in 1884, with the related Redistribution of Seats Act being passed in 1885.
    2. SFF crime stories that could happen down the block but are set on a space station will not be as widely engaging as those that require, nay, demand the fictional setting you’ve created for them. Star Trek Deep Space Nine took flack for being a soap opera set in space, but one S7 episode created a tense, psychologically suspenseful murder mystery in which the killing was both fully understandable to contemporary viewers/readers and committed with technology that only exists in that alternate future world.

 

This then is the essence of  genre blending: integrate your world-building with the lead characters’ thoughts and actions; make the crime’s motivation specific to those characters with their era/alt-world upbringing; commit your crime—or solve it—with technology or other elements unique to that time/place/culture.

 


 The Gilded Age gets the mystery treatment in the “Gilded Newport” novels by Alyssa Maxwell: these same NYC families, but at their multi-story marble mansions in Newport Beach, as seen through the cynical eye of a poor relation who writes for a newspaper. In the second of my Maddie Hatter Adventures, Gilded Age NYC and some historical personages overlap with Alyssa’s, and my heroine also writes for a newspaper. Maddie faces far more than fearful Society matrons and fashion faux pas, though: she must tackle impostors, kidnappers, and industrial spies seeking to steal a new millionaire’s unique clockwork gauge.

 

That blend of crime, historical, and fantasy elements in ‘Gilded Gauge’ won the Alberta Book of the Year (which usually goes to local history novels or literary fiction) and a Prix Aurora nomination for Canadian science fiction & fantasy, as well as hitting local bestseller lists four times and starting a new worldwide Steampunk sport: parasol dueling.

 

Whatever genres you’re blending, start with the foundation garments—those essential elements of each---and then add texture afterward, like beadwork and ribbons on a Gilded Age gown.

 


Jayne Barnard ©2022 

Jayne Barnard’s novels won her the Canadian Crime Writing Award of Excellence and the Alberta Book of the Year. She’s been shortlisted for both the Prix Aurora and the UK Debut Dagger. With dozens of short stories sold, she’s won the Calgary Crime Association Award, the Bony Pete/Bloody Words award, and was 3x bridesmaid for the Great Canadian Story prize. She lives in a vine-covered cottage between two rivers, keeping cats and secrets. 

Find her on:

Twitter     https://twitter.com/JayneBarnard1

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/je_barnard/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MaddieHatterAdventures

Peek into her Maddie Hatter Adventures at http://ow.ly/niW150F74tX


Saturday, May 21, 2022

Lesa's Book Critiques: KEVIN’S CORNER ANNEX – J.A. JANCE’S NOTHING TO LOSE

 Lesa's Book Critiques: KEVIN’S CORNER ANNEX – J.A. JANCE’S NOTHING TO LOSE

KRL: KRL This Week update for 5/21/2022

Up on KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "Strawberried Alive" by Jenn McKinlay (the winner also gets a cupcake bakery jar opener) https://kingsriverlife.com/05/21/strawberried-alive-by-jenn-mckinlay/ 

And a review and giveaway of "Murder in the Community Garden" by Judith Gonda, along with an interesting interview with Judith https://kingsriverlife.com/05/21/murder-in-the-community-garden-by-judith-gonda/

 

We also have a review and giveaway of "Double Shot Death" by Emmeline Duncan along with a cold brew coffee recipe from Emmeline, a perfect drink for your summer reading https://kingsriverlife.com/05/21/double-shot-death-by-emmeline-duncan/

 

And the latest Queer Mystery Coming Attractions from Matt Lubbers-Moore https://kingsriverlife.com/05/21/queer-mystery-coming-attractions-june-2022/

 

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 "Death on the Rocks" written by Guy Belleranti and read by local actor Larry Mattox https://kingsriverlife.com/05/21/new-mysteryrats-maze-podcast-featuring-death-on-the-rocks-by-guy-belleranti/

 

Up during the week, another special midweek guest post, this one by mystery author Amy McNulty about her new book "Vampires and Video Games'' you can also enter to win a copy of the first book in the series https://kingsriverlife.com/05/18/vampires-and-video-games/

 

And another special midweek guest post, this one by mystery author Rebecca Jones about the differences between herself and her main character and about her new, and first, book "Steadying the Ark" https://kingsriverlife.com/05/18/one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other/

 

Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and ebook giveaway of "Adventures, Abduction, and Arrest"by Tonya Kappes
https://www.krlnews.com/2022/05/adventure-abduction-arrest-by-tonya.html

 

And a review and giveaway of "First Bite" by Avery Daniels https://www.krlnews.com/2022/05/first-bite-accidental-vampire-pi-by.html


Happy reading,
Lorie

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Graveyard Fields by Steven Tingle

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Graveyard Fields by Steven Tingle:    We are delighted to welcome back Kevin Tipple to the BPL Bookblog!  Kevin is an award-winning blogger and author.  Check out Kevin'...

SleuthSayers: Reading About Writing by John Floyd

SleuthSayers: Reading About Writing:    Earlier this week, at the latest of what we've been calling our "watercooler" Zoom meetings in the Short Mystery Fiction So...

Scott's Take: The Death Of Doctor Strange by Jed Mackay


The Death Of Doctor Strange by Jed Mackay collects the series about the last days of Dr. Strange’s life. Hero, Avenger, Doctor, Sorcerer Supreme, the magnificent Dr. Strange has been many things in his life, has had many adventures, and faced numerous foes. However, no matter how powerful or smart or brave a hero is, they all eventually die. In this tale, Dr. Strange has been murdered which now allows various foes to invade the Earth. It’s up to the heroes of Earth who are used to Dr. Strange solving any problem involving magic to face off against the unknown. At the same time, a mysterious investigator must uncover the murderer of Dr. Strange.


This tale is a love letter to the character of Dr. Strange while showcasing how important he is to the Marvel Universe. This tale includes Clea (Dr. Strange’s wife), Wong, Bats (the ghost dog), various Avengers, and various enemies of Dr. Strange dealing with the aftermath of his death. His death had many far-reaching repercussions.


My main complaint is that there is not enough time dealing with the grief of Dr. Strange’s death because the focus is so much on moving the plot forward. For example, there is very little time spent on how his death affects the students at his academy. The art is very good and there is plenty of action and mystery for fans of Dr. Strange. I highly recommend The Death Of Doctor Strange by Jed Mackay for both new and experienced fans of Dr. Strange.


This series is followed by Strange which deals with the new Sorcerer Supreme. That series has only a couple of issues out and not enough to be released yet in trade paperback. As such, there is no release date for the trade book.


 

My reading copy came from the Polk-Wisdom Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.

 

Scott A. Tipple ©2022

Friday, May 20, 2022

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Mummy Case Mystery (1933) by Dermot Morrah

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Mummy Case Mystery (1933) by Dermot Morrah: Dermot Morrah was a British journalist for The Times , chiefly as an editorial writer, but was best-known during his lifetime as an expert o...

The author's Blog: Interesting Perspective on Today’s Problem

 The author's Blog: Interesting Perspective on Today’s Problem

The Rap Sheet: Let Us Hail the Anthony Hopefuls

 The Rap Sheet: Let Us Hail the Anthony Hopefuls

Euro Crime: Published 16-22 May 2022

 Euro Crime: Published 16-22 May 2022

In Reference To Murder: Friday's "Forgotten" Books: The Albert Gate Mystery

 In Reference To Murder: Friday's "Forgotten" Books: The Albert Gate Mystery

Patti Abbott: FFB: LET HIM GO, Larry Watson

 Patti Abbott: FFB: LET HIM GO, Larry Watson

Happiness Is A Book: FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOK: TREASURE BY POST BY DAVID WILLIAMS

 Happiness Is A Book: FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOK: TREASURE BY POST BY DAVID WILLIAMS

FFB Review: SINS FOR FATHER KNOX (1973) by Josef Skvorecky Reviewed by Barry Ergang

 
Another review by Barry Ergang found in the massively magnificent archive here at Casa Tipple and Home Eatery Library….  


 

SINS FOR FATHER KNOX (1973) by Josef Skvorecky


Reviewed by Barry Ergang


 

Father Ronald A. Knox, aside from being a clergyman, was one of the early exponents of what has become the “Golden Age” mystery story: the formal, fairly-clued whodunit and—in some cases— howdunit. Among hardcore history-of-mystery buffs, Knox is probably best remembered for his Ten Commandments for writing a detective story. In 1973, Czechoslovakian author Josef Skvorecky wrote the novel Sins for Father Knox, a chapter of which (“chapter” here loosely defined because each is actually an individual short story with an occasional reference to one of its predecessors) violates one of Knox’s commandments. Chapter descriptions—no spoilers!—follow.

 

Lieutenant Boruvka has his doubts about the guilt of Eve Adam, who has been convicted of and imprisoned for the murder of film director Rudolf Weyr. Despite being married and a parent, Boruvka can’t help finding Eve attractive as he interviews her at the Czechoslovakian women’s prison, listening to her story and remembering vital testimonies from her trial. Apart from finally being able to solve the case and exonerate Eve, he finds that investigation, like film-making, can be “An Intimate Business.” 

 

Performing as a lounge singer at the Moulin Rouge in Sweden and sharing an apartment with a stripper named Zuzka, Eve while breakfasting one morning is approached by a large American who calls himself MacMac. He presumes to know who she is because each has a book with the word Thursday in the title. He assures her that her problem will be taken care of that day, and not to worry. Unnerved but fascinated, Eve doesn’t correct his “Mistake in Hitsungsee,” but instead plays along, thus getting herself caught up in a locked-room murder.

 

In “The Man Eve Didn’t Know from Adam,” Eve is in Rimini, Italy, performing, visiting, and picnicking with Czech girlfriend Lubomira, now known as Laura. The two observe, from a considerable distance, a young woman hitchhiker enter a raspberry-red sports car, and later discover that she’s been murdered. The police, led by the arrogant Hercule Potarot (yes, I spelled his surname correctly), have stopped five raspberry-red sports cars of different makes. Eve must help him determine, putting it charitably, which driver is the “sex-murderer” responsible.  

 

At the bar in the Majestic Hotel in Sweden, where she’s performing, Eve meets and shares a drink and a cigarette with the inebriated Mr. Jensen. He tells her “Order anything you want, as much as you want. I’m picking up the tab. Because tonight, I’m going to be murdered.” In a story complicated by time elements and multiple characters’ activities, Jensen is indeed murdered. Investigating is Detective Niels C. K├Âlln, whom Eve met in Hitsungsee, and who is now married to Zuzka. Amid some of the K├Âllns’ amusing domestic conflicts, Eve delves into “A Question of Alibis” to solve the case.  

 

 

Now performing at The Pink Jungle in New York City, Eve makes time with—and correctly identifies—McGrogan as a private detective. While they schmooze, the pair also observes the attractive—and married—Connie Starrett being attentive to a number of prospective lovers. When Connie and a man named Leary are murdered, as well as three private detectives—all Irish, McGrogan among them—Eve and a cop named O’Raglan spend a lot of time  trying to geometrically puzzle out the answer to “Why So Many Shamuses?” I personally tried to puzzle out why it’s such an overlong and tedious story.

 

 

In “Miscarriage of Justice,” Eve is visiting American relatives in a small town in upstate New York. They’re gathered at the airport to see Bob Cornhill off to Buffalo when, from the waiting room window, they see that a house in town is on fire. Cornhill’s daughter thinks it’s their house, and shortly thereafter, an announcer over the public address system confirms it, advising Cornhill to return home. When he does, police Sergeant O’Mackey tells him the fire wasn’t set, that someone planted a bomb, and that he suspects Ben Turpin, who has done work for Cornhill in the past, because Turpin is African-American and Cornhill once testified against an underground—and vengeful—black organization. What ensues eventually pits O’Mackey against Eve.

 

 

Now singing at a San Francisco bar called The Sailor’s Dream, and after chatting with him there but not learning his name, Eve is invited to the Berkeley home of Marcus Twisten, one of several of “The Mathematicians of Grizzly Drive.” As a result of their burgeoning relationship, she becomes involved in trying to solve the kidnapping of his niece in a 39-page story that was about 30 pages too long for yours truly. I was a disaster at math in school, have managed to reach the age of 71 without ever needing algebra, and was thus bored out of my socks as I skimmed 10 wearisome pages of what allegedly (you couldn’t prove it by me and I don’t care) explains the solution to the mystery. 

 

 

Eve is a passenger in tourist-class aboard a transatlantic liner bound from New York to Europe in “An Atlantic Romance.” Here she makes the acquaintance of several fellow passengers, some of whose recollections and personal histories go back to World War II, and one who has a dubious history when it comes to the amorous intentions he displays toward her. When one of the passengers is murdered, Eve has to grapple with matters of right, wrong, and a kind of nosiness, as well as the solution.

 

 

“Just Between Us Girls” has Eve’s girlfriend Zuzka recounting to two young men, Georgie and Brucie, an incident involving what amounts to a girls’ night out and the resultant murder of one of them. Why she was slain and by whom was—for this reader—another tedious tale that necessitated skimming just to reach its end even though it was mercifully briefer than some of its predecessors. Overloaded with characters that are only names on the page—as are many in other chapters—I didn’t care who the murderer was.

 

 

“The Third Tip of the Triangle” concludes where everything began: in Prague, and with the usually saturnine Lieutenant Boruvka feeling even gloomier upon learning his teenage daughter is pregnant. Complicating his professional life is a phone call summoning him to the scene of the death of electrical engineer Ludvik Arnold. His investigation includes a number of suspects, one of whom is his daughter’s age who happens to be the offspring of a friend. He is also reunited him with Eve Adam, who helps solve this, another case I couldn’t wait to reach the end of.

 

 

 Although I’ve known of it, and have seen his Ten Commandments previously, I’ve never read any of Father Knox’s fiction. In each chapter of Sins for Father Knox, and in homage to the mysteries posed in the early Ellery Queen novels, there is a challenge to the reader about solving the crime and identifying the commandment violated. I think its concept is clever, some of the violations neatly subtle, but the overall execution too often tedious and thus disappointing.

 

 

Barry Ergang ©2018, 2022 

 

Derringer Award-winner Barry Ergang’s mystery novelette, “The Play of Light and Shadow,” is available at Amazon and Smashwords, along with some of his other work.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Dark City Underground: MYSTERY SCENE MAGAZINE - SUMMER 2022, NO. 172

 Dark City Underground: MYSTERY SCENE MAGAZINE - SUMMER 2022, NO. 172

Something Is Going To Happen: Raise a Glass to the Bad Guys (by Derek Haas)

 Something Is Going To Happen: Raise a Glass to the Bad Guys (by Derek Haas)

Trace Evidence: Confined to a Cell(phone) by Michael Mallory

 Trace Evidence: Confined to a Cell(phone) by Michael Mallory

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 5-19-22

 The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 5-19-22

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 5/19/2022

 In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 5/19/2022

Update on Medical Morning

 Back home from the podiatrist. He is pleased with the progress thanks to the cream he has me using. He spent about a half an hour working on both of my feet. Wants me back in three months. 

Medical Morning

After the cancer scare with the toe on my right foot last month, I am on the way this hour back to the podiatrist. This is the one month follow-up as he had concerns and wants to recheck both feet. It is a bit of a drive --45 minutes one way--and not one I want to do at all. Doc and staff are great. I just don't feel like peopling or dealing with the traffic. 

Hopefully, not long after noon I will be back home and inside where I belong. The heat continues to fry things here and we are supposed to hit 100. Then there is the smoke in the air on top of the ongoing pollen and air pollution problems. The outside is not good for yours truly so there is that issue too.

Blah. If we just had the Federation's transporter technology.....  

Lesa's Book Critiques: WHAT ARE YOU READING?

 Lesa's Book Critiques: WHAT ARE YOU READING?

The Rap Sheet: Drawing on Various Sources

 The Rap Sheet: Drawing on Various Sources

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Potter of Bones, Deathwatch Beetle, Parable of the Sower, All Boys Aren't Blue

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Potter of Bones, Deathwatch Beetle, Pa...:   Reported by Garry   “The Potter of Bones” by Eleanor Atwood Arnason is an award-winning short story that originally appeared in Asim...

Review: Shifty’s Boys by Chris Offutt


Shifty’s Boys by Chris Offutt picks up a bit after The Killing Hills and begins with the local taxi driver, Albin, finding a body. At first, he thinks he has found somebody passed out from drinking way too much. Has happened before in Rocksalt, Kentucky, so he is not very concerned as he sees the odd shape up against the fence in the parking lot of the local Western Auto. It is only when he gets out of the cab and walks towards the male figure, he realizes that it is not mud on the man’s clothes, but blood.

Mick Harden is home on medical leave thanks to an IED attack that nearly killed him. It didn’t. Getting divorced, once he signs the paperwork, might kill him. The pain pill addiction he has might as well. Staying at his mom’s house, now owned by his sister, Linda Hardin, the sheriff, might also kill him. While she cares about him, they don’t get along that well in the best of times, With him home on medical leave and dealing with pain, grief, and trauma, and her running for election, these certainly are not the best of times.

He does not know it, but he really needs a project to do while he continues his painful rehab for his leg injury. Mick thinks too much and he needs something to do that will fully occupy his mind as he works to rehab the leg, wean himself off the painkillers, and deal with moving forward.

That project will soon be investigating the death at Western Auto on behalf of Mrs. Kissick. It was her son, Barney, who was found dead. While Mick and Mrs. Kissick, also known as “Shifty,” have history and were not on very good terms the last time they spoke, she needs help. She wants Mick because she knows that his being a miliary cop will come in handy as the case is stagnated.

Local police know that drugs probably were involved, but beyond that, they have zero clues or any ideas as to what happened. Shifty knows full well that drugs might have been involved as that is the family business. She also knows that it was not a drug deal gone wrong, like the local police think, as Barney never did business in the city. They had a rule about that.

The city cops figure a drug dealer got what he had coming and can’t be bothered to do much at all to find the killer or killers. Shifty is enraged, has money, and wants to hire Mick to find out who did it and why. She figures Mick, who grew up with her sons, will be able to do so. Mick agrees to poke around a little bit and soon figures out that there is a lot going on in Shifty’s Boys.

While this read does tie into the first book, The Killing Hills, this one easily could be read as a standalone. A complicated read full of interesting characters that are doing what they need to do survive, there is a lot of grey here in terms of morality and temporary alliances. As in the previous read, the author’s obvious love for the land and the people of the region comes through loud and clear.

Like The Killing Hills, Shifty’s Boys is well worth your time. The book is currently scheduled to be released on June 7, 2022. 


 

My reading copy came by way of a digital ARC from NetGalley.

 

Kevin R. Tipple ©2022