Saturday, March 23, 2019

Beneath the Stains of Time: Myths and Murders: "The Case of the Modern Medusa"...

Beneath the Stains of Time: Myths and Murders: "The Case of the Modern Medusa"...: Edward D. Hoch had a storied, decades-long career as a voluminous writer of short stories and passed away, in 2008, with close to a thou...

SleuthSayers: Popcorn Proverbs, Number 4

SleuthSayers: Popcorn Proverbs, Number 4: by Robert Lopresti We have done this before and we are doing it again. These are quotations from crime movies, alphabetical by the titl...

KRL This Week Update for 3/23/19

Up in KRL this morning reviews and giveaways of some more food mysteries for your spring reading fun-"Hot Fudge Murder": A Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe Mystery by Cynthia Baxter, "Restaurant Weeks Are Murder": A Poppy McAllister Mystery by Libby Klein, "Drawn and Buttered": A Lobster Shack Mystery by Shari Randall, "No Good Tea Goes Unpunished": A Seaside Café Mystery by Bree Baker



And reviews and giveaways of "True Fiction" and "Killer Thriller" by Lee Goldberg



We also have a review of another new Hallmark Movies & Mysteries mystery movie, "Crossword Mysteries: A Puzzle to Die For"



And reviews of some more British mystery TV on BritBoxTV - season 9 of "Vera", two versions of "Maigret" and "Shakespeare & Hathaway"



And a review and giveaway of "Lily Barlow: The Mystery of Jane Dough" by Carla Vergot



We also have a mystery short story by Nupur Tustin



For those who prefer to listen to Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast directly on KRL we now have the latest up, a fun baseball mystery short story "Two Men On, One Man Dead" by Jack Bates and read by Ariel Linn



Up in KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and giveaway of "Sleuthing for the Weekend" by Jennifer L. Hart


Happy reading, watching and listening,
Lorie

Review: Mystery Weekly Magazine: March 2019


Mystery Weekly Magazine: March 2019 opens with “K. O’Connor” by Mike McHone. Detectives Molly Fetterly and Jim Biggins were still in route to the hospital when the man died. Hospital staff has no idea who he was or who dumped his broken body outside their building so that he would be found. Fortunately, Detective Biggins knows who the deceased was and that gives them the name they need to start investigating the case.

Etta has just announced that she poisoned the soup in “Let’s Talk Toxins” by Martin Zeigler. This presents an interesting problem for her husband, Otto, as he sees it. It is also a pleasant change of pace from the usual boring things she wants to talk about at bedtime. It has been years since she had a sense of humor or pulled a prank, but tonight she is just full of wit delivered with a teasing smile.

Getting rid of a family member is also a point in the next tale, “Finishing Off Gammie” by Stan Dryer. In this case, Gammie is the mother-in-law and she has to go. Harry Fredder has decided she has outlived her usefulness as she has turned increasingly bitter and lonely. He has plans for travel and more with his wife, Martha, and Gammie is becoming and increasing problem that threatens their long planned retirement. That can’t happen.

The knife used by an unknown assailant killed Allison Browning at the District of Columbia War Memorial. She had been in the middle of taking a selfie when she was stabbed and collapsed trapping the cell phone beneath her. As people started converging the killer had no choice but to flee and could not hang around to look for the phone. In “A Flash Of Red” by BV Lawson, Scott Drayco is on the case thanks to her wealthy grandfather who desperately wants to know who killed her and why.

Long ago Vivee Driscoll starred in the classic movie, Girl on a Bike. These days she lives in Room 209 in the Whittier Hill Retirement Community. She is almost one hundred years old and the star of “Antiques” by Gregory L. Norris. An unwilling star as well as things are escalating in a dangerous way.

It is annoying when somebody parks in your parking space.  William is annoyed when he pulls into the lot at Fuller Engraving having come from burying his father to find a car in the spot. Things are going to get way worse. “In The Truth Of The Matter” by Gina Burgess secrets have a way of coming out for all to see.  

Mowing the neighbor’s yard led to one thing and then another in “A Case Of Southern Discomfort” by C. L. Cobb. While there is some carnal southern hospitality, there are some serious issues as well. There is also a clear need for a gun as it is the South after all.

Heather enjoyed her walk in “A Flap Over A Ring” by Jenna Weart. In the “A-You-Solve-It” mystery, her ring is now missing and she needs your help to identify the thief among her fellow vacationers at the Daisy View Lodge.

The answer to the February 2019 “A-You-Solve-It” mystery titled ‘Stair Case” by Laird Long closes out the issue.

As has been the case in previous issues, Mystery Weekly Magazine: March 2019 features a nice mix of stories and styles. None of the tales is over the top in terms of language or graphic scenes and none of them are noir in style or tone. All are solidly good mysteries that don’t push the boundaries or sensibilities of any reader, but do provide plenty of reading entertainment. 




Mystery Weekly Magazine: March 2019
February 27, 2019
ASIN: B07PBYLYF4
eBook (also available in print)
116 Pages
$2.99

For quite some time now I have been gifted a subscription by the publisher with no expectation at all of a review. I read and review each issue as I can. To date, I have never submitted anything to this market and will not do so as long as I review the publication.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2019

Friday, March 22, 2019

The DPD Beat: Officer Involved Shooting

This occurred late this afternoon just a few blocks away across the street from the grocery store we use. The event resulted in a lot of sirens from numerous police cars and paramedic units, helicopters overhead from the police and television stations, and a lot of concern for quite awhile. 

The DPD Beat: Officer Involved Shooting

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 3/22/19

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 3/22/19

Happiness Is A Warm Book: Friday’s Forgotten Book: Henrietta Who? by Catherine Aird

Happiness Is A Warm Book: Friday’s Forgotten Book: Henrietta Who? by Catherine Aird

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Devil's Country by Harry Hunsicker

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Devil's Country by Harry Hunsicker: Today we are pleased to have Kevin Tipple as a guest reviewer.  Kevin is well known in mystery circles for his insightful reviews,...

Lesa's Book Critiques: Winners and Give Me an H Giveaway

Lesa's Book Critiques: Winners and Give Me an H Giveaway

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 3/21/19

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 3/21/19

FFB Review: Monkey Justice And Other Stories by Patricia Abbott


Back in October 2011, Snubnose Press published a collection of stories titled Monkey Justice: Stories. It took me quite a few months to get to it with everything going on here at the time, but I finally did and reviewed it in May 2012. As you may have seen elsewhere this week, the book is back in print thanks to a news publisher, Down & Out Books. The title is slightly different too as the collection of stories is now titled, Monkey Justice And Other Stories. From what I have read elsewhere review wise, it is still the same great read I told you about back in 2012. So, it seemed only fitting that I tell you about it again as part of FFB hosted by Todd Mason. Make sure you check out the full list of reading suggestions today over on his blog.

Noir comes in many forms and nuance. Monkey Justice: Stories is composed of stories that have no easy answers on how to classify them. They live in a shadowy land where things are open to interpretation, not easily summed up at the end of the pieces, and offer a glimpse into lives already stressed by poverty, abuse, and other circumstances. The ways these characters deal with situations are driven not by societal expectations, but by their own personal frame of reference.

The book opens with “Like A Hawk Rising.” Thanks to an injury on the most recent job, Bernie is home and stuck there while Marsha tries to take care of business. It isn’t like they don’t have problems of their own, but what is going on next door is really beginning to upset Bernie.

Art loves babysitting his granddaughter in “The Snake Charmer.” Art is not happy with what is going on around his granddaughter. Things have to be dealt with for Zelda’s sake.

Bob Mason knew something had happened to Lillian Gillespie in “Sleep, Creep, Leap.”  The new neighbor is going to be way more interesting than Lillian ever was over the years. Whether she is really worth his interest remains to be seen.

Dreams are just part of the deal in “Bit Players” where not everyone can be a star. When you are a player in someone’s dream there are no retakes. You have to do it right the first time. When something goes wrong the subject wakes up.

Things are really bad when your brother prostitutes your sister to save the house. That is what happened in 1931 in “The Instrument Of Their Desire.”  That may have saved the house, but it changed everything.

“Hole in the Wall” features an out of work guy by the name of Martin on vacation in Europe thanks to a fat severance package. He is only 28 and yet can’t seem to make any kind of connection with anyone. Martin deals with the problem in various ways and not all of them are legal.

Daddy has not been around in more than a decade.  Prison time will do that. In “Escapes” Rex Knight has returned to the free world in Northern Indiana and things are going to change.

Rufe has not finished breakfast and already Georgie is outside waiting in “Georgie.” Rufe’s mom is doing what she has to do to supplement the family income. At 12 years old it is a good thing Rufe has a friend in Georgie.

Superman dealt with the awful Dave in “My Hero.” She keeps telling them what happened, but the police don’t believe her.

The title story “Monkey Justice” follows next. Cheryl never knew her husband was cheating on her. She never knew he had fathered another child at the same time she was pregnant. Delivering two weeks late meant that now she knows the extent of his betrayal. Nothing will ever be the same.

“On Paladin Road” a couple of the neighbors have sort of bonded over antique guns. One writes about them. The other one collects them. Another thing that brings them together is their age and the future is not looking too bright. 

Margaret Olson has returned in “What Happened Next.” Patrick agreed to meet her for lunch and has no idea what she wants. She always had the power over him to get him to do things before she left. Her name may be different now, but she wants to pick up where they left off years ago. It is far too late for that as the years have changed everything.

Korin speaks in “Tongues” late at night and what she says clearly isn’t joyful. The ability to speak in tongues is fairly rare in society at large. It certainly does not happen at Southern New England Bible College. Other things she does would cause even bigger issues if they were known.

Life in a nursing home is the backdrop to “The Tortoise and the Tortoise.” George knows what goes on in the nursing home and isn’t happy that his status has slipped now that Father Ryan has arrived. Something has to be done.

Something also has to be done in “The Squatter.”  The squatter next door, Gerry Upson, wants to borrow her phone and maybe something more. He made Annette Mueller uncomfortable at first¸ but now she feels something else.

In “The Trouble With Trolls” Dad wants Patrick and Denny to pick up a woman at the airport.  Dad has plans and expect his sons to do what needs doing.  Hopefully it won’t be as bad as the last time.

The interstate makes the commute to work much faster though it brings back bad memories. He would rather take the long way in “A Saving Grace.”  Taking the long way will have its own consequence.

Like a lot of the stories in this book the narrator of “Girl Of My Dreams” is trapped in a prison of his own making. So he keeps going to work for a man he hates, making a sixty mile commute he hates, and watching his life pass on by because the alternative of starting over somewhere else is just too much. Of course there is a woman involved.  A woman who will need Randy’s help.

The photographs freelancer Violet take at first in “Raising the Dead” don’t really work. They are missing something and don’t really reflect the real Detroit. The Detroit one can see just by looking over the window.

I was with Joe Piney way back when and now “I Am Madame X’s Bodyguard.”  I used to be somebody that others feared and respected.  At 50 plus times change and certain allowances have to be accepted.

Melissa has spotted a target in “Catnap.” First really good one in weeks and she plans to take full advantage.

Plagiarism is the problem in “RE: University Protocol On Incidents Of Student Plagiarizing.” Some students just don’t get it and will go to extraordinary lengths to make their point.

Things are far different for Ben in California than back in Portland with his mom. In “Souris” readers learn a few things about Ben, his dad, and the step mom’s family. “The Frenchies” are back and it is going to be a long summer visit.

This collection of stories features primarily characters living on the edge of society. On the edge of society in the terms of financial status, moral compass, and occasionally even sanity. What unites them is a search for justice. In each case there is a need for justice--either perceived or in actuality in the world of the story. What they perceive to be justice can have disastrous and often fatal consequences.

If you want to feel uplifted and hopeful for humanity, this book is not for you. If you notice the neighbor looks at you funny or you realize you might be the one looking at somebody else funny, this could be the book for you. These twenty-three stories are not only powerfully good; they will continue to mess with your head long after you finish the book.


PDF supplied by the publisher quite some time ago in exchange for my objective review.


Kevin R. Tipple © 2012, 2019

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 28 Fabulous Writing Conferences in April 2019

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 28 Fabulous Writing Conferences in April 2019: Pixabay Spring is here! There are some excellent opportunities to network, pitch your work, and attend stimulating workshops in Apri...

Gravetapping: "In A Small Motel" by John D. MacDonald

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One Bite at a Time: An Interview With Patricia Abbott, Author of Monke...

One Bite at a Time: An Interview With Patricia Abbott, Author of Monke...: No one is more responsible for the writer I have become (in a good way) than Patricia Abbott. The flash fiction challenges she used to run...

The Web Writer Spotlight: 10 Podcasts to Make You a Better Writer

10 Podcasts to Make You a Better Writer: Whether you are a fiction or non-fiction writer, these top writing podcasts will help you grow as a writer.

Bitter Tea and Mystery Review: Smoke Detector by Eric Wright

Bitter Tea and Mystery: Smoke Detector: Eric Wright: Smoke Detector is the 2nd Charlie Salter mystery, set in Toronto, Ontario. Salter is a member of the Metropolitan Police, but has not been ...

Only days left to win books and more from KRL

Only days left to win a copy of "Chocolate Cream Pie Murder" by Joanne Fluke and while there check out a yummy chocolate cream pie recipe from Joanne

And to win a copy of "Dead as a Doorknocker" by Diane Kelly

Also to win a copy of "Grave Expectations" by Sandra Gardner, while there also check out a bonus review of the first book in the series "Dead Shrinks Don't Talk"

And to win a copy of "The Puppy Who Knew Too Much" by VM Burns and while there check out  a fun dog related guest post by VM

And on KRL News and Reviews only days left to win a copy of "The Saint Paddy's Promise" a St. Patrick's Day mystery by Kathi Daley

Happy reading,
Lorie

MAKE MINE MYSTERY: I'm Ready for My Close-Up...by Janis Patterson

MAKE MINE MYSTERY: I'm Ready for My Close-Up...: by Janis Patterson In journalism school I was taught to lead off an article with the big news first, so the readers c...

Lesa's Book Critiques: If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura

Lesa's Book Critiques: If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

EYE DOC VISIT

We are home and the dilation has worn off enough that I can see a little bit to post this. Working email or poking around online is going to have to wait until things are way better.

Scott is absolutely fine with only a very slight change needed on his prescription.

It has been seven years since I was in for a check and it seems that everything is fine. Yes, my eyes have changed significantly and I need new glasses. In fact, I will now need two different pairs. One for driving as seeing distance has become an increasing issue. So much so I have quit driving on any freeway as I just can’t see far enough down the road to feel safe at highway speeds. I will also have a second pair for reading and on the computer. They will be set up to be bifocals and should help.

More importantly, despite my terror, there is no sign of any macular degeneration at all. No glaucoma, no cataracts, no anything. In my left eye there has always been a large vein wrapped around the optic nerve from front to back. It is something that has to be watched as it could rupture and cause a massive stroke. It has not changed at all.

The Doctor spent considerable time evaluating both of my worries today as well as comparing the retinal photographs from 2012 and today. There is no change at all.

I can’t tell you how relieved I am about that.

So, good news all around. Next up on this, we should have our new glasses in about two weeks.

I am hoping to be able to see well enough today to be online and working on my email, but there is a more than decent chance I won’t be able to. I want to thank one and all for their good thoughts and prayers on my behalf as I was nervous wreck.

Poisoned Pen: Farewell to Lena Jones

Poisoned Pen: Farewell to Lena Jones

Guest Post: Sandra Ruttan interviews Renee Asher Pickup

Please welcome Sandra Ruttan with her first guest post here on the blog. My hope is that this post is the first of many from Sandra. In addition to her various books, Sandra Ruttan is now a submissions editor for Bronzeville Books. They are planning their first anthology, Illicit, and are seeking submissions at their website. You can learn more about the anthology as well as the books Bronzville Books is seeking by reading the interview below with Renee Asher Pickup


Interview: Sandra Ruttan interviews Renee Asher Pickup 



SR: First, who is Renee Asher Pickup? Tell us a little about yourself.

RAP: Whenever I have to answer this question it triggers a small existential crisis. So first, I’ll say I’m the kind of person who regularly jokes about existential crises, because I’m almost always in the middle of one. Professionally, I’m the acquisitions editor at Bronzeville Books, one of the editors for the Shotgun Honey website, and a crime fiction writer and essayist. I’m also a Marine Corps veteran, a mom, a green haired old punk rocker, and obsessed with the movie From Dusk Till Dawn (really).

SR: How did you become Bronzeville Books' acquisitions editor?

RAP: I’ve been friends with Bronzeville’s founder, Danny Gardner, for years. We’re both writers and passionate readers, so every time we got together we were talking about writing, publishing, what makes good stories, what stories and voices we felt were missing from the genres we loved. Without either of us realizing it, I guess he was putting me through a multi-year job interview.

When he called me to tell me what he was doing and asked me to be involved, I said yes immediately.

SR: What is it about Bronzeville that made you want to get involved?

RAP: Bronzeville has a really electric and exciting energy, and we’re focused on stories and authors that have strong voice and new perspectives. It’s a view of  publishing that really delivers for the authors and puts the time, money, and effort into the books we believe in. Who wouldn’t want to be involved in that?

SR: You're the acquisitions editor for a new publisher that is considering works in all genres and most age groups. What will it take for works to stand out to you so that you'll fight to publish them?

RAP: More than anything I’m looking for heart. As an acquisitions editor I need “page turners” and stories I can sell -but there are plenty of heart stopping thrillers, deep space sci fi stories, and bank robbery novels that have something to say inside the tight story and genre conventions. 

I really want works that bring up new or underrepresented view points. Is it going to show me something about the world I wouldn’t have seen otherwise? Is it going to be a book for a reader somewhere who has never seen their perspective represented before? Maybe it’s a story that’s been told a thousand times before but this writer is telling it with a new take, digging a little deeper, finding the meaning inside of it. 

It might sound really artsy but I want to be moved, and I want to see work from people who are trying to do something different. 

SR: One of the first projects you're working on is Illicit. Where did the idea come from?

RAP: Danny brought up the idea of a crime themed erotica anthology and I jumped all over it. I love sex. I love writing about sex. I love reading about sex. There’s a weird divide in most writing circles where people just don’t feel comfortable including sex. It happens off the page, or it happens in a quick three lines. But if a writer can tell me things about a character based on how they order and eat a pastrami sandwich (and a good writer can), then they can certainly do the same with a sex scene. I want to rip the bandage of that taboo. More sex!

Then I had to ask what made an erotica anthology a Bronzeville book. We got into these discussions about what kinds of relationships, bodies, kinks, and people the average person is exposed to if they’re buying mainstream books or viewing mainstream love stories on film and TV. I thought about erotica writers I’d spoken to who talked about how difficult it could be to place stories that were queer or kinky and friends who talk about how they often feel like media insists that they are not sexual or sexy because of disability, size, race, etc. So we decided to stick all of that in the submission call. When you pick up this book, it should turn you on, make you eager to get to the end of the story, but it should also expose you to sex and relationships you aren’t used to seeing.

SR: Do you hope that having Illicit as Bronzeville's first anthology will help encourage writers to submit edgier fiction?

RAP: I hope it shows writers that Bronzeville is really open to anything that moves us. We’re not drawing any lines in the sand. 

SR: How do you think projects like Illicit help define Bronzeville's platform?
  
RAP: Bronzeville is all about breaking down the dividers. So Illicit is a crime fiction anthology that is also an erotica anthology. We’re drawing writers from both genres and mixing them together. Bronzeville is not going to do an LBGTQ anthology, and then an anthology featuring disabled people, and then one for people with kinks - we’re taking the absolute best stories we can find featuring all kinds of people. No dividers, no subgroups. Bronzeville is a neighborhood. We all live here together, everyone’s invited to the block party. There’s no sign on the door telling anyone to stay out or come back later.

SR: Nikki Dolson is Bronzeville's first signed author. What made you want to work with Nikki?

RAP: That’s easy - she’s incredible. She’s easily one of the most talented authors I’ve read in the last few years. She has a handle on character that blows me away, and her ability to work strong emotion into tough stories and situations is a talent I can’t define. I’m so excited to be working with her. Her collection is going to blow people away.


SR: For you, what are the ideal ingredients in a great adult fiction story?

RAP: Deep, compelling characters who experience real emotions and real consequences. I’ll invest in any kind of story if you can make me give a shit about the people involved. That doesn’t mean “likable,” in fact, you’re going to impress me a hell of a lot more if you get me invested in a character who’s awful. Alissa Nutting did that in Tampa, which has stuck with me for years. Her protagonist is pure evil, a disgusting predator, but I kept turning the pages.

SR: And the ideal ingredients in a children's book or YA?

RAP: The most important element for children’s and YA is to respect your audience. You might be writing for a five year old, but five year olds have experiences, inner lives, opinions, and imaginations that are almost certainly wilder than yours. 

With YA that’s even more important. Teens are going through all kinds of shit. The books that stick with a teenager are going to be the ones that acknowledge that. A lot of people think that because you eventually grow a little older and wiser, that you have the right to look down on or condescend to teenagers. But your mortgage payment or stress at work isn’t actually bigger or more important. High school kids are dealing with drugs, sex, sexual assault, unplanned pregnancy, whatever is going on in their home lives, all while being treated like children and being asked to make adult decisions about life after graduation that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Your book doesn’t have to tackle all of that, but a YA book that fails to acknowledge the adult in young adult is always going to fail.

SR: Do you have any pet peeves or taboos writers should avoid when submitting to you?

RAP: If you’re writing a character outside your experience, please do some research. I get exhausted quickly when I see an identity used as shorthand. Saying someone is a Marine, for example, doesn’t explain why they kill people now. Writing that a character is disabled doesn’t explain a cynical world view. If you don’t know for certain how a mental illness affects people - look it up. Do the research. We need more stories from minority perspectives, but they need to ring true. 

SR: What's the most rewarding part of your role?

RAP: I’ve been a reader and a writer my entire life. I can’t describe how exciting it is to be one of the first people to read something really amazing, and play a role in getting it out into readers’ hands.

SR: What do you find hardest?  

RAP: Saying no. I know the amount of work, emotion, and stress that goes into writing something, polishing it, and sending it out into the world. I’ve gotten better at rejecting work over the years but it’s never easy. 

SR: What advice do you have for writers planning to submit to Bronzeville?

RAP: Be bold. Find your truth and tell it.

Sandra Ruttan ©2019

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Hazards of Time Travel by Joyce Carol Oates

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Hazards of Time Travel by Joyce Carol Oates: Reviewed by Kristin Adriane Strohl is an idealistic seventeen year old who makes the mistake of voicing her thoughts in a near...

Buried Under Books Review: The Fairfax Incident by Terrence McCauley

Buried Under Books Review: The Fairfax Incident by Terrence McCauley

Lesa's Book Critiques: Murder Once Removed by S.C. Perkins

Lesa's Book Critiques: Murder Once Removed by S.C. Perkins

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 24 Publishers Accepting Picture Books - No Agent R...

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Smart Girls Read Romance: MARCH BARGAIN SALES AND SCOTT-IRISH STEW!

Smart Girls Read Romance: MARCH BARGAIN SALES AND SCOTT-IRISH STEW!: By Caroline Clemmons Laurean Brooks’ husband is just home and recovering from a frightening time in the hospital. Since Laurean has to b...

Crime Watch: Review: NEW IBERIA BLUES by James Lee Burke

Crime Watch: Review: NEW IBERIA BLUES: NEW IBERIA BLUES by James Lee Burke (Orion, 2019) Reviewed by Craig Sisterson Detective Dave Robicheaux’s world isn’t filled with too ...

Review: Cat Mystery Magazine: Issue Four -- Editors John Gregory Betancourt and Carla Coupe


After a short introduction to the issue, Black Cat Mystery Magazine: Issue 4 opens with “Something Fishy” by Michael Bracken. If you have read Mr. Bracken’s fiction before you know he always weaves an interesting story where everything is not as it seems. Such is the case here where readers are taken to the mermaid show at Weeki Wachee in Florida and more. Erin is one of the mermaids and she has a friend with a major problem. She also has a cellphone left by a patron. She also has a plan that becomes increasingly dangerous and detrimental to her health and the health of others.

Alan Orloff is up next with “In Separable, In Sufferable.”  Ripping off the drug dealer was easy compared to dealing with that annoying voice in his head. That voice has plans for better days for Earl and expects him to comply.

“Use Of The Awkward Hand” by Julie Leo features handwriting analysis, a polygraph machine, and a possible classic femme-fatale. The woman in question, Mrs. Nicole Hightower, is a widower, a fiction author, and a murder suspect.

The short poem “The Timeline Murders” by the late Janet Fox is next. The short poem details the current/past/future case being worked by Inspector Quick.

Dayle A. Dermatis and “Umberto Scolari And The Feast Of Paradise.” Umberto Scolari is having a hard time. The Duke’s astrologer has declared that tomorrow should be the wedding feast. If he can’t fix the rotating stage the Duke of Milan will not be happy. Nor will his boss, Leonardo. Then someone uses poison and the stage is a secondary issue for Scolari. How the person died is an easy question to answer. Who did it and why are questions that are a part of tale of intrigue among the nobles.

“Moe’s Seafood House” by Ramona Defelice Long opens at the named establishment. Saturday night and the place is packed. Ken is not pleased and his companion, Amanda, is trying to keep him calm and excuse his boorish behavior. As the evening rolls on she has to make a lot of excuses for him.

For Masie Finch and Emmaline, the anniversary each year when their parents died is tough. It happened years ago and yet the anniversary still haunts them both. As the years have passed it also become clear that Masie has to take care of Emmaline as the younger sister just can’t cope with life. The anniversary this year means they are at a Bed and Breakfast in Londonberry, Vermont. In “Mud Season” by Su Kopril, their fiftieth anniversary and trip is getting off to a strange start and not just because there is mud everywhere and the place is a little shabby.

Blackie Rose is dead on the stage as “Messin' Wih The Kid” by Steve Liskow begins.  Detective Tracy Hendrix and his partner, Timmy Bryne, have their hands full to figure out why he died. None of his band mates and assorted other folks can believe he is dead, though as the investigation proceeds they had all noticed he seemed a bit off in the hours leading up to his sudden death. Was it a drug overdose as possibly indicated by the white residue around his nostrils or was it something else that killed the star of the group known as fireworks?

Gregory was part of the family and now he is very much dead. He was found floating in the river next to the family houseboat. Clearly shot in the back, he was murdered. Like any family member, his death has to be avenged in “Assassin Scroll” by Tais Teng. Even if he was the idiot of the family and thus had to be left out of their thefts of antiquities and such. Stealing a scroll that dates back to the Crusades might have something to do with the escalating problem that will lead to a showdown in Amsterdam.

Baby sister Tay is in love again and there will be problems in “Trouble In Mind” by Cynthia Ward. There always is with Tay and her love life. Tanis will have plenty to do to try and fix this mess as winter reluctantly loosens its grip on Maine and their dairy farm. That last blast of winter serves as a backdrop for hot passion and problems that can’t be allowed to foster and grow. 


Black Cat Mystery Magazine: Issue 4 is another solidly good issue. As has been clear before, the authors and stories in this issue are another wide ranging mix of styles and substance showing the fact that the mystery tent is a wide ranging one open to all. Unlike the various niche markets that all have their place, Black Cat Mystery Magazine embraces all and not all deaths are undeserved.

Black Cat Mystery Magazine: Issue Four
Editors John Gregory Betancourt and Carla Coupe
Wildside Press
ASIN: B07MQBJ99T
January 2019
eBook (also available in print)
130 Pages
$3.99


By using funds on my Amazon Associate account, I picked this up late last January in order to read and review. 

Kevin R. Tipple ©2019

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Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: Dancing in the Dark by Stuart M. Kaminsky


Stuart M. Kaminsky (1934-2009) was a wondrously gifted author who wrote more than 60 mystery novels and several volumes on cinema. Mystery Writers of America awarded him the title of Grand Master in 2006 and the Private Eye Writers of America gave him The Eye Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. He had four series characters: Lew Fonesca, a sad process server in Sarasota, Florida, six books released between 1999 and 2009; Abe Lieberman, a Jewish police detective in Chicago, 10 books released between 1990 and 2007; Porfiry Rostnikov, a philosophical police inspector in Moscow, Russia, 16 books released between 1981 and 2010; and Toby Peters, a private investigator in Los Angeles whose clients were 1930s and 1940s movie stars, 24 books released between 1977 and 2004.

I read a few of the Lew Fonesca books some time ago, and the Toby Peters series has been on my TBR list for a while. So, when I found a copy of Dancing in the Dark (Mysterious Press, 1996) in one of my interminable book clean-outs, I took it as a sign. In this, #19 of Toby’s adventures, Fred Astaire has attracted the interest of a determined girlfriend of a Detroit mobster. She wants Astaire to teach her to dance and to undertake other activities with her, much to his dismay.  While the mobster changed his name when he relocated to Los Angeles, he did not otherwise change his thuggish ways, and Astaire has valid concerns about his future health and well-being.

Astaire is focusing on his wartime bond-raising tour and signs Toby up to teach the girlfriend in his place. Toby unfortunately has two left feet, as the saying goes, and makes a poor substitute.  When the girlfriend turns up dead in a ballroom where Toby and his friends are the logical suspects, Toby scrambles to protect himself, his friends, and Fred Astaire from the mobster’s wrath.

Excellent investigative work wrapped in effortless Golden Age Hollywood period detail. The scene where Toby borrows Cornel Wilde’s dinner jacket for an impromptu turn across the stage of Wiltern Theatre in front of a huge audience is side-splitting. An entertaining read.



·         Hardcover: 228 pages
·         Publisher: Mysterious Press; First edition (January 1, 1996)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 0892965282
·         ISBN-13: 978-0892965281


Aubrey Hamilton ©2019

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