Mystery writer and fan Elaine Flinn just passed away. She had been diagnosed with cancer some months ago and died of pneumonia, a side effect of that cancer. She won the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original at the Toronto Bouchercon. I've never seen a more excited winner of a Barry and I was so glad that DP readers voted for her. Elaine was part of a significant minority in the mystery field -- that select group of mystery writers who are also knowledgeable fans of the genre. She read widely and contributed in many ways to the mystery community.

She was warm, vivacious and very funny. Here is her e-mail response to my telling her that she was nominated for the Barry Award:

“OhmyGodohmyGodohmyGod!!!What else can I say...except that I am unbelievably overwhelmed...and I thank you very, very much! You've made an old bag giddy...and speecheless. Just to be included among such terrific and acclaimed writers is...un^&&^%inbelievable.

I'd offer you all my first born...but my youngest is 38, so that won't work.You can't imagine what a boost this is at this particular moment...I'm working away on #3 -- DEADLY COLLECTION -- and been stumbling a bit and feeling like a fraud. I think I can handle it now.”

Elaine, we will miss you.


dia I'm very sorry to announce that Tony Hillerman just died at age 83 of pulmonary failure. He and his wife have been very ill for quite some time. Tony Hillerman was the first mystery writer that I ever met in person. In 1988 I went to the local Sam Weller's Bookstore where he was sitting at a card table with a stack of A THIEF OF TIME beside him. No one else was there. So I bought a copy, had it signed and had a nice chat with him. All of you who have met and interacted with him know him as a genuinely nice person. He wasn't puffed up -- just considered himself an ordinary guy with some talent for writing. We know him as an extraordinary person and writer. October 27, 2008




BEST NOVEL(Published in the U.S. in 2007)
WHAT THE DEAD KNOW, Laura Lippman (Morrow) – Winner

SOUL PATCH, Reed Farrel Coleman (Bleak House)
THE UNQUIET, John Connolly (Atria)
DOWN RIVER, John Hart (St Martin’s Minotaur)
DIRTY MARTINI, J.A. Konrath (Hyperion)
RED CAT, Peter Spiegelman (Knopf)

BEST FIRST NOVEL (Published in the U.S. in 2007)
IN THE WOODS, Tana French (Viking) – Winner

MISSING WITNESS, Gordon Campbell (Morrow)
BIG CITY, BAD BLOOD, Sean Chercover (Morrow)
THE SPELLMAN FILES, Lisa Lutz (Simon & Schuster)
THE BLADE ITSELF, Marcus Sakey (St. Martin’s Minotaur)


(published in the U.K. in 2007,
not necessarily written by a British writer nor set in the U.K )
DAMNATION FALLS, Edward Wright (Orion) – Winner
PIG ISLAND, Mo Hayder (Bantam Press)
ONE UNDER, Graham Hurley (Orion)
THE DEATH LIST, Paul Johnston (Mira)
THE 50/50 KILLER, Steve Mosby (Orion)

QUEENPIN, Megan Abbott (Simon & Schuster) – Winner

BLACK WIDOW AGENCY, Felicia Donovan (Midnight Ink)
CHOKE POINT, Jay MacLarty (Pocket)
THE MARK, Jason Pinter (Mira)
WHO IS CONRAD HIRST?, Kevin Wignall (Simon & Schuster)

THE WATCHMAN, Robert Crais (Simon & Schuster) – Winner
NO TIME FOR GOODBYE, Linwood Barclay (Bantam)
THE CLEANER, Brett Battles (Delacorte)
VOLK’S GAME, Brent Ghelfi (Henry Holt)
SILENCE, Thomas Perry (Harcourt)
MIDNIGHT RAMBLER, Jim Swain (Ballantine)

Edward D. Hoch, The Problem of the Summer Snowman (EQMM November 2007) --Winner
Doug Allyn, Dead As a Dog (EQMM July 2007)
Dale C. Andrews and Kurt Sercu, The Book Case (EQMM May 2007)
Jon L. Breen, The Missing Elevator Puzzle (EQMM February 2007)
Jeffrey Deaver, Bump (DEAD MAN'S HAND)
Gillian Roberts, The Old Wife's Tale (EQMM March-April 2007)
Neil Schofield, Murder: A User's Guibe (AHMM July-August)



Bill & Toby Gottfried

George Easter

Many thanks to my pals at Mystery News, all who worked on the nominating committees and the subscribers and readers who voted. Great list of books to read. 10/15/2008


dia DP #55 is being mailed today -- right on time. Just in time for me to leave for Bouchercon tomorrow morning. All of you who are attending the convention are invited to the Barry Awards presentation during the Opening Ceremonies on Thursday night and to the convention's hospitality suite on Saturday at 5:30 pm to meet and greet the DP staff. Look forward to seeing you there. Full report on my return. October 7, 2008


dia A new Jan Burke novel is always welcome by her legions of fans. But THE MESSENGER (Simon & Schuster, January, 2009) may surprise and perhaps disappoint a few who were waiting for the next installment in her series. Plot: A stand-alone supernatural thriller. A salvage diver hears an eerie voice calling him from the wreckage of an old ship. In return for promised riches, he becomes enslaved to Adrian Varre, the creature who has called to him, and who urges him to hunt for a man named Tyler Hawthorne. Unaware that a powerful enemy has returned from the past, Tyler Hawthorne has another problem: he's been twenty-four for the past two centuries and grown weary of his solitary existence. Other than Shade, a large black dog with supernatural powers, Tyler has been alone, fulfilling his role as a Messenger -- able to hear the last thoughts of the dying. When he learns with relief that he will finally be able to pass this role on to another, he discovers that if he chooses to do so, it can only be at a terrible cost -- the woman with whom he has fallen in love must become his replacement. September 25, 2008



From Sarah Weinman's website (I found this very interesting):

As both the Telegraph and the New York Times report, a trove of recordings featuring Agatha Christie has been unearthed -- recordings no one knew existed before:

Her grandson Mathew Prichard stumbled upon 27 of the half-hour long tapes in a   dusty cardboard box as he cleaned out a storeroom in Greenway, the Georgian   property overlooking the Dart estuary in Devon that Christie called "the   loveliest place in the world."

The tapes, which nobody knew existed, are the raw material on which part of   her autobiography was based.

Working alone at her own unhurried pace, the ageing Christie dictated the   tapes on a Grundig Memorette machine in the mid 1960s.

Her rich, authoritative voice offers a wealth of insights into her life and   how she developed her most beloved characters.

Among them is her description of Jane Marple --and how she partially based the   genteel sleuth on her grandmother.

Laura Thompson, author of the biography 'Agatha Christie: An English Mystery',  said the "extraordinary" find was of great value because Christie   rarely gave interviews, the Telegraph further reports. "She did speak on the radio to the BBC a couple of times in the 1950s but   she did very, very little. It is a thrill to hear her voice." That I must echo.... (warning: popup audio link, but worth it) September 18, 2008



dia Missoula, Montana author James Crumley, 68, died Wednesday afternoon at St. Patrick Hospital after many years of health complications.

When he died, Crumley was surrounded by family and friends, including his wife, Martha Elizabeth. 9/18



George Pelecanos is going to make an appearance at Bouchercon for a signing in the Book Dealers' Room at 12:30. He is not signed up for the convention.

Also, by chance, I happened to notice that Dennis Lehane will be signing at a local Baltimore Barnes & Noble on the Friday of the convention. I've contacted the Bouchercon organizers to see if they can arrange to have him drop by the convention that day. If I hear anything to that effect, I'll let you know.

September 13, 2008



BOUCHERCON DP GET-TOGETHER. Ruth and Jon Jordan, organizers of this year's Bouchercon, have kindly given us the use of the convention's Hospitality Suite on Saturday, October 11, 2008 at 5:30 pm for a Deadly Pleasures Meet-And-Greet. I'll try to arrange for all of the DP Staff to be there and hope to have you subscribers and reader of DP come by and meet everyone who is responsible for your reading pleasure over the years. I'll have Larry Gandle put his armor on. Calendar this and hope to see your there.

In the past I've told people to come by after the Barry Awards presentation to say hi (you can still do this), but we've never had the staff all together in one place before. I hope to see you there. September 13, 2008.


dia In a recent interview Dennis Lehane made the the following when asked about what is next for him:

He knows what he won't do: write another whodunit about the two private eyes, Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, in his first five novels, which include GONE BABY GONE . "They were written from a young man's perspective. I left Patrick when I was 33 and he was 33. I've tried, but his voice won't come."

Boo. September 5, 2008



Barry Award Ballot time. Thanks to those of you who have sent yours in. The deadline is September 12, 2008. I'll be emailing those of you who haven't sent yours in -- that is, if I have your email address. But don't wait for me. Just email me your choices at george

For a list of the nominated titles you can click on the Barry Awards link above. September 5, 2008



Got my quarterly box from St. Martin's Minotaur today. It's called THE BEAST OF CRIME FICTION -- TEN YEARS STRONG. As usual there were four arcs that are coming out in the far future (Spring, 2009). Titles by Olen Steinhauer, Marshall Karp and Jane Haddam. But the one that really caught my eye was THE SHANGHAI MOON by S.J. Rozan (February, 2009). By the time it comes out it will be seven years since the last Bill Smith/Lydia Chin novel. Way too long! Plot: Estranged from fellow P.I. Bill Smith, Lydia Chin is on a case to track stolen jewels dating back to WWII. The Shanghai Moon, one the world's most sought after gems, is part of the stolen stash. Before Lydia can move forward, a coworker is murdered, Lydia is fired from the case, and Bill Smith reappears on the scene.

That should have some of you salivating. Sept 5, 2009



Took an hour today to look over the Bouchercon site and the panel program that has recently been posted on it.

There are two authors whom I have noticed signed up early but are no longer on the list: Elizabeth George and Daniel Woodrell. I'm disappointed. Haven't seen Elizabeth George for years and I was looking forward to meeting Daniel Woodrell.

On the plus side I noticed that Peter Robinson, Ace Atkins, Barry Eisler, R. J. Ellory, Peter James , Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Greg Rucka and Max Allan Collins have recently signed up (unless I missed them earlier). So that is nice.

The panels are named for rock and roll songs. I'm moderating a panel entitled Walk On the Wild Side. I asked Jon Jordan what that meant as far as a topic for the panel to discuss and he said, "Whatever you want it to be." I hope someone will attend. On the panel will be Val McDermid, Colin Harrison, Chris Knopf and Adrian Magson. When I heard the panelist's names I was very pleased. I have read, liked and reviewed the books of the latter three within the last year. And I've read enough of Val's work to know it well. Her latest comes out later this month in England. September 1, 2008



I was sad to hear the news of Janwillem de Wetering's recent death. I was a big fan of the early books in the Grijpstra & de Gier series. Later the series seemed to just get ... well, weird is the word that comes to mind.

Here is Jiro Kimura's obituary:

Janwillem van de Wetering died of cancer on July 4 in Maine. He was a member of a motorbike gang in South Africa in the early '50s, a Buddhist monk in Kyoto in the late '50s, a land salesman in Australia in the early '60s, a member of the Amsterdam Reserve Police in the late '60s, and a mystery writer in Maine since the mid-'70s. He wrote a number of the Grijpstra & de Gier novels starting with OUTSIDER IN AMSTERDAM (Houghton Mifflin, 1975). He wrote the Inspector Saito short stories under the Seiko Legru pseudonym for Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and they were put together into a collection, INSPECTOR SITO'S SMALL SATORI (Putnam, 1985). He also authored a biography of a Dutch writer/diplomat, ROBERT VAN GULIK: HIS LIFE, HIS WORK (Dennis McMillan, 1988), and edited an MWA anthology, DISTANT DANGER (Wynwood Press,1988). He was 77.

August 12, 2008



Reginald Hill's latest Dalziel and Pascoe novel did more than change its name on it trip across the Atlantic. In the U.K. the title of this 2008 novel is A CURE FOR ALL DISEASES. The title comes from a quote (found on a front page of the novel) from Sir Thomas Browne in Religio Medici: "We all labour against our own cure, for death is the cure for all diseases." I love this quote -- it seems so emblematic of Hill's sardonic humor.

Well, fast forward a few months and here comes the American edition of this novel which is entitled THE PRICE OF BUTCHER'S MEAT. This title is also derived from a literary quote -- this time from Jane Austen's Sanditon: " Aye -- that young Lady smiles I see -- but she will come to care about such matters herself in time. Yes, yes, my Dear, depend upon it, you will be thinking of the price of Butcher's meat in time."

I find it interesting that not only did the titles change, but also the quotes (that form the basis for the titles) found inside the books. Personally I like the title A CURE FOR ALL DISEASES more than the other title. Don't know why the American publisher wanted to change it to what I consider an inferior title. Haven't read the book yet, so I don't know which title best fits the plot. 08/08/2008



There are two current novels that have recently been published which feature beloved female authors as protagonists.

AN EXPERT IN MURDER by Nicola Upson (Harper, $24.95) has Golden Age crime writer Josephine Tey traveling from Scotland to London for the final week of her successful play Richard of Bordeaux. Her arrival coincides with the murder of a young woman she had befriended on the train ride.

DAPHNE by Justine Pidardie (Bloomsbury, $25.99). Written in three entwined parts, the novel follows Daphne du Maurier, the beautiful, tomboyish, passionate author of the enormously popular Gothic novel Rebecca, at fifty and on the verge of madness; John Alexander Symington, eminent editor and curator of the Brontës’ manuscripts, who by 1957 had been dismissed from the Brontë Parsonage Museum in disgrace, and who became Daphne’s correspondent; and a nameless modern researcher on the trail of Daphne, Rebecca, Alexander Symington, and the Brontës. 8/06/2008



2008 Shamus Awards Nominees

Best Hardcover
HEAD GAMES by Thomas B. Cavanagh (St. Martins Minotaur)
SOUL PATCH by Reed Farrel Coleman (Bleak House)
THE COLOR OF BLOOD by Declan Hughes (Morrow)
A WELCOME GRAVE by Michael Koryta (St. Martins Minotaur)
A KILLER’S KISS by William Lashner (Morrow)

Best Paperback Original
SONGS OF INNOCENCE by Richard Aleas (Hard Case)
EXIT STRATEGY by Kelley Armstrong (Bantam)
STONE RAIN by Linwood Barclay (Bantam)
DEADLY BELOVED by Max Allan Collins (Hard Case)
BLOOD OF PARADISE by David Corbett (Mortalis/Ballantine)

Best First Novel
by Brett Battles (Delacorte)
KEEP IT REAL by Bill Bryan (Bleak House)
BIG CITY, BAD BLOOD by Sean Chercover (Morrow)
WHEN ONE MAN DIES by Dave White (Three Rivers Press)
THE LAST STRIPTEASE by Michael Wiley (St. Martins)

Best Short Story
"Kill the Cat" by Loren D. Estleman, DETROIT NOIR (Akashic)
"Trust Me" by Loren D. Estleman, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, June 2007
"Open Mike" by James Nolan, NEW ORLEANS NOIR (Akashic)
“Hungry Enough" by Cornelia Read, A HELL OF A WOMAN (Busted Flush Press)
"Room for Improvement" by Marilyn Todd, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Dec. 2007



I took a peek at the Bouchercon attendees list today and noticed that several authors have recently signed up. Here are the ones that I noticed:

Jason Goodwin, Andrew Gross, Arnarldur Indridason (cover boy for the current issue being sent out tomorrow), Daniel Woodrell, Linwood Barclay, Stephen Booth, Greg Rucka, Linda Greenlaw, Sheldon Siegel, Jason Starr, John Lutz, Steve Thayer, David Ellis, and Eddie Muller. And that's in addition to an author list that was already very good. I'm very excited about going this year. Should be great! July 17, 2008



The Critics Award 2008
Sponsored by
The Strand Magazine

Best Novel

WHAT THE DEAD KNOW by Laura Lippman – Winner
Down River by John Hart
The Shotgun Rule by Charlie Huston
The Strangler by William Landay
The Watchman by Robert Crais

Best First Novel

THE BLADE ITSELF by Marcus Sakey – Winner
In the Woods by Tana French
The Mark by Jason Pinter
Missing Witness by Gordon Campbell
When One Man Dies by Dave White

Voted on by a panel of very well-known mystery critics: Larry Gandle, Oline Cogdill, Dick Lochte, Hallie Ephron, David Montgomery, Sarah Weinman, David Anderson and Andrew Gulli.



CWA Dagger Award Winners

Duncan Lawrie Dagger
Frances Fyfield -- BLOOD FROM STONE (Little,Brown)

Duncan Lawrie International Dagger
Dominique Mannoti -- LORRAINE CONNECTION (Arcadia)

The CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger
Tom Rob Smith -- CHILD 44 (Simon & Schuster)

The CWA New Blood Dagger
Matt Reys -- THE BETHLEHEM MURDERS (Atlantic )

The CWA Dagger in the Library
Craig Russell

The Debut Dagger

The Short Story Dagger
Martin Edwards --
"The Bookbinder's Apprentice"
The Mammoth Book of Best British Mysteries



There are a couple of revered mystery/suspense writers of the past who now are protagonists in recently published novels. Josephine Tey is the main character of AN EXPERT IN MURDER by Nicola Upson (Harper, $24.95, June, 2008). Plot: March 1934. Revered mystery writer Josephine Tey is traveling from Scotland to London for the final week of her celebrated play Richard of Bordeaux. But joy turns to horror when her arrival coincides with the murder of a young woman she had befriended on the train ride, and Tey quickly finds herself plunged into a mystery as puzzling as any of those in her own works.

The other is DAPHNE by Justine Picardie (Bloomsbury, $25.99, August, 2008). As you might expect the suspense writer Daphne Du Maurier, author of REBECCA, is featured in this novel. Plot: Drawing on Justine Picardie’s own extensive research into Daphne du Maurier’s obsession with the Brontës and the scandal that has haunted the Brontë estate, Daphne is a marvelous story of literary fascination and possession; of stolen manuscripts and forged signatures; of love lost and love found; of the way into imaginary worlds, and the way out again. Written in three entwined parts, the novel follows Daphne du Maurier herself, the beautiful, tomboyish, passionate author of the enormously popular Gothic novel Rebecca, at fifty and on the verge of madness; John Alexander Symington, eminent editor and curator of the Brontës’ manuscripts, who by 1957 had been dismissed from the Brontë Parsonage Museum in disgrace, and who became Daphne’s correspondent; and a nameless modern researcher on the trail of Daphne, REBECCA, Alexander Symington, and the Brontës. July 17, 2008



I always go incommunicado as I'm finalizing the magazine or else it doesn't get done. DP 54 is being printed tomorrow and will be mailed Monday. If it comes early enough tomorrow, I mail some issues to foreign subscribers and mystery bookstores, but I know from the past there will not be enough time to get the subscriber mailing out. I'm proud of the cover article on Scandinavian Crime Fiction. It took a long time to put together, but since it spotlights what quickly has become an important and very high quality section of mystery fiction in English-speaking countries, it is a subject most worthing of attention. I put a lot of author photos in it so you can attach a picture to a name. I hope you enjoy it and find recommendations for further reading.

The issue will include a Barry Award Ballot. Please vote. Thanks. July 17, 2008


dia I've updated the 2008 DP List of Best Mysteries by adding many, many titles. It was brought to my attention that the link to the 2007 DP List wasn't working. I've fixed that. I'm hard at work laying out the next issue. The cover article is on Scandinavian Crime Fiction. 6/22/2008




Some more of the short-lists have been announced.

Best First Novel
Zoë Ferraris THE NIGHT OF THE THE MI’RAJ (U.S. title FINDING NOUF) Little, Brown
Elena Forbes DIE WITH ME Quercus
Caro Ramsey ABSOLUTION Michael Joseph (Penguin)
Tom Rob Smith CHILD 44 Simon & Schuster

Best Translated Novel
Andrea Camilleri (Italy) THE PATIENCE OF THE SPIDER (Picador, Macmillan) Translated by Stephen Sartarelli
Stieg Larsson (Sweden) THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (MacLehose Press, Quercus) Translated by Reg Keeland
Dominique Manotti (France) LORRAINE CONNECTION (EuroCrime, Arcadia Books) Translated by Amanda Hopkinson and Ros Schwartz
Martin Suter (Spain) A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL (EuroCrime, Arcadia Books) Translated by Peter Millar
Fred Vargas (France) THIS NIGHT'S FOUL WORK (Harvill Secker, Random House) Translated by Sîan Reynolds

Best Thriller
Mo Hayder RITUAL Transworld
Gregg Hurwitz I SEE YOU LITTLE, Brown (U.S. title THE CRIME WRITER)
Michael Robotham SHATTER Sphere (Little, Brown)
Tom Rob Smith CHILD 44 Simon & Schuster

1. Best First Novel. I really liked the Matt Beynon Rees novel and it is a very worthy contender. We are doing a “reviewed to death” on CHILD 44 and all of the reviews that have come in so far have been very positive (even Marv Lachman’s!), so it looks like all of the pre-publication hype that this novel received was valid. Two Yanks and three Brits
2. International Dagger. I think that Stieg Larsson’s THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is the best crime novel I’ve read this year and it is on my short list for best crime novel of the decade. This is the third year of this category. Fred Vargas has won the previous two and is once again nominated. If she wins this time, we need to re-name the award the Fred Vargas Award and retire it.
3. Steel Dagger. My wife just finished SHATTER by Michael Robotham and liked it a lot (high praise from her). I’ve just finished RITUAL by Mo Hayder, a very unusual journey into African religious practices. It was good, but not my kind of book – had a hard time relating to the main characters. CHILD 44 – see my thoughts in paragraph 1 above. Two Brits, two Yanks and one Aussie. June 3, 2008




Presented by Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine and Mystery News. The Awards will be presented on October 9, 2008 at Bouchercon in Baltimore, Maryland. Subscribers and readers of both magazines are eligible to vote. Votes can be submitted to or by mail to P.O. Box 969, Bountiful, UT 84011. The deadline for voting is September 15, 2008. Please supply name and zip with vote.

BEST NOVEL(Published in the U.S. in 2007)

SOUL PATCH, Reed Farrel Coleman (Bleak House)
THE UNQUIET, John Connolly (Atria)
DOWN RIVER, John Hart (St Martin’s Minotaur)
DIRTY MARTINI, J.A. Konrath (Hyperion)
WHAT THE DEAD KNOW, Laura Lippman (Morrow)
RED CAT, Peter Spiegelman (Knopf)

BEST FIRST NOVEL (Published in the U.S. in 2007)

MISSING WITNESS, Gordon Campbell (Morrow)
BIG CITY, BAD BLOOD, Sean Chercover (Morrow)
IN THE WOODS, Tana French (Viking)
THE SPELLMAN FILES, Lisa Lutz (Simon & Schuster)
THE BLADE ITSELF, Marcus Sakey (St. Martin’s Minotaur)

BEST BRITISH CRIME NOVEL (published in the U.K. in 2007, not necessarily written by a British writer nor set in the U.K )

PIG ISLAND, Mo Hayder (Bantam Press)
ONE UNDER, Graham Hurley (Orion)
THE DEATH LIST, Paul Johnston (Mira)
THE 50/50 KILLER, Steve Mosby (Orion)
DAMNATION FALLS, Edward Wright (Orion)


QUEENPIN, Megan Abbott (Simon & Schuster)
BLACK WIDOW AGENCY, Felicia Donovan (Midnight Ink)
CHOKE POINT, Jay MacLarty (Pocket)
THE MARK, Jason Pinter (Mira)
WHO IS CONRAD HIRST?, Kevin Wignall (Simon & Schuster)


NO TIME FOR GOODBYE, Linwood Barclay (Bantam)
THE CLEANER, Brett Battles (Delacorte)
THE WATCHMAN, Robert Crais (Simon & Schuster)
VOLK’S GAME, Brent Ghelfi (Henry Holt)
SILENCE, Thomas Perry (Harcourt)
MIDNIGHT RAMBLER, Jim Swain (Ballantine)


Doug Allyn, "Dead As a Dog" (EQMM July 2007)

Dale C. Andrews and Kurt Sercu, "The Book Case" (EQMM May 2007)

Jon L. Breen, "The Missing Elevator Puzzle" (EQMM February 2007)

Jeffrey Deaver, "Bump" (DEAD MAN'S HAND)

Edward D. Hoch, "The Problem of the Summer Snowman" (EQMM November 2007)

Gillian Roberts, "The Old Wife's Tale" (EQMM March-April 2007)

Neil Schofield, "Murder: A User's Guibe" (AHMM July-August 2007)The word “Guibe” is not a typo.





The Duncan Laurie Dagger Short List for Best Novel has been announced in The Times. The rest of the short lists for various CWA Dagger Awards will be announced next week.


THE CORONER'S LUNCH, Colin Cotterill

BLOOD FROM STONE, Frances Fyfield

NIGHT WORK, Steve Hamilton






Arthur Ellis Award Nominations 2008

For the best in Canadian Crime Fiction:

Best Novel
Linwood Barclay, NO TIME FOR GOODBYE (Bantam)
Terry Carroll, SNOW CANDY (Mercury Press)
Maureen Jennings, A JOURNEYMAN TO GRIEF (McClelland & Stewart)
Louise Penny, THE CRUELLEST MONTH (McArthur & Company)
Jon Redfern, TRUMPETS SOUND NO MORE (RendezVous Crime/Napoleon & Company)

Best First Novel
Claire Cameron, THE LINE PAINTER (HarperCollins)
Sean Chercover, BIG CITY, BAD BLOOD (William Morrow/HarperCollins)
Liam Durcan, GARCÍA’S HEART (McClelland & Stewart)
Susan Parisi, BLOOD OF DREAMS (Penguin Australia)
Sharon Rowse, THE SILK TRAIN MURDER (Carroll & Graf)
Marc Strange, SUCKER PUNCH (Castle Street Mysteries/Dundurn)

Best Short Story
Vicki Cameron, “Eight Lords A’Leaping” in Locked Up (Deadlock Press)
Maureen Jennings, “Wreckwood” in Blood on the Holly (Baskerville Books)
D.J. McIntosh, “The Hounds of Winter” in Blood on the Holly (Baskerville Books)
Rick Mofina, “As Long as We Both Shall Live” in Blood on the Holly (Baskerville Books)
Leslie Watts, “Turner” in Kingston Whig-Standard (July 7, 2007)

Nice to see some friends (and all subscribers to DP), such as Rick Mofina, Maureen Jennings (twice nominated!), and Sean Chercover nominated. I'll be rooting for them. 05/21/2008



What's with book titles nowadays? An arc of Victor Gischler's latest just landed on my desk. GO-GO GIRLS OF THE APOCALYPSE. And then there is the recent, hard-to-characterize THE NYMPHOS OF ROCKY FLATS by Mario Acevedo (I think it's a humorous, vampire thriller ), followed by my personal favorite ISLAND OF THE SEQUINED LOVE NUN by Christopher Moore (his THE LUST LIZARD OF MELANCHOLY COVE isn't a bad title either). Well, back to the GO-GO GIRLS OF THE APOCALYPSE. Here is the plot: Mortimer Tate was a recently divorced insurance salesman when he holed up in a cave on top of a mountain in Tennessee and rode out the end of the world. The book starts ten years later, when he emerges into a bizarre landscape filled with hollow reminders of an America that no longer exists. The highways are lined with abandoned automobiles, electricity is generated by indentured servants pedaling stationary bicycles. What little civilization remains revolves around Joey Armageddon's Sassy-a-Go-Go strip clubs. Accompanied by his cowboy sidekick Buffalo Bill and two gorgeous, lethal women named Sheila and Tyler, Mortimer journeys to the lost city of Atlanta -- and a showdown that just might determine the fate of humanity.

I hope no one asks the author where he gets his ideas. I frankly don't want to know. 5/21/2008


dia Tomorrow is my 35th wedding anniversary. You may send condolences to my long-suffering wife Michele at the address cited herein or just email her at:


dia Even though it is still five months away, I'm getting anxious about attending Bouchercon. I missed last year's and a two-year hiatus is just too long. The author list of attendees is shaping up nicely. There are three authors on it that I have never met before whom I'm anxious to meet: Rennie Airth (should we dare hope that he has another book coming out?), Stuart MacBride and Stephen Hunter. Some other first time attenders (I think) are Ann Cleeves (the recent Dagger Award winner), Louis Bayard, Adrian Magson, Lawrence Goldstone, Sophie Hannah and James R. Benn. There are some big-name authors I haven't seen in a while like Lawrence Block, Harlan Coben, Deborah Crombie and Elizabeth George. And there are several authors whom I consider friends (they probably think of me as a passing acquaintance) and always enjoy passing time with: Martin Edwards, Kent Krueger, Val McDermid, Zoe Sharp, John Harvey, , Bill Fitzhugh, Joseph Finder, Charles Todd, Megan Abbott (even though I've only met her once, I was entranced), Ed Wright and Harlan Coben. But if truth be known I'd still go even if no authors attended -- just to see my friends (Marv, Maggie, Larry, Ted, Gary, Jay, Beth, Bev, Ali,Lynn, Chris, Art, Mystery Mike, Tom & Enid, Marian & JD, Iden & Maureen, the Jordans and the list goes on and on). And of course it is so much fun to give out the Barry Awards. May 17, 2007



Chelsea Cain came out with her first novel HEARTSICK in 2007. It depicted the twisted relationship between serial killer/torturer Gretchen Lowell and the police detective who finally caught her Archie Sheridan. Even though Gretchen tortured, killed him and brought him back to life, Archie is obsessed with visiting her in jail for reasons that were somewhat unclear to me.

Well, in September Cain is coming out with the sequel entitled SWEETHEART. The publicity material gives away a big plot spoiler so I assume it is at the very beginning of the book -- Gretchen Lowell has escaped from prison!!! The first book contains a lot of graphic violence and torture so it isn't for everyone's taste. But the writing is quite good. May 17, 2008


dia Just got the latest Thomas Perry thriller FIDELITY, which I've already read and enjoyed (to be reviewed in next issue of DP). But the exciting news that was contained in the publicity materials is the following statement: "Coming in January, 2009: Jane Whitefield is back!"



Larry Gandle just called from the Edgar Awards Dinner. Here are the winners:

Best Novel

DOWN RIVER by John Hart (St. Martin's Minotaur)

Best First Novel

IN THE WOODS by Tana French (Viking)

Best Paperback Original

QUEENPIN by Megan Abbott (Simon & Schuster)

5/1/2008 at 10:15 Eastern Daylight Savings Time


dia The London Times has come up with another controversial list -- The 50 Greatest Crime Writers. There are always authors that we think should be on such a list and others on the list that we don't agree belong there. Have fun. 4/21/2008



DP #53 mailed over a week ago and tax returns filed. Whew! Now I can get back to living (and reading). I'm already getting renewals so if you haven't gotten it by now, you should receive it within the next few days.

I'll also be putting together the first phase of our Barry Award nominations, so we can get them out before the Anthony Award nominations (there is always some similarity because both are fan awards and come from similar fan bases). I like to be first so that no one accuses us of copying their list. 4/20/2008


dia Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s El Juego del Angel (THE ANGEL'S GAME), a prequel to THE SHADOW OF THE WIND, set in 1920s Barcelona, combining a love story, a mystery, a fantasy and an exploration of literature will be published by Doubleday in the summer of 2009. Long ways aways, but at least it's coming. April 5, 2008


dia DP #53 went to the printer today. Hope to mail it mid-week next week. April 4, 2008



The Thriller Awards Nominations are out.


No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay (Bantam)
The Watchman by Robert Crais (Simon & Schuster)
The Ghost by Robert Harris (Simon & Schuster)
The Crime Writer by Gregg Hurwitz (Viking)
Trouble by Jesse Kellerman (Putnam)


Interred With Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell (Dutton)
Big City, Bad Blood by Sean Chercover (William Morrow)
From the Depths by Gerry Doyle (McBook Press)
Volk's Game by Brent Ghelfi (Henry Holt and Co.)
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (William Morrow)


The Last Nightingale
by Anthony Flacco (Ballantine)
A Thousand Bones by P.J. Parrish (Pocket)
The Midnight Road by Tom Piccirilli (Bantam)
The Queen of Bedlam by Robert McCammon (Pocket)
Shattered by Jay Bonansinga (Pinnacle)

Once again these award nominations are dominated by male writers (despite 8 out of the 15 judges being female), but that reflects the male-dominated thriller sub-genre. 3/21/2008



The Strand Magazine is starting a new mystery fiction award called the Critics Award. Those who nominate are esteemed mystery fiction critics including our own Larry Gandle (who seems to want to be a judge for every mystery award known to man. Just so he doesn't neglect his duties as DP Assistant Editor. I don't want to be paying all that money for nothing. That's a joke.). Other judges include Sarah Weinman, Dick Lochte, Oline Cogdill, Hallie Ephron, David Montgomery, David Anderson and the Editor of The Strand Magazine, Andrew Gulli.

The Nominees are:

Best Novel 

Down River by John Hart (Thomas Dunne Books/Minotaur)

The Shotgun Rule by Charlie Huston (Ballantine Books)

The Strangler by William Landay (Delacorte Press)

The Watchman by Robert Crais (Simon and Schuster)

What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman (William Morrow)

Best First Novel

The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey (St. Martin's Minotaur)

In the Woods by Tana French (Viking)

The Mark by Jason Pinter (Mira Books)

Missing Witness by Gordon Campbell (William Morrow)

When One Man Dies by Dave White (Crown Publishing)

I see a few titles I hope will also appear on the Barry short lists. 3/21/2008



It seems that whenever the economy goes south we lose another mystery book store. This time it is Boulder, Colorado's High Crimes (formerly The Rue Morgue). I guess readers are using their discretionary income to buy gasoline for their cars.

High Crime's owner, Cynthia Nye, will continue the business as an internet/mail order business. I just talked to her and she says that the first week's business, after the closing, was robust. So cross your fingers. She will still be getting signed hardcover first editions, I believe.


dia It's sad to have to report on the deaths of mystery writers -- even when they have reached a ripe old age and have lived full lives. But there is a sense of tragedy when the author is young. Andrew Britton, aged 27, author of the Ryan Kealey series of three books (THE AMERICAN, THE ASSASSIN, THE INVISIBLE), died suddenly of an undiagnosed heart problem. His latest book just came out. How sad! Condolences to his family. 3/21/2008


dia I'm hard at work on DP #53, with a cover article on Female Thriller Writers and lots of interesting articles and columns. Am really trying this time to get it out on time. March 3, 2008



Based on the recommendation of Ali Karim, the next Reviewed to Death title is CHILD 44 by Tom Rob Smith. This first novel is being super-hyped so we shall see what the DP review staff thinks of it. It will be out in April, so please grab a copy, read along with us, and submit a review to me if you wish for DP#54.

March 3, 2008



Los Angeles Times Book Prize

Crime Fiction Nominees

Benjamin Black, CHRISTINE FALLS (Henry Holt)

Ake Edwardson, FROZEN TRACKS (Viking)

Karin Fossum (Translated by Charlotte Barslund) THE INDIAN BRIDE (Harcourt)

Tana French, IN THE WOODS (Viking)

Jan Costin Wagner (Translated by John Brownjohn) ICE MOON (Harcourt)

WOW! What a list! Three Scandanavian crime writers, an Irish literary, mainstream fiction writer disguised as a mystery writer and a first-time Irish writer.

Where are the excellent American writers? Is this the equivalent of what happened in the U.K. with the CWA Awards a couple of years ago?

March 3, 2008



Agatha Award Nominees

Best Novel

The Penguin Who Knew Too Much, by Donna Andrews (St. Martin's Minotaur)

Her Royal Spyness, by Rhys Bowen (Penguin Group)
Hard Row,
by Margaret Maron (Grand Central Publishing)

A Fatal Grace, by Louise Penny (St. Martin's Minotaur)
Murder With Reservations, by Elaine Viets (NAL)

Best First Novel

A Beautiful Blue Death, by Charles Finch ( St. Martin 's Minotaur)

A Real Basket Case, by Beth Groundwater (Five Star)

Silent In The Grave, by Deanna Raybourn (Mira)

Prime Time, by Hank Phillipi Ryan (Harlequin)

Best Nonfiction

Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life In Letters, by Charles Foley, Jon Lellenberg , and Daniel Stashower (Penguin Press)

The Official Nancy Drew Handbook, by Penny Warner (Quirck Productions)

Best Short Story

"A Rat's Tale", by Donna Andrews (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Sept/Oct, 2007)

"Please Watch Your Step", by Rhys Bowen (The Strand, Spring, 2007)

"Casino Gamble", by Nan Higginson (Murder New York Style, L & L Dreamspell)

"Popping Round To The Post", by Peter Lovesey (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, November, 2007)

"Death Will Clean Your Closet", by Elizabeth Zelvin (Murder New York Style, L & L Dreamspell)

Donna Andrews and Rhys Bowen have two nominations each, which I'm sure are well deserved. Very strong list for Best Novel, which will make it difficult for fans of the traditional mystery to choose a winner.

March 3, 2008



Otto Penzler's weekly column in The New York Sun is always a treat for me. But added pleasure was mine when I read last week's column on mystery magazines and had this to say about DP: "Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine is entirely devoted to articles and reviews, and is invaluable for the dedicated scholarship and fandom of its delightful founder, George Easter, and regular contributors Larry Gandle, Marv Lachman, Mary Mason, Ali Karim, Ted Hertel, and many others. In 1997, it began to present the Barry Award (named for Barry Gardner, a highly respected reviewer, then recently deceased) for excellence in crime fiction; several categories are voted upon by subscribers and Web visitors."

Otto did make one error in the column: he stated that "the longest running mystery fan magazine is Mystery Scene." I remember the editor of MS making that claim on a panel I was on and being corrected by Janet Rudolph of Mystery Readers International -- the longest running mystery fan magazine -- mention of which was surprisingly missing from the article.

March 3, 2008


Michael Connelly's Next Book Is THE BRASS VERDICT

Lincoln lawyer Mickey Haller and LAPD Detective Harry Bosch team up in the next novel by Michael Connelly. Things are finally looking up for defense attorney Mickey Haller. After two years of wrong turns, Haller is back in the courtroom. When Hollywood lawyer Jerry Tadashi is murdered, Haller inherits his biggest case yet: the defense of Walter Elliott, a prominent studio executive accused of murdering his wife and her lover. But as Haller prepares for the case that could launch him into the big time, he learns that Tadashi's killer may be coming for him next. Enter Harry Bosch. Determined to find Tadashi's killer, he is not opposed to using Haller as bait. But as danger mounts and the stakes rise, these two loners realize their only choice is to work together.

THE BRASS VERDICT will be released on October 14, 2008 in the USA and Canada, and on October 16, 2008 in the UK and Ireland, and in November in Australia and New Zealand. We will post the cover art, an excerpt, and more on the web site very soon.

Click here to read more about THE BRASS VERDICT.



2008 Hammett Prize Nominees

The North American Branch of the International Association of Crime Writers is pleased to announce nominees for their annual HAMMETT PRIZE for a work of literary excellence in the field of crime writing by a US or Canadian author. The, nominees are as follows:

Gil Adamson, The Outlander (House of Anansi Press)
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union: A Novel (HarperCollins)
Michael Dibdin (1947-2007), End Games: An Aurelio Zen Mystery (Pantheon)
Katie Estill, Dahlia’s Gone: A Novel (St. Martin’s)
Martin Cruz Smith, Stalin’s Ghost: An Arkady Renko Novel (Simon & Schuster)

The winner will be announced at the Bloody Words Conference in Toronto in early June. Congratulations to all the nominees. 2/07/2008




I have a new DP List -- Best Books of 2008 which I have just posted. In compiling the list I rely on reviews in DP and starred reviews in the four principal library journals -- Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus and Library Journal. As I've mentioned before there are one or two books a year that garner a starred review in all four journals. The first so far in 2008 is somewhat a surprise for me because heretofore I've been underwhelmed with the author's output.

*JUDAS HORSE, Smith, April (Knofp, $23.95). Maverick FBI Special Agent Ana Grey goes undercover to infiltrate the volatile core of a domestic terrorist cell, where she must negotiate a minefield of loyalty and betrayal under constant threat of discovery. 2/07/2008



A month or so ago Ali Karim alerted us to a new book, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson (January 2007 in U.K, Quercus) with this rave review. Despite its 500+ page size, I dived in and wow! I'm about 100 pages from the end (and I don't want it to end) and I'm blown away by this mystery debut. I'll be giving it an A+, a very rare rating for me. It is wonderfully complex and loved the author's writing style. There are some unpleasant scenes (the title character is raped and later she gets her revenge on the perpetrator) and an animal dies, so it won't be for everyone's tastes.

Possibly the best book of 2008. Thanks, Ali.

The good news is that it will be published by Vintage in the U.S. later in 2008. The bad new is that the author, a relatively young man, recently died after completing only three books in the series. What a loss!

See if you can detect a recent trend in mystery cover art:




I'm not a fan of tattoos, but these are pretty cool.




Where are they now? Mid-list writers often disappear for a few years in between publishing contracts. Here are a few that have popped up again:

Elizabeth Gunn is now being published in England by Severn House and these are sold here in the U.S. McCAFFERTY'S NINE (2007) continues her Jake Hines series and COOL IN TUCSON (2007) begins a new series.

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles has a new Bill Slider mystery, GAME OVER (Severn House, $28.95). Also available in U.S. This was one of my favorite series in the 1990s.

John Straley is back with THE BIG BOTH WAYS (Graphic Arts Center hc, $25.95, tp $16.95). Set in 1935, it follows several people in the Puget Sound area as they deal with death and mystery and head up the Inside Passage to Alaska to find a new and better life.

Edward Sklepowich is also being published in England by Severn House, so this book is also available here. FRAIL BARRIER is his lated Urbino Macintyre mystery set in Venice, Italy.




Once again I'm sorry to announce that two more mystery writers have passed away.

Margaret Truman was famous on two fronts: as the daughter of venerable U.S. President Harry Truman and as a veteran and successful mystery writer.

Benjamin M. Schutz, hardboiled P.I. novelist. I'm particularly sad because I've enjoyed corresponding with Ben over the years. He was a very early and loyal subscriber to Deadly Pleasures. His career as a mystery writer suffered in the 1990s when male P.I. novels waned in interest. He was a nationally recognized psychologist and expert in child custody evaluation.



dia Just got an e-mail from Ali Karim, our British contributor, telling me about another "wow" book.
"Last year at the London Book Fair -- all the talk was about CHILD 44 by Tom Rob Smith -- a debut novel that came from nowhere, later Lee Child told me to look out for it --
I got a copy today - it's out March 8th - I just read the first 3 chapters -- and it's ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT, and hey it's Friday night, late and after speaking to my wife and kids I'm curled up and in heaven - let me know when it's planned for US release (April 29, 2008) -- will drop you guys reviews.....Sheesh, what a year for debuts...first Stieg Larsson and now Tom Rob Smith. My wife thinks I've gone mad......[editor's note: she is more likely to think him sane on the rare, few occasions when he is, than for her to think he's gone mad, when she knows that madness is a near permanent condition. Ali, why should you be any different in your marriage than Larry and I are in ours?]

Keep you posted - and sorry for getting a tad excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

child 01/25/2008



Assistant Editor Larry Gandle was in Utah last weekend attending the Sundance Film Festival with friends. On Saturday I drove up to Park City (about 45 minutes away), picked him up and brought him back to my house. We had a very enjoyable couple of hours together, during which I took his photo in my library -- the same pose that you see in the masthead of this website. I got a big kick out of him walking around my library, saying, "George, you're so anal... you're so anal." He's right, but I still enjoy collecting. He's holding a bottle with a poison label. Good times. 12/25/2008




I know you'll forgive this short personal reference. I am the proud grandpa to two beautiful girls and our latest, 1-year-old Jacob Easter (Jake), who is a very cheerful, well-mannered young boy -- as you can see.

We put photos of him laughing on our fridge and every morning as I get my breakfast I can't help but smile and laugh. He's a keeper!


dia The latest in a recent line of children of famous writers is getting published by St. Martin's Minotaur in May. Peter Leonard, son of Elmore Leonard, has written QUIVER ($23.95). Plot: Kate McCall's husband has been killed by her son, Luke, in a tragic bow-hunting accident -- an incident that sets into motion a series of events, culminating in a dramatic life-and-death confrontation with a killer from Kate's past. Peter joins the ranks of published children of Clive Cussler, Dick Francis, Mary Higgins Clark and the Kellermans. For more, go to 1/23/2008


dia Very sad news. Edward D. Hoch died on January 17. He was a prolific short story writer of mystery fiction. He had his story in every issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine since May 1973. His first published story was "Village of the Dead" in the December 1955 issue of Famous Detective Stories, and it features Simon Ark the occult detective. He had almost 1000 stories published since then. His has a lot of series characters, such as Nick Velvet the thief who steal only valueless thing, Captain Jules Leopold, Sam Hawthorne the doctor-detective of Northmont. He had pseudonyms such as Anthony Circus,
Stephen Dentinger, R. L. Stevens, Mr. X, Pat McMahon, Irwin Booth, R. E. Porter, and "Ellery Queen." He was 77. We gave him the Barry Award for Best Short Story a few years ago. 1/18/2008



Ali Karim reports that the CWA Diamond Dagger (Life Achievement) is going to be awarded to Sue Grafton. Nice!1/18/2008



The Edgar Nominations are out. Not a bad list. I've actually read and liked some of them. Very pleased with Gordon Campbell's nomination for Best First Novel. His book and Matt Beynon Rees's novel are my choices for best firsts of the year (from those that I've read, which are limited in number). Authors under the Best First category must be American and some may wonder about Tana French who lives in Ireland. Apparently she was born in the U.S. Under Best Novel, I've read Christine Falls, Priest and Down River, all worthy nominees. Of those, I think I enjoyed Down River the most. Of the Paperback Original Nominees I found it interesting that four out of five were Trade paperback originals and only one mass market original. Keeping with Edgar Award tradition, there are a couple of obscure titles under that category. It was also nice to see Barbara Seranella's last novel nominated under the Mary Higgins Clark category. Only three out of the fifteen nominees for the top 3 categories (Best Novel, Best First and Best Paperback) are female authors. I guess the Barry Award nominee ratio between male and female authors isn't so bad. Larry Gandle will have his reviews of the nominees in the next issue of DP. He's already told me that he didn't care for the Michael Chabon novel (no big surprise there).


Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (Henry Holt and Company)
Priest by Ken Bruen (St. Martin's Minotaur)
The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (HarperCollins)
Soul Patch by Reed Farrel Coleman (Bleak House Books)
Down River by John Hart (St. Martin's Minotaur)


Missing Witness by Gordon Campbell (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
In the Woods by Tana French (Penguin Group – Viking)
Snitch Jacket by Christopher Goffard (The Rookery Press)
Head Games by Craig McDonald (Bleak House Books)
Pyres by Derek Nikitas (St. Martin's Minotaur)


Queenpin by Megan Abbott (Simon & Schuster)
Blood of Paradise by David Corbett (Random House - Mortalis)
Cruel Poetry by Vicki Hendricks (Serpent's Tail)
Robbie's Wife by Russell Hill (Hard Case Crime)
Who is Conrad Hirst? by Kevin Wignall (Simon & Schuster)


In Cold Pursuit by Sarah Andrews (St. Martin's Minotaur)
Wild Indigo by Sandi Ault (Berkley Prime Crime)
Inferno by Karen Harper (Harlequin – MIRA Books)
The First Stone by Judith Kelman (Berkley Prime Crime)
Deadman's Switch by Barbara Seranella (St. Martin's Minotaur)



 News -- 2007