January/March 2006

Val McDermid reports: "Later this year, Poisoned Pen Press will be publishing an anthology with a difference. A Merry Band of Murderers is a collection of short stories which are all inspired by a song. And accompanying the book will be a CD where each of the writers performs the song in question. I'm doing The Long Black Veil, which has been recorded by an eye-watering range of artists from Johnny Cash to the Rolling Stones. Try not to get killed in the rush to buy this excellent product!"  She's got a fantastic voice, so I look forward to this immensely. 03/22/2006

English bookseller Ralph Spurrier gives the following good book buying advice: Some customers may already be aware of the unease felt amongst sellers at ABEBOOKS who are facing ever-increasing levels of commissions being levied by the site. Coupled with the deterioration of quality of stock now being uploaded by "mega-listers" (hundereds of thousands of ex-library or damaged stock with little or no description of quality) there is now a flight to a site - BIBLIO.COM - that has quietly been building quality listings over the last couple of years.  03/21/2006

2006 Gumshoe Award nominations (some good books here): The Gumshoe Awards are given by Mystery Ink each year to recognize the best achievements in the world of
crime fiction. The nominated books were chosen from those published for the first time in the United States in 2005. The winners will be announced on May 9, 2006.

The nominees are:

Best Mystery:
As Dog Is My Witness by Jeffrey Cohen (Bancroft Press)
The James Deans by Reed Farrel Coleman (Plume)
Savage Garden by Denise Hamilton (Scribner)
To the Power of Three by Laura Lippman (William Morrow)
The Wheelman by Duane Swierczynski (St. Martin'sMinotaur)

Best Thriller:
The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)
Company Man by Joseph Finder (St. Martin's Press)
The Only Suspect by Jonnie Jacobs (Kensington)
Falls the Shadow by William Lashner (William Morrow)
Creepers by David Morrell (CDS Books)

Best European Crime Novel:
The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde (Viking)
Kiss Her Goodbye by Allan Guthrie (Hard Case Crime)
Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason (St. Martin's Minotaur)
Have Mercy on Us All by Fred Vargas (Simon & Schuster)
The Vanished Hands by Robert Wilson (Harcourt)

Best First Novel:
The Color of Law by Mark Gimenez (Doubleday)
Tilt-a-Whirl by Chris Grabenstein (Carroll & Graf)
The Baby Game by Randall Hicks (Wordslinger Press)
Sacred Cows by Karen E. Olson (Mysterious Press)
Beneath a Panamanian Moon by David Terrenoire (St. Martin's Minotaur)

Still to be announced is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be presented at the same time as the other winners. There will also be an award for Best Crime Fiction Website.

LeftCoast Crime Convention was held in Bristol, England this year.  Maggie Mason attended and sent news of the three awards given out there.  

The Dilys Award is given by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association for the book their members most enjoyed selling in 2005.

THIRTY THREE TEETH by Colin Cotterill (Soho) – Winner

Half Broken Things by Morag Joss (Delacorte)

In a Teapot by Terence Faherty (Crum Creek Press)

The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson (Viking)

The Tenor Wore Tapshoes by Mark Schweizer (St. James Music Press)

The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow (Knopf)

The Lefty Award is given by the Left Coast Crime Convention for best humorous crime novel published in the English language for the first time in 2005.

CAST ADRIFT by Peter Guttridge (Allison & Busby, UK) – Winner

Cue The Easter Bunny by Liz Evans (Orion, UK)
The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde (Hodder & Stoughton, UK)
Highway 61 Resurfaced by Bill Fitzhugh (Morrow, US)
Fags And Lager by Charlie Williams, (Serpent's Tail, UK)

The Bruce Alexander Award for best historical crime novel (set anywhere in the time period up to 1956-fifty years before LCC16) published in the English language for the first time in 2005. This award honours the memory of historical crime novelist Bruce Alexander-aka Bruce Cook)

SPECTRES IN THE SMOKE by Tony Broadbent, (St Martin's, US) – Winner
Night's Child by Maureen Jennings, (McCelland & Stewart, Canada)
Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear, (Henry Holt, US)           03/19/2006

Here are some upcoming books of interest: 

C.J. Box, In Plain Sight, May – Joe Pickett. $24.95.

Harlan Coben, Promise Me, May – Myron Bolitar returns! $26.95.

Barry Eisler, The Last Assassin, June – John Rain. $24.95.

Jasper Fforde, The Fourth Bear, July – Nursery Crime crime. $24.95.

Scott Frost, Never Fear, July – second with homicide cop, Alex Dellilo. $24.95.

Jack Kerley, A Garden of Vipers , June – 3rd with Mobile detectives Ryder & Nautilus. $24.95.

Jonathon King, Eye of Vengeance, May – stand-alone thriller. $24.95.

Kris Nelscott, Days of Rage, her 6th with PI Smokey Dalton series set amidst the turmoil of the late 1960s. $25.95.

Daniel Silva, The Messenger, Aug – Gabriel Allon. $25.95.

P.J. Tracy , Snow Blind, Aug – the Monkeewrench Gang returns. $24.95. 

HarperCollins has changed some publication dates. In case you were waiting on any of these titles, you will have a little longer to wait: 


Water Like a Stone, Deborah Crombie, was a Feb release, now August 15th on-sale.


Shape Shifter, Tony Hillerman, now Nov. 21st on-sale date.


Motor Mouth, Janet Evanovich, was a March release, now Oct. 3rd on-sale date,



Some very, very sad news.  Grandmaster Michael Gilbert passed away at age 93 last week. He was a favorite of mine and has left a great legacy of writing for the mystery world.  He may be gone, but let's not forget him.  If you care to read his obituary, click here:


Just updated Best Books of the Year: The DP List 2006I added several titles, but one that caught my eye especially is a first novel that has already garnered three starred reviews in the library journals.  It is called A FIELD OF DARKNESS by Cornelia Read (Mysterious Press, $22.95, to be published May 8, 2006).  I got an arc of it and sent it out for review (don't remember to whom).  Will read it when the hardcover comes out in May.  Plot: Madeline Dare isn't your average detective. Born into a blue-blood family, she followed her heart to marry ruggedly handsome Dean, a farmboy-genius inventor who's as far from high society as humanly possible. Now Maddie's stuck in the post-industrial wasteland of Syracuse, New York, while her husband spends weeks on the road perfecting the railway equipment innovation that might be their only chance to escape. She can handle churning out lightweight features for the local paper--it's the Dean-less nights in their dingy, WASP-castoff-crammed apartment that Maddie can't stomach. Obsession trumps angst when a set of long-buried dog tags link her favorite cousin to the scene of a vicious double homicide. Drawn by the desire to clear her cousin's name, Maddie uncovers a startling web of intrigue and family secrets that could prove even more deadly.   3/15/2006

I've posted the last two  short story nominations for this year's Barry Award: Nancy Pickard's "There is No Crime on Easter Island"  and Joan Richter's "Life and Death in Africa"  I've been working on the magazine, so I have only had time to read the Peter Lovesey short story.  It was excellent.  Will read the others once the magazine gets out. But you don't have that time pressure, so I admonish you to read them now.  I know you'll thank me and Marv.  And thanks to the editors at Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and  Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and the individual authors for not only permission to post the stories on the website but for sending them to me in an electronic format. 3/07/2006


Here are this year's Agatha Award nominations (Congratulations to Marv Lachman): 

Best First Novel:
Better Off Wed by Laura Durham, HarperCollins Publishers
Blood Relations by Lisa Tillman, Hilliard & Harris
Jury of One by Laura Bradford, Hilliard & Harris
Knit One, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton, Penguin Group
Witch Way to Murder by Shirley Damsgaard, Avon/HarperCollins Publishers

Best Novel
Owls Well That Ends Well by Donna Andrews, St. Martin's Minotaur
Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear, Henry Holt Books
Rituals of the Season by Margaret Maron, Mysterious Press & Warner Books
The Belen Hitch by Pari Noskin Taichert, University of NM Press
The Body in the Snowdrift by Katherine Hall Page, William Morrow
Trouble in Spades by Heather Webber, Avon/HarperCollins Publishers

Best Non-Fiction
Behind the Mystery—Top Mystery Writers by Stuart Kaminsky, Hothouse Press
Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak, Harcourt
The Heirs of Anthony Boucher by Marvin Lachman, Poisoned Pen Press
The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes by Leslie S. Klinger, W.W. Norton

Best Short Story
Driven to Distraction by Marcia Talley—Chesapeake Crimes II, Quiet Storm Publishing,
House Rules by Libby Fischer Hellmann— Murder in Las Vegas, Tor
Mother Love by Harriet Sackler—Chesapeake Crime II, Quiet Storm Publishing
Murder at Sleuthfest by Barb Goffman—Chesapeake Crimes II, Quiet Storm Publishing
Rear View Murder by Carla Coupe—Chesapeake Crimes II, Quiet Storm Publishing



Barry Eisler's THE LAST ASSASSIN will be out in June, 2006.  Life is good. 3/04/2006


I've posted two more short story nominations for this year's Barry Award: Tom Savage's "The Method in Her Madness,"  and Steve Hockensmith's "The Big Road."  3/04/2006


Sally Owens' latest Bookaholic is out. Always great fun to read.  3/01/2006


Left Coast Crime has announced the shortlists for the Lefty (for humorous mystery published in the English Language) as well as the Bruce Alexander Award for best historical mystery:

Lefty Award:

Liz Evans, Cue The Easter Bunny (Orion, UK)  
Jasper Fforde, The Big Over Easy (Hodder & Stoughton, UK)  
Bill Fitzhugh, Highway 61 Resurfaced (Morrow, US)  
Peter Guttridge, Cast Adrift (Allison & Busby, UK)  
Charlie Williams, Fags And Lager (Serpent’s Tail, UK)

Bruce Alexander Award:

Tony Broadbent, Spectres In The Smoke (St Martin’s, US)  
Maureen Jennings, Night’s Child (McCelland & Stewart, Canada)  
Jacqueline Winspear, Pardonable Lies (Henry Holt, US)  [Source: www.sarahweinman.com/]  3/01/2006


Maggie Mason sent a couple of pages (one from Entertainment Weekly and the other from the AARP Magazine.  The first announced a new Showtime series based on Jeff Linday's novel DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER.  It will star Six Feet Under's Michael C. Hall. As I recall from reading the novel, so much occurs in Dexter's head that I would think it would be difficult to film unless there is a narrator's voice constantly in the background.  The other page is a review of Steven Saylor's THE JUDGMENT OF CAESAR by none other than Goldie Hawn!!!!  "This writer is excellent and has consistently received extraordinary reviews for his Roma Sub Rosa series. Saylor is worth discovering if you have any interest in historical fiction and, specifically, ancient Rome."    3/01/2006


Also from Ali Karim: "

The Crime Writers’ Association has awarded its Cartier Diamond Dagger for 2006 to the highly respected American novelist, Elmore Leonard.  3/01/2006


Ali Karim sent this from England.  You will recall the flap over excluding translated works from consideration for the Best Novel Gold Dagger.  The CWA has apparently found a solution to all of the flap. Here it is: " Duncan Lawrie, the private bank whose arrival as sponsor of the Crime Writers' Association awards coincided with a widely-criticised ban on
foreign authors, is to back a new prize for crime fiction in translation.
The Duncan Lawrie International Dagger will give £5,000 to the writer of the year's best crime novel in a language other than English, plus £1,000 to its translator. It still falls a long way short of the £20,000 purse now on offer to Anglophone writers - but, to be fair, the overall award was, until last year, worth only £3,000."  From the Independent   2/26/2006



Marv Lachman has delivered his 2006 Short Story Barry Award Nominations (thanks, Marv!).  He reads hundreds of mystery short stories in order to come up with this list.  I am in the process of getting all of the short stories posted on this website so that you can read them prior to voting.  Peter Lovesey's story is the first to come in. You can click on it to read it.  

Peter Lovesey- "Needle Match" (MURDER IS MY RACKET)



Max Allan Collins has made some good money writing the CSI paperback original novel series, which are among his best selling works of fiction. Now he has teamed up with Kathy Reichs to write a novel based on the Temperance Brennan TV series Bones.  It is entitled BURIED DEEP and will be out in a paperback original next month.  2/24/2006


Just talked to David Morrell's daughter. I asked her when the sequel to THE PROTECTOR, the dynamite action thriller, would be coming out.  She said it is written, but hasn't been shopped around yet.  His last book, CREEPERS, was such a commercial success that his agent and publisher want him to do something like that as a follow-up.  I said that I would be willing to e-mail the agent pleading for the sequel and I said that I would ask you, DP readers who also read and liked THE PROTECTOR, to e-mail me (george@deadlypleasures.com) and I will compile your requests.  02/22/2006


From Sarah Weinman's blog: 

The International Association of Crime Writers has announced the nominees for the Hammett Award, given to "a work of literary excellence in the field of crime writing by a US or Canadian author":

John Brady, Islandbridge (McArthur & Company)
Joseph Kanon, Alibi: A Novel (Henry Holt)
Martin Limon, The Door to Bitterness (Soho Crime)
Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men (Knopf)
Don Winslow, The Power of the Dog (Knopf)

The award will be given out at the Bloody Words conference in Toronto on June 10.                    02/22/2006


DP subscriber Kris Schorer reports the sad news that mystery bookseller Shirley Beaird (Murder by the Book -- Denver, Colorado) has passed away from heart problems.  2/18/2006


Larry Gandle reports that that Dennis Lehane's next novel won't be out until sometime in 2007. It is an epic novel (700 pages) about post-World War I and its similarity to our Post- 911 world.  2/18/2006


Larry Gandle is preparing his yearly critique of the Edgar Award nominations which will be in DP 47.  He called me yesterday and said that he was almost finished with his reading.  Overall he was very impressed with the nominations. "Not a bad book among them."  Now that's a first!  Long-time readers of DP will know what I mean by that.  2/18/2006


I have just posted the DP List 2006 -- Best Books of the Year.  It's a work in progress and should be a little more complete in the next issue. If you have suggestions for books to include in that list, I will consider them.  2/18/2006


The Independent Mystery Booksellers Association has announced its nominees for the Dilys Award, given to the book that they most enjoyed selling in 2005.                                                      Colin Cotterill, Thirty Three Teeth (Soho)
Morag Joss, Half Broken Things (Delacorte)
Terence Faherty, In a Teapot (Crum Creek Press)
Craig Johnson, The Cold Dish (Viking)
Mark Schweizer, The Tenor Wore Tapshoes (St. James Music Press)
Don Winslow, The Power of the Dog (Knopf)


Larry Gandle will be doing his annual treatise on the quality of the Edgar Awards in the upcoming issue of DP. He is delighted that he has already read 6 of the 15 titles already.  Here are his initial thoughts on the nominations for fiction:  

Hi All
It's Edgar time! Below are some of my personal comments.
First of all, there is not much grumbling among the faithful
followers about what books are on the list. Most of the talk is
about what books are missing. In fact, I think the Best novel and best
paperback lists are among the strongest overall in years.
Best Novel
THE LINCOLN LAWYER by Michael Connelly. No surprise here. Many
of us placed this book on our top ten books of 2005. Personally, I think it
is one of the best books Mike has ever written.
RED LEAVES by Thomas H. Cook. I think Tom is one of the best descriptive
writers of suspense. This is one of his best in years. It reminds me of his
book, BREAKHEART HILL- which I think is a masterpiece.
VANISH by Tess Gerritsen. I never read her but I will now.
DRAMA CITY by George Pelecanos. It's about time this exceptionally
talented writer was nominated for an Edgar! I haven't read this one yet.
CITIZEN VINCE by Jess Walter. A skilled writer. I liked his first book
OVER TUMBLED GRAVES. Did not read this one yet.
Best First Novel
It has not been a banner year for first novels and two of these I never heard of.
DIE A LITTLE by Megan Abbott. No idea.
IMMORAL by Brian Freeman. A very hardboiled novel that I felt was one of
the best of the year. So I agree with this one wholeheartedly.
RUN THE RISK by Scott Frost. Another book on my top five of the year. A solid pick.
HIDE YOUR EYES by Alison Gaylin. Never heard of it.
OFFICER DOWN by Theresa Schwegel. This one I heard of and I have a sneaking
suspicion I started it and didn't like it enough to finish. Well, it gets another chance.
Best Paperback Original
HOMICIDE MY OWN by Anne Argula. Never heard of the book or the author.
THE JAMES DEANS by Reed Farrel Coleman. Reed is one of the most likeable
authors at Bouchercon. I'm happy for him and I hope I like the book. It is on
several best of 2005 lists.
GIRL IN THE GLASS by Jeffrey Ford. A wonderful historical suspense drama with
some deftly created characters. A solid nominee.
KISS HER GOODBYE by Allan Guthrie. A very good noir novel. Another excellent pick.
SIX BAD THINGS by Charlie Huston. I liked the author's first novel, CAUGHT STEALING.
This one looks good. We shall see.


ECHO PARK by Michael Connelly
Coming this fall, Harry Bosch will be back in action in ECHO PARK. In this new novel, Bosch must work closely with a killer to solve a homicide from 12 years ago. This novel will be released in September/October in the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. An excerpt and cover art


Some long-time mystery fans will remember the name of mystery writer Anne Wingate, who wrote under her own name and also that of Lee Martin.  She is a former Texas policewoman and has lived in Salt Lake City for a number of years.  Recently she has appeared in the local news.  A few weeks ago a World War II veteran was brutally murdered in his home.  At the time of the murder the man had been trying to sell a car (which was stolen at the time of the murder) with an ad in the newspaper.  On the pad at home he had written the names of some of the potential buyers.  The police focused on one young woman, who had called several times about the car. She and her boyfriend had disappeared.  Well, they surfaced several days later in Kansas, where they had a shoot-out with the police and were killed.  The young woman was the adopted daughter of Anne Wingate, who has been devastated by the events of the last few weeks.  It appears that the daughter had always been difficult to manage and suffered from severe depression (but wouldn't take appropriate medication).  I have met Anne on a couple of occasions and feel terrible for her loss and the emotional hurricane she is going through.  1/30/2006


Nancy Pickard will come out with THE VIRGIN OF SMALL PLAINS (Ballantine, $23.95) in May, 2006.  Plot: Seventeen years ago the brutalized body of an unidentified young woman was discovered in the snow outside Small Plains, Kansas.  Deeply disturbed by this senseless death, the town rallied to give her a decent burial in the local cemetery.  In the two decades since, strange miracles have visited those who faithfully tend to her grave; and some even believe her spirit can cure deadly illnesses.  Slowly, the legend of the ill-fated girl -- the so-called Virgin of Small Plains -- begins to spread.  There is at least one person in town who wants to solve her murder, but there are others who seem determined to keep the truth buried.    1/30/2006


The Edgar Award nominations are out (Larry Gandle is pleased because he predicted some of them this time).   A couple that I didn't think were all that good (OFFICER DOWN by Theresa Schwegel and KISS HER GOODBYE by Allan Guthrie) made the list, but my tastes and that of Edgar committees are often miles apart, so that doesn't surprise me.  Enjoy.  01/28/2006


Sally Owen's Bookaholic for January is posted.  Here is her list of mystery favorites for the year 2005: 

Black Fly Season -- Giles Blunt The most overlooked writer of a great series? I think so.

             Incendiary -- Chris Cleave --This cri de coeur from a grieving British woman to Osama                      Laden  is a wrenching look at living in the age of terror.

The Lincoln Lawyer -- Michael Connelly --My favorite book from Connelly. Hands down.

Nocturnes -- John Connolly -- Connolly's novel, The Black Angel, drew attention away from this superb collection of short stories that speak to our deepest fears

Red Leaves-- Thomas H. Cook A terrific writer on top form.

Valley of Bones -- Michael Gruber --Second in the series featuring Miami detective Jimmy Paz. Extraordinary! 

The Devil in Nanking -- MoHayder --A haunting novel about the 1937 massacre told through the eyes of a visiting research student.

Dark Harbor -- David Hosp --This is one of only two first novels which I adored this year.

The Cold Dish -- Craig Johnson --This is the other.

The Historian -- Elizabeth Kostova -- It took her ten years to write. Some say it takes that long to read. But if you stick with this extraordinary historical whodunit, the rewards are great.  01/25/2006


Peter Robinson's PIECE OF MY HEART will be coming out in early summer. Plot: As volunteers clean up after a huge outdoor rock concert in Yorkshire in 1969, they discover the body of a young woman wrapped in a sleeping bag. She has been brutally murdered. The detective assigned to the case, Stanley Chadwick, is a hard-headed, strait-laced veteran of the Second World War. He could not have less in common with -- or less regard for -- young, disrespectful, long-haired hippies, smoking marijuana and listening to the pulsing sounds of rock and roll. But he has a murder to solve, and it looks as if the victim was somehow associated with the up-and-coming psychedelic pastoral band the Mad Hatters. In the present, Inspector Alan Banks is investigating the murder of a freelance music journalist, who was working on a feature about the Mad Hatters for "MOJO" magazine. This is not the first time that the Mad Hatters, now aging rock superstars, have been brushed by tragedy. Banks finds he has to delve into the past to find out exactly what hornets' nest the journalist inadvertently stirred up. 01/25/2006


And from the ever-interesting Sarah Weinman blog: "

Stabenow, the NYT, and what it means for Minotaur

So the word's gotten out that Dana Stabenow's BLINDFOLD GAME will appear on the New York Times' Extended List for January 29 at #23. The news itself is certainly welcome, but most interesting is that this is evidently the first time -- ever -- a book published by St. Martin's Minotaur imprint has cracked the NYT list in any way, shape or form.

At first blush, this seems rather surprising since Minotaur was created in September 1999 -- and how many other publishers would let 5 years elapse before one of their books cracked the NYT list (which isn't to say that SMP books haven't appeared on other bestseller lists previously, but for better or for worse, the NYT is the glamour list.) With P&Ls and expectations being what they are, not having tangible indications of success might be seen as disappointing.

But a closer look demands some perspective. SMP, being a mystery imprint, can usually only cater to a limited audience -- those that are passionate about mysteries. And while passion and word of mouth obviously inspire sales and recognition, the mystery world alone isn't enough to create a bestseller. But a niche audience means defining success differently, with library sales, independents and ardent fans factoring in a big way. And ultimately, as long as the author is seen as earning out, then the publisher has accomplished what it wants.

Of course, niche only goes so far, and that's why there's the ever-present clamoring for the "breakout" novel. Which is why the already-cliched adage of a writer building up an audience base with a series turning to a standalone thriller is just that -- because once again, it's proven to be true. Stabenow has an extensive backlist, with 4 Liam Campbell novels and 14 Kate Shugak novels, but it took her maiden foray into standalone territory to make it to bestsellerdom. And for an imprint that was evidently leery about its authors making a jump like that, this will likely be a harbinger of things to come.

And in a way, it already is. Just in terms of what's being pushed, Minotaur is already making changes. The spring catalog is touting books like John Hart's KING OF LIES (May) and Daniel Judson's THE DARKEST PLACE (June), both of which are standalones. Marcus Sakey's already much-buzzed about debut, THE BLADE ITSELF (January '07) is a standalone to be followed by another standalone the year after. What else is to come? Hard to know at this stage, but something tells me that Minotaur might be working harder to get more of their books on the bestseller lists...  01/25/2006

March, 2006 will find a much welcome return of Thomas Perry with his NIGHTLIFE, a stand-alone thriller.  Plot: Tanya Sterling, suspected of murder, arson and identity theft, changes her hair color and her name time and time again in order to reinvent herself and to avoid being caught by her main pursuer -- Portland homicide detective Catherine Hobbes. 01/24/2006


Another author we haven't heard from in a long time is Andrew Coburn, long a favorite with mystery critics.  Leisure is publishing his ON THE LOOSE ($6.99) next month as a paperback original.  01/24/2006


A couple of authors who are going to be published in mass market paperback, rather than their normal hardcovers:  James Swain (one of my favorites) has two paperback originals coming out -- DEADMAN'S POKER (Ballantine, April, 2006) and DEADMAN'S BLUFF (May, 2006).  Both are Tony Valentine mysteries.  Victor Gischler's SHOTGUN OPERA (April 25, 2006) will be out in a mass-market paperback original edition soon (I started reading the arc last night and ripped off 150 pages before I knew it -- very entertaining in an R-rated way).  I predict that we will see more of this in the future as publishers reduce the number of hardcovers being published.  The pluses of this trend are that we won't have to spend as much to get our favorite authors' books and that it will be easier to come up with quality paperback originals for the yearly DP LIST. One more observation: I think the books are shorter than prior hardbacks -- not as much padding.  Oops, one more -- a wider audience for the paperbacks than the hardcovers and the possibility of the author building a bigger reader base (although this has backfired on many an author in the past).  01/24/2006


For the past few years Otto Penzler has been publishing short story anthologies that target specific sports.  The latest is MURDER AT THE FOUL LINE (Mysterious Press, $24.95).  What I find impressive about these is the lineup of authors that Otto is able to get.  In this case, Lawrence Block, Jeffery Deaver, Brendan DuBois (my favorite short story writer), Parnell Hall, Laurie R. King, Michael Malone, Robert B. Parker, George Pelecanos (doesn't write very much short fiction), S.J. Rozan, among others, certainly impress me!  01/24/2006


I know that the trade paperback format has become a very popular one with publishers of late.  I just wonder if they sell all that well compared with the mass market paperback (and now the "tweener" which goes for $9.95).  I walked down the long wall of our Barnes & Noble a couple of days ago and was struck by how many trade paperbacks there are now (and fewer mass market paperbacks and fewer hardcovers).  I don't mind reading them -- they are a comfortable size, not too heavy and the print size is good -- but I worry about collecting them -- if the future holds more and more trade paperback originals and fewer and fewer hardcover 1st editions.  I can read a hardcover very carefully and it is hard to tell if it has been read at all.  The same can't be said of a trade paperback after I've read it.  By the way, I'm reading a very good one right now called ABOVE SUSPICION by Linda LaPlante (author of the Prime Suspect books and TV series starring Helen Mirren).  I really like how in-depth her police investigations are.  This one features a rookie, female detective (daughter of a legendary homicide detective) who is assigned to her first murder squad investigation.  Hard to put down.  1/05/2006


Barbara Peters reveals that "first-time novelist" Richard Hawke, whose SPEAK OF THE DEVIL (reviewed in the current issue of DP by Maggie Mason), is really Tim Cockey, author of the Hitchcock Sewell mysteries.  I'll have to ask Maggie is she knew this -- she's a big Tim Cockey fan.  1/05/2006 


Steve Darvanan writes to tell of a site that has crossword puzzles based on mystery novels. If you are interested, click here                                                                


Got a couple of books from favorite authors yesterday -- Barbara Seranella's AN UNACCEPTABLE DEATH (she's back at St. Martin's after a few years with Scribner) and an arc of Jay MacLarty's LIVE WIRE -- out on shelves at the end of March, 2006).  Now I've just got to squeeze in time to read them.  I've been reading BIG, FAT BOOKS for the next cover article and, as you can guess, the going is slow -- at least in terms of how fast I'm moving along to the next book.  By the way, Barbara Seranella's book has received starred reviews from PW and Booklist. 1/05/2006


Many of you are acquainted with the Sister Fidelma mysteries written by Peter Tremayne (pen name of Peter Berresford Ellis) set in Ireland of the seventh century A.D.  In many readers' minds these have given fans of the Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael series a place to go since her death.  Here is a coincidence -- on the same day I received an e-mail announcing a Sister Fidelma conference in Ireland (for details go to the very entertaining International Sister Fidelma Society website and scroll down),  I received not one, but two Sister Fidelma books from St. Martin's (THE LEPER'S BELL, the latest novel in the series, and AN ENSUING EVIL AND OTHERS, the second collection of history mystery (including some with Sister Fidelma) short stories).  The Brit first editions are highly collectible if you run across any.  1//05/2006