30 June 2010

Guest Blogger: Margot Kinberg

One of the good friends that I have made through my blogging network is American author Margot Kinberg.
I have also reviewed both Margot's books on this blog

Margot's blog Confessions of a Mystery Novelist.... was the featured blog in a recent Agatha Christie Reading Challenge Blog Carnival
It is very clear to me that not only does Margot have an incredible knowledge of crime fiction, particularly of Agatha Christie, she also has all the hallmarks of someone who has studied the genre for a long time.

Margot has been conducting a blog tour for some weeks now and today she is visiting with me.
I asked Margot to talk about who her 10 favourite authors are.


Thanks so much, Kerrie for inviting me to guest blog. I’m honored – very honored – to be here. Kerrie’s asked me to blog about my top ten favorite crime fiction authors, and that’s an interesting question, actually. I think people who write can’t help but be influenced by other writers, especially writers whose work they admire. That’s as true of me as it is of anyone else who writes. I’ve learned a great deal from the crime fiction authors I’ve read, and I hope to make my own work better as I keep learning. That’s one reason for which I think it’s so important for writers to also be avid readers; what a rich resource of inspiration, lessons and good ideas other books are!

My only challenge was to narrow down my list to ten authors. There are so many authors whose writing I admire. There are also several authors whose work I think I’d like very much, but haven’t been introduced to yet. That said, here, in no particular order (except for the first entry on the list), is my list of ten authors whose work has really influenced me.

Agatha Christie

I daresay that it won’t come as a shock to anyone that Agatha Christie is my favorite author. Over the course of over fifty years, she wrote novels, short stories and plays that are still read and admired all over the world. I’ve learned so many lessons from reading her work that it’s hard to just focus on a few; she was immensely talented in so many aspects of crime fiction writing.

Dame Christie was a genius at plot twists. The surprise character, the secret identity, the unexpected revelation, and other twists are so deftly done in her novels that I am left in awe. Things are often not as they seem to be in a Christie story, and that’s part of the joy of reading her work.

Christie’s novels also feature finely-drawn characters with whom readers can identify. I try to do that, too, as I think it’s so important. We relate to those characters as the suspense in a Christie story builds, and that’s part of what keeps readers turning pages.

And then there’s the fact that Christie never “talks down” to the reader. Her novels are intellectual challenges, too, and I admire that. There’s much, much more that I admire about Christie’s work, but I’ve been asked to mention nine other authors. So suffice it to say that even at its weakest, Christie’s work is better than that of many others at their best.

Dorothy Sayers

I’m also a great admirer of the writing of Dorothy Sayers. Her Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane characters still resonate more than eighty years after the publication of Whose Body?. The plots are engaging and sound, the dialogue well-written and the characters memorable.

Dorothy Sayers’ work was, in many ways, ahead of its time, and I’ve always admired her characterization. She allowed her main characters to develop over time, too. In fact, it’s that quality about her work that inspired me to think in terms of writing a series. If you look at the way Wimsey and Harriet Vane, as well as the other characters, grow and change over time, you see well-rounded characters whom you’re glad to see in the next novel.

Ellery Queen

In the Ellery Queen novels, Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee created a series of absolutely fascinating intellectual puzzles. That’s what I think I admire most about the Ellery Queen stories. I can often forgive the occasional dated stereotype (and there are several of them) and weak characterization because the Ellery Queen novels challenge the reader’s mind.

In the course of the Queen novels, we encounter “locked room” mysteries, codes, and much more to get the reader thinking. I think it’s the puzzles in these mysteries that have my real admiration. The Ellery Queen mysteries have reminded me that readers want to be challenged. They don’t want to be given everything “up front.”

Tony Hillerman

I’ve seldom had a better sense of place and community than in Tony Hillerman’s novels. There are, of course, other authors such as Martin Edwards, Deon Meyer, Ann Cleeves and Donna Leon who give us a real sense of place. But Hillerman was a master at “taking the reader” to the Southwest United States. The land very often becomes a character, so to speak, in his novels.

Besides that, Hillerman created truly unique sleuths in Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn. They’re not just cops, and I admire the way that Hillerman added depth and originality to his characters. Hillerman’s work has taught me much about culture, too, and for me, that’s a good reminder that readers often want to learn as well as solve the mystery at hand.

Ruth Rendell

Ruth Rendell is so skilled as a writer that it’s hard to mention just one or two things that she’s taught me. One of the things I admire most about Rendell’s writing is her ability to delve into the psychology of crime. Both under her own name and as Barbara Vine, she’s written memorable studies of what really drives people to crime, and how they react once the crime has been committed. Those characters stay with one after one’s finished reading, and perhaps that’s the greatest compliment I could pay her. Each Rendell novel offers an interesting twist or sub-plot, too, so it’s impossible for the reader to lose interest.

Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch is one of the most memorable sleuths in crime fiction. He’s got a fascinating backstory, he’s complex and he’s certainly flawed. But he is a fascinating character, and he’s far more interested in doing the right thing than he is in promotion, job security, or just about anything else. I admire him for that.

I admire Connelly for the rich way in which he’s developed Bosch over the years. I would like to do the same thing with my own Joel Williams as time goes by, as I think that allowing characters to evolve is part of what makes a series appealing, even after several novels.

I also admire Connelly for his willingness to take on new subjects, try new approaches to plotting, and take other risks. Innovation is an important part, I think, of good writing over time, and Connelly certainly does that.

Arthur Conan Doyle

Conan Doyle created one of the most enduring characters in fiction, Sherlock Holmes. For me, the Holmes stories were really my first introduction, ever, to crime fiction. I started reading Holmes stories as a young girl, and haven’t looked back. They’re full of interesting adventures and the Holmes character is unique.

One of the things I admire about these stories is the fascinating puzzles they offer. I think a well-written mystery should keep the reader guessing. Even “cat-and-mouse” mysteries, where one knows who the killer is, can give the reader intellectual “food,” and that keeps the reader turning pages. In a sense, Conan Doyle’s work pushed me to write by making me wonder if perhaps I could give readers something to guess at, too – sort of challenge the reader.

P.D. James

There is so much to admire, I think, in P.D. James’ work that again, it’s difficult for me to keep myself to just one or a few things. I’ll try, though. I’ve always admired (and I think it’s obvious from just this short list of some of my favorite authors) the intellectual kind of mystery. I like murder mysteries where there’s a challenge for the reader (even if I don’t figure out whodunit before the novel ends). James has done this through the years quite well, whether or not the story has featured her most famous sleuth, Adam Dalgliesh.

James’ work pushed me to do more, though, than just write to keep the reader guessing. Readers also want rich and interesting characters, and she’s always done this well, too. I think well-developed characters that we care about and that we believe are critical to a good story. James gets readers interested in the people in the story, and that’s a real skill. P.D. James has pushed me to create stories where everything – characters, plot, events, and more – falls out naturally and logically from the main point of the story.

Like Connelly, too, James is not afraid to take risks and try different kinds of writing and plots. I admire that, too.

Alexander McCall Smith

McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is deeply evocative of place, and I admire that very, very much. We know right away in these novels that we’re in a special place – Botswana – and it’s easy for the reader to “get lost” in a McCall Smith novel for that reason. Even in subtle ways, McCall Smith shows readers what Botswana is like. This series has pushed me to create a place in my own writing, and give readers a real sense of what that place (in my case, a college campus) is like.

More than that, though, McCall Smith has created a sleuth, Mma. Precious Ramotswe, who’s got quiet good sense, a compassionate heart and a sense of humor. I admire her (and McCall Smith, for creating her). I wanted some of the same kinds of qualities for my own sleuth, so although they’re quite different, I must say that Precious Ramotswe has pushed me to make sure my own sleuth is likable.

Colin Dexter

Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse is an old friend of mine : ). I’ve always admired the Dexter mysteries for several reasons. One of them is that they aren’t “givens.” Some of them are actually quite complex, and they’ve been criticized on that point. But I respect authors who respect readers enough to challenge them. It was Dexter, too, who taught me that university/college towns can be very effective settings for mystery novels. When I decided to write, I learned a lot about integrating the campus setting from the Inspector Morse series.

And then there’s Morse’s character itself. He’s brilliant (which I respect), flawed (which makes him human) and fully aware of it (which makes him more likable). I admire sleuths who aren’t perfect, but whose flaws make them all the more interesting. Morse uses his brain, too, not brawn, and I admire that. Maybe it’s because I was never as much good at games as I was at learning : ).

So there you have it: ten crime fiction authors who have had a profound influence on my writing. I’d also like, if I may, to mention some other authors whose work I admire very much: Martin Edwards, Donna Leon, Caroline Graham, Peter Temple, Michael Robotham, and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir. There are many other authors, too, whose work I’ve read and liked. I’m very fortunate that there’s so much to love in crime fiction. Thanks, Kerrie, for the opportunity to “talk” about it!

Margot blogs at  Confessions of a Mystery Novelist....

29 June 2010

The Murder at the Vicarage - wonderful cover

Here is a cover I had not been aware of - isn't it wonderful?
I came across it on A Day without Rain, which is a journal from Greenway House.

It is a cover by Tom Adams about whom Wikipedia told me
  Tom Adams (born 1926) is an American illustrator most famous for his Agatha Christie paperback cover designs.

Check Tom Adams' website at Tom Adams Uncovered, browse the gallery. There's a great cover there for DEATH IN THE CLOUDS, and another for HALLOWEEN PARTY.

The site tells us
The Agatha Christie covers painted by Tom Adams constitute probably the most famous examples of paperback art ever produced. First published in the sixties, seventies and eighties in the UK by Fontana and in the USA by Pocket Books, they have been reproduced throughout the world by many other publishers.

There's a collection of 110 of his covers on Flickr, courtesy of The Woman in the Woods. They are not all Agatha Christie - there are some Joan Fleming ones too.
There will be some there you are familiar with, but quite a number that I've never seen before. Prepare to be amazed at his creativity and daring.

28 June 2010

So Nearly There - Crime Fiction 4.9s

This post follows up on a couple of recent ones about top crime fiction reads.
My databases ofr the last 5 years contains just over 660 books.
I have given about 10% of those a rating a 5.
But there are some that have missed out by the smallest of margins - they are the "nearly there's" that I gave 4.9 to.

So here is that list:

Australian Authors
Kerry    Greenwood    DEATH BY WATER    2005
P D    Martin    THE MURDERERS' CLUB    2006

British authors

Mark    Billingham    SLEEPY HEAD    2001
P. D.    James    THE PRIVATE PATIENT    2008
Jim    Kelly    DEATH WORE WHITE    2008
Alexander    McCall Smith    BLUE SHOES AND HAPPINESS 2006
Charles    Todd    SEARCH THE DARK    2000
Charles    Todd    A PALE HORSE (audio book) 2008

Rest of the world - translated authors marked with *

* Karin    Alvtegen  SHADOW    2007
  Michael Connelly THE CONCRETE BLONDE    1994
  Michael Connelly ECHO PARK    2006
  Leighton Gage    THE BLOOD OF THE WICKED    2008
  Randall Hicks    THE BABY GAME    2005
* Arnuldur Indridason    TAINTED BLOOD (Jar City) 2004
  Thomas Perry    VANISHING ACT    1994
* Johan     Theorin  ECHOES FROM THE DEAD    2008
* Fred    Vargas    SEEKING WHOM HE MAY DEVOUR 2004

27 June 2010

Sunday Salon: Most of us "Count" Audio Books!

It's official! A poll here on MYSTERIES in PARADISE gives your permission to count audio books in your "reading" so long as they are not abridged.

I have run a poll for the last week with the following results

Commenters made the following points
  • research shows that we use similar cognitive processes to make meaning from stories that are read to us as stories we read ourselves.
  • For me, reading involves a book, my eyes, and somewhere comfortable to park my behind.
  • Listening to a book is a different experience in the sense that the narrator's dramatic and interpretive gloss inevitably supplants your own. You absorb an audible book more passively than you would if you were reading it yourself.
  • I certainly treat audible books as ones that I have "read."
  • While listening to an audio book is technically not 'reading' a book, I do consider it so. I have absorbed the plot of the story, I have visualized the characters in my mind, and I have drawn a conclusion of whether or not I liked the book the same as if I had read it.
  • I like to reread books on audio because I can glean something new usually from the book being read to me.  
  • For me, "reading" means a book, one with ink-and-paper, between covers. 
  • Whether we absorb a story through reading the words or through hearing the words, the point is, we've absorbed the story. I see no difference between reading the book or listening to the book (as long as it's the full-length, unedited version of the book).  
So this week's poll is "would you ever read an abridged book?"
Look for the poll in the right hand margin.
You'll find a post where you can comment on this here.

26 June 2010

Top reads 2005-2010 - crime fiction: the rest of the world

Yesterday I posted Top reads 2005 - 2010, British and Australian crime fiction explaining that these titles had been rated as 5s in my database 0f over 660 titles over that period.
So here are the rest of the world.
What staggered me when I looked at the list was the number of translated books (nearly half this list).
I have marked them with *
The other interesting thing for me to realise was that I give a rating of 5 to about 10% of all I read.

* Karin    Alvtegen    MISSING    2003
  Jan    Burke    Bloodlines    2005
  Harlan    Coben    THE WOODS    2007
  Michael    Connelly    THE CLOSERS    2005
  Michael    Connelly    THE BRASS VERDICT    2008
  Robert    Crais    The Forgotten Man    2005
  Linda    Fairstein    Entombed    2005
* Karin    Fossum    Calling Out For You!    2001
* Karin    Fossum    Don't Look Back    2002
* Karin    Fossum    BLACK SECONDS    2007
  Elizabeth    George    WITH NO ONE AS WITNESS    2005
* Arnaldur    Indridason    SILENCE OF THE GRAVE    2002
* Arnaldur    Indridason    VOICES    2003
* Arnaldur    Indridason    HYPOTHERMIA    2009
* Natsuo    Kirino    OUT    1997
  Laura    Lippman    By a Spider's Thread    2004
* Henning    Mankell    SIDETRACKED    1995
* Henning    Mankell    THE FIFTH WOMAN - audio    2003
* Henning    Mankell    THE MAN FROM BEIJING    2008
* Deon    Meyer    DEVIL's PEAK (audio book)    2007
  Richard    Montanari    PLAY DEAD    2008
* Jo    Nesbo    NEMESIS    2008
* Jo    Nesbo    THE SNOWMAN    2010
  Louise    Penny    DEAD COLD    2006
  Thomas    Perry    Dance for the Dead    1996
  Thomas    Perry    Shadow Woman    1997
  Lincoln    Preston    The Cabinet of Curiosities    2002
  Lionel    Shriver    We Need To Talk About Kevin    2005
  Michael    Stanley    A CARRION DEATH    2008
* Johan    Theorin    THE DARKEST ROOM    2008
* Carlos Ruiz    Zafon    The Shadow of the Wind    2004

In future posts, I'll look at the "nearly there's", those who were so close, on 4.9

Would you ever read/listen to an abridged book?

When I was a child Reader's Digest books often came into our house.
I read them without realising that bits had been edited out. I read them for the story and was might pleased that they were such quick reads.

Eventually, when I realised the "real" books were often much longer, I wondered what had been edited out. I basically read for the story, don't I? Or do I?

As an adult though I have invariably rejected abridged versions whether in print or audio.

So what about you - do you ever read an abridged version of a book, or listen to one?
Would you give an abridged version (including a "graphic" version) as a gift?

If you are an author, would you ever agree to an abridged version of your book being produced?
Is an abridged book better than no book at all?

Over in the right hand column you'll find a poll to register your vote in, but do leave a comment too, and contribute to the discussion.

25 June 2010

Top reads 2005 - 2010, British and Australian crime fiction

I began my "books read" database in 2005 and it now contains 662 records, all crime fiction.
Of the 70 books that have scored a rating of 5,
9 are Australian:

Katherine    Howell    FRANTIC    2007
Gabrielle    Lord    DIRTY WEEKEND    2005
Barry    Maitland    NO TRACE    2004
P.D.    Martin    FAN MAIL    2008
Michael    Robotham    THE NIGHT FERRY    2007
Michael    Robotham    SHATTER    2008
Michael    Robotham    BLEED FOR ME    2010
Peter    Temple    THE BROKEN SHORE    2005
Peter    Temple    TRUTH    2009

and 25 are British

Kate    Atkinson    Case Histories    2004
Mark    Billingham    Scaredy Cat    2002
Mark    Billingham    Lifeless    2005
Stephen    Booth    ONE LAST BREATH    2004
Stephen    Booth    SCARED TO LIVE    2006
Simon    Brett    THE HANGING IN THE HOTEL (Audio)    2004
Ken    Bruen    The Killing of the Tinkers    2003
Tracy    Chevalier    The Virgin Blue    2002
R.J.    Ellory    A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS    2007
Nicci    French    Secret Smile    2004
Reginald    Hill    THE WOOD BEYOND    1996
Reginald    Hill    THE DEATH OF DALZIEL    2007
Reginald    Hill    A CURE FOR ALL DISEASES    2008
P. D.    James    The Lighthouse    2005
Lynda    La Plante    ABOVE SUSPICION    2004
Peter    Lovesey    THE SUMMONS    1995
Peter    Lovesey    THE VAULT    1999
Peter    Lovesey    THE HOUSE SITTER    2003
Peter    Lovesey    THE CIRCLE    2005
Peter    Lovesey    THE SECRET HANGMAN    2007
Peter    Lovesey    SKELETON HILL    2010
Ian    Rankin    EXIT MUSIC    2007
Peter    Robinson    STRANGE AFFAIR    2005
C.J.    Sansom    Dissolution    2003
Barbara    Vine    THE MINOTAUR    2005

24 June 2010

Forgotten author: Joan Fleming

This week's contribution to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books

I must have liked Joan Fleming's book ALAS, POOR FATHER (Collins Crime Club 1973) when I read it in 1981. I followed it up two weeks later with another:  YOU WON'T LET ME FINISH (also published in 1973).

A Wikipedia article says this about Joan Fleming:
Joan Fleming (1908-1980) was a British writer of crime and thriller novels. She was born in Lancashire  and educated at Lausanne University. She married Norman Bell Beattie Fleming in 1932. The Turkish detective Nuri Bey Izkirlak features in two of her books, When I Grow Rich and Nothing is the Number When You Die. Her novel The Deeds of Dr Deadcert  was made into a film RX Murder. She won the Gold Dagger award twice, for When I Grow Rich in 1962 and for Young Man I Think You're Dying in 1970.

Both of these books are long out of print, and finding cover images is impossible. Good quality second hand copies appear to fetch good prices.

Joan Fleming, at the top of the form she always varies, engaging all your sympathies for a youthful widower with two youngsters he finds hard to handle but none for the rich woman for whom he works who would like to keep him permanently attached to her side. He is thought guilty of her murder while on the other hand one of his boys disappears--right in the middle of an I.R.A. arsenal. Miss...More Fleming manages a story of considerable terminal excitement this time (who's going to blow up who first) and you'll find it very aisy to like.

Joan Fleming was quite a prolific author, 33 published novels 1949-1978, but even so there is no mention of her in my favourite reference Fantastic Fiction.

Review: THE WHITE GALLOWS, Rob Kitchin

IndePenPress 2010
ISBN 978-1-907499-37-1
322 pages
Many thanks to the author who kindly supplied a copy for review.

One of the characteristics of working in the 21st century appears to be that, despite all the technology that is supposed to help us work smarter, workloads are increasing. If you are in law enforcement, it doesn't help if the crime rate appears to be spiralling out of control either. As in many other professions early retirement by burnt out workers is reducing the number available to do the work.

That's the situation that Detective Superintendent Colm McEvoy finds himself in. McEvoy works for Ireland's National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the branch of the Gardai that investigates the country's most serious crimes. He's looking at the body of a young man, discovered on the banks of the River Boyne, when his boss contacts him about a suspicious death. An old man, 91, has been discovered dead in his bed. The local doctor says natural causes, but an observant policeman has his doubts.

It's not just the detectives who are stretched either - so are the technical crime scene people, and the pathologist, who are too often required in a number of places at once.

THE WHITE GALLOWS is not just a police procedural. Kitchin manages to build into it a number of elements - a story about German immigration to Ireland after World War II, another about modern gangs who are determined to see that the forensic evidence against them never makes it to court even if it means murder, and Colm McEvoy's own struggle to be a single father after the death of his wife from cancer only a year before.

I like McEvoy. He's a workaholic, but in his situation he needs to be - it is the only way he can cope. He often rubs people up the wrong way, and he's a bit worried that one of his female officers has designs on him. So there is a very satisfying "human element" to this novel, in addition to the mystery element.

The style of THE WHITE GALLOWS reminds me a lot of Susan Hill, Pauline Rowson, and Charles Todd. If you like any of them, then I think you'll like this.
THE WHITE GALLOWS is #2 in Kitchin's series, and I can see I really must get my hands on the first THE RULE BOOK. The references in THE WHITE GALLOWS to the case that is central in THE RULE BOOK are intriguing.

My rating: 4.6

Other reviews of THE WHITE GALLOWS can be found at Reactions to Reading, Crime ScrapsInternational Noir Fiction, Mack Captures Crime, just to name a few.

Rob Kitchin has 2 copies to give away of THE WHITE GALLOWS, and if you read this before July 1, you might just be in time to enter. Rob blogs at The View from the Blue House.

Locate a copy at

Agatha Christie Blog Carnival #6

The June 2010 edition of the Agatha Christie Blog Carnival is now available.

It is a great edition, 11 contributors, 19 items, 13 titles reviewed.

Find out what you can do during Agatha Christie week in September, both in Torquay and online.

Check out who the featured blogger is this month.

23 June 2010

Peter Temple wins Miles Franklin award for TRUTH

Peter Temple’s crime fiction book, Truth, has made history for being the first work of genre fiction to win Australia's prestigious Miles Franklin award, which was established in 1957.

Earlier this year I wrote  
Peter Temple is the master of a clipped and terse literary style, where dialogue feels like real conversation. There are times when he uses a word rather than a sentence, in some ways the style reminds me of a former Australian great - Patrick White.

I'm very glad to have begun 2010 with such a good book: my rating 5.0
It won't surprise me if TRUTH is a standout nominee for the 2010 Ned Kelly Award.

My review

TRUTH is on the 2010 Ned Kelly Awards longlist.

22 June 2010

Winner of the Kindle copy of Bloody Ham

Congratulations to DeSeRT RoSe who was the lucky winner of the e-copy of BLOODY HAM that I announced last week.

How Aussie are you?

Reaction to Reading had this meme running on Saturday last week
101 things that may indicate you are an Aussie
I've marked my 80 or so "accomplishments" in bold.
  1. Heard a kookaburra in person. (we have them around here often)
  2. Slept under the stars. (done quite a bit of camping in my time)
  3. Seen a koala. (even held one)
  4. Visited Melbourne. (an annual pilgrimage)
  5. Watched a summer thunderstorm.
  6. Worn a pair of thongs.
  7. Been to Uluru (Ayers Rock)
  8. Visited Cape York.
  9. Held a snake (at the Snake Temple in KL)
  10. Sang along with Khe San
  11. Drank VB.
  12. Visited Sydney.
  13. Have seen a shark
  14. Have used Aussie (and NZ) slang naturally in a conversation.
  15. Had an actual conversation with an indigenous Australian (Aboriginal)
  16. Eaten hot chips from the bag at the beach (I like them out of newspaper better)
  17. Walked/climbed over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  18. Used an outside dunny, and checked under the seat before sitting down.
  19. Seen Chloe in Young & Jackson’s (got an offer to visit her last time I was in Melbourne)
  20. Slept on an overnight train or bus (slept in the luggage rack on the train to Kalgoorlie)
  21. Been to Sydney’s Mardi Gras
  22. Have gone bush-bashing
  23. Taken a sickie
  24. Been to see a game of Aussie Rules football. (often)
  25. Have seen wild camels (both here and in the UAE)
  26. Gone skinny dipping. (both outback and in Norway)
  27. Done a Tim Tam Slam.
  28. Ridden in a tram in Melbourne.
  29. Been at an ANZAC day Dawn Service. (an annual thing)
  30. Held a wombat.
  31. Been on a roadtrip of 800km or more
  32. Seen the Great Australian Bight in person.(from the sea on a cruise)
  33. Had a really bad sunburn.
  34. Visited an Aboriginal community.
  35. Seen a redback spider
  36. Have watched Paul Hogan.
  37. Seen Blue Poles in person.
  38. Wandered barefoot in the bush/outback.
  39. Eaten Vegemite.
  40. Thrown a boomerang
  41. Seen the Kimberleys (from the air).
  42. Given a hitch-hiker a lift.
  43. Been to Perth.
  44. Have tried Lemon, Lime and Bitters.
  45. Tried playing a didgeridoo.
  46. Seen dinosaur footprints.
  47. Eaten Tim Tams.
  48. Been to Darwin.
  49. Touched a kangaroo.(easy to do at Cleland wild life park)
  50. Visted the Great Barrier Reef.
  51. Listened to Kevin Bloody Wilson.
  52. Killed a Cane Toad. (ran over it)
  53. Gone to a drive-in theatre.
  54. Have read and own books by Australian authors
  55. Visited Adelaide. (I live there)
  56. Know the story behind “Eternity”
  57. Been camping.
  58. Visited Brisbane.
  59. Been in an outback pub.
  60. Know what the term “Waltzing Matilda” actually means.
  61. Gone whale watching.
  62. Listened to Slim Dusty.
  63. Own five or more Australian movies or TV series.
  64. Sang along to Down Under.
  65. Have stopped specifically to look at an historic marker by the side of the road.
  66. Eaten a 4′n’20 pie.
  67. Surfed at Bondi.
  68. Watched the cricket on Boxing Day.
  69. Visited Hobart.
  70. Eaten kangaroo.
  71. Seen a quokka.
  72. Visited Canberra.
  73. Visited rainforests.
  74. Used a Victa lawnmower.
  75. Travelled on a tram in Adelaide.
  76. Used a Hills hoist 
  77. Visited Kata Tjuta
  78. Used native Australian plants in cooking.
  79. Visited the snow
  80. Chosen a side in Holden VS Ford
  81. Visited the desert.
  82. Been water skiing - someone tried to teach me, hopeless case though
  83. Read The Phantom.
  84. Visited Parliament House
  85. Gone spotlighting or pig-shooting.
  86. Crossed the Nullarbor (on the train)
  87. Avoided swimming in areas because of crocodiles.(in the NT)
  88. Listened to AC/DC.
  89. Called someone a dag.
  90. Voted in a Federal Election.
  91. Have been swimming and stayed between the flags.
  92. Had a possum in your roof. (and invading our holiday cabin)
  93. Visited the outback.
  94. Travelled over corrugated roads.
  95. Hit a kangaroo while driving
  96. Been well outside any mobile phone coverage.
  97. Seen an emu.
  98. Have woken to the smell of bushfires.
  99. Subscribed to RRR
  100. Patted a pure-bred dingo
  101. Seen the Oils live
Feel free to play along and if you need any translations let me know.

21 June 2010

Global Reading Challenge: Update #10

I am restricting my participation in the 2010 Global Reading Challenge to crime fiction titles, but participants can use books of any genre of their choosing.
Join the challenge here.

create your own visited country map

The Extremist Level
Read three novels from each of these continents in 2010:

North America (incl Central America)
South America
Add two novels which are set in Antarctica
+ a ´wildcard´ novel (a novel from a place or period that is NEW to you).

And if you are really an extreme reader, you will do your best to read novels from 21 different countries or states.

North America (incl Central America)
South America
Wildcard  novel
  • ???
Select novels from 21 different countries or states.: My count so far: 15

20 June 2010

Weekly Geeks: 2010-22: Hoarding Behavior, or I Have a Problem

This week's Weekly Geeks task suggests we talk about
your habits, tendencies or obsessions when it comes to hoarding behavior.
  • Post a photo (or two or three) of your books to-be-read
  • Share your buying or book accumulating habits - how bad of a problem do YOU have?!?!?
  • Do you keep all the books you've read, or do you give them away or sell them?
  • Can you walk past a bookstore and not go in? If you go in, do you impulsively purchase?

Just recently I created the image above to illustrate the length, height, and breadth of my problem.
In the post where this image made its debut I highlighted the fact not only do I have a problem with the physical books on my shelves but the same kleptomaniacal behaviour is exhibiting itself in the acquisition of audio books and books for the Kindle.

I think my acquisition of books from a variety of sources is prompted by the fact that I belong to so many groups and lists where books are recommended and so I acquire a copy so that I won't forget to read it.
In addition to the books I actually have, there is also the library "wish -list" that I have created to remind me of books that at some stage I have thought it would be good to read.

The result is that at the rate that I can read, of about 10 books a month, I have enough books on hand, and recommendations listed, to last me for about 10 years, if the publishing industry went into collapse tomorrow, or if I suddenly had no more money to spend on books.

And finally, books are coming in too from another source. Just recently publicists and authors, about 4 a month, have been contacting me about whether I would be interested in reviewing this or that book. I warn them about my TBR, and the fact that I am in Australia, but still the books arrive.

But I refuse to feel guilty. All that it means is that I have plenty to choose from.

Will Mt. TBR ever disappear? Probably not.
Just recently I took back to the library a heap of books that I had no hope of reading in the immediate future, and the library pile was down to 3, then down to 1.
But then I looked at a CWA International list where I have read 3 of the books, and discovered that the library have the remaining 3. So library books are insidiously worming their way back in the through the door. One came in to help me complete the Scandinavian Challenge.

If you look at my postings for the various challenges I belong to: The Scandinavian Challenge,  the 2010 Global Reading Challenge, The Agatha Christie Reading Challenge, the Aussie Author Challenge, as well as the Crime and Mystery Fiction Friend Feed coterie that I am a member of, you will get some idea of what prompts me to acquire books.

Am I a hopeless case? Probably. But I know I'm in good company.

Sunday Salon: What is Reading? Do you count Listening?

Browsing some blogs this week I came across the suggestion that listening to books is not reading.
It was obviously a question that the followers of that blog were very intersted in - there were 33 comments - so I decided to see what the good folk who visit MYSTERIES in PARADISE  think.

First of all, there are some interesting definitions of reading:
  • the cognitive process of understanding a written linguistic message
  • a complex cognitive process of decoding symbols for the intention of deriving meaning (reading comprehension) and/or constructing meaning
  • Reading is an action performed by computers, to acquire data from a source and place it into their volatile memory for processing
  • a multifaceted process involving word recognition, comprehension, fluency, and motivation.
Ok, so you get the idea... Reading starts out with an interpretation of the written word.
My focus in this topic is probably narrowed by the fact that I am interested mainly in crime fiction, although to be quite honest I read every day and all day as part of my job. I read books, computer screens and so on.

I think that, in listening to an audio rendering of a book, I am reading. Certainly I count these books in the lists of books that I have read, and I review them just as I review books that I read with my eyes.
I acknowledge that I am listening to an interpretation by the narrator of an author's original work, but as I've noted before, I feel that often enhances my enjoyment.

I have one rule though: I do not listen to abridged versions of novels, just as I don't read abridged printed versions (Like Readers Digest ones, tempting though that can be). Nor do I count dramatised versions as reading, unless the original was meant for dramatisation, like a Shakespearian play - but then we are not talking about a short story or a novel.

I often think how audio versions of books must enhance the life of the visually impaired by opening up for people the wonderful world of fiction.

BUT, I don't count watching a dramatic version of a novel , e.g. a TV version of an Agatha Christie novel, as reading the book.

So what do you think? Do leave a comment.
To make things a bit simpler too, I have put a poll over on the right hand side: tell me, yes or no, whether you count audio books in your lists of books read.

19 June 2010


Published in English by Bitter Lemon Press, London, 2009
First published in Spanish as Las viudas de los jueves 2005
Winner of the Clarin Award (Argentina) 2005
English translation by Miranda France
ISBN 978-1-904738-41-1
274 pages

Every Thursday night Teresa Scaglia's husband and three friends got together at the Scaglia's house to have dinner, play cards, and drink. For a long time it had been traditional for the wives to go to the cinema. Teresa Scaglia arrives home to find her husband and two of his friends dead at the bottom of their pool.

The Cascade Heights Country Club is a gated community on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. It consists of five hundred acres ringed by a perimeter fence. It has a golf course, tennis courts, a swimming pool, two club houses, and its own private security. Inside its gates, carefully vetted residents live deceptively carefree lives, dependent on the high salaries earned by the male residents. The opulent life lived inside the gates, characterised by non-working wives, rounds of social and dinner engagements, tennis and golf parties, children attending private schools, nannies, maids, and gardeners, is very different to that lived by people outside.

THURSDAY NIGHT WIDOWS opens dramatically with Ronie Guevera, who should have been next door with the other men at Scaglia's, falling down the stairs and achieving a compound fracture of his leg. Ronie has returned from Scaglia's early and it is only at the end of the novel that we fully understand why, as his wife Virginia is driving him to the hospital, he demands to be taken to El Tano Scaglia's. Virginia ignores him.

The explanation of who killed the men in the swimming pool and why, that is, the crime fiction element, seems to take a back seat to description of how this gated community has developed from the end of the 1980s to the night of the deaths in 2001. We see the development mainly from the point of view of Virginia Guevera, but occasionally through the eyes of other women and even the ambitious men.

Gated communities became a feature of the noveau riche not only in Argentina but also in USA and Australia at this time.Even today here in Australia new developments, often known as "estates", often have substantial walls but the gates are no longer being installed.

So what Claudio Pineiro gives us in THURSDAY NIGHT WIDOWS is, as the blurb on the back of the book says, "a psychological portrait of a middle class living beyond its means and struggling to conceal deadly secrets."

Dare I say that this book is not primarily crime fiction, although that is one of its elements?
Others will simply read it as "literature", for the insight it gives into Argentinian society of the time.

My rating: 4.5

Other reviews to check:
  • A Work in Progress found it reminiscent of Barbara Vine: "as much a contemporary morality tale as a crime novel."
  • Bitter Lemon Press
  • Petrona: "a hilarious yet telling social satire, extremely readable"
  • Crime Scraps:  "the first, but I hope not the last, of Claudia Pineiro's novels to be available in English"
  • The Game's Afoot:  "a moral tale that has universal implications."
  • Reactions to Reading: "as a window into a community you might never see otherwise I highly recommend it."
I read this as part of the 2010 Global Reading Challenge.

CWA International Dagger Shortlist 2010

I'm not going to get all of the CWA shortlist read.
However I have read three of them.
Which do you think I should try next?

This year there are six books on the shortlist. They are:
  • Badfellas by Tonino Benacquista,
    translated by Emily Read (Bitter Lemon Press)
  • August Heat by Andrea Camilleri,
    translated by Stephen Sartarelli (Picador)
  • HYPOTHERMIA by Arnaldur Indriðason,
    translated by Victoria Cribb (Harvill Secker),
    my rating 5.0
    translated by Reg Keeland (MacLehose Press),
    my rating 4.6
  • Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer,, translated by K.L. Seegers (Hodder and Stoughton)
  • THE DARKEST ROOM by Johan Theorin,
    translated by Marlaine Delargy (Doubleday),
    my rating 5.0
For more details about the shortlisted books, and why the judges chose them, go to the CWA site.

18 June 2010

Celebrating 444 reviews on Library Thing

Library Thing tells me I have stored 444 reviews there, so this post is a form of a celebration.
I'm staggered I have stored so many actually, but I have been doing it since April 2007.

It is using a widget they have that shows the covers from a selection of the books.
I've cut down on the number of covers being shown simultaneously to speed it up, so I hope you don't have to wait too long.
They are supposed to show for 15 seconds and then change. I think it only shows the covers that come from Amazon, not the ones I have individually loaded, but never mind.

Click on a cover and my Library Thing review should pop up.

Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2010 Update #4

This challenge being run by The Black Sheep Dances.

The challenge is to read 6 books set in Scandinavia from March 1 to the end of 2010.

My list will all be crime fiction.
Here is what I have read so far.
  1. THE WATER'S EDGE, Karin Fossum - Norway - 13 March
  2. THE MAN FROM BEIJING, Henning Mankell - Sweden - 10 April
  3. THE SNOWMAN,  Jo Nesbo - Norway - May 21
  4. THE FIFTH WOMAN, Henning Mankell - Sweden - June 11
  5. HYPOTHERMIA, Arnaldur Indridason - Iceland - June 17
Planning to read
ICE MOON by Jan Costin Wagner - Finland - to complete the challenge

17 June 2010

Forgotten Book: THE SECRET OF HANGING ROCK, Joan Lindsay

This week's contribution to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books

We all know the title PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK  mainly because of the Peter Weir film made of it in 1975.

PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK tells the story of a school picnic that took place at the Hanging Rock on Valentine's Day 1900. Three girls and their teacher disappeared without trace. See more details about the film in particular on Wikipedia.

You may not know the title THE SECRET OF HANGING ROCK.  This is apparently the final chapter that should have been in the original book by Joan Lindsay (1896-1984) published in 1967.

THE SECRET OF HANGING ROCK was first published in Australia by Angus & Robertson Publishers on St. Valentine's Day in 1987 (after Joan Lindsay's death).  This publication has a chapter titled ‘Chapter Eighteen’ that is supposedly the original last chapter of ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’.  This was “removed” before the original novel was published and its “existence” was not widely known about until 1987.
I apparently read it at the end of 1987.

I have no real memory of the book but this makes interesting commentary:
The actual chapter ran to just twelve pages set in large type. By adding an introduction by John Taylor and a commentary by Yvonne Rousseau, the finished booklet stretched to 64 pages. Named The Secret of Hanging Rock , it sold for A$7.95 in a sealed envelope. more

Read more 

Trailer for the Peter Weir film

Review: HYPOTHERMIA, Arnaldur Indridason

Harvill Secker 2009
Translated from Icelandic by Victoria Cribb
ISBN 978-1-846-55262-5
314 pages

When a woman hangs herself in her lakeside retreat, the friend who finds the body is convinced that while she was depressed she was not suicidal. Erlendur on the other hand wants to understand why she did it.
It appears that Maria has never recovered from the death of her mother a few months before, or perhaps the drowning of her father when she was barely a  teenager. She has been consulting psychics and is convinced her dead mother is leaving messages for her.

Erlendur is visited by the father of a university student who disappeared nearly two decades before. The visits have become annual but now the old man reveals he has only a matter of weeks to live. Erlendur decides to make one last effort on the cold case and finds out something that he missed at the time.

Erlendur's own narrow scrape with death, when his younger brother disappeared, is never far from his thoughts. He tells his daughter Eva Lind that no day passes without him thinking about it. Eva Lind on the other hand wants her parents, estranged for nearly all her life, to get back together. Erlendur is convinced that it will never happen.

This is an engrossing, many stranded novel, delivered in Indridason's typically spare style. It progresses our understanding of what makes Erlendur tick, at the same time allowing the new reader to treat the book almost as a stand alone. Indridason gives sufficient backstory I think, although that is always hard to judge when you have read most of the offerings in a series.

It would be tempting to simply see HYPOTHERMIA as an Icelandic contribution to the police procedural genre, but in Erlendur we have a detective who is driven by more than the need to solve a case. In fact in this novel he is often operating outside the team. His colleagues know he is working on something but not what. He calls in favours and pursues threads because of hunches. Even when working with a colleague he will go beyond the agreed procedures.

My rating 5.0

Other reviews:
HYPOTHERMIA is short-listed for the 2010 CWA International Dagger

Series: Sigurdur Óli and Erlendur (courtesy Euro Crime)
Showing year of publication in English, and order in the series
The links are to my reviews on this blog.
• JAR CITY (apa TAINTED BLOOD) (orig.Mýrin 2000)    2004    3
• SILENCE OF THE GRAVE (orig. Grafarþögn 2001)    2005    4
• VOICES (orig. Roddin 2002)    2006    5
• THE DRAINING LAKE (orig. Kleifarvatn 2004)    2007    6
ARCTIC CHILL    2008    7
• HYPOTHERMIA    2009    8
• OUTRAGE    2011    9

My earlier mini-reviews

A man is found murdered in his Reykjavik flat, a cryptic note left on his body. Erlendur, Detective Inspector with the Reykjavik police investigates. The investigation of the dead man's past reveals 40 year old accusations of rape and the murder begins to reach out like an octopus into Iceland's past and its present. We learn much about Icelandic society, and about how police investigations are carried out. There are some interesting side plots such as Erlendur's relationship with his drug-addicted daughter Eva Lind, his son Sindri Snaer, and his retired colleague Marion Briem. The investigation moves at a good pace and raises some interesting ethical questions.

SILENCE OF THE GRAVE by Arnaldur Indridason, rating 5.0
Building work on the outskirts of Reykajavik (Iceland) uncovers a body possibly buried alive during World War Two. Erlendur and his team are called in to investigate and try to uncover the truth while a team of archaeologists slowly and painstaking exhume the skeleton. Those who still live in the area tell of a young pregnant woman who disappeared in the war, but is it her? An elderly dying man talks of the green woman who was crooked. At the same time Erlendur is re-living his past - his daughter Eva Lind lies in a coma in the local hospital after a miscarriage and an old woman asks him why he is carrying a young boy around with him. The construction of this novel is intricate and it is almost impossible to solve the mysteries until the very end. Indridason draws into it a fascinating local legend about an orgy at the local gasworks on the night Halley's comet nearly struck the earth in 1910. Translated into English from Icelandic in 2005.

VOICES, Arnaldur Indridason, rating 5.0
The doorman at a Reykjavik hotel who doubles every year as Santa at Christmas parties in the hotel is found dead by one of the hotel maids, stabbed to death, in his squalid basement room. Christmas is fast approaching and the detective Erlendur is confronted by the problem of how or even if he is going to celebrate Christmas. Is there anything to celebrate? Strangely he moves into the hotel while the investigation of the murder is carried out just feeling he can't go back to his flat. This is Indridason's 3rd novel to be translated into English. It was originally published in 2003 and made it into English in 2006. Erlendur of course eventually solves the murder mystery but along the way we learn a lot about the ghosts of his own past, and gain insight into his relationship with his drug-addicted daughter Eva Lind. And even in the last 10 pages we are still juggling candidates for the killer.

THE DRAINING LAKE by Arnaldur Indridason, rating 4.7
After an earth tremor, the water level in an Icelandic lake begins to drop as water drains out through fissures in the lakes bed. Eventually it drops low enough to reveal the skeleton of a murder victim, probably there for a number of years and anchored to a piece of Russian radio equipment. The search for the identity of this person is a fairly lengthy and tedious process but murders and missing persons are pretty rare in Iceland where everybody knows everybody. Woven into the murder investigation is the story of idealistic young Icelandic socialists, party members chosen to be educated at university in Leipzig in East Germany, and then also more about Erlendur's own family and his children who flit in and out of his life. Originally published in Icelandic in 2004, the 4th of Indridason's books to be translated into English.

15 June 2010

Win a Kindle e-book

Yesterday I reviewed BLOODY HAM by Brian Kavanagh.

The author has very kindly made available a .mobi copy of the book as a giveaway for me.

So if you have a Kindle (or are running Kindle for PC on your computer or iPad), and would be interested in a copy of this book, just leave a comment on this post and I will choose someone from amongst the commenters. Leave your comment by 21 June. If I can't easily find your email address through your Blogger profile, then you might like to email me as well, so that I have the email address of the winner. My email address is available through the Who Am I block up on the top right.

Many thanks to Brian Kavanagh for generously making an e-copy of BLOODY HAM available. If the Look Inside image doesn't give you access to the book, click here.

P.S. If you don't know how this will work, I'll email the winner the .mobi file as an attachment, and then you will need to copy it into your Documents folder on your Kindle.

14 June 2010

Review: BLOODY HAM, Brian Kavanagh

published by Bewrite Books 2007
paperback ISBN: 978-1-905202-53-9
ebook ISBN: 978-1-905202-54-6
Details here
I  read this on my Kindle courtesy of a digital copy kindly given to me by the author.

Lights! Camera! Action! . Murder! A rollicking puzzle and a turmoil of personal relationships, some happy, some doomed, some downright evil. The third adventure for Belinda and Hazel continuing the pace and humour that readers have come to acknowledge and appreciate. Excitement and tension begin on the first day of filming a Restoration drama on location at the historic Jacobean mansion, Ham House in Surrey when one of the leading players collapses and dies. With the death ruled non-accidental the director, producer and members of the cast are all suspects. An award winning Hollywood star is brought in to replace the dead actor and Belinda is employed as her stand-in. When another member of the crew is found stabbed to death, Belinda is forced to prove her innocence. In all this tumult, Belinda finds herself torn between her long-time English lover, Mark and the energetic and exuberant Australian, Brad she met again on a trip to Australia.

This novel gives Australian author Brian Kavanagh an opportunity to parade both his knowledge of and extensive experience in the film industry and his delight in English history.

His central characters Australian Belinda Lawrence and local woman Hazel Whitby are well created and very believable. Belinda and Hazel are working in partnership: Hazel runs an antique shop in Bath, and provides Belinda with furniture in her heritage listed house and garden. Their business is commissioned to provide authentic cutlery for the feature film being made at Ham House. Hazel's latest "young man" is a film editor about to begin work on the Ham House film. He's an Australian who has not visited the West country before and Hazel has been showing him the sights. Belinda, on the other hand, has recently been home to Australia and has just returned, and is feeling a bit ambivalent about her lover Mark. Belinda bears a passing resemblance to one of the stars of the film and is invited to be a stand-in.

The plot of BLOODY HAM is well developed: there are a number of connected deaths before it comes to its conclusion, and a cast of interesting characters. Like earlier novels in the series this novel is really a "cosy".

I liked the way Kavanagh added a few Australian characters to this novel, and the way he played with their language and characteristics.

My rating: 4.2

Other reviews to enjoy:
Reactions to Reading: Bloody Ham offers an entertaining combination of an old-fashioned whodunit with characters who are fun to meet.

BeWrite Books will be publishing A CANTERBURY CRIME, the exciting fourth book in the popular Belinda Lawrence mystery series. Following on from CAPABLE OF MURDER, THE EMBROIDERED CORPSE, BLOODY HAM, Belinda & Hazel travel to Canterbury in Kent and investigate the death of a Professor who was about to publish a book concerning the murder of St Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. Paperback & eBook versions. Publication date to be announced soon.

Video teaser:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP0uXfO0F8k
Author's site: http://beekayvic.tripod.com

My mini reviews of the two earlier titles in the series:
CAPABLE OF MURDER (2005), my rating 3.9
Young Australian living in London, Belinda Lawrence, is contacted by her great aunt who lives near Bath. The old lady has something important that she wants to tell her. Belinda finds her aunt's decaying body at the foot of the stairs in her cottage but appearances seem to indicate that she has had an accidental fall.  Various events and coincidences convince Belinda that her aunt was in fact murdered. Belinda decides to live in the cottage she has inherited from her aunt, more people die, and she is not sure who to trust. The book takes a lot from the tradition of English village "cosies"  and reminded me a little of books I used to read decades ago - Victoria Holt, Susan Howatch and similar "gothic" style novelists. For me it was just a little old-fashioned, but it was a quick read, and plot content was interesting enough.

THE EMBROIDERED CORPSE (2006), my rating 4.1
#2 in the Belinda Lawrence series. Set about 2 years after the first (CAPABLE OF MURDER), Belinda now has her inherited cottage set up with its re-constructed Capability Brown garden. Antique collector Hazel Whitby has furnished it with appropriate furniture and it is now on the tourist bus routes, bringing in a small income. Real estate agent Mark Sallinger completes the investigative trio as wll as providing the romance interest. On their way back from an antiques fair at Castle Howard, Belinda and Hazel call in at Kidbrooke House and are shown a framed piece of tapestry by its elderly owner. It reminds Belinda of the Bayeux tapestry and she decides she wants to see the Bayeux replica at Reading. Just after their visit to Kidbrooke House its elderly owner is murdered. Hazel buys some furniture from his deceased estate and accidentally becomes the owner of the tapestry which she gives to Belinda. This book is a delightful romp somewhat in the vein of Margaret Rutherford's interpretation of Miss Marple. I suspect Brian Kavanagh is rather enjoying writing these stories with their mixture of murder, mayhem and romance.
THE EMBROIDERED CORPSE  has indications that he is constantly honing his craft, and I think they would be popular with YA female readers. Try to read them in order (CAPABLE OF MURDER, then THE EMBROIDERED CORPSE)

Giving old books a purpose in life

I'm not sure I would ever do this with a book, but it may be a project that would appeal to you.
Check the others on the site.

When I was a child, I was always fascinated by stories where things were secreted into hollowed out books like this one:

And how about this for having your books close to hand? Not very comfortable looking though...

13 June 2010

Sunday Salon: Crime fiction to look for

A few "short lists" have emerged this week, and some titles are appearing on more than one.
I'm just quoting some here - check the sites for the full lists

Here are the ones I've read and reviewed - far too few unfortunately
4.7, THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST, Stuart Neville
4.7, BURY ME DEEP, Megan Abbott
4.4, IF THE DEAD RISE NOT, Philip Kerr
5.0, NEMESIS, Jo Nesbo
4.7, MIDNIGHT FUGUE, Reginald Hill

2010 Barry Award Nominations

John Connolly, THE GATES, Atria
David Ellis, THE HIDDEN MAN, Putnam
Joe Gores, SPADE & ARCHER, Knopf
John Hart, THE LAST CHILD, Minotaur
Marcia Muller, LOCKED IN, Grand Central
S.J. Rozan, SHANGHAI MOON, Minotaur

Josh Bazell, BEAT THE REAPER, Little, Brown
Rebecca Cantrell, A TRACE OF SMOKE, Forge
Sophie Littlefield, A BAD DAY FOR SORRY, Minotaur
Attica Locke, BLACK WATER RISING, Harper
Stuart Neville, THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST (THE TWELVE), Soho Crime

S. J. Bolton, AWAKENING, Bantam Press
John Connolly, THE LOVERS, HodderStoughton
Reginald Hill, MIDNIGHT FUGUE, HarperCollins
Philip Kerr, IF THE DEAD NOT RISE, Quercus
Denise Mina, STILL MIDNIGHT, Orion
Robert Wilson, IGNORANCE OF BLOOD, HarperCollins

Megan Abbott, BURY ME DEEP, Simon & Schuster
Max Allan Collins, QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE, HardCase Crime
Bryan Gruley, STARVATION LAKE, Touchstone
Heather Gutenkauf, THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE, Mira
Frank Tallis, FATAL LIES, Random House Mortalis

2010 Macavity Awards shortlist

Best Mystery Novel:
  • Megan Abbott: Bury Me Deep (Simon & Schuster)
  • Ken Bruen & Reed Farrel Coleman: Tower (Busted Flush Press)
  • Deborah Crombie: Necessary as Blood (Wm. Morrow)
  • Jo Nesbø: Nemesis (translated by Don Bartlett) (HarperCollins)
  • Louise Penny: The Brutal Telling (Minotaur)
  • S.J. Rozan: The Shanghai Moon (Minotaur)
Best First Mystery Novel:
  • Alan Bradley: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Delacorte)
  • Jamie Freveletti: Running from the Devil (Wm. Morrow)
  • Sophie Littlefield: A Bad Day for Sorry (Minotaur)
  • Stuart Neville: The Ghosts of Belfast (Soho Crime)
  • Malla Nunn: A Beautiful Place to Die (Picador)
2010 Anthony Award Nominations


THE LAST CHILD - John Hart [Minotaur Books]
THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE - Stieg Larsson, translated by Reg Keeland [Quercus/Knopf]
THE BRUTAL TELLING - Louise Penny [Minotaur Books]
THE SHANGHAI MOON - S.J. Rozan [Minotaur Books]


THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE - Alan Bradley [Delacorte Press]
STARVATION LAKE - Bryan Gruley [Touchstone]
A BAD DAY FOR SORRY - Sophie Littlefield [Minotaur Books]
THE TWELVE/THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST - Stuart Neville [Harvill Secker/Soho Press]
IN THE SHADOW OF GOTHAM - Stefanie Pintoff [Minotaur Books]


BURY ME DEEP - Megan Abbott [Simon & Schuster]
TOWER - Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman [Busted Flush Press]
QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE - Max Allan Collins [Hard Case Crime]
STARVATION LAKE - Bryan Gruley [Touchstone]
DEATH AND THE LIT CHICK - G.M. Malliet [Midnight Ink]
AIR TIME - Hank Phillippi Ryan [Mira]

12 June 2010

BBAW Nomination 2010

MYSTERIES in PARADISE has been a supporter of Book Blogger Appreciation Week for the last two years.

MYSTERIES in PARADISE has been self-registered for BBAW awards in two categories:

* Best Thriller/Mystery/Suspense/Crime Book Blog
This blog offers the best consistently excellent reviews, recommendations, analyses, and other content in thrillers, mysteries, suspense, and/or crime.

Posts for consideration:

Review - THE FIFTH WOMAN, Henning Mankell
Review - B-VERY FLAT, Margot Kinberg
Review - THE SNOWMAN, Jo Nesbo
Our Best Reads in 2009
Just how old was Hercule Poirot?

* Best Written Book Blog
This blog is consistently well-written, clear, and engaging, no matter what the subject.

Posts for Consideration

Review - THE BRASS VERDICT, Michael Connelly
Review - FORBIDDEN FRUIT, Kerry Greenwood
Review - BURY ME DEEP, Megan Abbott
Book Reviews - How Much to Reveal?
M is for Martin Edwards

ACRC Update - 12 June 2010

My intent in the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge is to read her books in order, so that I can get some idea of what she is doing, problems she is attempting to solve, and her development as a writer. If you look at some of my reviews you will see that I have been able to undertake some of this reflection.

Currently I am managing about a book a month.
I've read 18 books and 8 collections of short stories.

Read & reviewed so far
    1924, POIROT INVESTIGATES (short stories: eleven in the UK, fourteen in the US)
  7. 1927, THE BIG FOUR
    1929, Partners in Crime (fifteen short stories; featuring Tommy and Tuppence)
    1930, The Mysterious Mr. Quin (twelve short stories; introducing Mr. Harley Quin)
  12. 1932, PERIL AT END HOUSE
    1932 The Thirteen Problems (thirteen short stories; featuring Miss Marple, also known as The Tuesday Club Murders in the US)
    1991, Problem at Pollensa Bay publ. 1991 (Two of them feature Hercule Poirot, two Mr. Satterthwaite and Mr. Harley Quin, and two Mr Parker Pyne.)
  16. 1935, THREE ACT TRAGEDY (aka MURDER IN THREE ACTS)- Hercule Poirot and Mr Satterthwaite.
    1933, The Hound of Death - 12 short stories, UK only
    1934, Parker Pyne Investigates - 12 stories introducing Parker Pyne and Ariadne Oliver
    1934, The Listerdale Mystery - 12 short stories, UK only
  17. 1935, DEATH IN THE CLOUDS (aka DEATH IN THE AIR) - Hercule Poirot
  18. 1966, THE THIRD GIRL - Hercule Poirot and Ariadne Oliver

    Reading schedule

  21. 1936, CARDS ON THE TABLE
  23. 1937, DEATH ON THE NILE
  26. 1939, MURDER IS EASY (aka EASY TO KILL)
  28. 1940, SAD CYPRESS
Check the opening blog post of the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge here.
If you'd like to join the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge click here.

I am using the list at Wikipedia of novels and collections of short stories. I will interlace the short story collections into the list where I can, but may have to read them out of order. I have decided on a method for reporting on the short stories.

Please feel free to join in my challenge, comment on my reviews etc.

I have set up a block over in the right hand column called Agatha Christie Reading Challenge (with the same logo as this post) where I am listing the books I'm currently reading and those I've finished.
The challenge is called ACRC so each review will be preceded by those letters.

If you want to follow my progress through your RSS reader, then the RSS URL is
Just save that in your bookmarks or RSS reader and you will be notified when I have written a new post.
Alternatively you could subscribe to the feed through FeedMyInbox. Just copy the RSS URL, click on the FeedMyInbox link and paste the URL in there.
You will need to confirm your subscription by email.

Contribute your blog postings about any Agatha Christie novels to the monthly carnival. Make an agreement with yourself that whenever you complete reading an Aggie you will write a blog posting about it and then submit the posting to the carnival.
If you are participating in the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge then write updates like this one and submit them to the Carnival. Let us know what progress you are making.


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