San Francisco is well known for its transformations, the most recent one fueled by tech money that has seemingly scrubbed much of the city clean. Evidence of it tends to be easy to mock: the $4 artisanal toast, theshuttle buses carrying workers from the city interior to Silicon Valley, the preponderance of reclaimed wood. But for almost a century, the city has been indelibly linked with an enigmatic genre that might be considered an antidote to all of that: noir. Like the characters that populate it, noir can be tough to put your finger on: a fog rolling in from the bay and coating city streets; a lonely sort of glamour perched on a bar rail; a sense of menace just over your shoulder. It is a genre that revels in ambiguity. Read more here.
The Wolfe Pack announced the Nero Award Finalits. The "Nero" is an annual award presented to an author for literary excellence in the mystery genre. The award is presented at the Black Orchid Banquet, which is traditionally held on the first Saturday in December in New York City; this year the banquet will be on Saturday, December 6, 2014.
The 2014 finalists:
Ask Not, Max Allan Collins, Tor & Forge Books
Three Can Keep a Secret, Archer Mayor, St. Martins Press
Murder as a Fine Art, David Morrell, Little, Brown & Company
A Study in Revenge, Kieran Shields, Crown Publishing Group
A Question of Honor, Charles Todd, William Morrow/Harper Collins
This year's nominees join a procession of fine writers including Lee Child, Walter Mosley, and Linda Fairstein, all of whom have been honored with the prestigious "Nero."
The Foreword Reviews’ IndieFab Book of the Year Awards,
judged by a select group of librarians and booksellers from around the
country, were announced last night at the American Library Association
Annual Conference in Las Vegas.
Representing hundreds of independent and university presses of all
sizes, IndieFab winners were selected after months of editorial
deliberation over more than 1500 entries in 60 categories. Following are the Awards in Mystery and Thriller & Suspense.
2013 GOLD Winner for Mystery
As She Left It by Catriona McPherson
2013 SILVER Winner for Mystery
Deadly Misfortune by Dianne Greenlay
2013 BRONZE Winner for Mystery
The Silence of the Wave by Gianrico Carofiglio (Howard Curtis -translator)
2013 HONORABLE Mention for Mystery
Noah's Rainy Day by Sandra Brannan
THRILLER & SUSPENSE (Adult Fiction)
2013 GOLD Winner for Thriller & Suspense
Utopia, Texas by Michael E Glasscock II
2013 SILVER Winner for Thriller & Suspense
Cartilage and Skin by Michael James Rizza
2013 BRONZE Winner for Thriller & Suspense
Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy by J.T. Lundy
2013 HONORABLE Mention for Thriller & Suspense
The Price of Innocence by Bryan Devore
Listen up, Chicago Fans! NOIR CITY will be at Chicago's historic Music Box Theatre August 9–September 4, 2014.
The 6th edition of NOIR CITY - Chicago will predominantly feature international titles, exploding the long-held belief that noir stories and style are specifically American. The focus is on the immediate post-WWII years, spotlighting noir from France, Japan, Argentina, Spain, and Italy—including Death of a Cyclist (Spain, 1955), Ossessione (Italy, 1942), Pepé Le Moko (France, 1937), Rififi (France, 1955), Two Men in Manhattan (France, 1959), Hardly a Criminal (Argentina, 1949), Drunken Angel (Japan, 1948) and Stray Dog (Japan, 1949).
The festival will include films restored by the FNF, funded largely by the generous support of our NOIR CITY festival patrons and FNF donors. A new FNF-funded subtitled print of the Argentine rarity El Vampiro Negro (1953), a revisionist take on M, will screen on a bill with the 1951 Hollywood version of Fritz Lang's famous 1931 film. The FNF, co-presenters of the festival, will also be presenting its latest 35mm film restoration, Too Late for Tears (1949), as well as a newly struck 35mm print of the tough-as-nails Roadblock, starring noir favorite Charles McGraw. We'll update you when the full schedule and tickets go on sale at MusicBoxTheatre.com.
Today I welcome Chuck Greaves. Chuck Greaves’ debut novel HUSH MONEY, the first in the Jack MacTaggart
series of legal mysteries, won the SouthWest Writers’ International
Writing Contest, received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly
and Library Journal, was a Critics’ Pick from Kirkus Reviews, and was a
finalist for the Shamus, Rocky, Reviewers’ Choice, and Audie Awards, to
name a few. THE LAST HEIR is the third book in the series, following
last year’s GREEN-EYED LADY. Chuck also writes literary fiction as C.
Joseph Greaves when he’s not tending his viognier and pinot noir grapes.
To learn more, please visit www.chuckgreaves.com. Chuck is on booktour now and will be in the San Francisco Bay Area next week. July 1: Books Inc (Berkeley -7 pm.), July 2: Copperfields (Healdsburg - 7 p.m.)
CHUCK GREAVES: THE WRATH OF GRAPES
“I have the greatest job in the world,” a winemaker once told me. “If I come home from work and don’t smell like wine, my wife wants to know where the hell I’ve been.”
Wine and I have a history, you might say. When I reached drinking age (18, but I date myself) on Long Island at a time (the early 1970s) when the North Fork – which today is cheek-to-jowl wineries – was home only to potato and duck farms, I was strictly a beer drinkin’ man. Wine to me meant Mateus Rosé, or Lancers, or maybe a cheap Chianti in a basket-bottle that could later serve as a candleholder. It wasn’t until I’d reached California in 1975 that I realized wine could be something much, much more, and made my first pilgrimage to wine country – Sonoma County – in search of exactly what that was.
Suffice it to say that I caught the wine bug, and that I caught it rather badly. Like most obsessions, it began innocently enough. Visits to Napa Valley. Joining a wine club or two. Subscribing to Wine Spectator. Signing onto a few cult-wine futures lists (like Kistler and Williams-Selyem, to name two.) Suddenly finding myself on a first-name basis with my local wine merchant.
Wine tourism followed naturally, and not just Paso Robles and the Willamette Valley, but also places like the Loire and the Cape Winelands. When my wife and I house-hunted in the early 1990s, a wine cellar was high on the list of requisite amenities, and we found a doozy in Altadena – a walk-in cave that, once I’d installed the new redwood racking, held roughly a thousand bottles. Which, I’m chagrined to admit, we filled in a matter of months.
We hosted some memorable tastings. At a meeting of the Pasadena branch of the International Wine & Food Society, held at the Caltech Athenaeum, Joe “Trader Joe” Coulombe and I co-hosted fifty for a black-tie tasting of two cases of 1961 Chateau Latour. Then there was the Martha Stewart Living feature on our summer garden party/wine bacchanalia . . .
You get the picture. I was up to my bloodshot eyeballs in wine and its alluring culture.
Then in 2006, I had what you might fairly call the Mother of All Mid-Life Crises. But instead of having an extramarital affair, or buying a Lamborghini, I resigned my law firm partnership and began writing crime fiction on a full-time basis. I created a wisecracking lawyer/detective named Jack MacTaggart, and I unleashed him on an unsuspecting world of wealth and privilege. For those who haven’t met him, Jack is a lunch-bucket kind of guy who gets himself invited to the tea party and winds up breaking most of the china.
It was inevitable, therefore, that Jack would one day make his way to Napa Valley, which he finally does in THE LAST HEIR, in bookstores on June 24 from St. Martin’s Minotaur. When the heir to Napa’s most storied winery goes missing, Jack is hired to oppose an action by the missing man’s brother to declare his sibling dead. But is he really? And if he is, then who in the family will survive long enough to become The Last Heir?
Meanwhile, you ask, what became my wine addiction? I’m happy to report that leaving California to pursue a life of letters has tempered if not my love of fine wine, then at least my rate of acquisition. Which probably explains why I bought that vineyard . . .
Now in its 10th Year, the Agatha Christie Festivalin South Devon (UK) has repositioned itself as a major international crime writing literary festival.
Dubbed "The All-New Literary Crime Festival with a Vintage Twist," this festival is a must for Agatha Christie fans. Top crime authors including Sophie Hannah, author of the new Hercule Poirot novel The Monogram Murders, will gather on the English
Riviera, birthplace of crime writer Agatha Christie.
Mystery events will center on the
festival’s new home at Torquay’s historic Torre Abbey, with its
spectacular sea-facing setting and intriguing Potent Plants Garden that
highlights some of Christie’s deadliest poisons. The new Agatha Christie festival format is
expected to bring in a whole new wave of crime fiction lovers to the
week long event and considerably increase overseas staying visitors on
the English Riviera.
Conference goers will be able to attend readings by crime writers, meet Mathew Prichard, Agatha Christie’s grandson, in conversation with Ben Stephenson, responsible for
commissioning all drama on the BBC, visit Greenway, Christie’s
riverside home on the River Dart by steam train and boat, walk the
Agatha Christie mile, enjoy tea dances and attend many other unique
events. Torquay’s sister towns on the beautiful English Riviera:
Brixham, Paignton and Babbacombe Bay will also be hosting stylish Agatha
Christie themed events. And so much more!
Best Mystery Novel
Sandrine’s Case by Thomas H. Cook (Mysterious Press)
Dead Lions by Mick Herron (Soho Crime)
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (Atria Books)
The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood (Penguin Books)
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
Standing in Another Man’s Grave by Ian Rankin (Reagan Arthur Books)
Best First Mystery
Yesterday’s Echo by Matt Coyle (Oceanview Publishing)
Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman (Minotaur Books)
Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman (Ballantine Books)
Norwegian by Night by Derek Miller (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
A Killing at Cotton Hill by Terry Shames (Seventh Street Books)
Best Mystery Short Story
“The Terminal” by Reed Farrel Coleman (Kwik Krimes, edited by Otto Penzler; Thomas & Mercer)
“The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository” by John Connolly (Bibliomysteries: Short Tales about Deadly Books, edited by Otto Penzler; Bookspan)
“The Dragon’s Tail” by Martin Limon (Nightmare Range: The Collected Sueno and Bascom Short Stories, Soho Books)
“The Hindi Houdini” by Gigi Pandian (Fish Nets: The Second Guppy Anthology, edited by Ramona DeFelice Long; Wildside Press)
“Incident on the 405” by Travis Richardson (The Malfeasance Occasional: Girl Trouble, edited by Clare Toohey; Macmillan)
“The Care and Feeding of Houseplants” by Art Taylor (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, March/April 2013)
The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley's Masterpiece by Roseanne Montillo (William Morrow)
Being Cool: The Work of Elmore Leonard by Charles J. Rzepka (Johns Hopkins University Press)
The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower (Minotaur Books)
Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award
A Murder at Rosamund's Gate by Susanna Calkins (Minotaur Books)
Saving Lincoln by Robert Kresge (ABQ Press)
Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses by Catriona McPherson (Minotaur Books)
Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell (Little, Brown)
Ratlines by Stuart Neville (Soho Crime)
Today I welcome Kate White, author of nine works of fiction—six Bailey Weggins mysteries and three suspense novels, including, Eyes on You (June 2014). For fourteen years she was the Editor in Chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, and though she loved the job (and the Cosmo beauty closet!), she decided to leave in late 2013 to concentrate full time on being an author. Her first Bailey Weggins mystery, If Looks Could Kill, was named as the premier Reading with Rippa selection and soon shot to number one on Amazon. (And it’s now being made into an opera!). Kate is currently editing the Mystery Writers of America cookbook, a selection of recipes from many of the top-selling authors. Kate is also the author of several very popular career books, including I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: How to Ask for the Money, Snag the Promotion, and Create the Career You Deserve, and Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead but Gutsy Girls Do. Blog: http://katewhite.com/blog Twitter: @katemwhite Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KateWhiteAuthor
The Mystery of the Mean-Spirited Girls
Some people might consider this crazy, but two years ago I left my position as the editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine in order to work full time as a mystery author.
Editing Cosmo was a delicious, exhilarating, fabulous job (and one of the perks was a key to the Cosmo beauty closet!), but I’d been writing suspense novels through most of my fourteen years at the magazine, and I wanted to have the experience of being a full-time author while I still had the chance.
My life as a writer today bears little resemblance to the Cosmo years. At Cosmo a typical day for me included everything from writing those wild cover lines to watching hunky male models roam the halls without their shirts on to having celebs like Pharrell Williams drop by to share what they were up to. Now I spend my days in a small home office and the only shirtless man I see is my husband (I love the guy but it’s not quite the same).
But though the jobs couldn’t be more different, there was actually a day at Cosmo that might as well have been ripped from the pages of one of my mysteries. Someone did something bad and I had no idea who it was. But I was determined to find out.
Here’s the story: Not long after I took over the reigns at Cosmo, I started a monthly speaker series for my staff, giving them a chance to hear from a variety of interesting people. Nice, right? Except a nasty person on staff decided to leak a tidbit about one of the first speakers, a well-known fashion designer, to Page Six, the popular gossip column in the New York Post. The item mocked the designer, saying she’d given her talk while displaying an ugly case of “visible panty line.” Another item followed the next day claiming I was annoyed about the leak. They titled that one “White Fury.”
Neither item was terrible (and the second one actually amused me), but it bugged me that someone on the staff I’d inherited was so mean-spirited and conniving. I didn’t want people like that working for me. I asked our PR person to use any contacts at the newspaper to find out who the culprit was, but she called back explaining that, as expected, the gossip columnist would not reveal his sources. EVER.
I was so frustrated. In my books, the truth always comes out in the end, but it looked like that wasn’t going to happen in real life.
So soon after, I sat down and asked myself: If this were a mystery novel, what would the protagonist do? Well, she’d start by making a list of suspects.
I got out a staff list—about sixty people reported to me—and I crossed out everyone who my gut told me wouldn’t have done something so underhanded. Because I’d only recently started at the magazine, I didn't know everybody well, but I trusted the people I’d brought with me, and also a handful of people I’d been working closely with for weeks. At least it was a start.
Then I got my assistant to snoop around, trying to figure out if there were people on staff who felt disgruntled about all the changes that had been going on (that always happens when one editor-in-chief leaves and another arrives). She came back with a few names, including two young women who were all palsy-walsy and seemed to have major chips on their shoulders.
And then I ended up with an intriguing clue. According to my PR person, the gossip columnist said that the panty line story had been corroborated by someone else on my staff. That seemed to indicate that there were two people in cahoots.
Ah ha! My mind immediately flew back to those two disgruntled young women. I was pretty sure I now knew who’d done it.
But how to prove it? There was no evidence whatsoever. But I was so certain at this point that I tried a strategy: Each time I passed each of these women in the hallway, I looked right at her and held her eyes without any expression on my face. It was my way of saying, “I know it was you.” Both women resigned within a month.
Today is National Martini Day, and perhaps the most iconic Martini is that of James Bond aka 007! The Vodka Martini is as synonymous with 007 as the Walther PPK and the Aston Martin DB5. James Bond first ordered his trademark drink in Ian Fleming's debut novel Casino Royale (1953):
'A dry martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne goblet.' 'Oui, monsieur.' 'Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?' 'Certainly, monsieur.' The barman seemed pleased with the idea. 'Gosh, that's certainly a drink,' said Leiter. Bond laughed. 'When I'm . . . er . . . concentrating,' he explained, 'I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I can think of a good name.'
Having invented his own signature drink for Bond, Fleming left the reader hanging for the name for the drink until Vesper Lynd entered the novel. Bond thought her name was perfect for his preferred drink:
'Vesper,' she said. 'Vesper Lynd.'... She smiled. 'Some people like it, others don't. I'm just used to it.' 'I think it's a fine name,' said Bond. An idea struck him. 'Can I borrow it?' He explained about the special martini he had invented and his search for a name for it. 'The Vesper,' he said. 'It sounds perfect and it's very appropriate to the violet hour when my cocktail will now be drunk all over the world. Can I have it?' 'So long as I can try one first,' she promised. 'It sounds a drink to be proud of.'
The 'Vesper' Martini created by Bond in Casino Royale and liked by Fleming:
Add 3 measures Gordon's Gin
Add 1 measure Vodka
Add 1 measure blond Lillet vermouth
Shake very well until it's ice cold
Garnish with a slice of lemon peel
The medium-dry Vodka Martini preferred by James Bond in the films:
4 measures Vodka (use a tbsp or an oz as a measure to fill one cocktail glass)
Add 1 measure dry Vermouth
Shake with ice. Do not stir. (Shaking gives the misty effect and extra chill preferred by Bond)
Add 1 green olive ( James Bond prefers olives)
Garnish with a thin slice of lemon peel
Serve in a cocktail glass
Charlie Barsotti, one of the great cartoonists, died today. Charlie drew close to fourteen hundred cartoons for The New Yorker over the years, beginning in the nineteen-sixties and continuing right through last week’s issue.
Nominations for the David Award for Best Mystery published the prior calendar year. Named in memory of David G. Sasher, Sr. The Award will be given out at the 2014 Deadly Ink Mystery Conference in August.
Lethal Treasure by Jane Cleland There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron Condemned to Repeat by Janice MacDonald The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan Dark Music by E. F. Watkins
An Afternoon of Chaos, Killing, Crime, and Kidnapping at Kepler’s Bookstore, Menlo Park, CA, 1-5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 21, sponsored by Peninsula Arts & Letters, Kepler’s
Books, Mystery Writers of America (NorCal Chapter) and Sisters in Crime
(NorCal Chapter): an afternoon of crime, kidnapping and chaos.
On Saturday, June 21st, Kepler’s Bookstore in Menlo Park (CA) is hosting a murderer’s row of mystery/thriller authors and others for an afternoon devoted to crime fiction, for readers and writers alike.
Keith Raffel and Barry Eisler will kick it off with a discussion of the totally un-contentious topic of traditional versus self-publishing, where they have promised to resolved the Amazon-Hachette dispute in less than one hour.
Then Catriona McPherson and Cara Black will face off against Alan Jacobson and Sheldon Siegel on whether mysteries or thrillers are better. The great Laurie King has graciously agreed to moderate (or referee) this discussion and provide dignity and adult supervision.
Finally, John Billheimer, Judy Greber (aka Gillian Roberts), and Terry Shames will give on-the-spot reviews to first pages of unpublished manuscripts, so if you have something in the works you should bring it along.
Father's Day. My father passed away 12 years ago, but I still think about him every
day. He encouraged and supported me throughout my various careers and
educational pursuits, and he always told me I could accomplish anything
and succeed in whatever I did.
My father was the ultimate reader. His idea of a good vacation was sitting in a chair, reading a good mystery. It never mattered where he was, the book took him to other places.
My father and I shared a love of mysteries. Over
the years my taste in mysteries has changed. I now read more hardboiled,
darker mysteries. So many times when I finish a book, I say to myself, "I have to send this to Dad. He'll love it." Sadly, he's no longer here. My father
engendered my love of mysteries through his collection of mystery
novels and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazines. I like to think he's up there somewhere in a chair surrounded by books and reading a good mystery.
Here's to you, Dad, on Father's Day!
FATHER'S DAY MYSTERIES
Father’s Day by John Calvin Batchelor Father’s Day by Rudolph Engelman Father’s Day Keith Gilman Dear Old Dead by Jane Haddam The Father’s Day Murder by Lee Harris Day of Reckoning by Kathy Herman Dead Water by Victoria Houston Father’s Day Murder by Leslie Meier Father’s Day by Alan Trustman
Murder for Father, edited by Martin Greenberg (short stories) "Father's Day" by Patti Abbott --short story at Spinetingler Collateral Damage: A Do Some Damage Collection e-book of Father's Day themed short stories.
The World Cup starts today in Brazil, so I thought I'd do a short list of World Cup mysteries!
Probably the most well known is The World Cup Murder by Pele, one of the most famous soccer players of all time, but there are a few more titles.
The World Cup Murder by Pele with Herbert Resnicow (1988)
Cup Final Murder by Bernard Newman (1950)
L'Estate del Mundial (the Soccer World Cup Summer) by Piero Colaprico (2003)
The Deliverance of Evil by Roberto Costantini, translated by N.S. Thompson (2014)
And, since the World Cup is taking place in Brazil, you might want to have a Caipirinha, the National Cocktail of Brazil. Since I'm a chocoholic, I'll be making Caipirinha Truffles. Today is Cachaca Day, and that Brazilian Rum, in the main ingredient in a Caipirinha!
PRIVATE EYE WRITERS OF AMERICA SHAMUS AWARD FINALISTS 2014
for works published in 2013. Winners will be announced at the PWA Banquet at Bouchercon in Long Beach, California on Friday, November 14. Congratulations to all!
BEST HARDCOVER P.I. NOVEL
Little Elvises by Timothy Hallinan
The Mojito Coast by Richard Helms
W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton
The Good Cop by Brad Parks
Nemesis by Bill Pronzini
BEST FIRST P.I. NOVEL
A Good Death by Christopher R. Cox
Montana by Gwen Florio
Blood Orange by Karen Keskinen
Bear is Broken by Lachlan Smith
Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft
BEST ORIGINAL PAPERBACK P.I. NOVEL
Seduction of the Innocents by Max Allan Collins
Into the Dark by Alison Gaylin
Purgatory Key by Darrell James
Heart of Ice by P.J. Parrish
The Honky Tonk Big Hoss Boogie by Robert J. Randisi
BEST P.I. SHORT STORY
“So Long, Chief” by Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane in The Strand Magazine
"The Ace I" by Jack Fredrickson in EQMM
“What We Do” by Mick Herron in EQMM
“Extra Fries” by Michael Z. Lewin in EQMM
“The Lethal Leeteg” by Hayford Peirce in EQMM
BEST INDIE P.I. NOVEL
Murder Take Three by April Kelly and Marsha Lyons
A Small Sacrifice by Dana King
No Pat Hands by J.J. Lamb
State vs. Lassiter by Paul Levine
Don’t Dare a Dame by M. Ruth Myers
Other books nominated for the 2013 HAMMETT PRIZE were Cataract City: A Novel, by Craig Davidson (Doubleday Canada); Green Light for Murder, by Heywood Gould (Tyrus Books); Caught, by Lisa Moore (House of Anansi Press); and The Double, by George P. Pelecanos (Little, Brown).
Richard Lange received a bronze trophy, designed by West Coast sculptor
Peter Boiger. The award ceremony took place in Toronto, during the
Bloody Words conference.
This summer, benches shaped like open books will pop up all over the
capital [London] for children, families and visitors to find and enjoy. ‘Books
about Town’ launched by the National Literacy Trust and Wild in Art
brings a unique opportunity for the public to view 50 bench sculptures
across the city, created by both local artists and famous names, to
celebrate London’s literary heritage and reading for enjoyment.
The BookBenches feature stories linked to London and are based on a
range of books from treasured children’s stories such asThe Lion, the
Witch and the Wardrobe and Peter Pan to classic adult titles including
1984 and The Day of the Triffids. Well-loved literary heroes such as
Sherlock Holmes, James Bond and Hercules Poirot also appear on benches
which visitors can discover by following literary trails around London
from 4 July until mid-September.
Books about Town builds on the legacy of the Olympic mascots in
London in 2012 and is set to become a major tourist attraction for the
city over the summer. After the exhibition, the BookBenches will be
auctioned to raise valuable funds for the National Literacy Trust to
tackle low literacy levels in deprived communities across the UK.
Today I welcome international bestselling author Camilla Läckberg, whose new thriller The Hidden Child is just out in the U.S. from Pegasus Books.
Läckberg has written 8 crime fiction novels, 2 cookbooks and 3 children's novels. Read her amazing bio HERE.
With more than 5 million copies in print and published in thirty-five countries, Läckberg has established herself as a world-wide crime-writing sensation.
The idea for The Hidden Child originally came to me after receiving an email from a Swedish reader. A man living near Fjällbacka, where all my novels are set, had contacted me and asked a seemingly simple question – ”Did you know that there was a lot of dramatic events going on in the Fjallbacka-area during World War II?”
And the truth was – no, I didn’t know, despite having spent quite a bit of time in Fljallbacka as a child. Curious, I started doing research and it was like opening a Pandora's box of inspiration. Since Fjällbacka is in Western Sweden and lies so close to the Norwegian border, there were people, goods and news travelling back and forth between Fjällbacka and Norway. Many of Fjallbacka’s residents were quite brave when it came to helping out their Norwegian neighbors, who were suffering under the German Occupation.
In the course of my research, I discovered that the Germans had a prison outside of Oslo, called Grini, where they put Norwegians—and other people they considered threats—working with the resistance. And I also learned that some Nordic prisoners had been shipped off to concentration camps in and around Germany.
All of this set my imagination in motion. I had so many ideas for the historical part of the novel, it was almost overwhelming. And then something else suddenly came to me.
When I started writing about Erica Falck (my series heroine) and her parents in my first book The Ice Princess, I wrote her mother Elsy to be a cold and distant woman. At the time, I didn’t have a specific reason in mind for developing her in this way and for four books I wondered why. When I started writing The Hidden Child, Elsy’s entire life story landed right in my lap. It was like the story had been forming in my subconscious for four novels, and finally emerged when the time was right. With Elsy’s background now clear to me, I felt sympathy for her for the first time. And thus, as Erica slowly uncovers her mother’s tragic secret in The Hidden Child, she understands her mother for the first time and much of her sadness, anxiety, and hurt about her childhood is relieved.
Interestingly enough, The Hidden Child, out of all my novels, has given me the most wonderful and amazing encounters with readers throughout the years. I was doing a photo shoot shortly after the book had come out in Sweden, and the woman doing my make up, who was in her fifties, asked me if I knew someone who had been in the resistence in Norway. She then proceeded to tell me that she was half Norwegian, that her mother was from Norway and had been in the Norwegian resistance during the war. Her mother had been captured, taken to Grini and had been severely beaten by the Nazis during her imprisonment. Upon release, she fled to Sweden and became a nurse and raised a family of four children there. But she had rarely spoken to her children about her experiences during the war.
After The Hidden Child was published, she bought a copy and approached her children and said: ”Please, read this book - this is my story.” I still get tears in my eyes when I think about that. As an author you do a lot of guessing. I do as much research as I can – but at the end of the day I have to fill in a lot of the blanks myself with my imagination. It was thrilling and wonderful to hear that I had gotten it so right that a woman with such harrowing experiences from World War II could use my book to finally open up and share her history with her own children.
Crime Writers of Canada 2014 Arthur Ellis Award winners, including the winner of the CWC Grand Master Award for Crime Writing in Canada.
Best Novel Seán Haldane
The Devil’s Making (Stone Flower Press)
Best First Novel J. Kent Messum Bait (Penguin Canada)
Best Novella Melodie Campbell
The Goddaughter’s Revenge (Orca Books)
Best Short Story Twist Phelan
Footprints in Water (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
Best Book in French Maureen Martineau L’enfant promis (La courte échelle)
Best Juvenile/YA Elizabeth MacLeod Bones Never Lie (Annick Press)
Best Unpublished First Novel (Unhanged Arthur) Rachel Greenaway
This is the inaugural year of the CWC Grand Master Award, intended to recognize Canadian crime writers who have a substantial body of work that has garnered national and international recognition.
This year’s winner of the CWC Grand Master Award is Howard Engel, the author of the award winning Benny Cooperman detective series. A mainstay of the Canadian crime writing
scene for many years, Mr. Engel helped put Canadian crime writing on the map at a time when few mysteries were set in this country.
2014 Lambda Literary Awards (The Lammys) for best lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender books of the year. For all the categories and winners, go HERE. For nominated books in Gay Mystery and Lesbian Mystery, go HERE.
Gay Mystery: The Prisoner of the Riviera, by Janice Law (Mysterious Press/Open Road)
Lesbian Mystery: High Desert, by Katherine V. Forrest (Spinsters Ink)
Having just posted a few of the MASTERPIECE programs coming this summer on PBS, I decided to see what's up for the Fall. Glad I did, because there's a great Mystery! line-up, including Death Comes to Pemberley, an adaptation of P.D. James’ novel, starring Matthew Rhys (The Americans) and Anna Maxwell
Martin (Bleak House). Bill Nighy (The
Best Exotic Marigold Hotel reprises his role as MI5 spy Johnny Worricker —first seen in 2011’s acclaimed Page Eight — in two new Worricker stories: Turks & Caicos and Salting the Battlefield. Also, Julia McKenzie returns as Miss Marple, and Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox reprise their roles in a new season of Inspector Lewis. Miss Marple
Acclaimed British actress Julia McKenzie (Cranford) returns as spinster sleuth Miss Marple in three new episodes of the popular Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple series – A Caribbean Mystery, Greenshaw’s Folly and Endless Night. Sundays, September 21 and 28, 2014
Inspector Lewis, Season 7
Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox return for a seventh season of the beloved Inspector Lewis series.
Hathaway has been promoted to Inspector after an extended break from
the force, and Lewis is enjoying retired life until he’s asked to team
up with his old colleague again. With their partnership renewed under
altered circumstances, the duo continues to solve crime in the seemingly
perfect academic haven of Oxford. Sundays, October 5-19, 2014, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET
Death Comes to Pemberley
An adaptation of P.D. James’ witty and inventive continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice picks
up the story six years after the marriage of Elizabeth and Darcy. As
preparations are being made for a ball at their Pemberley home, the
discovery of a corpse brings an abrupt and shocking halt to the
proceedings — and a threat to all that the Darcys hold dear. Sundays, October 26-November 2, 2014, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET
Worricker: Turks & Caicos
Bill Nighy reprises his role as MI5 spy Johnny Worricker in a follow-up to the acclaimed Page Eight (MASTERPIECE,
2011). Worricker, who has just left his job at MI5, escapes to the
distant islands of Turks & Caicos, where an order from the CIA puts
him back to work. The top-tier cast also includes Christopher Walken,
Winona Ryder, Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes. Written and
directed by David Hare. Sunday, November 9, 2014, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET
Worricker: Salting the Battlefield
Worricker trilogy concludes with Johnny (Bill Nighy) and Margot (Helena
Bonham Carter) managing to stay ahead of an international dragnet all
across Europe. British Prime Minister Alec Beasley (Ralph Fiennes) and
old MI5 colleague Jill Tankard (Judy Davis) desperately want Johnny back
—but for different reasons. Who will win this frenzied game of spy
versus spy? Written and directed by David Hare. Sunday, November 16, 2014, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET