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Newsletter- September 2013

Murder By The Bye
A monthly newsletter from
 Murder By The Book
September 2013
  
September is always a busy month in the book world. Publishers consider it to be the beginning of a new season and often release titles by many big name authors during the month. September 2013 is no exception, with new books by Sue Grafton, Lee Child and many others due out. Once again this month’s selections offer a little something for everyone. So come on, it’s time to fall into some good reading.
  W is for women writers who offer us tough cookies, genteel sleuths and everything in between.
 
Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives ($16.00) (edited by Sarah Weinman) includes fourteen short stories from “the trailblazers of domestic suspense.” As Weinman explains, “Domestic suspense is a catch-all term for work largely published by womenand describing the plight of women- wives, daughters, the elderly, spinsters, the underserved, the overlooked and many other phrases used then- as WWII was coming to a close.”  In this collection, familiar authors Patricia Highsmith, Shirley Jackson, and Margaret Millar share the pages with the less well known Nedra Tyre, Miriam AllenDeford and Barbara Callahan. Weinman’s goal with this anthology is to “allow readers to sample and be introduced to writers who have fallen by the proverbial wayside.” and we look forward to discovering some hidden gems. Readers can visit Weinman’s website http://domesticsuspense.com where she celebrates the overlooked generation of female suspense writers.
 
Sue Grafton
praised Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives saying “This collection
represents a long overdue tribute to mystery writers who laid the foundation for those of us working in the field today.” Grafton should know, she has been publishing her bestselling Kinsey Millhone series since 1982’s A is for Alibi. Kinsey returns this month in W Is For Wasted ($28.95) and continues to investigate crimes in the fictional town ofSanta Teresa, California. This time out she is looking into two seemingly unrelatedevents: the murder of a PI and the death of a homeless man found with her name and number in his pocket. Readers familiar with the series, which is set in the 1980s, know quite a bit about Kinsey: she is a former cop turned private investigator; she is good at what she does; divorced twice, lives alone in a studio apartment; drives a VW, usually with the one dress she owns tossed in the backseat in case of emergencies; and loves peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. Oh, and she has intimacy issues stemming from thedeath of her parents when she was very young. Grafton is a master at combining these very human elements with tight plots, straightforward storytelling, and compelling mysteries. Kinsey is a professional and her years of experience come to her aid in W Is For Wasted. Grafton says “ the stories...have nothing to do with technology and everything to do with human nature. Obviously, the modern day private detective and law enforcement experts have at their disposal a vast array of equipment and scientifictechniques to aid in their pursuit of the criminal element, but I'd be willing to bet thatmuch of the crime-solving process still comes down to skill, intuition, and experience.”We’re betting that the resourceful Kinsey has the determination to carry her throughuntil Z is for_________.
 
J. A. Jance
and her J.P. Beaumont character have been fan favorites since Until Proven
Guilty was published in 1985. “Beau,” as he’s known to his pals, is a retired Seattlepolice officer who now investigates crimes for the Washington Homicide SpecialInvestigation Team. In Second Watch ($26.99), his 21st appearance, Beau recuperatesfrom knee replacement surgery, and reflects back on his time spent on the force andprior to that, his tour of duty in Vietnam. Old secrets and forgotten memories are dredged up during his road to recovery. As Jance has said about her characters “Whenthey get hurt either physically or emotionally, they don’t get over it within the nexttwenty pages. Things that happen to them in one book impinge on what they’re doing in the next,” and this certainly proves true for Beau in Second Watch.
 Also out this month is Jance’s collection of poetry and essays After The Fire ($15.99).She often mentions this book at her signings, sometimes reading a poem or two as she shares her life with her readers. First published in 1984—the year before Until Proven Guilty launched her career as a mystery writer—After the Fire recalls her years of living with an alcoholic husband and her struggle to reclaim herself as the marriage collapsed.
 
The Whole Enchilada ($26.99) is Diane Mott Davidson’s latest culinary mystery featuring caterer Goldy Schulz. Since her first appearance in 1990’s Catering to Nobody, Goldy has been cooking up some amazing dishes and solving crimes that always seem to be connected to her catering jobs. In her latest outing, death strikes close to home for Goldy when Holly Ingleby, an old friend, collapses and dies during a party Goldy organized for their sons’17th birthdays, which was supposed to be a fun-filled event with good food and close friends. When it’s discovered that Holly didn’t die of natural causes, Goldy sets out to discover who could have wanted her friend dead, and becomes the killer’s next target. As always, Davidson includes recipes from Goldy’s kitchen, including Enchiladas Suizas.
 
Laurie R. King’s The Bones Of Paris ($26.00) is a departure from her well-known series featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. American investigator Harris Stuyvesant is hired by the family of a wealthy young socialite who seems to have disappeared in Paris, where, in the late 1920s, writers, musicians and artists were exploring the freedoms of The Jazz Age. During the course of his investigation, Stuyvesant encounters such notables as Ernest Hemingway, Man Ray and Sylvia Beach as he searches for the missing girl. Joining forces with Bennet Grey, a reclusive friend who dabbles in detection, Stuyvesant follows the trail to Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in Montmartre where his investigation takes a disturbing turn. Read Barbara’s review at: http://mbtbbooks.blogspot.com/
 
Look for King's Garment Of Shadows ($16.00), the most recent Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes mystery also due out this month. In their 13th adventure, Russell finds herself disoriented and alone in Morocco while Holmes works on an unrelated case in Europe, at first unaware that his wife is missing. As Russell searches for clues to her identity, Holmes searches for her in a country poised on the brink of war. This long-running series began with 1994’s The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, which MBTB has recommended highly over the years.
 
Available now in one volume, The Complete Short Stories ($19.99) by Dorothy L.
Sayers is a treat for fans of the classic British mystery. Her most popular character, Lord Peter Wimsey, the epitome of the “gentleman sleuth,” appears in 20 of these stories.Unlike Lord Peter, Montague Egg is a working man, a traveling salesman and amateur puzzle solver who appears in 11 stories. Rounding out the collection are 12 intriguing tales, including The Cyprian Cat, first published in 1933.
 
If you want even more Golden Age goodness, Agatha Christie’s The Grand Tour:
Around The World With The Queen Of Mystery ($19.99) is now available in paperback and shows Agatha’s enthusiasm for such places as South African beaches, Australian sheep stations and New York City’s cafeterias. The Washington Post says “No murders.That’s the one complaint Agatha Christie fans may make about The Grand Tour, an otherwise marvelous compendium of never-before-published letters, autobiographical excerpts and black-and-white photographs generated by Christie and her first husband, Archie, during the round-the-world tour they took in 1922.” And be sure to check out the charming photo of Agatha “The Grand Dame of Golden Age Mysteries” Christie in a swimsuit, holding a surfboard!
  Let’s not forget the men, providing us with characters who can be both tough and tenderhearted.
 
Jack Reacher returns! The last three books in Lee Child’s series (61 Hours, Worth Dying For and A Wanted Man) have been building up to the pulse pounding events in Never Go Back ($28.00). Just when readers think that Reacher can’t take any more and that Child can’t throw another curve ball his way, the suspense just ramps up another notch. Publishers Weekly’s starred review of Never Go Back sums up the action: “As usual, head-busting physicality and analytical problem solving play key roles in Reacher's fight to prove his innocence and expose his enemies. Manhunts on both coasts, a link to corruption in Afghanistan in the wake of the U.S. military drawdown, and the possibility for romance for Reacher make this entry one of the best in the series.” Lee Child’s legion of fans known as “Reacher’s Creatures” can’t wait!
 
The Edwin Drood Murders ($14.95) by Christopher Lord is the latest in a delightful series set in Dickens Junction, Oregon. First seen in The Christmas Carol Murder, bookstore owner Simon Alastair is busy running his shop and organizing a convention honoring Charles Dickens’s novel The Mystery Of Edwin Drood. Unfinished at the time of his death, The Mystery of Edwin Drood has fascinated readers for years because the identity of the murderer is never revealed. When fans of the novel, known as “Droodists,” descend on Simon’s small town he is soon caught up in hunt for a missing Dickensian artifact and a “Droodist” who will let nothing stand in the way of their obsession. Described by the author as a “cozy mystery series combining the atmosphere of a classic Agatha Christie puzzle, the deft touch of Charlotte MacLeod, a hint of Oscar Wilde’s humor, and the literary spirit of the great Charles Dickens,” this series is sure to appeal to readers looking for a traditional mystery with a colorful setting.
 Christopher Lord will be teaching a seminar called “Detective Fiction in the Golden Age” as part of the Delve series sponsored by Portland Arts and Lectures. Works by Edgar Allan Poe, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie will be discussed during the six-week seminar. Information can be found at lierary-arts.org or by calling Jennifer at 503-227-2583 ext. 101.
 
Warren C. Easley’s debut mystery Matters of Doubt ($14.95) is set in Oregon wine country and in the streets of Portland. Attorney Cal Claxton left California after the death of his wife and set up a small practice in Dundee, Oregon. Taking only a handful of cases, Cal’s days are a far cry from his former life as a prosecutor. When a scruffy kid shows up at Cal’s office, after having ridden his bike from Portland, and asks for help finding his mother’s murderer, Cal tells him that it’s a job for the police, or a private investigator, not an attorney. Even when the kid—who goes by Picasso on the streets—offers him money, Cal turns the case down but there is something about Picasso that touches Cal, and he decides to do a little research. He discovers that the mother’s remains had recently been discovered in a reservoir and that the investigation would be handled by the over-worked and under-funded Cold Case Unit. Cal decides to find the boy and with the help of a Portland PI friend, he discovers that the homeless young man is well known as a muralist. Cal works to gain Picasso’s trust and agrees to look into the circumstances of his mother’s death. When Picasso is charged with murder, Cal finds himself working to free the young artist. Easley shines a light on a part of Portland that isn't covered in guide books, and his compassion for the city’s young homeless population in particular comes through. In addition to having his first book published this month, Easley also had a short story published in Kwik Krimes, the recent anthology edited by Otto Penzler.
Local readers will have several chances to meet Warren C. Easley :
September 10th at Annie Blooms Books http://www.annieblooms.com/
September 12th at Rain or Shine Coffee House http://rainorshinepdx.com/
September 21st at Seattle Mystery Bookshop  http://www.seattlemystery.com
 
The Thicket
($26.00) by Joe R. Lansdale is full of the gritty storytelling readers have come to expect from this American master of crime fiction. Young Jack Parker thought he’d had a life’s worth of tragedy already: he lost his grandmother when he was five and his parents died during a smallpox epidemic. But Jack knows that life in the early 1900s in East Texas can be harsh, and he’s tested further when his grandfather is killed and his younger sister kidnapped. With the help of a group of unlikely allies, including a bounty hunting dwarf named Shorty and a grave digger named Eustace, Jack pursues the kidnappers through the oil fields of Texas, a place that still feels as untamed and lawless as the Wild West. Lansdale has won numerous awards for his writings, including an Edgar Award for Best Mystery Novel for The Bottoms (which, by the way, MBTB picked as a favorite paperback of the year back in 2001.)
 
Daniel Woodrell’s
The Maid’s Version ($25.00) is his first novel since his 2006 breakout bestseller Winter’s Bone. Based on a true story from Woodrell’s own family, the tale centers on an explosion that killed over 42 people in a dance hall in 1929. Alma Dunahew, whose younger sister perished in the blaze, is a mother of three, working as a maid in West Table, Missouri. Convinced that the explosion was no accident, Alma searches for answers as mobsters, local gypsies, and the town’s bible-thumping preacher all come under suspicion. Alma is like a dog with a bone and her unwillingness to let the matter fade from memory causes a rift in her family. With the opening line “She frightened me at every dawn the summer I stayed with her,” readers are sure to be hooked.
 
Talking To The Dead
($15.00) by Harry Bingham is the first in a hopefully long-running series featuring Welsh detective Fiona Griffiths. A rookie with a troubled past and a two-year gap in her employment history, Fiona is investigating the seemingly drug-related murder of a prostitute and her daughter. A credit card belonging to a prominent man who died over six months ago is found among the victim’s belongings, leading the investigation in an unexpected direction. Fiona’s determination to find the killer, no matter the psychological cost to herself or the damage to her career, make for a “stay up until you finish it” kind of read. Talking To The Dead won a star from MBTB.
 Murder by the Book’s Book Group
Our book group led by local author Lori L. Lake meets the fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Barbara Tom, one of the former owners of MBTB chooses the book to be discussed each month. Meetings are held at the Belmont Branch Library, located at 1038 SE Cesar Chavez Blvd.
On Tuesday, September 24 we will discuss
Dissolution by C.J. Sansom. Dissolution features Matthew Shardlake, an unusual sleuth who is investigating a murder in a mid-16th century English monastery.
 
 
­­­­The Friends of Mystery Book Group meets at the Belmont Library on the third Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. On Wednesday, September 18 they will be discussing Proof  by Dick Francis.
 
 This month’s newsletter includes some wonderful titles but I realized that there are several more that I wanted to bring to your attention. Here, in brief, are some books to add to your “To be read pile.”
How The Light Gets In ($25.99) by Louise Penny with Inspector Gamache and the beloved characters from Three Pines.
 Compound Fractures ($26.95) by Stephen White is the final book in the Alan Gregory series set in Boulder.
Buffalo Bill’s Dead Now ($7.99) by Margaret Coel is the 15th in her series set on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Also out this month is her latest hardcover, Killing Custer ($25.99).
Damned If You Do ($26.95) by Michael Brandman is the continuation of Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series.
Black Skies ($25.99) by Icelandic author Arnaldur Indridason features Insp. Erlendur of Reykjavik.
 Blind Goddess ($26.95) by James Benn is set during WWII with the intrepid Billy Boyle.
The Sound And The Furry ($25.00) by Spencer Quinn is the 6th in the delightful Chet (the dog) and Bernie (the detective) series.
Something Borrowed, Something Dead ($24.99) by M.C. Beaton continues the trials and tribulations of Agatha Raisin.
                         Thanks for reading, please stay in touch,
                                            Jean
Website: www.mbtb.com
Follow us on Twitter: @mbtb

 

 

 

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