JR Ripley: Cardinal Sin Tuesday, May 28 2019 

Please welcome author JR Ripley, to tell readers about his new release, CARDINAL SIN, just published May 14th~

Hi, I’m JR Ripley, author of the A Bird Lover’s Mystery series. Book #9, CARDINAL SIN, is out!

CARDINAL SIN has got a rare yellow cardinal, a voodoo doll deity who refuses to go away, and a dead body or two. None of which belong to birds, by the way. We kill people here, not birds. Although, as I always like to say: “Plenty of people get killed but nobody really gets hurt!”

You DO NOT have to know a thing about birds or even be a bird lover to enjoy these books. That’s Amy Simm’s job. Amy is the owner of Birds & Bees, a store for bird watching enthusiasts in the small, fictional town of Ruby Lake, in western North Carolina.

And now a blurb from our sponsor, er, publisher, whose publicist/marketing whiz has this to say:

Birds & Bees owner Amy Simms will need help from her fine-feathered friends when an uncommon bird sighting plunges her into a hornet’s nest of black magic and murder most foul…

Amy’s enjoying a rare moment of relaxation when a customer shows up seeking her expertise in ID-ing an unusual bird she’s seen flying around her wooded cabin at the edge of town. Ruby Lake, North Carolina, newcomer Yvonne Rice resembles an exotic bird herself——apparently the kind that doesn’t fly. When she’s found shot to death in her locked cabin, the only witness is a statue of a voodoo deity staring down from the mantel.

Does the rare yellow cardinal Yvonne spotted hold any clues to her demise? What about the Ouija board spelling out the words “I am murdered?” As Amy delves deeper into Yvonne’s life and meets her strangely secretive neighbors, she’s determined to stop a fowl-hearted murderer from migrating to a new killing ground . . .

DIE, DIE BIRDIE, book #1 of A Bird Lover’s Mystery series was issued in mass-market in August 2018. Book #2 in the series, TOWHEE GET YOUR GUN, released March 26th of this year and book #3 releases on August 27th.

Confused? Don’t feel bad. I get that way sometimes too!

That is because my publisher, Kensington (whom I love at least as much as I love chocolate cake), releases the epub editions ahead of the print editions. This does lead to some occasional confusion by readers and a great deal of confusion on the part of yours truly because I sometimes forget, in making public appearances, just what it is I am supposed to be promoting.

I blame my parents. It is their fault I went to a traditional university rather than Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College where I might have learned something useful, like juggling. Instead, I write books. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them. If not, one of us is going to be in trouble – and we know who that is…

Bio: JR Ripley is a novelist and musician, currently writing the Bird Lover’s Mystery series, the Maggie Miller mysteries, and the TV Pet Chef mysteries (writing as Marie Celine). Unfit for the real world, prior to writing full-time, JR slaved away at a multitude of jobs including: archaeologist, cook, factory worker, copy & technical writer, editor, musician, entrepreneur, window washer and more – all grist for the writer’s mill. You can connect with JR at Facebook.com/JRRipley & Twitter @JRRipleyAuthor.

Three for Me: Susan Hill; Aline Templeton; Sophie Hannah Sunday, May 26 2019 

Despite receiving multiple books for review, Auntie M often buys books she wants to read and these three were from her spring crop, presented her for your Memorial Day reading pleasure. All three rate high marks are from some of Auntie M’s favorite authors, so if you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting their acquaintance, dive in now! Highly recommended!!


After an absence that seemed far too long, Susan Hill brings us a new Chief Superintendant Simon Serrailer mystery with The Comforts of Home.

After the horrendous ending to The Soul of Discretion, one could have wondered if we would see Serrailler again, but here he is, adjusting to a new life after his near-fatal injuries, which provides a shocker of an opening. Without melodrama, Serarrailler must learn to cope with his new situation, an enormous adjustment.

His recuperation on a small Scottish island is cut into when the local police ask him to become invovled in a murder inquiry. Despite being relatively new to the island, the popular victim is mourned after being found in unusual circumstances and the death creates a wave of fear that sweeps through the isolated community.

A second case, a cold case assigned by Serrailler’s new brother-in-law, brings its own thorny situation. Now married to his doctor sister, Cat, Kieron Bright relies on Serrailler’s insights, even as Cat struggles with her new marriage and an important professional decision. Her children’s futures are an additional strain on Serrailler, as is his understandably thorny relationship with his father.

This is not a fast-paced thriller, but a superb meditation on loss, family, change, and home, wrapped up in two mysteries that must be untangled. Serrailler heals his mind as well as his body with walks, meditating on his future, his new abilities, and of course, solving the cases.

Aline Templeton’s new detective, after the wonderful DI Fleming series, is DCI Kelson Strang of the Serious Rural Crime Squad in Scotland. His second outing in Carrion Comfort cements this character as strong enough to carry his weight even as he feels his way in this new position.

The small village of Forsich retains many of the old habits, which come with old lingering hatreds, too, and none is stronger than that of Gabrielle Ross, blamed for her father’s destruction of the village.

But whether the woman is benign or evil is something Strang must decide when the body of a drowning victim is found being eaten ravens in aruined croft house. Who bothered to put the body there?

Gabrielle is recovering after losing a baby with her devoted husband, but is she also losing her mind? With her sanity at question, and the villager’s loathing for her, Gabrielle is in tenuous position with fingers pointing at her as the culprit after the blowback from her dead father’s failed local business venture.

Templeton weaves in the social conflicts of modern Britain, from law enforcement budget cuts to the impact of vulture capitalism on small towns. Her descriptions of the local landscapes and the natural environment bring it to life as another character that has its own part to play in the life cycle of this rural area.

Different from the Fleming mysteries, these are edgier characters and there is a darker tone. Strang is still settling into his job, although he’s provided with a female DC who needs his tutoring and should become a series regular. The locals take center stage, with flawed characters whose grudges propel the narrative even as they blind themselves to reality.

Sophie Hannah’s Hercule Poirot is magnificently resurrected under Hannah’s skillful writing in The Mystery of Three Quarters, which starts off with Poirot immediately put on the wrong foot after arrving home from a luncheon to find a woman angrily demanding to know why he sent her a letter accusing her of murder.

Of course, Poirot has done no such thing, and the man the letter accuses Sylvia Rule of killing, one Barnabas Pandy, is someone neither Sylvia nor Poirot have ever met. As if that’s not enought to shake his equanimity, he finds another visitor waiting, claiming to have a received a similar letter from Poirot, accusing him of murdering Pandy.

It’s a lively premise and one Poirot, completely innocent, yet annoyed at being dragged into this farce, must get to the bottom of as eventually there will be four letters, seemingly from Poirot, and yes, Pandy is indeed dead, but not under suspicious circumstances.

Poirot’s “Hastings” in this series is Scotland Yard’s Edward Catchpool, whom Poirot enlists to look into each of the four people who’ve received forged letter, as well as Pandy and his seemingly innocuous death. Several secondary characters contrast nicely to Poirot; the three quarters of the title refers to a ‘church window’ cake that plays an important part in helping solve the case.

This is an elegant mystery, one that takes its due from Christie’s knack for inspecting the English way of doing things as well as keen insights into human nature. While allowing Hannah her own way of telling us these new Poirot cases, nothing of Christie’s original character is lost and, indeed, rests well in Hannah’s most capable hands. A sheer delight.

Roz Watkins: The Devil’s Dice & Dead Man’s Daughter Wednesday, May 22 2019 

It’s Roz Watkins Day, and if you’re not familiar with that name, keep an eye out for this strong new series that mixes a police procedural with the best of psychological suspense.

Roz Watkins burst onto the crime fiction scene introducing DI Meg Dalton, in the atmospheric The Devil’s Dice. The Peak District setting evokes Stephen Booth’s Fry and Cooper series, but with its own spin readers will enjoy.

A strong protagonist is required to carry a series, and Meg Dalton does the job here, despite having her own baggage to carry, when a local patent lawyer, Peter Hamilton, is found dead inside a cave known as a suicide point, part of a network of caves known as The Labyrinth for their complexity.

A local legend of The Labyrinth revolves around ancient witch sagas, with the the lore that a large chamber holds a noose. If your initials are found carved into the cave wall, the noose is there for you. Spooky and creepy but the stuff that makes legends like this endure.

So it’s even creepier when a carving of the grim reaper is found by Hamilton’s body, along with an inscription that says ‘Coming for PHH.’ DI Meg Dalton isn’t a stranger to suicide, but she’s hoped to leave her past in the past.

When Meg interviews Hamilton’s his wife and sister,the wife fears the local rumours about a curse attached to her home have come true. Hamilton’s business partners are soon added to Meg’s suspect list with good reason.

The plot is nicely contorted, with the setting taking on its own part to play. Meg’s family have a unique contribution to the story, and her colleagues are a mixed bunch of different characters who leap off the page in their individualism, including a lapsed Sikh and a misogynistic DC who enjoys putting Meg down.

This is a strong start to the series and since we’re having a bit of a Roz Watkins day, we’ll go on this sequel, Dead Man’s Daughter.

Starting off with a strong opening, Meg finds a ten-year old girl running barefoot through woods in a blood-stained nightdress toward a spot called Dead Girl’s Drop by the locals.

When she rescues Abbie Thornton and inspects her home, the girl’s father has been stabbed to death in his bed. There’s a history of death in the family before, and medical transplant issues that have bearing on this family, but right now Meg is convinced she can’t take on this big case, with a family committment due next week that runs like a thread throughout the book and may have consequences for Meg’s professional life.

But reluctantly, and with great misgivings, when Abbie is considered to have killed her father, Meg does become involved as she digs deeply into the history and the suspects surrounding this case to clear Abbie’s name.

This leads to dark and often surprising places for Meg as she pushes the investigation forward where others on her team would settle for the easy path out. Using vivid descriptions adds to the feeling readers are there with Meg on her investigation, and Watkins knows how to ratchet up the tension with a complex plot that twists at just the right moment.

The difficult themes of organ donation and of assisted suicide are explored with sensitivity by Watkins. Meg must deal with office politics, too, and her own quirks as she tries to heal her past. These issues add a layer and thoughtfulness to the series, and tied with the exhaustive research Watkins must have done, pays off beautifully.

In Meg Dalton, Watkins has a created a spontaneous detective who relies on her hunches at times but never loses her heart. Highly recommended series.

Vanda Simon: Overkill Monday, May 20 2019 

Shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel, Overkill is Vanda Symon’s debut featuring police constable Sam Shephard and promises to be a strong series.

With the natural setting intriguing to readers unfamiliar with the area, this New Zealand procedural starts off with a bang with the disappearance of a young mother.

The reader knows more than the police in this case, and what is first deemed a suicide is quickly ferreted out to be a murder. The chilling opening creates a picture of a young mother desparate to save her child and is all the ore compelling for what she is forced to endure.

For Sam, the knowledge that there is a killer in the small town of Mataura is compounded by the victim being the wife of Sam’s former lover. With a young child left behind complicating matters, Sam is determined to find the killer, especially after her invovlement and close ties finds her suspended from duty and on the list of suspects.

Sam has a no-nonsense approach to policing that makes her a feisty woman on a mission and also her a prime candidate to carry a series that weaves together the unusual rural landscape with the harsh realities of gossip that is small-town life. Sam must face prejudice and ignorance as she realizes that people she’s known her entire life must be involved in the young mother’s murder.

With the tension mounting, Sam and those close to her will find themselves in danger as the stakes rise higher and higher. An accomplished debut.

Steph Broadribb: Deep Dirty Truth Sunday, May 19 2019 

The third Lori Anderson thriller finds single mother and bounty hunter Anderson in a race for everyone she loves in Deep Dirty Truth which starts off with a bang when Lori is kidnapped after dropping her daughter off at school.

Written in the first person brings Lori’s voice to the forefront, and the realistic and snappy dialogue that accompanies the frenetic pace adds to the tension of this high-wired plot when Lori has only 48 hours to save herself and her family after being given an ultimatum by Miami mobsters.

A strong protagonist who carries the book well, Lori is usually on what she considers the right side of the law until her family is threatened. This time she has a deadline to deliver a man being held in FBI protective custody who is set to testify against the mob.

It’s a tough, breathless race across Florida, filled with grit and determination due to the high stakes. Readers not familiar with the series can read this as a standalone. Broadribb’s training as a bounty hunter in the US adds a high level of reality to Lori and the dark trail she’s on.

A fresh voice in action thrillers, one Mark Billingham calls “a real cracker.”

NFReads.com: Paying it Forward Saturday, May 18 2019 

This article by Auntie M appears today in NF Reads (nfreads.com). Just click on the link if you’re interested in reading how her relationship with PD James led to Auntie M starting the Writers Read program in Belhaven NC:

https://www.nfreads.com/paying-it-forward/.

Mandy Morton: Beyond the Gravy Thursday, May 16 2019 


You don’t have to be a cat person to take great delight in the world of cats created in Beyond the Gravy, Mandy Morton’s newest entry in the No. 2 Feline Detective series.

Hettie Bagshot and her partner Tilly have endured a long winter and are looking for a nice change in the weather and a new case to fill their coffers, when Tilly wins a contest that involves a cash prize and the promise of the duo traveling to Agatha Cripsy’s Devon home for tea.

But before that can happen, they are approached by psychic Irene Peggledrip, who has been having visits from a group of murdering spirits, intent on bringing chaos to her home. Hettie and Tilly are present for a round of, among other things, indoor snowstorms and a lovely Victoria sponge thrown against the bookshelves, to Tilly’s dismay, only a part of the hijinks these restless spirits produce.

Meanwhile, Molly Bloom’s new cafe’ becomes the town’s new gathering spot, with great food at hand, always a treat for hungry felines. But what message does congealed gravy hold for Irene’s complicated future? And will that Devon trip materialize? A seance held at the cafe only complicates things but makes one thing clear: Hettie and Tilly must find the culprit still roaming so that these spirits can rest.

With the return of familiar characters such as Poppa and Buster, this world of cats offers a respite from the ills of todays world, wrapped up in a darn good mystery as the duo’s investigation advances, while it seems at time that the mystifying puzzle won’t be solved, even if Tilly is wearing her best cardigan.

Morton treats her mystery seriously in a parellel universe filled with only felines who have the same worries, problems and issues as humans. Her research and history will surprise readers new to the series, so if this is your first experience, go back to the beginning and read the entire series.

Packed with charm, and with Morton’s trademark wit, these are characters who will warm your heart while the mystery is being solved——just what the world needs now. Highly recommended.

Anne Cleeland: Murder in Just Cause Sunday, May 12 2019 

Anne Cleelands’ popular Doyle and Action series returns with Murder in Just Cause. Back at Scotland Yard after her maternity leave, the Irish Doyle is seconded to DS Isabella Munoz, the colleague with whom she has a fractious relationship at the best of times.

Doyle expects a relatively quiet return but soon finds herself caught up in a supposed suicide at a housing estate, yet her special antenna are soon twitching as all is not as it looks at the surface and this is soon proved true on several levels. With her husband, the powerful Lord who happens to be Chief Inspector Action, only one of the few who have knowledge of Doyle’s highly developed sixth sense when it comes to truth-telling, Doyle finds herself in a tight place once again.

Action has his own methods of dealing out justice, a vigilante way that often has Doyle wringing her hands while trying to curb his ways and stick to what she sees as the right side of the law. Acton dealing with corruption within the force, has few people he trusts and his worries for his little family and young son increase.

The sexual tension between the couple adds a nice tension to a police procedural stood on its head. The title refers to the English law called “murder in just cause,” in which a murder can be committed with just cause due to the outcome. Doyle,a strict Roman Catholic, feels there is never just cause for any murder, in direct conflict with Acton’s methods.

The returning secondary characters are well-drawn, and even Munoz shows a bit of growth and development. There’s plenty here to make this an absorbing and entertaining read with its fast-paced plot that Cleeland cleverly winds around several threads to a satisfying conclusion.

Marybeth Mayhew Whalen: Only Ever Her Friday, May 10 2019 


Marybeth Mayhew Whalen, known her her suspense novels, bring the story to small town South Carolina in Only Ever Her.

Annie Taft is getting married. That’s the news that has the small rural town of Ludlow in an uproar. Their favorite daughter was only three years old when her mother was murdered and she became the town’s unofficial mascot. Raised by her aunt Faye alongside her cousin Clary, Annie’s good fortune is the town’s.

The book tracks the two weeks up to the wedding which increases the suspense after the man convicted of murdering Annie’s mother, Cordell Lewis, is released from prison after DNA evidence shows someone else was probably responsible. Understandably upset over the ruling, Annie turns to her old friend, Kenny, who has carried a torch for Annie for years. Their relationship is one they’ve both kept private.

On the day Lewis is released, Annie disappears. She’s been known to take off to be alone when stressed, and at first her aunt and cousin and even her bridesmaids cut her some slack. But as the wedding draws closer with no sighting or text or call from Annie, it becomes clear they are missing their bride.

People from Annie’s past, her fiancee, the local sheriff, all converge on Faye’s house, waiting for word as an extensive search takes place. With the story told from many viewpoints, it’s clear that everyone has their own theory about what’s happened to Annie.

A character-driven suspense novel where secrets must be revealed between people who all have one thing in common: their love for Annie.

Katherine Hall Page: The Body in the Wake Wednesday, May 8 2019 

Katherine Hall Page is having a silver anniversary! The publication of her 25th Faith Fairchild mystery this week brings a new release to the well-loved series with The Body in the Wake. Don’t miss this addition, set in Maine, where the catering sleuth is supposed to be on vacation and helping to plan the wedding of her friend’s daughter.

Relaxing goes out the window when Faith finds a body while swimming. Caught in the reeds in the Lily Pond, the strange tattoo on the victim her first clue that something shocking has invaded her little corner of the world at Sanpere Island.

Addressing a real issue in our country on a smaller level brings home the drama and distress of the nationwide opiod crisis, while Faith ends up digging into what’s behind it all. There will be time for cooking and recipes, too, in another delightful installment from the double Agatha Award winner and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Malice Domestic.

Auntie M recently had a chance to ask Page about her books and the long-running series:

Auntie M: Congratulations on THE BODY IN THE WAKE, number 25 in this popular series. How do you keep Faith Fairchild as a series character fresh?

Katherine Hall Page: One of the joys of writing this long ongoing series—something that continues to amaze me—is the opportunity to follow Faith and family across many years, a lifetime in effect. As in our own lives, what happens, both good and bad, creates a fresh dynamic in each book. When it became apparent that this was going to be a series, I alternated the locales every other book as a way to keep the series fresh as well. There are the Aleford books, as is the first, The Body in the Belfry, set in Faith’s hometown west of Boston and then the “Someplace Else” books, set in Maine, Vermont, Savannah, New York City, Norway, and France.

AM: You chose your Maine setting for this one, Sanpere Island where the Fairchild’s have their summer home. It’s obvious that you have a deep affection for the area. Can you explain to readers why this setting has such significance for you?

KHP: I grew up in northern New Jersey, but starting in 1958 my parents decided that it made sense to drive north for twelve + hours with three kids for Dad’s precious vacation to Deer Isle, Maine despite living a short drive from the very beautiful Jersey shore! Before the war they had been camp counselors near Camden, Maine and fell in love with Penobscot Bay. They bought a small piece of land on a cove in the early 1960s and built a cottage. I’ve been on the island for part of every summer, and since my parents are buried there in a lovely cemetery with room for the rest of us, plan to be there a long time. As native Mainers say, “Just because a cat has kittens in the oven, doesn’t make them biscuits”, I will never be a “native”, but it’s where my heart is and I’m now living in our cottage for 4 months of the year. As a setting, the island is not only stunning, but abounds with tales!

AM: You’re not afraid to tackle the deepening drug crisis in this book. What made you decide to have that theme when there’s also the anticipation of a summer wedding in the action?

KHP: First of all, I have a deep seated dislike for what I call “Soapbox Mysteries” in which the author has a point of view, social, political or otherwise, that gets rammed down the reader’s throat to the detriment of all else such as plot, setting characters etc. I wanted to write about the drug crisis on the island and by extension everywhere else, but did not want to preach or have it get in the way of the story.

But it is the story today and a grim one growing worse. We all have friends and family who have fallen victim to various addictions. By telling just one I wanted to put a face on the problem. In this book, a young woman, Arlene, becomes dependent as a result of prescription medicine she was legally given for pain after a car accident. I also did want to slip in information about medically assisted treatment and also the fact that there are no simple turnarounds. Addicts relapse. This doesn’t make them bad people or criminals. It makes them human and we need to cherish them. And weddings are times of great emotion, plus so much fun to write about!

AM: Your characters are your extended family by now, as you’ve carved lives for them and written of their growth. Do you plot this growth ahead or as you start each book? Do you have an over-arching story arc for any of them for their futures that you envision?

KHP: I think about the Fairchild family even when I am not looking at a computer screen. They have become very real to me. Now I wish I were one of those writers who say their characters take on lives of their own and write themselves, but I did not receive a draught of that potion. That said I ask myself that essential for all writers question, “What if?” and think about it in regard to this family.

What if Tom and Faith start to have problems in their marriage? What form would it take? What if son Ben is not the target of a bully, but joins the bullying group? What if daughter Amy fails to recognize the obvious signs that something more than an allergy is causing her employer’s stuffed up nose? Much of what I think about the Fairchilds never makes it into any of the books, but informs all of them. Not perfect people, thank goodness, but people I think we’d like to know. The story, the essential part of each book, grows from the characters and I have to make sure they don’t get in the way with too much detail—or not enough.

AM: Close friends are important to the Fairchilds and have become repeat characters. Yet you seamlessly weave in the ones we probably won’t see again, such as the Childs and the Cranes, with several surprises there. How much outlining do you do before plunging into the writing?

KHP: In the past I outlined extensively, but found I wasn’t using them so much as other methods. I think it’s Harlan Coben who answered one of his children with “Daddy’s working” when he was just sitting and staring out the window. Before I write a single word there’s much walking around, thinking in the shower, and especially during that time just before sleep. I know it doesn’t look like I am working, but I am.

I know where the book will take place since I alternate locales and always write a very lengthy synopsis that goes to my editor who may make a suggestion or two. Then I write the book. I use those notebooks from France with the small grids to keep my messy handwriting legible and start with a list of characters. I think of them as a kind of ensemble troupe with the leads, the Fairchilds, permanently cast and then others come and go. Some never cross the stage again, but the Millers, Ursula Rowe and Millicent Revere McKinley almost always make an appearance. That’s why the wedding was such a joy to include. Everyone was invited.

Last word: the villains in the story, the alive ones, never return for an encore!

AM: What forms the germ of a plot idea for a new story?

KHP: Back to process. The synopsis forms the skeleton of the book and it may, and does, change over the course of writing it (always the hard part). I keep lists of characters with a few words describing them on that first page of the notebook, followed by pages of a timeline and list of chapters with brief descriptions about what is happening in them as I go along. The timeline helps me keep the days straight, so if a week has passed, Faith doesn’t say, “Yesterday, I….”

I also keep a list of first and last lines by chapter so each does not start with “Faith woke up.” and end with “She heard a mysterious noise…” However, that last line has to make the reader keep turning to the next chapter and stay up all night. Plot ideas come from all sorts of sources, especially eavesdropping (I have no shame and my husband is used to being shushed in restaurants if there is something juicy being said at the next table. Also women say fascinating things in restrooms to each other when they think all the stalls are empty!).

My favorite description of the writing process comes from Madeleine L’Engle: “It’s like taking dictation from one’s imagination.”

AM: The recipes included at the back are a hallmark of your stories. Do you taste test them all? (I’m trying the Blueberry Buckle soon!)

KHP: The recipes are the most difficult parts of the books to write. I start them often a book ahead, knowing where the setting will be. They must all be original—can’t just open Julia and copy—and they need to be easy—not caterer types—require no expensive or exotic ingredients, and most all off taste delicious. The recipes in the Body in the Wake are summer ones, most Down East favorites with Faith’s spin on them. Fortunately I love to cook.

AM: Can you give readers a clue as to what lies ahead for Faith and her family?

KHP: Observant readers will have noted that Faith and Tom are aging much more slowly than their children (joy of fiction-I can do this, unlike one’s own march through the years). When the first book came out, a dear friend, the late William Deeck, who knew more about the genre than anyone I’ve ever known, advised keeping the children in the wings and avoid cuteness. I’ve stuck by this, but now that they are older, they are jumping in more, as in Amy in this book. So that’s a direction. And I do love Sophie Maxwell who was introduced in The Body in the Birches and now appears in a third book.

AM: -Whose books would we find on your nightstand? Which of your colleagues books you eagerly anticipate reading?

KHP: First my colleagues. I have always been a fan of Margaret Maron’s and was devastated when she stopped the Deborah Knott series. Also Dorothy Cannell—The Thin Woman is reread often to keep me from getting too depressed by world events. I also read Peter Robinson, Charles Todd, Harlan Coben, Ian Rankin, all the Scandinavians. Very different books from the kind I write. I also go back to vintage mysteries—Christie, Sayers, Mary Stewart, Rex Stout, Patricia Moyes, people like Joan Coggin, reprinted by Rue Morgue Press and all their other titles.

I read a great deal outside the genre as well. Right now, Maeve Brennan’s The Springs of Affection Dublin Stories. I enjoy Irish fiction, old and new, plus all the titles from Persephone Books, which reprints neglected fiction and nonfiction, mostly by women starting in the mid-twentieth century https://www.persephonebooks.co.uk/

Also YA- Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczko is an amazing new discovery. Love Lois Lowry, Cynthia Voigt, Angie Thomas. And always delve into a Neil Gaiman and Gregory Maguire. There is usually a thick biography in the stack, right now The Chief by David Nasaw (William Randolph Hearst). I read cookbooks with no intent on having to make the food, but just to read them for pleasure. Also food memoirs. Oh, and I totally need frequent doses of British chicklit—Sophie Kinsella, Katie Ffjorde and on our shores, the incomparable Mary Kay Andrews (great mysteries as Kathy Trocheck too). And cannot forget my most favorite— Nancy Mitford! Phew!

AM: Thank you, Katherine, for this enlightening look into your world. Readers will certainly enjoy The Body in the Wake

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Gaslight Crime

Authors and reviewers of historical crime fiction

Crimezine

#1 for Crime

Mellotone70Up

John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama