My Favorite Reads of 2014: 16 Who Rose to the Top Sunday, Feb 1 2015 

Auntie M reads between 2 and 3 books a week and last year reviewed 86. Out of those reviewed, these 16 authors were her top picks for those of you looking for an author to follow. In no particular order:

Jill Paton Walsh’s fourth Wimsey/Vane mystery, The Late Scholar, gets the tone of Sayers duo just right as the couple and their two sons have grown and mystery brings them back to Oxford.

Michael Robotham’s Watching You takes psychologist Joe O’Loughlin, one of Auntie M’s favorite characters, to one of his most twisted cases yet, when Marnie Logan asks for his help.

Frances Fyfield continues to write amazing psychological crime novels with strong characterizations that never fail to surprise Auntie M. The Goldigger is a case in point.

Sophie Hannah had a banner year. Her two, Kind of Cruel and The Telling Error are vastly different but both with compelling and complex plots. She was chosen by Agatha Christie’s estate to write a new Poirot novel, and in The Monogram Murders, gets the Belgian detectives voice just right.

Aline Templeton continues her DI Marjory Fleming series with a strong entry in Bad Blood.

Elizabeth Haynes Under A Silent Moon proves that there IS a new way to tell a crime story, with this strong entry into police procedurals that includes the forms used in an investigation to follow the clues.

Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan series is a favorite, with two entries: The Last Girl and The Kill.

Harry Bingham’s DC Fiona Lewis brings her unusual background and personality to Love Story, with Murders.

Nicola Upson continues her Josephine Tey series with The Death of Lucy Kyte, based on a real historical murder, and filled with mid-20th century details.

A D Garrett’s debut, Everyone Lies, launched an unusual crime duo who they will bring back in Believe No One.

Deborah Crombie’s Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series keeps getting stronger, as evidence by this 16th offering in To Dwell in Darkness.

James Oswald’s Inspector MacLean series, set in Edinburgh, continues to be a page turner with Dead Men’s Bones.

Tana French has another strong crime novel, this one spanning just one very long day, in The Secret Place.

Tony Parson’s debuted a new series featuring DI Max Wolfe, a single parent to a young daughter, in The Murder Man.

Susan Hill’s Simon Serailler series is a continued delight. She never hesitates to take chances other writers would shy away from, and this is apparent in The Soul of Discretion.

Finally, last but certainly not least of all, we have John Harvey’s last Resnick novel, Darkness, Darkness, a fine tribute to the series of a well-loved detective.

Auntie M hopes if readers haven’t discovered these authors, you will seek them out!

Sandra deHelen: The Illustrious Client Sunday, Mar 2 2014 

Marni, thank you so much for inviting me to be your guest on your fabulous crime review weekly, Auntie M Writes.

I’d like to start by introducing your readers to my protagonist and her sidekick. Shirley Combs is the world’s greatest detective (in her opinion, anyway), and Dr. Mary Watson, a naturopath, is her sidekick and narrator. They live and work in present day Portland, Oregon, just as I do.

They first met at a self-help weekend workshop in Seattle several years ago. That was when Shirley decided to pursue her passion for private investigation, and Mary started chronicling their exploits. One of the things that drew them together was they were both asexual. Shirley most likely always will be, but in the second book, Mary discovers her sexuality and falls in love.

In the first book,THE HOUNDING, Shirley is hired to find the true killer of Priscilla Vandeleur, a timber heiress, who had a phobia of dogs. Someone took advantage of that fear and set hounds on her to literally scare her to death. Sherlock Holmes fans will recognize this story as similar to The Hound of the Baskervilles. All the stories will be descended from Sherlock Holmes stories as written by A. Conan Doyle. Shirley often uses Sherlock’s methods to solve her crimes. She grew up reading the stories and because her name said fast sounds like his, she was teased all her life. She decided maybe having a name that sounded like his wasn’t a coincidence, but a pointer for her life.

The second book finds Shirley and Mary hired by an emissary for an illustrious client, to try their best to get a young French pop star out of the clutches of a billionaire Afghan player. They travel to France to meet with the young woman’s parents, only to be return immediately to Portland when a crime occurs. This novel is called THE ILLUSTRIOUS CLIENT, as might be expected.

The third book, which is in its infancy, will be called THE VALLEY OF FEAR, and will introduce Shirley’s Moriarty.

It is not necessary to read the books in order. The relationship between Shirley and Mary will grow over time, but if you want to read a mystery, you don’t have to know anything about Sherlock Holmes or read them in a particular order.

THE HOUNDING is available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook. The audiobook is set up with Whisper Sync, which allows the reader to listen for awhile, then pick up the Kindle and find it set at the place she left off — and vice versa. THE ILLUSTRIOUS CLIENT is available in paperback and ebook. Both books can be found (or ordered) wherever books are sold. They are also available online through the usual sources.

Sandra de Helen’s books as well as short stories are available at bookstores, libraries, and online. Her poetry and plays are published in several journals. Samples of her works are on her website SandradeHelen.com.

Even though she says she isn’t a “joiner,” de Helen is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Oregon Writers Colony, the Golden Crown Literary Society, and International Centre for Women Playwrights.

Like her at FaceBook.com/drmarywatson, follow her on Twitter @dehelen, and read her blog at RedCrested.com. She lives with her cat Stanton in Portland, Oregon where they both type.

My website: http://SandradeHelen.com
My blog: http://Redcrested.com
Buy links:
The Hounding: http://amzn.to/1jFW42X
The Illustrious Client: http://amzn.to/1hKb6AH

If you have questions or comments, I’d love to have them. Also, I love book clubs, so if your book club would like me to Skype at your meeting, I’m available for that. If you happen to be within my driving distance, I’ll come in person.

Inspector Lewis Tuesday, Jul 8 2008 

heads up: For those of you who get Masterpiece on your local PBS station, Sundays Inspector Lewis series is a delight. Morse’s former sidekick (who doesn’t miss Morse? Show of hands????) as played by Kevin Whateley has gained experience in life and in investigations. Adjusting to life as a widower after his wife is killed in a hit-and-run accident, Lewis and his new partner devour Oxford. Hunting down murderers and giving us wonderful location shots of that golden town and its spires, the colleges are the perfect backdrop to these mysteries.

Calling All Anglophiles Monday, Apr 7 2008 

Check out BBCAmerica on Sunday evenings for the latest installment of adaptations of  “Wire in the Blood”.

Based on Scottish writer Val McDermid’s dark psychological Tony Hill/Carol Jordan novels,  Robson Green plays haunted psychologist Tony Hill so believably you’ll want to scoop him up and make him a cuppa, poor dear.  Last night’s season opener saw Tony travel to Texas, a true duck out of water–entering his rental car from the wrong side, trying to figure out the Old Boys network–whilst endeavoring to figure out if a vet with PTSD had murdered his wife and children.  Gritty stuff.  Satisfying ending.  DVR it if it conflicts with Masterpiece Theatre, Austen fans~

McDermid’s other series include the Manchester-based, smart-mouthed PI Kate Brannigan novels; the classic Brit mystery-with-a-twist novels of lesbian journalist Lindsay Gordon; and multiple stand-alones that are intricately plotted and delve into the psychology of her characters.  One of my personal favorites, Place of Execution, won the Macavity, Barry, Dilys and Anthony awards.

McDermid puts her ability to write in so many veins down to her Gemini personality.  The first student ever accepted at Oxford from a Scottish state school, due to a mix of her ability and sheer tenacity, she read English at St. Hilda’s.  She traces her realistic dialogue back to that time, learning to listen carefully to discern other accents from her thick Scots brogue.

If you haven’t discovered McDermid yet, you’re in for a treat!

Westminster 2 Wednesday, Feb 13 2008 

Auntie M is glad Roux agrees with me on those ridiculous poodle cuts.  The Best in Show last night had some unusual breeds for a change (Sealyham terrier, Australian shepherd amonst them) but at the end of the day, the little Beagle named Uno walked away with the silver bowl and top honors.  And he knew he won something, judging by his howling and leaping at the excitement and standing ovation.  Watch as the sale of this breed will take a giant curve upwards now, happens every year.

The Spinone who competed was a brown roan, and quite handsome, but overlooked.  Ah, well, as the judges get used to seeing this breed and understand its specialness, it will advance.  Doc and I didn’t make popcorn, but did watch on DVR after the NC game (Go Tarheels).  Now what an evening is that?  Winning basketball, winning dogs, Doc by my side, Spinone sharing my ottoman.  Great evening.

Auntie M will be offline for a week; heading tomorrow to Austin, TX, a state I’ve never been to, to reunite with gal friends from Oxford summer course.  We are all of certain age, which means our two-step will be sedate, but will still be out there.  I understand my hostess, Susan, has an itinerary planned that includes eating, music, museums, eating, antiquing, touring, shopping and eating.   Priorities.

On the book end, will take the next three in Margaret Duffy’s neat mystery series with me, about a divorced couple who remarry at the beginning of MI-5 to confound the baddies.  Not your typical spy novel, or I wouldn’t be interested for sure.  Duffy, who also has other stand alones, has a neat way of describing her main characters thoughts and actions.  And did I mention the guy is missing a limb? Give them a shout.

Pamela J Castrucci

Navigating self-publishing without a net.

Lee Lofland

The Graveyard Shift

Being Author

Book promotion & authors BLOG

S L Hollister, author

Welcome to Leeward

Liz Loves Books

The Wonderful World of Reading

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

"I tramp the perpetual journey." Walt Whitman

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

The Wickeds

Wicked Good Mysteries

John Bainbridge Writer

Indie Writer and Publisher

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

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

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews

Pamela J Castrucci

Navigating self-publishing without a net.

Lee Lofland

The Graveyard Shift

Being Author

Book promotion & authors BLOG

S L Hollister, author

Welcome to Leeward

Liz Loves Books

The Wonderful World of Reading

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

"I tramp the perpetual journey." Walt Whitman

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

The Wickeds

Wicked Good Mysteries

John Bainbridge Writer

Indie Writer and Publisher

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

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