Fresh Meat: <i>Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall</i> by Hannah Dennison Fresh Meat: Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison Debbie Meldrum A high-speed rail project brings murder instead. "An Unexpected Guest": A Short Story "An Unexpected Guest": A Short Story Donna Andrews and John Gilstrap An exclusive mash-up from two fan favorites. Read it now! <i>Lash-Up</i>: New Excerpt Lash-Up: New Excerpt Larry Bond It was only a matter of time until we militarized a spacecraft. Fresh Meat: <i>The Devil's Making</i> by Sean Haldane Fresh Meat: The Devil's Making by Sean Haldane Katherine Tomlinson The virgin son of a parson becomes a constable on the fringe of the empire.
From The Blog
May 5, 2015
In Memoriam: Ruth Rendell
Crime HQ
May 4, 2015
Congratulating 2015's Agatha Award Winners!
Crime HQ
May 1, 2015
Orson Welles At 100: The Stranger (1946)
Jake Hinkson
April 30, 2015
True Crime Thursday: Missing!
Crime HQ
April 29, 2015
Women Jailed for Twerking
Teddy Pierson
Tue
May 5 2015 4:55pm

Gotham Season Finale: 1.22: “All Happy Families Are Alike”

Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz ) has so much to learn about his own parents./ courtesy FOX

It started, as the Batman legend does, with the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne in front of their young son, Bruce.

What Gotham promised to viewers in the premiere was a story about Jim Gordon’s fight to bring order to a chaotic city, Oswald Cobblepot’s quest to become Gotham’s crime lord, and Bruce Wayne’s dedication to finding justice, if not for his parents, for his city.

The season finale brought these plotlines full circle, with Gordon desperately trying to save Gotham from being a war zone, with Penguin confronting his rivals, with Selina possibly taking a step away from Bruce and to the dark side, and with Bruce and Alfred discovering part of his father’s legacy.

Unfortunately, the season-long journey to this point meandered, sometimes into utter ridiculousness. Promising ideas, such as Gordon recruiting detectives Allen and Montoya as allies, fizzled.  Penguin’s arc eventually stalled. Everyone but Bruce and Alfred forgot about solving the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne.

I wondered if the finale could possibly be good enough to redeeme the season and bring me back next year.

[Drum roll please...?]

Tue
May 5 2015 11:00am

In Memoriam: Ruth Rendell

Novelist Ruth Rendell / Photo: Felix Clay for the GuardianOver the weekend, we (and everyone else) noted the death of crime writer Ruth Rendell at the age of 85. As prolific and talented as she was, even a Labour Party member of the House of Lords as Baroness Rendell of Babergh, one could simply accept as proof of her accomplishments the scores of books she'd written, the millions of them sold, the many awards, and then lifetime acheivement awards, she received. But readers don't require critical or commercial acclaim to understand her appeal, because she created suspense without pyrotechnics, stories that most of all, and at times painfully, leverage the reader's own humanness. Her tales can be exquisitely twisted, yet somehow, they also feel as if they might be happening right next door. From the New York Times:

Chief Inspector Wexford was almost christened Waterford, as Ms. Rendell recalled. On vacation in Ireland, she visited both Wexford and Waterford and decided that either would be acceptable for her sleuth’s surname. So, how did she settle on “Wexford”?

“I don’t know why,” she said. “I guess I just like the letter ‘X.’ ”

Ms. Rendell also wrote a score of stand-alone novels, typically featuring protagonists on the edges of society. From her earliest writing days, Ms. Rendell wanted to do more than create puzzles revolving around who killed whom and why. So, as she recalled for Simon & Schuster, she laced her mysteries with such themes as racism in the English countryside, damage to the environment, domestic violence and arranged marriages among immigrants.

She acknowledged worrying early on that her readers might not like her delving into such serious issues. “But they did,” she said. “They wrote to me and told me that they did.”

We really, really did. Thanks for all the words.

Leading image from Laura Barnett's 2013 interview with Ruth Rendell in the Guardian.

Tue
May 5 2015 10:00am

Fresh Meat: Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison

Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison is the second cozy mystery in this contemporary English manor house, now facing the disruption of a high-speed rail project for Little Dipperton (available May 5, 2015).

Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall is full to bursting with characters I would love to befriend. If you have read any of my other posts, you are probably aware that I am a fan of cozy mysteries. Not to say I don’t like the other types of mysteries, or non-mystery genres for that matter. But there is something about the amateur sleuth oeuvre that appeals to me.

I know there are some authors of the genre who don’t like their work being called “cozy.”  I think, though, that what I enjoy about these mysteries is that they so often live up to that name in a good way. Cozy—giving a feeling of comfort, warmth, and relaxation. And that’s what the good ones do. And spending time with the characters is like spending time with friends.

The main character is Kat Stanford, an antiques appraiser who has left her job on an Antiques Roadshow-like program to start her own business. Additionally, there is a dowager duchess, Lady Edith Honeychurch, who still rides sidesaddle. But there's also a gun-toting woman on a mobility scooter, a middle-aged woman trying to hide her secret identity as a writer of torrid romances—not completely successfully, and a sweet little boy who fancies himself an RAF squadron leader.

[Don't you like them already?]

Tue
May 5 2015 8:45am
Original Story

“An Unexpected Guest”: A Short Story

Donna Andrews and John Gilstrap

Deadly operative Boxers hunts evil… in Caerphilly?! Blame John Gilstrap and Donna Andrews, but don’t forget Mystery Writers of America, whose 70th anniversary provided the excuse for this dangerously charming mash-up.

 

“Father Dom! What are you still doing here?”

Dom D’Angelo looked up from the grant application that had been consuming his day. He smiled when he saw Mama Alexander filling his doorway. He tilted his old-school cantilevered desk lamp down a few inches so he could get a better view. Then he leaned slightly to the left for a visual angle past the stacks of papers that littered his desk. 

Mama did not look happy. Born a highly-classified number of years ago, Florence Alexander was known throughout Fisherman’s Cove simply as Mama, and the honorific pretty much explained her role as everyone’s maternal overseer. While he, Dom, was the official psychologist for the children of Resurrection House, Mama was the home’s official soul.

Dom sensed that he was in trouble. “Am I supposed to be somewhere else?”

She planted her fists on her ample hips, her ultimate posture of frustration. “Caerphilly?”

Dom scowled. “What about Caerphilly?” He knew it to be a town not all that far from Fisherman’s Cove, but that was the extent of it.

“You’re supposed to be there.”

Dom raised his hands in an extended shrug. “I need more than that. Why am I supposed to be in Caerphilly?”

“The Ladies Interfaith Social Services Council. You were supposed to give a fundraising speech today on Rez House.”

“This is the first I’m hearing about it.”

“I texted you from Venice’s phone.” Venice (pronounced Ven-EE-chay) was Mama’s daughter, and a computer whiz of epic talents.

“I didn’t get a text message from you or from Venice,” Dom said.

“But you responded to it.”

Something wasn’t right here. “Are you sure you sent it to me?”

“Absolutely,” Mama said. There was an angry edge to her voice. “I even remember the number.” She rattled it off from memory. She was the very smart tree from which Venice’s apple didn’t fall far.

Dom shook his head. “That’s not my number.” 

“Then whose is it?”

It did sound familiar. He pulled his own phone from his pocket and tapped in the number Mama had recited. “Uh-oh,” he said.

[Uh-oh is right...]

Mon
May 4 2015 1:00pm
Excerpt

Lash-Up: New Excerpt

Larry Bond

Lash-Up by Larry Bond takes to space in a thriller where China ignites a military crisis by shooting down GPS satellites belonging to the United States (available May 5, 2015).

In a bid to dominate Asia and the western Pacific, China provokes a military crisis with the United States and then starts shooting down GPS satellites. America has only a short amount of time to devise some way of protecting its remaining satellites or China will gain an enormous advantage in the coming conflict. The only way the satellites can be protected is from orbit, so an armed spacecraft must be quickly designed, built, and launched to fight on this new battlefield.

A team of soldier-scientists must construct a craft capable of knocking space weapons out of the sky. The fate of the United States rests on the shoulders of these determined people.

Prologue

The sleek, streamlined object arced gracefully upward, its presence revealed only by the light reflecting off its hull as the sun emerged from behind Earth. Below, a new day was dawning in the Pacific basin, but the vehicle’s electronic brain ignored the aesthetic beauty of a perfect sunrise. Its attention was focused solely on its intended target.

[Continue reading Lash-Up by Larry Bond...]

Mon
May 4 2015 11:45am

Game of Thrones 5.04: “The Sons of the Harpy”

Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) should keep Bronn (Jerome Flynn) in front of him. / Photographer: Helen Sloan, courtesy HBO

It was Game of Thrones' Melisandre (Carice van Houten) who said everything boils down to the war between life and death. That best sums up “The Sons of the Harpy.” As Bronn (Jerome Flynn) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) prove, when one’s life is so constantly surrounded by violence, thinking about death is only natural. Sure, everyone might have different plans about how their flame will get snuffed, but when the destination is the same regardless of the path, it really places importance on what you do before you get there.

The Faith Militant have been reinstated by Cersei (Lena Headey), and they waste no time in turning King’s Landing on its head. In a scene eerily similar to Cersei’s mandated bastard killings in Season 1, Littlefinger’s brothel once again finds its floors painted red. But the violence doesn’t stop there...

Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones) is arrested by Lancel Lannister (Eugene Simon), a newly-marked member of the Faith Militant. When King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) is unable to order Loras’s release, Queen Margaery (Natalie Dormer) undermines him, demanding that he wield the power he possesses as king. This rift between the newlyweds is exactly what Cersei hoped for when she raised the Faith Militant and tipped them off to Loras.

Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones) can thank his former fiancee.  /  Photographer: Macall B. Polay, courtesy HBO

Elsewhere, Stannis (Stephen Dillane) proves to both Shireen (Kerry Ingram) and viewers that there’s a soft side between the stoic façade. Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) learns he may have a thing for redheads. Sansa (Sophie Turner) will soon be on her own in Winterfell, now that Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) is headed back to King’s Landing. Jorah (Iain Glen) learns that abducting Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) might not yield the favor he’d hoped for from Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), especially considering Tyrion was already on his way there. And in Meereen, Daenerys learns of her brother Rhaegar’s penchant for the harp (not his penchant for abducting and raping Starks), while Barristan (Ian McElhinney) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) experience firsthand the dangers of living in a city that despises you.

Now onto the Riser of the Week:

[He never asked to be here…]

Mon
May 4 2015 10:15am

Congratulating 2015’s Agatha Award Winners!

Over the weekend at Malice Domestic, the following nominated works (and their authors) won the Agatha Award teapots!

BEST CONTEMPORARY NOVEL:
Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan

BEST HISTORICAL NOVEL:
Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen

BEST FIRST NOVEL:
Well Read, Then Dead by Terrie Farley Moran

BEST NONFICTION:
Writes of Passage: Adventures on the Writer's Journey by Hank Phillippi Ryan, Editor

BEST SHORT STORY:
“The Odds are Against Us” by Art Taylor, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine

BEST CHILDREN'S/YOUNG ADULT NOVEL:
The Code Buster's Club, Case #4: The Mummy's Curse by Penny Warner

Sara Paretsky was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award

 

Congratulations to all!

Leading image from the fabulous Dana Cameron's Facebook feed. Two of the coveted teapots and one of the teacups, too. We just had to steal borrow celebrate it!

Sun
May 3 2015 10:15am

Fresh Meat: The Devil’s Making by Sean Haldane

The Devil's Making, a historical mystery by Sean HaldaneThe Devil's Making by Seán Haldane, winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel, features a Victorian-era Englishman who becomes a police constable in British Columbia, the ramshackle outer limit of the empire (available May 5, 2015).

In 1868, Chad Hobbes has gone to sea armed with a thirst for adventure, an enthusiasm for all things Darwinian, and a maroon leather-bound journal his mother gave him. One hundred and forty days out of Portsmouth, bound for Vancouver Island, Hobbes is thoroughly sick of the voyage and his companions, particularly the rough-hewn captain of the Ariadne who has nothing but contempt for the colony of British Columbia and even less regard for his civilian passenger.

The youngest, virgin son of a parson—his wastrel older brother Henry is safely serving in the Army and still going to church as if he cares about the beliefs that Chad has discarded after sober deliberation—Chad knows he comes across a “niminy-piminy” to those older and more experienced, if not wiser. He hopes “the Colony” will cure him of his ignorance. He may publicly claim to be traveling to see the world, but actually, he’s looking to find himself.

But first he needs to find a job.

[He'll be using shoe leather as much as book learning...]

Sat
May 2 2015 11:45am
Excerpt

Thin Air: New Excerpt

Ann Cleeves

Thin Air by Ann Cleeves is the 6th Shetland Island mystery, in which Detective Jimmy Perez investigates the case of a vacationing woman who disappeared into the mist (available May 5, 2015).

A group of old university friends leave the bright lights of London and travel to Shetland to celebrate the marriage of one of their friends. But, one of them, Eleanor, disappears—apparently into thin air. It's mid-summer, a time of light nights and unexpected mists. And then Eleanor's body is discovered lying in a small loch close to the cliff edge.

Detectives Jimmy Perez and Willow Reeves are dispatched to investigate. Before she went missing, Eleanor claimed to have seen the ghost of a local child who drowned in the 1920s. Her interest in the ghost had seemed unhealthy—obsessive, even—to her friends: an indication of a troubled mind. But Jimmy and Willow are convinced that there is more to Eleanor's death than they first thought.

Is there a secret that lies behind the myth? One so shocking that someone would kill—many years later—to protect?

Chapter One

The music started. A single chord played on fiddle and accordion, a breathless moment of silence when the scene was fixed in Polly’s head like a photograph, and then the Meoness community hall was jumping. Polly had spent thirteen hours on the overnight boat from Aberdeen to Lerwick and when she’d first come ashore the ground had seemed to shift under her feet, and this was another kind of illusion. The music appeared to bounce from the walls and the floor and to push people towards the centre of the room, to lift them onto their feet. Even the home-made bunting and the balloons strung from the rafters seemed to dance. The band’s rhythm set toes tapping and heads nodding. Children in party clothes clapped and elderly relatives clambered from their chairs to join in. A young mother jiggled a baby on her knee. Lowrie took the hand of his new bride, Caroline, and led her onto the dance floor to show her off to his family once more.

[Continue reading Thin Air by Ann Cleeves...]

Fri
May 1 2015 3:30pm

Orson Welles At 100: The Stranger (1946)

By 1945, Orson Welles was in trouble. He had arrived in Hollywood in 1939 like a hero, been welcomed at RKO with the best contract any director had ever been granted. Of course, many of the old guard in town resented the brash radio star, and they resented him further when his first movie, Citizen Kane, brought down the wrath of the Hearst corporation. But few people doubted the quality of Kane.

Welles followed it by directing an ambitious adaptation of The Magnificent Ambersons, producing Journey into Fear, and attempting to make a South American documentary-drama hybri, It’s All True. All of these projects had been flops of one kind or another, and by 1945, Welles knew if he was going to survive in Hollywood, he desperately needed to establish himself as a conventional filmmaker.

He got his shot when producer Sam Spiegel hired him to make The Stranger, a thriller about a woman living in a small college town, who discovers that the mild-mannered professor she has just married is really a notorious ex-Nazi mastermind. Welles was cast as the villain, with Loretta Young as his unsuspecting wife and Edward G. Robinson as the government investigator snapping at his heels.

[Always under fire...]

Fri
May 1 2015 11:00am
Excerpt

Neighing with Fire: New Excerpt

Kathryn O'Sullivan

Neighing with Fire by Kathryn O'Sullivan is the third cozy mystery featuring Fire Chief Colleen McCabe where she believes an unearthed body and a recent fire are linked (available May 5, 2015).

Fire Chief Colleen McCabe is enjoying a quiet summer and her budding romance with Sheriff Bill Dorman. However, her peaceful start to the tourist season is shattered when a tropical storm blows through Corolla and unearths a body buried under a vacation home boardwalk. When callous land developer Denny Custis dies in a suspicious fire, Colleen has a hunch the two deaths are linked.

As she and Bill investigate, they discover that virtually everyone, including Colleen, has had a beef or run-in with Denny and a motive for murder. When Pinky Salvatore becomes the primary suspect, Colleen is determined to clear his name. Despite his and Denny's well-documented housing development rivalry, Colleen is convinced that the real killer is still out there.

While digging through an ever-widening list of suspects, Bill and Colleen become embroiled in a vicious battle between those committed to saving Corolla's wild horses, those protecting the endangered piping plover shore bird, and a greedy tour company who would destroy their habitats.

Prologue

Sometimes death comes quietly, and sometimes it thunders in on the wave of a tropical storm. Tropical Storm Ana to be exact. After having wreaked havoc as a hurricane in Florida, Ana had been downgraded to a tropical storm and was now hitting the idyllic beach of the Outer Banks village of Corolla with sheets of driving rain and a storm surge that clawed at the dunes.

[Continue reading Neighing with Fire by Colleen McCabe!]

Fri
May 1 2015 9:00am

The M.O.: A New Theme is Announced!

Like a repeat offender, The M.O. is back! Write a crime story related to the theme of “Wishful Thinking” in one-thousand to fifteen-hundred words.

The theme can be interpreted widely, in whatever style, tone, subgenre, targeted age range, and/or era the writer chooses. If you ever see stuff like it here, we're interested!

On Friday, May 15th, 2015, the steel-toothed maw of submissions will again creak open (watch your fingers!) at 12:01 a.m., Eastern U.S. time zone.  Here's where to check out all The M.O.'s submission guidelines and important dates.

Maybe your very-short story will eventually share a cell with S.W. Lauden's “Fix Me.” And just see how happy joining the Rogues' Gallery of our shortlisters made K.M. Rockwood... Don't fight the joy!

Thu
Apr 30 2015 6:30pm

2015’s Edgar Awards: Mystery’s Faithful Gather

Once a year, the mystery writing community reaches critical mass in a place filled with the greatest living purveyors of the genre. The moment occurs at the Edgar Allan Poe Awards Dinner hosted by the Mystery Writers of America. This year, it took place on April 29 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York. (See the bottom of the post for a complete list of winners.)

To say that attending the Edgars is a religious experience isn’t as blasphemous as you might imagine. For, as the great James Ellroy said when accepting his Grand Master Lifetime Achievement Award, “What better place to bow my head in prayer than in a room full of people who worship the book?”

And there was worshiping.

Because, as the Edgars have proven throughout the 69 years of their existence, there are no more devoted mystery fans than the writers themselves. Spending an evening amidst your idols is bound to produce a certain amount of awe and reverence.

[Count us among the faithful...]

Thu
Apr 30 2015 1:00pm
Excerpt

Don’t Go Home: New Excerpt

Carolyn Hart

Don't Go Home by Carolyn Hart is the 25th cozy mystery in the Death of Demand series about Annie Darling, owner of a mystery bookstore (available May 5, 2015).

Annie Darling, owner of the Death on Demand mystery bookstore, is hosting a party to celebrate successful Southern literary icon—and former Broward’s Rock resident—Alex Griffith and his bestselling new novel, Don’t Go Home. But after the local paper announces that Griffith aims to reveal the real-life inspirations behind his characters, perhaps the author should take his own advice. Not everyone in town is ready to give him a glowing review.

As Annie attempts damage control, her friend Marian Kenyon gets in a heated argument with Griffith. It’s a fight Annie won’t soon forget—especially after the author turns up dead.

Despite an array of suspects to match Griffith’s cast of characters—and a promise to her husband, Max, to steer clear of sleuthing—Annie’s not about to let the police throw the book at her friend when the real killer remains at large…

1

Rae Griffith welcomed the caress of the ocean breeze. Tiny fish formed a dark cloud near her bare feet. Despite the shimmering loveliness of the aquamarine water, she wasn’t enchanted. A few years ago to be here with Alex would have been glorious . . .

[Continue reading Don't Go Home by Carolyn Hart!]

Thu
Apr 30 2015 10:15am

True Crime Thursday: Missing!

What's missing this True Crime Thursday? An art dealer's head, a Florida toddler and the maternal sense of a common water rat, and finally, a couple of fingers on a young agent's instructor.

Dancing with Death by Shanna Hogan is a true story of before and after. She was a glamorous showgirl, previously a stripper and married before... six times. He was her wealthy husband, who disappeared, and after that, was found as a headless, limbless torso.

Mommy's Little Girl by Diane Fanning details the unfolding events as three year-old Caylee Anthony vanished from her home in 2008. Inside the Mind of Casey Anthony by Keith Ablow, M.D. attempts to explain what was deficient in that household, so “devoid of emotional oxygen that it eventually becomes incompatible with sustaining human life.”

Good Hunting: An American Spymaster's Story by Jack Devine is a historical memoir by 32-year CIA  member and eventual acting deputy director of operations that starts during the Cold War and ends in Afghanistan.

When he took to the podium, we held back a collective gasp. A jagged V-shaped scar covered a good part of his forehead. If that wasn’t enough, he was missing a couple of fingers. He extolled the excitement of working with explosives. He also stressed the need for caution when handling such materials....I received my lowest grade in this course, and a not-so-gentle note for my file suggesting that I “not be allowed to handle explosives.” The irony is that, in the mid-1980s, I probably handled more explosives than any other CIA officer in history.

With all that's gone, we're sure glad to be here!

Wed
Apr 29 2015 11:00am
Excerpt

Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire: New Excerpt

Dick Couch and George Galdorisi

Into the Fire is a brand new addition to Tom Clancy's Op-Center series about a group of group of U.S. forces stranded on a small island near North Korea. The series was created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik, and is now being written by Dick Couch and George Galdorisi (available May 5, 2015).

When a team of assassins murder a high-ranking North Korean general and his family in their sleep, making it look like a robbery, events are set in motion that could shake the balance of world powers. Meanwhile, a U.S. naval combat ship, the USS Milwaukee, is attacked by North Korean forces in the middle of a training exercise off the shore of South Korea, and Commander Kate Bigelow is forced to ground the ship to avoid being captured. The crew takes refuge on a tiny island, trapped dangerously between the grounded ship and a fleet of hostile North Korean soldiers.

Op-Center intelligence discovers a secret alliance behind the attack—a pact between China and North Korea that guarantees China total control of a vast oil reserve found beneath the Yellow Sea. As both sides marshal their forces for a major confrontation at sea, Chase Williams and his Op-Center organization devise a plan to secretly spirit the American crew from the island and out from under North Korean control. But the North Koreans are not finished. In a desperate gamble, they unleash a terrorist cell on the American homeland. Only Op-Center can uncover their plan and stop it in time to prevent a major catastrophe that could lead to all-out war.

[Start reading Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Into the Fire now!]

Wed
Apr 29 2015 8:45am

Women Jailed for Twerking

Three women have been tossed in jail after they filmed themselves twerking next to a World War II monument in Russia, Yahoo News reported.

A court in southern Russia has sentenced three young women to  jail for making a video showing them twerking next to a World War II memorial. Prosecutors said in a statement that the women were found guilty of “hooliganism.”

The court gave two of the dancers 10 days in jail each; a third received 15 days, and the parents of another underage dancer were charged for “the failure to encourage the physical, intellectual, physiological, spiritual and moral development of a child.” Two more young ladies from the video were spared jail time because of poor health.

Remember… If you twerk in Russia — Russia will twerk you!

Tue
Apr 28 2015 3:30pm

Gotham: 1.21 “The Anvil or the Hammer”

Barbara Kean in Detective Comics #500 / DC Comics

I know, a lot happened last night on Gotham, particularly the gang war set up for the finale of this season, but first, let’s talk about a character whose failure to become more than cardboard is indicative of Gotham’s overall failings.

In all her incarnations, Barbara Kean has never come off well. In the 1970s, she didn’t even have a name, she was simply Jim Gordon’s late wife and Barbara Gordon’s mother. She was finally given life by Alan Brennert and Dick Giordano in 1981, in the classic “To Kill A Legend” story in Detective Comics #500.  (Brennert complained of receiving no compensation for co-creating Kean when Gotham added her to its list of characters.)

In Batman: Year One, Frank Miller wrote Kean as a long-suffering wife, a pale shade of Detective Sarah Essen, Gordon’s true love. Eventually, the elder Barbara died in a car accident. Sometimes Barbara (Batgirl) Gordon was her daughter, sometimes her niece. More recently, Kean was written as slightly mentally unbalanced due to terrorization by her firstborn, the unhinged Jim Gordon, Jr.

The first reports of Gotham cited Barbara Kean as a doctor, a definite step up in her characterization. I’m not sure what happened to that angle, but instead, we’ve gotten Barbara going from Jim’s supportive girlfriend to drug-addicted girlfriend of Detective Renee Montoya, to passively floating through life, to Selina’s fashion consultant, to outright victim.

Gotham 1.21: The Anvil or the Hammer, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean, Milo Ventimiglia as Christian Grey, the Ogre

[She's pretty in pink...]

Tue
Apr 28 2015 12:00pm

Now Win This!: Global Getaway Sweepstakes

It's time to pack your bags and escape away from everything in these eight global getaways. Just don't forget to pack your camera!

Click here to enter for a chance to win!

This is NOT a Comments Sweepstakes. You must click the link above to enter.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry. Promotion begins April 28, 2015, at 12:00 pm ET, and ends May 12, 2015, 11:59 am ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Click here for details and official rules.

[So where exactly are we going...]

Tue
Apr 28 2015 9:00am

Sherlock Holmes and the Killer Bees: A Taste for Honey

From Robert Downey Jr.’s period, pulp-action hero to Benedict Cumberbatch’s autism-spectrum, modern genius to Hugh Laurie’s narcissistic Dr. House to Vincent D’Onofrio’s troubled Detective Robert Goren, we’ve seen nearly every conceivable iteration of the Great Detective. What may surprise you, however, is that the first serious, novel-length Holmes pastiche would also later start the killer bee genre of horror films.

In 1941, Gerald Heard published A Taste For Honey under the name H. F. Heard. This short novel introduces us to Sidney Silchester, a resident of a quiet, English village and a reclusive bachelor with a particular fondness for honey. Silchester regularly purchases his sweet treat from the squabbling Heregroves. When Mrs. Heregrove is stung to death and her husband is ordered to destroy his hives, Silchester eyes his dwindling supply with concern, unsure of where he can obtain more. Shortly after, while walking around the village one day, he chances upon a small notice poking through a hedge:

“The Proprietor has at present a certain amount of surplus honey of which he would be willing to dispose.”

Silchester thinks it’s his lucky day. Happily, he continues down the lane and meets with a man who calls himself Mr. Mycroft. His excitement is short-lived however when the old beekeeper explains that Mrs. Heregrove’s death was murder and not an accident. Mr. Heregrove, he explains, has trained his bees to kill!

[Don't leave yet. It's better than it sounds!]