<i>A Colder War</i>: A New Excerpt A Colder War: A New Excerpt Charles Cumming MI6 agent Tom Kell returns hoping to rid the Western intelligence of a murderous mole. <i>City of Ghosts</i>: A New Excerpt City of Ghosts: A New Excerpt Kelli Stanley From San Francisco to Reno, Miranda's journey includes murder, Nazis and her troubled past. <i>Death, Taxes, and Silver Spurs</i>: A New Excerpt Death, Taxes, and Silver Spurs: A New Excerpt Diane Kelly IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway is head over heels...in trouble. FM: <i>Well Read, Then Dead</i> by Terrie Farley Moran FM: Well Read, Then Dead by Terrie Farley Moran Laura K. Curtis Crime comes to life for this cozy Florida book club.
From The Blog
July 29, 2014
New Trailer for Nightcrawler: The City Shines Brightest at Night
Joe Brosnan
July 28, 2014
Tourist Trap: Mexico's Super-Creepy Island of the Dolls
Crime HQ
July 27, 2014
The Movies of 1944: Laura
Jake Hinkson
July 25, 2014
Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing: First Trailer for The Imitation Game
Joe Brosnan
July 24, 2014
Erotic, Gothic, Belgian Vampires: Daughters of Darkness (1971)
Brian Greene
Showing posts by: Terrie Farley Moran click to see Terrie Farley Moran's profile
Wed
Apr 30 2014 5:00pm

Fresh Meat: Doing It at the Dixie Dew by Ruth Moose

Doing It at the Dixie Dew by Ruth Moose is a cozy murder mystery that follows Beth, a woman whose new North Carolina bed-and-breakfast opens with a murder (available May 6, 2014).

The humorous cozy mystery Doing It at the Dixie Dew written by Ruth Moose won the 2013 Minotaur Books/Malice Domestic Competition for Best First Traditional Mystery Novel. The protagonist, Beth McKenzie Henry, is southern born and bred although she has been living for a number of years in “that godforsaken Yankee land” as her grandmother often referred to Rhode Island. After her grandmother’s death, Beth inherits the house she was raised in, and decides to turn it into a cozy bed-and-breakfast. Beth has no money to speak of and the house is in desperate need of repair. Still as an innkeeper Beth is off to an auspicious start. On the first day as an official B and B, the Dixie Dew is packed with guests, two couples and two singles. But then, well, here’s Beth opening the story for us:

People don’t go to a bed-and-breakfast to die, do they? I’d never heard of it before, but let me tell you about Miss Lavinia Lovingood. She came to my bed-and-breakfast, the Dixie Dew, in Littleboro, North Carolina, checked in and “checked out.” She died. Went to bed in my Azalea Room, fresh with deep pink paint and wallpaper still damp from the hanging, and never got up.

[Miss Lovingood won't be the last to fall...]

Fri
Apr 4 2014 3:00pm

Ngaio Marsh: The Kiwi Killer

In 1888, Henry Marsh, the oldest son of a large English family, immigrated to New Zealand, where he met New Zealand-born Rose Elizabeth Seager. Her father was a prominent public official. After they married, Edith Ngaio Marsh was born in the late 1890s in Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island. She was an only child and was always referred to by her middle name Ngaio which is pronounced NYE-oh and is a Maori word meaning “reflections on the water.”

Marsh was an only child and appeared to have a happy childhood, although her relationship with her father was more fun-filled and lively than with her mother. However, her mother’s family was always interested in acting and the theater, an interest that Ngaio picked up at an early age and kept throughout her life.

[It all starts with a dinner murder mystery game...]

Fri
Mar 28 2014 2:30pm

Fresh Meat: Bloom and Doom by Beverly Allen

Bloom and Doom, a Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery, by Beverly AllenBloom and Doom by Beverly Allen is the debut of the Bridal Bouquet Shop mystery series, featuring Audrey Bloom, whose shop's floral tools will be tied to a murder (available April 1, 2014).

I am always excited to learn that a new cozy mystery series is about to be launched. At Malice Domestic last year, I ran into a friendly, likeable women named Barbara Early who told me that, writing as Beverly Allen, she is the author of the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery series. When she started talking about the Victorian meaning of the names of flowers, well, I knew she was writing a series I would love to read. So I was thrilled to be offered the
opportunity to get a sneak peek at the first novel of the series, Bloom and Doom.

I am delighted to report that I wasn’t disappointed in the least. Not only is Bloom and Doom a highly entertaining, fun and snappy mystery, but the very first sentence told me I’d learn a lot about flowers reading this book. And who doesn’t love flowers?

Let’s listen to Audrey Bloom co-owner of the Rose in Bloom flower shop talking to a newspaper reporter. “White roses symbolize innocence.” When the reporter presses for more information about flowers, Audrey gives him some. After all, won’t the publicity be wonderful for the shop?

[Publicity doesn't always smell sweet...]

Thu
Mar 13 2014 10:00am

Mary Roberts Rinehart: The American Agatha Christie

Mary Roberts Rinehart was born on August 12, 1876 in what is now known as the North Side of Pittsburg, but was then the city of Allegany, Pennsylvania. She grew up in a family that was not economically stable. According to her autobiography, My Story, her father was a man of big dreams but who had difficulty making them come true.

Mary Roberts was always a great reader and loved stories. While in high school, she wrote several short stories that were published in local newspapers, but rather than continuing with her writing, upon graduation she was decided to pursue a nursing career. She was fortunate to have an uncle, her father’s brother John, who could afford to pay her tuition, and so she attended Pittsburg Homeopathic Medical and Surgical Hospital. It was here that she met a young doctor, Stanley Marshall Rinehart, and at the end of Mary’s training, they married and set up a home that included space for Doctor Rinehart’s private practice in 1896.

[Mary Roberts Rinehart would have no problem making a name for herself...]

Mon
Feb 3 2014 10:30pm

Fresh Meat: Miss Dimple Picks a Peck of Trouble by Mignon F. Ballard

Miss Dimple Picks a Peck of Trouble by Mignon F. Ballard, a WWII-era traditional mysteryMiss Dimple Picks a Peck of Trouble by Mignon F. Ballard is the fourth mystery featuring a first-grade teacher in small-town Georgia in 1944, who'll marshal other faculty members to find the killer of a missing teen girl (available February 4th, 2014).

The Depression and World War II stand out as two back-to-back periods of time that really grab my interest be it in history or fiction. I suppose growing up while listening to my elders speak about both the difficulties and the triumphs of survival during those tumultuous years left me with an unquenchable desire to read about how people endured all the troublesome complications of the time.

So, naturally, Mignon G. Ballard quickly captured my attention when she began writing the Miss Dimple Kilpatrick mysteries about a no-nonsense first grade school teacher, Miss Dimple, and her friends and neighbors in the small rural town of Elderberry, Georgia during World War II.

As Miss Dimple Picks a Peck of Trouble begins, Miss Dimple and two of her fellow teachers, Charlie Carr and Annie Gardner, are picking peaches. They’d pooled their sugar-ration coupons so that Miss Dimple’s landlady could make some peach preserves, and if the sugar lasts, perhaps there will be peach ice cream as well.

[But mysteries never stay peaches and cream, do they?]

Fri
Jan 31 2014 9:45pm

Fresh Meat: Death of an Irish Diva by Mollie Cox Bryan

Death of an Irish Diva by Mollie Cox Bryan, a Cumberland Creek MysteryDeath of an Irish Diva by Mollie Cox Bryan is the third in the Cumberland Creek series featuring a small town's residents (and scrapbookers) dealing with a dance teacher's death and one backyard's historical bones (February 4, 2014).

Okay, okay so we’ve all been waiting for the third book in the fabulous Cumberland Creek mystery series and the wait is finally over. Writer and sometime newspaper reporter Annie Chamovitz is caught up in the investigation of the death of Emily McGlashen, an international champion and renowned teacher of Irish Dance.

Annie’s good friend and fellow scrapbooker Vera Matthews quickly becomes the main suspect for Emily’s murder. Bad enough that Vera’s personal life has been a train wreck since her marriage crumbled to pieces, and her ex-husband doesn’t seem to have much time for or interest in their adorable three year old daughter. As the town’s long standing ballet teacher, Vera has been enmeshed in a bitter rivalry with the victim, who stole students from Vera by seriously belittling ballet as an archaic dance form. It certainly doesn’t help that Vera’s bright red purse is found at the scene of the crime.

[Who, indeed, is Lady of the Dance?]

Mon
Nov 11 2013 11:00am

Fresh Meat: Diner Impossible by Terri L. Austin

Diner Impossible by Terri L. AustinDiner Impossible is the third book in the Rose Strickland mystery series and features a part-time waitress and amateur sleuth trying to prove the innocence of a crooked sheriff (available November 11, 2013).

Rose and her best friend Roxy wait tables in Ma’s Diner, run by the feisty senior citizen Ma Ferguson, whose nearly seven-foot-tall son, Ray, is the cook. Like any other diner, the pace of customers ebbs and flows. I’ll let Rose describe a typical morning.

Things picked up around eleven, when we were suddenly invaded. My bud, Axton, stormed into the diner with a posse of seven men and two women. All dressed as Klingons in battle gear, they called themselves the KAWs—Klingon Alliance of Warriors.

“Uh, uh!” they grunted, raising their claw-tipped gloves in the air. Immediately shoving three tables together, they sat and spoke to each other in their guttural native Klingon tongue.

[So it's one of THOSE kinds of diners, gotcha!]

Wed
Oct 30 2013 10:00am

The Master of the Who-Dunnit: Dr. Seuss

Dr. SeussTheodor Seuss Geisel was born in Massachusetts in 1904. He attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where he spent much of his time working on the school humor magazine the Jack-O-Lantern. After Dartmouth, Ted went to Oxford University in England. While he was at Oxford, he realized that he wanted to support himself with the funny drawings he loved to sketch.

After Oxford, he moved back to his parent’s home in Massachusetts and spent all his time drawing and submitting cartoons to various markets. Finally, in 1927, the Saturday Evening Post bought a cartoon for $25. He signed the cartoon “Seuss.” That sale was enough to encourage Ted to move to New York City and try to get a job as an illustrator. He got a job at a humor magazine named Judge. Then he worked in advertising. All along he drew quirky animals and dreamed of making a living by telling their stories.

[He would draw them in a box, with a fox...you see where this is going]

Sun
Oct 27 2013 6:00pm

Fresh Meat: A Catered Christmas Cookie Exchange by Isis Crawford

A Catered Christmas Cookie Exchange, a Mystery with Recipes, by Isis CrawfordA Catered Christmas Cookie Exchange by Isis Crawford is the 9th in the Mystery with Recipes holiday-themed cozy series about sisters and catering partners Bernie and Libby Simmons (available October 29, 2013).

In this highly entertaining series, sisters Bernie and Libby Simmons run a catering company, and no matter how hard they try to just run the business and get the food cooked to perfection, they can’t avoid getting involved in chaos and murder.

With Christmas coming, their very busiest season, the sisters are not inclined to judge a contest for the television show Baking for Life. But somehow, they wind up agreeing to select the best Christmas cookie from among the entries submitted by the members of the Christmas Cookie Club Exchange, a group of very competitive women who don’t like each other very much.

Certain that her fabulous Millie’s Majestic Meltaways are going to win the competition, eighty-two year old Millie Piedmont is in high spirits as she drives to the television studio, even though she just received an upsetting phone call. Then something that looks like a deer but doesn’t move, blocks the road and, trying to avoid hitting it, Millie plows into a tree.

[If only the deer had melted away...]

Tue
Sep 3 2013 11:00am

Fresh Meat: A Skeleton in the Family by Leigh Perry

A Skeleton in the Family by Leigh PerryA Skeleton in the Family by Leigh Perry, the pen name of author Toni L.P. Kelner, is the first in a humorous new series featuring an adjunct professor and mom and her friend since childhood, the family skeleton Sid (available September 3, 2013).

Mom/adjunct professor, Georgia Thackery, has taken every job offered to her on the adjunct professor circuit, and that requires a lot of moving around for her and her teenaged daughter Madison. Now she’s been offered a job at McQuaid College where both of her tenured professor parents teach. Since her parents are presently on sabbatical, Georgia and Madison are moving into Georgia’s family home, which also happens to be Sid’s permanent residence.

Georgia is delighted to once again be able to spend lots of time with her old friend, although she is irritated by the fact that he continues to refuse to meet Madison. This will give you some idea of the give and take of their friendship.

Hugging Sid is an unusual sensation. The closest thing I’ve ever felt to it was wrapping my arms around a really dried-out Christmas tree so I could lug it out to the street. Sid didn’t have that nice a scent, but then again, he didn’t leave an annoying trail of pine needles either.

“Did you lock the front door in case Madison comes back early?” Sid asked.

[Wait, the skeleton in the family...talks?!...]

Fri
Aug 16 2013 9:30am

Fresh Meat: Holy Orders by Benjamin Black

Holy Orders, a Quirke novel by Benjamin BlackHoly Orders by Benjamin Black is the sixth novel featuring Dublin's pathologist Quirke in mid-century Ireland (available August 20, 2013).

No one even pretends that it’s a secret. Irish mystery writer Benjamin Black is the pen name of multi-award winning literary writer, John Banville. While Banville is highly acclaimed for his literary work and won the Man Booker Prize in 2005 for his novel, The Sea, he decided to try his hand at writing genre fiction and he found that he enjoyed it. As Benjamin Black, Banville writes a series of mystery novels featuring Quirke (we never learn his given name), a pathologist in 1950s Dublin, Ireland, a time and a place well dominated by the Roman Catholic Church, which certainly had more power than the government. And it was a time when Irish Travelers were still called Tinkers.

In Holy Orders, the sixth novel in the series,Quirke finds that a murdered corpse brought to his pathology table is a young man named Jimmy Minor, who Quirke knows is a close and dear friend of Quirke’s daughter, Phoebe. Since Quirke and Phoebe have a relationship that is frequently tense, Quirke tries to get closer to his daughter by finding out why Jimmy was killed and who committed the crime.

[The things we do for love...]

Sat
Aug 10 2013 3:30pm

Fresh Meat: Compound Murder by Bill Crider

Compound Murder by Anthony Award-winning author Bill Crider is the 20th in the Sheriff Dan Rhodes mystery series about Blacklin County, Texas (available August 13, 2013).

So if you thought the best thing I’m going to tell you right now is there is a brand spanking new book in the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series by Bill Crider, you are only partly right. In and of itself, that news is spectacular enough to have me setting a pitcher of iced tea on the table by my recliner, so I don’t have to run to the kitchen for refills. But a few weeks ago, I came across an article in the venerable New York Times called “Orphans, Drug Wars and Other Mysteries” by Christopher Kelly. Lo and behold, while Kelly is praising the state of Texas for being fertile ground for fiction landscapes of every description, he points to fewer than ten mystery writers who have “an appreciation for the outsize personality of the state.”

And who do you think is on that list? TA DA! None other than Bill Crider and his Sheriff Dan Rhodes series. I am so happy to see Bill and Dan get the recognition they deserve, and I also want to give you a tiny peek at the latest book in this highly entertaining series.

Compound Murder actually begins with a minor crime of sorts in the Beauty Shack, which was the very location of the murder we discover in the first pages of the recent Sheriff Dan book, Murder of a Beauty Shop Queen. To get a clear sense of how interaction between Sheriff Dan and his dispatcher, Hack, can sometimes go, let’s listen in to this conversation:

[Continue eavesdropping here...]

Sat
Jul 6 2013 10:00am

Fresh Meat: The Cat Sitter’s Cradle by Blaize & John Clement

The Cat Sitter's Cradle by Blaize and John ClementThe Cat Sitter's Cradle by Blaize & John Clement is the eighth in the cozy mystery series featuring Florida pet sitter, Dixie Hemingway (available July 9, 2013).

Dixie Hemingway (no relation to you-know-who) is back! Dixie is a cat sitter on the gorgeous but sleepy Florida barrier island of Siesta Key. It was not so long ago that we talked about Dixie’s adventures in The Cat Sitter’s Pajamas. Now here she is in book number eight of the series, The Cat Sitter’s Cradle, written by Blaize and John Clement. And in case you’ve forgotten, I’ll let Dixie tell you exactly how she came to be a pet sitter who specializes in cats, but does sit the occasional dog, or bird or hamster.

Until about five years ago, I risked my life every day as a deputy sheriff, but after what you might call a bump in the road of life, I went a little nuts. Well, a lot nuts. The sheriff’s department and I came to a mutual agreement: I was too messed up to wear a sheriff ’s badge or carry a gun, and it was probably a good idea for me to take a break from law enforcement. That’s when I started my own pet-sitting business. Now that I’m somewhat socially acceptable again, I’m okay around guns, but I prefer working with animals to humans. Animals don’t let you down, and they’re always there when you need them.

[And sometimes, they need us right back...]

Thu
Jun 27 2013 9:30am

Fresh Meat: Midnight by Kevin Egan

Midnight by Kevin EganMidnight by Kevin Egan is a dark legal thriller about two people desperate for a way out (available July 2, 2013).

Midnight written by Kevin Egan is a top notch suspense novel based on a unique premise. In the New York State Court System, there is a regulation that a judge’s staff, i.e., both the secretary and the law clerk, may keep their jobs until the end of the calendar year should the judge they work for die at anytime during the year.

And can you imagine the temptation if the judge dies suddenly in his chambers on New Year’s Eve and his staff, each coping with severe financial struggles, are the only two people who know he is dead?

[Ah delicious, criminally good temptaion...]

Fri
Jun 14 2013 10:00am

Fresh Meat: Death Rides Again by Janice Hamrick

Death Rides Again by Janice HamrickDeath Rides Again by Janice Hamrick is the third traditional mystery in the Jocelyn Shore series (available June 18, 2013).

Death Rides Again is the third book in the highly acclaimed series featuring school teacher Jocelyn Shore. But before I tell you all about it, I want to remind you that Janice Hamrick won the 2010 Mystery Writers of America/Minotaur Books First Crime Novel competition for Death on Tour in which the reader meets Jocelyn for the first time while she is on vacation in Egypt.

And it was just about this time last year I told you all about Jocelyn coming home and settling in to the opening of a new school year filled with chaos and murder. Death Makes the Cut is a terrific book and you can read about it right here.

I ended that post by saying I hoped we’d have another Jocelyn Shore novel soon, and finally (I was getting tired of waiting) Death Rides Again is here.

[But was it worth the wait?...]

Thu
May 16 2013 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: Smarty Bones by Carolyn Haines

Smarty Bones by Carolyn Haines is lucky number thirteen in the Sarah Booth Delaney humorous private eye series (available May 21, 2013).

 It wasn’t long ago that I was telling you how much I enjoyed reading the raucously entertaining Bonefire of the Vanities, the twelfth book in the Sarah Booth Delaney series written by Carolyn Haines. I will admit it can give the reader pause when a book is so much fun to read but is number twelve of a series. Will number thirteen prove to be unlucky or will the author move the story and characters along uproariously and at warp speed? But hey, this is Carolyn Haines and Sarah Booth Delaney we’re talking about. And don’t forget Sarah Booth’s best friend and partner in her private investigation business, Tinkie Bellcase Richmond. Not to mention Jitty, the resident Civil War-era ghost who lives at Sarah Booth’s ancestral home, Dalia House.

Fascinating as these ladies may be, I couldn’t imagine that the author would add the Lady in Red to the mix. While on a book tour, Carolyn Haines came across the Lady in Red, a corpse that was approximately one hundred years old when it was found buried in a Mississippi cemetery in 1969. The lady’s body had been preserved in alcohol and the rumors about her past were filled with mystery and legend. What better jumping off point for a paranormal, southern mystery?

[Mysterious women and others...]

Thu
Apr 11 2013 9:30am

Dashiell Hammett: One of the Most Influential American Writers of His Time

Samuel Dashiell Hammett was born in Maryland in 1894. In his early teens, he left school and worked at various jobs. Finally at age twenty-one he took a job as an operative with the Pinkerton Detective Agency.

After World War I began, Hammett signed up to serve in the Motor Ambulance Service, but during the war he contracted tuberculosis, an illness that was to give him problems for the rest of his life. While he was undergoing treatment he met Josephine Dolan, a nurse. They married and had two children. The marriage unraveled fairly quickly due to Hammett’s alcohol abuse and womanizing.

After Hammett’s release from the Army, he went back to his job at Pinkerton. The work he did clearly stirred his imagination. Popular mystery fiction in the early 1920s was reasonably genteel and the solution to a crime was reached through the intellectual endeavors of the sleuth. Hammett developed a much grittier type of story, engendering what is now commonly known as “hard-boiled” crime fiction.

[How do you want your fiction? Hard-boiled please...]

Thu
Mar 28 2013 9:30am

What Are the Grandchildren Reading?: A Kids’ Review of Two Graphic Novels

The best way to review a children’s book is to take it to the kids themselves! Blogger Terrie Farley Moran asked her grandchildren to review the graphic novels Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew: Secret Sand Sleuths by Sarah Kinney and Stan Goldberg, and The Secret of Whale Island by Thea Stilton. Here’s what they had to say (with a little help from their grandma).

I can easily trace my own love of reading to a batch of secondhand comic books my father brought home one day when I was in third grade. Beetle Bailey, Little Lulu, Nancy and Sluggo and, of course, everything Archie.

Finding “the book” that makes reading fun is like giving the child the key to a magic world. So when I had the opportunity to ask two of my granddaughters to each read a book and share what they thought, I jumped at the chance. I was curious to see how they would react to reading a book and telling us about it.

Madeline read Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew: Secret Sand Sleuths a graphic novel by Sarah Kinney and Stan Goldberg based on the series by Carolyn Keene. Here is what Madeline had to say:

[Let”s hear it...]

Mon
Feb 25 2013 10:30am

Fresh Meat: Black Sheep by CJ Lyons

Black Sheep by CJ Lyons is the sequel to Blind Faith featuring FBI agent Caitlyn Tierney (available February 26, 2013).

As a thriller writer, CJ Lyons has a stellar reputation, but I must confess that I was never a loyal follower—until now. Oh sure, I’d heard lots of noise among readers about how they simply could not put down an Angels of Mercy medical thriller or how they got lost in one of the sexy and forceful Shadow Ops books and could barely come up for air, but I tend to prefer cozies and just didn’t think CJ Lyons wrote her stories with me in mind.

So I bypassed Blind Faith, the first book in Lyons’s new series featuring FBI Agent Caitlyn Tierney, but when I heard about the second book, Black Sheep, the plotline intrigued me and I decided it was time to give CJ Lyons a try.

[Two keys to life: an open mind and an open book...]

Mon
Jan 28 2013 1:00pm

Fresh Meat: Brooklyn Bones by Triss Stein

Brooklyn Bones by Triss Stein is a traditional mystery involving a crime from the 1960s (available February 5, 2013).

I am a huge mystery fan, no surprise there, and I especially love mysteries that have their roots in the past. Triss Stein has a real knack for melding the present and the past in her writing. How am I so sure? Well, a few years ago I edited an anthology, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices, and it included a wonderful short story that tied together odd bits of Brooklyn history as time weaved its way in and out of one man’s life. Because that story, “The Greenmarket Violinist,” was written by Triss Stein, I was anxious to see how Triss would present Brooklyn to us in her new novel, Brooklyn Bones.

Once again the protagonist is history Ph.D. candidate Erica Donato who is also an intern at a small Brooklyn museum. In the course of remodeling her “edge of Park Slope” home, Erica’s biking buddy/contractor friend Joe and Erica’s daughter, fifteen-year-old Chris have found a skeleton. When Erica hopes out loud that the bones are animal, Joe quickly points her to the hole that “Chris had smashed in the wall.”

[What’s behind the bricks?]