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Nancy Moskowitz's blog

Mystery Monday

In 1936, S.S. Van Dine (author of the Philo Vance mysteries) published an article titled "Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories." Some of these rules, for example, 3 and 9 seem rather curious today.  Fans of police procedurals know it takes teamwork to find the guilty party.  Jack Reacher fans know he is too often irresistible to women who are not looking for a long-term commitment. As for some of the other rules, have they stood the test of time?  You be the judge.

1) The reader should have the same opportunity as the detective to solve the crime.

2) No tricks can be played to mislead the reader unless it is also done to the detective by the criminal.

3) The detective should not have a love interest.

4) Neither the detective nor one of the official investigators can turn out to be the criminal.

5) The villain must be found by logical deduction, not luck, accident, or un-motivated confessions.

6) The story must have a detective who also solves the crime (by detection).

7) It must be a murder mystery ("the deader the corpse the better").

New Mysteries November 2010

You'd Better Knot Die by Betty Hechtman
Christmas Mourning by Margaret Maron
Killing Storm by Kathryn Casey
Holiday Yarn by Sallt Goldenbaum
Killer of Pilgrims by Susanna Gregory
Christmas Odyssey by Anne Perry
Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron by Stephanie Barron
Reversal by Michael Connelly
Demon's Parchment by Jeri Westerson
Death Notice by Todd Ritter
Coming Back by Marcia Muller
In Search of Mercy by Michael Ayoob
Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves
Blood Count by Reggie Nadelson
On the Line by S.J. Rozan
Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop edited by Otto Penzler
Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn
Catered Thanksgiving by Isis Crawford
Track of Sand by Andrea Camilleri
Siren by Alison Bruce
To the Manor Dead by Sebastian Stuart
Rhetoric of Death by Judith Rock
Swift Justice by Laura DiSilverio
Damage Done by Hilary Davidson
Front Page Teaser by Rosemary Herbert
Skating Around the Law by Joelle Charbonneau
Best American Noir of the Twentieth Century edited by James Ellroy

New Mysteries October 2010

Impartial Witness by Charles Todd
Back Spin by Harlan Coben
Shooting in the Shop by Simon Brett
Shadows in the Street by Susan Hill
Wicked Witch Murder by Leslie Meier
Fever of the Bone by Val McDermid
For Richer For Danger by Lisa Bork
Devil by Ken Bruen
Vermilion Drift by William Kent Krueger
Danse Macabre by Gerald Elias
Loco Motive by Mary Daheim
Deadly Daggers by Joyce Lavene
Deadly Row by Casey Mayes
Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories edited by Otto Penzler
Buzz Off by Hannah Reed
Bryant and May Off the Rails by Christopher Fowler
To Fetch a Thief by Spencer Quinn
Shadow Woman by Ake Edwardson
Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indridason
Liar, Liar by K.J. Larsen
Bleed a River Deep by Brian McGilloway

Mystery Monday

from the Agatha Christie plaque at Torre Abbey, TorquayAgatha Christie would have turned 120 years old last week.  Born September 15, 1890,the daughter of an American father and a British mother, Agatha  Christie is the best known mystery writer of all time.  Few would argue that the books were  literary masterpieces with their pedestrian writing and stock characters, yet people continue to read and enjoy them. Only Shakespeare and the Bible have bested her more than 2 billion copies sold.  But what explains the popularity of Christie's work and the diversity of her readers? Why do her books still sell about 25 million copies a year?

New Mysteries September 2010

Murder by Mistake by Veronica Heley
Bad Boy by Peter Robinson
Body Blows by Marc Strange
Chapter and Hearse by Lorna Barrett
Murder in the Abstract by Susan C. Shea
Murder in the Air by Bill Crider
Hanging Tree by Bryan Gruley
Fatally Frosted by Jessica Beck
Murder Past Due by Miranda James
Forbidden Fruit by Kerry Greenwood
Crossfire by Dick Francis
Queen of Patpong by Timothy Hallinan
Touch-me-not by Cynthia Riggs
I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
Messenger of Athens by Anne Zouroudis
Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs
Deb on Arrival by Laurie Moore
Body Work by Sara Paretsky

New Mysteries August 2010

The Taken by Inger Ash Wolfe
Mills of God by Deryn Lake
Caper by Parnell Hall
Long Quiche Goodbye by Avery Aames
Resolutions by Jane Adams
Glass Rainbow by James Lee Burke
Wanting Sheila Dead by Jane Haddam
Love Songs from a Shallow Grave by Colin Cotterill
Brush with Death by Elizabeth J. Duncan
Pepperoni Pizza can be Murder by Chris Cavender
Spider on the Stairs by Cassandra Chan
Maid of Murder by Amanda Flower
Glimpse of Evil by Victoria Laurie
Tutankhamun by Nick Drake
Burn by Nevada Barr
Roast Mortem by Cleo Coyle
Small Death in the Great Glen by A.D. Scott
Dark Vineyard by Martin Walker
Hangman by Faye Kellerman

Mystery Monday

One of the best things about reading mysteries is learning about new and exotic locations.  Although I personally haven't read a mystery that takes places in outer space, or under the sea, there is no reason to think someone hasn't written one.  In the long hot days of summer, you might refresh yourself by visiting the Arctic Circle, or a beach resort, or anyplace you care to go.  Escaping into a mystery is a mini-vacation in itself.  If you are not able to get away, let a mystery take you to nearby or faraway lands.  So, sit back, relax, and get traveling!

Lochdubh, Scotland-- M.C. Beaton
Constable Hamish MacBeth has the good fortune to patrol the sleepy highland town of Lochdubh with its breathtaking views and eccentric villagers.  You can almost see the heather and taste the scotch.

Dublin, Ireland--Declan Hughes
We travel down the mean streets of Dublin with tough P.I. Ed Loy.  Get ready to explore some of Ireland's seediest pubs with this expert guide.

New Mysteries July 2010

Far Cry by John Harvey
Case of the Man who Died Laughing by Tarquin Hall
Cut, Paste, Kill by Marshall Karp
Cutthroat Business by Bente Gallagher
Justice in June by Barbara Levenson
Bedlam by Laura Joh Rowland
Set Sail for Murder by R.T. Jordan
Stranger in the Family by Robert Barnard
Speak no Evil by Martyn Waites
Grace Under Pressure by Julie Hyzy
Death in Show by Judi McCoy
Burning Wire by Jeffery Deaver
Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
Murder of Crows by P.F. Chisholm
Colourful Death by Carola Dunn
Where Death Delights by Bernard Knight
Anniversary Man by R.J. Ellroy
Bohemian Girl by Kenneth Cameron

Mystery Monday

Last month I discussed the incredible story of Stieg Larsson, the Swedish author who wrote the Millenium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest).  It is no exaggeration to say that they have become a publishing  sensation, selling 35 million copies worldwide.  Those of you who have read and enjoyed the trilogy might be pining for some more Nordic noir, and those who are waiting to read them might want to try something else in the meantime. Luckily, there is no shortage of atmospheric Scandinavian mysteries, and I have compiled a list of some terrific authors who may inspire you to put on a big pot of coffee and cool off with an icy mystery.

Henning Mankell--One of the most successful Swedish authors, he is best known for the highly-regarded Kurt Wallander series.  Wallander, also called the Swedish Morse, is a middle-aged police inspector with a load of personal problems and a gloomy outlook on society, but the books are justifably popular.

New Mysteries June 2010

Pull of the Moon by Diane Janes
Photo Snap Shot by Joanna Campbell Slan
Storm Prey by John Sandford
Hangman's Row Inquiry by Ann Purser
Moon Spinners by Sally Goldenbaum
Through the Cracks by Barbara Fister
Wanna Get Lucky by Deborah Coonts
Death Threads by Elizabeth Lynn Casey
Death of a Trophy Wife by Laura Levine
Killing Resurrected by Frank Smith
Rolling Thunder by Chris Grabenstein
Blue-Eyed Devil by Robert B. Parker
61 Hours by Lee Child
Big Bang by Mickey Spillane
Question of Belief by Donna Leon
Deadline Man by Jon Talton
Half-Price Homicide by Elaine Viets
Death Watch by Jim Kelly
Skein of the Crime by Maggie Sefton
Deliver Us From Evil by Peter Turnbull

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