Monday, November 30, 2009

Best Mann: You fellas gangsters?

Best Mann For The Job #38 is now online at TitleTrakk.com: It's been a long road, but the bank robbers have eluded the police and are now about to hold a small family prisoner. While you watch this "pilot episode" unfold, it may be helpful to keep in mind that this is a daily serial being told a week at a time. (If this were in your daily newspaper, it would be moving much faster.) But we've let you in on the ground floor so you can see it as we make it ...

Best Mann For The Job stars Grace Mann, a woman with a complicated past who returns home to become sheriff of Hope Falls, Tennessee. (Imagine that T.J. Hooker became the new sheriff of Mayberry.) The serial drama is created by Chris and Erica Well, and inspired by such classic comic strips as Dick Tracy, Gasoline Alley, and The Heart of Juliet Jones. Read the story from the beginning at StudioWell.com.

Become a fan on Facebook.
More free online comics at StudioWell.com/Comics.

BEST MANN FOR THE JOB Trailer


Previously:
Best Mann: No sudden moves!
Best Mann: Knock Knock
Best Mann: This can only end badly
Best Mann: The cows figured out the difference
Best Mann: It's 'lectric!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Buzz (Nov 28)

The links getting the most hits this week at The Thrill of it All ...

01. Christmas Can Be Murder: 10 Seasonal Mystery Titles
02. I, ALEX CROSS by James Patterson
03. Interview: CAROL HIGGINS CLARK
04. James Patterson-branded e-reader
05. Best Mann: No sudden moves!
06. Crime Fiction Alphabet: H is for Homicide Trinity
07. Breaking through: When mysteries become lit
08. MWA vs Harlequin
09. Everyody still hates Brad Meltzer in paperback.
10. Authors on Facebook and Twitter
11. Edward Woodward (1930-2009)
12. Castle: "Space Cowboy" (Firefly vs. Serenity)
13. Mr. Monk is Online
14. MONK final season
15. How to Write a Cozy Mystery
16. James Patterson: He's everywhere! He's everywhere!
17. Murder She Wrote: THE HIGHLAND FLING MURDERS
18. Best Mann: Knock-Knock
19. Are you "Monkish"?
20. eBooks: Traditional Publishing Vs. Self Publishing

Bonus: Getting the most hits at our sister blog, Crime TV ...

01. Crime TV Themes: IT TAKES A THIEF
02. Crime TV Themes: THE HARDY BOYS &NANCY DREW
03. Crime TV Themes: THE ROCKFORD FILES
04. Who knew the Starsky and Hutch theme had words?
05. Kenneth Branagh is WALLANDER
04. Crime TV Themes: BATMAN 1966 (w/ THE ODD COUPLE)
05. Crime TV Themes: MONK
06. Crime TV Themes: NBC MYSTERY MOVIE
07. Crime TV Themes: PETER GUNN
08. Crime TV Themes: THE AVENGERS w/ THE NEW AVENGERS
08. Crime TV Themes: THE MAGICIAN
09. Crime TV Themes: MANNIX
10. Crime TV Themes: HAWAII FIVE-O

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas Can Be Murder: 10 Seasonal Mystery Titles

As we move into the yuletide season, here are ten books that feature Christmas-themed mysteries. We've selected titles old and new, ranging from bounty hunter Stephanie Plum and senior sleuth Jessica Fletcher to classic holiday outings starring the likes of Nero Wolfe, Ellery Queen, and Hercule Poirot. If you scroll down, you'll also finds links to comprehensive lists of Christmas- and holiday-related mysteries.

What are your favorite seasonal mystery and crime fiction titles? Let us know! Post your own favorites in the comments below! (You can also blog about your own suggestions and link to Suggest a Christmas Title).

01. A Rumpole Christmas: Stories
by John Mortimer (Viking)
For fans lamenting the death of mystery writer Sir John Mortimer this year, here's a welcome present: The first-ever collection of Christmas stories starring English barrister Horace Rumpole, with five stories never before published in book form. In “Rumpole and Father Christmas,” the  Old Bailey Hack encounters a familiar-looking Santa who he thinks is a thief. In “Rumpole’s Slimmed Down Christmas,” he goes to a spa when “She who must be obeyed” insists he lose a few pounds. In “Rumpole and the Christmas Break,” he protects Hilda as a shady judge flirts with her while on a holiday that turns out to be anything but relaxing. In “Rumpole of the Bailey’s Christmas Party,” Rumpole celebrates the holiday with Old Bailey colleagues and Hilda surprises him with an unexpected gift. And in “Rumpole and the Old Familiar Faces,” he uses a former client’s seedy past to aid a church in the name of Christmas spirit.

02. Murder Never Takes a Holiday (Murder She Wrote)
by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain (Signet)
Although her TV show ended years ago, amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher continues to solve murders in a series of original novels. (More than three million copies in print!) This brand-new two-in-one collection includes a nifty pair of seasonal whodunits: In Manhattans & Murder, Jessica's new book tour brings her to New York for Christmas, where she sees notorious Cabot Cove crook Waldo Morse dressed as a sidewalk Santa -- and ends up witnessing a murder. In A Little Yuletide Murder, Santa is found murdered shortly before Christmas. Actually, it's farmer Rory Brent, who's played St. Nick at Cabot Cove's annual holiday event for years. Everyone assumes the culprit is Brent's longtime enemy, Jake Walther, the meanest man in town. But Jessica thinks otherwise, and she's determined to deliver the real killer before Christmas ...

03. Between the Plums (Stephanie Plum)
by Janet Evanovich (St. Martin's Press)
This brand-new 3-in-1 holiday collection includes Visions of Sugar Plums: Five days before Christmas, things are not looking merry for Stephanie Plum. She hasn’t got a tree. She hasn’t bought any presents. The malls are jam-packed with staggering shoppers. There's not a twinkle of light anywhere to be seen in her apartment ... and there’s a strange man in her kitchen. (The collection also includes Plum Lovin' and Plum Lucky.)

04. There Goes Santa Claus (Ivy Towers Mystery #4)
by Nancy Mehl (Heartsong Presents: Mysteries)
A few days before December 25, newlyweds Ivy and Amos are awakened by noises on their rooftop -- shortly before a body flies past their second-story window. A look outside reveals two legs covered in red velvet trousers and black boots sticking out of a snow bank! Ivy and Amos are even more surprised to find they belong to a dead man dressed as Santa Claus ...

05. Iced (Regan Reilly Mysteries, No. 3)
by Carol Higgins Clark (Grand Central Publishing)
It's Christmas in Aspen and P.I. Regan Reilly is vacationing with her parents and hoping to meet an unmarried man. But all thoughts of romance turn to sleuthing when million-dollar paintings start disappearing, along with an old friend of Regan's -- who happens to be an ex-con. The snow is falling, the plot is thickening, and the danger is closing in on Regan ...


06. And Four to Go (Nero Wolfe Mysteries)
by Rex Stout (Crimeline)
This collection of four stories starring Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin includes the entry "Christmas Party": Archie tells Nero he'll be announcing his engagement at a Christmas party -- but is shocked when his fiancee announces she's actually marrying their host. Things go from bad to worse when Archie's rival is soon lying on the floor dead ... (The collection also includes "Easter Parade," "Fourth of July Picnic," and "Murder Is No Joke.")

07. Calamity Town
by Ellery Queen (Mysterious Press)
In the small town of Wrightsville, Ellery Queen has rented a house under an assumed name. He's hoping for some some peace and quiet so he can write a book. At first, the town seems ideal -– the neighbors are friendly, and there's little crime to distract him from his writing -- until the tranquility is broken by a series of arsenic poisonings during the holidays ...

08. Hercule Poirot's Christmas: A Holiday Mystery
by Agatha Christie (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers)
The wealthy Simeon Lee demands all four of his sons and their wives return home for Christmas. But a heartwarming family holiday is not what he has in mind -- he announces he's cutting off their allowances and changing his will. So, when the old man is found lying in a pool of blood on Christmas Eve, the great Hercule Poirot finds no lack of suspects. But how did the murderer escape from the locked room?

09. The Thin Man
by Dashiell Hammett (Vintage)
Nick and Nora Charles -- he's an ex-private eye, she's the heiress who made him respectable -- are lounging in their suite in New York City for the Christmas holiday. When a friend asks Nick to help find a killer, and reintroduces him to one of his old cases, soon Nick and Nora their faithful schnauzer Asta are drawn into a maelstrom of suspicious gangters, trigger-happy hoodlums, and overeager coppers. It's a holiday to remember!

10. Murder for Christmas: 26 Tales of Yuletide Malice
by various, edited by Thomas Godfrey (Castle Books)
Sometimes the holidays bring out the worst in people -- as these 26 tales of "seasonal malice" demonstrate. Includes a wide selection of legendary authors, including Margery Allingham, G.K. Chesterton, Agatha Christie, Carter Dickson, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edward D. Hoch, Ellery Queen, Dorothy L. Sayers, Georges Simonen, Rex Stout, and more! With illustrations by Gahan Wilson.

More lists of Christmas crime fiction:
Crime For The Holidays (Mystery Lists By Topic)
Holiday Mystery Book Lists (Cozy Mystery List)
Have Yourself a Murderous Little Christmas (Poe's Deadly Daughters)
Christmas Mysteries: A-D (Mystery Fanfare)
Christmas Mysteries E-H (Mystery Fanfare)
Christmas Mysteries: Authors I-N (Mystery Fanfare)
Christmas Mysteries: O-R (Mystery Fanfare)
Christmas Mysteries: S-Z (Mystery Fanfare)
Some favorite Christmas mysteries from the past (1933-1998) (Katherine Hall Page)
Maggie Sefton: How to write a Holiday Mystery (Cozy Murder Mysteries)
Christmas Stories: Mystery and Murder (MysteryNet)
Holiday/Calendar Based Mysteries (Reader's Advice)
Holidays Can be Murder

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Interview: CAROL HIGGINS CLARK

From Barnes and Noble Studio: Best-selling mystery author Carol Higgins Clark (Cursed: A Regan Reilly Mystery) reveals some of her writing rituals, how she got started, the challenges of writing funny fiction, and what it's like teaming up with her mother, famed mystery author Mary Higgins Clark, for their Christmas stories.



More interviews:
Three queens of crime (Sue Grafton, Faye Kellerman, and Tess Gerritsen)
Q&A: LEE GOLDBERG (Monk, Diagnosis Murder)
Q&A: ANDREW KLAVAN (Don't Say A Word)
Q&A: SANDRA BROWN (Ricochet)
Q&A: Mystery / Suspense / Thriller authors

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Crime Fiction Alphabet: H is for Homicide Trinity

I discovered several bloggers going through the The Alphabet in Crime Fiction letter by letter, and thought it'd be fun to give it a try. This week they're featuring the letter "H."

My selection is Rex Stout's Homicide Trinity (Crime Line). Originally published by Viking Press in 1962,  it's a collection of three mysteries starring Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin: "Eeny Meeny Murder Mo," first published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (March 1962), "Death of a Demon," serialized in The Saturday Evening Post (June 10, 17, and 24, 1961), and "Counterfeit for Murder," serialized as "The Counterfeiter's Knife" in The Saturday Evening Post (January 14, 21, and 28, 1961).

If you've never had the pleasure of reading a Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin mystery, you're missing out! Rex Stout brilliantly combines the best elements of two disparate traditions in detective fiction -- the cozy whodunits and the "Black Mask" school of gumshoes. Corpulent, persnickety armchair detective Nero Wolfe has the brains to solve the puzzle, whereas righthand man Archie Goodwin has the street smarts and, when called for, the fists to get the clues. It's as if Miss Marple went into business and hired Philip Marlowe to do the legwork. Of course, Wolfe is loathe to put his mind to work, preferring to focus on his orchids and his dinner. More often than not, it's only a result of Archie's needling that they take on any work at all -- if only because they have bills to pay. And since Wolfe won't go to the case, Archie has to bring everything to Wolfe, suspects and all. Stout wrote some seventy Nero Wolfe books and stories, starting with Fer-de-Lance in 1934 and ending with A Family Affair, published shortly before the author's death in 1975.



Homicide Trinity is thirty-sixth in the series. The Wolfe Pack: The Official Nero Wolfe Society describes it thus:
On the reverse of this jacket you will find the bill of fare for this three-course feast of murder, mystification, and masterful deduction. At his large and loyal Society will attest, Rex Stout's famous threesomes are fully as delightful as his book-length novels, which is to say that they are peerless examples of mayhem de luxe.

Murder#1 "That's the gun I'm not going to shoot my husband with," said the pretty lady, handing a revolver to Archie. But her husband was already dead, shot with an identical gun ...

Murder#2 Fighting three of the smartest lawyers in the business, Nero Wolfe's own soup-stained tie becomes a deadly weapon of murder ...

Murder#3 When a cop-hating landlady gives Nero Wolfe $40,000 to make the police eat dirt, and an actor at liberty takes the liberty of killing, Archie takes matters into his own hands ...

Related link: Homicide Trinity at Wikipedia

I'd recommend nearly any title starring Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. As with the best mystery series, the mysteries are often great, the stories are usually great -- and the characters are always great.

UPDATED: More than 100 blogs!

If you peruse the column to your left, there are now updates from more than 100 blogs related to crime fiction, mysteries, thrillers, and suspense -- including news, reviews, author updates, and more. It's plugged into their RSS feeds, so when a blog is updated, it jumps to the top of the column. Nifty!

Now, if you are a novelist or fiction writer who specializes in the appropriate genres -- and you have a blog you update regularly -- let me know so I can add you to the list!

Breaking through: When mysteries become lit


Publisher's Weekly outlines the conflicted views when a book is categorized as "mystery" or "crime fiction" and when it's categorized as "literary." Weighing in on the subject are authors Michael Connelly (who writes the best-selling Harry Bosch series), Kate Atkinson (U.K. detective Jackson Brodie), and Jess Walter (who won an Edgar Award for Citizen Vince). Breaking The Wall: When mystery becomes literary fiction, and vice versa

Monday, November 23, 2009

Best Mann: No sudden moves!

Best Mann For The Job #37 is now online at TitleTrakk.com: The desperate fugitives make their move! Trust me, this is where things pick up. Read the story from the beginning at StudioWell.com.

Best Mann For The Job stars Grace Mann, a woman with a complicated past who returns home to become sheriff of Hope Falls, Tennessee. This serial drama aspires to the style of the classic serial comic strips, with the crime-bustin' chops of a rural Dick Tracy, the small-town charm of Gasoline Alley, and the emotional touches of The Heart of Juliet Jones. (Or if you prefer, imagine if T.J. Hooker became the new sheriff of Mayberry.) Latest strip exclusive at TitleTrakk.com.

Become a fan on Facebook
More free online comics at StudioWell.com/Comics

BEST MANN FOR THE JOB Teaser/Trailer


Previously:
Best Mann: Knock Knock
Best Mann: This can only end badly
Best Mann: The cows figured out the difference
Best Mann: It's 'lectric!
Best Mann: You're that new lady sheriff aint'cha?

Friday, November 20, 2009

MWA vs Harlequin

Harlequin has opened up a self-publishing business -- and blurred the lines enough between the pay-for-play side and professional editorial side that some worry aspiring authors could mistakenly think that paying for the one will lead to the other. Trade organizations Mystery Writers of America, the Romance Writers of America, and the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America have announced that Harlequin could lose its eligibility to participate in awards and other professional functions.

From Lee Goldberg's blog:
MWA Takes Stand Against Harlequin
Trouble on the Harlequin Horizon

More hubbub:
RWA, MWA and SFWA Angered by Harlequin's New Self-Publishing Imprint (Publishers Weekly)
Why Agents May Be Opposed to Self-Publishing (Thomas Nelson CEO Michael Hyatt)
Self-Publishing: A Rant and a Q4U (Literary agent Rachelle Gardner)
Thomas Nelson and Self-Publishing (Literary agent Chip MacGregor)

Everyody still hates Brad Meltzer in paperback.


A great idea for a book trailer!

Brad Meltzer, The Book of Lies (Grand Central Publishing)
In Chapter Four of the Bible, Cain kills Abel. It is the world's most famous murder. But the Bible is silent about one key detail: the weapon Cain used to kill his brother. That weapon is still lost to history.

In 1932, Mitchell Siegel was killed by three gunshots to his chest. While mourning, his son dreamed of a bulletproof man and created the world's greatest hero: Superman. And like Cain's murder weapon, the gun used in this unsolved murder has never been found.

Until now ...




Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Authors on Facebook and Twitter

Fiction Addict talks to Kevin Kaiser (brand manager at Creative Trust), Miriam Parker (Associate Director, Online Marketing at Hachette Book Group), and Tosca Lee (author, Havah) about the effects of social networking and new media on the publishing industry. They cover the pros and cons of Facebook and Twitter, how important it is for authors to “get their name out there”, and social networking etiquette. Listen here: Social Networking and Publishing

Related: Technology can be an author's best publicist
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review discusses the the web and social media with writers Anne Rice, Gregg Hurwitz, Alafair Burke, and more.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I, ALEX CROSS by James Patterson

New in stores:
I, Alex Cross
Written by James Patterson
Little, Brown And Company

You can't run
Detective Alex Cross is pulled out of a family celebration and given the awful news that a beloved relative has been found brutally murdered. Alex vows to hunt down the killer, and soon learns that she was mixed up in one of Washington's wildest scenes. And she was not this killer's only victim.

You can't hide
The hunt for the murderer leads Alex and his girlfriend, Detective Brianna Stone, to a place where every fantasy is possible, if you have the credentials to get in. Alex and Bree are soon facing down some very important, very protected, very dangerous people in levels of society where only one thing is certain—they will do anything to keep their secrets safe.

Alex Cross is your only hope to stay alive
As Alex closes in on the killer, he discovers evidence that points to the unimaginable—a revelation that could rock the entire world. With the unstoppable action, unforeseeable twists, and edge-of-your-seat suspense that only a James Patterson thriller delivers, I, Alex Cross is the master of suspense at his sharpest and best.

Excerpts
Audio Excerpts



Related links:
James Patterson-branded e-reader
James Patterson signed for 17 books through 2010
Patterson on ABC's CASTLE
James Patterson: He's everywhere, he's everywhere
James Patterson Sets World Record (GalleyCat)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Edward Woodward (1930-2009)

TV legend Edward Woodward ("The Equalizer," "Callan") passed away today at 79. He will be missed.

Watch the opening credits sequences for his shows "The Equalizer" and "Callan" at Crime TV.

Obituary: Edward Woodward Telegraph.co.uk
UK's Edward Woodward, Star of 'The Wicker Man,' Dies at 79 Bloomberg
Wicker Man, Equalizer actor Edward Woodward dies Reuters
'Equalizer' star Edward Woodward dies at 79 The Associated Press
Actor Edward Woodward dies at 79 BBC News

Best Mann: Knock Knock

Best Mann For The Job #36 is now online at TitleTrakk.com: While the sheriff is preoccupied with a local matter, the bank robbers -- desperate, fugitives, needing medical attention -- have stopped at a farmhouse. (Nothing good can come from this.) Read the story from the beginning at StudioWell.com.

Best Mann For The Job stars Grace Mann, a woman with a complicated past who returns home to become sheriff of Hope Falls, Tennessee. This serial drama aspires to the style of the classic serial comic strips, with the crime-bustin' chops of a rural Dick Tracy, the small-town charm of Gasoline Alley, and the emotional touches of The Heart of Juliet Jones. (Or if you prefer, imagine if T.J. Hooker became the new sheriff of Mayberry.) Latest strip exclusive at TitleTrakk.com.

Become a fan on Facebook
More free online comics at StudioWell.com/Comics

BEST MANN FOR THE JOB Teaser/Trailer


Previously:
Best Mann: This can only end badly
Best Mann: The cows figured out the difference
Best Mann: It's 'lectric!
Best Mann: You're that new lady sheriff aint'cha?
Vote for your favorite fictional sheriff!

Friday, November 13, 2009

James Patterson-branded e-reader

Computer Shopper reports that Sony is releasing new special edition romance- and crime-themed eBook readers in time for Christmas. The James Patterson Reader Pocket Edition comes pre-loaded with Patterson's best-selling Cross Country and selected excerpts from two upcoming James Patterson books, a free download of the new Alex Cross novel Worst Case (not due for publication until 2010), and a letter from the author, "which may or may not also be ghost written."

Related:
James Patterson signed for 17 books through 2010
Patterson on ABC's CASTLE
James Patterson: He's everywhere, he's everywhere
James Patterson Sets World Record (GalleyCat)
ITW Anthology: Starred Review

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Too much magic

My friend Kevin Kaiser meditates on why your fiction can't have aliens that turn into vampires: Too much magic

Posted using ShareThis

Monday, November 09, 2009

Best Mann: This can only end badly

Best Mann For The Job #35: You might have wondered whether we forgot about those desperate fugitives ... on the run from the law, needing medical attention ... now driving through the unsuspecting town of Hope Falls ...

Best Mann For The Job stars Grace Mann, a woman with a complicated past who returns home to become sheriff of Hope Falls, Tennessee. This serial drama aspires to the style of the classic serial comic strips, with the crime-bustin' chops of a rural Dick Tracy, the small-town charm of Gasoline Alley, and the emotional touches of The Heart of Juliet Jones. (Or if you prefer, imagine if T.J. Hooker became the new sheriff of Mayberry.) Latest strip exclusive at TitleTrakk.com.

Read the story from the beginning at StudioWell.com
Become a fan on Facebook
More free online comics at StudioWell.com/Comics

BEST MANN FOR THE JOB Teaser/Trailer


Previously:
Best Mann: The cows figured out the difference
Best Mann: It's 'lectric!
Best Mann: You're that new lady sheriff aint'cha?
Vote for your favorite fictional sheriff!
Best Mann: Bigfoot, Kryptonite, and Mogo-Pogo

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Who knew the Starsky and Hutch theme had words?

Apparently in some parts of the world there are words to the theme for '70s cop show Starsky & Hutch. Listen:



You can watch the more familiar opening credits here:
Mystery TV Themes: STARSKY & HUTCH

More classic TV opening credits here:
NBC MYSTERY MOVIE
HARDY BOYS / NANCY DREW
THE AVENGERS (plus THE NEW AVENGERS)
MONK
MANNIX

Monday, November 02, 2009

Best Mann: The cows figured out the difference

Best Mann For The Job #34: You're not going to believe this, but the whole thing with the cows is inspired by my boyhood on the farm. (Although, while cityboy here says it's because the cows "figured out" the difference, the unspoken truth here is that cows are too dumb to trick. And the real-life farmer I'm thinking of never seemed to understand that.)

Best Mann For The Job stars Grace Mann, a woman with a complicated past who returns home to become sheriff of Hope Falls, Tennessee. This serial drama aspires to the style of the classic serial comic strips, with the crime-bustin' chops of a rural Dick Tracy, the small-town charm of Gasoline Alley, and the emotional touches of The Heart of Juliet Jones. (Or if you prefer, imagine if T.J. Hooker became the new sheriff of Mayberry.) Latest strip exclusive at TitleTrakk.com.

Read the story from the beginning at StudioWell.com
Become a fan on Facebook
More free online comics at StudioWell.com/Comics

BEST MANN FOR THE JOB Teaser/Trailer


Previously:
Best Mann: It's 'lectric!
Best Mann: You're that new lady sheriff aint'cha?
Vote for your favorite fictional sheriff!
Best Mann: Bigfoot, Kryptonite, and Mogo-Pogo
Best Mann: "What IS this place?"

Die Laughing: Funny Crime and Mystery Fiction

SHE'S THE SHERIFF!

A woman with a complicated past returns home to become the small town's new sheriff. Best Mann For The Job is by the writer/artist team of Chris and Erica Well. Read it from the beginning at StudioWell.com. Watch the trailer on YouTube.