Mar 312014

There's more news to share about the forthcoming "continuation" novel by Mike Ripley featuring Albert Campion, the gentleman detective/adventurer created by Margery Allingham.

As I posted here in January, the new book, Mr Campion's Farewell, is really a continuation of a book begun by Allingham's husband, Pip Youngman Carter, after his wife's death. Carter died after writing only a few chapters, and the manuscript was never finished or published. Now, Mike Ripley has completed it, and I believe it has just been published by Severn House in the U. K. It's scheduled to be released in the U.S. on July 1st.

Mike Ripley has done an interview with Shots Crime & Thriller Ezine about the new book, its origins, and his involvement with the project. I've been given an advance copy of the book, and I look forward to reviewing it on the blog and podcast as we get a little closer to the release date. For fans of Margery Allingham and Albert Campion, I would bet that your favorite friendly mystery bookstore would be more than happy to order a copy of Mr. Campion's Farewell for you. In the meantime, Ripley's interview answers a number of excellent questions and may whet your appetite.

Mar 312014

Every so often, a mystery writer whose work has faded into obscurity over time undergoes a sort of rediscovery, offering a new generation of readers a chance to discover that author's work. Consider the work of John Bude, a British author whose books are hardly remembered today. Now, the British Library, in its Crime Classics series, has brought back a couple of Bude's books - he wrote 30, all long out of print - for the enjoyment of new readers.

Which brings us to The Cornish Coast Murder, Bude's first mystery, published in 1935, a sort of classic English country-house murder that really does not deserve to be forgotten. The publisher provided me with a copy for this review, and it is the subject of today's audio review on the Classic Mysteries podcast. You can listen to the entire review by clicking here.

In The Cornish Coast Murder, we have the murder of a local magistrate, Julius Tregarthen, in the small Cornish village of Boscawen. Although he was shot while sitting in his country home, it appears quite certain that he was shot by someone outside the house. Unfortunately, that's about the only clue police have - and so, enter a couple of amateurs, to help the police in their efforts to solve the case.

The local vicar, the Reverend Dodd, and his good friend, Doctor Pendrill love to read mysteries, and they often visit each other in the evening to discuss their reading. What more natural than that they should team up to help the police, who may be pursuing false leads in the case. After all, there isn’t much evidence – and what there is is largely contradictory. There are no footprints where footprints ought to be, and there are footprints where there should be none – that sort of thing. The victim’s niece, Ruth Tregarthen, appears to be hiding something, and her friend Ronald Hardy has disappeared, which leads the police inspector in charge of the case to suspect that the two young people may both be involved in the murder. Reverend Dodd doesn’t think so, and he sets out to prove their innocence – and to try to find the real killer.

It all makes for a very entertaining mystery, a fairly quick and enjoyable read. The new edition from the British Library Crime Classics includes a new introduction by mystery writer Martin Edwards, who notes that Bude paid more attention to his characters and his settings than many of his contemporaries did. It is good to have Bude's work brought back into print.

I'm submitting this book and review to the Vintage Mystery Bingo Reading Challenge (Golden version) under way at the My Reading Block blog as an example of a country house mystery. 

Mar 232014

The 2014 Left Coast Crime awards were presented this evening at the banquet held at the LCC 2014 conference in Monterey, CA. There were four awards. Here's a list of the winners and nominees - with the winners in boldface type:

THE LEFTY (Most humorous mystery published in the prior year):

  • The Good Cop, by Brad Parks
  • The Hen of the Baskervilles, by Donna Andrews
  • The Fame Thief, by Timothy Hallinan
  • The Last Word, by Lisa Lutz
  • Dying for a Daiquiri, by Cindy Sample

THE BRUCE ALEXANDER MEMORIAL HISTORICAL MYSTERY AWARD (best historical mystery novel covering events before 1960)

  • Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses, by Catriona McPherson
  • Heirs and Graces, by Rhys Bowen
  • His Majesty's Hope, by Susan Elia MacNeal
  • Murder as a Fine Art, by David Morrell
  • Covenant with Hell, by Priscilla Royal
  • Leaving Everything Most Loved, by Jacqueline Winspear

THE SQUID (Best mystery novel set within the United States

  • Ordinary Grace, by William Kent Krueger
  • W is for Wasted, by Sue Grafton
  • Purgatory Key, by Darrell James
  • The Wrong Girl, by Hank Phillippi Ryan
  • A Killing at Cotton Hill, by Terry Shames

THE CALAMARI (Best mystery novel set anywhere else in the world)

  • How the Light Gets In, by Louise Penny
  • Murder Below Montparnasse, by Cara Black
  • Hour of the Rat, by Lisa Brackmann
  • As She Left It, by Catriona McPherson
  • Mykonos After Midnight, by Jeffrey Siger

As always, we extend congratulations to the winners and to all the nominees. Left Coast Crime winds up Sunday morning!

Mar 222014

Another day of interesting panels at Left Coast Crime 2014 in Monterey.

LCC Writers

It's kind of amazing to be able to start your day listening to three fine mystery writers - Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller and Jan Burke - reminisce about their experiences as women who write crime, and the experiences, good and bad, that they've had.

The conference continues until Sunday.

Mar 212014

The Independent Mystery Booksellers Association has presented its annual Dilys Award, given for the book which member booksellers have most enjoyed selling, to William Kent Krueger's Ordinary Grace. It was presented tonight at the Left Coast Crime conference in Monterey.

For a full list of the nominees and additional information about the award, please see this article from Mystery Scene magazine.

Mar 202014

Hangin' out with the squid this week - Calamari Crime, this year's Left Coast Crime conference kicks off this morning in Monterey, California. There will be about 800 people here - mystery authors and hundreds of their fans. These are people who read mysteries, lots of mysteries ofall types, and love to talk about them.

The book room (the dealers to us book addicts) was only open for five minutes before I had picked up two treasures: one non-fiction: The Fiction of Ruth Rendell: Ancient Tragedy and the Modern Family, by Barbara Fass Leavy, who will be on a panel with me on Saturday to discuss the books we read and why we read them; and John Dickson Carr's long out of print second novel, The Lost Gallows, a 1931 classic which I haven't read in several decades, featuring his first series detective, Bencolin. I snatched that one off the table of one of the used book dealers here, shouting "MINE! MINE!" and nobody thought I was at all strange...

If you've never been to a mystery conference and love to read mysteries of any kind and talk about them, you are missing a chance to have a wonderful time. Keep that in mind, particularly for Bouchercon, in November this year. I'd love to see you there.

Mar 162014

I'm packing today for my visit to Left Coast Crime, which is being held this year in Monterey, California, under the alias "Calamari Crime." It should be a great week, with hundreds of mystery authors and readers in attendance, lots of panel discussions about every aspect of crime fiction, an awards banquet, and a schedule loaded with interesting and fun events, including lifetime achievement awards for Bill Pronzini and Marcia Muller.. I'm taking part in one of the panels on Saturday morning, and I do hope my friends will be there.

In addition, some of us will be taking a tour of the Big Sur country before the conference begins, and we'll wind down after the conference by visiting some of the wineries in the area.

I'll be posting my regular Monday podcast this week and next week, and I'll try to throw in some extra posts here about the Calamari Crime events. I hope some of you will be there - if so, please be sure to look for me!

Mar 102014

"There is a point we must keep in mind, which is not to give homicide preference over abduction.”

The speaker is Australian Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte - "Bony," to his friends. Bony has been sent to the town of Mitford to investigate the disappearance of four nearly-newborn baby boys, snatched from their carriages and their cribs. Now, a fifth baby has disappeared - and this time, the baby's mother has been murdered. Bony knows that the killer, of course, must be found and caught - but he cannot allow the murder to take precedence over solving the disappearance of the infants. To put it more succinctly, Murder Must Wait. And that is the title of the 1953 classic by Arthur Upfield which is the subject of today's audio review on the Classic Mysteries podcast. You can listen to the full review by clicking here.

Bony - who inherits his talents and abilities from both his white father and Aborigine mother - is  proud of the fact that he has never failed to "finalize" a case. But he also realizes that he knows very little about babies, or about how they are raised, or about why these babies are being taken. There are no ransom demands - the babies apparently are taken in such a way that nobody sees anything or knows anything.

So Bony needs some help - and he finds it in the person of First Constable Alice McGorr, a remarkable character, and I think you'll find her a memorable one. Together, Bony and Alice must figure out what really happened to those infants - and, only then, discover who murdered the mother of that fifth baby. I suspect that many readers will be both shocked and deeply moved.

It's a beautiful story, and there are wonderful passages describing some Aboriginal rituals that are truly haunting. I have been a fan of Upfield and of Bony for a long time, and I think this is one of the best books in the series - certainly it shows Bony at his most human and appealing.

Now the bad news: Murder Must Wait, like so many of Upfield's other works, is out of print. If you follow the above links to Amazon, you'll find that Audible has made an audio version of the book available; there are also a reasonable number of used print copies floating around among Amazon's online retailers. As always, the first place to check, if you are fortunate enough to have a mystery bookstore, is with that store to see if they can get it for you.

Because murder plays only a minor part in this story, taking a back seat to another crime, I am submitting it to the My Reader's Block Vintage Mystery Bingo challenge to fill a square on the Bingo card calling for "one book that features a crime other than murder." If you're not taking part in the challenge - well, the year is still young; plenty of time for you to visit the blog and join the challenge!

Mar 012014

Another new month means it's time for another look inside UK and other European crime fiction through the eyes of UK crime author, critic and general man-about-town Mike Ripley. His latest Getting Away with Murder column for Shots Crime & Thriller e-Zine has now been released, and it's his usual witty look at a remarkable number of topics related to each other only by their fascination with crime. 

On the Ripster's mind this month, among other topics::

  • A somewhat jaundiced report on Nordicana;
  • Reflections on various TV series;
  • A new book from Irish author Declan Hughes;
  • Thrillers about skiing;
  • A couple of thrillers from Austria;
  • Reflections on the genetic deformities of Richard III;
  • Republications of an English book about an American private eye;
  • The disappearing Ellis Peters Award for historical mysteries;
  • Silver jubilees for a couple of Mike's books and others;
  • Word of a couple of new British Library republications of classic, if little-known, crime fiction (which will, eventually, be reviewed here!);
  • Cheers for republication of some Ellery Queen novels;
  • More about Ripley's new Albert Campion novel, based on Margery Allingham's character;
  • novels from Australia and Cuba;
  • and some new graphic art that might make a new logo for the Detection Club.

There's a lot to enjoy here, so dig right in!



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