The Case of the Noisy Parrot

The talkative parrot who shows up near the end of A Plain Vanilla Murder has developed his own personal following, it seems. Maybe  you remember him from the book. His name is Mr. Spock. China Bayles describes him as “a stunning green parrot with an orange beak and splashes of red and blue under his […]

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BookScapes: Review of HEARTLAND, by Sarah Smarsh

Our Story Circle reading circle met yesterday to talk about Heartland, by Sarah Smarsh–a lively discussion that spilled over into a second hour, with lots to say, lots to share. For me, reading Heartland was a heart-breaking, evocative experience that brought back my childhood and young adult years, spent on a farm and in a small rural community […]

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Mystery Unscramble Giveaway

Contest closed–congratulations to the winners! I’ve teamed up with 10 other mystery authors to bring you a Mystery Unscramble Giveaway–both a contest and a word game. (Mystery readers love word games, right?) For each author’s name you correctly unscramble, you’ll get one chance to win that author’s book, plus one chance to win the grand […]

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BookScapes: Review of THE FIVE, by Hallie Rubenhold

Exceptional research underpins this riveting study of the five victims of Jack the Ripper. These are well-told stories of women’s lives in mid-to-late 1800s, converging in the Whitechapel slums of London in the summer and early autumn of 1888. Rubenhold’s book is a much-needed corrective, staying away from the murderer and the murders but focusing […]

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BookScapes: Briefly 08/29/2019

Briefly, two true crime narratives about the current challenge of keeping libraries safe as the value of their special collections skyrockets and criminal collectors look to them as a source of valuable goodies. Disappearing Ink: The Insider, the FBI, and the Looting of the Kenyon College Library, by Travis McDade, is the  fascinating story of […]

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BookScapes: True Crime Addict

I’ve been intrigued by true crime since the publication of In Cold Blood in 1966. I’ve watched the genre evolve from its beginnings in books about the crimes (sensational, usually gory), the criminal (usually gruesome), and the cops that investigate the crimes and catch (or don’t) the criminals. True Crime Addict, by James Renner, belongs in the latest […]

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BookScapes: The Gown

Jennifer Robson has chosen a winning subject for her fifth novel, a story about the creation of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown and the transformative role it plays in the lives of three women: Ann Hughes, an embroiderer in the London workroom of designer Norman Hartnell; Ann’s co-worker, Miriam Dassin, a French emigre and Holocaust survivor; […]

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BookScapes: Briefly 08/07/19

Every now and then, I happen on a book I really like, but which bothers me. Recently, I’ve happened on two books, both excellent, that bother me in the same interesting way. Here they are, briefly. Once Upon a Time: A True Tale of Memory, Murder and the Law  by Harry N. MacLean This book […]

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BookScapes: The Last Stone

I write crime fiction, so I read a lot of true crime. I often find the genre difficult, but it’s fascinating at the same time, especially as it has evolved over the last couple of decades. Recently, one of my author colleagues (Leia Francisco) made a distinction between “liking” a book and “appreciating” it. We […]

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