Jacqueline Winspear’s The White Lady

Jacqueline Winspear departs from the Maisie Dobbs mysteries with her latest book, the Hot Book of the Week at The Poisoned Pen, The White Lady. She appeared at the bookstore, and talked about her books and England with Barbara Peters. There are signed copies of The White Lady available through the Webstore. http://bit.ly/3K068pm

Here’s the description of The White Lady.

The White Lady introduces yet another extraordinary heroine from Jacqueline Winspear, creator of the best-selling Maisie Dobbs series. This heart-stopping novelset in Post WWII Britain in 1947follows the coming of age and maturity of former wartime operative Elinor White—veteran of two wars, trained killer, protective of her anonymity—when she is drawn back into the world of menace she has been desperate to leave behind.

 A reluctant ex-spy with demons of her own, Elinor finds herself facing down one of the most dangerous organized crime gangs in London, ultimately exposing corruption from Scotland Yard to the highest levels of government.

The private, quiet “Miss White” as Elinor is known, lives in a village in rural Kent, England, and to her fellow villagers seems something of an enigma. Well she might, as Elinor occupies a “grace and favor” property, a rare privilege offered to faithful servants of the Crown for services to the nation. But the residents of Shacklehurst have no way of knowing how dangerous Elinor’s war work had been, or that their mysterious neighbor is haunted by her past.

It will take Susie, the child of a young farmworker, Jim Mackie and his wife, Rose, to break through Miss White’s icy demeanor—but Jim has something in common with Elinor. He, too, is desperate to escape his past. When the powerful Mackie crime family demands a return of their prodigal son for an important job, Elinor assumes the task of protecting her neighbors, especially the bright-eyed Susie. Yet in her quest to uncover the truth behind the family’s pursuit of Jim, Elinor unwittingly sets out on a treacherous path – yet it is one that leads to her freedom.

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Consequences of Fear, The American Agent, and To Die but Once, as well as thirteen other bestselling Maisie Dobbs novels and The Care and Management of Lies, a Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist. Jacqueline has also published two nonfiction books, What Would Maisie Do? and a memoir, This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing. Originally from the United Kingdom, she divides her time between California and the Pacific Northwest.

It’s always interesting to hear Jacqueline Winspear talk about England’s post-war years.

Liam Callanan, When in Rome

Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, welcomed Liam Callanan back to the bookstore. Callanan, the author of Paris by the Book, has a new book, When in Rome. You can order a signed copy of When in Rome through the Webstore. https://tinyurl.com/ybc99dhn

Here’s the description of When in Rome.

From nationally bestselling, award-winning author Liam Callanan, the story of an opportunity to start over at midlife, a chance to save a struggling convent in the Eternal City, and the dramatic re-emergence of an old flame . . .

Meet Claire: fifty-two, desperate to do something new and get a fresh start.

Enter the chance to go to Rome: Home to a struggling convent facing a precipitous end, the city beckons Claire, who’s long had a complicated relationship with religion, including a “missed connection” with convent life in her teens. Once in Rome, she finds a group of funny, fearless nuns in a gorgeous villa, beautiful runs throughout a color-saturated city, and a chance to reflect. It all leads her to an unexpected question—should she join the convent?—and an answer that startles her as much as it does those closest to her.

It also startles Marcus, a once-buzzy actor, devastatingly handsome, who is eternally in love with Claire. Marcus has come and gone from Claire’s life since college but now reappears in Rome just as she’s about to decide what’s next.

As Claire searches for her higher calling, she finds the key to her future may lay in her past—and involves an actual key. The nuns swear it unlocks nothing, but on a night when choices and voices swirl, Claire finds a long-hidden lock.

A look at faith, in oneself as much as a higher power, and love, romantic and familial, lost and found, this is the thoroughly charming story of one woman who sets out to rewrite her past and future, only to be surprised by the plot twists life plants . . . when in Rome.

Liam Callanan is a novelist, teacher, and journalist. His novel Paris by the Book, a national bestseller, was translated into multiple languages and won the 2019 Edna Ferber Prize. He’s also the 2017 winner of the Hunt Prize, and his first novel, The Cloud Atlas, was a finalist for an Edgar Award. Liam’s work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Slate, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The San Francisco Chronicle, and he’s recorded numerous essays for public radio. He’s also taught for the Warren Wilson MFA program for writers, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and lives in Wisconsin with his wife and daughters.

Enjoy the conversation about setting, characters, and books.

The Lefty Awards

The Lefty Awards were announced this past weekend at the Left Coast Crime Convention in Tucson, Arizona. Congratulations to all the winners. Check for the books in the Webstore. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

Best Humorous Mystery Novel

  • Ellen Byron, Bayou Book Thief (Berkley Prime Crime)

Best Historical Mystery Novel

(The Bill Gottfried Memorial) for books set before 1970

  • Wanda M. Morris, Anywhere You Run (William Morrow)

Best Debut Mystery Novel

  • Ramona Emerson, Shutter (Soho Crime)

Best Mystery Novel

(not in other categories)

  • Kellye Garrett, Like a Sister (Mulholland Books)

Donna Leon’s So Shall You Reap

Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, recently welcomed Donna Leon for a virtual author event. Leon’s latest mystery is So Shall You Reap. There are signed copies of the book available in the Webstore. https://store.poisonedpen.com/item/wLu_br6H3tW-jhoz-94I2A

Here’s the description of So Shall You Reap.

In the thirty-second installment of Donna Leon’s bestselling series, a connection to Guido Brunetti’s own youthful past helps solve a mysterious murder

On a cold November evening, Guido Brunetti and Paola are up late when a call from his colleague Ispettore Vianello arrives, alerting the Commissario that a hand has been seen in one of Venice’s canals. The body is soon found, and Brunetti is assigned to investigate the murder of an undocumented Sri Lankan immigrant. Because no official record of the man’s presence in Venice exists, Brunetti is forced to use the city’s far richer sources of information: gossip and the memories of people who knew the victim. Curiously, he had been living in a small house on the grounds of a palazzo owned by a university professor, in which Brunetti discovers books revealing the victim’s interest in Buddhism, the revolutionary Tamil Tigers, and the last crop of Italian political terrorists, active in the 1980s.

As the investigation expands, Brunetti, Vianello, Commissario Griffoni, and Signora Elettra each assemble pieces of a puzzle—random information about real estate and land use, books, university friendships—that appear to have little in common, until Brunetti stumbles over something that transports him back to his own student days, causing him to reflect on lost ideals and the errors of youth, on Italian politics and history, and on the accidents that sometimes lead to revelation.

DONNA LEON, born in New Jersey in 1942, has worked as a travel guide in Rome and as a copywriter in London. She taught literature in universities in Iran, China, and Saudi Arabia. Commissario Brunetti made her books world-famous. Donna Leon lived in Italy for many years, and although she now lives in Switzerland, she often visits Venice.

Enjoy the discussion of opera, Leon’s Commissario Brunetti, and books.

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers

Isn’t that a great title? Jesse Q. Sutanto, author of Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, recently appeared for a virtual event for The Poisoned Pen. Lynn Painter, author of a number of romantic comedies, was guest host for the event. You can order a copy of Sutanto’s book through the Webstore. https://store.poisonedpen.com/item/wCIDqQu6pg_DeiXlBQGyzA

Here’s the summary of Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers.

A lonely shopkeeper takes it upon herself to solve a murder in the most peculiar way in this captivating mystery by Jesse Q. Sutanto, bestselling author of Dial A for Aunties.

Vera Wong is a lonely little old lady—ah, lady of a certain age—who lives above her forgotten tea shop in the middle of San Francisco’s Chinatown. Despite living alone, Vera is not needy, oh no. She likes nothing more than sipping on a good cup of Wulong and doing some healthy detective work on the Internet about what her Gen-Z son is up to.

Then one morning, Vera trudges downstairs to find a curious thing—a dead man in the middle of her tea shop. In his outstretched hand, a flash drive. Vera doesn’t know what comes over her, but after calling the cops like any good citizen would, she sort of . . . swipes the flash drive from the body and tucks it safely into the pocket of her apron. Why? Because Vera is sure she would do a better job than the police possibly could, because nobody sniffs out a wrongdoing quite like a suspicious Chinese mother with time on her hands. Vera knows the killer will be back for the flash drive; all she has to do is watch the increasing number of customers at her shop and figure out which one among them is the killer.

What Vera does not expect is to form friendships with her customers and start to care for each and every one of them. As a protective mother hen, will she end up having to give one of her newfound chicks to the police?

Jesse Q. Sutanto grew up shuttling back and forth between Indonesia, Singapore, and Oxford, and considers all three places her home. She has a masters from Oxford University. When she is not writing, she is gaming with her husband or making a mess in the kitchen with her two daughters.

There’s a great deal of laughter in this virtual author event. Enjoy!

2023 ITV Thriller Awards Nominees

It’s always a pleasure to share the lists of award nominees. Congratulations to the 2023 International Thriller Writers Awards Nominees. Check out the list; then check the Webstore for the books. https://store.poisonedpen.com/


Delilah S. Dawson – THE VIOLENCE (Del Rey)
Jennifer Hillier – THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK (Minotaur)
Alma Katsu – THE FERVOR (Penguin/Putnam)
Jennifer McMahon – THE CHILDREN ON THE HILL (Simon & Schuster)
Catriona Ward – SUNDIAL (Macmillan)


Kimberly Belle, Fargo Layne, Cate Holahan, Vanessa Lillie – YOUNG RICH WIDOWS (Audible)
        Narrated by Dina Pearlman, Karissa Vacker, Helen Laser, Ariel Blake
Julie Clark – THE LIES I TELL (Audible)
        Narrated by Anna Caputo, Amanda Dolan
J. L. Delozier – THE PHOTO THIEF (CamCat Publishing)
        Narrated by Rachel L. Jacobs, Jeffrey Kafer
Jennifer Hillier – THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK (Macmillan Audio)
        Narrated by Carla Vega
Minka Kent – THE SILENT WOMAN (Blackstone Publishing)
        Narrated by Christine Lakin, Kate Rudd


Lauren Nossett – THE RESEMBLANCE (Flatiron Books)
Sascha Rothchild – BLOOD SUGAR (Penguin/Putnam)
Hayley Scrivenor – DIRT TOWN (Pan Macmillan)
Stacy Willingham – A FLICKER IN THE DARK (Minotaur)
Erin Young – THE FIELDS (Flatiron Books)


Mary Burton – THE LIES I TOLD (Montlake Romance)
Mark Edwards – NO PLACE TO RUN (Thomas & Mercer)
Minka Kent – UNMISSING (Thomas & Mercer)
Freida McFadden – THE HOUSEMAID (Grand Central Publishing)
Wanda Morris – ANYWHERE YOU RUN (William Morrow)
Holly Wainwright – THE COUPLE UPSTAIRS (Pan Macmillan)
Loreth Anne White – THE PATIENT’S SECRET (Montlake Romance)


Dominique Bibeau – RUSSIAN FOR BEGINNERS (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
Barb Goffman – THE GIFT (Down & Out Books)
Smita Harish Jain – PUBLISH OR PERISH (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
Joyce Carol Oates – 33 CLUES INTO THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY SISTER (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
Anna Scotti – SCHRÖDINGER, CAT (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
Catherine Steadman – STOCKHOLM (Amazon Original Stories)


Melissa Albert – OUR CROOKED HEARTS (Flatiron Books)
Gillian French – SUGARING OFF (Algonquin Young Readers)
Kate McLaughlin – DAUGHTER (Wednesday Books)
Francesca Padilla – WHAT’S COMING TO ME (Soho Teen)
Courtney Summers – I’M THE GIRL (Wednesday Books)


Bill Byrnes – EVASIVE SPECIES (Self-published)
Diane Jeffrey – THE COUPLE AT CAUSEWAY COTTAGE (HarperCollins)
Grant McKenzie – THE SEVEN TRUTHS OF HANNAH BAXTER (Self-published)
Rick Mofina – THE HOLLOW PLACE (Self-published)
Carrie Rubin – FATAL ROUNDS (Self-published)

ITW will announce the winners at ThrillerFest XVIII on Saturday, June 3, 2023 at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, New York City.

Connor Sullivan & Mark Sullivan

Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, recently welcomed the father-son writing duo of Mark Sullivan and his son, Connor. Connor’s latest book, Wolf Trap, was the Hot Book of the Week. Mark “grilled” his son about the book. You can find a signed copy of Wolf Trap in the Webstore. https://tinyurl.com/3cdfn5k5

Here’s the description of Wolf Trap.

“A must-read thriller from a brilliant new talent in the genre.” —Jack Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author

This “adrenaline rush of a novel” (Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author) follows a shadow operative in the midst of a conspiracy with worldwide implications from the author of the “fast-paced international thriller” (New York Journal of BooksSleeping Bear.

Set a trap… See who comes.

Under the direction of the Special Activities Center in the Operations Directorate of the CIA, over three hundred highly trained agents operate in the darkest shadows of the country’s covert wars. Plucked from the highest echelons of America’s special mission units, these individuals go through rigorous training by the Agency to perfect the arts of assassination, sabotage, infiltration, and guerrilla warfare.

According to the United States government, this Ground Branch of the CIA does not exist. But when diplomacy and military intervention fails, the President of the United States calls upon it to solve America’s most dangerous crises.

Brian Rhome, a former Ground Branch paramilitary officer, thought his time within this elite group was over. But now, he’s on a desperate race against time around the globe as he confronts the traumas of his past and unravels a deadly conspiracy that threatens the highest levels of American democracy.

Connor Sullivan, the acclaimed author of Sleeping Bear, attended the University of Southern California, where he was the recipient of the Edward W. Moses Award for Creative Writing. During college, he worked for Warner Brothers reading screenplays before relocating with his family to the Gallatin Valley in Montana. Wolf Trap is his second novel. Visit his website at ConnorSullivanAuthor.com. 

You can watch the conversation here.

J.A. Jance & Collateral Damage

J.A. Jance is a favorite of in-store audiences at The Poisoned Pen. Barbara Peters, owner of the bookstore, recently welcomed Jance for an author event, just before she was to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at Left Coast Crime in Tucson. There are signed copies of her latest Ali Reynolds novel, Collateral Damage, available in the Webstore. https://tinyurl.com/43y7ww3z

Here’s the description of Collateral Damage.

Ali Reynolds and High Noon Enterprises face the dangerous consequences of one man’s desperate search for revenge in this unputdownable thriller from J.A. Jance, the New York Times bestselling author who “has been delivering must-read books for a long time” (The Real Book Spy).

After spending twenty years behind bars, Frank Muñoz, a disgraced former cop, is out on parole and focused on just one thing: revenge. The wife who abandoned him after his arrest, the mistress who ratted him out for abetting a money-laundering scheme, the detectives who presided over his case all those years ago—they all have targets on their backs.

For Ali Reynolds, the first Christmas without her father is riddled with grief and uncertainty. And with her husband and founding partner of High Noon Enterprises, B. Simpson, preoccupied by an upcoming New Year’s trip to London, she is ready for a break. But when Stu Ramey barges into her home with grave news about a serious—and suspicious—accident on the highway to Phoenix involving B.’s car, things reach a breaking point.

At the hospital, a groggy, post-op B. insists that Ali take his place at a ransomware conference in London, as troubles brimming around High Noon come to light. But questions remain: Who would go to such lengths to cut the tech company from the picture? And what if Ali and the rest of the team are also in danger?

J.A. Jance is the New York Times bestselling author of the Ali Reynolds series, the J.P. Beaumont series, and the Joanna Brady series, as well as five Southwestern thrillers featuring the Walker family. Born in South Dakota and raised in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington. Visit her online at JAJance.com. 

Enjoy the event!

Michael Robotham & Lying Beside You

Sometimes, it’s worth going back to catch you up with some of the previous events for The Poisoned Pen. A few weeks ago, Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, hosted Michael Robotham for a virtual author event. Robotham is the author of the third Cyrus Haven book, Lying Beside You. You can order copies through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/3Tfpsli

Here’s the summary of Lying Beside You.

Cyrus Haven and Evie Cormac return in Robotham’s latest page-turning, psychological thriller in this “gripping and eerie” (Karin Slaughter) series, reaffirming why Stephen King has proclaimed this author “an absolute master.”

If I could tell you one thing about my brother, it would be this. Two days after his nineteenth birthday, he killed our parents and twin sisters because he heard voices in his head. As defining events go, nothing else comes close for Elias, or for me.

As a boy, Cyrus Haven survived a family massacre and slowly pieced his life back together. Now, after almost twenty years, his brother is applying to be released from a secure psychiatric hospital—and Cyrus is expected to forgive Elias and welcome him home.

Elias is returning to a very different world. Cyrus is now a successful psychologist, working with the police, sharing his house with Evie Cormac, a damaged and gifted teenager who can tell when someone is lying. Evie has gone back to school and is working part-time at an inner-city bar, but she continues to struggle with authority and following rules.

When a man is murdered and his daughter disappears, Cyrus is called in to profile the killer and help piece together Maya Kirk’s last hours. Police believe she was drugged and driven away from the same bar where Evie is working. Soon, a second victim is taken, and Evie is the only person who glimpsed the man behind the wheel.

But there’s a problem. Only two people believe her. One is Cyrus.

The other is the killer.

Michael Robotham is a former investigative journalist whose bestselling psychological thrillers have been translated into twenty-five languages. He has twice won a Ned Kelly Award for Australia’s best crime novel, for Lost in 2005 and Shatter in 2008. His recent novels include When She Was Good, winner of the UK’s Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for best thriller; The Secrets She KeepsGood Girl, Bad GirlWhen You Are Mine; and Lying Beside You. After living and writing all over the world, Robotham settled his family in Sydney, Australia. 

Enjoy Michael Robotham’s conversation.