Jacqueline Winspear & Maisie Dobbs

The Poisoned Pen is Jacqueline Winspear’s first appearance for her new Maisie Dobbs book, In This Grave Hour. She’ll be here on Monday, March 13 at 7 PM.

In This Grave Hour

Her last two newsletters have been fascinating, providing background of the book. Check out the first of the two.

Hello Everyone!

Well, it’s only about 6 weeks to go before publication of In This Grave Hour, my new novel featuring psychologist-investigator, Maisie Dobbs. I can’t believe it’s the 13th novel in the series! When I began to write Maisie Dobbs, the first book in the series, I thought I was embarking upon the only novel I would ever write, and I feared the manuscript, when finished, would languish in a drawer forever. It was as time went on and I wrote deeper into the story, that I realized there were more experiences in my head for Maisie Dobbs—and I began to hope that, maybe, if I were lucky, an agent might pick out my proposal from the pile that arrived every day. I still pinch myself at times, incredibly aware of my good fortune that Maisie Dobbs was “discovered.”

In This Grave Hour is dedicated to “our family’s WWII evacuees”—I was raised listening to so many of my late mother’s stories of being evacuated from London to the country on September 1, 1939. She was one of ten children—the eldest three joined the services, and the younger seven were all evacuated, sent away to live with complete strangers for the duration of the war. Well—almost. As soon as children reached the age of fourteen, they were invariably sent back home; after all, fourteen was the age at which most children left school and started work.

There is an assumption that so many evacuees came from poor city families and were grateful to be let loose in the countryside. To be fair, for many children there was great joy to be found living close to farms and away from smoky streets. But by the same token, there were those who came from homes with indoor bathrooms who were shocked to find themselves in cold houses with no privacy to take care of personal hygiene, and a WC reached only after a long, cold trek to the end of the garden. And so many of those children experienced abuse at the hands of the very people entrusted with their care, while others found only kindness. People often ask me about the background research that underpins my novels. For my work on In This Grave Hour, I had only to turn to family stories to write about the war on the home front, and to create the character of Anna, the young evacuee who is sent to live at Maisie Dobbs’ home in the country. She is fortunate to be billeted at a home where there are caring people—sadly this was not so for many children.

If you can get your hands on a copy, one of the best books on the subject was written some 30-odd years ago by the late Ben Wicks, a British-born Canadian cartoonist, illustrator, journalist, author—and former evacuee. As part of his research for No Time To Wave Goodbye, about the evacuation of children at the outset of WWII, Wicks placed an advertisement in several newspapers and—having expected only a few replies—was overwhelmed by the thousands of letters he received. Many began with the words, “I have never told anyone about this …” and went on to describe the personal trials, tribulations—and for some, the good times—that began when they were put on a train with an identification label tied to their coat, and waved goodbye to their mother. I bought my mother a copy of the book, but she could read only a few pages—it brought back so many troubling memories.

“Every war is a war against the child.” So said Eglantyne Jebb, founder of the Save The Children Fund. Anna, the evacuee who comes into Maisie’s life, is not the only child to face uncertain times in In This Grave Hour. There are others—a group of boys who suffered as refugees in the Great War. They are men now … and as a new war begins, someone is killing them, one by one.

In This Grave Hour will be published on March 13th. Here’s a list of cities I’ll be visiting on my 2017 book tour—fuller details on event locations, contact details and times will be up on the Appearances page of my website soon! Save the date if you’re in the area for one of these events!

In this Grave Hour 3/13 Poisoned Pen Bookshop, Phoenix, AZ
3/14 Murder by the Book, Houston, TX
3/15 Bookshop West Portal, San Francisco, CA
3/16 Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA
3/20 Smithsonian, Washington, D.C.
3/21 Barnes & Noble, Upper West Side, NYC
3/22 Harvard Bookstore, Cambridge, MA
3/27 Vroman’s, Pasadena, CA
3/28 University Bookstore, Seattle, WA
3/29 Broadway Books, Portland, OR
4/5 Kepler’s, Menlo Park, CA
4/13 Copperfield’s, Petaluma, CA
4/19 Special Event, Toronto, Canada
4/20 Special Library Event, Springfield, MO

Hope to see you along the way!
“This is the thirteenth in the Dobbs series, and even as the time frame has moved through the first war and the years between the wars, Winspear has continued to explore the aftermath of the nightmare that was WWI—the effects the conflict had on people and society. She does so again here, just as the world takes its first steps into another devastating global conflict. It’s a fine novel, written with Winspear’s sure hand and ability to meld historical events into an engaging crime narrative. Fans will savor this one as they anticipate what Maisie will do in WWII.”

In This Grave Hour will be published on March 13th.


Signed copies of In This Grave Hour will be available through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/2mPCedT

Tim Dorsey @ The Poisoned Pen

It’s been a number of years since I’ve seen Tim Dorsey, and it appears as if it’s been a number of years since he’s been at The Poisoned Pen. But, he’s on book tour for Clownfish Blues, so he was back.


Here’s the description of the 21st Serge Storms book, as described in the Web Store.
A (Serge A.) Storm is brewing for a cabal of bad guys gaming the Florida state lottery in this insanely funny novel from the maestro of mayhem, Tim Dorsey.

If you’re loud and proud Floridian Serge A. Storms, how do you follow up your very own remake of Easy Rider? You shoot your own “episodes” of your favorite classic television show, Route 66!

With Coleman riding shotgun, Serge is rolling down the highway of his dreams in a vintage silver convertible Corvette just like the snazzy car Martin Milner drove. It doesn’t matter that the actual Route 66 didn’t pass through Florida, for Serge discovers that a dozen episodes near the series’ end were filmed (really!) in his beloved home state. So for Serge and the always toked and stoked Coleman, the Sunshine State is all the road you need to get your kicks.

But their adventure traveling the byways of the Sunshine State’s underbelly is about to take a detour. Someone is trying to tilt the odds in the state lottery amidst a conga line of huge jackpots spinning off more chaos than any hurricane season. With this much at stake, of course every shady character wants in. Crooked bodega owners, drug cartels laundering money through the lottery, and venture capitalists are all trying to game the system—and lining up to get their cut. They’re also gambling with their lives, because when Serge and Coleman get hip to this timely (and very lucrative) trip, there’s no telling whose number is up next.

Throw in Brooke Campanella, Serge’s old flame, as well as the perpetually star-crossed Reevis, and it’s a sure bet that the ever lucky Serge will hit it big. Winning has never been this deadly—or this much fun!


If you haven’t had the chance to hear Tim Dorsey talk about his books lately, you can watch his interview with Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen. It’s on Livestream. https://livestream.com/poisonedpen/events/6962949

And, you can order signed copies of Clownfish Blues through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/2mTrR5I

Rhys Bowen @ The Poisoned Pen

Rhys Bowen appeared at The Poisoned Pen to celebrate the release of her standalone, In Farleigh Field.



She came prepared to talk about World War II, and the effects on the British people.


And, she came dressed in style.


As you can tell by the pictures, Rhys and The Poisoned Pen Bookstore owner, Barbara Peters, had a fun time with their discussion.

Left to right – Barbara Peters, Rhys Bowen



And, you have the chance to enjoy the program as well, because it was taped for Livestream. https://livestream.com/poisonedpen/events/6962944

If you’d like to order a signed copy of In Farleigh Field, check out the Web Store. https://bit.ly/2m3z2tB

Joanne Fluke @ The Poisoned Pen

Joanne Fluke, author of the Hannah Swenson mysteries, recently appeared at The Poisoned Pen to discuss and sign her latest book, Banana Cream Pie Murder.


There are a number of fun pictures.

Joanne Fluke with Patrick Millikin from The Poisoned Pen, in the backroom

You’ll want to see the tables for the celebration of Fluke’s 21st book in the series.




Then, there was a fun event with giveaways.

Joanne Fluke interviewed by Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen


The signing line

Even if you didn’t stand in line for a copy of Banana Cream Pie Murder, you can still purchase a signed copy through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/2mJDyMi

Lansdale & Kent @ The Poisoned Pen

Joe R. Lansdale, author of Rusty Puppy, was joined at The Poisoned Pen by Kathleen Kent with her debut mystery novel, The Dime.

Before showing photos, here are the summaries of the books, as they appear in the Web Store.

First – Rusty Puppy

Hap and Leonard investigate a racially motivated murder that threatens to tear apart their East Texas town.
While Hap, a former 60s activist and self-proclaimed white trash rebel, is recovering from a life-threatening stab wound, Louise Elton comes into Hap and Leonard’s PI office to tell him that the police have killed her son, Jamar.
Months earlier, a bully cop pulled over and sexually harassed Jamar’s sister, Charm. The officer followed Charm over the course of the next couple of months, leading Jamar to videotape and take notes on the cop and his partner. The next thing Louise hears, Jamar got in a fight and is killed in the projects by local hoods. It doesn’t add up: he was a straight A student, destined for better things, until he began to ask too many questions about the racist police force.
Leonard, a tough black gay Vietnam vet and Republican, joins Hap in the investigation, and they stumble upon the racial divides that have shaped their Eastern Texas town. But if anyone can navigate these pitfalls and bring the killers to justice, it’s Hap and Leonard.
Filled with Lansdale’s trademark whip-smart dialogue, colorful characters, and relentless pacing, Rusty Puppy is Joe Lansdale at his page-turning best.
Then, the debut mystery, The Dime
Brooklyn’s toughest female detective takes on Dallas–and neither is ready for the fight.
Dallas, Texas is not for the faint of heart. Good thing for Betty Rhyzyk she’s from a family of take-no-prisoners Brooklyn police detectives. But her Big Apple wisdom will only get her so far when she relocates to The Big D, where Mexican drug cartels and cult leaders, deadbeat skells and society wives all battle for sunbaked turf.
Betty is as tough as the best of them, but she’s deeply shaken when her first investigation goes sideways. Battling a group of unruly subordinates, a persistent stalker, a formidable criminal organization, and an unsupportive girlfriend, the unbreakable Detective Betty Rhyzyk may be reaching her limit.
Combining the colorful pyrotechnics of Breaking Bad with the best of the gritty crime genre, The Dime is Kathleen Kent’s brilliant mystery debut and the launch of a sensational new series.
Now, we have photos from the event.
Joe Lansdale and Kathleen Kent
Patrick Millikin from The Poisoned Pen interviews Lansdale and Kent
Signing books

Signed copies of Rusty Puppy and The Dime are available through the Web Store. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

Rhys Bowen’s In Farleigh Field – Hot Book of the Week

Rhys Bowen appears at The Poisoned Pen tonight (Wed., March 1) at 7 PM. She’ll talk about her standalone, In Farleigh Field, which is our Hot Book of the Week.


Here’s the description of the book, as it appears on the Web Store’s page.

World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.

As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?

Inspired by the events and people of World War II, writer Rhys Bowen crafts a sweeping and riveting saga of class, family, love, and betrayal.

If you’d like a signed copy, you can order it through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/2lQjIAz

And, it will be even better if you can make it to The Poisoned Pen tonight, and get it signed in person.

Elan Mastai & All Our Wrong Todays

Elan Mastai’s All Our Wrong Todays was the #1 Indie Next Pick for February.


However, because it’s The Poisoned Pen’s March Modern Firsts Club Pick, I waited to mention it until now.

Here’s the summary from the Web Page.

“A novel about time travel has no right to be this engaging. A novel this engaging has no right to be this smart. And a novel this smart has no right to be this funny. Or insightful. Or immersive. Basically, this novel has no right to exist.” —Jonathan Tropper, New York Times bestselling author of This Is Where I Leave You and One Last Thing Before I Go

“Out of this world.” Associated Press

“A page-turning delight.” Maria Semple, author of Today Will Be Different and Where’d You Go, Bernadette

You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we’d have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren’s 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed…because it wasn’t necessary.

Except Tom just can’t seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that’s before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.

But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and—maybe, just maybe—his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? Tom’s search for the answer takes him across countries, continents, and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future—our future—is supposed to be.

All Our Wrong Todays is about the versions of ourselves that we shed and grow into over time. It is a story of friendship and family, of unexpected journeys and alternate paths, and of love in its multitude of forms. Filled with humor and heart, and saturated with insight and intelligence and a mind-bending talent for invention, this novel signals the arrival of a major talent.

And, here’s an interview with the author, from Bookselling This Week. https://bit.ly/2lhzvVe

You can order a copy of All Our Wrong Todays through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/2mxbk7s

You can find out information about the Modern Firsts Club, and other Book Clubs here. https://poisonedpen.com/book-clubs/


For Fans of Peter Tremayne & Sister Fidelma

The International Sister Fidelma Society


The Féile Fidelma Weekend

Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, September 8-10, 2017

The Féile Fidelma, first held in 2006, is now the longest running three day gathering of fans devoted to the work of a single living author, Peter Tremayne, and his international bestselling Sister Fidelma Mysteries.  Set in Ireland in the 7th Century, the Sister Fidelma mysteries are published in the USA by Minotaur, part of St Martins Press, New York, with audio books from Audible, USA.

The last Féile was attended by enthusiasts from 15 countries. It was opened by the then Irish Government’s Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly TD, who described the series as “˜a national treasure’.   

The Organising Committee of the Féile Fidelma has now confirmed the program for the weekend and registration fees.

The registration fee, covering reception, all the talks, coffee breaks, excursion and the Saturday gala banquet, will be Euro €190 or currency equivalents. If people register before May 1, there will be a 10% discount at €170.  As usual registration will be made via the Cashel Arts Fest website www.cashelartsfest.com.  The link is now up and running: simply click on “˜Other Events’ and then click on “˜Féile Fidelma’ where you can register and pay.  This can be done by the PayPal secure system

The Féile Fidelma will start at 6.30 pm on Friday evening at the 15th Century Hall of the Vicars Choral on The Rock.  Registration, wine reception and the official opening of the Féile by Seán Canney TD, Irish Minister of State for the Office of Public Works. This is followed by an evening with Peter Tremayne, talking about “˜Fidelma: Pseudo-History and History’, chaired by David R. Wooten.

On Saturday, September 9, the events will be held at The Brú Ború Centre adjacent to The Rock.  Talks will start at 9.30 a.m.  With a talk by Professor Nancy Marck Cantwell, chair of the English Department of Daemen College, Amherst, New York, on the Fidelma novels.  After the coffee break.  Marteinn Thorisson, the TV scriptwriter, will be talking on “˜Scripting Fidelma’ for the projected TV series.

This will be followed by a presentation by Hans van den Boom of De Leeskamer, launching a special English-language collectors’ edition of the second Fidelma graphic novel, Shroud for the Archbishop. The morning then finishes with Peter Tremayne preparing attendees for the afternoon excursion to Knockgraffon – “˜Knockgraffon – The Fidelma Connection’. The ancient historic site is where the Kings of Munster were inaugurated before the capital moved to Cashel in the 3/4th Century AD.

Saturday at 2.30 pm ““ 5.30 pm (approx) will be coach excursion to Knockgraffon.

From 7.00 pm attendees assemble for gala dinner in Brú Ború Centre.  During the dinner we will have some readings from the Fidelma novels by Irish actress Caroline Lennon (“˜The Voice of Fidelma’ who has recorded all the Fidelma novels on Audio Books both for the UK and USA.)  

On Sunday, 10th September, the program begins at 10.00 a.m. This starts with Dr Patrick Gleeson (University of Newcastle and formerly of University College Cork) ““ “˜Looking for Fidelma’s Cashel ““ The Eóghanacht Dynasty and the geo-phys survey of The Rock of Cashel’.  Dr Gleeson is the first archaeologist to have been allowed to conduct a geo-phys survey of The Rock.  

After the coffee break Dr Kevin Murray (University College Cork) will speak about “˜The Myths and Legends relating to the Plain of Femen’ (the Cashel area).  The morning will end will David R. Wooten, director of the Fidelma Society and editor of The Brehon  who, as usual,  talks about  “˜The Féile and International Sister Fidelma Society ““ Past and Future’  inviting the attendees to make their views and suggestions known. This ends the formal functions and Sunday afternoon the attendees are free to wander Cashel town or visit The Rock.

All attendees, as part of their “˜welcome package’ will receive a copy of the 52 page, full color, programme booklet.

Because of the enthusiasm of previous years, this year there will be extra “˜fringe events’. See the program on the Castle Arts Fest website and link to the Féile.

Further information about The International Sister Fidelma Society, whose base is in Little Rock, Arkansas, can be had from its director David Robert Wooten at david@sisterfidelma.com . The Society was formed, with the author’s approval, in 2002 and, as well as its website (www.sisterfidelma.com), issues a 20 page magazine (The Brehon), thrice yearly with full color photos etc., devoted to the series and its author. This has been issued without break since 2002. Membership of the Fidelma Society is world wide and the books are translated into a score of languages.     

Issued by:

The International Sister Fidelma Society

PMB No 312

1818 North Taylor Street, Suite B

Little Rock. AR 72207,


Clare Mackintosh’s Writing Advice

Clare Mackintosh’s I See You is quite hot lately.


Here’s the description from the Web Store, if you haven’t seen it.

The author of the New York Times bestseller I Let You Go propels readers into a dark and claustrophobic thriller, in which a normal, everyday woman becomes trapped in the confines of her normal, everyday world…
Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her…

It all starts with a classified ad. During her commute home one night, while glancing through her local paper, Zoe sees her own face staring back at her; a grainy photo along with a phone number and a listing for a website called FindTheOne.com.

Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they’ve become the victims of increasingly violent crimes—including murder. With the help of a determined cop, she uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose…A discovery that turns her paranoia into full-blown panic. Zoe is sure that someone close to her has set her up as the next target.

And now that man on the train—the one smiling at Zoe from across the car—could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move…

And, here’s Clare Mackintosh. She discussed what she learned about writing from her twelve years as a police officer.


Thank you to Penguin Random House for Signature Views.

If you’re looking for a signed copy of I See You, they’re available through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/2lNOJ8o