Fiction Review

Steve Berry at The Poisoned Pen

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Steve Berry will be at The Poisoned Pen on Monday, April 11 at 7 PM. He’ll be discussing and signing The 14th Colony, the eleventh book in his best-selling Cotton Malone series.

To get you in the mood, we have a link to R.G. Belsky’s recent interview with Berry. It was published in The Big Thrill, the online publication of the International Thriller Writers.

Post-WWII Crime, Kerr & Connell

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Books about World War II and its aftermath are always popular, and the same is true about the authors who write about it. The Poisoned Pen recently hosted two authors who cover that territory, Philip Kerr, author of the Bernie Gunther books, and John A. Connell, who writes about Mason Collins. Here are just a few photos from the recent event.

PP Kerr Connell

(Left, Philip Kerr. Right, John A. Connell)

Here’s Kerr speaking about his book, The Other Side of Silence, as Connell, bookstore owner, Barbara Peters, and the audience listen.

PP Connell Kerr Peters again

Below is Peter Kerr, Barbara Peters, and John A. Connell.

PP Kerr Peters Connell

If you backtrack on the blog a week or so, you’ll find an interview with John A. Connell, author of Spoils of Victory. The first part of the interview is dated March 23, followed the next day by the conclusion.

Spils of Victory

You can still get an autographed copy of Philip Kerr’s The Other Side of Silence from The Poisoned Pen.

Other Side

Best of all, if you’re like me, jealous that you can’t be at The Poisoned Pen to see and hear the authors, you can get comfortable at home and watch the event via Lifestream.

A Victorian Tea Party & Fashion Show

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To celebrate Laurie R. King’s appearance at The Poisoned Pen on Saturday, April 9 at 1 PM, we have a treat. We don’t want everyone to mourn before they’ve read the book, knowing the title of King’s new mystery is The Murder of Mary Russell.


So, the bookstore is hosting a Victorian Tea Party with a fashion show where models will display some Victorian and 1920s clothing. Here’s a sample.

And, here’s Barbara Peters, Poisoned Pen Bookstore owner, in her hat for the Tea Party.

Barbara Peters

Do you have a gorgeous hat to wear on Saturday? Even if you don’t, it’s sure to be a fun event, so join us on Saturday, April 9th at 1 PM!


Anne Perry, In the Hot Seat

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Anne Perry

Anne Perry is on her book tour for the thirty-first book in the Thomas & Charlotte Pitt series, so it’s the perfect time to put her in the hot seat and ask some questions. Treachery at Lancaster Gate is the new book.

Lancaster GateTreachery at Lancaster Gate is the latest Thomas & Charlotte Pitt mystery. How have the two characters changed over the course of the series?

It is about 19 years in their lives.  Pitt has gone from being a police officer to being in Special Branch (which is not police) then to being head of Special  Branch.  He has more confidence socially, but now has to make much more profound decisions, moral and political, and exercise a great deal of power, alone.  He cannot share them with Charlotte, many of them are state secrets.  Very difficult,  grey decisions, and that is not his nature.   Charlotte has to live with this, and yet still support him emotionally.   And she has much of the responsibility of parenthood.  She is also facing, for a woman, what is regarded as middle age, or at the very least, maturity.

We’re just about at the turn of the century in the books. What is Thomas facing as a police officer?      

He is actually not a police officer.  Special Branch is part of the secret service, a type of anti-terrorist squad.   But I described some of the changes he faces above.

What are your favorite research tools dealing with Victorian England?  

 I love the actual political history, but for fun, little bits of info like how to care for kid gloves, how to store pearls, little odd bits like that. Laundry secrets.

Your website says you began writing mysteries about Victorian England based on a suggestion as to who Jack the Ripper might have been. Do you have a favorite suspect?   

 I still like the idea of the Queen’s surgeon and the secret marriage of Prince Eddie ( son of the Prince of Wales) which would rule him out of the succession, since she was Catholic.   Long history, going back to the Reformation, and burning of Protestants by Queen Mary, etc).   Sovereign’s first loyalty must be to England NOT to Rome, and so on; a lot of details hang together.

Can you give us a hint as to the books you’re working on now?   

Am now working on the Monk after next.  Hope to finish the first draft by the end of the month, or come very close.   Planning a new series set in the 1930’s.    Very excited about that.   And of course another Christmas novella.

If friends come to visit, where’s your favorite place to take them?    

Haven’t had any friends to visit from very far away.   And I don’t have a car here!    But I have a favourite place to eat locally, in walking distance.   WeHo Bistro, parking space (for them). Good food and excellent service,  eat inside or out.

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever visited?  

Ever?   I thought that is impossible to say, but it isn’t, out of the hundreds that are all unique and exquisite, the island of Capri, when the jasmine is in bloom.  Or the Amalfi Coast.   But dozens and dozens of places.   An English Bluebell wood in bloom when the flowers are so thick it looks as if the sky has touched the ground.   Thousands of places!

If you weren’t writing about Victorian England, what place and period of time would you like to write about?

I plan to write in the 1930s. Europe and U.S.  I have already written five books on World War One, mostly in Flanders.   And on the French Revolution, in Paris, and on Byzantium, in Constantinople, Jerusalem, Venice, Rome and Florence.  But I also would like to write about Spain, specifically Zaragoza in 1485.

What were the last books you recommended?  

The Proud Tower by Barbara Tuchman and The Dark Valley by Piers Brendan, Alpha Beta by John Man.


Interested in a signed copy of Treachery at Lancaster Gate now that you’ve read the interview? Check out The Poisoned Pen’s website.

Event Squares (7)

“The Marriage of Mary Russell”

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Here’s a teaser before Laurie R. King appears at The Poisoned Pen on Saturday, April 9. Have you seen her website with the link to an exclusive ebook short story? She takes readers back in the story, “The Marriage of Mary Russell”. You can find out more here.


And, come back tomorrow when there’s news of The Poisoned Pen’s event as we host Laurie R. King for discussion and signing of her latest book, The Murder of Mary Russell. There’s more!


Jacqueline Winspear at The Poisoned Pen

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The Poisoned Pen recently hosted Jacqueline Winspear for her book tour for the 12th Maisie Dobbs book,  Journey to Munich. And, Winspear was kind enough to allow us to share a story with you, the story behind the book. She had shared it previously in her newsletter, but you might have missed it. So, we’ll clue you into the story.

While she was here, of course, Jacqueline signed copies of Journey to Munich. You might have seen a picture or two of her getting ready to sign in the back room, and on the floor.

PP Jacqueline Winspear

PP Jacqueline Winspear ready to sign

If you’re interested in putting your hands on one of those signed copies, there are still books available.

And, best of all, if you would like to see the event from that evening, as Jacqueline Winspear talks with Barbara Peters and the audience, The Poisoned Pen Bookstore brings the event to you through Livestream.

So, settle back. Take some quiet time to listen as Jacqueline Winspear tells us about Maisie Dobbs’ latest adventure in Journey to Munich.

PP Journey to Munich

In Front & Behind The Scenes

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What really goes on  at The Poisoned Pen? You’d be surprised when the authors come to visit.

Here’s Randy Wayne White with Barbara Peters, the store owner.

PP Barbara and Randy Wayne White

He was in town to discuss and sign the 23rd Doc Ford book, Deep Blue.

PP Deep Blue

Author Matthew Betley was here promoting his new book, Overwatch.

PP Matthew BelleyPP Overwatch

We previewed Lyndsay Faye’s Jane Steele, “A reimagining of Jane Eyre as a gutsy, heroic serial killer. She joined us to talk about her book.

PP Jane Steele

PP Lindsay Faye

And, here’s what happens when you ask an author to come to the backroom to sign their books. Jacqueline Winspear was pleased to see all the copies of her latest Maisie Dobbs book. Journey to Munich is the 12th in the series.

But, authors are readers, just like the rest of us. Jacqueline soon found a few enticing books in the backroom.

PP - Jacqueline reading

Whether you come to visit The Poisoned Pen, or visit us online, we hope you, too, will be enticed by some of the books.