Amanda Jayatissa, Live from Sri Lanka

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Let me share Sri Lankan author Amanda Jayatissa’s short bio because Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, asked her about cookies.

Amanda Jayatissa grew up in Sri Lanka, completed her undergrad at Mills College in California and lived in the UK before moving back to her sunny little island. She works as a corporate trainer, owns a chain of cookie stores, and is a proud dog mum to her two spoiled huskies.

Jayatissa talks about cookies and her new book, My Sweet Girl, in a recent virtual event. It’s a fun event, and Jayatissa spoke for readers in the morning from her home in Sri Lanka. Her book is available through the Web Store, and there are signed book plates that will accompany your books. https://bit.ly/3AwyMHl

Here’s the description of My Sweet Girl.

“Fiendish, full-of-twists…Sri Lankan author Amanda Jayatissa keeps us guessing and worrying until the very end”—The New York Times

“A thriller centered on the meaning of identity and all the layers it can have.”—NPR

A Most Anticipated Novel of Fall 2021 by Entertainment Weekly, NPR, New York PostThe Boston Globe, Fortune, Buzzfeed, Goodreads, Shondaland, PopSugar, Bustle, Crime Reads, BookRiot, Crime by the Book, The Nerd Daily, The Every Girl,
 and more!

Paloma thought her perfect life would begin once she was adopted and made it to America, but she’s about to find out that no matter how far you run, your past always catches up to you…

Ever since she was adopted from a Sri Lankan orphanage, Paloma has had the best of everything—schools, money, and parents so perfect that she fears she’ll never live up to them.

Now at thirty years old and recently cut off from her parents’ funds, she decides to sublet the second bedroom of her overpriced San Francisco apartment to Arun, who recently moved from India. Paloma has to admit, it feels good helping someone find their way in America—that is until Arun discovers Paloma’s darkest secret, one that could jeopardize her own fragile place in this country.

Before Paloma can pay Arun off, she finds him face down in a pool of blood. She flees the apartment but by the time the police arrive, there’s no body—and no evidence that Arun ever even existed in the first place.

Paloma is terrified this is all somehow tangled up in the desperate actions she took to escape Sri Lanka so many years ago. Did Paloma’s secret die with Arun or is she now in greater danger than ever before?

Enjoy the conversation with Amanda Jayatissa.

Dennis Palumbo, An Interview

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Dennis Palumbo’s sixth Daniel Rinaldi thriller, Panic Attack, is due out on Sept. 21. You can order it through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3tRYpjc

Because of the release date, it seemed the perfect time to interview Palumbo. He’s written several guest posts here, but I’ve never interviewed him.

Thank you, Dennis, for taking the time to answer some questions.

Dennis, you have a whole other life other than as a crime writer. Would you introduce yourself?

  1.  I’m a former Hollywood screenwriter (MY FAVORITE YEAR; WELCOME BACK, KOTTER, etc.) who is now a licensed psychotherapist in private practice, specializing in creative issues. I’ve been in practice almost thirty years, working primarily with writers.

Why did you want to write mysteries?

  1. I’ve always loved mysteries, since my father got me THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES when I was ten years old, home sick from school. Even while on staff at network sitcoms in the 1970’s, I was selling mystery short stories to ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE. Since then, my short stories have appeared in THE STRAND, WRITTEN BY, MYSTERY WEEKLY, BLACK CAT MAGAZINE and the recent collection of original stories called COAST TO COAST NOIR. I have a collection of my short stories in a book called FROM CRIME TO CRIME. So, apparently, once the bug bit, it lingered!

Would you introduce us to Daniel Rinaldi?

  1. I’d always wanted to create a series character, especially one whose traits and experience mirrored my own. I also wanted to set a series in Pittsburgh, my home town, and to use the books as a way to explore and comment on the state of the mental health system. Like me, Daniel Rinaldi is from a blue-collar family, born and raised in Pittsburgh, and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. Unlike me, he’s a former amateur boxer (Golden Gloves, Pam Am Games). In his present life, Rinaldi is a psychologist and trauma expert who consults with the Pittsburgh Police. His specialty is working with victims of violent crime—those who may have survived the kidnapping or assault, but are still traumatized by their experience. These patients have many of the symptoms we associate with PTSD. Moreover, Rinaldi is himself a victim of such trauma: his wife was killed during a mugging, and though he was grievously injured, Daniel survived. This was the source of his mission to help other victims of violent crime, while he himself struggles with significant survivor guilt. His friends and colleagues believe it’s this guilt that propels him into numerous dangerous situations.

Tell us about Panic Attack, without spoilers.

  1. This latest Rinaldi thriller concerns an unknown rooftop sniper who’s seemingly choosing his targets at random. Dubbed the Steel City Sniper by the media, he’s managed to escape detection for weeks while his list of victims mount. Until, at some point, he’s captured by the police, which should bring the killings to an end…except that’s when the real mystery begins.

How do you keep Pittsburgh fresh in your books?

  1. That’s pretty easy, since Pittsburgh itself is constantly changing. Its endured significant birth pains as it’s transitioned from an industrial, blue-collar town into a white-collar, sophisticated hub of state-of-the-art medicine and high tech. This tense, uneasy relationship between the old Pittsburgh and the new makes the city a fascinating character itself in the series.

What kind of research do you do for your books?

  1. A fairly wide range, from being up-to-date on the latest clinical thinking in the psychology field to police procedure to the topography of Pittsburgh itself. With a city undergoing such upheaval, with old neighborhoods being gentrified to such an extent that many citizens can no longer afford them, I tend to count on my friends in Pittsburgh to keep me posted on changes. I’ll often call one of them to ask questions like “Is the Penn Hotel still there?” One funny thing: I hear from a lot of readers living in Pittsburgh, and they never seem to have a problem with my characters or the plots. But I’ll get an email that says, “Hey, you have Rinaldi making a left on South Street. You can’t do that after five o’clock.” With every book, I get schooled on at least one traffic error. When you write about a real place (where, admittedly, I haven’t lived in many, many years), such comments come with the territory.

COVID and isolation affected authors differently, just as it did for the rest of us. Some were paralyzed while others found a burst of creativity. How did the last year affect you and your writing?

  1. I was lucky in that the lockdown enabled me to devote myself to writing PANIC ATTACK. Because of the demands of my therapy practice, it usually takes me forever to come out with a new Rinaldi. But the lockdown seemed to give me more breathing room to write. That said, many of my writer patients were indeed paralyzed during the lockdown, crippled by anxiety and/or depression. Even writers who are on the whole introverted and accustomed to the solitude of writing found the pandemic restrictions to be psychologically upsetting. Then again, an equal number relished the “freedom” occasioned by the COVID virus and reported that the lockdown seemed to be like a writer’s retreat.

What books first brought you to the mystery field? Books you read as a child, or as an adult?

  1. As I mentioned, Conan Doyle’s Holmes stories gripped my boyhood imagination, as did the Hardy Boys series. By high school, I was reading Chandler and Hammett, plus James M. Cain and Erle Stanley Gardner. As an adult, my interest in creating my own series character was fueled by reading Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Robert Block and John Lescroart. Then there’re beautiful writers like Richard Price and George V. Higgins, and the new crop that includes Gillian Flynn, Tara French and S.A. Cosby. The list of crime writers I admire grows daily!

In a related question, if you had to recommend 5 books to a person so they could get a feel for our reading taste, what 5 would you recommend?

  1. Just whittling it down to five is a difficult task, but I’ll give it a go: THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE by George V. Higgins; THE POET by Michael Connelly; GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn; THE MALTESE FALCON by Dashiell Hammett and THE CHILL by Ross MacDonald. But ask me on another day and you’d get a different list (probably one that includes Chandler, Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, Raymond Chandler, Dennis Lehane, and on and on).

What’s on your TBR pile?

  1. THE REVENGE OF GEOGRAPHY by Robert D. Kaplan; TWO KINDS OF TRUTH by Michael Connelly; HER PERFECT LIFE by Hank Phillippi Ryan; SCHOPENHAUER: A Biography by David E. Cartwright; STREET MUSIC by Tim Hallinan; RAZORBLADE TEARS by S.A. Cosby

Clare Mackintosh Discussing Hostage

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Clare Mackintosh’s book release event for Hostage was held virtually at The Poisoned Pen. You can order a copy of this thriller through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3zYk4cr Clare Mackintosh brings her twelve years on the police force to her writing.

Here’s Hostage.

“Feels like a blockbuster movie.”—Lisa Jewell, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone

You can save hundreds of lives. Or the one that matters most…

From New York Times bestselling author Clare Mackintosh comes a claustrophobic thriller set over 20 hours on-board the inaugural nonstop flight from London to Sydney.

Mina is trying to focus on her job as a flight attendant, not the problems with her five-year-old daughter back home, or the fissures in her marriage. But the plane has barely taken off when Mina receives a chilling note from an anonymous passenger, someone intent on ensuring the plane never reaches its destination: “The following instructions will save your daughter’s life…”

Someone needs Mina’s assistance and knows exactly how to make her comply.

When one passenger is killed and then another, Mina knows she must act. But which lives does she save: Her passengers…or her own daughter and husband who are in grave distress back at home?

It’s twenty hours to landing. A lot can happen in twenty hours.

For fans of the locked-room mystery of One By One and the heart-stopping tension The Last FlightHostage is an explosively addictive thriller about one flight attendant and the agonizing decision that will change her life—and the lives of everyone on-board—forever.

Praise for Hostage:

“Surprising twists propel the story to an unexpected finale. Mackintosh has raised her game with this one.”
Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

“Hypnotically good. Should be a hit, could be a classic…”
Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Jack Reacher series

“Fiendishly clever.”
Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before She Disappeared

“A propulsive read.”
Karin Slaughter, New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Wife

“A nail-biter of a thriller.”
Shari Lapena, New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door

“A true page-turner that will have producers lining up with movie offers.”

CLARE MACKINTOSH is an award-winning New York Times and international bestselling author. She spent twelve years on the police force in England and has written for the Guardian, Good Housekeeping, and other publications. Translated into forty languages, her books have sold more than two million copies worldwide. Clare lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children. She can be found at claremackintosh.com, http://www.facebook.com/ClareMackWrites or on Twitter at ClareMackint0sh.

Enjoy Barbara Peters’ conversation with Clare Mackintosh, and a visit from surprise guest, Lee Child.

Don Bentley in Conversation with Brad Taylor

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The background of author Don Bentley fits perfectly for the latest Jack Ryan, Jr. novel, Tom Clancy: Target Acquired. And, guest host Brad Taylor has an interesting background as well, but you’ll have to watch the virtual event to hear about their backgrounds. I’m not sure there are any signed copies of Target Acquired still available, but you can certainly order a book through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3t6USvV

Here’s the summary of Tom Clancy: Target Acquired.

Jack Ryan, Jr., will do anything for a friend, but this favor will be paid for in blood in the latest electric entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Jack Ryan, Jr. would do anything for Ding Chavez. That’s why Jack is currently sitting in an open-air market in Israel, helping a CIA team with a simple job. The man running the mission, Peter Beltz, is an old friend from Ding’s Army days. Ding hadn’t seen his friend since Peter’s transfer to the CIA eighteen months prior, and intended to use the assignment to reconnect. Unfortunately, Ding had to cancel at the last minute and asked Jack to take his place. It’s a cushy assignment–a trip to Israel in exchange for a couple hours of easy work, but Jack could use the downtime after his last operation.

Jack is here merely as an observer, but when he hastens to help a woman and her young son, he finds himself the target of trained killers. Alone and outgunned, Jack will have to use all his skills to protect the life of the child.

Tom Clancy was the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than eighteen books. He died in October 2013.

Don Bentley spent a decade as an Army Apache helicopter pilot, and while deployed in Afghanistan was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal with “V” device for valor. Following his time in the military, Bentley worked as an FBI special agent focusing on foreign intelligence and counterintelligence and was a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team member.

Enjoy the conversation about the authors’ background, Jack Ryan, Jr., and writing.

Sujata Massey in Conversation with Nev March

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Oh, what a fascinating conversation about Sujata Massey’s latest book, The Bombay Prince. Massey discussed her book, her series, and Bombay’s first female lawyer, Perveen Mistry, with author and host Nev March. You can order a copy through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2Vo7Ub4

Here’s the summary of The Bombay Prince.

Bombay’s first female lawyer, Perveen Mistry, is compelled to bring justice to the family of a murdered female Parsi student just as Bombay’s streets erupt in riots to protest British colonial rule. Sujata Massey is back with this third installment to the Agatha and Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning series set in 1920s Bombay.

November 1921. Edward VIII, Prince of Wales and future ruler of India, is arriving in Bombay to begin a fourmonth tour. The Indian subcontinent is chafing under British rule, and Bombay solicitor Perveen Mistry isn’t surprised when local unrest over the royal arrival spirals into riots. But she’s horrified by the death of Freny Cuttingmaster, an eighteen-year-old female Parsi student, who falls from a second-floor gallery just as the prince’s grand procession is passing by her college.

Freny had come for a legal consultation just days before her death, and what she confided makes Perveen suspicious that her death was not an accident. Feeling guilty for failing to have helped Freny in life, Perveen steps forward to assist Freny’s family in the fraught dealings of the coroner’s inquest. When Freny’s death appears suspicious, Perveen knows she can’t rest until she sees justice done. But Bombay is erupting: as armed British secret service march the streets, rioters attack anyone with perceived British connections and desperate shopkeepers destroy their own wares so they will not be targets of racial violence. Can Perveen help a suffering family when her own is in danger?

Sujata Massey was born in England to parents from India and Germany, grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She was a features reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun before becoming a full-time novelist. The first Perveen Mistry novel, The Widows of Malabar Hill, was an international bestseller and won the Agatha, Macavity, and Mary Higgins Clark Awards. Visit her website at sujatamassey.com.

I think you’ll enjoy the conversation.

A Podcast Fan?

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Are you a podcast fan? You do know about The Poisoned Pen’s library of podcasts, don’t you? They’re available via Podbean. Barbara Peters, owner of the bookstore, had this note in her recent newsletter.

Our Podcast Library Keeps Growing
Visit our  Podcasts.   92,000 downloads show your interest

Easy download links are provided. They are also available on iTunes and Google Music

Enjoy conversations from our storied past
AND more new conversations: Laurie R. King; Bill Clinton and James Patterson with Lee Child; Don Bentley with Brad Taylor’ Sujata Massey with Nev March. Coming up: Kristan Higgins, Ben Percy.

Ashley Weaver’s New Series

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Ashley Weaver, author of the Amory Ames mysteries, introduces a new historical mystery series set in World War II. A Peculiar Combination is the first Electra McDonnell novel. You can order the new book, and Weaver’s other ones, through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3xbWYfU

The first in the Electra McDonnell series from Edgar-nominated author Ashley Weaver, set in England during World War II, A Peculiar Combination is a delightful mystery filled with spies, murder, romance, and the author’s signature wit.

Electra McDonnell has always known that the way she and her family earn their living is slightly outside of the law. Breaking into the homes of the rich and picking the locks on their safes may not be condoned by British law enforcement, but World War II is in full swing, Ellie’s cousins Colm and Toby are off fighting against Hitler, and Uncle Mick’s more honorable business as a locksmith can’t pay the bills any more.

So when Uncle Mick receives a tip about a safe full of jewels in the empty house of a wealthy family, he and Ellie can’t resist. All goes as planned—until the pair are caught redhanded. Ellie expects them to be taken straight to prison, but instead they are delivered to a large townhouse, where government official Major Ramsey is waiting with an offer: either Ellie agrees to help him break into a safe and retrieve blueprints that will be critical to the British war effort, before they can be delivered to a German spy, or he turns her over to the police.

Ellie doesn’t care for the Major’s imperious manner, but she has no choice, and besides, she’s eager to do her bit for king and country. She may be a thief, but she’s no coward. When she and the Major break into the house in question, they find instead the purported German spy dead on the floor, the safe already open and empty. Soon, Ellie and Major Ramsey are forced to put aside their differences to unmask the double-agent, as they try to stop allied plans falling into German hands.

ASHLEY WEAVER is the Technical Services Coordinator at the Allen Parish Libraries in Oberlin, Louisiana. Weaver has worked in libraries since she was 14; she was a page and then a clerk before obtaining her MLIS from Louisiana State University. She is the author of Murder at the Brightwell, Death Wears a Mask, and A Most Novel Revenge. Weaver lives in Oakdale, Louisiana.

Enjoy the discussion with Ashley Weaver.

Laurie R. King & Castle Shade

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A few years ago, Laurie R. King shared a trip with Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen.That trip provided some of the background for King’s latest Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes novel, Castle Shade. You can order copies of Castle Shade through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3g6WjXD

A queen, a castle, a dark and ageless threat—all await Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes in this chilling new adventure.

The queen is Marie of Roumania: the doubly royal granddaughter of Victoria, Empress of the British Empire, and Alexander II, Tsar of Russia. A famous beauty who was married at seventeen into Roumania’s young dynasty, Marie had beguiled the Paris Peace Conference into returning her adopted country’s long-lost provinces, singlehandedly transforming Roumania from a backwater into a force.

The castle is Bran: a tall, quirky, ancient structure perched on high rocks overlooking the border between Roumania and its newly regained territory of Transylvania. The castle was a gift to Queen Marie, a thank-you from her people, and she loves it as she loves her own children.

The threat is . . . well, that is less clear. Shadowy figures, vague whispers, the fears of girls, dangers that may be only accidents. But this is a land of long memory and hidden corners, a land that had known Vlad the Impaler, a land from whose churchyards the shades creep.

When Queen Marie calls, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are as dubious as they are reluctant. But a young girl is involved, and a beautiful queen. Surely it won’t take long to shine light on this unlikely case of what would seem to be strigoi?

Or, as they are known in the West . . . vampires.

Laurie R. King is the award-winning, bestselling author of sixteen Mary Russell mysteries, five contemporary novels featuring Kate Martinelli, and many acclaimed stand-alone novels such as FollyTouchstoneThe Bones of Paris, and Lockdown. She lives in Northern California, where she is at work on her next Mary Russell mystery.

Enjoy Laurie R. King’s conversation with Barbara Peters.

The National Release – Clinton, Patterson & Child

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It’s hard to top this lineup for a national book release. The Poisoned Pen recently held the virtual national release for President Bill Clinton and James Patterson, authors of The President’s Daughter, hosted by Lee Child. There is a limited supply of signed copies still available through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3ggUIxq

All Presidents have nightmares.  This one is about to come true.

A rocket ride of a thriller—the new blockbuster by President Bill Clinton and James Patterson, “the dream team” (Lee Child).

Every detail is accurate—
because one of the authors is President Bill Clinton. The drama and action never stop—
because the other author is James Patterson.

Matthew Keating, a one-time Navy SEALand a past presidenthas always defended his family as staunchly as he has his country. Now those defenses are under attack.

A madman abducts Keating’s teenage daughter, Melanie—turning every parent’s deepest fear into a matter of national security. As the world watches in real time, Keating embarks on a one-man special-ops mission that tests his strengths: as a leader, a warrior, and a father.

The authors’ first collaboration, The President Is Missing, a #1 New York Times bestseller and the #1 bestselling novel of 2018, was praised as “ambitious and wildly readable” (New York Times Book Review) and “a fabulously entertaining thriller” (Pulitzer Prize–winning author Ron Chernow).

Bill Clinton was elected President of the United States in 1992, and he served until 2001. After leaving the White House, he established the Clinton Foundation, which helps improve global health, increase opportunity for girls and women, reduce childhood obesity and preventable diseases, create economic opportunity and growth, and address the effects of climate change. He is the author of a number of nonfiction works, including My Life, which was a #1 international bestseller. With James Patterson, he is co-author of the #1 international bestselling novel The President Is Missing.

James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author and most trusted storyteller. He has created many enduring fictional characters and series, including Alex Cross, the Women’s Murder Club, Michael Bennett, and Maximum Ride. Among his notable literary collaborations are The President Is Missing, with President Bill Clinton, and the Max Einstein series, produced in partnership with the Albert Einstein Estate. For his prodigious imagination and championship of literacy in America, Patterson was awarded the 2019 National Humanities Medal. The National Book Foundation presented him with the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community, and he is also the recipient of an Edgar Award and nine Emmy Awards. He lives in Florida with his family.

Even if you missed this unusual program, you can now watch the event.

The Poisoned Pen’s Hot Book of the Week

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It’s been seven years, but Miss Fisher is back, and Kerry Greenwood’s latest book in the Phryne Fisher series, Death in Daylesford, is the Hot Book of the Week at The Poisoned Pen. You can order copies of it, and other books in the series, through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2JfL7W5

The 7 year wait is over—Miss Fisher is back in a new adventure!

“The real star is Phryne with her Jazz Age fashions, devil-may-care attitude, and dry narrative wit.”—Booklist

Taking the waters has never been more delicious—or dangerous…

When a mysterious invitation for a spa vacation arrives for Miss Phryne Fisher from an unknown retired Captain Herbert Spencer, Phryne’s curiosity is piqued. Spencer runs a retreat in Victoria’s rural spa country for shell-shocked veterans of World War I. It’s a cause after Phryne’s own heart, but what can Spencer want from her?

Phryne and her faithful servant Dot set out for Daylesford, viewing their rural sojourn as a short holiday. While Dot gets to know the remarkable women who run the hotel where they are lodging, Phryne enjoys an enticing meal—and dessert—with the attractive Captain Spencer. But their relaxation is short-lived as they are thrown into treacherous Highland gatherings, a mysterious case of disappearing women, and a string of murders committed under their very noses. Meanwhile, back at home, Phryne’s three wards are busy solving a mystery of their own when a schoolmate is found floating facedown near the docks—and pregnant at the time of her death.

Read the novels that inspired both the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries and the Ms. Fisher’s Modern Mysteries streaming series on AcornTV.

Phryne Fisher Mysteries by Kerry Greenwood
Cocaine Blues
Flying Too High
Murder on the Ballarat Train

Praise for the Phryne Fisher Mysteries
“Anyone who hasn’t discovered Phryne Fisher by now should start making up for lost time.”—Booklist
“Phryne handsomely demonstates once more that even a compulsion to explore every mystery that comes her way needn’t interfere with her appetite for life.”—Kirkus Reviews

Kerry Greenwood was born in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray and after wandering far and wide, she returned to live there. She has degrees in English and Law from Melbourne University and was admitted to the legal profession on the 1st April 1982, a day which she finds both soothing and significant. Kerry has written three series, a number of plays, including The Troubadours with Stephen D’Arcy, is an award-winning children’s writer and has edited and contributed to several anthologies. The Phryne Fisher series (pronounced Fry-knee, to rhyme with briny) began in 1989 with Cocaine Blues which was a great success. Kerry has written twenty books in this series with no sign yet of Miss Fisher hanging up her pearl-handled pistol. Kerry says that as long as people want to read them, she can keep writing them. In 2003 Kerry won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Australian Association.