Uncategorized

Abby Collette & Ellie Alexander, a Podcast

Posted on Updated on

John Charles of The Poisoned Pen staff recently hosted two cozy mystery authors, Abby Collette and Ellie Alexander. Collette’s latest books is A Deadly Inside Scoop. The eleventh book in Ellie Alexander’s Bakeshop Mystery series is Nothing Bundt Trouble. You can order books by both authors through the Web Store. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

You can listen to the conversation here.

https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-u7f2k-e201f2

Here’s the summary of Abby Collette’s A Deadly Inside Scoop.

This book kicks off a charming cozy mystery series set in an ice cream shop—with a fabulous cast of quirky characters.

Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family’s ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and she’s going back to basics. Win is renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors—many from her grandmother’s original recipes. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens her doors an early first snow descends on the village and keeps the customers away.

To make matters worse, that evening, Win finds a body in the snow, and it turns out the dead man was a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. Soon, Win’s father is implicated in his death. It’s not easy to juggle a new-to-her business while solving a crime, but Win is determined to do it. With the help of her quirky best friends and her tight-knit family, she’ll catch the ice cold killer before she has a meltdown…

*****

Ellie Alexander’s Nothing Bundt Trouble is here.

This time, Torte’s pastry chef and amateur sleuth finds herself coming out of the oven and straight into the fire in Ellie Alexander’s Nothing Bundt Trouble: A Bakeshop Mystery.

Spring has sprung in Ashland, Oregon, and everything at Torte seems to be coming up buttercream roses. But just when Juliet Capshaw seems to have found her sweet spot—with her staff set to handle the influx of tourists for this year’s Shakespeare festival while she moves back into her childhood home—things take a dramatic turn. Jules discovers a long-forgotten dossier in her deceased father’s belongings that details one of the most controversial cases in Ashland’s history: a hit-and-run accident from the 1980s. Or was it?

Now it’s up to Jules to parse through a whole new world of details from another era, from unraveling cassette tapes to recipes for Bundt cakes, before an old enemy brings the Capshaw “pastry case” to a modern-day dead end.

The Bakeshop Mysteries are:

“Delicious.”RT Book Reviews
“Marvelous.”Fresh Fiction
“Delectable.”—Portland Book Review

Cross of Snow & Longfellow

Posted on Updated on

Nicholas Basbanes has written about book collecting, libraries, paper. It was David McCullough who suggested that he should try a biography. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is the subject of Basbanes’ new book, Cross of Snow. You can order a copy, as well as copies of Basbanes’ other books, through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3iEpl0b

A major literary biography of America’s best-loved nineteenth-century poet, the first in more than fifty years, and a much-needed reassessment for the twenty-first century of a writer whose stature and celebrity were unparalleled in his time, whose work helped to explain America’s new world not only to Americans but to Europe and beyond. From the author of On Paper (“Buoyant”–The New Yorker; “Essential”–Publishers Weekly), Patience and Fortitude (“A wonderful hymn”–Simon Winchester), and A Gentle Madness (“A jewel”–David McCullough).

In Cross of Snow, the result of more than twelve years of research, including access to never-before-examined letters, diaries, journals, notes, Nicholas Basbanes reveals the life, the times, the work–the soul–of the man who shaped the literature of a new nation with his countless poems, sonnets, stories, essays, translations, and whose renown was so wide-reaching that his deep friendships included Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Julia Ward Howe, and Oscar Wilde.

Basbanes writes of the shaping of Longfellow’s character, his huge body of work that included translations of numerous foreign works, among them, the first rendering into a complete edition by an American of Dante’s Divine Comedy. We see Longfellow’s two marriages, both happy and contented, each cut short by tragedy. His first to Mary Storer Potter that ended in the aftermath of a miscarriage, leaving Longfellow devastated. His second marriage to the brilliant Boston socialite–Fanny Appleton, after a three-year pursuit by Longfellow (his “fiery crucible,” he called it), and his emergence as a literary force and a man of letters.

A portrait of a bold artist, experimenter of poetic form and an innovative translator–the human being that he was, the times in which he lived, the people whose lives he touched, his monumental work and its place in his America and ours.

*****

Here’s the lengthy interview with Nicholas Basbanes. Barbara Peters, owner of the bookstore, and then Patrick Millikin talked with Basbanes about his books, including Cross of Snow. There’s also a slideshow.

The Last Flight, Hot Book of the Week

Posted on Updated on

Although Julia Clark’s The Last Flight is the Hot Book of the Week at The Poisoned Pen, it’s out of stock at the moment. That doesn’t mean you can’t order a copy through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3eYUucp

Here’s the summary of The Last Flight.

The New York Times and USA Today bestseller!

The Last Flight is thoroughly absorbing—not only because of its tantalizing plot and deft pacing, but also because of its unexpected poignancy and its satisfying, if bittersweet, resolution. The characters get under your skin.”—The New York Times Book Review

Two women. Two flights. One last chance to disappear.

Claire Cook has a perfect life. Married to the scion of a political dynasty, with a Manhattan townhouse and a staff of ten, her surroundings are elegant, her days flawlessly choreographed, and her future auspicious. But behind closed doors, nothing is quite as it seems. That perfect husband has a temper that burns as bright as his promising political career, and he’s not above using his staff to track Claire’s every move, making sure she’s living up to his impossible standards. But what he doesn’t know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish.

A chance meeting in an airport bar brings her together with a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they make a last-minute decision to switch tickets—Claire taking Eva’s flight to Oakland, and Eva traveling to Puerto Rico as Claire. They believe the swap will give each of them the head start they need to begin again somewhere far away. But when the flight to Puerto Rico goes down, Claire realizes it’s no longer a head start but a new life. Cut off, out of options, with the news of her death about to explode in the media, Claire will assume Eva’s identity, and along with it, the secrets Eva fought so hard to keep hidden.

For fans of Lisa Jewell and Liv Constantine, The Last Flight is the story of two women—both alone, both scared—and one agonizing decision that will change the trajectory of both of their lives.

Diana Gabaldon & Go Tell the Bees I Am Gone

Posted on Updated on

What better day to offer a podcast with Diana Gabaldon? No, as she tells in episode one, Go Tell the Bees I Am Gone is not yet even finished. But, you can enjoy listening to her read two excerpts here on The Poisoned Pen’s podcast. And, of course, you can order her books through the Web Store at her home bookstore, The Poisoned Pen. https://store.poisonedpen.com/?q=p.diana_gabaldon

Enjoy the podcasts!

Excerpt 1 https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-7h9ut-e187ad

Excerpt 2 https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-wig5k-e187b9

An International Conversation

Posted on Updated on

Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, recently hosted an international virtual event. Jeffrey Siger discussed Greece and his Andreas Kaldis mysteries set there. Ragnar Jonasson’s books are set in Iceland. Timothy Hallinan’s Poke Rafferty mysteries are set in Bangkok, Thailand. The authors’ books can all be ordered through the Web Store. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

You can watch the conversation here.

Here are the most recent books by Siger, Jonasson, and Hallinan.

Jeffrey Siger’s Island of Secrets was previously published as The Mykonos Mob.

“A perfect setting and first-rate storytelling.” —Ragnar Jónasson, bestselling author of The Dark Iceland series

From international bestselling author, Jeffrey Siger, comes another heart-stopping story of corruption and intrigue.

The case begins for Athens’ Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis with a literal bang when a corrupt former police colonel who runs a protection racket on Mykonos is gunned down. Suddenly, Kaldis is face-to-face with Greece’s top crime bosses on an island whose natural beauty and reputation as an international playground belies the corruption lurking just beneath the surface.

While Kaldis and his Special Crimes unit wrestle for answers, his wife, Lila, meets an American expat named Toni, a finder of stolen goods and a piano player in a gender-bending bar who has a zest for life and no apparent regard for rules. As Lila and Toni bond over a common desire to mentor young island girls trapped in an exploitative and patriarchal culture, they soon find that their efforts intersect with Kaldis’ investigation in ways that prove to be dangerous for all involved…

 (Previously published as The Mykonos Mob)

*****

Ragnar Jonasson’s most recent book is The Island.

The newest superstar on the Icelandic crime fiction scene has arrived with a superb followup to The Darkness.

Shortlisted for the Crime Novel of the Year Award in Iceland
Third Place, Novel of the Year Award 2016 in Iceland, selected by booksellers
One of the bestselling novels in Iceland in 2016

Autumn of 1987 takes a young couple on a romantic trip in the Westfjords holiday—a trip that gets an unexpected ending and has catastrophic consequences.

Ten years later a small group of friends go for a weekend in an old hunting lodge in Elliðaey. A place completely cut off from the outside world, to reconnect. But one of them isn’t going to make it out alive. And Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is determined to find the truth in the darkness.

Ragnar Jonasson burst onto the American scene with Snowblind and Nightblind, the first two novels in the Ari Thor thriller series, and the praise was overwhelming. With The Darkness, he launched a new series featuring a completely new sleuth, Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir of the Reykjavik Police department. The Island is the second book in this series.

*****

Tim Hallinan’s final Poke Rafferty novel is Street Music.

Eight years ago, Poke Rafferty, an American travel writer, and his Thai wife, Rose, adopted a Bangkok street child named Miaow, forming an unconventional intercultural family. That family has weathered extreme challenges—each of its three members carried the scars of a painful and dangerous history—but has stuck together with tenacity and love (and a little help from some friends).
 
Now that family is in jeopardy: the birth of Poke and Rose’s newborn son has littered their small apartment with emotional land mines, forcing Poke to question his identity as a dad and Miaow to question her identity as a daughter. At the same time, the most cantankerous member of the small gang of Old Bangkok Hands who hang out at the Expat Bar suddenly goes missing under suspicious circumstances. Engaged in the search for the missing American, Poke is caught completely off-guard when someone he thought was gone forever resurfaces—and she has the power to tear the Raffertys apart.

Guthrie, Wade & Farmer, Virtual Event

Posted on Updated on

Join authors Kimiko Guthrie, James Wade, and Edward A. Farmer for a virtual event at The Poisoned Pen’s Facebook page on Friday, July 3 at 4 PM, 7 PM ET. https://www.facebook.com/thepoisonedpenbookstore/ Books by the authors are available through the Web Store. https://store.poisonedpen.com/ Blackstone Publishing is the publisher for all three authors.

Here’s Kimiko Guthrie’s Block Seventeen.

Akiko “Jane” Thompson, a half-Japanese, half-Caucasian woman in her midthirties, is attempting to forge a quietly happy life in the Bay Area with her fiancé, Shiro. But after a bizarre car accident, things begin to unravel. An intruder ransacks their apartment but takes nothing, leaving behind only cryptic traces of his or her presence. Shiro, obsessed with government surveillance, risks their security in a plot to expose the misdeeds of his employer, the TSA. Jane’s mother has seemingly disappeared, her existence only apparent online. Jane wants to ignore these worrisome disturbances until a cry from the past robs her of all peace, forcing her to uncover a long-buried family secret.

As Jane searches for her mother, she confronts her family’s fraught history in America. She learns how they survived the incarceration of Japanese Americans, and how fear and humiliation can drive a person to commit desperate acts.

In melodic and suspenseful prose, Guthrie leads the reader to and from the past, through an unreliable present, and, inescapably, toward a shocking revelation. Block Seventeen, at times charming and light, at others disturbing and disorienting, explores how fear of the “other” continues to shape our supposedly more enlightened times.

*****

Here’s the summary of James Wade’s All Things Left Wild.

After an attempted horse theft goes tragically wrong, sixteen-year-old Caleb Bentley is on the run with his mean-spirited older brother across the American Southwest at the turn of the twentieth century. Caleb’s moral compass and inner courage will be tested as they travel the harsh terrain and encounter those who have carved out a life there, for good or ill.

Wealthy and bookish Randall Dawson, out of place in this rugged and violent country, is begrudgingly chasing after the Bentley brothers. With little sense of how to survive, much less how to take his revenge, Randall meets Charlotte, a woman experienced in the deadly ways of life in the West. Together they navigate the murky values of vigilante justice.

Powerful and atmospheric, lyrical and fast-paced, All Things Left Wild is a coming-of-age for one man, a midlife odyssey for the other, and an illustration of the violence and corruption prevalent in our fast-expanding country. It artfully sketches the magnificence of the American West as mirrored in the human soul.

*****

Check out Edward A. Farmer’s Pale.

“Some things just don’t keep well inside this house …”

The summer of 1966 burned hot across America but nowhere hotter than the cotton fields of Mississippi. Finding herself in a precarious position as a black woman living alone, Bernice accepts her brother Floyd’s invitation to join him as a servant for a white family and she enters the web of hostility and deception that is the Kern plantation household.

The secrets of the house are plentiful yet the silence that has encompassed it for so many years suddenly breaks with the arrival of the harvest and the appearance of Jesse and Fletcher to the plantation as cotton pickers. These two brothers, the sons of the house servant Silva, awaken a vengeful seed within the Missus of the house as she plots to punish not only her husband but Silva’s family as well. When the Missus starts flirting with Jesse, she sets into motion a dangerous game that could get Jesse killed and destroy the lives of the rest of the servants.

Bernice walks the fine line between emissary and accomplice, as she tries her best to draw secrets from the Missus’s heart, while using their closeness to protect the lives of the people around her. Once the Missus’s plans are complete, families will be severed, loyalties will be shattered, and no one will come out unscathed.

With a dazzling voice and rich emotional tension, Pale explores the ties that bind and how quickly humanity can fade and return us to primal ways.

Amanda Flower’s Distractions

Posted on Updated on

Like Jenn McKinlay, Amanda Flower left the library profession to write books. As a librarian, I hate to see them leave, but I am happy to see their novels. Flower’s latest Amish Candy Shop mystery is Marshmallow Malice. Her new Magic Garden mystery, Mums and Mayhem, will be released August 11. You can order her books, and her suggested book “Distractions” through the Web Store. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award–winning mystery author Amanda Flower started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as USA Today bestselling author Isabella Alan. Amanda is a former librarian and lives in Northeast Ohio. Readers can visit her online at www.amandaflower.com.

*****

Many of my readers have told me during the pandemic they have turned to my cozies for comfort. I can understand that. When the world is falling apart, don’t we all want to jump into a story where all the pieces fit together in the end and there is happily ever after? That’s been the case for me. During the pandemic, I have turned to cozies and happily ever after reads to cope with this very strange time in all our lives.

The first series, I have been reading is Lynn Cahoon’s Tourist Trap Mysteries. I started at the beginning of the long-running series with Guidebook to Murder. I loved the plot and liked that there was a bit of California history thrown in. I love a historical angle in a cozy. The series has many books, so I’m happy that I have many more to enjoy.

The next series I dove into is the Noodle Shop Mysteries by Vivien Chien. Now in full disclosure, I read the first book Death By Dumpling years ago before it was released. The author and publisher asked me for a cover quote. I loved the series then, but I think it’s just gotten better and better with each book. Also, I love that it’s set outside of Cleveland, Ohio, which is close to my home. The author is spot on with the area, and she would be. Chien is a Clevelander.

Admittedly, I don’t read much women’s fiction. I’m a mystery girl and tend to stay in that lane for all my reading, but when one of my favorite authors, Heather Webber, released a women’s fiction novel last year, I knew I had to read it. I’m so glad I finally had the time. Midnight in the Blackbird Café is such a beautiful book. I love the way the people in this town are so intricately intertwined and relatable. I also love the touch of magic. It’s just enough to enhance the story without overpowering it.

*****

As I said, Marshmallow Malice is Amanda Flower’s latest Amish Candy Shop Mystery.

Caught in a sticky situation . . .

With Juliet Brody and Reverend Brook tying the knot in Ohio’s Amish Country’s most anticipated nuptials of the year, Bailey King is determined to do everything in her power to make the event a sweet success. Except midsummer heat waves and outdoor ceremonies don’t mix, and an exasperated Bailey soon finds herself struggling to fulfill bridesmaid duties and keep her stunning marshmallow-frosted wedding cake from becoming a gooey disaster. Then much to everyone’s shock, the entire ceremony crumbles when a guest drops dead, and the cause isn’t sunstroke . . .
 
Turns out, the uninvited victim came equipped with lots of dirt on the devout reverend’s hidden past. As Reverend Brook tops the murder suspect list on what should have been the happiest day of his life, Bailey and her sheriff’s deputy boyfriend vow to clear his name. Can the duo boil down a series of baffling clues before Juliet considers her marriage a bad mistake—or the killer whips up another deadly surprise?

Recipe Included!

Praise for Amanda Flower and her Amish cozies

“As it turns out, Amanda Flower may have just written the first Amish rom com.”
USA Today

“Flower has hit it out of the ballpark . . . and continues to amaze with her knowledge of the Amish way of life.”
RT Book Reviews

“At turns playful and engaging . . . a satisfyingly complex cozy.”
Library Journal

*****

You can pre-order Mums and Mayhem now. It’s an August release.

A famous fiddler has been kilt. A magic garden’s left to wilt. Does Fiona Knox’s father hold the guilt? Will florist Fiona’s blood be spilt?

World-famous fiddle player Barley McFee arrives in blustery Bellewick, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, for a grand homecoming concert organized by jeweler Bernice Brennan. Fiona Knox, owner of the Climbing Rose Flower Shop, is starting to regret volunteering to help with the concert. Bernice is an exacting taskmaster, and Fiona has enough tension dealing with her parents, who have traveled from Tennessee to visit Fi and her younger sister, Isla, and to reveal a secret about Fi’s birth. But when Barley is found dead in his trailer during the concert’s intermission, and his death is shockingly tied to Fiona’s father, Fiona discovers there are more secrets surrounding her family than she realized.

Much to the chagrin of handsome Neil Craig, Chief Inspector of the County Aberdeen Police, Fiona delves into the case to clear her father’s name. To make matters worse, Fiona learns that Duncreigan, the magical garden that she inherited from her godfather, is dying. At some point during the concert, someone broke into the garden and cut the centuries-old climbing rose–the source of the garden’s magic–from the standing stone.

The stakes are higher than ever and Fiona could lose all that she’s grown unless she’s able to dispel this terrible curse and dig up the truth–fast.

2020 Locus Award Winners

Posted on Updated on

Congratulations to all the winners of the 2020 Locus Awards. The Locus Science Fiction Foundation has announced the winners in each category of the 2020 Locus Awards. Check the Web Store for copies of the winning books. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

Winner: The City in the Middle of the Night, Charlie Jane Anders

FANTASY NOVEL

Winner: Middlegame, Seanan McGuire

HORROR NOVEL

Winner: Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Marion James

YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

Winner: Dragon Pearl, Yoon Ha Lee

FIRST NOVEL

Winner: Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir

NOVELLA

WINNER: This is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

ANTHOLOGY

WINNER: New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color, Nisi Shawl, ed. 

COLLECTION

WINNER: Exhalation, Ted Chiang

NON-FICTION

WINNER: Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction, Lisa Kröger & Melanie R. Anderson

ILLUSTRATED AND ART BOOK

WINNER: Spectrum 26: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, John Fleskes, ed.

Tom Clavin, In Conversation

Posted on Updated on

Patrick Millikin from The Poisoned Pen refers to himself as “a longtime student of the American West”. He recently hosted Tom Clavin, author of Tombstone: The Earp Brothers, Doc Holliday, and the Vendetta Ride from Hell. Although the Web Store’s site says there are still autographed copies available, you might want to check. https://bit.ly/2NOW4lf

Here’s the summary of Tombstone.

THE INSTANT NATIONAL BESTSELLER

Tombstone is written in a distinctly American voice.”T.J. Stiles, The New York Times

“With a former newsman’s nose for the truth, Clavin has sifted the facts, myths, and lies to produce what might be as accurate an account as we will ever get of the old West’s most famous feud.” —Associated Press

The true story of the Earp brothers, Doc Holliday, and the famous Battle at the OK Corral, by the New York Times bestselling author of Dodge City and Wild Bill.

On the afternoon of October 26, 1881, eight men clashed in what would be known as the most famous shootout in American frontier history. Thirty bullets were exchanged in thirty seconds, killing three men and wounding three others.

The fight sprang forth from a tense, hot summer. Cattle rustlers had been terrorizing the back country of Mexico and selling the livestock they stole to corrupt ranchers. The Mexican government built forts along the border to try to thwart American outlaws, while Arizona citizens became increasingly agitated. Rustlers, who became known as the cow-boys, began to kill each other as well as innocent citizens. That October, tensions boiled over with Ike and Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury, and Billy Claiborne confronting the Tombstone marshal, Virgil Earp, and the suddenly deputized Wyatt and Morgan Earp and shotgun-toting Doc Holliday.

Bestselling author Tom Clavin peers behind decades of legend surrounding the story of Tombstone to reveal the true story of the drama and violence that made it famous. Tombstone also digs deep into the vendetta ride that followed the tragic gunfight, when Wyatt and Warren Earp and Holliday went vigilante to track down the likes of Johnny Ringo, Curly Bill Brocius, and other cowboys who had cowardly gunned down his brothers. That “vendetta ride” would make the myth of Wyatt Earp complete and punctuate the struggle for power in the American frontier’s last boom town.

*****

If you’re interested in Western history, you’ll want to watch Tom Clavin’s conversation with Patrick Millikin.

Sarah Stewart Taylor, In Conversation

Posted on Updated on

I guess I raved enough about Sarah Stewart Taylor’s The Mountains Wild that Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, asked me if I wanted to interview her. It’s a pleasure to reintroduce readers to the author, and introduce them to Maggie D’Arcy, the detective in Taylor’s new series. You can still order a signed copy of The Mountains Wild through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/2CEvPvd

If you’re looking for an atmospheric mystery set in Ireland, look no further.

“With its evocative Dublin setting, lyrical prose, tough but sympathetic heroine, and a killer twist in the plot, Sarah Stewart Taylor’s The Mountains Wild should top everyone’s must-read lists this year!” — New York Times bestselling author Deborah Crombie

In a series debut for fans of Tana French and Kate Atkinson, set in Dublin and New York, homicide detective Maggie D’arcy finally tackles the case that changed the course of her life.

Twenty-three years ago, Maggie D’arcy’s family received a call from the Dublin police. Her cousin Erin has been missing for several days. Maggie herself spent weeks in Ireland, trying to track Erin’s movements, working beside the police. But it was to no avail: no trace of her was ever found.

The experience inspired Maggie to become a cop. Now, back on Long Island, more than 20 years have passed. Maggie is a detective and a divorced mother of a teenager. When the Gardaí call to say that Erin’s scarf has been found and another young woman has gone missing, Maggie returns to Ireland, awakening all the complicated feelings from the first trip. The despair and frustration of not knowing what happened to Erin. Her attraction to Erin’s coworker, now a professor, who never fully explained their relationship. And her determination to solve the case, once and for all.

A lyrical, deeply drawn portrait of a woman – and a country – over two decades – The Mountains Wild introduces a compelling new mystery series from a mesmerizing author.

*****

You can watch the conversation with Sarah Stewart Taylor here.