Hardboiled Crime

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Lawrence Block. Christa Faust. Fans of hardboiled detective novels probably recognize the names. Both authors are quoted in David Barnett’s article, “Dames, Detectives, and Dope: Why We Still Love Hardboiled Crime”, published in The Guardian. If you’re a fan of noir, you might want to check out the article. http://bit.ly/2mw2RVw

And, then, you might want to check the Web Store for books. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

Edgar Symposium

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Are you going to be in New York City on Wednesday, April 26th? Mystery Writers of America just released the schedule for the Edgar symposium. Some of the authors who appear regularly at The Poisoned Pen are participating.

2017 Edgar Symposium

Register NOW for the 2017 Edgar® Week Symposium!

Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Location:  Grand Hyatt Hotel – Mezzanine Level – Regency Room
East 42nd Street @ Grand Central Station

Below is a schedule preview (subject to change)
Symposium Schedule

8:30 – 8:50:                 Registration
8:55 – 9:00:                Welcome – MWA’s Executive Vice President – Donna Andrews

9:00 – 9:50:                Meet the Class of 2017 – Best First Novel Nominees

Moderator:               STEFANIE PINTOFF, 2010 Best First Edgar Winner (City on Edge, Bantam)
Panelists:                 Flynn Berry (2017 Best First Edgar Nominee – Under the Harrow, Penguin Books)
Bill Beverly (2017 Best First Edgar Nominee – Dodgers, Crown Publishing)
Joe Ide (2017 Best First Edgar Nominee – IQ, Little, Brown & Co – Mulholland Books)
Nick Petrie (2017 Best First Edgar Nominee – The Drifter – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Lili Wright (2017 Best First Edgar Nominee – Dancing with the Tiger – Marian Wood/Putnam)
Heather Young (2017 Best First Edgar Nominee – The Lost Girls – William Morrow)

10:00 – 10:50:          From the Writer’s Desk, Part 1
Grand Master Max Allan Collins interviewed by Charles Ardai

11:00 – 11:50:           Just the Facts – If you’re not writing what you know, you’re writing what you want to know – and today’s savvy reader will send you a note if you get it wrong. How do writers of fiction and nonfiction crime approach research? When do they know they’ve researched enough?

Moderator:              LAURIE R. KING, MWA NorCal Chapter President (Murder of Mary Russell – Bantam)
Panelists:                Ruth Franklin (2017 Best Critical/Bio Nominee – Shirley Jackson – W.W. Norton)
Laurence Leamer (2017 Best Fact Crime Nominee – The Lynching – William Morrow)
Kate Summerscale (2017 Best Fact Crime Nominee – The Wicked Boy – Penguin Press)
Caroline (Charles) Todd (2017 MHC Award Nominee – The Shattered Tree – William Morrow)
James Ziskin (2017 Best PBO Nominee – Heart of Stone – Seventh Street Books)

11:50 – 1:00             Lunch Break (On Your Own)

1:00 – 1:50:              Nursery Noir – Writers of mysteries for young readers may have the toughest audience of all. How do dark stories translate for the teen and tween set? How do writers get into the minds – and hearts – of kid readers?

Moderator:            LORI RADER-DAY, MWA Midwest Chapter President (The Day I Died – William Morrow)
Panelists:               Brent Hartinger (2017 Best Young Adult Nominee – Three Truths and a Lie – Simon Pulse)
April Henry (2017 Best Young Adult Nominee – The Girl I Used to Be – Christy Ottaviano Books)
Sarah Lariviere (2017 Best Juvenile Nominee – The Bad Kid – Simon & Schuster BFYR)
Claire Legrand (2017 Best Juvenile Nominee – Some Kind of Happiness (Simon & Schuster BFYR)
James Ponti (2017 Best Juvenile Nominee – Framed! – Aladdin)
Billy Taylor (2017 Best Young Adult Nominee – Thieving Weasels – Penguin YR – Dial Books)
Susan Vaught (2017 Best Juvenile Nominee – Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry – Paula Wiseman Books)

2:00 – 2:50:             Liars Club – Liars, cheats, thieves, murderers – and, sometimes, those are the protagonists. How do writers create characters that keep readers up at night? How do they create empathy in characters who make bad guys look pretty good?

Moderator:            JEFFERY DEAVER, 2017 MWA President (The Burial Hour – Grand Central Publishing)
Panelists:               Laura Benedict (2017 Best Short Story Nominee – “A Paler Shade of Death” – St. Louis Noir)
Alafair Burke (2017 Best Novel Nominee – The Ex – HarperCollins)
Robert Dugoni (2017 Best PBO Nominee – The 7th Canon – Thomas & Mercer)
Lyndsay Faye (2017 Best Novel Nominee – Jane Steele – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Alison Gaylin (2017 Best Novel Nominee – What Remains of Me – William Morrow)
Martha Hillier (2017 Best TV Episode Nominee – “Dark Road” – Vera)

3:00 – 3:50:              #AuthorLife – There’s no one way to be a crime writer. Agent/no agent. Small press/big five. Plotter/pantser forever. How did these authors get into the life of crime – and what advice do they have for aspiring writers taking a stab at mystery?

Moderator:              MARK STEVENS, MWA Rocky Mtn Chapter President (Lake of Fire – Midnight Ink)
Panelists:                 Megan Abbott (2017 Best Short Story Nominee – “Oxford Girl” – Mississippi Noir)
Patricia Abbott (2017 Best PBO Nominee – Shot in Detroit – Polis Books)
Reed Farrel Coleman (2017 Best Novel Nominee – Where it Hurts – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Tyler Dilts (2017 Best PBO Nominee – Come Twilight – Thomas & Mercer)
Adrian McKinty (2017 Best PBO Nominee – Rain Dogs – Seventh Street Books)
Wendy Corsi Staub (2017 MHC Award Nominee – Blue Moon – William Morrow)

4:00 – 4:50:                 From the Writer’s Desk, Part 2
Grand Master Ellen Hart – Interviewed by Oline Cogdill

Cost:  $95 members, $125 non-members – with a $15 retroactive discount for those who join Mystery Writers of America within 30 days after Symposium.

You may also pay online via the MWA Store. Here’s the link to the symposium website for registration information. http://mysterywriters.org/2017-edgar-symposium/

If you can’t make it, but still want to read the books, look for them in The Poisoned Pen’s Web Store. https://store.poisonedpen.com/


C.J. Box &Vicious Circle

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C.J. Box will be at The Poisoned Pen on Thursday, March 23 at 7 PM to discuss his new release, Vicious Circle.

Vicious Circle

Here’s the summary from the Web Store.

The past comes back to haunt game warden Joe Pickett and his family with devastating effect in the thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times–bestselling author C. J. Box.

The plane circled in the dark. Joe Pickett could just make out down below a figure in the snow and timber, and then three other figures closing in. There was nothing he could do about it. And Joe knew that he might be their next target.

The Cates family had always been a bad lot. Game warden Joe Pickett had been able to strike a fierce blow against them when the life of his daughter April had been endangered, but he’d always wondered if there’d be a day of reckoning. He’s not wondering any longer. Joe knows they’re coming after him and his family now. He has his friend Nate by his side, but will that be enough this time? All he can do is prepare…and wait for them to make the first move.


Would you like to know what Box says about Joe Pickett?

About Joe Pickett

Even better than reading that note, though – you can come to The Poisoned Pen and hear C.J. Box talk about Joe Pickett. If you can’t be there, you can still order a signed copy of Vicious Circle from the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2nag7xV

Owen Laukkanen & The Forgotten Girls

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Owen Laukkanen was at The Poisoned Pen while on book tour for The Forgotten Girls.

Forgotten Girls

Here’s the summary of the book, as it appears in the Web Store.

They are the victims no one has ever cared about, until now. Agents Stevens and Windermere return in the blistering new crime novel from the fast-rising, multi-award-nominated suspense star.
She was a forgotten girl, a runaway found murdered on the High Line train through the northern Rocky Mountains and, with little local interest, put into a dead file. But she was not alone. When Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere of the joint FBI-BCA violent crime force stumble upon the case, they discover a horror far greater than anyone expected—a string of murders on the High Line, all of them young women drifters whom no one would notice.

But someone has noticed now. Through the bleak midwinter and a frontier land of forbidding geography, Stevens and Windermere follow a frustratingly light trail of clues—and where it ends, even they will be shocked.


Following an introduction by Patrick Millikin, manager of The Poisoned Pen, author Linda Castillo hosted Laukkanen.

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Left to right – Castillo, Laukkanen, and Millikin
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Castillo and Laukkanen
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Linda Castillo and Owen Laukkanen

Interested in buying a signed copy of The Forgotten Girls? Check the Web Store for that title, and Owen Laukkanen’s other books. http://bit.ly/2mIxdiK

Anne Perry @ The Poisoned Pen

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Anne Perry

It was a free-flowing conversation when Anne Perry appeared at The Poisoned Pen to discuss her thirty-second Thomas & Charlotte Pitt mystery, Murder on the Serpentine. Poisoned Pen Bookstore owner Barbara Peters interviewed her, and the conversation wandered to a number of related subjects.

Murder on the Serpentine

Thomas Pitt, who is now commander of Special Branch, is asked to take a special assignment by Queen Victoria, who is in the last years of her reign. The assignment puts Thomas in a difficult position. He can’t go home and talk to Charlotte about the case now that he’s head of the anti-terrorist force. Charlotte has to do a work around with Emily in order to find out information. Perry said Emily is made for deviousness. Lady Vespasia is currently on her honeymoon with Victor, so they are not available for advice or assistance. Perry deliberately sent Victor out of the country so Pitt had to work on the investigation by himself.

Perry said this book poses a moral question, whether you will do something repugnant to you to fulfill a duty – your job – going against your better nature to save the country. It’s something Thomas would rather not do, but must. The danger is very real.

After Prince Albert’s death, there was a great deal of tension between Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales. Victoria has always been fun, but Albert was a prude. While at Cambridge, Bertie had a fling with an actress. Although Albert was sick, he went to scold him despite the terrible weather, and he died soon after. Victoria blamed Edward for his father’s death. She wouldn’t let him participate in government until just before she died. However, the Germans were fond of him and his libertine behavior.

Edward had a penchant for friends who were not quite appropriate, not just women. In Murder on the Serpentine, Victoria was concerned about one of Bertie’s new friends. She asked a trusted friend to look into the man’s background, and her friend ended up dead. She was concerned she had sent him to his death. Was it an accident or murder? Here’s a woman who has outlived most of her the people she loved. She’s fragile. She’s been the Queen since she was nineteen. Can Thomas tell her the truth? She asks to see him, and personally asks him to investigate.

The book also deals with armaments, and the fear of a second Boer War.

And, there’s some of the bitchiest dialogue between women in some of Perry’s scenes. It’s cruel, but said with a smile. Perry said there’s elegance in the façade of British society.

Asked if she was writing anything else, Perry said she wants to write an international thriller set in the 1930s in Berlin. There’s so many things she’d like to do. She’s doing the final edit of the Daniel story. Daniel is the son of Thomas and Charlotte Pitt. The book is set in 1910. Perry said she can only work all the time. She can’t do any more. She does her best work in the morning when she’s sharpest. Afternoon work isn’t as good.

Perry and Peters discussed Anne Perry’s recent move from Scotland to West Hollywood. She said she couldn’t take her all of her books. She only took thirty, most of them poetry. She loves Dante’s Inferno. He said, “You’re not punished for your sins, but by your sins.” There was a lengthy discussion of the alphabet when she mentioned a history of the alphabet book. If language isn’t written, that civilization is lost.

There were conversations about World War II, language, laundry, Princess Margaret, war memorials, the RAF and British pilots in the United States. Barbara Peters said the conversations at The Poisoned Pen often contain lengthy digressions because they can’t talk about the books for more than five or ten minutes because people haven’t yet read it. Anne Perry said she loves to talk with the readers, though, and take their questions. She likes to know what readers are thinking. She writes to communicate stories to the readers.

Peters said she often asks authors who their readers are. Who is their audience? When she said Anne Perry knows her readers, Perry said, “A lot of retired English teachers and librarians.” Also clergy and nuns.

Anne Perry said she’s editing an anthology for Mystery Writers of America. She picked the topic of odd couples – detectives who pair up with someone in an unlikely pairing. For instance, Charles Todd wrote about Ian Rutledge and his ghost.

If you would like to order a signed copy of Anne Perry’s Murder on the Serpentine, check the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2miY2yR

Brunonia Barry, Interviewed by Linda Castillo

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Are you familiar with Brunonia Barry’s books? She’s on book tour right now for The Fifth Petal, sequel to The Lace Reader.

Fifth Petal

Here’s the information about the new book, as summarized in the Web Store.

Beloved author Brunonia Barry returns to the world of THE LACE READER with this spellbinding new thriller, a complex brew of suspense, seduction and murder.

When a teenage boy dies suspiciously on Halloween night, Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, now married to gifted lace reader Towner Whitney, wonders if there is a connection between his death and Salem’s most notorious cold case, a triple homicide dubbed “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed on Halloween night in 1989. He finds unexpected help in Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims newly returned to town. Neither believes that the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian, is guilty of murder or witchcraft.

But exonerating Rose might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if they cannot discover what truly happened, will evil rise again?


Visiting author Linda Castillo hosted Brunonia Barry.

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Left to right – Brunonia Barry & Linda Castillo
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Poisoned Pen manager Patrick Millikin with Linda Castillo
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Linda Castillo
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Barry and Castillo
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Brunonia Barry

If you would like to order a signed copy of The Fifth Petal, check the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2mHqqa8

Herberger Theater Sherlock Holmes Film Festival

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Why wouldn’t The Poisoned Pen want to celebrate all things Sherlock Holmes? Here’s information for Phoenix-area fans.

Sherlock Holmes Film Festival
presented by Herberger Theater and
ASU Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture
March 24 & 25, 2017

In celebration of the great detective with piercing observation and deduction skills, we are featuring four films of the popular and immortal stories of Sherlock Holmes spanning 100 years. Discussion and Q&A with world renowned silent film composer Donald Sosin, Sherlock Holmes scholar Russell Merritt and Jeffrey Hatcher, screenwriter of Mr. Holmes and playwright of the upcomingHolmes and Watson produced by Arizona Theatre Company. Whether you are a first-timer or devoted Sherlockian, join us for a weekend of delightful mystery, intrigue and some of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most unforgettable characters.
VIP Festival Pass
Admission to five films, discussion/Q&A’s and more
General Admission: $40.00

VIP Reception – Friday, March 24

Includes: one drink voucher, appetizers and opportunity to meet world renowned silent film composer and accompanist Donald Sosin and Sherlock Holmes scholar Russell Merritt.

Sherlock Holmes (1916 – silent film with live piano accompaniment by Donald Sosin)
General Admission – $20.00
When a couple of swindlers hold young Alice Faulkner against her will in order to discover the whereabouts of letters that could spell scandal for the royal family, Sherlock Holmes is on the case. Until 2014, all versions of this film were long-thought lost. This newly-restored edition of Berthelet’s silent film is one of the earliest appearances of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective. Accompanied with live music composed and performed by Donald Sosin. Mr. Sosin performs each October at the Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone, Italy, and every July at Bologna’s Cinema Ritrovato.

Saturday, March 25
Four films throughout the day with Q&A following select films.
$5.00-$10.00/per film

For the full schedule, click here.

Purchase tickets online or call 602.252.8497.