James Church & Inspector O

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You probably missed the fascinating story about “James Church”, the mysterious author of the Inspector O crime novels set in North Korea. Written by Tim Sullivan, it was featured on AP’s “The Big Story” in August. http://apne.ws/2gah2Il

Now that we have signed copies of the latest Inspector O novel, The Gentleman from Japan, we thought you might want to read Sullivan’s story about the author.


Here’s the summary of the book.

James Church’s Inspector O novels have been hailed as “crackling good” ( The Washington Post ). Now Church-a former Western intelligence officer who pulls back the curtain on the hidden world of North Korea in a way that no one else can-comes roaring back with an unputdownable new novel.

A Spanish factory near Barcelona is secretly producing-under the guise of a dumpling maker-a key machine for the production of nuclear weapons. Western intelligence has gotten wind of this and believes that the machine is meant for North Korea. It is deemed imperative either to disable the machine before it leaves the factory or intercept it. Inspector O is recruited by an old friend to take part in an operation to disrupt the plans for shipping the machine.

The buyer of the machine has constructed an elaborate double-blind story, making it appear as if the purchaser is a Japanese criminal organization acting on behalf of the North Koreans. Information has been carefully planted and events set up to lead Western intelligence operatives to that conclusion. The feints include a flurry of murders in the northeast Chinese city of Yanji, on the border with North Korea, where O’s nephew is the chief of State Security.

Church’s latest Inspector O novel full of suspense, is not one that you will be able to stop reading.

You can buy a signed copy of The Gentleman from Japan through the Web Store.  http://bit.ly/2gefSNs

Kaye Wilkinson Barley’s Favorite Christmas Mystery

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I should have known what Kaye Wilkinson Barley would pick as her favorite Christmas mystery when I asked friends in the crime fiction community to write pieces for the blog. But, I’m saving the special photo for the end.

You might know Kaye from DorothyL or Jungle Red Writers (www.jungleredwriters.com). She has the space at Jungle Reds on the first Sunday of each month. She’s the author of Whimsey: A Novel, and My Name is Harley and This is My Story. Barley has also written short stories for anthologies including this year’s Bouchercon collection, Blood on the Bayou. Kaye blogs at www.meanderingsandmuses.com. Her author page is www.kayewilkinsonbarley.com.

Thanks for the piece, Kaye!



My favorite Christmas mystery is Margaret Maron’s “Corpus Christmas,”  and I re-read it every year during the holidays.  The scene is The Erich Bruel House, referred to as “a relic of Manhattan’s Gilded Age.”  This is a Sigrid Harald novel and probably my favorite of the series, although I recommend the series be read in order.  Sigrid and Oscar Nauman, famous artist and Sigrid’s significant other, are attending a Christmas party at the Bruel House in Oscar’s honor.  The Bruel House has lived many years on art donations, public monetary donations and a trust fund that is dwindling.  Trustees, old and new, have differing opinions on how to bring The Bruel House back to its once proud glory.  A trustee is found dead the morning after the party and Sigrid returns to the scene to investigate, which is much more her métier than party guest, as she is not a social person, by any means.  There’s no shortage of suspects as the dead trustee was pretty much no one’s favorite person.  If you like Christmas mysteries, you’ll enjoy Corpus Christmas. If, like me, you’re a fan of art and the people who populate the art world, this is a book for you.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley and Margaret Maron

If you’re looking for copies of Margaret Maron’s Corpus Christmas or Kaye Wilkinson Barley’s Whimsey: A Novel, we can special order them through the Web Store for you. http://store.poisonedpen.com/

Mark Pryor and His Love of Paris

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Author Mark Pryor set several of his Hugo Marston mysteries in Paris, including his first one, The Bookseller, and his most recent, The Paris Librarian.

If you’re a fan of the series, or of Paris, you might want to read Pryor’s article in The Good Life: France Magazine. Pryor discusses his love of the city in “Paris Mon Amour“. http://joom.ag/GjkQ/p50

Mark Pryor’s books feature Hugo Marston, former FBI profiler turned head of security at the U.S. embassy in London. They’re available through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2grxvLv

Pierce Brown for AuthorShorts

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Pierce Brown, author of the Red Rising trilogy, recently did an AuthorShorts for Penguin Random House. He talks about his career before writing, and the ideal environment for writing.


Here’s the clip. https://youtu.be/uYavZJ1LJKU?list=PLAEeCVmw82hVA1X0cNUrLx7swnfiBokxb

Pierce has been at The Poisoned Pen several times. Red Rising and the sequels are available through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2gRd2N6



Hot Book of the Week

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Did you see that Linda Fairstein’s Into the Lion’s Den is the Hot Book of the Week?


Here’s the description from the Web Store if you’re thinking about buying it as a gift.

Watch out, Nancy Drew—Devlin Quick is smart, strong, and she will DEFINITELY close the case in this thrilling new mystery series for girls and boys from New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein

Someone has stolen a page from a rare book in the New York Public Library. At least, that’s what Devlin’s friend Liza thinks she’s seen, but she can’t be sure. Any other kid might not see a crime here, but Devlin Quick is courageous and confident, and she knows she has to bring this man to justice—even if it means breathlessly racing around the city to collect evidence. But who is this thief? And what could the page—an old map—possibly lead to? With her wits, persistence, and the help of New York City’s finest (and, okay, a little bit of help from her police commissioner mother, too), Dev and her friends piece the clues together to uncover a mystery that’s bigger than anyone expected—and more fun, too.

With all of the heart-pounding excitement that made her internationally bestselling Alexandra Cooper series a hit, Linda Fairstein paves the way for another unstoppable heroine . . . even if she is only twelve.

We have signed copies available. http://bit.ly/2gQZJfL

Linda Fairstein has been writing mysteries since she was just about Devlin Quick’s age, as shown in this video from Penguin Random House. https://youtu.be/C_8jnUO4Euw?list=PLAEeCVmw82hVA1X0cNUrLx7swnfiBokxb

Just think, your gift of this book could set a new writer on the same path as Linda Fairstein.


Bill Crider’s Favorite Christmas Mystery

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I recently asked friends in the mystery community to tell me about their favorite holiday mystery. Bill Crider, author of the Sheriff Dan Rhodes mysteries, said he could write a piece for me. Thank you, Bill.

Bill Crider

My new favorite Christmas crime novel is Tim Hallinan’s Fields Where They Lay.  The narrator is a semi-reformed thief named Junior Bender, who’s hired by a thug to figure  out what’s going on with with an elaborate caper being carried out in a dying shopping mall three days before Christmas.  Bender has to find the solution . . . or else.


Junior has issues with Christmas, so that’s another problem.  Something’s going on with his girlfriend, too,  and the constant Christmas music in the mall doesn’t make him feel merry and bright, either.

There’s another Christmas story in the book, and it’s told to Bender by none other than Santa Claus.  Sure, it’s a mall Santa, but that counts.  It’s a powerful story, and its ending ties in with the title of the book, which is, as I’m sure you know, a line from a famous carol, “The First Noel.”

A whole lot is going on in this fast-paced novel.  It’s tough, it’s funny, and like all of Hallinan’s books, it has heart.  The ending is as satisfactory as any fan of Christmas could ask for, so this isn’t just my new favorite Christmas book.  It’s one of my favorite books of the year.


We have signed copies of Tim Hallinan’s Fields Where They Lay, available for purchase through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2gD1Jgu

The Web Store also carries copies of Bill Crider’s latest mystery, Survivors Will Be Shot Againhttp://bit.ly/2gfeR7y


Bill Crider is a retired English professor who did his dissertation on the hardboiled detective novel. He’s written mysteries, westerns, and even a children’s book. You can follow Bill on his website, www.billcrider.com, and find his writings online and in magazines. He talks about mysteries, music, and, now, three delightful cats known to Bill’s devoted Facebook followers as the VBKs, Very Bad Kittens. (Well, maybe we’re devoted followers of the VBKs.)

2017 Grand Masters Announced

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Yesterday, Mystery Writers of America announced that Max Allan Collins and Ellen Hart have been chosen as the 2017 Grand Masters. The entire award announcement by MWA appears here. http://prn.to/2gCVsjr

Looking for books by the new Grand Masters? Check out the Web Store. http://store.poisonedpen.com/