Welcome to Opening a Mystery.
Fall is in the air and the days are getting shorter. And all the coffee shops smell like pumpkin spice.
One of the things that I want to do with this blog is introduce you to mystery novels, authors, and those that love them. There are so many good blogs that are about mysteries. And this week I’ve read two that I want to share. Continue reading
Agatha Christie’s Miss Jane Marple
In 1927, Grand Dame Agatha Christie introduced to the world one of the most popular mystery characters, Miss Jane Marple. In the short story, ‘The Tuesday Night Club’, ‘she is an elderly spinster who has lived most of her life in St. Mary Mead. She often acted as an amateur consulting detective. Most people saw her as a dithering old bitty with her dated clothes and her knitting until she surprised the male police officers with her wisdom and knowledge.
In the earlier books, the townspeople wrote her off mostly as a gossip. Yet she had a keen sense for understanding human nature and using her insights of village life to explain the actions of criminals. The later stories show her as a kinder and a more modern person. Continue reading
October has arrived and what better time could there be to discuss paranormal thrillers. This is the time of year when we turn our attentions to ghosts and ghouls. With Halloween approaching quickly, I enjoy thinking about a world that includes multiple dimensions.
Paranormal suspense considers a world that contains certain phenomena that are outside the realm of scientific explanation which science may explain one day. The genre includes: Continue reading
Reviewed by Tim Suddeth
Whether you want a book to get you ready for
Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison psychological suspense
the 2022 Winter Olympics, or just a little suspense to enjoy as the nights get longer, Tear Me Apart may be the book for you. Best-selling author J. T. Ellison takes us from ski course to the ER, to the family closet where the most private family skeletons are hidden. Ellison knows how to ramp up the suspense and not let up.
Mindy is the new darling of US skiing, hoping to make this year’s Olympic ski team. Until a terrible crash lands her in the hospital with a mangled leg. But fears of missing Continue reading
By Tim Suddeth
The Spy Who Came In From the Cold
John le Carré is one of Britain’s most popular spy novelists. In 2008, The London’s Sunday Times listed as 22nd in the fifty greatest British writers since 1945. He has written over 25 novels and a memoir in a career that spanned sixty years, from 1961 to his latest, Silverview, which is being released in October 2021. His books have been nominated for a long list of awards and several have been made into movies including: “The Constant Gardener”, “The Tailor of Panama”, “The Spy Who Came In From the Cold”, and “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”.
He introduced millions of readers into the secretive world of espionage. Continue reading
by Tim Suddeth
This year’s Anthony Awards were announced at the virtual Bouchercon this past weekend. The Anthony Awards are presented by members attending the annual event and honor the year’s best in mystery and crime fiction.
The Awards were to be announced at their dinner in New Orleans, but the conference was cancelled due to an outbreak of the Delta variant of Covid. Over the weekend, we watched Hurricane Ida batter New Orleans.
The winners were announced at a virtual ceremony. Congratulations to the winners. And prayers for New Orleans for a quick recovery. Continue reading
All The Devils Are Here by Louise Penny
The 2021 Agatha Award for the Best Contemporary Novel went to “All The Devils Are Here” (Minotaur) by Louise Penny. “All The Devils Are Here” is the sixteenth book in the Chief Inspector Gamache series.
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is enjoying his first night with his family in the beautiful city of Paris. He and his wife look forward to spending some time with their son and daughter. And they will get to know their grandchildren better. They are also hoping that their very pregnant daughter will deliver before they have to leave. Continue reading
The 2021 Killer Nashville awards were announced this past Saturday. They seek to find and honor the best books of 2020 that incorporate the elements of mystery, thriller, and suspense. Here are the honorees. Congratulations to everyone who participated. (Here is the link to Killer Nashville.)
The Silver Falchion Awards
Book of the Year Continue reading
“Bond. James Bond.”
Who can forget how Ian Fleming introduces his British secret agent in the legendary “Casino Royale”?
Ian Fleming’s First James Bond Novel
This book introduced the world to the handsome, classy, suave, highly intelligent M16 agent with an assassin’s heart of stone. It birthed a franchise that numbered fifteen books that Ian Fleming wrote, and additional over thirty-one novels written after Fleming’s death by an assortment of authors including John Gardner, Raymond Benson, and Anthony Horowitz. As well as over twenty movies spanning over 60 years. (Check the fashions.)
Spy novels emerged in the early twentieth century and have have remained very popular. The stories involve the clandestine activities of agents often between major world powers. The genre has been very popular on both sides of the pond, as well as in Asia.
The themes of the story are similar to the adventure novels, thrillers, and politico-military thrillers. The hero, in the early novels the protagonist was nearly always a male, was often a government agent racing against Continue reading
Terry (Tess) Gerritsen knew she wanted to write when she was a little girl growing up in San Diego, California. With a Chinese immigrant and a Chinese-American seafood chef as parents, she dreamed of writing her own Nancy Drew stories. According to an interview in the July 15, 2021, New York Times, Tess thought Nancy Drew had everything a seven-year-old girl could want; she was clever, fearless, and she drove her own car.
But like many parents, hers had a different idea for their little girl. They were worried about how someone could make enough money writing. Sounds like common concern.
So Gerritsen put off her writing and went to college. First, she went to Stanford University to study anthropology. Then she went on to study medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, where she graduated in 1979 to become an internist. She started practicing medicine in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Beginning of a Dream
It was when she read “The Woman Warrior”, by Maxine Hong Kingston, that she realized Continue reading