Opening A Mystery

Better Lock the Door

John Creasey

John Creasey is one of England’s and the world’s most prolific crime writers. He wrote over 600 acknowledged novels under at least

John Creasey's Gideon Fife

John Creasey’s Gideon Fire

twenty-nine pseudonyms. His first published book came out in 1932. His books continued to come out until after his death in 1973. In fact, when he died, he had a backlog of books he had just finished and was waiting to have publish. The last unique work written by him wasn’t published until 1979.

Can you imagine? That productivity blows me away. And it continued for over forty years. But it wasn’t just his output. It was also the range of the characters and plots that he created. One article about him claimed that the plots and characters of his stories were so different, it was like the series were written by twelve different writers.

Not only did he have tremendous output and a range of voices, he also wrote in several different genres: including science fiction, romance (under female pen names), and western novels.

And finally, he wrote with exceptional quality. His work in the 1950s and 60s rank among the finest crime fiction penned in the twentieth century.

So, let’s look at some questions about this amazing man. Continue reading

Mystery Readings for August

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Enjoying the summer

Welcome to Opening a Mystery, the August 2022 version. I hope you have a cool drink and a sea breeze to enjoy. I have some suggestions for mystery reading in August,

It’s funny how people don’t talk about being excited about the coming of August. Instead, we look at it as when school is about to start. How can we get one more vacation in before fall? And I’ve found that it doesn’t matter if the family has school kids or not.

But, living in South Carolina, I’m on to the sneakiness of August. By making us look beyond it to fall, it leads us to think cool weather is coming, right?

Not so fast. August is just as blazing as the rest of summer. And September usually slips in a surprise week of Indian summer.

Hopefully, this year it won’t be as hot as July, but don’t let it fool you. Summer never leaves without overstaying its welcome.

Lately, I’ve found some very interesting posts on some of my favorite websites.

First, over on Novel Suspects, Tess Gerritsen talks about her writing process, where she finds inspiration, and how she feels about her latest project of co-authoring a book with Gary Braver. Continue reading

Thrillers

In my earlier posts, I’ve looked at the differences in mysteries, suspense, and thrillers. Today, I want to take another look at thrillers: what they are, their components, and some of the different types.

Like any post I do on a literary genre, I feel I need to give some caveats. Just because a story is put in a certain genre doesn’t mean it has to have all the usual parts. Having all the parts doesn’t insure a great read. And missing some of the regular components doesn’t mean the story is inadequate. And once the critics feel they have a genre pegged, an author is going to come and put a unique spin on the category, blurring the lines once again. Continue reading

The Rabbi’s Harry Kemelman

The First of the Rabbi Small series

The Rabbi Slept Late

I am so excited about today’s post. Sometimes, when you go through your email list, you find a treasure. And that is how I feel about this post.

One of the goals here at Opening a Mystery is to introduce our readers to authors and series who have lost their popularity. Today’s post comes from the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine website. (You can find their blog here.)  Arthur Vidro, a specialist on traditional mysteries, tells us about one of their writers whose stories they first published in 1947.

Harry Kemelman (b. 1908) was a contemporary of the Ellery Queen cousins (b. 1903) and John Dickson Carr (b. 1906). He published his first novel, Friday the Rabbi Slept Late, in 1964. That began his Rabbi Small series and earned him a 1965 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. His mysteries provide the reader a window into the Conservative Judaism culture. NBC made the story into a Made-for TV movie, Friday the Rabbi Slept Late, which aired on NBC in 1976, starring Art Carney as Chief Lanigan and Stuart Margolin as Rabbi Small.

Harry Kemelman started writing his novels late in life. His eleven best-selling murder mysteries starring Rabbi David Small began in 1964 (At age 56) and ended in 1996 (at age 88).

I hope you enjoy learning more about this talented writer. Click here for the article.

Learn more about Harry Kemelman's Rabbi Small series @OpeningaMystery @TimSuddeth #EQMM #Mysteries Click To Tweet

 

The Culinary Cozy or recipes to a kill for

The Culinary CozyFor some time, I’ve wanted to do an article about the culinary cozy mystery. These are cozy, and some not so cozy, mysteries that include food and recipes as a major part of the stories. But with all the entries in the culinary cozy genre, where would I even begin?

I’ve been a huge fan of the Hallmark Movies series with Hannah Swenson, based on the books by Joanne Fluke. The baker sleuth is always looking to bribe a potential witness with just the right cookie or brownie. That has the local police department eating out of her hand. (Pun intended.) Of course, I would have to look Continue reading

The 2022 Shamus Awards Nominees

The Private Eye Writers of America has released the finalists for the 2022 Shamus Awards. The finalists were announced by PWA Awards Chairperson John Shepphird.

According to the PWA website:

“A Private Eye is defined as a private citizen (not a member of the military, federal agency, or civic state police force) who is paid to investigate crimes. A PI can be a traditional private eye, a TV or magazine reporter, an insurance investigator, an employee of an investigative service or agency, or similar character.”

The PWA was founded in 1981 by Robert J. Randisi, who also created the Shamus Awards. The aim of the organization is to support and further the private eye genre.

The finalists for the 2022 Shamus Awards are: Continue reading

The 2022 Derringer Awards

 

If you wish to read a mystery but don’t have much time to climb into a novel, maybe you’d rather read a shorter type of mystery. And for

2022 Derringer Awards Wimmers

suggestions on the crème de le crème of the little crop, you can turn to the Derringer Awards. These awards are given by the Short Mystery Fiction Society (SFMS) and are announced annually on May 1.

2022 Derringer Awards Winners Continue reading

CrimeReads State of the Crime Novel for 2022

Over on the CrimeRead website, their senior editor, Molly Odintz, asked the 39 Edgar Awards nominees about the state of the crime novel. She divided the responses into Part One, which is more craft oriented. Then, Part Two focused more on genre and the crime publishing industry. With so many responding, it gives a good overview of how crime fiction is growing and developing.

In Part One, you can also see how your favorite writers feel about working during the pandemic and how they deal with the changes.

In Part Two, the writers suggest classic and new writers to seek. They also discuss how genres are constantly changing.

I hope you enjoy this overview of crime fiction, and maybe find a new author to discover.

Under Lock and Skeleton Key Review

by Tim Suddeth

A Secret Staircase Mystery by Gigi Pandian

Under Lock and Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian

Under Lock and Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian (2022, Minotaur Books) is the debut book in A Secret Staircase Mystery series. I’d read an interview with this author and found the story’s premise intriguing. How can the body of someone walking around the day before wind up inside of a wall that had been sealed up for over a century?

Book Summary

That is the dilemma that faces Tempest Raj. Tempest, a disgraced magician who has to return to her parent’s home after they shut down her Las Vegas magic act because of a near catastrophe. Was the catastrophe the result of an accident, sabotage, or the curse placed on her family? Continue reading

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