Better Lock the Door

Month: November 2021

Christmas Mysteries and New Books

The Thanksgiving leftovers have been devoured. December and the Christmas season is here.

Christmas Gifts

Christmas Mysteries

This is a time of year that has always been important to crime fiction. Many of our best-selling writers brought out their new releases right before Christmas. And most of our authors have set at least one of their novels at Christmas.

In the weeks before Christmas, I always read at least one mystery about a family gathering at the family’s home to enjoy the festivities when a murder happens. It’s usually at a country estate and it’s snowing. Which is great when many of our Christmases in South Carolina are in the seventies and instead of Christmas sweaters, we wear tee shirts. Continue reading

John Grisham


John Grisham’s name is synonymous with a best-seller. When you think of legal thrillers, John Grisham is one of the first names that comes to mind. Since his first book, The Firm, came out in 1987, he has kept a place on the New York bestsellers list. And if you’ve read any of his books, or seen his movies, you’ll understand why.

Writing Accomplishments
John Grisham's The Firm

John Grisham’s The Firm

The Firm, Grisham’s first bestseller, has sold over seven million copies and was the number one novel in 1991. The success of the book led to a movie with Tom Cruise and a television show that lasted a year.

According to the Academy of Achievement in 2020, his books have sold Continue reading

Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie

Reviewed by Tim Suddeth


Sleeping Murder

Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie

Sleeping Murder was the last Miss Marple mystery and Agatha Christie’s last published novel, coming out in 1976 after her death. Set in 1930 England, Christie tells us about newlyweds Giles and Gwenda Reed and their efforts to discover a secret buried in Gwenda’s memory.


Giles sends Gwenda ahead to find a proper house for the couple to move into and raise a family. Continue reading

Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone

When you think of a troubled police officer character, Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series comes to mind. Recently, I saw an article where the writer was warning against writing about an alcoholic detective. The writer said that the trope was being overused. And one reason that the character is so popular is because of how well Robert B. Parker used it in Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone.

Many of our best detective fiction writers point to Robert B.  Parker as a major influence on how and what they write. Parker first became The fist installment of the Jesse Stone series.

Robert B. Parker’s Night Passage

popular with his Spencer series. But it was his later Jesse Stone series that showed us how deep and multi-layered a troubled officer could become.

The Character: Jesse Stone

Parker introduced us to Jesse Stone in his novel, Night Passage, Continue reading

Historical Mystery


Historical mystery is the party mix version of crime fiction genres—it contains a little something for everyone. It can include history, romance, travel, politics, true crime, archeology, and of course, a crime. To be a historical mystery, the author places the story in a historical era from the author’s viewpoint, and the plot involves the solving of a crime. The difference between a historical mystery and a classic mystery comes from the writer’s perspective.

Today, we see all of Agatha Christie and Edgar Allan Poe’s stories as being back in history. But the author wrote them in their present day. Christie did write what is probably the first historical mystery, Death Comes as the End. Continue reading

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