Better Lock the Door

Month: January 2022

Laurie R. King

Laurie R. King's 2021 Release

Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell Story in Transylvania

The Mystery Writers of America announced that they have chosen Laurie R. King to be their 2022 Grand Master at this year’s conference. The awards she’s won, how her novels have influenced the crime fiction canon, and her writing longevity, all together make her a fitting recipient.

Laurie R. King was born in 1952 in Oakland, California. On her website, she said she was the third generation in her family native to the San Francisco area. Her family moved so much as she was growing up that it wasn’t until she was in high school that she attended the same school in consecutive years.

In an interview for Mystery Scene in 2009, she said, “That, if nothing else, turned me into a reader, which turned me into a writer.” On her website, she said she read through libraries up and down the west coast. Continue reading

2022 Left Coast Crime Awards (The Lefties)

The Left Coast Crime Awards (Isn’t that a great name?) announced the nominees for their 2022 awards. The nominees were made by people registered for this year’s and last year’s conventions. The finalists will be selected at the convention.

The convention selects the best mystery novels in four categories: humorous, historical, debut, and best mystery. The winners will be presented at the awards banquet on Saturday, April 9, 2022, at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque.

This list is a great place to find the cream of today’s mysteries. Is one of your favorites listed here?

2022 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominees

One of the goals of this blog is to help mystery readers find different writers they may want to read. This week, the Mystery Writers of America announced their 2022 awards and the nominees for the 2022 Edgar Allan Poe Awards. The Edgar award is one of the highest awards given for the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, and television.

If you are like me, first, I hope you recover. Second, following the nominees for awards like these help us discover the cream of the crop in the mystery field. And I always like seeing who the debut authors are, so I can learn what authors I should be on the lookout for. They also introduce us to different genres in mystery we may want to try.

You can find the link for the 2022 Edgar Allan Poe Awards nominees here.

The board of the Mystery Writers of America also announced their 2022 Grand Master, and the winners of the Raven and The Ellery Queen awards, The Raven Award recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside creative writing. The Ellery Queen Award, established in 1983, honors outstanding writing teams and people in the mystery-publishing business. I’ve posted the link here.

Congratulations to the recipients. These are well-deserved honors for all the work they have done.

Legal Thrillers

The legal thriller is one of my favorite genres of crime fiction. Legal thrillers let me into the world of courtrooms, suits, lawyers, paralegals, and their innocent, not so innocent, and some down-right shady clients. It’s in the legal thriller that we get a chance to see the justice system at work. The newspaper can tell us what happened. A legal thriller can tell us the stories and characters behind the possible headline. Allegedly.

The authors set many of their legal thrillers in a courtroom. They take a case after the police or investigators have completed their work and then we watch them take it through court. Often, it’s when the case is being tried that new evidence comes up. Think of the lawyer in the light-gray suit, Matlock.

But showing the courtroom isn’t necessary. In Marcia Clark’s Guilt by Association, Los Angeles D. A. Rachel Knight is a prosecutor who becomes involved in her colleague’s murder. We don’t see her take the case to trial, but we do watch as she investigates and interacts with the people involved. Continue reading

International Mysteries

If you haven’t been able to travel lately as much as you wish, maybe an international mystery is what you’re looking for.

Learning about a new location or culture is one of the joys of reading fiction. Whether it is living in a foreign country, another region of the US, or in a time past or future, watching the characters interact an international mystery is a great way to become immerse in another world.

That is why police procedurals and spy novels are so popular. We want to know how the people involved in those professions interact and go about their daily lives.

There are two ways novelists can do this. They can have their characters visit other countries like James Bond. In his earlier movies, it amazed

Gambling Table

Gambling Table in Monaco

me at the places where he ended up, whether in the jungles of Jamaica, the baccarat tables of Monaco, or the back streets of Japan. I worried about how James would get back to England. And then, at the most critical time, one of the locals would pop up and reveal that they were also an agent.

I recently read All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny.  (Get link here.) Her hero, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, from the Surete of Quebec, travels to Paris to see his family and gets involved when someone assaults his family. She takes her reader to the streets of Paris

The other way is when the author sets the story in the different country with characters native to the area. And thankfully, we are seeing this happening more and more. We are also seeing more publishers willing to translate stories into English that we would have earlier never encountered. Continue reading

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