Better Lock the Door

Month: April 2022

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

2022 Left Coast Crime Award Winners

The Lefty Awards

The Left Coast Crime Convention

The 2022 Left Coast Crime Convention presented the Lefty Awards at their 32nd annual convention banquet. This is an annual event (ignoring stuff like COVID) for readers and writers of mysteries.  The LCC held their 2022 meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Their next convention in 2023 will be in Tucson, Arizona where J. A. Jance is scheduled to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Nominations for the ‘Lefty Awards’ are presented by people registered for the convention and the prior one. Ballots are given to attendees and final voting takes place at the convention.

This year’s winners include:

For Best Humorous Mystery Novel                   Mango, Mambo, and Murder by Raquel V. Reyes (Crooked Lane Books)

For Best Debut Mystery Novel                             All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris (William Morrow)

The Bill Gottfried Memorial Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel (for books set before 1970)

Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Crime)

For Best Mystery Novel (Not in any other categories.)

Lightning Strike by William Kent Krueger (Atria Books)

 

The Importance of Awards

I like to highlight the winners of awards given by the difference conferences and conventions as a way to highlight books we should be aware of.  There are so many crime-fiction books coming out each year, it is easy to miss a story or character we may like. Just because a book wins an award doesn’t mean it is better than the others, or even that you will like it. But it does mean judges have vetted and selected the stories.  And if you want to add more diversity to your reading, whatever that means to you, this is a good way to start.

I plan to post the winners of the other major mystery awards.  If there are any other awards you think I should post or be aware of, please send me a link.

Here is a link to all the winners and nominees for the Lefty Awards.

As always, I would love for you to share this post and let’s help get these authors’ names out there.

Thank you for reading. If you are reading this on your phone, you can sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of the screen.

Congratulations to The Left Coast Crime Convention Lefty Awards Winners. You can find the list of winners @OpeningaMystery #Mysteries #LeftyAward @leftcoastcrime #crimereaders Click To Tweet

 

Kinsey Millhone

“My name is Kinsey Millhone. I’m a private investigator, licensed by the state of California. I’m thirty-two years old, twice divorced, no kids. The day before yesterday, I killed someone and the fact weighs heavily on my mind…”

—Sue Grafton, A Is for Alibi

 

Kinsey Millhone First Story

A Is For Alibi

Kinsey Millhone first came to the pages of crime fiction when Sue Grafton created her in 1982 for A Is for Alibi. A former police officer turned private investigator, Kinsey was one of the earliest female investigators along with Sara Paretsky’s V. I. Warshawski. The novels make up the extremely popular Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Series.

Grafton set the stories in Santa Teresa, California, a fictionalized town based on Santa Barbara, California. Although books came out nearly a book a year, Grafton minimized Millhone’s aging by having each of the character’s years covered in three books.

Millhone was the model of a modern female detective, feisty and smart but not above going against the rules.

Continue reading

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