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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

How Do Writers Find Time To Write?

How do writers find time to write? Ooo, this should be good. I think this is one of the most popular questions that writers ask themselves. Right up there with ‘Am I really a writer?’

So, let me share two interviews with writers who have find the precious time that feels like getting water out of a rock.

The first is David Heska Wanbli Weiden. His debut novel, Winter Counts, which won several awards for Best First Novel. He holds an MFA degree, a law degree, and a Ph.D. Dr. Weiden is a tenured professor of Native American Studies and Political Science at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He teaches MFA classes on the side and is a father of two sons.

In this interview at CrimeReads, Dr, Weiden tells why he started writing while being a professor and describes his writing routine while teaching classes and mentoring students. A great illustration of a driven man and father finding time to achieve a dream.

Over on The Murder Memo, Danny Smith interviewed Linda Healy who was one of the first women in the California Highway Patrol Academy. Her memoir, The Experiment (2022), chronicles her rise from meter maid to a commander in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. You can listen to the interview here.

Now, excuse me. I need to get back to writing.

2021 Anthony Awards

With so many mystery books coming out each month, how can you make sure you don’t miss the best ones? One of the best ways is to look for the books that are honored by other writers and readers. That is why I will be posting lists of nominees and winners of some of the top awards as they come out.

The Anthony Awards nominees have been announced for 2021. The Anthonys are given out each year at the Bouchercon, the Anthony Boucher Memorial World Mystery Convention. The awards are voted on by the attendees.

The awards are named after Anthony Boucher, an editor, writer, and reviewer for the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. Boucher was one of the founders of the Mystery Writers of America in 1946. The awards have been given out since 1986 and are considered one of the top literary awards for mystery writers.

The 2021 conference will be held in New Orleans on August 25-29. The title for this year is New Orleans Blood on the Bayou Postmortem. Some of this year’s guests of honor include Michael Connelly, Steph Cha, and Craig Johnson.

You can see a list of the nominees here.

 

Police Procedurals

“Just the facts, Ma’am.” Joe Friday delivered this line in his flat, robotic tone every week on the TV series, Dragnet. Dragnet aired two different times, once from 1951-1959 and then in 1967-1970. Detective Joe Friday of the Los Angeles Police Department was played by Jack Webb, who was also the producer.

Dragnet, and the similar show Adam-12,  are great examples of one of the more popular genres in mystery,  the police procedural. These books and shows centered on the work of the police, usually focusing on one individual but highlighting more their time on the job and working with others in the department than on the person’s personal life. It is the life and environment of a police officer that the reader is interested in, rather than an individual. Although how much this is carried out varied with the series.

Although cop shows have been common on TV, even today, I want to focus on the novels and their authors. Continue reading

RIP Margaret Maron

 

On February 23, 2021, we lost one of the legends of crime fiction with the passing of Margaret Maron. Born in Greensboro, NC, in 1938,  she grew up on her mother’s family farm in Johnston County. She shared that farm life with us in the twenty books in her Judge Deborah Knott series.

Ms Maron had been in hospice care and died of stroke-related illness.

Her first book, One Coffee With, was published in 1982. Continue reading

The Hardboiled Mystery

Hard Boiled Detectives The classical mystery story came to its heyday in the 1920s and 30s. World War I had just ended, and the world was coming through the 1918 flu pandemic that infected a third of the world’s population.

In England, the classic mystery had already been established by Edgar Allen Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The stories showed the reader a very upper society, very proper, with tea being served often. The detective often had a tie to police, but were intellectually superior. They were often given a reluctant acceptance by the local law enforcement officer. Sometimes, the police would call them in because they couldn’t solve the case, but more often the detective burst onto the scene, showing up the helpless officer.

But in America, we saw the emergence of a different type of detective in the hardboiled detective mysteries. In another kind of society, Dashielle Hammett and Raymond Chandler introduced us to the private eye. Often a lone wolf, who tried to dispense his own style of justice in a world with few rules.

[bctt tweet=”The hardboiled American detective was much more cynical than his English counterpart. It wasn’t a game or puzzle to him, but a more personal battle against evil, even of life or death. ” username=”httpstwittercomTimSuddeth”] Continue reading

2021 Edgar Award Nominees

The 2021 Edgar Awards nominees were announced yesterday by the Mystery Writers of America. The Edgar Awards take their name from Edgar Allan Poe, considered to be one of the inventers of the detective genre. The winners will be presented in New York City later this year.

The nominees come from usually around 2000 submissions from publishers and writers, representing the best in mystery fiction in novels, young people books, short stories, and television.

This year the Grand Masters are Jeffery Deaver and Charlaine Harris.

You can find the link to the nominees here.

Dashiell Hammett

The Golden Age of Mystery refers to the period between World War I and World War II. In America, writers created the hard-boiled detective. They portrayed the detective, a male, usually as a loner, facing the violence and nihilism of the post-WWI world. Often cynical, tough, hard-boiled, they lived with an internal code of right and wrong. Unlike the English detective, the American private eye is from the common people. They don’t use their great minds to solve puzzles. Instead, they use hard work and a willingness to get dirty to catch their criminal, or not.

This hard-boiled detective fiction is also called noir. Because of the time period, I always think of the films as being in black-and-white.

Although Dashiell Hammett only wrote five novels, he is known as one of the pioneers of detective fiction. He brought us Sam Spade, Nick and Nora Charles, and the Continental Op. Many of the best-selling mystery writers, including Raymond Chandler, say that they were influenced by his style and stories. Continue reading

What’s Your Genre?

Shelf of mysteries

So many books to get to.

Every year, over 650 million books in print are sold. So, how can you find a book similar to the one you just enjoyed? If you have ever tried to find a book in a brick-and-mortar bookstore, you know what an impossible task it seems as you glaze at the rows and rows of bookshelves. Most of them spine out, which is a pet peeve of mine. Even after you learn where the mystery/suspense section is, you are still looking at a large section of the store. And that isn’t even talking about shopping on Amazon, where you can’t even see how the books grouped together.

Say, I like the The Cat Who books, but I’ve read them all and I want someone a little different. What should I do? Continue reading

Critical Review of The Last Mile

The Last Mile by David BAldacci

The Last Mile by David Baldacci

The Last Mile is the second entry in David Baldacci’s Amos Decker series.

Amos Decker is a former NFL football player who, just as his pro career started, received a traumatic brain injury. The injury not only knocked him out of football but, also, left him with a disorder in which he remembers everything, including the painful events he would rather forget like the murders of his wife and daughter.

The Last Mile begins with Decker headed from Burlington, Ohio to Quantico, VA to take a position with a newly-formed team at the FBI. The team combines combining FBI agents with civilians who have their own special gifts. Continue reading

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