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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

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

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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