Part of the fun of attending mystery conferences is the “goodies bag”
that you get upon registering. You usually get a copy of Mystery Scene
and EQMM and AHMM, a pin or two, a fridge magnet—but
best of all, you get books. New and totally free books!
The books are donated by publishers who hope to promote new
or potentially hot authors (or possibly they need tax write-offs).
HIGH RHYMES AND MISDEMEANORS turned up the Malice
book bag one year—this year, I’m sorry to say, Pocket was not
one of Malice’s supporters or book suppliers. I try not to blame
them for the M.D. book bag being, in my opinion, a little skimpy.
Really, that’s not fair to say because the book bags are NEVER
as full as I would like. I-- I’m addict. I’m one of those people
genetically incapable of saying, “Enough!” when it comes to books
So what was in my Malice book bag? Well, here’s what I kept
(because not every bag gets the same books, and there’s always
a “book swap” table where you can toss back what you don’t feel
like carting home—or exchange it for something worth the $$$ for
THE COSMIC CLUES by Manjiri Prabu. A first novel about a “detective
agency that combines astrological science with investigations!” This
is set in India and it stars Sonia Samarth—she’s out to nab an
First line: “This is Stellar Investigations and we don’t
Frankly, this doesn’t sound like my kind of thing, but I hung
onto it because my mom might enjoy it—and because if it starts
getting brilliant reviews on DorothyL or elsewhere, I might take
FEINT OF ART by Hailey Lind. I was happy to see this in the book
bag because I love mysteries that have to do with art, books,
history, archeology and murders from the past, and I’ve heard
enough about this one to be interested.
Former art-forger Annie Kincaid informs her ex-boyfriend museum
curator that his prized Caravaggio is a fake. Then the museum
janitor is killed and Annie’s ex disappears.
There is mention of a “charming but fickle art thief.”
I am so there!
First line: “Georges, please – try to concentrate on what I’m saying,”
I persisted. It is illegal and immoral to forge art.”
WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE PARROTS by Donna Andrews. I’ve read and enjoyed
one other Meg Langslow novel, so I’m sure this will be fun. Meg goes
to her actor boyfriend’s television series fan convention and soon
after a run-in with the ego-maniacal series star, Meg is suspected
of offing the “Queen B.”
First line: “I woke up when Michael began screaming in the bathroom.”
I like that. It sounds like MY home.
TOO BIG TO MISS by Sue Ann Jaffarian. “Too big to miss—that’s
Odelia Grey. A never-married, middle-aged plus-size woman, she
struggles with her relationships, her crazy family, and her crazier
boss. And then there’s her knack for being in close proximity to
Even if Sue Ann and I had not been partners for the Author-Go-Round
at Malice, I’d have wanted to check this out. I believe Claudia and I
previewed this back in the days of the Wicked Company Book Preview Club.
Originally a self-published effort, Sue Ann sold the series to Midnight
Ink. How cool is that?
First line: “My weekend was D.O.A….dead on arrival.”
And that concludes what I chose to keep out of the book bag.
Now let me tell you what I ADDED to the book bag after visiting
the Dealer’s Room.
O’ARTFUL DEATH by Sarah Stewart Taylor. I’m not sure why I never
bothered to buy this book before meeting Sarah, because it has everything
I love: art, literature, a mystery that ties into the past—and an academic
University professor Sweeney St. George is an expert in cemetery art.
Intrigued by the macabre graveyard statue of a beautiful woman, she
starts poking into the statues history and stumbles into murder
both old and new.
First line: “The girl’s nude body lay in the boat, her dead eyes
staring heavenward, her long hair coiling strangely to the ground.”
As already mentioned elsewhere I also bought MOVING IS MURDER by
Sarah Rosett, AND ONLY TO DECEIVE by Tasha Alexander, and MURDER
ON THE ROCKS by Karen MacInerney. I won’t rehash those reviews
here, but I’ll probably do little snippet reviews on Amazon later
in the month (because I just don’t spend enough time not writing books).
As is my want at these things, I scooped up some vintage reprints
from Tom and Enid at Rue Morgue including: THE BLACK PIANO by
Constance and Gwenyth Little (for my views on the Little Sisters,
read my essay at Girl Detective).
“Dick Rouston claimed Jane Cowrer murdered his fiancée, which made
for a pretty awkward situation, since Jane was equally convinced
that Dick had murdered her.”
Now doesn’t that sound like fun?
GLASS ON THE STAIRS by Margaret Scherf. A Henry and Emily Bryce
comedic mystery. This was a mistake. I was looking for the second
book in the series, but this is the third—it’s not a serious mistake,
because I’ll read it right after I find the second.
“Mrs. Otis Carver walked into Link Simpson’s gun and antique
shop one hot August morning and shot herself.”
Now THAT is a difficult customer.
CORPSE DE BALLET by Lucy Cores. First published in 1944, this
is the second and last book to feature amateur sleuth
(exercise maven, former dancer and part-time ballet reviewer)Toni Ney.
First line “Why don’t you take off your hat and stay awhile?” Toni
Which is as good a place to stop as any. Later this week I’ll post
on the vintage mystery original paperbacks I picked up.
There's some good stuff there--even Mr. Thrilling was pleased with
a couple of my finds.