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At the Scene, July 2011                        Solving the mystery of what to read next!
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Greetings from Kate
Colin Cotterill on Spike Milligan
Overheard
Our Reviewers Recommend II
Win a Sony Reader!
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July Greetings

Summer Issue #120, Colin Cotterill on Puckoon and Spike Milligan, More Summer Recommendations, Sony Reader Giveaway.

  Cover 2011 Summer 

Hi everyone, 

Our jumbo Summer Issue #120 is in the mail and it's a corker! 

 

First we talk to Karin Slaughter, whose gripping, graphic Georgia police procedurals take as their theme violence, particularly violence against women, and its repercussions. Then Jeff Abbott tells us about his new international thriller series featuring a young CIA agent.

 

Mickey Spillane would often proclaim: "I'm not an author. I'm a writer." In "The Murders in Memory Lane," Lawrence Block ponders the subtleties of that statement - with a little help from the French author Colette.

 

When the nine-year-old Megan Abbott first saw the classic Rita Hayworth film Gilda, she distinctly remembers thinking "This is what life is." Some years and a literary career of her own later, she reconsiders in her essay "Bar Nothing."  

 

Decades after the Golden Age of Mystery ended, James Anderson's lighthearted puzzles both parodied and paid homage to classic tropes of yesteryear. The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy, The Affair of the Thirty-Nine Cufflinks and The Affair of the Mutilated Mink are just as delightful as their titles suggest - and they have no bigger fan than Jon L. Breen who discusses them in this issue.

 

Figuring out if a book is a true first edition is often surprisingly complicated - but vital. As Nate Pederson notes in his column, "Properly identifying a subtle variant in a printing of an edition can turn a $5 thrift store find into a $150 collectable book."

 

Also in this issue, Katherine Hall Page discusses the enduring appeal of Mary Stewart's novels of romantic suspense, and Kevin Burton Smith looks at William Ard, whose untimely death in 1960 robbed the genre of a potential hardboiled master. We also chat with Juliet Blackwell, whose Lily Ivory mysteries about a young witch in San Francisco offer spells, demons, romance...and some interesting thoughts on a gifted woman finding her place in the world. 

 

Over the summer, we will be publishing more original articles, book reviews, and commentary at the MS Website. We'll also be active on Twitter and Facebook,
so do come join us.

 

Sincerely,

Kate Stine
Editor-in-Chief

P.S. In this newsletter you can enter to WIN A SONY READER PRELOADED WITH 10 GREAT MYSTERIES. See below! 

P.S.S. Follow us @MysteryScene for more contests and ways to win over the summer.

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Paul Cleave's "Collecting Cooper" ad 
Colin Cotterill on Spike Milligan's Puckoon 
Or how the writing of an Irish comedian saved one Annoying Little Bugger  

Spike Milligan's

A lot of scholarly tomes have been written about Attention Deficit Disorder and the hardship it causes the poor victim. I had ADD back in the day when it was still called ALB (Annoying Little Bugger) so nobody felt any sympathy that I couldn't get through four pages of written text before gouging a swastika out of my desk with a penknife and rushing off to play football. The lack of a sympathetic syndrome left me unteachable. I was 13 so I had hormones where my aspirations ought to have been and I didn't see a lot of pretty girls in short skirts bouncing up and down in front of book readers. 

 

The written word was annoying and I vowed never to waste my time with any book that didn't have the decency to be illustrated. I'd found a second-hand junk shop where I could satisfy my addiction to Mad Magazine, Marvel comics and Health and Efficiency naturist journals for less than the cost of a bag of chips. By 14 I refused to do book reviews with the argument that I was a born-again dyslexic. 

 

Enter Spike Milligan. I was a fan of a quite ridiculous radio programme called The Goon Show where a pack of man-children acted like idiots and captivated an entire generation of ALBs like me. Spike was my favourite and my hero. I had no doubt he was most certainly not a writer. Then one day I found his book, Puckoon

 

Now I'm certain other essays in this series refer to the most profound, beautifully written, brilliant novels to burn their influence into the literary soul of the author. Puckoon was none of these. It was a thoroughly silly but hilarious book that told of political incorrectness on the Irish border. I laughed from front to back cover and it was only when I shut it that I realized I'd read an entire book. My love affair with Spike and probably the funniest book ever written died after his second and final book but how can a boy - particularly a boy who became a writer - ever forget his first time?

 

  

Colin Cotterill's

Colin Cotterill's latest
book is Killed at the Whim of a Hat  (Minotaur Books, July 2011).  www.colincotterill.com

"Writers on Reading" is a special ongoing Mystery Scene series available as a first look exclusive to our newsletter subscribers. 
Duane Swierczynski "Fun & Games" 

Overheard 

Peter Falk as Lt. Columbo
Peter Falk (1927-2011) in the role of Lt. Columbo. NBC

 

 "I like my job. Oh, I like it a lot. And I'm not depressed by it. And I don't think the world is full of criminals and full of murderers because it isn't. It's full of nice people just like you. And if it wasn't for my job I wouldn't be getting to meet you like this. And I'll tell you something else. Even with some of the murderers that I meet, I even like them too. Sometimes like them and even respect them. Not for what they did, certainly not for that. But for that part of them which is intelligent or funny or just nice. Because there's niceness in everyone. A little bit anyhow. You can take a cop's word for it." 

 

 

Lt. Columbo of the Los Angeles Police Department

addressing a group of murder mystery fans in

"Try and Catch Me," Columbo, NBC, 1977

 

 

Michael Robotham "The Wreckage" 
Our Reviewers Recommend, Part II
More of the best summer picks from our reviewers
 

"Our Readers Recommend" feature is one of our favorite ways to hear what you've been reading and what you love. To start off summer, we thought we'd return the favor by asking the Mystery Scene reviewers (by extension some of the most voracious and informed readers out there) to share their top reading recommendations.

 

Ace Atkins 

FAR RANGING CRIME

"The Ranger by Ace Atkins. Atkins turns from his historical crime fiction to a new rousing series about a US Army Ranger who returns to his small Mississippi hometown to find it overrun by corruption, meth dealers, and shady developers. Atkins also has been tapped to continue the late Robert B. Parker's Spenser series." 

 

- Oline Cogdill, MS Blog 

 

 

Christina Faust 

TOUGH & TREACHEROUS

"Crime fiction has some notable fierce heroines - Lisbeth Salander anyone? But you can easily add ex-adult movie star Angel Dare to the top of the list. Read the first eight pages of Money Shot by Christa Faust and try to put the book down. You can't. This is modern hardboiled fiction done right - twisty, tough, and treacherous. Just like Angel." 

 

Derek Hill, MS Reviews

 

 

George Pelecanos

 

A NEW PI ON THE SCENE

"The Cut by George Pelecanos. What's not to love? A new series private eye, Spero Lucas, a young Iraq war vet, hitting the streets of DC, from one of the genre's all-time best writers. Welcome back, George." 

 

Kevin Burton Smith, MS Columnist

 

 

 

Aaron Elkins

 

 

BEST "WORST" READ

"The Worst Thing by Aaron Elkins is a suspenseful take off from the question, what is the worst thing you can imagine happening to you? Whether your personal fears are spiders, heights, the dark or confined spaces the reality is sometimes more terrifying when events happen that are beyond what can be imagined." 

 

Leslie Doran, MS Reviews


 

 

Missed Our Reviewers Recommend, Part I?
Read earlier recommendations from the MS contributors and reviewers here.

 

Win a Sony Reader preloaded with 10 great mystery & crime reads!
   
 
Open Road 50 Summer Steals

For a limited time only, Open Road Integrated Media is offering 50 top, selected ebooks from Jonathon King to Loren D. Estleman and Stephen Coonts to Lawrence Block for instant download, starting at just $0.99 from participating retailers!

To kickoff 50 Summer Steals, Open Road Integrated Media and Mystery Scene are giving away a Sony Reader preloaded with 10 great mystery and crime reads! 

Each favorite ebook is the first in a series or a first book.

- Motor City Blue by Loren D. Estleman
- Cool Breeze on the Underground by Don Winslow
- No Lesser Plea by Robert K Tanenbaum
- No Score by Lawrence Block
- Tropical Heat by John Lutz
- Blue Edge of Midnight by Jonathan King
- The Eighth Trumpet by Jon Land
- Slow Motion Riot by Peter Blauner
- A Dark Adapted Eye by Ruth Rendell
- Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry 

HOW TO ENTER
To enter, simply "Like" Open Road Media on Facebook and leave a wall posting letting Open Road know you want to enter their Sony Reader Summer Steals promotion. FULL DETAILS HERE.

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