Mystery Scene Magazine

At the Scene, October 2012            Solving the mystery of what to read next!
  Fall Issue 126


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In This "At the Scene"

Mystery Scene Fall Issue #126

ArticleAOctober Greetings

The 2012 Fall Issue is out and it's a honey!

Millions of people already know Hank Phillippi Ryan as the hard-charging investigative journalist on Boston's NBC affiliate, but an increasing number of readers know her as the author of even harder-charging thrillers laced with breakneck media competition, high-stakes political intrigue, and murder. Read our profile of Hank in this issue and you'll see, as they say, where she "gets her ideas." What a career! Hank notes that she's been writing stories every day for 37 years, so her novels are just a new venue for something she's long loved to do.

Similarly, Attica Locke had years of storytelling experience as a Hollywood screenwriter before she turned to novels with the acclaimed Black Water Rising. Her work draws on her family history and on a thoughtful consideration of the mechanisms of social change. "For black people, people of color, and women, our economic ascent is complicated because it comes with a lot of other baggage," she says. It does, however, makes for nuanced, compelling crime fiction.

Ross Macdonald was famously obsessed with the long shadows cast by past mistakes and in this issue John Connolly, himself a fine crime writer, offers an insightful look at what he considers to be Macdonald's crowning achievement, The Chill.

In the aptly-titled "A Talent to Entertain," Martin Edwards considers the stellar career of Robert Barnard. Barnard, Martin remarks "has a flair for skewering vanities, especially among the English middle-classes." True enough, and the amused reader will also be treated to fair-play plots of Golden Age complexity.

Every writer has to start somewhere and Larry Block started out in the sex business. He bares all in "Now We Call It Mid-Century Erotica," the latest installment of his literary memoirs.

Even fictional detection shouldn't be all work and no play. To that end, Kevin Burton Smith offers "Mystery Fiction Action Figures We'd Like to See." A fine selection, but where is the Amelia Peabody Action Figure? This indomitable little figure would come with a fully functioning umbrella, a handy tool belt, and a mummy that really walks....

There's much more in the new Fall Issue #126 and we hope you enjoy it. If you're not a subscriber, you can buy single issues at our website, at your local mystery bookstore, or at Barnes & Noble bookstores. 

Best wishes,
Kate Stine

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Writers on Reading  

G.M. Malliet on James Thurber
James Thurber's THURBER ON CRIME James Thurber  


Asked to write about an author who had a big impact on my reading life, the name that first came to mind was not Agatha Christie, later unquestionably my biggest inspiration, but humorist James Thurber. His collections of cartoons and essays, many of which first appeared in the New Yorker, were one constant in my ever-changing world.  


Thurber's is a subversive style of writing I associate with the British, so gifted at making us laugh by taking an ordinary scene and piling occurrence upon happenstance, leading us toward a somehow inevitable and happy, if goofy, outcome...


(Read G.M. Malliet's full essay at




G.M. Malliet's latest book is Wicked Autumn (Minotaur Books, tpb, August 2012).

Author website 

"Writers on Reading" is a special ongoing Mystery Scene series available as a first-look exclusive to our newsletter subscribers. 


Sons of Jude by Brandt Dodson
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ArticleCMystery Lovers' Kitchen Recipe Roundup
Authors share treats perfect for the season

Cleo Coyle's Chocolate Fudge Pumpkin Cookies 
Cleo Coyle's Chocolate Fudge Pumpkin Cookies
Since 2009 the authors behind Mystery Lovers' Kitchen have been cooking up crime and culinary delights for their voracious readership.

As the weather cools and ovens heat up, authors Krista Davis, Cleo Coyle, Avery Aames/Daryl Gerber, Annie Knox/Wendy Lyn Watson, Sheila Connolly, Ellery Adams, Lucy Burdette, Peg Cochran, and Mary Jane Maffini were kind enough to share six of their favorite seasonal treats with Mystery Scene readers.

"I have to tell you that even though I've seen all [the recipes] before, I'm laughing!" said Krista Davis, the author of the Domestic Diva Mysteries featuring Sophie Winston. "We certainly are a gruesome crew!"

  • Gluten-free Ghost Cheese Cupcakes and Maple Frosting, from Avery Aames (Cheese Shop Mysteries) 
  • Tombstone Pie, from Ellery Adams (Books by the Bay Mysteries, and Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries)
  • Killer Red Velvet Cake, from Sheila Connolly (Orchard Mysteries, and Museum Mysteries)
  • Chocolate Fudge Pumpkin Cookies, from Cleo Coyle (Coffeehouse Mysteries, and Haunted Bookshop Mysteries)
  • "Brains" Cinnamon Candy Corn, from Annie Knox (forthcoming Pet Boutique Mysteries, and Mysteries  A La Mode)
  • Chicken Scary-aki Monster Fingers, from Krista Davis (Domestic Divas Mysteries, and Wagtail Mysteries)  

Find all six recipes online at   

Mystery Lovers' Kitchen:

Mystery Scene Hangman


Bloody Leaf by vonkammer
photo: ~vonkammer DeviantART

"It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life. The rich colours of grass and earth were intensified by the mellow light of a sun almost warm enough for spring, and the air was a sweet evocation of all Dalgliesh's boyhood autumns: woodsmoke, ripe apples, the last sheaves of harvest and the strong sea-smelling breeze of flowing water....

... And suddenly he experienced a minute of tingling happiness so unexpected and so keen that he almost held his breath as if he could halt time. They came to him so rarely now, these moments of intense physical joy, and he had never before experienced one in the middle of a murder investigation. The moment passed and he heard his own sigh."  


 P.D. James, A Taste for Death (1986)



P.D. James (photo credit: Ulla Montan)
P.D. James (photo credit: Ulla Montan)


ArticleEThrills and Kills 
Six Reads to Scare Your Socks Off   

Investigations into crimes and secrets tinged with all that is spooky and supernatural. Perfectly chilling tales for a dark October night.
THE GHOSTS OF VARNER CREEK by Michael Weems NICEVILLE by Carsten Stroud THE DEVIL IN SILVER by Victor LaValle  
ODD APOCALYPSE by Dean Koontz THE PINES by  Blake Crouch THE THIRD GATE by Lincoln Child  
Have a favorite supernatural mystery? Please share it with us at our Mystery Scene Facebook page. 
ORGANIZING CRIME CLASSICSOrganizing Crime Classics  
Subscribe for 3 years at full price and receive a free gift!

Mystery Scene is pleased to offer its subscribers Organizing Crime Classics: The Mystery Company's Guide to Timeless Series, edited by Austin Lugar and Nikki Phipps, as a free gift with any $90 three-year subscription to Mystery Scene.

This compact guide provides full book lists for readers of over 3,900 titles in over 200 classic mystery series, complete with checklists to help readers manage their collection and plan their reading.

Subscribe for 3 years and get your free gift today.

Already up-to-date on your subscription, but still want Organizing Crime Classics? This indispensable guide to timeless mystery series is available online for $16.00 at  Crum Creek Press.  
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