AT THE SCENE - July 2014

Dear (Contact First Name),
Post-apocalyptic tales are all the rage these days-really, when did we get to be such pessimists? - but almost all of them take the story up after disaster hits. Ben H. Winters has struck a chord with his Last Policeman novels by considering how the human race would react if we all knew well in advance the end was coming. (Here's a hint: not well.) Police detective Hank Palace is one of the few who carry on, and his doomed but admirable efforts has made for some thought-provoking, original crime fiction. Oline Cogdill talks to the author in this issue.

Paul Doiron's Maine Game Warden Mike Bowden is living in a more recognizable present and following a classic story arc-that of the hero's journey. The hurdles this likable young man faces are all too common and life-destroying-the psychic damage from an abusive father-and the outcome is still to be determined. Lynn Kaczmarek is rooting for Mike, as are a rapidly growing number of readers. She chats with Paul Doiron in this issue.  


Elmore Leonard provided the creative spark for Justified, the violent, whip-smart, often darkly funny TV series about US Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens. But showrunner Graham Yost and his writers have spun an Appalachian outlaw opera out of Leonard's original tune and allowed an entire community to take the stage and tell their tales of bad luck, broken hearts, and hard times. Leonard admired the show's writing so much that he incorporated elements of it into his last novel, Raylan. If you haven't ever watched Justified, though, do start from the beginning. This is ambitious, long-term storytelling; many of the payoffs are cumulative.  


Also in this issue, Ed Gorman chats with Katherine Hall Page, who has just published her first collection of short stories, Small Plates, most featuring her popular character Faith Fairchild, a caterer, New England minister's wife, and occasional sleuth.  


Sarah Weinman, editor of the excellent anthology Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives: Stories from the Trailblazers of Domestic Suspense, discusses the work of Dorothy Salisbury Davis in this issue. She has described the now 98-year-old author:  


[Dorothy Salisbury Davis] is part of a lost generation of female suspense writers whose heyday spanned from World War II through the mid-1970s. They did not shy away from murder or squeamish subjects, but also did not, unlike their male counterparts like Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, and Dashiell Hammett, necessarily revel in violence and the sentimentality of the noble, lone wolf detective or the unflinching doom of the noir anti-hero. They wrote what they felt, how they lived, or what they observed in other people, in the home, in small towns, in the most secretive places.  


Happily, Dorothy Salisbury Davis' novels are available once again in print and digital editions from Open Road Media.  


In this issue, Michael Mallory offers an appreciation of historical mystery writer Lillian de la Torre, who set the 18th-century literary figure Dr. Samuel Johnson and his Boswell to detecting in a popular series of short stories. Now out of print, de la Torre's wit and scholarship makes these delightful stories ripe for reissue. Any takers out there? 


Have a great summer and we'll see you again in September!


Kate Stine

Mystery Scene's new mailing address for subscription queries, Letters to the Editor, and other correspondence is now:

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article1Iris Johansen & Roy Johansen on Their Favorite Childhood Books
Iris and Roy Johansen,
a mother and son writing team

Just a few weeks ago, my son (and frequent collaborator) Roy and I were discussing how much we continue to be influenced by the books we loved when we were children. I remember toting books back and forth from the St. Louis Public Library, stuffing my tattered canvas bag full of mystery, romance, and adventure. One of the first books I remember reading was Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar. I don't remember the particulars of that story, but I immediately read all of the other Tarzan books. I imagined myself in the jungles of Africa, joining Tarzan and Jane in their tales of lost cities and hidden treasures.

Iris and Roy Johansen's latest novel is Sight Unseen. (St. Martin's Press, July 2014)

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


article2The Interrogation Room: A Mystery Scene Quiz
Have a seat. Relax. We just have a few simple questions for you...

Please write "TOTE" in the comments field of your order.

Up and Coming: A chat with debut novelist JoŽl Dicker
Author of The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair 
JoŽl Dicker

Set in a quintessential small town in New Hampshire, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair revolves around Marcus Goldman, a young author who had a massive blockbuster a couple of years ago and is now suffering from a massive bout of writer's block. Then Marcus' mentor, Harry Quebert, is arrested for murder when the body of Nola Kellergan is found on his land more than 33 years after the teenager disappeared. Marcus travels to New Hampshire to support Harry, and, as a result, may find his way into his next book.

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair weighs in at 636 pages; did you ever think about making it shorter?

A: I cut over 300 pages while writing this book. So, I guess I can tell you that the story could have been even longer! On a more serious note, I did ask myself if I should take out a few of the twists. But in the end I preferred to leave the book as it was, in order to convey my own enthusiasm to my readers.

Read the full chat at  
article4Overheard: Soccer and Sin

"The center forward
will be killed at dusk."

- The warning about Barcelona's world-famous soccer team as relayed to Pepe Carvalho, gourmet gumshoe in Manuel VŠzquez MontalbŠn's Off Side.
contestSigned Lis Wiehl's A Deadly Business winners

Ten lucky winners drawn at random are taking home a signed copy of Lis Wiehl's latest installment from her fan-favorite Mia Quinn Mystery series, A Deadly Business.

Jacki R., Pflugerville, Texas
Ronna L., Potomac, Maryland
Gail K., Astoria, New York
Avonna K., Brooklyn, Ohio
Bill W., Wakefield, Rhode Island
Marianne M., Broadalbin, New York
Denise J., St. Petersburg, Florida
Jessica F., Lake Charles, Louisiana
Erika K., Joliet, Illinois
Eugenia P., Lake Elsinore, California

Thanks to all who entered via email and Facebook.
by Oline H. Cogdill
Raymond Chandler, is slated to receive his spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015.

by Oline Cogdill
The Author behind Child 44, gets more personal in his latest novel about family ties and mental illness, The Farm.

by John L. Breen

A noted critic raises concerns about a troubling new trend in publishing. 

by Gary Phillips
Jazz singer and actor Herb Jeffries, the first black singing cowboy to grace Hollywood screens, died of heart failure in West Hills, California, this year. He was about 100.

Reviews: More Reviews
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Established in 1985, Mystery Scene Magazine is the oldest, largest, and most authoritative guide to the crime fiction genre. 

#135, Summer 2014

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