AT THE SCENE - July 2015


Dear Friend,
Summer #140 is on its way to you. In the meantime, here's a little of what you can look forward to.

Ingrid Thoft has been on our radar ever since the first Fina Ludlow novel, Loyalty, in 2013. Kevin Burton Smith singled her out in "Triple Threat: Exciting New Voices in the Private Eye Novel," in MS #131 (The other two writers were Sara Gran and Lisa Brackmann.)

Thoft's moody, tenacious Boston PI has also piqued the interest of TV, with a Fina Ludlow series now in development at ABC. In this issue, we asked author and journalist Hank Phillippi Ryan, herself an expert on all things Bostonian, to chat with this interesting new talent.

Continuing his indefatigable quest to champion detective fiction, Kevin Burton Smith would like to draw your attention to Ronald Tierney, creator of Deets Shanahan, a cranky, blue-collar Indianapolis PI of a certain age. Tierney is bringing his rock-solid series to a close with A Killing Frost and we pay tribute to his achievement in this issue.

I owe Joe Goodrich a big favor for his introduction to the delightfully civilized Henry Gamadge, Elizabeth Daly's New York City documents expert/sleuth. I've just read three novels in the series and have several more waiting for vacation. There's a reason Daly was Agatha Christie's favorite American crime writer: beneath the sharp characterizations, intricate plots, and genial wit, both writers share the same gimlet-eyed assessment of human nature. Great stuff!

In addition to books and film, Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe has also had a notable career in the comics. It's fascinating to see the various takes that artists have on this iconic character. As Dick Lochte notes in his interesting article, Marlowe seems to speak to everyone, although in decidedly different ways. And a big thanks to Dick for the use of his personal library for illustrations.

Did you know that Ross Macdonald and Eudora Welty were pen pals? Actually, they were more than that. In his intriguing article, Jon L. Breen states that these two gifted writers conducted a platonic love affair through their intimate, wide-ranging correspondence.

Jake Hinkson considers the complex appeal of actress Lizabeth Scott, noir star of the '40s and '50s, who died earlier this year. Included is a list of her best films in case you want to check them out.

Also in this issue, Ed Gorman chats with John Lutz, a genre stalwart for many years, who moves from private eye novels to thrillers to short stories with deceptive ease. We wish you a long, lazy summer full of great reading. See you in the fall!

We'd love to hear about books you would recommend, new or old - write and let us know!

Kate Stine
Carolyn Hart and Don Bain on Creating Characters We Love 


article1Brian Panowich on Reading and Listening

Brian Panowich

I've always been avid fiction reader. I'm a sucker for a good story, no matter the author or genre... When I was writing my first novel, Bull Mountain, I needed to write at the fire station where I work because writing in a house full of kids was near impossible, but the problem I ran into was that the fire station normally was where I consumed most of my books. I read there on my down time, and now I was using that time to write. I couldn't fit in my regular diet of fiction that I'd been depending on to level me out for years. The only real time I had to myself that wasn't devoured by writing was the time I spent in the truck driving back and forth to work.

Enter the Audiobook.

Brian Panowich's debut book is Bull Mountain (GP Putnam and Sons, July 2015).

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


article2Carolyn Hart and Don Bain on Creating Characters That Stand the Test of Time

Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher

Recently, mystery writer Mary Kennedy spoke with Carolyn Hart (Death on Demand series) and Donald Bain, (Murder, She Wrote series) for Mystery Scene about creating long-running characters complex and appealing enough to stand the test of time.

Both Hart and Bain have figured out the secret of keeping readers happy for decades. They graciously shared their thoughts on building such iconic characters with Mystery Scene.

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

article4Overheard: Harper Lee on Neighbors

Harper Lee
(Photo: Michael Brown)

"Well, they're Southern people, and if they know you are working at home they think nothing of walking right in for coffee. But they wouldn't dream of interrupting you at golf." 


  -Harper Lee,  
American author

Lee's newly released
Go Set a Watchman, written before To Kill a Mockingbird, but set as a sequel to Lee's 1960 classic, releases July 14.

"Do the Right Thing," a 2007 article about Harper Lee and
To Kill a Mockingbird, from Mystery Scene #101 is also available online at 
by Oline H. Cogdill
The winners of the 2015 Thriller Awards, sponsored by the International Thriller Writers.

by Oline Cogdill
The characters in these two eponymous series are the real true detectives.

by Art Taylor

Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of racial injustice in a small Southern town ranks as one of the most beloved books in American literature.

ArticleTriple Threat
by Kevin Burton Smith
Ingrid Thoft, Sara Gran, and Lisa Brackmann, pen a new generation of PIs

Reviews: More Reviews
Did you know that MS features even more reviews online?  Look for the tag "Online Exclusive." 
Mystery Scene Mast
Established in 1985, Mystery Scene Magazine is the oldest, largest, and most authoritative guide to the crime fiction genre. 

#140, Summer 2014

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