AT THE SCENE - December 2015


Dear Friend,
It's never to late to be appreciated - if you're a writer, that is. The Library of America has recently published a collection of eight lost classics of the genre published in the 1940s and '50s. Famous once but now (mostly) forgotten, these writers, all women, deserve more readers and more critical attention. To the rescue comes our critic, Jon L. Breen, who is delighted to see such vibrant, compelling work back in print. Crime writers Megan Abbott and Lisa Scottoline add their perspectives on their literary sisters in crime, as well.

Ashley Weaver sets her evocative 1930s mysteries featuring the glamorous Amory Ames and her wandering husband, Milo, right in the heart of upper-crust English society. It's a time and a place familiar to fans of mystery fiction's Golden Age and Weaver adds a poignant subplot of a troubled marriage. Joseph Goodrich speaks to the author in this issue.

Foyle's War is a big favorite at our house and if you haven't seen this homicide on the WWII homefront drama from the UK, well, you're in for a treat. Joseph Goodrich discusses the best blending of actor (Michael Kitchen), writer (Anthony Horowitz), and character since Inspector Columbo was on the case.

Kevin Burton Smith comes to the rescue of all you procrastinators out there with our annual gift guide for mystery lovers. Personally, I've fallen for The End Bookend, but the Poison Ring is also very tempting...

Orson Welles never met a studio head who didn't mess with his work, but he still managed to make some outstanding contributions to the noir and thriller genres in his tumultuous career. Jake Hinkson gives us an overview of Welles' work.

In this issue we welcome Oline Cogdill to the Mystery Scene masthead as a contributing editor. Regular readers already know Oline very well - she's had the most cover articles of any writer in the history of the magazine, and she blogs at our website several times a week. We've all come to rely on her good advice and good cheer, thanks, Oline!

Happy holidays and all good wishes for a prosperous and healthy new year!

Kate Stine


article1Jack Bunker on the Importance of Being Funny

Jack Bunker

Like most writers, I've always been a big reader. In college I discovered Joseph Wambaugh - in my mid-20s, Elmore Leonard. With both authors I was less absorbed in the plots themselves than by the flawless dialogue. Unique as Hemingway was, when it comes to dialogue, he couldn't carry Elmore Leonard's jock.

I tried to pare to a handful a roster of authors I would hope have influenced my own writing. In addition to the greats cited above, I'd have to include: Dan Jenkins, William Kennedy, Tom Wolfe, Paul Theroux, and John Gregory Dunne.

Jack Bunker's debut mystery is True Grift (Brash Books, November 2015). 

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


article2Ashley Weaver: A Return to a Golden Age of Crime

 by Joseph Goodrich
Ashley Weaver


Ashley Weaver's Murder at the Brightwell was published in 2014 to critical acclaim and received an Edgar nomination for Best First Novel. Set in a seaside resort hotel in 1930s England, Murder at the Brightwell introduced readers to Amory Ames and her husband Milo. Both of them are young, intelligent and well-to-do, and Amory's life should be as peaceful and untroubled as a sunlit field. But the raffish Milo is the thundercloud that darkens her days; his roving eye and wandering ways push Amory's trust to the limit.  


This fall Amory returns in Death Wears a Mask. She's sworn off detective work, but she can't resist a friend's request for help. The clever Mrs. Ames finds herself embroiled in high-society shenanigans that start with jewel theft and end in homicide.  


Weaver lives in Oakdale, Louisiana, where she is the Technical Services Coordinator for the Allen Parish Libraries. In the #142 Holiday Issue of Mystery Scene, Weaver talks to Joseph Goodrich about books, libraries, her taste for the past, and her plans for the future.


Read the full article at

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article3Give the Gift of Mystery All Year Long

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 article7Overheard: Kenneth Wishnia on Jewish Noir

Kenneth Wishnia

"The Jewish experience is noir from the beginning. Literally. In the first chapter of Genesis, God subdues the forces of chaos and sets up an orderly, balanced world. Then in chapter two, he turns a couple of innocent creatures loose amid his creation, and through a series of slip-ups and miscommunications, things start rapidly going sideways, and by the end of chapter three-that is, seven pages into a text that runs 2,023 pages in the JPS edition - young humanity is exiled from Paradise."  

editor of Jewish Noir: Contemporary Tales of Crime and Other Dark Deeds (PM Press, 2015). Excerpted from an essay originally published on Mystery Fanfare)  

Featuring a volatile married couple as sleuths, this new series is set right in the sweet spot of the Golden Age of Mystery - England in the 1930s. 
by Lillian Stewart Carl
Creating long-running characters, complex and appealing enough to stand the test of time.

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. 

#142, Holiday 2015

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