Crime: Inappropriate morality tales – Mysteries for teens

“Do you have something inappropriate?” asked a teen patron at the Beacon Hill library.

“Lots,” I countered and pulled out Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan. What can be more horrific than plotting to kill your teacher? “No,” he whispered violently, “I mean like sex.”

Oh, that kind of inappropriate, I chortled inside. Continue reading “Crime: Inappropriate morality tales – Mysteries for teens”

Richard III, part deux: Return of the Return of the King!

Find Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time in the Seattle Public Librayr catalogMy friends and colleagues will tell you I’m a bit of a bone nut – osteophile? – witness the lifelike replica of a Roman Gladiator’s skull that grins on my desk. Plus I’m a Shakespeare fan, so I was totally jazzed over the recent revelation that a skeleton found under a Leicester car park had been conclusively revealed to be that of Richard, the third of that name to rule over all England. The resurrection of King Richard’s reputation, if not his corpse, is the subject of one of the most enjoyable mysteries ever written: Josephine Tey‘s perennial favorite, The Daughter of Time. If you haven’t read it, you have a real treat in store. Continue reading “Richard III, part deux: Return of the Return of the King!”

Crime: Philip Kerr – Back to Berlin.

Find Philip Kerr's Berlin Noir in the Seattle Public Library catalog.Way back in 1989, British author Philip Kerr published March Violets, a hardboiled mystery in which tough, tarnished private investigator Bernhard Gunther plunged into the depthless iniquities of Nazi Berlin in search of some small sliver of justice. This was followed up by two other moody period novels featuring Gunther – The Pale Criminal and A German Requiem, and all three books were subsequently published together as Berlin Noir, a trilogy that deeply influenced much of today’s WWII thrillers by such authors as Alan Furst, J. Robert Janes, Paul Grossman, Joseph Kanon and Jonathan Rabb. Quite few readers have mentioned Berlin Noir to me as one of their all-time favorites, and I agree. Continue reading “Crime: Philip Kerr – Back to Berlin.”

Crime: 2013 Edgar Award nominees

It’s that time of year, and the Mystery Writers of America have announced their nominees for the 2013 Edgar Awards. However you feel about awards – winners, losers, what all that means – if you read crime fiction, the following titles/series are all worthy of your notice. Continue reading “Crime: 2013 Edgar Award nominees”

Crime Thursday: When history and mystery mix

Being a pacifist, I’m not sure why I find it so relaxing to read a good murder mystery. English crime writer P.D. James, in her autobiography Time to Be in Earnest, offers the following explanation for why mystery aficionados enjoy the genre:

“…the catharsis of carefully controlled terror, the bringing of order out of disorder, the reassurance that we live in a comprehensible and moral universe and that, although we may not achieve justice, we can at least achieve an explanation and a solution.” Continue reading “Crime Thursday: When history and mystery mix”