Clara Maynard's blog

Dead Madonna

fishing man

Dead Madonna is one of the Loon Lake mysteries by Victoria Houston. The heroine, police chief Lew Ferris, tries to keep order in her small town, but has to deal with two suspicious deaths in one day. She enlists the help of Doc, her lover and part time coroner, and a local fishing guide, Ray.  This is a laid back series, with lots of eccentric characters. Fishing is a big part of everyone's life so you do learn something about fly fishing. You probably will figure out "who done it" well before the end, but you'll enjoy the ride.

Curse of the Spellmans

books and birthday cake for Izzy Spellman

Isabel Spellman’s family is still in the PI business and they still drive each other crazy! When Izzy has to move back home, she really likes the new, handsome neighbor next door, but then she notices some suspicious activities. Now she won’t rest even though she has been arrested 4 times over the course of her investigation! Curse of the Spellmans is the second book in the Spellman series, and it’s even funnier than the first book. It was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Novel as well as a Macavity Award for Best Mystery Novel. 

Miss de Luce

english manor house

 

Flavia de Luce is a brilliant chemist and detective, and she happens to be 11 years old.

Tortured by her evil big sisters, ignored by her loving but eccentric father, she is left to her own devices in their English manor house in the village of Bishop’s Lacey. When a local puppet show is ruined by the death of the puppeteer, she investigates. The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag may sound like a children’s book, but it is definitely an adult book, and well worth the read. The author received the Debut Dagger Award for The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, the first Flavia de Luce mystery.

 

 

Playing with Fire!

city

 

If you haven’t read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo yet, you’ll have to wait for a copy as everyone wants to read it. However, there are not nearly as many requests for The Girl Who Played with Fire, the second book in the series. If you’ve been wondering if it’s as good as the first, reviews are mixed. However, I found it to be quite entertaining, and enjoyed the insight into the Lisbeth Salander character. My only regret is that the author has passed away and there will be no more books from him. In this one, a journalist is about to expose Sweden's sex trafficking business when he and his girlfriend are suddenly murdered. Due to circumstantial evidence, Lisbeth is a prime suspect and she goes into hiding. Her friend, Blomkvist,strives to clear her. The characters, as before, are quite interesting as is the look at Swedish society.

Lasso yourself a good read!

cowboy with lasso

The Texas Library Association has released its first Lariat List of recommended reading for adults. One might expect this to be a list of novels set in Texas, but that is not so. The group wanted to create a list of books that were "a pleasure to read.” The Lariat List is diverse in genres and appeal factors. I thought you might like to know about the mysteries on the list. Here they are:

Edgar Award Winners 2010

edgar award

The Edgar Awards were announced last night and here are the winners:
Novel        The Last Child by John Hart
First Novel          In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff
Best Paperback    Body Blows by Marc Strange
Young Adult        Reality Check by Peter Abrahams
Best Critical          The Lineup by Otto Penzler

Check one out for yourself and see what you think!

(photo of the Edgar award courtesy of Kevin Dooley via Flickr)

Women and Crime

lady detective

The Sisters in Crime organization seeks to promote the work of women crime writers.  It used to be that women authors were overlooked, but now they are a powerful group in the publishing industry. They’ve come a long way in the past twenty years! Along with their work as advocates, the group has published several anthologies. The latest is Sisters on the Case, edited by Sara Paretsky, and including stories by Barbara D’Amato, Dorothy Salisbury Davis, Sue Henry, and other prominent mystery writers. Of course, Paretsky has a story also!

An oldie but goodie!

Rex Stout

Recently, I decided to enjoy a classic mystery author, Rex Stout. His most famous mysteries feature Nero Wolfe, an overweight, temperamental, genius private eye who solves most cases without ever leaving his New York brownstone. His assistant, Archie, functions as a bodyguard and secretary. . In After Midnight, an ad agency calls on Nero Wolfe when one of their executives is murdered. The victim was conducting the “largest prize contest in history” and is found dead after brandishing the answers and putting them in his wallet. Twelve hours later, he is dead and his wallet is gone. Where is the wallet? The witty dialogue makes this series one of my favorites. I listened to this on my iPod after downloading it and I really enjoyed Michael Prichard’s reading of the story.

The Top 10

mask and bottle

I was looking at The Crown Crime Companion: The Top 100 Mystery Novels of all Time, selected by the Mystery Writers of America, and I thought it would be fun to
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