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We Only Carry Mysteries .... But We Can Order Almost Anything!


Don't Panic!

August 29th - September 1st - We Will Be Closed For Our Big Move!

Don't panic!

Our e-mail, website, address & phone number will remain the same! We are just moving thirty yards to the left. To do so without causing problems for our customers and ourselves we will be closed over those three days so we can have a tidy shop for all of you guys to start visiting us on Tuesday! Click the picture to go to our blog if you'd like to know more.

Don'y worry, all the orders will be shipped in a timely manner!

New Author Signings

Tuesday August 26th at Noon - Jayne Castle signs The Hot Zone

Halloween—with its tricks and treats—is a dust bunny’s dream come true. Just ask Lyle, Sedona Snow’s faithful sidekick. But for Sedona, it’s a nightmare. Though her new job managing a small hotel and tavern on Rainshadow is helping her move on from her tragic past, a bizarre disaster down in the catacombs has brought a pack of rowdy ghost hunters to her inn.

And now, Sedona’s ex has arrived on the island, claiming he wants to get back together, just as a newcomer appears to have a strong interest in her. Cyrus Jones is the new Guild boss in town. He has his own agenda when it comes to Sedona, but even the best-laid plans are no match for the passion that springs up on Rainshadow…

SMB Exclusive: On Every title page in every reserved book there will be a special Halloween stamp next to Jayne's signature and date!

Saturday September 13th Time To Be Determined - Peter May signs The Lewis Man

Fin MacLeod has left everything in Edinburgh – his job as a Detective Inspector as well as his wife – and returned to the wind-swept outer Hebridean islands where he grew up. There he’s drawn into the discovery of a body in a peat bog who is identified as the father of his first love. Middle of the trilogy, the first of which is now in paper, The Blackhous.

This will be a drop-in signing. Reserving a copy required. Older books to be signed by prior arrangement.

Saturday January 17th at Noon – Pamela Christie signs Death And The Cyprian Society

3rd in the Regency series with courtesan Arabella Beaumont. She has plans to turn a hotel into a social club for her fellow courtesans. To make it happen she requires a friend to repay a sizable loan made some time ago. Should not be a problem except that this friend is being blackmailed by the footman with whom she’s been dallying. Arabella steps in to end the blackmail and thereby get her money, but things turn ugly.

Signed From The Publisher! Reserve Yours Today...

Lee Child - Personal

Reacher! He moves around, he knocks heads, he goes to Europe, he tries to stop something bad from happening – it’s a REACHER!

Michael Connelly - The Burning Room

19th Harry Bosch novel. He deals with an inverted cold case. The victim has just died from a gunshot suffered long ago. There is little evidence left from the time of the shooting. Where to start the investigation?

Walter Mosley - Rose Gold

It is the radical 60s and a black power revolutionary cell has kidnapped the daughter of an arms manufacturer, Rosemany Goldsmith. If they don’t get what they want, Rose Gold will die. The authorities come to Easy Rawlins to be an intermediary.

Louise Penny - The Long Way Home

Now retired in Three Pines, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, Armand Gamache is settling into the peaceful life that he’d barely imagined. A neighbor, Clara, comes to him for help. Her artist husband, Peter, has failed to show up for the first anniversary of their separation, something they’d planned. Unable to refuse, Gamache joins up with his former second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and Myrna Landers, and journeys back into the depth of Québec, and the soul of Peter Morrow, a man desperate to recapture his fame.

What We've Been Reading

Martin Limon - The Iron Sickle

JB Recommends:

Granted, I’m not very objective about Martin Limon’s books. I’m a fan and I think they’re great. George and Ernie are great detectives and spending time with them is always time well spent. But his latest, The Iron Sickle, is an impressive step up.

As the book starts, a Korean man has walked into the claims office of the 8th Army and killed the official in charge with a metal sickle. It is a shocking and gory crime. It’s complicated by concerns that it might be a North Korean attack, something to unsettle the South and the US. The series is set a little over 20 years after the “end” of the Korean War and the possibility of the cold war there going hot is on everyone’s minds. But our Army CID cops, George Sueño and Ernie Bascom are at first told to stay away from the crime even though they and we know they’re best suited for the investigation. So we know they’ll investigate anyway – and it is a hummer of an investigation.

I don’t know how much the plot is based on history – I’ll have to quiz Martin – but the plot turns on war crimes during the 50s and a secret file that holds the report. Needless to say, secrets are meant to stay secrets. They’re politically explosive and people are willing to kill to expose them or keep them secret.

Martin has brought back two of his great secondary characters: Korean National Police investigator Mr. Kill and the mysterious, deadly and lovely Major Rhee of the Korean Army, a woman George distrusts as much as he trusts Mr. Kill.

The Iron Sickle is a lively story full of richly-drawn actors moving through a landscape of complicated and, at times, conflicting objectives. Past and present, American and Korean, civilians and soldiers, political and police – as always, Martin’s books are a rich mix of people clashing in an atmosphere rife with the potential for trouble. A ideal setting for a terrific series of books.

Kelli Stanley - City of Ghosts

Signing: Thursday August 21st at Noon

Fran Recommends:

In Kelli Stanley’s new “Miranda Corbie” novel, City of Ghosts (Minotaur, $25.99, signing Thurs., Aug 21, noon) Miranda has just wrapped up a case - jade missing from a socialite’s house - when the man who made her license possible knocks on her door with a deal. He’ll pay her, pay her well, and he’ll get her a ticket on a freighter for London so she can track down her mother. The price? She’s got to follow a chemistry professor who may be dealing with “degenerate art”, the art confiscated by the Nazis who are rapidly taking over Europe. The State Department, for whom MacLeod works, is afraid that the professor is dealing in more than art; he has access to some high level secrets. If Miranda can verify the professor’s dealings, one way or the other, her trip to London is assured.

But then murder rears its ugly head and Miranda’s caught squarely in the crosshairs. She has to clear her name or the only place she’ll be going is the pen.

If you ever wonder about the “city” in Kelli Stanley’s Miranda Corbie books (City of Dragons, Minotaur; City of Secrets, Minotaur, City of Ghosts), she explains in City of Ghosts:

“San Francisco, built and rebuilt, wicked and always willing, forever old, forever young, smelling of sex and sin and newly minted money, guardian, lover, mentor, the cobbled streets and dim lights and salt-stained tears and wave lapped piers, the smell of fresh-baked sourdough and jook from Sam Wo’s, grappa in front of the Italian saints, quiet Victorians nodding on quiet streets, ice shaking in cocktails at the Top of the Mark.

“Lying city, dying city, Lazarus and the phoenix. Wide open and proud of it, a city built on stolen sand and abandoned ships, reclaimed by the ones that stayed and built for the ones that left. A city made by dreamers who died paupers and paupers who lived like kings, dream keeping them alive in the only way that mattered.

City of Dreams, broken or not, it didn’t matter.

No need for a City of Angels when there’s gold in the mountains and cars that climb hills and bridges that span seas.”

With a pace as fast as Miranda’s tapping stilettos and prose as lean as a street hustler, Kelli Stanley brings us into 1940’s San Francisco at a dangerous time, when cops play for keeps and everyone has secrets. If you’ve read the first two, you won’t want to miss this one. If you haven’t, now’s the time to start.

Agatha Christie - Sparkling Cyanide

Amber’s project for 2014: My 52 Weeks of Agatha Christie. Here’s her explanation.

First Published: Remembered Death 1945 - This novel originally started out in life as a Poirot short story called "Yellow Iris", first published in 1937. The identity of the killer was altered in the full length novel. 

I Read: Sparkling Cyanide. New York, William Morrow, 2012.

Series: Colonel Johnny Race

Summary:One year before the start of this novel, Rosemary took her own life while out to dinner with friends. Iris, Rosemary’s younger sister, believed the verdict from the inquest and tried to shove the memory into the back of her mind. Six months later, she is forced to recall all the events surrounding Rosemary’s death. George - Rosemary's husband - shows Iris some letters he received claiming Rosemary's death was more sinister than anyone suspected. When shocking events unfold during a party held exactly a year later to remember Rosemary things come to a head. The question posed by a family friend, Colonel Race (an MI5 man): who stood to gain from these two deaths?

Review: I really wish Christie had written more Colonel Race mysteries! There is such a rich backstory she could have mined for him. I am a bit disappointed she didn’t continue writing mysteries for him (Death On The Nile is his last appearance in the canon). While more action oriented than Poirot’s “little grey cells”, Race definitely gets the job done in his own clever way. I think any espionage novels she could have penned (as he was for some period the chief of MI5’s counter intelligence division) would have been great suspense pieces, more serious in nature than the Tommy and Tuppence novels. However that is strictly my opinion... For clarity’s sake I must say I adored this book. While the solution contained a bit of elasticity (much better than Murder In Mesopotamia!) overall this really was a lively read.

Once again the solution contains a clever method of perpetrating the crime -- but with real world practicality problems. Meaning? I am not sure eight people would/could collectively be so unobservant at the same time. I suppose it could conceivably happen, I mean who is at their mental peak after a couple of drinks and dancing? But even the sober wait staff didn’t notice what happened at their table! But this is what makes Christie’s books great, while you may not think something could happen, there is just that bit of wiggle room allowing for the possibility of plausibility which then opens up the mystery scenario to believability and thus credulity is obtained.

Another problem I thought I saw in the mystery dealt with the motive behind Rosemary’s suicide (I am not giving anything away here; this is on the first page). The theory put forth by the authorities in the book claimed Rosemary took her own life because she was depressed after having the flu, “I mean lots of people have influenza and feel a big depressed afterwards...” (pg. 36). I don’t know if any of my readers (yes I mean all six of you) have heard of this, but I never had! I thought this was a conveniently contrived motive cooked up by Christie, since after the flu I am always happy to be rid of the stupid little germ! And eating really spicy food because my taste buds are out of whack due to not being able to breathe properly for a week. But depressed? Nope can’t say that I can attribute any of my low periods to that. I should never have doubted The Queen of Mystery....

This is a very real and very scary thing. 

It is not the flu, per se, which is the issue; it is our body’s defensive mechanisms for stomping out the germ which can cause depressive symptoms to occur (lack of energy, sleeplessness, lack of concentration and general malaise). In turn, these symptoms can exacerbate underlying problems (diagnosed or not) already present. The problem is flu symptoms can linger on for weeks after the actual bug is done (hence my eating scorchingly spicy foods for a couple of weeks after my last bout). Before the flu, a person can have their depression (mild or severe) managed - but the kicker is the symptoms of the flu convincingly mimic the symptoms of depression and they can stick around on for weeks, thus twisting persistent flu symptoms into something entirely different and dangerous if left unchecked.  Which is why the flu can pose a greater problem for those already prone to depression and why everyone should get a flu shot each year! (Well I believe this now after having my first real encounter in years with the stupid bug this last spring.)

While Christie did every so often make a slight mistake, like a continuity error in your favorite movie (seriously why does Harry Potter in The Half-Blood Prince ask Slughorn about his collection of famous witches and wizards at Hogwarts? Slughorn already told him about it when they first met in the muggle's home?!) I thought I had caught Christie out for making a serious blunder. But after a bit of research, the premise of Sparkling Cyanide is completely plausible. While Rosemary was not depressed, exactly, (according to the book) there were a number of issues in her life which gave credence to the police’s theory of motive. 

(BTW should you ever think anyone around you or you yourself are suffering from depression or thinking of self harm seek treatment! Depression is very real and you can’t just walk it off. Click here for suicide crisis lines from around the world.)

Favorite Quote: 

“Indeed a ‘tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’” (pg. 101)

“The happy people are failures because they are on such good terms with themselves that they don’t give a damn.” (pg. 107)

“Like that queen in history -- Eleanor of Something, that followed the clue to Fair Rosamund’s Bower and offered her the choice of a dagger or a cup of poison.” (pg. 243)

Interesting Facts:“She never drank spirits or beer, and he had never realized...her passion...eau de Cologne...” (pg. 55) This is a thing. Never knew it was, but it is. 

Generally this odd habit is associated in the U.S. during Prohibition, often in middle class and high society ladies. Why? Generally speaking they were the women who didn’t have the opportunity to frequent a speakeasy, due to their social position, politics (as some were part of the Prohibition movement) or lack of knowledge of where to obtain the prohibited drink. So they drank what alcohol they could get their hands on: perfumes and colognes. Which is the completely wrong type of alcohol to drink! Plus there are all kinds of other stuff added by perfumers to make it smell pleasant, but can be rather harmful if consumed. What happened to these ladies with this predilection for potent perfumed potables? At best they became very intoxicated with interesting smelling breath (with possible side effects of headaches, nausea, coma, dizziness and seizures), and at worst it killed them dead.

If you're like me and thought this was a just a historical phenomenon you would be wrong...(To be honest I had never heard of this practice before reading Sparkling Cyanide, and only one person out of my informal poll even had a dim recollection of this fact.)

In Russia, especially during the Soviet and Gorbachev era, the popularity among men in drinking non-beverage alcohol is staggering. Generally it is aftershave or cologne due to their high concentrations of alcohol, but even cleaning solvents aren't deemed out of bounds. Like our prohibitionists, this experimentation with non-beverage alcohol is causing the average life expectance of the Russian male to plummet. The main reasons I read for this dangerous experimentation, the fact that colognes & perfumes are significantly cheaper than alcohol, giving a bigger bang for their buck as these colognes can contain up to ninety-seven percent alcohol - much higher than beverage grade alcohol. For alcoholics who need to consume large amounts of beverage grade drinks, these cheaper alternatives are tempting. But just like our prohibitionists, they are dying for their drink.

This consumption of perfume is also rumored to be a problem in some Muslim countries today where beverage alcohol is banned. Usually teens/young adults are drinking them for a thrill without understanding the dangers associated with this practice.

Drinking perfume is not quite as deadly as drinking cyanide, which is what happened in the case of Rosemary's death. But consume enough perfume either over time or all at once it can be just as deadly. Drinking perfume is like chocolate for dogs, they think it smells awfully nice but is deadly if ingested. 

Cheating: Slightly weird post this week (more humor to come, I promise!) but no, I did not cheat! Would be a shame to spoil my streak this far in, wouldn’t it?


More New Paperbacks!


Collectible Corner

Raymong Chandler - The Little Sister

Book Condition - Very Good / Dust Jacket Condition - Very Good
New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1949. First American edition.
Ends of spine rolled and slight lean to spine, reddish cloth clean and bright with image of woman-handled dagger on front cover/dj shows wear to edges, a few small chips and closed tears, spine faded, price clipped) cover illustration by Artzybasheff clean and bright in mylar dj protector. 5th Marlowe novel.

Robert Crais - The Monkey's Raincoat

Book Condition - Very Good

New York: Bantam Books, 1987. First printing. Mass Market Paperback.
Signed on title page. author's debut and first Elvis Cole novel. Light wear to edges, some light sun darkening to front pages, light crease to front hinge. In protective bag.

YA Mysteries!

R.C. Lewis - Stitching Snow

Seven loyal drones who work in the mines and a hard earned reputation as the best cage fighter in the Station has afforded Essie solitude. For seven years she has worked hard, and has slowly etched out her own small patch on Thanda.

But like all good things….

One night while walking home Essie watches a shuttle streaking from the sky and crash in the flats. An illegal visitor… Essie decides to help get him on his way, lessening the chance government officials will notice him and come sniffing around the Station.

Essie wasn’t just looking for solitude on Thanda; she was hiding, and now someone has found her.

I could not put this book down. Funnily enough it is one of the most original books I have read so far this year. I say funnily, because it is based (very loosely) on the fairy tale “Snow White”. Lewis has re-imagined all the characters, politics and setting, creating a whole new concept for the story while keeping the essentials of the original fairy tale. Interestingly, knowing this book is based on “Snow White”, I could pick out the familiar elements of the story. However if you didn’t know this fact, it would read like a great suspense/action adventure novel which could stand on its own.

This book captured my attention from the start and would not let me go. I would recommend this book for any girl (or open minded boy as there is a strong male lead in it as well) twelve or older. I cannot stress how much I enjoyed reading this book!

Seriously Snow White in outer space with robots sounds like the punch line to a joke, I know, but it really works!

Coming Soon In Mysteries!

Robert Crais - The Promise

Loyalty, commitment, the fight against injustice—these are the things that have always driven Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. If they make a promise, they keep it. Even if it could get them killed. When Elvis Cole is hired to locate a woman who may have disappeared with a stranger she met online, it seems like an ordinary case—until Elvis learns the missing woman worked for a defense contractor and was being blackmailed to supply explosives components for a person or persons unknown.

Meanwhile, in another part of the city, LAPD officer Scott James and his patrol dog, Maggie, enter an abandoned building to locate an armed and dangerous thief, only to discover far more than they expected: The fugitive is dead, the building is filled with explosives, and Scott and Maggie are assaulted by a hidden man who escapes in the chaos, all as a bloodied Joe Pike watches from the shadows.

Soon, Scott and Maggie find themselves targeted by that man, and, as their case intertwines with Elvis and Joe’s, joining forces to follow the trail of the missing woman as well. From inner-city drug traffickers to a shadowy group of Afghan war veterans with ties to a terrorist cell, the people they encounter on that trail add up to ever-increasing odds, and soon the four of them are fighting to find the woman not only before she is killed...but before the same fate happens to one of them.


More Mysteries Coming Soon!

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For Sale!

1974 Michael Garman Sculpture

~ Retired model, no longer in production ~ Dimensions are 32 inches across, 26-1/2 high, and 9-3/4 inches deep. ~ Framed top and bottom in rough 1x2 rough fir ~ Overhang has light system, currrently not working ~ No delivery, no shipping

Click The Picture for more information!

For Sale: $3,500

Americain Victorian Walnut Physicians Double Pedestal Desk

Middle West, circa 1875, in two sections: the upper section having straight molded lift-lid cornice enclosing 17 letter slots, narrow ribbed molding, oblong center space with six small drawers in two stacks above, 12 small drawers in two stacks to left and paneled cabinet door enclosing numerous cubbyholes to right; the outset lower section having oblong writing area with blue-green felt covered insert over kneehole with two small drawers above flanked by twin pedestals, each fitted with five drawers (all drawers with white porcelain pulls), base with quarter-round spool-tured molding, caster feet. Height 67 1/4 inches. Width 66 1/4 inches. Depth: 30 inches

Click The Picture for more information!

For Sale: $6,500