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Wednesday July 16th - Jacqueline Winspear signs The Care and Management of Lies

A nonmystery novel of The Great War. Kezia and Thea have been best friends nearly all their lives. But the relationship has been tested by Thea’s politicization from the suffrage movement and Kezia’s romance with Thea’s brother. Kezia does marry Tom and they move to the family’s farm in the summer of 1914 as War looms. Tom is soon off to war and the women are left to try to stitch their relationship back together as the world descends into madness and death.

Please Note: This will not be a scheduled time. She’s coming in as a favor to us while on tour.

HIGHLY Recommended - Reserving a copy now so that we know how many copies to have for her to sign and so that you are assured of a copy for later pick-up or to be mailed!

New Author Signings

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

The world of Harmony has its wonders, one of them being Rainshadow Island. Just beneath its surface, a maze of catacombs hides a dangerous secret...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...

Tuesday October 21th at Noon - Urban Waite signs Sometimes The Wolf

Deputy Sheriff Bobby Drake returns (The Terror of Living), still trying to separate himself from the problems and reputation of his father, the former sheriff, as well as his grandfather but the small community they inhabit in the Cascade Mountains has a tenacious memory. Now, choices from the men’s pasts are coming to town to haunt them and the hard feelings between these men will have to be set aside if they and their loved ones are to survive.

Signed From The Publisher! Reserve Yours Today...

Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child - Blue Labyrinth

A long-buried family secret resurfaces when one of Aloysius Pendergast's most implacable enemies shows up on his doorstep as a murdered corpse. The mystery has all the hallmarks of the perfect murder, save for an enigmatic clue: a piece of turquoise lodged in the stomach of the deceased. The gem leads Pendergast to an abandoned mine on the shore of California's desolate Salton Sea, which in turn propels him on a journey of discovery deep into his family's sinister past. But Pendergast learns there is more at work than a ghastly episode of family history: he is soon stalked by a subtle killer bent on vengeance over an ancient transgression. In short order, Pendergast is caught in a wickedly clever plot, which will leave him stricken in mind and body...and may well end with his death

James Lee Burke - Wayfaring Stranger

From "America's best novelist" ("The Denver Post"): A sprawling thriller drenched with atmosphere and intrigue that takes a young boy from a chance encounter with Bonnie and Clyde to the trenches of World War II and the oil fields along the Texas-Louisiana coast. 

It is 1934 and the Depression is bearing down when sixteen-year-old Weldon Avery Holland happens upon infamous criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow after one of their notorious armed robberies. A confrontation with the outlaws ends as Weldon puts a bullet through the rear window of Clyde's stolen automobile. 

Ten years later, Second Lieutenant Weldon Holland and his sergeant, Hershel Pine, escape certain death in the Battle of the Bulge and encounter a beautiful young woman named Rosita Lowenstein hiding in a deserted extermination camp. Eventually, Weldon and Rosita fall in love and marry and, with Hershel, return to Texas to seek their fortunes. 

There, they enter the domain of jackals known as the oil business. They meet Roy Wiseheart--a former Marine aviator haunted with guilt for deserting his squadron leader over the South Pacific--and Roy's wife Clara, a vicious anti-Semite who is determined to make Weldon and Rosita's life a nightmare. It will be the frontier justice upheld by Weldon's grandfather, Texas lawman Hackberry Holland, and the legendary antics of Bonnie and Clyde that shape Weldon's plans for saving his family from the evil forces that lurk in peacetime America and threaten to destroy them all.

What We've Been Reading

Agatha Christie - Death In The Clouds

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

First Published: Death In The Air in 1935

I Read: Death In The Clouds. New York, William Morrow, 2011.

Detective: Poirot

Summary: Twelve passengers on the Prometheus airplane bound for Croydon from Paris all have a story to tell. One life in particular, Madame Giselle, will be upended and thoroughly examined by the passengers, police and Poirot. Why? At some point during the flight, this soul of discretion was murdered. Poirot, a man who doesn’t miss much, missed catching the murderer in the act. Flying is so very distressing, but not so distressing as a murder going on unnoticed!

Review: While this will never be an absolute favorite of mine, this mystery was fun to read. I didn’t dislike the book, it was a solid read, it just didn’t strike the “I love it” chord as others have. I did enjoy watching Poirot play matchmaker; it makes him feel a bit more human and less clinical to me. Plus it is entertaining to read about air travel back then, it sounds entirely more glamorous than what we encounter when flying now!

Favorite Quote: 

“I don’t think it’s healthy for a man to be always brooding over crime and detective stories, reading up on all sorts of cases. It puts ideas into his head.” (pg. 74)

“It is romantic, you know, the transatlantic telephone. To speak so easily to someone nearly halfway across the globe.” (pg. 223)

Definition: Fandoms: A bit of clarification I think is needed here, for those who don’t spend as much time on social media as I do or are not up on their nerd lingo. A fandom is comprised of a group of people who are passionately obsessive about a particular subject. Generally fandom revolves around a particular book, movie or tv show (it can be applied to sports I suppose, but I generally think of the previous list in this instance) generally speaking. These fans often connect with others who share their fierce joy through social media, conventions, fan fiction, and message boards. Some of you may say that the mystery genre is devoid of this particular group, and to that I say.....HA! Sherlock Holmes has Sherlockians and Rex Stout has the Wolfe Pack! 

Why am I bringing up fandoms? This book contains a couple of intersecting points with two very famous and active ones....

Potterheads: Polyjuice potion, as Harry Potter fans know, played a very important role in the successful execution of a number of plans in the series. When reading about this difficult potion for the first time in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, I thought the ingredient, Boomslang Skin a convenient fabrication by the author to make the recipe sound exotic to muggle ears (seriously the name sounds a bit ridiculous). However unlike the Bicorn, Boomslang is a real animal. Well, reptile. 

For those of you, like me, are willing to admit to previously unlearned knowledge (fancy talk for ignorance) Boomslang skin comes from snake of the same name found in Sub-Sahara Africa. There are reasons why this ingredient would be so difficult to obtain, even for a wizard. The Boomslang snake actively tries to avoid any encounter with a larger animal (humans qualify), thus creating a weird arboreal version of hide and go seek. Second, when backed in a corner (or hunting) it will bite, injecting a lethal venom into its victim. While not quite as deadly your Cobras or Black Mambas, it is not a snake you want to come across out in the wild (unless you are looking for it I suppose).

Why is this relevant? Boomslang venom was used to kill Madame Giselle, our murder victim in this week’s mystery. Sixty-two years before Rowling used it in her recipe for Polyjuice potion. 

(BTW unless you like snakes, I do not recommend watching a whole bunch of snake videos as research right before you go to bed. You start wondering if you have a crazy snake loving neighbor whose apartment is filled with world’s most venomous snakes and is lax in security. Don’t laugh, this could be a thing. Then your idle imagination continues on this theme; waking you up the next morning with a dream about spooning with an escaped Black Mamba who is less than excited you woke up. Seriously dying of a Black Mamba bite in Seattle, unless you work in a reptile house, is absurd.)

Whovians: One of the greatest riddles within the mystery genre and perhaps within modern literature is what happened to Agatha Christie between December 3 and December 14, 1926. The ten days when Agatha Christie disappeared, she never spoke to anyone about what happened as far as the public is aware (it is advisable when one wants to keep a secret it is best not to tell anyone, easy to say and hard to do).

These missing ten days are the basis for the Doctor Who episode The Unicorn and the Wasp, when the Doctor and Donna Noble (his companion) met Mrs. Christie while at a party and are forced to solve a mystery much like the ones she wrote about. The writers of the episode held an unofficial contest to see how many references to Christie’s titles they could cram into the episode, I counted sixteen. And that's without adding in the plot devices borrowed from yet still more of her mysteries which were present as well. All in all, great fun!

Two minor issues I have with the episode I can overlook because I adore Doctor Who. One I would have loved to see them work the title, Man In The Brown Suit into the episode. But perhaps it was too on the nose for the writers. Two, Christie disappeared in December and the episode was obviously showed them running about in the spring or summer. A small detail but important to a whole different fandom.

The intersecting point between Death In The Clouds  and Doctor Who; the title was directly referenced at the end of the Doctor Who episode. Well, and when the wasp which was inadvertently let loose, a small group of unsuspecting people and met the same unfortunate end.

Agatha Christie: Interestingly enough even though Christie has two conventions (at least) dedicated to her, fan fiction, websites, message boards and plenty of social media action -- there doesn’t seem to be a cohesive fandom dedicated to her writing (at least not that I could readily suss out). Perhaps fan loyalty is too fractured due to the number of detectives Christie used; Poirot, Marple, Parker Pyne, Tommy & Tuppence, Mr Quin, Adrian Oliver, Superintendent Battles or one of her bevy of single mystery detectives. Conceivably this fracturing of loyalties among her readers keep them from solidifying into a cohesive whole, as book based fandoms have done. 

Perhaps we just need a snappy name, one which encompasses all her fans not a single detective....

Aggies - that won’t work something to do with Texas football

Christiens - no that’s to close to a religion

Agathinians - Perhaps, but is sounds a bit like ancient Rome or Greece, but she was into archeology and classical writers so perhaps this name would appeal to her?

DACians - Dame Agatha Christie - ians

Maybe you guys have a better idea? I am open to suggestions!

Cheating: Nope no cheating here! Watch out London I am halfway there!

My 52 Weeks With Christie: A.Miner©2014

New Paperback Releases!


Collectible Corner

Donald Westlake - The Fugitive Pigeon

Book Condition - Very Good / Dust Jacket Condition - Very Good

New York: Random House, 1965. First printing. Hardcover.
Signed on title page. Previous owner's name and address stamp (Anthony Boucher) on FFE. Shelf wear to edges, blue boards faded along top edges. Dust jacket shows wear to edges, closed tear at bottom front hinge and top center of rear panel --- pink and yellow dust jacket bright and clean. In protective mylar dj cover.
Photo of Boucher in his home office, surrounded by books included, as well as a reproduction of his review of the book.

Jasper Fforde - The Well Of Lost Plots

Book Condition - Very Good / Dust Jacket Condition - Fine

New York: Viking Press, 2003. First American edition. Hardcover.

One slight dent to the top of four pages, slight shelf wear to bottom and tops of boards. Signed “Jasper” on tipped in page as well as being signed and dated “Jasper 24.02.04” on the title page. Publisher’s round, gold “Signed Copy” sticker on front panel of dust jacket, in protective mylar cover.

Also Included:

- Color postcard “Unicorn Sanctuary”, Code: TNU 076. US TN-3, Feb 2004.

- Color postcard “Eject-o-Hat Technical Bulletin”, Code: TNU 078. US TN-3, Feb 2004.

- One US promotional self adhesive bumper sticker with “Thursday Next making the world safe for fiction!” printed across it on a blue background.

- One promotional book mark laid in for the American release of The Eyre Affair on one side and Lost in a Good Book on the other

YA Mysteries!

Diana Renn - Latitude Zero

Signed Copies Available Now!

Amber Recommends: 

One stupid mistake. One bad decision is all it takes sometimes to derail a whole future. Well, perhaps that is a bit dramatic, but it is how Tessa feels after her disastrous bandit ride (riding an event you are not registered for). A ride where she inadvertently cause a pile up, similar to a car pile up only with less padding between people and the asphalt. The heart wrenching part for Tessa -- one of her friends, Juan Carlos, a rising star in the cycling world, died due to injuries from the accident.

Or so the media says.

Tessa isn’t so sure. Just minutes before the ride, Tessa saw Juan Carlos’s spare bike on a nearby path and a suspicious man who was more than a little scary who interrogated her about why she was there. Plus Tessa spoke to Juan Carlos just before the race and they made plans to meet after -- he had something important to tell her. Desperate to find any other cause for the accident, Tessa begins to investigate the circumstances around Juan Carlos’s last ride, quickly discovering she may not be quite as culpable in his death as her conscience makes her feel.

This is a great mystery/thriller YA novel. Centered around the cycling world, (of which you don’t have to know anything about in order to enjoy this book, btw), this is a fun, fast paced read.

Split between Massachusetts and Ecuador, Renn does a wonderful job in showing the similarities and difference between these two countries. While that backdrop is there, and done wonderfully done, it never detracts from the thrilling story at hand. Black mail, kidnapping and villains pursuing her on two continents are all things Tessa must contend with and beat to discover the truth about the accident. With the added spice of losing her job, credibility and trust from those around her due to one single mistake, the bandit ride.

This book would make a great summer vacation read for any kid; it is fun, face paced and the methods used to solve the mystery are all within the realm of possibility. What makes this an even more entertaining read is that it is much easier to speculate how you would do things should you find yourself in a similar-ish situation! I would recommend this book to any female reader (or open minded male, as there is a bit of romantic dynamics at play in this story) ages twelve and up (I could go as low as ten if you have a mature reader). I cannot say how much I enjoyed reading this mystery!

Coming Soon In Mysteries!

Rhys Bowen - Queen Of Hearts

Lady Georgiana Rannoch, thirty-fifth in line for the British throne, knows how to play the part of an almost royal—but now she’s off to Hollywood, where she must reprise her role as sleuth or risk starring in an all-too-convincing death scene…
My mother, the glamorous and much-married actress, is hearing wedding bells once again—which is why she must hop across the pond for a quickie divorce in Reno. To offer my moral support, and since all expenses are paid by her new hubby-to-be, Max, I agree to make the voyage with her. Crossing the Atlantic, with adventure in the air and wealthy men aboard, Mother all but forgets about Max and matrimony—especially when movie mogul Cy Goldman insists on casting her in his next picture.
Meanwhile, I find myself caught up in the secret investigation of a suspected jewel thief. Lucky for me, the lead investigator happens to be my dashing beau, Darcy! Mother’s movie and Darcy’s larceny lead everyone to Cy’s Hollywood home, where the likes of Charlie Chaplin are hanging about and there’s enough romantic intrigue to fill a double feature. But we hardly get a chance to work out the sleeping arrangements before Cy turns up dead—as if there wasn’t enough drama already…


More Mysteries Coming Soon!

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Scott Lynch - The Lies Of Locke Lamora

An orphan’s life is harsh—and often short—in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld’s most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly. Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game—or die trying.