Thursday, April 19, 2007

DAMSELS IN DISTRESS by Joan Hess (St. Martin's)

I've read all of the Claire Malloy series, and I honestly think this was the best. Claire is beset on both sides when a high school history teacher requires next year's students (including Caron, who's prone to speaking in capital letters) to participate in a renaissance fair and the fair's jester wants to stage performances in front of the bookstore. Somehow Claire can't get too enthusiastic about the sponsoring organization--Association for Renaissance Scholarship & Enlightenment (ARSE), but once compelled to comply, she realizes the acronym is extremely accurate. In such a setting, murder is inevitiable.

Satire drips from the pages like honey from a comb, reminding us that when we take ourselves too seriously we usually provide others a good laugh.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Mardi Gras Murder & Louisiana Too!

While the Eva Perry Library is closed for renovation, we've moved the monthly ""Molly on Mysteries" programs to the Apex Community Center. Last month's program was on mysteries set at Mardi Gras and/or in Louisiana. I didn't get the reading list done in time to take with me, so I'm posting it here. I hope you find some new authors to try.

Download PDF here

Virginia Festival of the Book

Whew--I've been too busy reading to post reviews! I was fortunate to be asked to moderate two panels (which totaled 10 great mystery writers) at the venerable Virginia festival. Fortunately, for the time involvement, I was familiar with all the works of the writers on the "Small Towns Are Murder" panel and several on the "Stop: You're Killing Me with Laughter" panel. Two members of the humor panel were brand new to me, and I was glad to find new authors to read even though I was forced to go into marathon reading mode. (Tough job, huh?)

The small town panel included Marcia Talley, Sharon Short, Heather Webber, Denise Swanson, and JB Stanley. I've known everybody but JB for several years--in fact all of them have visited me for mini NC tours--and JB's publicist has done a good job of ensuring that I knew her series.

The humor panel folks were Donna Andrews, Elaine Viets, JD "Dusty" Rhoades, Bob Morris, and Linwood Barclay. Even though Dusty is an NC neighbor, I hadn't seen his books, and I hadn't come across Linwood's either. Fortunately, both of them have very responsive publicists, and I was fully caught up on everyone's writing by the time of the conference last month.

I'll be sharing reviews of everybody's books in the coming days. Claim your easy chair now. You're in for some great reading.