Tag Archives: mystery

2020 Edgar Award Winners

The winners of the 2020 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, presented by the Mystery Writers of America and honoring the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction and television published or produced in 2019, are:

Best Novel: The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder; a high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favorite literature. To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers, left on the page of an old diary : Hallo Clare. You don’t know me. Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. ON OVERDRIVE (ebook only).

Best First Novel by an American Author: Miracle Creek by Angie Kim (Sarah Crichton Books/FSG)

A dramatic murder trial in the aftermath of an experimental medical treatment and a fatal explosion upends a rural Virginia community where personal secrets and private ambitions complicate efforts to uncover what happened. ON OVERDRIVE (audio and ebook), AUDIO IS CURRENTLY ON HOOPLA.

 

 

Best Paperback Original: The Hotel Neversink by Adam O’Fallon Price (Tin House Books)

Thirty-one years after workers first broke ground, the magnificent Hotel Neversink in the Catskills finally opens to the public. Then a young boy disappears. This mysterious vanishing—and the ones that follow—will brand the lives of three generations over the course of this novel. At the root of it all is Asher Sikorky, the ambitious and ruthless patriarch whose purchase of the hotel in 1931 set a haunting legacy into motion. His daughter Jeanie sees the Hotel Neversink into its most lucrative era, but also its darkest. Decades later, Asher’s grandchildren grapple with the family’s heritage in their own ways: Len fights to keep the failing, dilapidated hotel alive, and Alice sets out to finally uncover themurderer’s identity. Told by an unforgettable chorus of Sikorsky family members—a matriarch, a hotel maid, a traveling comedian, the hotel detective, and many others—The Hotel Neversink is the gripping portrait of a Jewish family in the Catskills over the course of a century. With an unerring eye and with prose both comic and tragic, Adam O’Fallon Price details one man’s struggle for greatness, no matter the cost, and a long-held family secret that threatens to undo it all. ON OVERDRIVE ebook only

Best Fact Crime: The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity by Axton Betz-Hamilton (Grand Central Publishing)

Axton Betz-Hamilton grew up in small-town Indiana in the early ’90s. When she was 11 years old, her parents both had their identities stolen. Their credit ratings were ruined, and they were constantly fighting over money. This was before the age of the Internet, when identity theft became more commonplace, so authorities and banks were clueless and reluctant to help Axton’s parents. Axton’s family changed all of their personal information and moved to different addresses, but the identity thief followed them wherever they went. Convinced that the thief had to be someone they knew, Axton and her parents completely cut off the outside world, isolating themselves from friends and family. Axton learned not to let anyone into the house without explicit permission, and once went as far as chasing a plumber off their property with a knife. As a result, Axton spent her formative years crippled by anxiety, quarantined behind the closed curtains in her childhood home. She began starving herself at a young age in an effort to blend in—her appearance could be nothing short of perfect or she would be scolded by her mother, who had become paranoid and consumed by how others perceived the family. Years later, her parents’ marriage still shaken from the theft, Axton discovered that she, too, had fallen prey to the identity thief, but by the time she realized, she was already thousands of dollars in debt and her credit was ruined. This is Axton’s attempt to untangle an intricate web of lies, and to understand why and how a loved one could have inflicted such pain, bby breaking the unwritten rules of love, protection, and family. ON OVERDRIVE (audio and ebook)

Best Critical/Biographical: Hitchcock and the Censors by John Billheimer (University Press of Kentucky)

In Hitchcock and the Censors, author John Billheimer traces the forces that led to the Production Code and describes Hitchcock’s interactions with code officials on a film-by-film basis as he fought to protect his creations, bargaining with code reviewers and sidestepping censorship to produce a lifetime of memorable films.

 

 

Best Short Story: “One of These Nights,” from Cutting Edge: New Stories of Mystery and Crime by Women Writers by Livia Llewellyn (Akashic Books)

“One of These Nights”, has more shocking twists than most full-length mystery novels and they spring, like goblins, when you least expect it. But the protagonists are not goblins, they are adolescent best girlfriends with a dangerous, sly agenda. (from GoErie.com)”

 

 

Best Juvenile: Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse by Susan Vaught (Paula Wiseman Books)

Alternates between the detective work of middle-schooler Jesse and her new friend, Springer, after her father is accused of stealing, and post-tornado rescue efforts of Jesse and her Pomeranian, Sam-Sam. ON OVERDRIVE (only ebook)

 

 

 

Best Young Adult: Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen)

Because her mom is always on the move, Steph hasn’t lived anyplace longer than six months. Her only constant is an online community called CatNet—a social media site where users upload cat pictures—a place she knows she is welcome. What Steph doesn’t know is that the admin of the site, CheshireCat, is a sentient A.I. ON OVERDRIVE (only ebook).

-posted by Donna, Readers’ Services

Re-reading Agatha

Comfort Read.  Means different things to different people.  Some like to re-read books, some turn to new books in a favorite genre, while still others might prefer an audiobook or short story.  My comfort read go to has been murder mysteries, usually those of the cozy variety.  And most especially those of the Queen of Mystery, Agatha Christie.

I have been reading Dame Christie’s books since my early teens and finished reading them all a long time ago.  Since then, other authors have filled this need for me. Authors such as Dorothy L. Sayers, Janet Evanovich, M. C. Beaton, Rex Stout and others have fit the bill adequately.  But while they are all very good, nothing beats, for me, Dame Agatha Christie.

Through the years since I finished her novels, I have now and then randomly re-read some of them.  Early this year though, I decided to read them all again in order of publication.  Here are some thoughts on the first three:

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)

Set in the summer of 1917, the story follows the war-wounded Hastings to the Styles St. Mary estate of his friend John Cavendish. The Cavendish household is wrought with tension due to the marriage of John’s widowed mother to a suspicious younger man. In the village, Hastings runs into his old friend Hercule Poirot and, when the estate’s trouble turns deadly, the friends unite to solve a most baffling case.

“Not only is this her first published novel but it also marks the debut of her most famous character, Hercule Poirot. The murder here occurs from one of Christie’s favorite methods, poisoning.  Her talent for plotting is evident, from the beginning, fully formed!”

The Secret Adversary (1922)

Investigating the case of a woman who has been missing for five years, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford uncover just enough information to solve the mystery and put their own lives in jeopardy.

“Because I figured out the “whodunnit” early on and the characterization and dialogue were very melodramatic, this was a less satisfying read. But I still enjoyed the story which introduces the sleuthing couple, Tommy and Tuppence. Looking forward to their next adventure”

The Murder on the Links (1923)

An urgent cry for help brings Hercule Poirot to France. But he arrives too late to save his client, whose brutally stabbed body now lies face down in a shallow grave on a golf course. But why is the dead man wearing an overcoat that is too big for him? And for whom was the impassioned love letter in the pocket? Before Poirot can answer these questions, the case is turned upside down by the discovery of a second, identically murdered corpse.…

“I like this one a lot; mainly because there is a lot of dialogue between Poirot and sidekick Hastings about the particulars of the case as it develops. It is also very nicely plotted.  Recommended to readers who enjoy the Holmes/Watson dynamic of Arthur Conan Doyle’s books.”

I had not realized , when I decided to do the re-read, but this year marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Dame Christie’s first book.  To read more about her and all of her creations please visit agathachristie.com.

Hope you are finding your own comfort reads!

Please tell us about them in the comments.

(All summaries from the publishers.  All titles are available for download in both ebook and audiobook format from Syosset Public Library through Hoopla, using your library card.)

-posted by Sonia, Reference Services

January’s Book Displays

 

MAIN FLOOR:

Readers’ Services is ringing in the New Year with a display Best Books of 2019.  As always plenty of excellent choices for your reading pleasure. They have included a flyer listing Year’s Best: Staff Favorites Published in 2019. They are also hosting an evening book discussion on Tuesday, Jan. 14 at 7:30 pm, a Title Swap on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 1:30 pm and sponsoring the Adult Winter Reading Club (it’s not too late to sign up!).

The theme for the Reference Department’s display is need help with those resolutions? Whatever your goals are for the 2020, we have the book to help you. Books on fitness and dieting, career goals, improving your attitudes, lifting your mood and finding inner happiness, learning new skills like drawing or cooking, or finding new adventures. Also included in this display is a nice handout about common resolutions and how to follow through on them.

Our two mini-displays* are:

Celebrating P.G. Wodehouse

Curl up with a Mystery – Enjoy a good mystery whether it’s a cozy read or something sinister.

 

*mini-displays are always subject to change

THIRD FLOOR:

The Health Reference librarian’s display is New Year New You. The books here are about improving your physical and mental health and well-being. And of course, as always, lots of handouts to help you achieve your goals.

 

 

The next display is about The Roaring ‘20s, not the 2020 but 1920s. A look back on the history, sports, movies and laws of a hundred years ago.

We wish our SPL patrons a happy and healthy new year, filled with good books for companionship.

-posted by Betty, Reference Services

5 Years on the Blog

Time for a walk through some of  SyossetRandR’s blog posts in October during the past five years:

2017:  MYSTERY WRITER SUE GRAFTON IS RUNNING OUT OF LETTERS

2016: OCTOBER’S BOOK DISPLAYS

2015: BACK TO THE FUTURE WEEK CONTINUES!

2014: RESEARCH YOUR FAMILY TREE

2013: PLAN AHEAD FOR A FUN AND FESTIVE YEAR END BOOK CLUB MEETING

Watch out for when we take another nostalgic look at the past five years again in December.

-posted by Sonia, Reference Services

We’re Still Reading Holiday Books

Murder for Christmas

by Francis Duncan

“When Mordecai Tremaine arrives at the country retreat of one Benedict Grame on Christmas Eve, he discovers that the revelries are in full swing in the sleepy village of Sherbroome—but so too are tensions amongst the assortment of guests.

When midnight strikes, the party-goers discover that presents aren’t the only things nestled under the tree…there’s a dead body too. A dead body that bears a striking resemblance to Father Christmas. With the snow falling and suspicions flying, it’s up to Mordecai to sniff out the culprit—and prevent anyone else from getting murder for Christmas.” -from the publisher

Sonia, Reference Librarian says, “This was an old fashioned Agatha Christie type mystery featuring a charming amateur sleuth, Mordecai Tremaine, written in the 1940’s and a first in series.  A little too much time was spent describing the oppressive cloud of suspicion hovering over the household but I basically liked it and will probably read the second installment.”

A Christmas Journey

by Anne Perry

“Readers of Anne Perry’s bestselling suspense novels revel in a world that is all their own, sharing the privileged existence of Britain’s wealthy and powerful elite in West End mansions and great country houses. It is also a world in which danger bides in unsuspected places and the line between good and evil can be razor thin. This new novel features Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould – one of the most memorable characters from the Thomas Pitt series – who appears here as a lively young woman, the ultimate aristocrat who can trace her blood to half the royal houses of Europe.” -from the publisher

Brenda, Reference Librarian says, “Normally, I really enjoy Anne Perry’s mysteries especially those featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt. So choosing this novella as a Christmas read seemed a good choice. As always, the author crafts a story enriched by detailed descriptions of Victorian life. At a country house during the Christmas season one guest, Isobel Alvie, made a comment that led to the suicide of another guest, the recently widowed Gwendolen Kilmuir. Isobel was tasked with making the trip to explain the circumstances of the death to the dead woman’s mother. The message was clear and poignant: seemingly simple remarks can have a profound effect. But the journey of Isobel Alvie accompanied by Lady Vespasia seemed to drag. And I was disappointed since it wasn’t really a mystery. I think I will try another in the series. I am loyal to the authors I like!”

Have you read any books set around the winter holidays? Tell us about them in the comments.

-posted by Sonia, Reference Services

 

We Read Some Holiday Books…

The Twelve Clues of Christmas

by Rhys Bowen

“She may be thirty-fifth in line for the throne, but Lady Georgiana Rannoch cannot wait to ring in the new year—before a Christmas killer wrings another neck…

‘On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America. Meanwhile, Mummy is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with that droll Noel Coward! And I’m snowed in at Castle Rannoch with my bumbling brother, Binky, and sourpuss sister-in-law, Fig.

So it’s a miracle when I contrive to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village is like something out ofA Christmas Carol! But no sooner have I arrived than a neighborhood nuisance, a fellow named Freddie falls out of a tree, dead…. Dickensian, indeed!:” -from the publisher

Brenda, Reference Librarian says,  “What fun! This book has an engaging heroine, a quirky supporting cast and a clever plot. The love interest between Lady Georgiana Rannoch and Darcy O’Mara is sweet. I would be happy to visit the village of Tiddleton-under-Lovey, Devonshire if it existed! I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of reading this cozy mystery.’ “

How the Finch Stole Christmas

by Donna Andrews

“Meg Langslow’s husband has decided to escalate his one-man show of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol into a full-scale production with a large cast including their sons Jamie and Josh as Tiny Tim and young Scrooge and Meg helping as stage manager.

The show must go on, even if the famous―though slightly over-the-hill―actor who’s come to town to play the starring role of Scrooge has brought a sleigh-load of baggage and enemies with him. And why is Caerphilly suddenly overrun with a surplus of beautiful caged finches?” -from the publisher

Sonia, Health Reference Librarian says, “I have always wanted to try a book in this cozy mystery series .  The murder did not happen until fully halfway through the novel. Until then the reader gets to know Meg, her extended family and friends as well as the town Caerphilly at Christmastime with sometimes over the top detail.  I liked the book much better after the body appeared rather than before but I don’t think I’ll be returning to Caerphilly anytime soon.”

Have you read any books set around the winter holidays? Tell us about them in the comments.

Read about other holiday books in past posts, here or here.

-posted by Sonia, Reference Services

 

Mystery Writer Sue Grafton is Running Out of Letters

On August 22nd, author Sue Grafton’s Y is for Yesterday was released.  Eager fans are asking the obvious, what will Grafton do when she reaches the end of the alphabet? Her response?  “No Clue”.  Grafton stated in a recent interview, “I want to see what kind of shape I’m in mentally and physically.  I don’t want to keep writing if the juice is gone; I may write a Kinsey Millhone stand alone or two but if I feel I’ve lost my touch, I’ll retire”.

 A is for Alibi was first published in 1982 and featured heroine Kinsey Millhone, a private investigator who resided in the fictional town of Santa Teresa, California.  Over the next 35 years, Grafton’s books have been published in 28 countries, translated into 26 languages and have reached millions of readers.  Grafton got the idea for her series while reading an Edward Gorey cartoon book that went “A is for Amy, who fell down the stairs”, “B is for Basil, assaulted by bears” and thought it would be a great way to link titles.  She then wrote down alphabetically, as many crime related titles as she could.  When the idea was sold to a publisher, Grafton thought “uh-oh, now I’m in trouble” having not finished the first book yet.

Grafton was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 2009.  She also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America and the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award from Britain’s Crime Writers’ Association.  Grafton has been married for more than 30 years and divides her time between Montecito, California and Louisville, Kentucky, where she was born and raised.

Grafton’s final entry in the Kinsey Millhone series, Z is for Zero, is slated for release in the fall of 2019.  I’m sure countless fans like myself will be left wanting more.

(This article appeared previously in the Syosset Public Library Book Club Insider newsletter.)

-posted Lisa J., Readers’ Services