Letters to Santa: Tom Ripley Edition

MysteryPeople will feature letters to Santa from beloved (or infamous) mystery characters throughout the month of December. Our first letter comes from everyone’s favorite 1950s psychopath, Tom Ripley, and takes place between the first and second in the series. 


Dear Santa,

talented mr ripleyWhile I have many desires for this Christmas season, there’s no room to detail them all here. I’ve had quite a productive year, traveling across Europe, sailing the Mediterranean, acquiring the wealth and status I have always dreamed of, and acquiring the elegant company I have so desired. I certainly have miles to go to ensure a long-lasting happiness, and to secure my status in the world, and to these ends, I do have a few small requests.

  • I would like to secure a certain measure of security, as well as status. To this end, please send the documents and companions necessary to fully take on the life of a (particular) upper class gentleman.
  • I would like swimsuits to be banned, and for all to wear full linen suits with Italian leather shoes to the beach.
  • I would like a fine companion, all to myself.
  • I would like the deed to an Italian villa, preferably secluded.
  • I would like a standing reservation for skiing in the alps.
  • I would like (as has been the case before) to have little notice taken of me, that I might live in the shadows and achieve my wildest dreams.
  • And of course, I would like a yacht. Make that two yachts. One for the Riviera and one for the Cote D’Azure.

Best regards,

Tom Ripley

You can find Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley novels on our shelves or via bookpeople.com. The series begins with The Talented Mr. Ripleyand continues with Ripley Underground, Ripley’s Game, The Boy Who Followed Ripleyand Ripley Under Water

A Thrill Ride of a Novel: MysteryPeople Q&A with R. G. Belsky

  • Interview and Review by MysteryPeople Contributor and Reporter Scott Butki

R. G. Belsky does two things quite well as a mystery author: He shares what the news media life is really like and he tells one hell of a great story, always complete with a few fake endings and excellent twists.

As a fellow former newspaper reporter who still pays much attention to my first profession I really get excited when I saw a writer who is sharing not just the newspaper lore but more importantly shattering the stereotypes and explaining the problems rampant in the industry, particularly reporters having to do more with less.

‘…when people ask me where I get the ideas for my fiction, I’ve always said: “Hey, I just go to work in a newsroom every day!”’ – R. G. Belsky

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Crime Fiction at the Fest: A Celebration of Diverse Literary Voices in Texas

Scott & Molly join other community voices for the panel discussion “Social Justice in Crime Fiction” at KAZI Book Review’s December 3rd event “A Celebration of Diverse Literary Voices in Texas”

kbr_logo_mediumMolly and I are excited to be a part of this year’s Celebration Of Diverse Literary Voices, presented by KAZI Book Review with Hopeton Hay, to be held at Huston-Tilletson University this upcoming Saturday, December 3rd, from 10 AM to 4 PM. We’ll be joining author Minerva Koenig, Peggy Terry of Folk Tales Black Women’s Literary Society, and author and moderator Marrick Armstrong, for a panel discussion on how crime fiction can be used as a tool for social justice. The festival also includes panel discussions featuring prominant local figures on cultural diversity in fiction, Black intellectual thought in education, and emerging Mexican American fiction, as well as an awards ceremony.

MysteryPeople regularly appears on KAZI Book Review during the last Sunday of every month to present our crime fiction recommendations to the world, and we’re honored to play a small part in this weekend’s upcoming literary festival.  Our panel will be running from 1:30-2:30 on Saturday at Huston-Tillotson University.

Find out more about the festival here!

Crime Fiction Friday: “Vikings” by Scott Montgomery


  • Introduced by Molly O.
MysteryPeople’s very own Scott Montgomery has a new story up on Shotgun Honey. Below, you’ll find the link to 750 words of pure sleaze, inspired by a chance conversation between Scott and author Laura Lippman at Bouchercon one year, as the two speculated on how a not-so-dynamic duo might form. This story is seriously creepy, y’all – but on this site, and to our fine friends at Shotgun Honey, creepy is a compliment. 

“Vikings” by Scott Montgomery

“The Blonde brought their beers and took their wing orders. Bob wished they had the brunette with the glasses. He eyed the babe with the red hair…

Read the rest of the story.

MysteryPeople Review: THE GIRL BEFORE by Rena Olson

  • Post by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz

9781101982358I read this all in one night, when I was looking for a book disturbing enough to distract me from the results of the election. The Girl Before delivered! Rena Olson works as a marriage therapist, evident in her realistic portrayal of the most f*&^ed up marriage in fiction since Gone Girl. As The Girl Before begins, her protagonist Clara is ripped from her husband and daughters as law enforcement raids their home, and told by her husband to keep her mouth shut. Depressed and in denial of the reason for her arrest, Clara initially refuses to cooperate – she insists that her marriage has been defined by love, rather than control, and refuses to accept any information to the contrary.

Through flashbacks, we’re introduced to what appears to be a finishing school, where young girls, isolated from men, are taught obedience, languages, and various other ‘womanly arts,’ or face violence or expulsion. We slowly learn that what Clara conceived of as a happy childhood at an exemplary school was actually a life spent in a bordello training facility for underage girls intended for the international sex trade.

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I Could Fit Five Bodies in the Trunk of My Sedan: MysteryPeople Q&A with Patrick Millikin

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

The Highway Kind is a collection of short crime fiction, dealing with cars, driving, and the road. It features crime and general fiction and even a singer/songwriter. Authors include the likes of Joe Lansdale, Ace Atkins, and Michael Connelly. We talked to to the editor Patrick Millikan about cars and crime.

MysteryPeople Scott: How did the idea of The Highway Kind come about?

Patrick Millikan: My original thought was that it would be cool to have an anthology of crime stories in which each author chose a particular car and wrote a story about it. The cars would be prominently featured. I was surprised that there hadn’t been (at least to my knowledge) a collection like it. Over time the idea morphed into something, at least in my opinion, much more interesting. As I mention in the preface, when I commissioned the stories I left the guidelines pretty open – the pieces would simply be about “cars, driving and the road.” As the stories started to come in I was surprised and intrigued by how personal, almost confessional, many of them were.

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Hard Word Book Club Discusses RED CAT with Author Peter Spiegelman

Peter Spiegelman Calling In to the Hard Word Book Club

  • Post by Scott Montgomery

For November, The Hard Word Book Club delves into the dark side of sex and art with Peter Spiegelman’s Red Cat. The book is the third installment in the series featuring John March, a private detective who has plenty of issues with his family and his past, ready to surface when his brother, David, asks him for help.

A woman David got together with through an online hook-up sight found his number and keeps calling him. he wants John to find her and warn her off. John goes searching, armed only with a fake name and description. That description matches that of a woman dragged out of the river, plunging the March bothers into a case involving, blackmail, videos that blur the line between pornography and art, and several dark secrets.

We are happy to have Peter Spiegelman calling in to discuss the book with us. We will be meeting at 7PM, Wednesday, November 30th. You can find copies of Red Cat on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. The book is 10% in-store to those planning to attend.

Crime Fiction Friday: “The Writer’s End” by Jonathan Woods

Jonathan Woods comes to BookPeople to speak and sign his latest romp, Kiss the Devil Good Night, on Sunday, November 20, at 5 PM. He’ll be joined by Ben Rehder and Lance Hawvermale. Thanks to Jonathan for sending along a crazy crime fiction Friday to get us all psyched for the event, and thanks to Dahlia for her beautiful, bloody illustrations!


The Writer’s End: A Key West Story

By Jonathan Woods

Illustrated by Dahlia Woods

Sitting on the porch of a white frame house dating from the 19th Century in Old Town Key West, the writer writes. He wears white cotton shorts, his pale linen shirt unbuttoned. With one hand he accidentally brushes back his thinning apricot-colored hair.

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Meat Salesmen and Wiggle Picks: MysteryPeople Q&A with Ben Rehder

  • Interview by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

Ben Rehder’s latest Blanco County novel, Point Taken, has his hero John Marlin playing straight man in a murder involving arrowheads, one scary meat salesman, and the redneck Abbott and Costello, Red and Billy Don, now flush with cash.

Ben will be joining Jonathan Woods and Lance Hawvermale for what is bound to be a fun discussion on Sunday, November 20th, at 5 PM. We got to him a little earlier to ask him these questions.

MysteryPeople Scott: While still very funny, this book came off a little darker than some of the other Blanco books I’ve read. Was that intended?

Ben Rehder: No, I didn’t intend that, and you’re actually the first person to make that comment. But I can see it. In hindsight, I have no problem with it being darker, and for a deeper explanation why, see the next answer…

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Strangers Join Hands: MysteryPeople Q&A with Lance Hawvermale

  • Interview by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery


Gabe Traylin, the hero of Lance Hawvermale’s thriller Face Blind, suffers from a condition where one cannot distinguish the characteristics that make up someone’s face – not a great thing when he witnesses a murder from his NASA observatory in Chile. He ends up with a motley crew of characters, on the run, trying to find the killer he can only distinguish as “The Rifleman.”

We talked to Lance about the book, his characters, the setting, and his influences. Joined by Jonathan Woods and Ben Rehder, Lance Hawvermale comes to BookPeople to speak and sign his latest on Sunday, November 20th, at 5 PM

MysteryPeople Scott: What drew you to a protagonist with face blindness?

Lance Hawvermale: I wasn’t so much drawn to Gabe Traylin as haunted by him. Ever since I first learned of face-blindness, years ago, Traylin’s story has been growing behind my eyelids whenever I try to sleep. I can only imagine that sense of isolation, of not even recognizing your own mother. How could you ever really trust anyone? A protagonist like that certainly deserved to have his story told.

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