(Extremely) Unauthorized Relationship Advice Inspired by Crime Fiction: Part 2

  • Post by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz

We hope you enjoyed the first installment of our parody advice column from crime fiction characters – on to the more contemporary (and just as unauthorized) columns! Below, let Gillian Flynn’s Amazing Amy help you keep your boyfriend around, allow Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell to assure your niece of a successful marriage, and consider a cure for an annoying ex proposed by Ruth Ware’s Lo Blacklock. 

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50 Mystery Novels by Women Crime Writers, Read in a Year

  • Post by Molly Odintz

The list below is the tip of the cold, murderous iceberg when it comes to works by women crime novelists, but like any other list, it’s a good place to start.

With my yearly New Year’s Resolutions, most of which I will never revisit, I usually come up some kind of reading project, based around genres, authors, or settings I’ve neglected. 2015’s goal? Best not mentioned, as I miserably failed in my efforts to complete it. 2016’s reading goal? Read fifty books by women, and if possible, fifty works of crime fiction by women; not just new releases, but also classic noir and domestic suspense. With the release of Women Crime Writers of the 1940s and 50s, we’ve entered a new era of publisher and reader support for crime fiction classics by women.

Many of the books below are part of the zeitgeist – you’ll see a lot of girls in the title. I’ve also tried to focus on reading some of their antecedents, and you’ll see works on the list from Dorothy Hughes, Daphne Du Maurier, Margaret Millar, Patricia Highsmith, and other classic women crime writers of mid-century America, plus a couple of golden age works from Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie. You won’t find many representatives of the tough second-wave protagonists of the 80s and 90s, or many works in translation – both areas, I’m sorry to admit, I neglected in the past year.

You will find quite a few books set in Texas, and some that have yet to be released; both quirks of a bookseller’s reading habits, as we tend to dive deep into the literature of our areas, and often receive early copies of upcoming releases.

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31 Crime Novels by Women: A New Year’s Resolution Progress Report in Honor of Women’s Equality Day

  • Post by Molly Odintz

The list below is the tip of the cold, murderous iceberg when it comes to works by women crime novelists, but like any other list, it’s a good place to start.

Minotaur Books Created This Stunning Image to Celebrate Women's Equality Day
Minotaur Books created this stunning image in celebration of Women’s Equality Day (this year, Friday, August 26th).

With my yearly New Year’s Resolutions, most of which I will never revisit, I usually come up some kind of reading project, based around genres, authors, or settings I’ve neglected. 2015’s goal? Best not mentioned, as I miserably failed in my efforts to complete it. 2016’s reading goal? Read fifty books by women, and if possible, fifty works of crime fiction by women; not just new releases, but also classic noir and domestic suspense. With the release of Women Crime Writers of the 1940s and 50s, we’ve entered a new era of publisher and reader support for crime fiction classics by women.

This year, to my surprise, I’m a bit further on the path to completing my reading goal, so time to brag and share it with you all, despite my failure to complete it as of yet. Hey, I’ve got four more months left, so why not put the cart before the horse and smugly tell you all about my accomplishments? After all, I’m 31 books in, 31 crime novels by women that I can now confidently recommend in the store and on the internet, because I have read and enjoyed them. Before I (prematurely) rest on my laurels, I’d like to trace the origins of this mighty goal.

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Molly’s Top Ten (actually, 11) of the Year (So Far)

  • Post by bookseller and blogger Molly Odintz

97816162056211. Security by Gina Wohlsdorf

Gina Wohlsdorf’s debut thriller, Security, is a perfect mixture of romance, action, and surveillance, told from the multiple perspectives of a hotel’s security cameras just before its grand opening. The hotel, named Manderley Luxury Resort, is the modern-day mixture of many of fiction’s creepiest mansions and resorts.  Security follows two men, the Killer and the Thinker, as they carve their way through the hotel’s staff. Are they psychotic serial killers? Are they trained mercenaries? Is it personal? All these questions may not even matter to the reader once they become fully immersed in the queasy voyeurism of narration-by-camera and watch the novel’s two heroes, hotel manager Tessa and her foster brother Brian, rekindle their childhood romance as they fight for their lives. The novel concludes with a stunning chase sequence and a host of shocking reveals, and the end is strangely emotionally affecting.


97816121950012. The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer

 This one is part fairy tale, part abduction narrative. When a young girl in a red coat goes missing from a fairground, her mother suspects the worst, worried her fey-like child might never return. Hammer continues the tale from the dual perspectives of mother and daughter as they face their own challenges in their quest to reunite. Unexpected and haunting, with gorgeous prose and fascinating characters!

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April is for Mystery Lovers: Tons of Upcoming Events!

As we all enjoy the brief Texas spring, come take shelter from the pollen counts and enjoy our full roster of mystery events coming up in April here at the store. On April 2nd, Philip Kerr started off our April events with a blast, speaking and signing his latest continuation of his Bernie Gunther series, The Other Side of SilenceIf you missed the event, signed copies of his latest, as well as many of the previous volumes in the series, are available on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.

This past Sunday, April 10th, at 2 PM, Laurie R. King, author of the beloved Russell and Holmes series, as well as the fantastic Kate Martinelli series, joined us to speak and sign her latest installment in her Mary Russell series, The Murder of Mary Russell. While I’ve been reading the Mary Russell novels for many years, King’s newest addition to the series, delving deep into Mrs. Hudson’s backstory, might be my favorite in the series to date!

For those who missed this event, library enthusiasts will be pleased to note that in support of Austin Public Library, 5% of sales of all Laurie R. King titles sold in store on Sunday April 10th and 5 % of sales of The Murder of Mary Russell the week of April 5th (ending April 12th) will be donated to the library. Come by today or tomorrow, grab a copy of King’s latest, and support Austin Public Library. Signed copies available!

Just one day after Laurie R. King’s visit, Stuart Woods and David C. Taylor will be speaking and signing their latest novels, Family Jewels and Night Work, respectively, today, Monday, April 11th, at 7 PM. This event is a wonderful opportunity to catch up with Stuart Woods on his large oeuvre of bestselling thrillers, while getting to know David C. Taylor, an up-and-coming crime novelist who started out in the film biz.

Next up, Jessica Knoll, author of the stunning debut, Luckiest Girl Alive, comes to speak and sign this amazing novel on Saturday, April 16th, at 3 PM. Knoll has worked as senior editor at Cosmopolitan. She draws on both life and fiction for her debut, an intense look at high school trauma and its lingering effects, even for those who manage to reinvent themselves in adulthood.

2016-04-1620pf20book20pfestival20authors20pftv

On Sunday, April 17th, Scott and Molly will reprise our panel discussion on how we compiled our MysteryPeople Top 100 Crime and Suspense Novels at the first ever Pflugerville Book Pfestival, happening Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th at the Pflugerville Library. The festival is sponsored by KAZI Austin, 88.7 FM, and put together by Hopeton Hay, host of Kazi Book Review with Hopeton Hay. Thanks to Hopeton and KAZI for putting this festival together and bringing the MysteryPeople Top 100 list out into world.

Then on Monday, April 18th, at 1 PM, the Murder in the Afternoon Book Club will discuss The Professionalsby Owen Laukkanen, with a call-in from the author. The Hard Word Book Club, meeting Wednesday, April 27th, at 7 PM, also has a special guest calling in to the discussion – Craig Johnson, author of the Longmire series, will call in to discuss his novel As The Crow Flies

Finally, we’ll finish out the month with a visit from Melissa Ginsburg on Saturday, April 30th at 3 PM. Ginsburg’s Houston-set debut, Sunset City, follows a barista on the hunt for her best friend’s murderer. Sunset City is our April Pick of the Month, and we’re glad to celebrate a powerful new voice in Texas crime fiction.

Get to Know a Series: Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell Novels

Laurie R. King joins us at BookPeople to speak and sign her latest novel, The Murder of Mary Russell, on Sunday, April 10th, at 2 PM. You can find copies of King’s latest on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

In support of Austin Public Library, 5% of sales of all Laurie R. King titles sold in store on Sunday April 10th and 5 % of sales of The Murder of Mary Russell the week of April 5th will be donated to the library. This includes pre-orders or web orders for folks who can’t attend the event.

 

-Post by Molly Odintz

My sister and I have been following Mary Russell’s adventures since we were teenagers, the same age as Mary Russell when she first appeared in The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, ready to rescue Sherlock Holmes from the provincial life and to become his partner in crime-solving. A few books later, Russell became not only Holmes’ equal in detection, but his match in life, earning the series the tagline “the world’s greatest detective — and her husband.” Their romance stems from their mutual respect, but is made practical by the lack of suitably cultivated young men in post-war Britain, and flourishes due to a non-stop set of adventures in every corner of the British Empire and every level of London society.

Laurie R. King, in creating the character of Mary Russell, has nicely adapted the Conan Doyle canon to a more feminist outlook. King discards the casual bigotry of Victorian writing, all the while glorying in the style and historical detail of her settings. By placing Sherlock Holmes in the swinging twenties with a partner who combines the soul of an antiquarian with the fashion sense of a Bright Young Thing, King re-contextualizes Conan Doyle’s stolid, nineteenth-century plots and characters in the modernist chaos of a post-war world.

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MysteryPeople Q&A with Laurie R. King

Laurie R. King joins us here at BookPeople on Sunday, April 10th at 2 PM, to speak and sign her latest Mary Russell novel, The Murder of Mary Russell. Her latest delves into Mrs. Hudson’s past for one of the strongest installments in the series to date. You can find copies of King’s latest on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.

In support of Austin Public Library, 5% of sales of all Laurie R. King titles sold in store on Sunday April 10th and 5 % of sales of The Murder of Mary Russell the week of April 5th will be donated to the library. This includes pre-orders or web orders for folks who can’t attend the event.

  • Interview by Molly Odintz

“Sherlock Holmes has a way of bringing strong women into his ken: Irene Adler beats him at his own game, his women clients occasionally get into trouble by not being traditionally cautious—and we all know about Mary Russell. It seemed to me that any woman whose roof he’s been living under for twenty-odd years, without his driving her mad or murdering her outright, must have both backbone and a certain appeal for the detective. Since the number of paths open to a woman in the 19th century were limited, and since Holmes had a longstanding interest in crime and criminals, I figured that the Gloria Scott sailor might not be the only criminal Hudson in the life of Sherlock Holmes.”


Molly Odintz: Your novel is titled The Murder of Mary Russell, yet you keep the audience in suspense over Mary’s mortal peril for much of the novel. How did you come up with that structure?

Laurie R. King: What, a structure that torments my readers? Isn’t that what any crime writer lives for? But you’re right. Part of the problem with a first-person series—“memoirs”—is that telling anything that took place outside of Russell’s point of view requires some device such as a letter or newspaper article, or having the protagonist sit and listen to a lengthy conversation. So some books ago, I began introducing alternate, third-person points of view, partly to simplify those stretches of outside information, but also because it lets me, yes, play with tension.

And boy, do I play with it here.

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