Monday, September 15, 2014

Lesa's Latest Contest--- Giveaway - M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin, The Blood of an Englishman

As posted elsewhere earlier today....

To celebrate M.C. Beaton's 25th Agatha Raisin mystery, The Blood of an Englishman, I'm giving away three copies, a finished one from the publisher, and two ARCs. Details are up at . Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine

Via Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Noircon Update


Via Monday Markets for Writers: No Fees, Paying Gigs

 Sorry this is being shared late today, but doctor visits have to come first.....

Monday Markets for Writers: No Fees, Paying Gigs

Back Home

Back home from the hospital as Sandi had an appointment with her endocrinologist today. While better than she was, Sandi is still nowhere near where she needs to be numbers wise not just for her health but the long delayed Pet Scan.The overall trend of her blood sugar numbers lowering seems to have basically leveled out as we thought. So, the insulin dosage is being raised a little more, but Sandi is having weigh gain and other issues related to the insulin.

Under consideration is the idea of adding some new medications to the mix in the hopes of lowering her numbers. However, that is being delayed for now as Sandi has an IVIG infusion Friday and a ton of blood work as the cancer docs plan on doing the tests to see if the IVIG is working. There were concerns that adding new drugs to her cocktail could throw off those results.

So, for now, she keeps doing what she is doing and fingers crossed that the downward numbers trend will start again.

Via The Corpse Steps Out: Another Series Continuation...

The Corpse Steps Out: Another Series Continuation...: Thomas Chastain agreed to continue the Perry Mason series with books written by him and approved by the estate. Chastain had been a newspa...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Via Not The Baseball Pitcher---- The Empty Badge(Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles Book 8) – Wayne D. Dundee

The Empty Badge(Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles Book 8) – Wayne D. Dundee

Euro Crime Update-- New Reviews on Euro Crime: Arlidge, Daly, Duke, Furst, Kitson, Kreslehner, Mann, Phillips, Wilkinson

As posted elsewhere earlier today....

Here are nine reviews which have been added to the Euro Crime website today, three have appeared on the blog since last time, and six are completely new.

NB. You can keep up to date with 'Euro Crime' by following the blog and/or liking the Euro Crime Facebook page (

New Reviews:

Michelle Peckham reviews M J Arlidge's second book featuring Southampton's DI Helen Grace, 'Pop Goes the Weasel';

Terry Halligan reviews Bill Daly's 'Black Mail' the first in the DCI Charlie Anderson series set in Glasgow;

Susan White reviews Simon Duke's debut 'Out of Bounds' which is set in the US;

Lynn Harvey reviews Alan Furst's 'Midnight in Europe' set in the late 1930s;

Terry also reviews Bill Kitson's 'Buried in the Past', the eighth in the DI Mike Nash series;

Michelle also reviews Austrian author Gabi Kreslehner's 'Rain Girl' tr. Lee Chadeayne;

Rich Westwood reviews George Mann's 'Sherlock Holmes - The Spirit Box';

Amanda Gillies reviews 'Last Kiss by Louise Phillips, the third in the Dr Kate Pearson set in and around Dublin

and Mark Bailey reviews Kerry Wilkinson's 'Crossing the Line', the eighth in the DI Jesica Daniel series set in Manchester. or via the blog:

Previous reviews can be found in the review archive (

Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here ( along with releases by year.

best wishes,
Karen M

KRL This Week Update--- Kaye George, Dennis Palumbo, Endeavour, short story, giveaways & more in KRL

As posted elsewhere yesterday.....

Up this morning in Kings River Life Magazine a review & giveaway of the first in a brand new mystery series "Fat Cat at Large" by Janet Cantrell aka Kaye George along with a fun guest post from Janet about the cat that inspired the cat in her book

Also up, a review & giveaway of a new anthology put together by the New York Tri-State Chapter of Sisters-in-Crime, "Family Matters", which includes authors such as Elizabeth Zelvin, Triss Stein, Anita Page & many more

We also have a review & giveaway of the latest mystery by Dennis Palumbo "Phantom Limb"

And we have a fun mystery short story by Sharon Arthur Moore

And a review by Bobbi Chukran of the mystery TV show "Endeavour"

For those of us who enjoy fantasy with our mystery, we have a review & giveaway of "Free Agent", a Grimm Agency novel by JC Nelson

Lastly, over on KRL Lite we have a review & ebook giveaway of "Prescription For Murder" by E.E. Smith
As always, you can find most of these and more by also going to our home page and scrolling down

Happy reading,

KRL is now selling advertising & we have special discounts for
mystery authors & bookstores! Ask me about it!
Mystery section in Kings River Life
Check out my own blog at 

Via Dear Author-- The Curious Case of Ellora’s Cave

The Curious Case of Ellora’s Cave

Via Bookbrowsing--- An interview with Ben Solomon

An interview with Ben Solomon

VIa DFW Writer's Workshop--- Five Reasons to Reconsider Before Self-Publishing

Via Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Free for Kindle for a Limited Time--THE EMPTY BADGE

 Read this very good story in the original anthology Trails of the Wild: Seven Tales of the Old West....
Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Free for Kindle for a Limited Time: The Empty Badge (Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles Book 8) - Kindle edition by Wayne D. Dundee. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon....

Friday, September 12, 2014

Via Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: FFB: Australian Vintage Paperback Guide -- Graeme ...

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: FFB: Australian Vintage Paperback Guide -- Graeme ...: Being interested in paperbacks, I naturally had to have a copy of this book.  My primary collecting (or accumulating) interest is in U.S. pa...

Via M. P. McDonald: Kindle Unlimited Becoming a Goldmine for Scam Arti...

 The same Amazon that had no problem shutting down my son's store over customer lies two plus weeks ago and is still considering the appeal, allows this????? What utter crap.

M. P. McDonald: Kindle Unlimited Becoming a Goldmine for Scam Arti...: As an author with books in Kindle Unlimited, I'm extremely worried about the scam artists who have sprung up in Kindle Unlimited like da...

Via Ericka Dreifus-- Friday Finds for Writers

Friday Finds for Writers

FFB Review: "The Toll House Murder" by Anthony Wynne--Guest Reviewer Patrick Ohl

Patrick Ohl is back this week for Friday Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. This week he is reviewing The Toll House Murder by Anthony Wynne.

 “Anthony Wynne” was the pseudonym of physician Robert McNair Wilson, who seems to have obsessed himself with impossible crimes of all sorts, though he never achieved the status of authors like John Dickson Carr or Clayton Rawson. And his book The Toll House Murder shows all too clearly why that is so.

The Toll House Murder begins promisingly, as we learn of the murder of Sir Andrew Burke, the wealthy man in charge of a famous shipping company. The circumstances are bizarre— Sir Andrew walks into a toll house to ask the man in charge to let him through. He re-enters his car and passes through the toll, but after a couple of hundred yards, the car swerves and tips over. As a result, the doors jam and have to be forced open. Sir Andrew is lying inside, stabbed through the heart— but there is no knife in the car, no other passenger, and no footprints anywhere in the snow around the car!

While this initial situation is intriguing, the interest is sucked out of the story pretty rapidly as we meet our cast of characters. And such a memorable bunch they are! I particularly remember… um… actually, I don’t remember anyone at all. This isn’t a joke- I literally don’t remember any of the characters. I don’t even remember the murderer’s name! I just remember what function some faceless cut-outs played in the plot. They have all the personality and charm of cardboard (though, on second thought, that would be an insult to a useful packaging material). I just finished reading the book not 10 minutes ago. That’s a bad sign.

And thus we get another problem with this book: while the plot may be interesting, it is so poorly paced that any interest is quickly removed. After the initial murder, we get about 70 pages where nothing happens. After this, we get a murder, and a few pages later an attempted murder. Nothing happens for another 70 pages or so, after which we get another murder, and, a few pages later, another murder. Nothing much happens for 30 pages or so until the detective, Dr. Hailey, pulls a new plot thread out of his hat for no reason at all and goes to explore it, thus proving his omniscience once and for all. By the end, I wasn’t even interested in the plot. I was just frustrated and trying to get through a tiresome work.

“Tiresome” describes the writing well. Wynne’s writing style is a real chore to struggle through, and I’m just happy to be alive right now. At best, his characters behave like second-rate actors performing a second-rate Victorian melodrama, and they have a tendency to monologue about nothing in particular. For instance, after Dr. Hailey brings up a new plot thread out of nowhere, we are treated to this lovely monologue from the wife of a dead man:

"He died for us!" she exclaimed in a voice in which ecstasy and revenge were mingled. "He laid down his life for us. Oh, sir, he was a good man and a fine one. Listen, the night before he died he talked a long while with our boy. John told him to go straight and tell the truth and love his mother. There were tears in his eyes, believe me, sir. Oh, sir, I didn't know then that the medicine was beginning to take effect on him. 'You're tired, John,' I said. But he wouldn't have it. He got up, after the boy went to bed, and walked about the room. Like he used to walk on his bridge. 'It's been a hard fight," he said, 'but I've won. And I want you to know that, my girl. I'm a happy man this night and I haven't known happiness for years.'”

That monologue treats us to much of the flaws in this book: melodramatic monologues no living human would ever spout, tiresome clich├ęs at every corner, and (worst of all) a complete lack of any sense of humour whatsoever. More than that: there’s no individuality or personality in this work. It feels like a robot wrote this, or perhaps it was all recycled from other works. Either way, the writing is coldly impersonal and unpleasant—you don’t get any sense of the author’s personality at all. Reading more than one Wynne per month is most likely hazardous to your health.

Incidentally, there is more than one impossible crime involved—there are two. The second is pretty quickly explained, though, and very obvious from the start. A policeman is randomly murdered out of nowhere in front of Dr. Hailey’s eyes. He went outside to see if it was snowing and had the back of his skull crushed in by a heavy instrument— the blow was so heavy that it glanced off his skull and smashed into the wall, destroying the brickwork. But there were no footprints whatsoever in the snow.  The melodrama is milked to the extreme:

He came to the room. At the sight of the body on the floor he drew back with a cry of dismay.
“Poor old George.”
He bent down and looked at the shattered head. When he rose again the blood was pale in his face.
“If I have to spend the rest of my life doing it, sir,” he exclaimed, “I’ll find the swine who has done this. One of the best lads in the force.” He added: “This time, anyhow, the snow will tell us something.”

Whoah, someone recovered from his shock quickly! You might as well have replaced that last sentence with “What’s for dinner?” It’s not just melodramatic, it’s inconsistent as well! Oh, and by the way, you never found out what the dead police officer’s name was until he was killed. Gotta love that character development. The explanation for the impossible crime, as I said, is obvious, but it also doesn’t seem to make sense. I can’t go into details here, but even though physics and I are notorious enemies, my knowledge of it is enough to make me seriously question the mechanics of the murder. Wynne’s explanation was unclear about a point or else his killer just got extremely lucky. Possibly both.

Which brings me full circle to the first murder— of all the cheek! This killer is the luckiest son-of-a-gun since the culprit in Seeing is Believing! The solution is technically fair, and yet I don’t whatsoever recall the key piece of evidence that clinches the method. In fact, a far simpler variation is proposed just pages before, and is rejected by the detective. Why? I’ll reconstruct the reason with some dialogue:

Inspector: "Blimey, if Bob didn't have the third onion at the time... it can only mean the butler was the killer!"
Detective: "Impossible! Absurd! The butler could never be the killer!"
Inspector: "Why not?"
Detective: "Because I said so."
Inspector: "Good point. I never thought about it that way."

Oh, come on! How lazy can you get? Give us an actual reason! I’m sick of detectives who can pick and choose their deductions at will—if you’re going to reject an alternative hypothesis, give us a reason! (This, by the way, is a major strength of R. Austin Freeman’s The Eye of Osiris— Dr. Thorndyke never just says “Because I said so”, he explains all his deductions thoroughly. Though sometimes they might get long-winded, it’s overall far more satisfying an approach that this one.)

To sum up, The Toll House Murder is a chore to get through. The author has no discernible sense of humour or personality, and the writing style is just atrocious. The impossible crimes have their points of interest, but are overall major disappointments, making this book a certain entry in the Hall of Shame of books I’ve read this year. By the end, it got overbearingly tiresome. Why didn’t Wynne achieve the popularity of Carr? This book is a textbook illustration. It really says a lot about an author’s writing style when I can honestly say it left me pining for some Freeman Wills Crofts. Crofts’ writing, at the very least, was entertaining.

Patrick Ohl ©2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

13 Years Later

13 years later and it is still far too painful for me to talk about. So, I won't try. Thoughts and prayers.....