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Have you met Smokey Dalton?

Have you met Smokey Dalton?  Perhaps now is the time to do so:  his books are being reissued in paperback and Kindle format.  He stars in a detective series set in Chicago in the 1960s  The tall African-American was a childhood friend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Smokey comes from Memphis where he’d been in trouble with the law, but comes to Chicago to collect a mysterious, anonymous bequest. There he gets involved in some historical moments such as the assassination of King and the tumultuous 1968 Democratic Convention. Smokey has an off-and-on again relationship with white real-estate company owner Laura Hathaway and adopts Jimmy, a ten-year old who was a witness to King’s murder. Like most hard-boiled detectives, Smokey is cynical about justice, but has his own code of honor. Kris Nelscott is a pseudonym of Kristine Kathryn Rusch (q.v.) who writes fantasy series.  The seventh book in the series, Street Justice (WMG Publishing, 3/2013) is new.  It concerns a ruthless mob-based group that preys on girls from a nearby school while white policemen and politicians turn a blind eye.

–posted 3/19/2014

Posted March/19/2014

Spring revivals

Ah, spring is in the air and revivals are popping up all over. Benjamin Black (pseudonym of John Banville) has just written a new Phillip Marlowe noir crime novel. Stephen King calls The Black-Eyed Blonde (Holt, 3/2014) a “beautifully rendered hardboiled novel that echoes Chandler’s melancholy at perfect pitch”. Sebastian Faulks’ Jeeves and the Wedding Bells (St. Martin’s, 2013) is a fair imitation of P. G. Wodehouse’s madcap country house romps starring Bertie Wooster and his unflappable valet Jeeves. Fans will be enjoy seeing them in action again. Mr Campion’s Farewell (Severn House, March 2014)is a new Margery Allingham mystery written by British author and critic Mike Ripley. There is even a new Agatha Christie in the offing; The New Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot Mystery (Harper Collins, 9/2014). Christie’s grandson Matthew Pritchard has said that author Sophie Hanna’s “idea for a plot line was so compelling and her passion for my grandmother’s work so strong that we felt the time was right for a new Christie to be written.”

–posted 3/13/2014

Posted March/10/2014

Jana Bibi

These two novels about a middle-aged Scottish woman living in India will appeal to readers who enjoy Alexander McCall Smith’s books. They have the same light-hearted charm and quaintly exotic atmosphere. They are set in the sixties and focus on Janet Laird whose family has lived in India for generations. Janet, better known by her Indian nickname, Jana Bibi, lives with her loyal Indian housekeeper and her garrulous parrot, Mr. Ganguly. When we first meet her in Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes (Holt, 2012) she has just inherited a house in a remote Indian hill town and decides to move there. Undeterred by the house’s run-down condition, Jana settles in and helps defeat a plan to construct a dam nearby. Love Potion Number 10 (Holt, 2013) brings new prosperity to the town and possible romance to Jana.  Author Betsy Woodman now lives in New Hampshire, though she has lived in India for ten years. 

–posted 3/8/2014

Posted March/5/2014

Berger/Mitry detective series

Now here is an interesting pair of detectives: Mitch Berger is a New York film critic and author who lives on a private island off Dorset, Connecticut. Desiree Mitry is a beautiful African-American Connecticut state trooper with an artistic bent. The couple first meet in The Cold Blue Blood (St. Martin’s, 2001) when Mitch is preparing a small garden plot and digs up a human skeleton. Other novels concern doings in Dorset, a village with the surprisingly high murder rate familiar to mystery readers. Author David Handler lives in Lyme, Connecticut and knows whereof he speaks. The newest Berger/Mitry book, the tenth in the series, is The Coal Black Asphalt Tomb (Minotaur, 3/2014) which concerns another dead body uncovered by workers widening a road in Dorset.

–posted 3/2/2014

Posted March/2/2014

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