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Three Australian mystery series

corrisCorris, Peter
Sydney-based Cliff Hardy is Australia’s version of Philip Marlowe. Cliff is tough and street-smart but loyal to his ideals. Corris portrays Australians as tolerant, independent and resourceful, even his thugs seem thoughtful. But professional “crims” are bad, no matter what their nationality. The Dying Trade (Fawcett, 1986) is the first book in the series of forty novels. Gun Control (Allen & Unwin, 2013) is the most recent title. Corris has written other series, but this is his best known.

thrill cityRedhead, Leigh
Now here is something new: sexy Simone Kirsch is a stripper and a private eye. She wanted to be a cop, but they wouldn’t take her, so she studied to become a private detective. Now with her certificate as a licensed “inquiry agent” she can start building up a clientele, only stripping for start-up funds. These fast and funny crime novels are set in Melbourne, Australia. Simone is a match for even the most hard-boiled PIs. Thrill City (Allen & Unwin, 2013) is the fourth title in the series.

Greenwood, Kerry
Phryne (pronounced “fry knee”) Fisher, Australia’s inimitable flapper sleuth, is now well-known to American readers thanks to Poisoned Pen’s reprints of this charming cozy series.  Phryne is a fabulously wealthy and sophisticated, single woman.  Although she enjoys the high life and fashions of London in the late 1920s,  Phryne craves adventure and decides that “it might be rather amusing” to move to Australia and become a private detective. In spite of her upper class background Phryne never hesitates to delve into Melbourne’s lower depths with the help of some slightly disreputable fellows who become her assistants. Phryne’s adventures have been made into a TV series called Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries by the Australian Broadcasting Company.  At last count, thirty-four episodes are available on DVD and Netflix.  Murder and Mendelssohn (Poisoned Pen, 2014), book #20 in the series is Greenwood’s latest.

–posted 3/23/2015

Posted March/23/2015

Ellen Crosby series

crosbyEllen Crosby, author of six “Wine Country” mysteries starring Lucie Montgomery, has started a new series with a very different heroine, photojournalist Sophie Medina, originally from Washington DC. When we first meet her she is living in London with her husband Nick who is a geologist and also a covert CIA operative. Sophie’s assignments take her all over the globe and her involvement with Nick gets her caught in dangerous waters. Ghost Image (Scribner, 2015) is the second book in this new series. Sophie learns that her friend Brother Kevin Boyle, a Franciscan friar and environmental scientist, was found dead in a Washington DC monastery garden. Sophie believes he was murdered because of something he discovered at a conference in London.

–posted 3/29/2015

Posted March/21/2015

Bea Abbot domestic crisis agency

heleyFalse Impression (Severn, 3/2015), the ninth installment of the Abbot Agency mysteries, stars Bea Abbot who manages the domestic crisis agency that she inherited from her late husband.   She is assisted by sixteen-year-old Oliver, a computer geek who likes investigating and the quirky but resourceful Maggie.   Bea is willing to tackle almost any problem presented by her clients except murder cases.  Nevertheless, a surprising number of her assignments do eventually concern a murder.   British author Veronica Heley has been producing a new Abbot Agency cozy every year since 2007 as well as a new Ellie Quicke (q.v.) book since 2000.   She is a member of the Association of Christian Writers.

–posted 3/23/2015

Posted March/19/2015

Josie Gray, West Texas police chief

Josie Gray is the police chief of Artemis, a small border town in West Texas whose inhabitants sought lives of solitude and independence, but found themselves smack dab in the middle of the turf wars of the Mexican drug runners.  Author Tricia Fields lives on a small farm in Indiana where her husband is an investigator with the state police. A lifelong love of Mexico and the desert southwest lead to her first book which won the Tony Hillerman Award for Best Mystery.  Firebreak (Minotaur, 3/2015) is the fourth book in the series. After a wildfire that threatened Artemis, the body of a man turns up in a partially burned house, but fire was not the cause of his death. The owners of the house, Barbara and Billy Nix, proclaim their innocence.

–posted 3/16/2015

Posted March/16/2015

New Flashman?

No, George MacDonald Fraser (1925-2008) hasn’t written a new Flashman novel.  Fans will have to make do with the dozen he did write about the incorrigible knave.  Captain in Callico (Mysterious Press, 9/2015) is actually the first book Fraser ever wrote but which has never been published.  It introduces another real-life anti-hero: Captain John Rackham, called “Calico Jack,” an illustrious eighteenth-century pirate who marauded the Caribbean seas.

–posted 3/9/2015

Posted March/9/2015

Savannah Reid

killer gourmetSavannah Reid, Georgia-born private investigator working out of San Carmelita, California, is as fond of eating as she is of bringing wrong-doers to justice.  Savannah, “fat, fortyish, and feisty,” uses her “steel-magnolia” Southern charm to good effect as she handily solves one mystery after another for the Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency.  Savannah’s cases are light-hearted fun, occasionally dimmed by members of her exasperating Georgia family.  G. A. McKevett is the pseudonym of Sonja Massie, who writes romances under her real name.  Killer Gourmet (Kensington, 3/2015) is the twentieth book in the Savannah Reid series. In it celebrity chef Baldwin Norwood is found dead on the floor after having a temper tantrum in the kitchen of a new restaurant owned by friends of Savannah.

–posted 3/8/2015

Posted March/8/2015

John Hannah vs. Ken Stott

hannah3        stott

Posted March/6/2015


Four episodes of Rebus, the early TV series based on the detective novels of Ian Rankin are now available on Acorn. These programs star John Hannah and were filmed in 2000-01 for Scottish Television. A later series of ten programs starring Ken Stott was made by STV in 2006-07 and has been shown here in the past.  The personality of Rebus is quite different in the two series, but the Edinburgh they portray is the same seedy criminal underbelly of the town.

–posted 3/6/2015

Posted March/6/2015

New McBain?

So Nude, So Dead  to be published in July 2015 by Hard Case Crime is not one of the 97th Precinct series. It was originally published as The Evil Sleep by Evan Hunter in 1952 then reprinted as So Nude, So Dead by Richard Marsten in 1956.  It is McBain’s first crime novel.  Thanks to Editor Charles Ardal at Hard Case Crime for the clarification.

Posted March/2/2015

Bill Slider #17

starfallHere is the new Bill Slider that fans have been patiently waiting for.   Star Fall (Severn, 3/2015) is the 17th installment of the Bill Slider British Police Procedural by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles.  Slipping into it is like a happy reunion with old friends.  The post Christmas season lull at the Shepherd’s Bush CID station, is broken by the murder of a famous TV personality, antiques expert Rowland Egerton has been stabbed to death in his elegant West London home. The primary suspect is his friend, John Lavender, who found the body.   Slider’s wife Joanna is recovering from a miscarriage.

–posted 3/4 2015

Posted March/1/2015

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