Every once in a while a new author comes along who seems so full of promise, so serious about his or her craft that before books even reach the stores, publishing types have tucked away copies for their personal collections. I’ve made a few of these investments over the years—one of my earliest and best was a first edition of Dennis Lehane’s A Drink Before the War. I think we can all agree that this author has fulfilled his early promise, and more. Oline Cogdill talks with Dennis about what comes next in this issue.
The Victorian era continues to fascinate both readers and writers. Tasha Alexander is particularly interested in the late Victorian period in England when changing laws and cultural mores allowed women a greater role in society. And as Tasha notes, there’s also an elegiac appeal to the years leading up to the First World War. “There something bittersweet about that—a people not being aware in the least they’re in decline.”
Readers wil remember that Tasha and Andrew Grant were featured in our recent article about couples who met at mystery conventions. On page one, you’ll find their wedding photo. Congratulations!
If you need further proof that crime fiction can tackle difficult topics in ways that both intrigue and illuminate, then be sure to read Stuart Neville’s tough, morally complex novels about Northern Ireland. Tom Nolan discusses The Ghosts of Belfast and Collusion in this issue, and we’d be interested in your thoughts, both on these books and on other mysteries that you think do justice to complex social and political topics.
One of the more outlandish items in our annual Gift Guide for mystery lovers are bookshelves which can be converted into a coffin when that final page is turned. My first thought was “that’s weird,” then “that’s clever,” followed by “but where will my books go?” Guess that means I’m not ready to shuffle off this mortal coil yet—or at least I’m not ready to move on to an e-reader... If you’re still in the acquiring stage of life, we think you’ll find plenty to interest you and your mystery-loving loved ones in this year’s round-up.
There’s no doubt that the past few years have been difficult. If you’re feeling down, Carolyn Hart has a great idea: Comfort Reads. We asked a number of other writers to nominate good books for hard times and you’ll find the results in this isssue.
Meet Us Online
The next issue of Mystery Scene is in February. But until then, you can find us at the MS website which will be getting a lot of new articles and features. You can sign up there for our monthly e-newsletter which offers info about books, TV and films, upcoming events, contests, and giveaways. Oline Cogdill blogs twice a week and the rest of us chime in as the mood strikes us. You can post comments as well, and we hope you do!
We hope you enjoy this issue and, as always, we’ll be interested in your input.
A happy holiday season to you all and our best wishes for a wonderful 2011!