Saturday, 25 January 2020 22:29

Art Basel has become one of the most popular—and talked about—events in Miami Beach with its mission to sell works of established and emerging artists.

The for-profit, privately owned and managed, international art fair also is held annually in Basel, Switzerland and Hong Kong.

But the Miami Beach version seems to have garnered the most publicity. Especially this year when a so-called artist stuck a banana to wall using duct tape and put a price tag of $125,000 on it.

And then another so-called performance artist came along and ate the banana. He left the duct tape.

I say so-called artists because this all seemed just silly to me. Don’t try to tell me this is art.

It’s publicity and silliness and yes, I am being judgmental about it.

I appreciate art that pushes the boundaries and makes us think.

But come on, a banana?

This art stunt got me to thinking about mysteries that revolve around the art world. And there are many. One of my favorites is Jonathan Santlofer’s debut novel The Death Artist and his fourth novel Anatomy of Fear.

One of the newest novels to explore the art world is Fake Like Me by Barbara Bourland.

Here is my review:

Fake Like Me
By Barbara Bourland
Grand Central, June 2019, $27
ISBN: 978-1-5387-5951-6
A perceptive look at New York’s underground art scene, the myth of celebrity and what it means to be an artist propel Barbara Bourland’s second unconventional mystery.

Fake Like Me revolves around an unnamed artist as she recounts her career from being poor and struggling to finally achieving recognition and having money in the bank.

Just as she’s about to make an even bigger breakout, she suffers an almost insurmountable setback.

A fire breaks out in her New York City loft, destroying the series of seven paintings that had created a buzz in the art world even before anyone had seen them. The large highly detailed “Rich Ugly Old Maids” was to be “her crowning glory” and were destined for a Paris show. Their destruction could destroy her career.

The artist has no place to live or to paint, and no hope of recreating her masterpieces, which are due in three months. Her salvation may be attending the art collective Pine City in upstate New York. She had idolized Pine City her entire career, especially infatuated with sculptor Carey Logan who committed suicide by drowning herself three years before.

The artist imagines the art collective houses in a former summer resort to be teeming with artistic vibe with everyone on a creative high and the Pine City members congenial and caring. Instead, the place is dilapidated and its members aloof, especially Tyler Savage who was Carey’s lover.

Still, the artist discovers a nonstop energy for her work and a need to find out why Carey drowned herself. So many secrets swirl around Pine City, threatening to detail the artist’s productivity.

Bourland’s rich storytelling delves deep into the creative spirit on which artists thrive. Stephen Sondheim wrote “art isn’t easy”; in Fake Like Me, art can be deadly.
— Oline H. Cogdill

DELVING INTO ART
Oline H. Cogdill
delving-into-art
Friday, 24 January 2020 02:35

The nominees for the coveted Edgar Allan Poe Awards are announced as close to Poe’s birth as possible, and the announcement always falls on a Wednesday. (Trivia experts know that Poe was born on Jan. 19 and this year marks the 211th anniversary of his birthday.)

Here are the nominees for the 2020 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2019.

The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at the 74th Gala Banquet, April 30, 2020 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.

Mystery Scene congratulations the nominees.

BEST NOVEL
Fake Like Me by Barbara Bourland (Hachette Book Group – Grand Central Publishing)
The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The River by Peter Heller (Penguin Random House – Alfred A. Knopf)
Smoke and Ashes by Abir Mukherjee (Pegasus Books)
Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham (Simon & Schuster - Scribner)

BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing (Penguin Random House - Berkley)
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim (Farrar Straus and Giroux)
The Good Detective by John McMahon (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott (Penguin Random House – Alfred A. Knopf)
Three-Fifths by John Vercher (Polis Books – Agora Books)
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson (Penguin Random House – Random House)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
Dread of Winter by Susan Alice Bickford (Kensington Publishing)
Freedom Road by William Lashner (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
Blood Relations by Jonathan Moore (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – Mariner Books)
February’s Son by Alan Parks (Europa Editions – World Noir)
The Hotel Neversink by Adam O’Fallon Price (Tin House Books)
The Bird Boys by Lisa Sandlin (Cinco Puntos Press)

BEST FACT CRIME
The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder that Shocked Jazz-Age America by Karen Abbott (Penguin Random House - Crown)
The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity by Axton Betz-Hamilton (Hachette Book Group – Grand Central Publishing)
American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century by Maureen Callahan (Penguin Random House - Viking)
Norco '80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History by Peter Houlahan (Counterpoint Press)
Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall by James Polchin (Counterpoint Press)

BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL
Hitchcock and the Censors by John Billheimer (University Press of Kentucky)
Beyond the Thirty-Nine Steps: A Life of John Buchan by Ursula Buchan (Bloomsbury Publishing)
The Hooded Gunman: An Illustrated History of Collins Crime Club by John Curran (Collins Crime Club)
Medieval Crime Fiction: A Critical Overview by Anne McKendry (McFarland)
The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women by Mo Moulton (Hachette Book Group – Basic Books)

BEST SHORT STORY
“Turistas," from Paque Tu Lo Sepas by Hector Acosta (Down & Out Books)
“One of These Nights," from Cutting Edge: New Stories of Mystery and Crime by Women Writers by Livia Llewellyn (Akashic Books)
“The Passenger," from Sydney Noir by Kirsten Tranter (Akashic Books)
“Home at Last," from Die Behind the Wheel: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of Steely Dan by Sam Wiebe (Down & Out Books)
“Brother’s Keeper," from Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Dave Zeltserman (Dell Magazine)

BEST JUVENILE
The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster by Cary Fagan (Penguin Random House Canada – Tundra Books
Eventown by Corey Ann Haydu (HarperCollins Children’s Books – Katherine Tegen Books)
The Whispers by Greg Howard (Penguin Young Readers – G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR)
All the Greys on Greene Street by Laura Tucker (Penguin Young Readers – Viking BFYR)
Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse by Susan Vaught (Simon & Schuster Children’s Books – Paula Wiseman Books)

BEST YOUNG ADULT
Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer (Tom Doherty Associates – Tor Teen)
Killing November by Adriana Mather (Random House Children’s Books – Alfred A. Knopf BFYR)
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (Penguin Young Readers - Kokila)
The Deceivers by Kristen Simmons (Tom Doherty Associates – Tor Teen)
Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas (Bloomsbury Publishing)

BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY
“Season 5, Episode 3” – Line of Duty, Teleplay by Jed Mercurio (Acorn TV)
“Season 5, Episode 4” – Line of Duty, Teleplay by Jed Mercurio (Acorn TV)
“Episode 1” – Dublin Murders, Teleplay by Sarah Phelps (STARZ)
“Episode 1” – Manhunt, Teleplay by Ed Whitmore (Acorn TV)
“Episode 1” – The Wisting, Teleplay by Katherine Valen Zeiner & Trygve Allister Diesen (Sundance Now)

ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD
“There’s a Riot Goin’ On," from Milwaukee Noir by Derrick Harriell (Akashic Books)

THE SIMON & SCHUSTER MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
The Night Visitors by Carol Goodman (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski (Harlequin – Graydon House)
Strangers at the Gate by Catriona McPherson (Minotaur Books)
Where the Missing Go by Emma Rowley (Kensington Publishing)
The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Tom Doherty Associates – Forge Books)

THE G.P. PUTNAM’S SONS SUE GRAFTON MEMORIAL AWARD
Shamed by Linda Castillo (Minotaur Books)
Borrowed Time by Tracy Clark ( Kensington Publishing)
The Missing Ones by Edwin Hill (Kensington Publishing)
The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)
The Alchemist’s Illusion by Gigi Pandian (Midnight Ink)
Girl Gone Missing by Marcie R. Rendon (Cincos Puntos Press)

2020 EDGAR NOMINEES
By Oline H Cogdill
2020-edgar-nominees
Friday, 24 January 2020 02:17

The award season continues with nominations for the 2020 Agatha, which will be awarded during the Malice Domestic conference (May 1 to 3, 2020, which is celebrating its 32th year.

The nominees represent those books published in 2019.

The Agatha ballots will be included in registration bags at Malice Domestic and will be chosen by those attending the conference.

Malice Domestic is a fun conference and I highly recommend it.

Mystery Scene congratulations the nominees.

The 2019 Agatha Award Nominees

Best Contemporary Novel
Fatal Cajun Festival by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
The Long Call by Ann Cleeves (Minotaur)
Fair Game by Annette Dashofy (Henery Press)
The Missing Ones by Edwin Hill (Kensington)
A Better Man by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
The Murder List by Hank Philippi Ryan (Forge)

Best First Mystery Novel
A Dream of Death by Connie Berry (Crooked Lane Books)
One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski (Graydon House, a division of Harlequin)
Murder Once Removed by S. C. Perkins (Minotaur)
When It’s Time for Leaving by Ang Pompano (Encircle Publications)
Staging for Murder by Grace Topping (Henery Press)

Best Historical Mystery
Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen (Penquin)
Murder Knocks Twice by Susanna Calkins (Minotaur)
The Pearl Dagger by L. A. Chandlar (Kensington)
Charity’s Burden by Edith Maxwell (Midnight Ink)
The Naming Game by Gabriel Valjan (Winter Goose Publishing)

Best Nonfiction
Frederic Dannay, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and the Art of the Detective Short Story by Laird R. Blackwell (McFarland)
Blonde Rattlesnake: Burmah Adams, Tom White, and the 1933 Crime Spree that Terrified Los Angeles by Julia Bricklin (Lyons Press)
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep (Knopf)
The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women by Mo Moulton (Basic Books)
The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold (Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt)

Best Children/Young Adult
Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers by Shauna Holyoak (Disney Hyperion)
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen MacManus (Delacorte Press)
The Last Crystal by Frances Schoonmaker (Auctus Press)
Top Marks for Murder (A Most Unladylike Mystery) by Robin Stevens (Puffin)
Jada Sly, Artist and Spy by Sherri Winston (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)

Best Short Story
"Grist for the Mill" by Kaye George in A Murder of Crows (Darkhouse Books)
"Alex’s Choice" by Barb Goffman in Crime Travel (Wildside Press)
"The Blue Ribbon" by Cynthia Kuhn in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
"The Last Word" by Shawn Reilly Simmons, Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
"Better Days" by Art Taylor in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine




2020 AGATHA NOMINEES
By Oline H. Cogdill
2020-agatha-nominees