Articles


The Path to Montparnasse

  •  4/16/2013 12:00:00 AM
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The inspiration for Murder Below Montparnasse came from several story-nuggets that fell my way, plus some digging on my part. Montparnasse, the epicenter of the 1910s late Belle Époque cultural scene, was the perfect place to set my story idea of an art heist gone terribly wrong. And after twelve previous investigations, it was the right time for Aimée Leduc to cross the river and solve a crime on the Left Bank—she’d only done so once before, in Murder in the Latin Quarter [2009]. The story also...
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Genius of James McClure

  •  4/15/2013 12:00:00 AM
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South Africa has a stellar group of crime writers at the moment, including Wessel Ebersohn, Joanne Hichens, Meshack Masondo, Deon Meyer, Jassy Mackenzie, Sifiso Mzobe, Mike Nicol, Margie Orford, and Roger Smith. One could also include Richard Kunzmann, Chris Marnewick, Malla Nunn, and Peter Temple in this list—writers born in southern Africa but living elsewhere. However, probably the best known of South African crime writers is no longer with us. James McClure was born in South Africa in 1939...
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The New Strength of Independents

  •  4/15/2013 12:00:00 AM
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While I am not consistently doing a happy dance—January and February here in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are long, cold months—as an independent bookseller, I have new reasons to be cautiously optimistic. After the closing of Borders, whose mother ship store was just a few blocks away, we’ve seen that folks are still very interested in a bookstore experience, as well as actual books.   Lots of the reasons we’re still here have to do with staying with the program we mapped out when we opened—selling a ...
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The Writer, the Burglar, and the Detective

  •  4/15/2013 12:00:00 AM
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In the first decade of the twentieth century, the French writer Maurice Leblanc published The Blonde Lady, a mystery novel that featured his popular gentleman thief, Arsene Lupin. In all, Leblanc would pen twenty-one novels and short story collections about the ingenious Lupin, who came to be thought of as the larcenous French answer to Conan Doyle’s upstanding Sherlock Holmes. What distinguishes The Blonde Lady from Leblanc’s other Lupin novels is its subtitle: “Being a Record of the Duel of Wi...
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Catchin’ A Firefly In A Mason Jar

  •  4/15/2013 12:00:00 AM
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My brother and I did everything we could to keep our grandmother from laughing on Thursdays. At least in the wintertime.   That was no easy task given there was little in life the old woman liked better than a good belly laugh. Said it prevented indigestion, promoted solid bowel movements, and reduced suicidal urges. “Laugh and the world laughs with you,” she’d say cheerily. “Cry and all you get’s snot on your lip.” Her name was Bobo, for no reason anybody in the family could recall, and sh...
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Witches, Burning, Butties, and Beer

  •  4/15/2013 12:00:00 AM
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Normally, I have no idea where that first elusive spark for a novel comes from. Sometimes a scene just pops into my head, sometimes it’s a title, but for Close To The Bone it happened in a borrowed estate car driving around the South Island of New Zealand in 2009. Oh, hark at me with the international travel.   Before the book tour kicked in, I had a whole week to explore the place and I was lucky enough to get an invite from fantasy novelist, map maker extraordinaire, and geographer Russell Ki...
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