Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Agatha Award Nominees


Hurray! The Agatha Award nominees have been announced. Winners will be chosen at this year's Malice Domestic Conference in Bethesda, MD, April 28-30. It's a great conference for those who love traditional mysteries. 
Best Contemporary Novel
Bayou Book Thief, Ellen Byron (Berkley Prime Crime)
Death By Bubble Tea, Jennifer J. Chow (Berkley)
Fatal Reunion, Annette Dashofy (Level Best Books)
Dead Man's Leap, Tina de Bellegarde (Level Best Books)
A World of Curiosities, Louise Penny (Minotaur)

Best Historical Novel
The Counterfeit Wife, Mally Becker (Level Best Books)
Because I Could Not Stop for Death, Amanda Flower (Berkley)
The Lindbergh Nanny, Mariah Fredericks (Minotaur)
In Place of Fear, Catriona McPherson (Mobius)
Under a Veiled Moon, Karen Odden (Crooked Lane Books)

Best First Novel
Cheddar Off Dead, Korina Moss (St. Martin’s)
Death in the Aegean, M. A. Monnin (Level Best Books)
The Bangalore Detectives Club, Harini Nagendra (Constable)
Devil’s Chew Toy, Rob Osler (Crooked Lane Books)
The Finalist, Joan Long (Level Best Books)
The Gallery of Beauties, Nina Wachsman (Level Best Books)

Best Short Story
"Beauty and the Beyotch," Barb Goffman (Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, Feb. 2022)
"There Comes a Time," Cynthia Kuhn, Malice Domestic Murder Most Diabolical (Wildside Press)
"Fly Me to the Morgue," Lisa Q Mathews, Malice Domestic Mystery Most Diabolical (Wildside Press)
"The Minnesota Twins Meet Bigfoot," Richie Narvaez, Land of 10,000 Thrills, Bouchercon Anthology (Down & Out Books)
"The Invisible Band," Art Taylor, Edgar & Shamus Go Golden (Down & Out Books)

Best Non-Fiction
The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and Their Creators, Martin Edwards (HarperCollins)
The Handbook to Agatha Christie: The Bloomsbury Handbook to Agatha Christie, Mary Anna Evans and J. C. Bernthal (Bloomsbury Academic)
The Science of Murder: The Forensics of Agatha Christie, Carla Valentine (Sourcebooks)
Promophobia: Taking the Mystery Out of Promoting Crime Fiction, Diane Vallere Ed. (Sisters in Crime)
Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman, Lucy Worsley (Pegasus Crime)

​Best Children's/YA Mystery
Daybreak on Raven Island, Fleur Bradley (Viking Books for Young People)
In Myrtle Peril, Elizabeth C. Bunce (Algonquin Young Readers)
#shedeservedit, Greg Herren (Bold Strokes Books)
Sid Johnson and the Phantom Slave Stealer, Frances Schoonmaker (Auctus Publishers)
Enola Holmes and the Elegant Escapade, Nancy Springer (Wednesday Books)

Friday, July 9, 2021

THE CORPSE WITH THE IRON WILL and Bombay Bramble Breakfast Bubbles

Cathy Ace is back with the latest installment of her Cait Morgan mysteries with The Corpse with the Iron Will and a delicious beverage that breathes summertime....

Cait Morgan is a Welsh Canadian professor of criminal psychology, who cannot help but trip over a dead body whenever she travels…which she does often. But, this time, a corpse is discovered next door to our sleuth, so she’s faced with a particularly difficult challenge – assessing her neighbors in moody, mountainous British Columbia as potential murder suspects. 

If you enjoy Christie-like traditional mysteries, and you like to travel to a different location every time you work to untangle to the clues and red herrings, then Cait Morgan is the sleuth for you. Ably abetted by her partner in crime and life – retired homicide detective, husband Bud Anderson – Cait applies her academic smarts to a case that’s, on this occasion, far too close to home for comfort.

This is the tenth book in the award-winning series, which is being developed by UK production company Free@LastTV (Agatha Raisin) as a recurring series of 90-minute, made-for-TV movies. 

(Photo taken by the author, in her front garden – the book’s “natural habitat”.) 

“Bombay Bramble Breakfast Bubbles”

If you put fruit in a drink, it’s officially a drink you can have for breakfast/brunch, right? If that’s something you agree with, this tipple is for you (though it’s refreshing and delicious at any time of day). Both Cait Morgan and Cathy Ace enjoy the odd G&T, so when Bombay Gin launched their Bramble version (with the flavours of bramble, blackberry, and raspberry) the author felt she had to taste it, on behalf of her character. Having tested (relentlessly!) various combinations, this is now a favourite. Using frozen fruit is best – it gradually melts as you sip, and you get to eat fruit when you’ve finished the alcohol, which makes this close to being a health drink. 

Pop the ice, frozen berries, and gin into a large glass, top up with your choice of lemon/lime soda (or British lemonade, which will make for a sweeter drink, so if you use that, add a dash of lemon juice/a slice of lemon) and enjoy. Cheers, folks!

Bombay Bramble: 1oz (or more, if you want…maybe you’re brunching at home, so no driving required)

- 7-Up/Sprite: whole can

- Frozen berries 

- Ice

You can find Cathy on Facebook: Cathy Ace - Author | FacebookTwitter: @AceCathy and Instagram: @cathyace1

Friday, December 11, 2020

Drink with Reads: Madness of the Q


Gray Basnight joins us today on Drinks with Reads to celebrate his new book, The Madness of Q, jus tin time for the holidays...


Glad to be back with Drinks with Reads. Here’s a stiff one, in honor of cryptologist and math Professor Sam Teagarden who makes his return in Madness of the Q.  He’s begrudgingly recruited by the FBI and CIA to help global chaos triggered by discovery of a 1st Century document found beneath an ancient church in northern Israel. Apparently written by Christian monks, it causes mass madness among cults and fanatics. Is it the encoded missing gospel, known in the theology world as the Quelle Document, or Q Document?  


Sam Teagarden accepts the mission to find out, only to learn that his main job, which has him careening from New York to Israel, Venice, Rome, and Berlin—is his own survival.  So Sam, if you make it back to New York, mix one of these, take a deep breath, and sip slowly. 


Have a Q-Tonic while devouring Madness of the Q

  • Mix 3 oz of Quince brand gin with a dash of Quassia brand bitter spice and shake with ice; then strain over fresh rocks
  • Add desired amount of Q Tonic brand tonic water (which contains real quinine, so take note if you have health issues) 
  • Sprinkle two drops of Bénédictine sweet liqueur in honor of the mad monks who may have caused a 21st Century stir of another kind
  • Instead of a twist, garnish with little men scrambling up and out of the glass, reflecting the madness of it all
  • Sip and enjoy

There you have it, a tangy version of the classic Gin and Tonic to accompany and soothe the fictional frenzy invoked through Madness of the Q.


More About Madness of the Q


The Quelle Document (German for the word “source”), widely known as The Q Doc, is a theorized missing source for much of the New Testament.


In Madness of the Q, it’s no longer a mere theory.  It’s real.  And when news of its existence leaks, Jonestown-style suicide erupts across the globe among two fervent groups who alternately fear or cheer that it may repudiate the foundations of Christianity. Because of his fame as a cryptologist in the prequel Flight of the Fox, math Professor Sam Teagarden returns to help determine its authenticity and end the spreading madness.  

Unfortunately, no one figured on a former Mossad agent hired by the Vatican to kill anyone who gets close to the truth, or an opposing atheist cult bent on making sure the truth is revealed.


Thomas Perry says: “Madness of the Q is a wild and breathless pursuit with Sam Teagarden on the run, desperate to connect with the right people and evade the wrong ones from New York to Israel to Italy to Germany in a non-stop plot that reminds us of Dan Brown, Ludlum, Fleming, and maybe even a bit of Umberto Eco.” 

— author of The Butcher’s Boy, The Burglar, and, A Small Town.



Comments are welcome via my website or at  



About the author: After almost three decades in broadcast news, where he wrote fact-based stories, Gray Basnight now writes fictional ones. Originally from Richmond, Virginia, he’s lived in New York long enough to consider himself a native. His latest book Madness of the Q (Down & Out, December 2020), brings back math professor and decryption expert Sam Teagarden in an international thriller sparked by the discovery of an ancient, encoded Biblical parchment.  Prior books include Flight of the Fox, a political thriller introducing Professor Teagarden, who inadvertently uncovers revelations that could change 20th Century American history (Down & Out, 2018); The Cop with the Pink Pistol, a modern NYC detective mystery/romance; and Shadows in the Fire, a historical novel about two young slaves on the edge of freedom as the Confederate capital of Richmond falls in April 1865. Gray is a member of the Mystery Writers Association, Authors Guild and Thrillerfest.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Holiday No-Egg Eggnog with Maddie Day

 Holiday No-Egg Eggnog

By Maddie Day

Thanks for having me back to Drinks with Reads! I’m celebrating the release of Candy Slain Murder, my eighth Country Store Murder, and I’ll give away a copy to one commenter.

Yes, you got it right – it’s a Christmas cozy mystery. Robbie Jordan has her country store all decorated for the holidays, and she and her assistants think up fun Christmas-colored specials to serve, like a spinach-red pepper egg bake. 

Robbie’s also fond of Four Roses bourbon. Funny, so is her author. Eggnog is a classic winter drink, and I happen to love it. But I know many shudder at the thought of raw eggs in a drink. I don’t, because I get my eggs at a trusted local small farm. Plus the sugar, cream, and alcohol offset the egginess.

So I came up with a no-egg eggnog to go with the book. As it’s currently September, not December, I don’t have a single candy cane in the house. Rest assured, if I did, one would be sticking out of that glass as a stir stick. I also realize I left the sugar and cream out of the photo. Oh, well. You know what those look like, right?

Holiday No-Egg Eggnog

Serves one

Stir two tablespoon sugar into eight ounces of cream, half and half, or whole milk (or a combination) until dissolved.
Add two ounces Four Roses bourbon or the bourbon of your choice, and one ounce peppermint schnapps.
Sprinkle with ground nutmeg.

Enjoy with your favorite new Christmas cozy mystery.

Readers: What’s your favorite holiday drink? Are you an eggnogger or not?

In Candy Slain Murder, Country Store owner Robbie Jordan’s life seems merry and as bright as the Christmas lights glistening around South Lick, Indiana – until a man claims to be the long-lost half-brother of Robbie’s assistant. A fire destroys the home of a controversial anesthesiologist, exposing skeletal remains in his attic. The twin of the long-dead woman is murdered. Unavoidably intrigued, all Robbie wants for Christmas is to stop her winter wonderland from becoming a real nightmare. 

Maddie Day pens the Country Store Mysteries and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. Agatha Award winning Edith Maxwell writes the historical Quaker Midwife Mysteries and short crime fiction. With twenty-three mysteries in print and more underway, Day/Maxwell lives with her beau and their energizer kitten north of Boston, where she writes, gardens, cooks, and wastes time on Facebook. She hopes you’ll find her on social media under both names, on, and at her web site.

Friday, September 11, 2020

THREE TREATS TOO MANY by Debra H. Goldstein


Champagne cocktails are the order of the day for author Debra H. Goldstein as she introduces us to her latest novel, Three Treats Too Many. And yes, there are three champagne cocktail recipes to highlight the book...

When a romantic rival opens a competing restaurant in small-town Wheaton, Alabama, Sarah Blair discovers murder is the specialty of the house . . . 
For someone whose greatest culinary skill is ordering takeout, Sarah never expected to be co-owner of a restaurant. Even her Siamese cat, RahRah, seems to be looking at her differently. But while Sarah and her twin sister, Chef Emily, are tangled up in red tape waiting for the building inspector to get around to them, the attention-stealing new establishment, right across the street, run by none other than Sarah's greatest nemesis, is having a field day thanks to its delicious vegan specialties. 
To compete, Sarah’s restaurant considers showcasing three treats a day. Because each treat will need to be paired with a perfect drink, here are the three Emily and Sarah suggest for tonight.

Glass number one (saucer champagne)

St. Germain Cocktail

3 oz. Champagne

1 oz. St. Germain Liquor

1 tsp. of fresh lemon juice

Glass rim dipped in superfine sugar

Garnished with a peach

Glass number two (champagne flute large)

Pink Fling Cocktail

2 oz. watermelon juice

1 oz. Campari

3 oz.  Prosecco

1 oz. lemon fizzy water

Garnished with watermelon wedge

Glass number three (martini glass)

Traditional Lake Vista Martini

2 jiggers of Hendrick’s Gin

A whiff of Dry Vermouth

A whiff of Olive “juice”

Garnished with two LARGE anchovy or garlic jalepeño olives

Judge Debra H. Goldstein authors Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series including recently 
published Three Treats Too Many, 2020 Silver Falchion finalist Two Bites Too Many, and

January 2019 Woman’s World Book of the Week One Taste Too Many. Debra also wrote Should Have Played Poker and 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories have been chosen as Agatha, Anthony, and Derringer finalists. 

Friday, August 28, 2020

The Key Lime Crime Key Lime Pie Martini from Lucy Burdett


It's Key Lime Pie martinis with a side of murder in Lucy Burdette's latest Key West Mystery...

In my tenth Key West mystery, THE KEY LIME CRIME, food critic Hayley Snow is covering the action at a Key West key lime pie contest, and writing articles on where to find the best pie in the city. Of course a murder ensues, and Hayley is on the case.

David Sloan (a real person who allowed me to use him as a basis for a character) served up these little gems at his booksigning at Key West Island bookstore, during one scene in The Key Lime Crime. Here’s a small snippet of that scene where Hayley is chatting with the bookstore owner and then David:

“Make sure you try one of David’s martinis. Christopher’s a wonderful bartender—executes a recipe perfectly. David’s borrows him for events when he’s not working a shift at the library. Beware, they do pack a punch. Don’t drink these if you’re driving your detective somewhere, or likely to get pulled over.”  

We both laughed and I walked over to the man tending the table at the end of the fiction bookshelves. Now I recognized him from the library event the other day. He’d been trying to contain the pie-throwing damage, along with Michael, the administrator. 

He raised his eyebrows and smiled. “Martini?” 

“Why not?” I said, thinking this could be another round-up article for Key Zest during the high season: Key lime drinks were as hot as Key lime pies, it seemed. He mixed Stoli Vanil, Liquor 43, and heavy cream in a shaker with ice, shook it, and then poured it into a plastic martini glass rimmed with graham cracker crumbs. I took a sip. 

“Wow,” I said, as the heat of the booze blazed a path down my throat. “She wasn’t kidding—that packs a wallop.

This recipe can be found in the real David Sloan’s cookbook, The Key West Key Lime Pie Cookbook. I’ve reprinted it here and in THE KEY LIME CRIME with his permission.


2 oz. Stoli Vanil

1 oz. Liquor 43

1.5 oz. heavy cream or half and half

1 tablespoon fresh Key lime juice, plus a little extra

Crushed graham crackers

Add the first four ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Dip a martini glass into a plate containing Key lime juice and then into the crushed graham crackers. Strain the vodka mixture into the glass and enjoy!

About THE KEY LIME CRIME:With her intimidating new mother-in-law bearing down on the island and a fierce rivalry between Key lime pie bakers to referee, food critic Hayley Snow is feeling anything but festive…

 It’s the week between Christmas and New Year’s and Key West is bursting at the seams with holiday events and hordes of tourists. Adding to the chaos, Key lime pie aficionado David Sloan has persuaded the city to host his Key Lime pie extravaganza and contest. Hayley Snow can’t escape the madness because her bosses at Key Zest magazine have assigned her to cover the event. Every pie purveyor in Key West is determined to claim the Key lime spotlight—and win the coveted Key Lime Key to the City.

Another recipe for disaster—Hayley’s hubby, police detective Nathan Bransford, announces that his mother will be making a surprise visit. Newlywed Hayley must play the dutiful daughter-in-law, so she and her pal Miss Gloria offer to escort his mom on the iconic Conch Train Tour of the island's holiday lights. But it's not all glittering palm trees and fantastic flamingos--the unlikely trio finds a real body stashed in one of the elaborate displays. And the victim is no stranger: Hayley recognizes the controversial new pastry chef from Au Citron Vert, a frontrunner in Sloan’s contest.

Hayley must not only decipher who’s removed the chef from the contest kitchen, she's also got to handle a too-curious mother-in-law who seems to be cooking up trouble of her own.  

"Charming characters, an appealing setting, and mouthwatering bonus recipes make this a perfect choice for foodie cozy lovers." Publishers’ Weekly, May 2020

“The well-described Key West setting nicely complements the foodie frame in this satisfying cozy, which is a natural for fans of Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen mysteries.”


ABOUT LUCY: Clinical psychologist Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) is the author of 18 mysteries, including THE KEY LIME CRIME (Crooked Lane Books,) the latest in the Key West series featuring food critic Hayley Snow. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She's a past president of Sisters in Crime and the current president of the Friends of the Key West Library.





Friday, August 7, 2020

House of Desire - Whisky and Wine

Margaret Lucke flings words around as a writer and editor in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the author of four mystery novels: House of Desire, House of Whispers, Snow Angel, and A Relative Stranger (an Anthony Award finalist). She is also the editor of Fault Lines, an anthology of mystery short stories published last year by the Northern California chapter of Sisters in Crime. She has taught writing classes for more than 20 years, and she has published two how-to books on the craft of writing. Let's see what drink she's chosen to match her novel, House of Desire. 

In my new novel, House of Desire, reluctant psychic Claire Scanlan attends a gala fundraiser to save a grand San Francisco Victorian. There she encounters a mysterious young woman, Roxane, who is invisible to everyone but her. Roxane is a “soiled dove” plying her trade in the mansion in 1896. She has discovered a secret portal that lets her slip into what she calls the Future House when she needs to escape the most brutal of the men who buy her favors. 

When the party’s organizer is murdered in the mansion, Roxane is the sole witness. Terrified, she flees back to her own time. Claire’s philandering brother-in-law is accused of being the killer. To clear his name she must find the elusive Roxane—which means risking a perilous journey into the past from which she may never return.

The Burnham Mansion in the story is based very loosely on the Haas-Lilienthal House, where the preservation group San Francisco Heritage is headquartered. I had the pleasure of working on their staff a number of years ago. One of the many liberties I took was to give my house a piece of history that the real house doesn’t share. In the 1890s the fictional Burnham Mansion was a parlor house, or upscale bordello, known as Chez Celeste. 

The action in House of Desire moves back and forth between Claire’s contemporary world and Roxane’s Victorian-era environment. Among the many things that differentiate the past and present in the book are the beverages people drink. In the 21st century scenes, Claire and her cohorts are likely to choose wine—a full-bodied zinfandel or a crisp chardonnay. The gentlemen who patronize Chez Celeste will often purchase a tot of whiskey, poured from a decanter so they won’t notice that it has been watered down even though they are being charged full price.

While Chez Celeste didn’t offer cocktails, they were popular in the Victorian era. When looking for Victorian whisky recipes, I came upon this one, which Charles Dickens apparently enjoyed when he visited America. It may be the original cocktail, or at least 

the first to be called by that name.

The Cock-Tail

1 teaspoon super fine sugar or simple syrup

2 ounces of rye whiskey

3 ounces of water

4 dashes of bitters


Combine first four ingredients and stir. Top with grated nutmeg

Note: This recipe need not be limited to whiskey. The 19th-century instructions say that rum, gin, or brandy will work as well. Whatever your pleasure, I hope you enjoy your drink.


Margaret Lucke flings words around as a writer and editor in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the author of four mystery novels: House of Desire, House of Whispers, Snow Angel, and A Relative Stranger (an Anthony Award finalist). She is also the editor of Fault Lines, an anthology of mystery short stories published last year by the Northern California chapter of Sisters in Crime. She has taught writing classes for more than 20 years, and she has published two how-to books on the craft of writing.

You can find Margaret on Twitter: @margaretlucke