Saturday, October 25, 2014

Death Comes to Pemberley Starts Tomorrow Night on PBS

The BBC/PBS Mystery Masterpiece Adaptation of PD James' Death Comes To Pemberley hits PBS tomorrow night (check your local listings) and finishes up Sunday, November 2nd. 

The show stars Matthew Rhys of THE AMERICANS who leaves behind his Russian spy turned America persona to Fitzwilliam Darcy (there's a great interview with him about playing Darcy here). Elizabeth Bennett is played by Anna Maxwell Martin. 

The action begins six years after the Jane Austen books end and Darcy's relationship with Elizabeth is a bit strained at the weight of trying to maintain Pemberley. 

Here's a clip from the BBC showing.

My DVR is set. Will you watch Death Comes to Pemberley?

Friday, October 24, 2014


Author Cathy Ace joins us today from Vegas for Friday Drinks with Reads matching her latest book, The Corpse with the Platinum Hair with a drink she just made up - The Tsar!Tini. 

With birthday celebrations in the cards, Cait Morgan and her significant other, retired cop Bud Anderson, travel to Las Vegas. As they are about to finish dinner in the casino owners’ exclusive private dining room, Miss Shirley, a woman acknowledged as Queen of The Strip, is murdered. Security locks down the room. Cait, Bud, a corpse, and ten possible murderers are trapped in the luxurious restaurant for twelve deadly hours. The bodies pile up, the tension mounts, the list of suspects dwindles—and Cait knows she has to work out who the killer is because there’s no telling who might be next to die.

The fourth book in the beloved Cait Morgan series, The Corpse with the Platinum Hair travels to Sin City, where Welsh Canadian foodie and criminologist Cait Morgan comes up against her toughest mystery yet.

“I've always loved closed room mysteries and this is a terrific one. A cast of characters (each of them with something to hide) marooned on the top floor of a swank Las Vegas casino with a corpse. A fun and suspenseful mystery.” Rhys Bowen. New York Times bestselling author of the Molly Murphy and Royal Spyness mysteries.

For THE CORPSE WITH THE PLATINUM HAIR I had the delightful task of inventing a fictitious casino and hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. The Tsar! is inspired by Tsarist and Russian architecture and entertainment themes, and it’s décor is as over-the-top as you might imagine. In Vegas each casino is stuffed with many bars and restaurants, and the Tsar! is no exception. From the Babushka Bar to the Romanoff Room Restaurant, it is opulent and allows for overindulgence. The titular corpse, Miss Shirley, is one of the owners of the Tsar!—she’s a woman of very definite tastes, and this martini is the one she chose as the signature drink for her “empire”. 

The Tsar!Tini is very strong, and quite sweet, rather like the woman for whom it was invented. It shows off the signature colors of the casino—red and gold—and it is definitely something you’d sip, rather than glug. You have been warned! Here, for the first time anywhere, is the recipe for the just-developed Tsar!Tini. 


3 parts vodka
2 parts Lillet
1 part Raspberry Sourpuss
3 parts champagne
3 golden raisins, soaked overnight in Lillet, for garnish

Soak golden raisins in enough Lillet to cover overnight in the fridge (it’s worth it, but, if you’re pressed for time, just use golden raisins as they come).  

Put the vodka, Lillet and raspberry sourpuss in a cocktail shaker, over ice, and shake vigorously for at least a minute. Strain into a chilled martini glass. The mixture should fill only about half the glass.

Top up to the rim with champagne.

Pop three golden raisins onto a pick, and place across the edges of the glass. 

SIP!! Cheers, folks! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Crafty Thursdays: Skeleton Key Chains & Giveaway

Last weekend the crafting club set out to see what exciting things we could make with skeleton keys and one of the things we came up with are these key chains. Easy and fun to make, you can have a key chain completed in twenty minutes or less.

Here are the materials:

  • Skeleton Key (eBay, flea markets and garage sales are a good place to hunt for these)
  • Wire (We matched the wire to the key as much as possible so it wouldn't be so visible)
  • Beads
  • Key Ring
  • Gorilla Glue (the glue of choice at Mystery Playground)
  • Wire cutters (I used jewelry wire cutters)

Step One:
Cut your wire about two feet long, so you have plenty of wrapping room no matter what you decide to do. 

Step Two:
Hold the end of the wire close to the key and then wrap the wire around the key and the end one time. Put a little Gorilla Glue on the end and wrap the wire around the key two more times.

Step Three:
String beads of the wire to achieve the desired effect. For this one, I strung them to fit around they key once and then added a bit more Gorilla Glue.

Step Four:
Continue wrapping. I added a big bead in the middle of this one for impact. Then I continued with the smaller beads. I put Gorilla Glue on the end of the wire and wrapped it around several times. 

Step Five:
Cut another piece of wire (about ten inches) fold it in half and loop it through the top of the keychain. Add beads as desired. Once you've got it as long as you would like it, add a keyring to the top. 

Step Five:
Once the keyring is on, then wrap the tail of the wire around the main shaft of wire. Wrap it multiple times and then snip. 

Now you are ready to your add keys to the ring.

Comment below to win one of these skeleton key chains. U.S. residents only. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New Author Discovery

Nancy Keith Kelly guests today to tell us about an author she just discovered and she can't stop reading...

On a recent family trip, I overheard folks talking a new author -- Brad Thor -- and tucked it away on my 'author to explore' list.  I seem to have a long list of authors I want to read. Once I did some research and ordered up his first book,  Lions of Lucerne, I was drawn in pretty quickly.   

We're introduced to Scot Harvath and his background as a Navy Seal, Olympic skier, and active member of the Secret Service.  (And you learn a few books later how he got the name Scot with one 't'.)  What I love about the Harvath series is that Brad Thor has done terrific research, especially around the US Navy Seals and one of their training bases, which is in my hometown of Coronado, California.  

Thor also has a gift of giving the reader a great description of locations around the world. You feel that you're right there. I loved his descriptions of  place, especially where I've lived and visited.  At the same time, details on the inner workings of the Secret Service, the FBI and even the CIA are also shared.  Not all readers may like learning as they read, however it does keep me engaged.

 The only issue I have is that his protagonist tends to have super powers when it comes to healing from injuries -- especially as the series unfolds.  I know he's a Navy Seal, but I'm not sure that gives him magic healing powers. It's a small thing. I have continued to read through the Scot Harvath series.

If you're looking for a fun series and some fast action, Brad Thor is worth checking out.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Autographing Hunting At Bouchercon

Kerry Hammond has serious plans when she goes to the world's largest mystery convention in Long Beach, CA from Novebmer 13-16. She's here today to reveal the game plan...

As Bouchercon gets nearer, I am going through my extensive library and deciding which books will make the trip with me. I love getting autographs for my books, even if it means bringing less clothes in my suitcase so that I have room for, you guessed it, books. I will be getting quite a few autographs at this year’s conference, and I thought I would take this time to mention 5 authors whose autographs I am most looking forward to. 

1. Charles Finch
I came across the Charles Lenox mystery series by accident one day while browsing at Barnes & Noble. Finch is American, but writes a great British series set in Victorian England featuring a gentleman sleuth. The series started in 2007 with A Beautiful Blue Death, and the 8th in the series, The Laws of Murder, is due out this November – just in time for Bouchercon. There is also a short story featuring Charles Lenox called An East End Murder.

2. Cara Black
Cara Black writes a series set in modern day Paris featuring private investigator Aimée Léduc. Her series started in 1998 with Murder in the Marais, and her 13th book, Murder Below Monparnasse, was just published in February of 2014. These books are wonderful for armchair travelers and the description of the areas of Paris are wonderfully written. 

3. Carola Dunn
I have been a Daisy Dalrymple fan for years and I own quite a few of the books in the series. New fans who want to try the series will be happy to know that there are 21 books in the series, from Death at Wentwater Court, published in 1994, to Heirs of the Body, published this past December (2013). Dare I hope that Ms. Dunn is working on book #22? The best part is that this historical series starts in the early 1920s, so the ones published early on won’t feel outdated. I recommend you start at the beginning. 

4. Donald Bain
You may have heard of the television series Murder, She Wrote, starring Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher. But did you know that Donald Bain (and Jessica Fletcher according to the book jackets) write a series of Murder, She Wrote books? It’s a wonderful series featuring one of TV’s all time great detectives. According to what I can find on Wikipedia, the series began in 1989 with Gin and Daggers. There have been about two books a year since 1994 for a grand total of 42 from what I count. The latest, Death of a Blue Blood came out this October. Just like the TV show, Jessica travels all over the world solving mysteries and attracting dead bodies.

Catriona Mcpherson
5. Catriona McPherson

 I just discovered the Dandy Gilver series this year and absolutely love it. This series is set in Scotland, starting in the early 1920s. Dandy, short for Dandelion, is a strong female character who quickly learns that she has a knack for solving mysteries and is frequently called in by her friends when there’s trouble. There are 9 books in the series, beginning with After the Armistice Ball. The latest is Dandy Gilver and the Reek of Red Herrings, published earlier this year. There is even a rumor that the Dandy books will be made into a British television series. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Demon Summer by G.M. Malliet

Kerry Hammond reviews A Demon Summer by G.M. Malliet. A Demon Summer is the 4th book from G.M. Malliet to feature Max Tudor, vicar of St. Edwold’s Church in the town of Nether Monkslip, England.

Max Tudor is a former MI5 agent turned vicar, who showed up in the small town of Nether Monkslip to turn many a female head. He is attractive, charismatic, and extremely intelligent. Due to his background and former profession, he is frequently involved in murders that take place in the area, helping DCI Cotton solve the most baffling cases.
Max’s arrival in the village some years before had electrified the female population of Nether Monkslip, for Father Max Tudor was everything they could have wished for: kind and decent (basic requirements, of course, for a vicar), handsome and youngish (both huge bonuses), rumored to be a former MI5 agent (so daring and mysterious!), and most of all, unattached and, to all appearances, available. A lamp ripe for sacrifice on the marital alter.
The women got busy, either throwing themselves at his feet or pushing their nieces, daughters, and best friends at his feet. Church attendance skyrocketed, along with volunteerism for the little chores that needed doing around the church—cleaning the brass and silver, preparing the vessels for the Eucharistic services—that might bring them into closer proximity with Max.
But Max remained steadfastly uninterested. Oddly oblivious to the frenzy of self-sacrifice and do-goodery he had unleashed. Perhaps he thought it mere coincidence that the St. Edwold’s Altar Guild suddenly had more helpers than it could accommodate, all of them female, and all of them jostling for a slot in the rotation. The church flower rota became a free-for-all, with the altar bouquets growing more grandiose and extravagant with each passing week.

You can read the rest over at Criminal Element...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Awesome Book Scented Candles

Finally there are candles that smell like old books. With all of the candles out there, the folks at Frostbeard Studio have come up with scents that no one else has.

Book Cellar is described as earthy, slighty musty with hints of vanilla.

Winterfell is described as,  "fresh, earthy and cozy." Although of the three decriptions of the candle only earthy still describes Game of Thrones' Winterfell.

And who doesn't love the smell of old books...