Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Chanukah Crime Fiction // Hanukkah Mysteries

Chanukah (no matter how you spell it - Hanukah, Hanukkah) is celebrated for eight days, so you have plenty of time to read all these books! Today is the first day of Hanukah, although the holiday started last night when the first candle was lit. Let me know if I've missed any mysteries. This is an updated list.

Hanukah Mystery Novels
A Crafty Christmas by Molly Cox Bryan
Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle (mostly about Christmas but Hanukah is mentioned)
Beautiful Lie the Dead by Barbara Fradkin
Strength to Stand by Sheyna Galyan
Festival of Deaths by Jane Haddam
Hanukkah Gelt by T. Lee Harris
Out of the Frying Pan into the Choir by Sharon Kahn
Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry by Harry Kemelman
Murder at the Minyan by Shlumat E. Kustanowitz
The Body in the Sleigh by Katherine Hall Page (mostly about Christmas but Hanukah is mentioned)
Dog Have Mercy by Neil Plakcy
Chanukah Guilt by Ilene Schneider
The Tattooed Rabbi by Marvin J. Wolf
Mom Lights a Candle by James Yaffe

Children's Hanukah Mysteries
Rabbi Rocketpower and the Mystery of the Missing Menorahs - A Hanukkah Humdinger! by Rabbi Susan Abramson and Aaron Dvorkin and Ariel DiOrio
Too Many Latkes: A Chanukah Mystery by Sonia Zylberberg
The Mohel from Mars by Miri Ariel

Mystery Short Stories
"Mom Lights a Candle" by James Yaffe, appeared in Mystery: The Best of 2002, ed. by Jon L. Breen.
"Hanukah" by Morris Hershman in Cat Crimes for the Holidays, ed. by Martin Greenberg, Edward Gorman and Larry Segriff
"The Worse Noel" by Barb Goffman in The Gift of Murder.
"Death on the List" by B.K. Stevens (AHMM, January 1999)
For more info on Jewish short story mysteries, check out Steven Steinbock who blogs on Criminal Brief, the Mystery Short Story Web Log Project.
"Navidad" by Elizabeth Zelvin, EQMM, January 2011
"No Candles for Antiochus" by Barry Ergang
Murder is no Mitzvah: Short Stories about Jewish Occasions, edited by Abigail Browning
The Latke in the Library & Other Mystery Stories for Chanukah by Libi Astaire 

Mystery Games
Children's software mystery game: Who Stole Hanukkah? offered in five languages: English, Hebrew, Russian, French and Spanish
Other Games for Children: The Case of the Stolen Menorah: An Enlightening Hanukkah Mystery

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Dasher


Peter Lovesey's Beau Death: review by Sue Trowbridge. Book Give-Away

Peter Lovesey is one of my favorite authors and favorite people. I've known him for over 30 years, but my acquaintance with his books precedes that. Peter has also been a big supporter of and frequent contributor to the Mystery Readers Journal. With over 40 novels and numerous short stories and editor of anthologies, Peter Lovesey has just been named Grandmaster by Mystery Writers of America.

Do you have a favorite Peter Lovesey novel? Make a comment below for a chance to win a copy of his latest novel Beau Death. Be sure and leave your email address.

This review originally appeared on The Saturday Reader. Reprinted with permission by Sue Trowbridge. Sue Trowbridge reviews books (mostly mysteries & thrillers) every week on her blog. She works as a freelance web developer and book designer.

Beau Death by Peter Lovesey
reviewed by Sue Trowbridge

You can always count on Peter Lovesey to provide you with a solid, well-written, well-plotted novel. Year after year, Lovesey just keeps publishing fine crime fiction—he’s written over 40 books—and funnily enough, just a few hours after I had been musing, “Is Peter Lovesey taken for granted?” the news broke that he had been awarded Grand Master status by the Mystery Writers of America. I hope the honor will bring more attention to his stellar body of work.

Beau Death is the latest entry in his long-running series about Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond, who works in the historic city of Bath. As the novel opens, a block of run-down townhouses is being demolished, and the wrecking ball reveals a surprise in one of the attics: a skeleton, dressed in an 18th-century costume, sitting in a chair. The police are called in, and when a goofy photo of Diamond with the remains goes viral, people start speculating that the dead man could be Beau Nash.

Nash was known as the “King of Bath,” a local icon who hosted royalty, politicians and famous writers during his tenure as town’s unofficial Master of Ceremonies. Eventually, scandal and debts caused him to survive on a small income from city funds, and when he died, he was buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave—but could he somehow have wound up in a townhouse attic in an unfashionable suburb instead?

I will admit that I thought Beau Nash was Lovesey’s own creation, kind of a take-off on Beau Brummel, but he was real. Not real is the book’s Beau Nash Society, a fashionable, invitation-only Bath club whose members are required to attend meetings dressed in period costume. If the corpse isn’t the real Beau, perhaps he was a modern-day member of the Society, and with a little help from his girlfriend Paloma (an expert on historic clothing), Diamond will need to don a wig and breeches in order to discover the dead man’s identity.

Unlike a lot of crime fiction series which overwhelm you with their characters’ back stories, Beau Death can easily be read as a stand-alone. There are some references made to incidents in Diamond’s past, but this really isn’t a series which demands to be read in order. Though mystery fans who are just discovering Lovesey will no doubt be delighted to find that he has such a rich and deep back catalog to enjoy. His Grand Master award is well-deserved indeed.